Thursday, June 12, 2008

Justifying hatred in Lakewood, Ohio

It's a small, densely populated town pushed up against Lake Erie on the north and surrounded by the city of Cleveland. It's mostly white middle class, and it fancies itself a free thinking town that welcomes counterculture and alternative types ... as long as those free thinkers don't own dogs otherwise known as pit bulls.

The city council is scripting out a breed ban and, to justify it, one member rolled out this trash talk in the local paper.

I haven't been able to get through a full reading of this thing without getting sick to my stomach. We have to hope that the "alternative" people of Lakewood wake up and realize how very dangerous their city leaders are.

Boxer Shot
In another part of Ohio, it's news when a boxer mistakenly identified as a pit bull is shot during a routine noise disturbance call. It'll be interesting to see if the city justifies this shooting based on the officer's (mis)perception of breed type.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is just total CRAP(!) that really makes my blood boil. ALL dogs have the potential to bite and seriously maim someone, it's not just Pitbulls. What about the recent situation in Fremont where a Boxer, with a history of aggression (that the owners lied about) mauled a toddler? That was not just a puncture wound. From personal experience, I was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a neighbor's Saint Bernard that ripped open my arm. This BSL crap really make me mad!!!!!

Anonymous said...

and I love how they quote the "pit bull experts" who talk about fight instincts in pit bulls but don't distinguis between dog aggression and people aggression. idiots. ignorant idiots. pisses me off.

-Amber

Cindy said...

I was recently shocked (why should I be) to read about the Ohio state ban BILL on pit bulls. I immediatley fired off a letter of protest to the state representative who authored the bill and sent copies to the Ohio state senators and several representatives in the Columbus OH area. As a pit bull owner and rescuer I know how wonderful these dogs can be. I also sent a copy of my letter along with information to my adult son, who lives in Columbus OH and asked that he protest this horrible bill. He certainly doesn't want the state dictating what kind of dog he should own. He wholeheartedly supports my rescue efforts. Shame on these people who think killing good family pets is the way to control dog biting problems. Owner responsibility is the key to success. By the way, I live in California. That doesn't mean I sit back and do nothing. If this isn't stopped now it will roll into every state!

Jenn said...

I love that the recent studies conducted weren't actually named. The only one they named was almost ten years old, proven to be faulty and that was the only "proven study" they actually named. Let's not give the citizens of Lakewood a chance to see the facts themselves. Let's just quote random studies. Excellent. And the sheep shall follow...
That's okay, we never wanted to live in Ohio anyways.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to come to BadRap to find out what's happening in my own area? I *live* in that part of Ohio and listen to local talk radio and heard *nothing* about the Boxer being killed.

I understand the need for police safety, but I was charged (very) aggressively by a Golden Retriever yesterday - would a cop shoot a Golden, I wonder? Or was this dog killed because it was thought to be a "dangerous breed"?

Ted Ramey said...

"...an outright ban is easier to enforce than a complicated law requiring leashes, muzzles, fences, and insurance."

Be very afraid of this type of thinking (if it can be called that)/rationale, as it is the same thinking that lead to prohibition. When a "solution" is sought in black and white terms, the issues are clearly being overlooked in the hopes of the solution being "quick" for quickness' sake.

I particularly love the mention of michael vick owning 49 pit bulls, but the complete lack of the fact that they were horribly abused and a signifigant number have been saved and deemed perfectly normal dogs devoid of aggression vs dogs or humans.

Epic fear mongering.

Donna said...

I'm just stunned by the mis-use of the Vick dog lessons too, Ted. Talk about glass half empty ... this guy took his half empty glass and smashed it on the floor. It's all so very freakish and upside down.

Anonymous said...

My mom, brother, and I just read this article and we were not only horrified by the fear-mongering and hate that this man was so blatantly spreading but the outright lies this paper had no problems printing!

2beemo said...

My heart goes out to that poor Boxer and his family. :(

Shooting a dog over a noise complaint? That is not acceptable & shows very bad judgement. If the officer felt threatened by the dog, and it was *so* important to follow through with the complaint, Animal Control Officers should have been called to assist.

I'd like to see police departments across the country training officers better on how to handle dogs that appear to be aggressive. Hopefully something can be learned by this terrible tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Forget the Incredible Hulk, we have the Incredible Editorial. In a few paragraphs Mr. Powers (note the irony of his name) manages to: A) call into question the integrity of veterinarians; B) refer to the AKC as a "special interest" group and therefore dismiss their concerns about BSL (would the ASPCA be merely a "special interest" group, too?); C) Point out that "The Little Rascals was a fictionalized account of childhood in the Great Depression, not a documentary." And add, "In Lakewood, there are many things we don't want to bring back from the Depression, and pit bulls running with children is one of them." WHAT?!; D) Make the incorrect assumption that the numbers of registered pit bulls in the country -- "less than 3-4%" --equates to the actual number of pit bulls in the country. Talk about out of touch!; E) Only count as "legitimate" the studies that support his bias; F) Only make vague references to the success of bans in other Ohio cities and fail to mention the complete failures of bans in stemming dog bites across the country and in the U.K.; G] fail to make the distinction between human aggression and dog aggression and fail to even address the reasons dogs bite people; and H) Make me ashamed to be an Ohio resident and wonder how we got so far away from the values this country was founded on to instead simply passing bans because they're easier to enforce? The wrong way usually is easier, isn't it.

PsyQuark said...

Have you finished with your 2 minutes of hate yet?

Done?

Good.

This good man has been kind enough to point out his reasons for his proposal.

