Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cincinnati Toughens Pit Bull Ordinance: Good for neighborhoods

Last week the Cincinnati City Council voted to further toughen the city's' pit bull ordinance. In one month it will be illegal to breed, sell or give away a pit bull, except to an animal shelter, and violators will face twice as much time in jail.

The ordinance also increases the liability insurance to 100,000.00 double from the previous requirement. The facts are that few, if any, insurance companies that write homeowners or renters insurance will write policies for people with these dogs and that is a good thing in my opinion.

Those convicted of keeping, breeding, selling or transferring ownership in any way of a pit bull will now face up to six months in jail, double the previous 90 days. The changes apply to any dog owner not grandfathered in when the pit bull ban went into effect in November 2003.

Cincinnati Municipal Code, Section 701-6, defines a "Pit bull terrier" as "any Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, or any mixed breed of dog that contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier, as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier."

This move is positive step forward in taking back neighborhoods from criminal elements who favor these dogs not only for protection but as an intimidation factor to other in the neighborhood.

Now let me say I am an animal lover. However some breeds of animals have been bred in such a way that by their design they inflict great harm on others when they attack. Just as I would not keep a Mountain Lion or Jaguar because common sense tells me these area dangerous wild animals, I have no sympathy for those who choose to own a pit bill in the city of Cincinnati.

The ordinance is there, it has been there and you would have to be living under a rock to not know about it, just as you would also have to "know' the danger these dogs represent to the health and public safety of the community. I don't care how responsible a dog owner you "think" you are or how well trained you "think" your pit bull is. Ownership of a pitbull is illegal in the city of Cincinnati and its like owning a gun without a safety on it.

In talking to some neighborhood leaders and some people in the city, it would seem that there is a reluctance on the part of the local SPCA to support this ordinance and do the job. I understand that. There appears to be a conflict of interest. The SPCA rely on donations to do the very good work they do. Many animal lovers refuse to donate to organization that euthanize pit bulls. Also the SPCA finds itself in a lawsuit over the death of a dog as a result of its' enforcement of a city ban on pitbulls. The SPCA received over a thousand of these illegal animals at its shelter and has little choice in the matter as they are not adoptable.

If the SPCA has what it views as a fundamental "conflict of interest" over this ordinance, then they should say so, plain and simple, otherwise do your job and get these dangerous animals off the street.

If they do feel they have conflict of interest and do not want to participate in the enforcement of this ordinance for liability reasons then it is up to the City of Cincinnati, city council, to appropriate the monies to set up and maintain a separate Animal Control Division, perhaps a division with the Cincinnati Police Department to enforce this ban.

Regardless of who does the job, I want these dangerous animals out of my neighborhood and I am tired of excuses as to why they are still there. The people who own them and breed them know they can't own them, and by their actions put both adults and children in our community in danger on a daily basis.

It is time for someone to do their job!


Anonymous said...

hey pitbulls to mountain lions? dude thats apples and oranges. i have 2 pitbulls that i love like my own children and they have never ever hurt a single soul. my nieces and nephews love Sassy and Sambo (my dogs)and are constantly playin with them ,pulling on their ears and lips and the dogs do nothing but shower them with doggie kisses. to say that these dogs are comparable to a viscious wild cat is completely iditoic. lions kill and eat to survive, my dogs eat Iams. not people

Paul Wilham said...

You know just about everyone I've seen on TV who was interviewed after their dog attacks , mauls or kills someone says the samne thing? "the dog just snapped!" that never happened before, they were great with my kids?"

If you live in Cincinnati, hence the anonymous comment, you are breaking the law. Bet you dont have insurance either?

I can only hope your neighbors turn you in for the sake of your kids because if you own one of these dogs and you have it around your kids you are endangering the safety of your children and as such an unfit parent.

Anonymous said...

I remember when German Shepards and Doberman Pinchers were considered dangerous animals that could "snap" at any time. Today as then, it is herd mentality to paint such a broad stroke against a breed of dog. The popularity on pit bulls as "guard dogs" is the same as when people used German Shepards or Dobermans as their " uard dogs" It is a fad of the day as to which dog is the dog of choice as the most vicious for status, security or intimidation. Whatever people want in their dog they will seek - regardless of the breed - they follow current culture stereotypes. Please, please show me ANY scientific data or studies that irrefutably claim or explain that one breed is more "vicious" than another. Anecdotal stories, urban stories, community experiences are not scientific, simply personal experiences. Banning Pit Bulls demonstrates what lemmings people can be - no knowledge, just emotions.

Paul Wilham said...

FACT:"Studies indicate that pit bull-type dogs were involved in approximately a third of human DBRF (i.e., dog bite related fatalities) reported during the 12-year period from 1981 through1992, and Rottweilers were responsible for about half of human DBRF reported during the 4 years from 1993 through 1996....[T]he data indicate that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities." (Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC, Lockwood R. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. JAVMA 2000;217:836-840.)

FACT: The Clifton study of attacks from 1982 through 2006 produced similar results. According to Clifton study, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes were responsible for 65% of the canine homicides that occurred during a period of 24 years in the USA. (Clifton, Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006;

FACT:According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites cost insurers $345.5 million in 2002, $321.6 million in 2003, $317.2 million in 2005, $351.4 million in 2006, and $356.2 million in 2007. The number of claims paid by insurers was 20,800 in 2002, but fell to 15,000 by 2005, and 14,500 in 2007. The insurance payment for the average dog bite claim was $16,600 in 2002, but rose to $21,200 in 2005, and rose again to $24,511 in 2006. Liability claims accounted for approximately 4 percent of homeowners claims. Dog bite claims in 2005 accounted for about 15 percent of liability claims dollars paid under homeowners insurance policies.