Voters in Aurora, Colo., overwhelmingly decided yesterday not to repeal the city’s nine-year-old ban on Pit Bulls. As of 6 a.m. this morning, 66 percent of them had voted to keep the ban.
Yet you can still purchase assault rifles and Glock pistols in local sporting goods stores, as Aurora resident James Holmes did before shooting down moviegoers in July 2012, killing 12 and wounding 58 — however, Pit Bulls are “dangerous,” and continue to be banned from the city.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) — laws that single out a particular breed instead of placing responsibility on dog owners — is opposed by every major animal welfare organization, including the ASPCA, AVMA, HSUS, etc., etc., as well as by the president of the United States, who called it a “bad idea.” It is expensive to enforce and has not proven to increase public safety.
So why did the majority of Aurora voters decide to keep the city’s Pit Bull ban?
“I personally think it’s an uphill battle to win a repeal via a public vote, generally because if a ban is in place, most of the residents have had very little personal interaction with the banned breeds and thus, are more apt to have to rely on the media coverage as the basis for their opinions,” wrote Brent Toellner, co-founder of KC Pet Project, the nation’s third-largest no-kill shelter, on the Huffington Post.
“To this point, the area media has not been terribly accurate in their reporting.”
As always, leading the support of the ban — and bans everywhere — was DogBites.org (start typing that in Google, and what automatically pops up is “DogBites.org bias,” “DogBites.org bullshit,” “DogBites.org scam” — you get the picture).
This lobbying organization that spews twisted statistics is run by one woman, Colleen Lynn, who was bitten by a Pit Bull. (I wish she could meet Donna Lawrence, who was also bitten by a chained Pit Bull. Instead of bitterly wanting to ban the entire breed, Lawrence rescued an abused Pit mix named Susie, and they both helped each other heal — and Susie, now a therapy dog, continues to help others heal. Susie is this year’s winner of the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Award.)
Lynn is by no means a dog expert, yet the mainstream media continues to report the “facts” she provides, without bothering to dig a little deeper to uncover the truth.
As Lynn points out, Pit Bull bites have decreased since the Aurora ban went into effect — but animal control officers have been ignoring bites by other breeds, which have increased, according to Juliet Piccone, president of Coloradans for Breed Neutral Dog Laws Inc.
“If the goal is to prevent dog bites, it’s not working,” Piccone told the Denver Post. “If the goal is to prevent dog bites from restricted breeds, they can say, ‘Yes, that’s happening.’ ”
City officials told the Denver Post that Piccone was incorrect — but they did not provide the actual statistics.
For the majority of us who feel BSL is unfair and ineffective, the good news is that the trend across the country has been to repeal breed-specific legislation.
“While disappointment is part of the game, it does not signal the end,” wrote the advocacy group ColoRADogs on its Facebook page last night. “Twenty-three thousand people voted NO to hysteria, NO to social disapproval and NO to discrimination.”
Photo via Facebook