More news from out of Aurora, CO, where they are now officially considering repealing its 8 year old ban on "pit bulls".
Many cities have already recently repealed their long-standing breed bans in favor of breed neutral, behavior-based, dangerous dog ordinances -- including five communities already this year.
So far, at least 2 of the city's 10 city council members (Barb Cleland and Renie Peterson) have spoken out in favor of a repeal.
In response to the movement to repeal, the Denver Post wrote an editorial speaking out against the move to repeal. In it they note:
"Since Aurora instituted a pit bull ban in 2006, the number of bites attributed to restricted breeds has gone down from several dozen to just a few a year. So the logical move would be to....recind the city's breed bans? No, it doesn't make sense to us either."
Errors of omission are common. It's a way to provide an accurate data-point to support your point of view and then brush past all of the data that completely opposes your viewpoint.
In this case, there is a pretty major error of omission.
Here is the reason Aurora is considering a repeal of its breed ban: It's failing.
If you look at the TOTAL number of dog bites in the community, they are actually INCREASING. And increasing at an alarming rate. From 2006 (when the ban was passed) to 2010, Aurora actually saw a 67% increaese in the total number of dog bites -- a number that based on news reports continues to grow. While the number of bites by "restricted" breeds has decreased, it has come at the expense of a 71% increase in bites by non-restricted breeds (which always made up 80-85% of bites in the community in the first place).
Meanwhile, the city has systematically rounded up and killed more than 1158 dogs at the shelter simply because of the way they looked.
That's right. 1158 dogs killed and an increase in dog bites. Everyone should be livid that this has gone on for as long as it has.
So it is this error of omission that the Denver Post is guilty of in trying to persuade public opinion that the ban in Aurora is a good idea. It's such a major error that might make one ask: why would they make such a glaring omission?
My guess is that they realize that Aurora repealing its ban would put even more pressure on Denver to repeal its ban. Denver continues to stubbornly holds onto even though they have a higher a hospitalization rate (per capita) from dog bites than other communities in Colorado, they've suffered a long series of court legal battles over the ban at taxpayer expense, and overall have seen their pit bull ban fail also.
Of concern of course is that apparently, animal care staffers with city animal control wrote a memo to the city council that "The ban on pit bulls continues to effectively work as intended."
Was the intent to raise dog bites in the city? Was the intent to wholesale slaughter more than 1100 dogs at taxpayer expense? If that's their intent, they should all be fired.
People defending them might note that the law was only intended to impact pit bulls, and not the other 85% of the bites in the community. And of course, if you wholesale slaughter ever pit bull in a community, you'll have fewer bites by pit bulls because you'd killed them all.
But here's the deal: there are opportunity costs for enforcement. Every time an animal control officer spends time, money and effort to round up and kill an innocent pit bull, that same officer is not spending that same time on stray or aggressive dogs of other breeds. Meanwhile, as negligent dog owners replace their pit bulls with another type of dog, bites by those breeds go up because you didn't solve the actual problem of irresponsible and reckless dog ownership. This happens EVERY.SINGLE. TIME. a city passes a breed ban: see Sioux City, Council Bluffs & Omaha as prime examples.
It's a failed law. Based on a failed concept. That is opposed by every organization of experts in canine behavior in the nation.
Telling half truths through omission doesn't change that. And defining success as a decrease in one type of dog bites but an increase in all others doesn't change it either.