UPDATE -- NOV. 2009. OAK HARBOR HAS RESCINDED BSL! THANK YOU OAK HARBOR FOR SEEING THE LIGHT AND DOING THE RIGHT THING! GOOD DOGS LIKE SMILEY (WHO WASN'T EVEN A PIT BULL) WILL NO LONGER GET CAUGHT IN THE INHUMANE WEB OF BSL.
Who's getting it wrong? Oak Harbor, WA. NOT ANYMORE! YAY!
Adopting Breed Specific Legislation means that governments can target a group of animals for extinction. It harasses responsible owners, increases the surrender rate at local shelters (while seldom providing more funding), fosters ill will, and does not solve any problems. In fact, BSL just keeps getting messier and messier. For example, what IS a pit bull? Then governments get the bright idea of expanding BSL. Here is a partial list of dog breeds now banned in at least one U.S. city.
Why not ban German Shepherds, or Akitas, or Chows, or Rottweillers, or Doberman Pinschers or any dog that looks like any combination thereof. UNDERSTAND, DOGS CAN BE SEIZED FOR NO REASON! They do not have to have any issues with law enforcement. They can be beloved, well cared for family pets. The City of Denver now requires people with "pit bulls" -- again the definition is vague -- to surrender their dogs for euthanasia or move out of town!
Meanwhile, "backyard breeders" -- those who exploit dogs and force them to have litter after litter and sell the puppies for profit -- are not regulated. Oak Harbor has no laws governing backyard breeding. Nor is its law enforcement focused on hunting down dogfighters or breeders who sell to dogfighters. But, hey, if a family walks the family pet without a muzzle and it looks like a pit bull, watch out!
Maybe cities like Oak Harbor could offer discount certificates for dog lobotomies, the way cities offer discount certificates for spay/neuter surgeries... (we probably shouldn't give them that idea.)
So who's getting it right? Kirkland, WA and Tacoma, WA
Responsible communities focus their efforts on dangerous animals, not a particular "breed" (and remember, a pit bull is not a breed. It is a type of dog, like retriever or hound). The city of Kirkland repealed BSL on February 5, 2008. It was affecting tourism and some local business professionals were precluded from taking their dogs to the office (remember, dog friendly Google has offices there...) Yes, shocking, but responsible, hardworking, decent human beings own pit bulls, too...
Likewise, Tacoma and Pierce County have repealed BSL in favor of 1. an exciting pilot project to help (what a concept) pit bulls and 2. a new vicious animal (not just pit bull) law. Sure, it's a pilot project and it may need more work, but the point is -- these communities care. They recognize that not all dogs of any certain type are evil, and that it is the humans involved with animals who need to be regulated.
The animals have no voice. They are the victims of irresponsible humans, and too often, short-sighted, fear-driven humans who operate tax-supported animal shelters and run our governments.
By focusing on human dynamics, by holding humans responsible rather than victimizing animals, all animals are treated with compassion -- even those that in the end, must be destroyed due to human negligence or abuse.
And here is the resolution for the pit bull pilot project: The Board of Directors of The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County passed the following resolution (with one Nay Vote and one Abstention):
Resolution 2008-8 Resolution to approve that the Humane Society will continue to work with rescue groups, transferring ownership of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes in the shelter with the understanding that once appropriate documents (indemnification and release of liability, hold harmless and covenant not to sue) are created by staff and/or counsel, in place and approved by the Board of Directors, the Humane Society will begin a nine-month trial of the proposed adoption program, working in partnership with Bullseye Dog Rescue.
We will revise our dog adoption forms to include the language requested. Then, we will begin the process of recruiting and training potential foster families and home study evaluators. You will not see a public announcement that The Humane Society is not adopting out Pit Bulls. This will be a gradual process. Our first goal is to get more potential ambassador dogs identified, behavior assessed and placed in foster homes.
How cool is that! They had forums and everything! They engaged their community in solutions! They realized that BSL and mass extermination and further victimizing animals that had already been victimized was WRONG.
We are willing to explore similar efforts here on Whidbey Island! By the way, Smiley is still waiting in his kennel at WAIF for a home. It has now been about 15 months...But then he lives on an island with BSL and the shelter accepts contracts from the city with BSL, so chances are, he'll keep waiting. Then be euthanized.
So in conclusion, is all this really just about pit bulls? No. It is about something bigger and darker and more dangerous than the most vicious dog on earth.
GOVERNMENT-APPROVED MASS EXTERMINATION OF ANY GROUP OF SENTIENT BEINGS IS WRONG. DESPITE THE HORRIBLE LESSONS OF WORLD WAR II, IF THE INSIDIOUS MINDSET STILL EXISTS THAT LETS STEREOTYPING AND FEAR RUN RAMPANT, THAT MINDSET MUST BE EXTERMINATED.
"Most of you here know what it means when 100 corpses lie next to each other, when 500 lie there or when 1,000 are lined up. To have endured this and at the same time to have remained a decent person — with exceptions due to human weaknesses — has made us tough. This is an honor roll in our history ..."
From a speech given on October 6, 1943, by Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Schutzstaffel (SS), to those involved in the mass extermination of Jews and others (such as Slavs) deemed enemies by their very existence.