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« New State laws are a reflection of canine policy moving in the right direction | Main | Building a tribe in your community »

May 28, 2009

Comments

MichelleD

Denver is wasting thousands of dollars and killing thousands of dogs all for Nelson's ego.

DENVER CITIZENS WAKE UP!!!! You can stop this madness!

KC KS Kills Dogs

I sincerely hope that Denver citizens are finally catching on that one person's ego - KORY NELSON - is responsible for flawed legislation.

Roverlution, a movement led by Dr Paula Terifaj, launched an ad campaign and placed ads at kiosks in three strategic Denver downtown locations: The Pepsi Center Arena, The Convention Center, and The Coors Field Ballpark. The ads state Which Dog Will Denver Kill Next?

If Denver citizens aren't aware of the insanity of BSL in their city by now, then they are ostriches with their heads in the sand.

Lisa

One of the hardest things about arguing against BSL is that it's difficult to know where to start. Virtually everything about BSL is flawed, at every level. The terms aren't objectively defined, the underlying taxonomy isn't consistent, the data isn't reliable or complete or anything close to it, the logic is so sloppy it's 'not even wrong,' and there's no evidence that it's ever been effective by any meaningful measure.

How do you even begin to argue something like that? How far back in the chain of faulty assumptions would you have to go just to find some starting point of mutual understanding? We may as well start by addressing the question of whether we're all just brains in vats, and reality is a fevered dream of our universal subconscious.

Brent

Oh, you're so right Lisa. It is flawed on so many levels, it is difficult to know where to start.

For me, I realize there is too much for the typical city council person to comprehend in one, short, digestive piece. So I always start with the fact that there isn't a single, national organization that represents experts in the field of animal welfare/human/animal relations that supports BSL. Not one. The national organizations that represent veterinarians, dog trainers, rescues, shelters, and animal control officers all, unanimously agree that BSL is not a solution to the problem.

If we can get them to realize that no legitimate organization that have ever studied this believes that breed specific measures are an effective/viable solution to the problem, then maybe we can get them to listen to actual ideas that will start solving the problem.

Lisa

I suspect that public opinion might play a major role, too. Denver's BSL was passed and reinstated by what I can only describe as a rogue city council. I haven't seen a public opinion poll on the subject, but from what I've seen, breed profiling is increasingly unpopular, almost to the point of being marginal.

I live in a suburb near Denver, and several years ago, a small group of hysterical citizens here started a petition in favor of a breed ban, based on a dog-on-dog attack that dominated our local media for literally months. (Interestingly, when my human child was violently attacked and had his face ripped half off by a Lab, that didn't even merit a line in the police blotter.)

The next city council meeting was standing room only, with what I estimate at 30+ people who signed up to speak on the subject. Exactly two spoke in support of BSL, and those two were incoherent almost to the point of being hebephrenic. One read, verbatim, from a web page that listed several supernatural attributes of 'pit bulls,' including locking jaws, the ability to jump over six foot fences, and the bite pressure of a crocodile. It almost sounded like she was reading a description of a chupacabra or something. The other speaker actually played the 9-11 card, claiming that it was unfair that she should have to live in fear of terrorists and 'pit bulls' (AKA "American Pit Bull Terrorists") at the same time.

Needless to say, city council said they wouldn't be considering any BSL.

I don't know if my city's response was typical, if this represents a genuine shift in public opinion and understanding, or if dog supporters are more likely to speak out than they once were; but if nothing else, it's heartening to remember that these laws aren't being passed by popular vote, and we can hope that some elected officials are starting to feel the heat on the issue.

EmilyS

Kory Nelson is certainly an a**h***.
But he is an employee of the city of Denver, and the Denver ban is WHOLLY a product of the City Council.
Not just one City Council, but every City Council since 1990 (and there has been turnover). Each one has refused to reconsider the ban.

I would LOVE if the court overturned the ban on grounds that it's stupid and irrational.. and maybe that's the cover the City Council needs. Though in my heart, having read through years of rulings where courts uphold stupid irrational local laws, I have my doubts.

If Denver falls, other Colorado BSL locations will fall: Castle Rock will fall and Aurora will fall and Commerce City and Wellington will fall.... I can scarcely dare hope.

Brent

Aurora still baffles me. They put in a provision that said they would re-look at it in 2 years. In the 2 year report, they noted a 50% increase in dog bites after 3 years of decline, and somehow decided yup, that's what we were going for, and decided to keep it.

EmilyS

legal pinheads take a crack at this:
http://volokh.com/posts/1243533932.shtml

Brent

Reading the comments there is why I have so little confidence in our legal system.

A couple of thoughts after reading through that:

1) I am fascinated by the number of people who will use the "pit bulls are more dangerous because of their size and strength" argument for anything. It is just crazy to me how few people realize that APBTs are medium sized dogs and that there are multiple breeds of dogs that can be up to 3x the size of the standare APBT. It makes you wonder if they've ever met one of the dogs the claim to know so much about.

2) I wonder if the state ruling that BSL is illegal has anything in it that has set a precedent for the law being irrational. Any time of court-upheld precedent that there is no rational basis for the law (which is why it's illegal in the rest of the state), would be pretty dramatic evidence to bring forward.

As a non-lawyer, I still think that the rational basis claim would be the hardest to win in the courts just becaue it seems like courts would decide in favor of the city more often than not...

EmilyS

rational claim discussion from noted legal blogger geek:

http://volokh.com/posts/1243533932.shtml


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