It's been a busy week with a lot going on. A couple of states considering state-wide BSL, and a couple of states that are looking at outlawing breed-specific laws. Many other things as well as some really great blogs to post.
Sit back and enjoy and off to the top stories from the week that was.
Cities/States and Laws
H5287 in Rhode Island would restrict ownership of "pit bulls' at the state level. If you live in Rhode Island PLEASE reach out to your state representative to urge a "no" vote on this bill. No hearing date has been scheduled for this bill, so there is a chance that it will die in the judiciary committee, but never take that for granted for poorly conceived laws like this.
In Annapolis, MD, representatives from major Humane organizations, animal advocates and experts lined the state house to support a bill that would undue a court ruling last April that essentially causes all "pit bulls' to be labeled as vicious. The Maryland Bill has a lot of support and I do expect it to pass both houses soon. Even the local media is behind the legislature cleaning up the mess created by the court ruling.
New Mexico HB63, which would prohibit breed-specific laws throughout the state, passed unanimously out of Health, Government and Indian Affairs commmittee last week. The bill has now gone to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
Arkansas City, KS is looking at a potential repeal of their breed ban. Authorities cite difficulties in enforcing the law as one of the reasons.
A resident in Dodge City, KS is asking city commissioners to repeal its 7 year old breed ban.
Chariton, IA is also considering repealing its breed-specific law.
Waterford, MI is also considering a potential repeal of its ban on pit bull type dogs. The law has been in place for 23 years but challenges in enforcing the law because of breed identification are proving challenging. Anyone else noticing a trend?
Major dog bites are rare, but they do happen, and when they do many have lazily tried to make attacks about the type of dog involved vs focusing on the circumstances that led up to the attacks. Here's a sampling of a couple of recent incidents.
In Grand Island, NE, a 'pit bull' bit a couple of family members. While the highlight of the news article is that it was "caught on tape" from a neighbor's surveillance video. While many speculated about what may have led to the attack, one huge red flag was ignored by both the "expert" and the media (no surprise). In the video, the owner notes that she had raised the dog since he was four weeks old. I've talked before on this blog about the importance of early socialization in dogs and how removing them from their litter too young (and 4 weeks is too young) is problematic in most cases. It just seems like a big opportunity for education if people would be more willing to focus on this, instead of the headline being about breed.
A Buckeye, AZ boy was attacked when the boy allegedly "peaked over" a fence between his house and his neighbor's in order to retrieve a football that had gone into their back yard. While the kids say the boy was "pulled over" the fence and into the back yard, it seems more likely that the boy just climbed into the back yard trying to retrieve the ball and was attacked. I'm not a fan of dogs that are aggressive enough to attack someone who enters the yard, but kids leaving their own property and going onto a neighbor's property without permission is a fairly common way that children (who tend to not read canine body language well) get attacked.
A one year old boy and his father were both attacked bya Great Pyrenees near their home in Waco, TX. The toddler apparently chased a soccer ball too close to a pen where the dog was kept and the dog became aggitated and attacked the boy, and the father who went to go help him.
New Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle, who along with his wife Jaime helped fight against the Miami-Dade breed ban last year, now are faced with another breed ban in Ontario. Because of the ban, Buehrle and his family will not be able to live together for the time that he is with the Blue Jays, so his family is moving to St. Louis. It's a shame to see families split up over ridiculous laws involving healthy, happy, loving dogs - but maybe this means Mark will go play for the Cardinals some day soon (and they could use a little pitching help).
Why wolves are forever wild, but dogs can be tamed -- some interesting research by evolutionary biologist Katheryn Lord that links some of the difference to the very early socialization period in the first 4 weeks of life. Lord believes that the differences in socialization may be because wolves begin socializing at 2 weeks, before their senses are fully developed, where dogs begin at 4 weeks, after senses have developed. She believes this change influences how each explores the world for the first time and thus, how they act later in life. The data is build on a very small data-set, and is not conclusive, but interesting to consider.
Positive Pit Bull Press
KTVI TV in St. Louis once again shows the positive side of pit bulls and the challenges of laws that target breeds of dogs based on looks vs targeting dangerous dog laws based on behavior by showing the challenges with breed-identification. In their poll, less than 25% of people were able to correctly identify the American Pit Bull Terrier from a photograph.
A Colorado Springs, CO couple steps up to save a starving Pit Bull named Lazarus.
No Kill News
As recently as 2006, San Antonio had the highest shelter kill rate per capita of any city in the country. Now, while they've not achieve no kill (yet). Last year, they more than doubled the save rate in the community and are at a 62% save rate. One of the key programs that has helped them be successful has been the growth of their foster program.
The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA is looking to make the county no kill by 2015. Henry County is already close -- at an 82% save rate. A huge opportunity for betterment for them would be increasing their adoption rate for pit bulls -- 1/2 of all the dogs euthanized at the shelter were pit bulls.
East Ridge, TN is looking to adopt a no kill policy at their shelter.
Activists in Rancho Cucamonga are pushing back against some change in direction at the shelter in the community. The Rancho shelter has long been one of the more progressive shelters in the country, but recent changes are moving them further from being no kill instead of closer and advocates want to continue pushing forward.
Locking jaws, lies, and the rabbit hole of hate - Swaylove.org takes a look at fake facebook profiles and how a handful of people who have set up fake Facebook profiles with the apparently sole purpose of spreading falsehoods and hate against pit bulls in comment sections of media articles everywhere.
Speaking of dressing down the small number of people out there trying to damn pit bulls, Seattle Dog Spot takes on some recent coverage that Ellen Taft got in Seattle and makes the case against Ms. Taft being any type of credible.
I used to think pit bulls were monsters -- until I got one - a writer for Dogster talks about how she wasn't a fan of pit bulls until her boyfriend (now husband) convinced her to get one -- and how she now loves the dog like any other dog. This story certainly resembles how my opinion changed many years ago....and I supsect how many others became advocates as well.
I am furious at a rescue that is helping save lives - Central California Pets Alive notes why they are upset with a rescue that is helping because they say they have to help because of the "irresponsible public".
Media and pit bulls: the good, the bad and the ugly -- Bless the Bullies looks at all sides of the pit bull debate via the media
A Day with Homeless Pets takes a look at a dog named Jersey -- the longest time resident with the KC Pet Project
How to know when to call in a professional trainer -- knowing when to get professional help with your dog is important -- and here are some good thoughts from Doggywoof.
The Long Arm of Restrictive Shelter Policies -- YesBiscuit looks at made up requirements many shelters have before accepting pets into their programs -- and how many of these rules cause animals to die elsewhere.
Love Comedy, Hate Ignorance - Comedian Rebecca Corry talks about ignorance when it comes to pit bulls and reiterates how comedians have a responsibility to not perpetuate hate and ignorance.
Which emotions do dogs actually experience -- some interesting look at canine emotions from Modern Dog
This video is one of the cutest I've seen in awhile as a very young pit bull puppy tries to learn how to walk on a treadmill with an adult dog to the tune of "I am the Tiger". This one is excellent, and well worth your time.