|Barked: Thu Aug 13, '09 5:26am PST |
|[BSL-UPDATES] Pit bull ban debate getting hairy (Denver, CO)
Pit bull ban debate getting hairy
Contributed by: Kathryn Richert/YourHub.com on 8/12/2009
Supporters of breed-specific legislation say it works; opponents say it's ridiculous
A city ban on pit bulls has been making owners howl. Now a group of them are banding together to protest the ban Aug. 25 in front of the Denver City and County building.
Organizers for the protest say it will be a peaceful, educational opportunity for the public to learn about pit bulls, and a chance to announce details of an organization being launched to fight breed-specific legislation.
Since Denver reinstated its pit bull ban in 2005, forums and Web sites, including www.denverkillsdogs.com, have cropped up against the ban.
"We're gaining speed. You've got thousands of people out there who don't like the law," said Linda Hart, an Englewood resident who doesn't own a pit bull but who his helping organize the protest.
The ban prohibits pit bulls and any mix-breed dog determined to be part pit bull. Denver originally banned pit bulls in 1989 after a 54-year-old minister was attacked by a pit bull. A 5-year-old was killed by a pit bull the year before.
According to www.denverkillsdogs.com, more than 1,800 pit bulls have been euthanized in Denver from 2005 to 2008.
Denver Animal Care and Control did not return multiple phone calls.
Supporters of the ban, including Charlie Brown, Denver City Councilman for District 6, cite the fact that there have been no serious pit bull maulings in Denver since the ban.
"Pit bulls are bred differently than other animals," he said. "They can turn on a dime."
He said it's not realistic to try to identify the pit bulls that won't attack from the ones that might.
Colleen Lynn, president of www.dogsbite.org, a Web site that publishes information about dangerous dogs, says when pit bulls attack, it's vicious and hospital bills are costly.
According to a study done by dogsbite.org, pit bulls and rottweilers account for 74 percent of bites that end in death and serious injury.
"The ban is the fastest and most effective way to reduce serious attacks by pit bulls," Lynn said.
Ban opponents say the problem isn't with the breed, it's with a small percentage of irresponsible dog owners.
"The wrong end of the leash is being legislated," said Jan Keith, spokeswoman for ROVERlution, a California-based group that supports dangerous dog laws, just not breed-specific legislation. The group is working to overturn breed-specific legislation in cities such as Denver.
Those against the ban say pit bull attacks are rare; data collected for the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs, which is comprised of animal control agencies and others, found that among the 129 different breeds of dogs that bite in Colorado, no one breed bites more than others.
Rhea Dodd, owner of Gentle Vet in Denver and veterinarian liaison to the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs, said the answer isn't a ban - it's dog behavior education and neuter control.
Hart said she is working with Denver City Councilwoman Carla Madison of District 8 on a proposal to relax the law. Among other things, the proposal would require pit bull owners to pay a $50 fee for a pit bull permit, buy a homeowners or renters insurance policy worth at least $1 million and dogs would have to undergo temperament testing.
The Denver dog ban protest is at 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Denver City and County Building lawn, 1437 Bannock St. No dogs, please. For more information, call Sherri Moore at 303-396-5327 e-mail email@example.com.
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