New York City Councilman Vallone Campaigns to Ban Pit Bulls From NYC

Looks like NYC Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. is having a panic attack over Pit Bulls, and his fear threatens your ability to share the company...

Joy  |  Jan 20th 2007


Roxie Doo.jpg

Looks like NYC Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. is having a panic attack over Pit Bulls, and his fear threatens your ability to share the company of Pit Bulls.

I am not going to rehash all the rational, and accurate, arguments as to why banning Pit Bulls is absolutely ridiculous and does NOT solve any problems. Dogsters know these and can probably do a better job of listing the reasons why a Pit Bull ban is only cruel and not useful. Suffice it to say, let’s just let Councilman Vallone know we’re watching by emailing through the North Shore Animal League or directly. If you’re in his district, how about contacting him and telling him that you vote and you won’t vote for someone who is so amazingly uninformed about threats to his citizens that he thinks getting rid of a some dogs will actually make his district safer? See him at a meeting? Tell him you want him to rethink his push for this ban or you’ll be looking for another Councilman to fill that seat come election time.

Vallone claims he’s not anti-dog because he has a Bichon Frise. That reminds me of when I was much younger and I would hear people say, “I’m not against African-Americans, I have Black friends.” Then they would go on to do or say something amazingly racist. The best parady of that behavior is on Stephem Colbert’s “Colbert Report” when he brags about his, “black friend.” If you’ve see the ongoing “bit” then you know what I mean. In the parody, he makes a big deal about having one “black friend” with whom he takes pictures. Vallone’s claim to dog ownership strikes me with the same feined afffection. Nothing against Bichon Frises (lovely dogs and many beloved Dogsters among them) but come on, Vallone. If you really love dogs you learn enough to know that Pit Bulls have been some of the most heroic and most celebrated dogs in American history. They were bred to fight bulls AND live with families. Moreover, at this point, there are so many dogs who look like they might fit the Pit Bull “type” that you’ll have animal control officers going after Boxers. (And yes, that has already happened elsewhere).

Also, I am starting to wonder if all of this media aggression towards Pit Bulls isn’t encouraging sadistic types to choose them as their victims. After all, the media and ill-informed types such as Vallone, keep saying that Pit Bulls are so bad. Doesn’t it make you wonder if their demonization of these dogs conveys a not-so-subtle message to those who want to abuse dogs that its okay to hurt them because, after all, Pit Bulls are so dangerous they need to be removed anyway. You think I’m being overly sensitive, think again. Our Dogster historians can confirm that every time a society gets fearful (like ours is right now) individuals look for scapegoats (and scapedogs and scape cats). During the middle ages, cats and black dogs were targeted. The result was massive purges of both at different times in history. Let’s not let this happen to Pits.

Thanks to Karen, Roxie‘s furmom, for barking this in!

Thanks to the New York Sun for this article.

Pit Bulls Are Weapons, Not Pets, Lawmaker Seeking Ban Says
By GABRIELLE BIRKNER
Staff Reporter of the Sun

While City Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. says he loves dogs he owns a Bichon Frise named Gus Gus, after one of the mice in “Cinderella” he believes pit bulls are too dangerous to keep as pets.

Mr. Vallone said the city should ban residents from owning pit bulls a term that generally refers to several terrier breeds. He is calling for the repeal of a state law prohibiting breed-specific legislation.

Overturning the state statute would clear the way for New York City to propose and enact legislation that bans city residents from owning pit bulls. Such bans are already in place in Denver and Miami.

Mr. Vallone is pushing for a City Council hearing early next year on his resolution that asks the state Legislature to repeal its breed-specific dog law. The resolution was written more than two years ago, but has yet to come before the council. Co-sponsored by seven council members, it cites two local dog-mauling incidents and states that the breed is “often a weapon of choice of drug dealers and gangs seeking to intimidate and terrorize neighborhoods.”

Last year, there were 3,956 dog bites reported in the five boroughs, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The department does not keep statistics on the breed of the dogs involved, or on the severity of the bites.

Unlike other breeds, pit bulls have strong jaws that can “lock,” precluding “a parent from defending their child or their pet” from an aggressive dog, according to Mr. Vallone. “It’s our job to get this done before another child’s face is ripped off,” he told The New York Sun.

The local law Mr. Vallone said he would like to see enacted would not apply to current pit bull owners, emphasizing that no dogs would be forced from their homes. He said he is not sure how it would apply to mixed-breed dogs.

In a study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, dogs identified as pit bulls were involved in about a fifth of 279 dog-bite-related fatalities during a 15-year period, between 1979 and 1994.

A lawyer for Urbanhound.com, Darryl Vernon, said the “jaw lock” is a myth, and that pit bulls are not inherently more dangerous than many other dog breeds. “Twenty years ago, German shepherds were thought of as dangerous dogs,” Mr. Vernon who opposes Mr. Vallone’s resolution, said. “Now they’re patrolling our borders and sniffing out bombs; now they’re patriotic dogs.”

Mr. Vernon, a partner in the Manhattan-based law firm Vernon & Ginsberg LLP, said he did not think the state law would be overturned. “If you ban pit bulls, people who use animals as weapons will just move onto another breed,” he said.

A Brooklyn-based animal behaviorist who opposes a citywide pit bull ban, Peter Borchelt, said strong dogs such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds are generally safe, if they are “raised like pets.”

“You get into trouble when the dog is not trained to be nonaggressive,” Mr. Borchelt, who has a doctorate in animal behavior, said. “They can become dangerous when they’re thrown behind a fence and allowed to become overly protective. You just have to take a few extra steps to make sure the dog is friendly, affectionate, and well socialized.”

Here’s the beginning of the open letter to Councilman Vallone from the North Shore Animal League:

New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. said the city should ban residents from owning pit bulls and he is calling for the repeal of a state law prohibiting breed-specific legislation. Overturning this law would clear the way for NYC to enact legislation banning city residents from owning pit bulls. North Shore Animal League America opposes this campaign and encourages you to send an email to Councilman Vallone, Jr., encouraging him to reconsider his campaign to ban pit bulls from New York City.

Follow this link to read more about Vallone’s proposed assault on Pit Bull owndership in New York.