Look at this from his perspective. It is his duty to his people to control and limit the dangers his community faces.

His community suffers a publicized attack so he thinks about how to make sure it doesn't happen again. All he sees and hears about is attacks and bites by pit bulls, he never hears about LABS or any other "Good Breed" hurting anyone, just pit bulls.

Now, thinking that this all might be bad sampling, he looks up what the experts, the breed enthusiasts, the vets, the people who are thought to know about the breed say. "Born to fight", "Always finishes the fight" (i.e. hurts, kills or maims the other dog), "No matter how well or how long it gets along with other dogs, even in its own household, it WILL turn, just get a lab if you can't handle that" (the common response on pitbullforum.com to any suggestion that pit bulls can or should be socialized with dogs). Heck he nicely highlighted some sources in the article!

But wait, maybe they are making stuff up so lets check with the Vets. Surely they have a more reasoned and experienced view. "unquestionably the most dangerous and unpredictable", "Rhodesian Ridgeback is a pit bull cross breed".

WOAH, full stop. Ridgebacks are based off pit bulls? A breed bred from dogs native to South Africa is part pit bull? A breed started before pit bulls were in any way separate from the 10th most popular breed? I guess that should not be surprising since "track and bark at lions so the hunters can kill the lion" implies "can kill lions one-on-one" to the general public.

Back to our good man's quest for safety. All the experts seem to agree, pit bulls cannot be trusted (and therefore "Good breeds" can be, never mind that horrendous mauling in British Columbia). Well, the breed is fairly old and some are quick to point out the friendliness and popularity as a family dog the breed once enjoyed. But again he checks with common knowledge and everyone knows that genes are the primary if not sole source of behavior. Common knowledge also tells him breeders know what they are doing. If they say it is part of the breed it must be in their genes. The corollary also holds, if a breeder wants a trait it will be in the genes. Not "trainable to that trait", not "a bit better at it but most (all?) other dogs can do it well too". No, if the breeder wants a trait he gets exactly it. And look! Thugs want them to fight and look macho, by the corollary the dogs MUST be genetically wired to fight and be macho, perfect fighters at that because that is what the Vicks of the world wants in their dogs. What a breeder wants a breeder gets.


"Oh sure," he thinks, "some apologists try to say pit bulls only have uncontrollable aggression towards other dogs, but my constituents don't want their dogs to be lunch. They will try to protect their dogs, getting mauled in the process. They should not have too!" From what he sees and has learned, he has only one option: Ban them and kill them on sight. Every expert says that pit bulls are more dangerous and difficult than the popular breeds. If someone wants a dog they can just get a "good breed", problem solved.

This is not a battle of law or facts. This is a battle of perception and as long as the pit bull fans hold onto the myth that pitties are inherently dangerous (or more dangerous than other breeds) progress will not be made. Even if he was aware that Labs (aka The Perfect Breed) can and do attack, what is he to think when he is told by pit bull fans that whatever he has seen pit bulls are worse.

About "studies", as hard as I have tried I have yet to find a study that shows a lack of genetic basis for behavior. But considering studies such as http://www.k9behavioralgenetics.com/ assume as a basic premise that any and ALL behavior is genetic, I have little hope for competent research. "Maybe these behavior problems arn't genetic? Maybe its lack of socialization (at any age). Maybe its an unstable home environment? Nah, lets run some correlation studies on genes and look no further." Any bets on what genes are connected with "aggression"? Mine are "under 15 lbs", "easily matted/tangled hair", "chronic pain", and some high energy gene common in "pit bulls".

My little Shar Pei/Spitz's best friends are mostly pit bulls, few other dogs can keep up with her. She does find them a little too easy to roll though, the 90+ lb labs are more of a challenge.

Donna said...

Methinks it was a simple as Mr. Bill having a little jack off party with Merritt Clifton. Frightened people tend to attract other frightened people.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Pit Bull Rescue Central's blog for their response to the out of context quotes from their site that Mr. Powers used to try to justify the ban. Can you say oops, Brian?

Kirsten said...

Touchee. I was just going to say-- PBRC must be very unimpressed to be quoted in that garbled propaganda-rant. He managed to strategically avoid all of the positive, grounded info on their site. I wonder how many other facts he dodged along the way...

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boris said...

Fear and bigotry are strong in NE Ohio, so is unemployment and lack of hope for economic recovery. I commented on this to Donna when I first heard of this ranting on BSL from my home town area of Greater Cleveland. The once most prosperous, and as the name implies, majestic community of Lakewood with once great schools, housing and opportunities, now is sinking into the ever expanding rust belt.

The citizens looking for leadership are the ones that suffer from these misdirected elected community officials. The outcome of money, time and energy spent does not improve safety, law enforcement, or education, and does not even maintain the standards of living. Unfortunately one voiced, these politicians have won with publicity and their community has lost with this destructive focus. I hate to admit this mentality also reeks of ‘read between the lines’ bigotry not wanting gangster type of people and thugs in the community who would not give-up their pit bull.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the beautiful APBT being walked slack-lead along the National Park Erie Canal Tow Path last month. The children and marathon runners enjoyed the day as did his well-to-do family. This area is just miles from Garfield Hts. which was the first city in the area to vote in BSL. Before Lakewood,Garfield Hts. suffered from the declining stable ethnic population, now seeing run-down neighborhoods with high vacancy and near worthless property.

It will take a lot of time, effort and hard work to turn this area around. Maybe this BSL mentality around Cleveland is a sign of their frustration to control something, as their economic situation is so desperate. Maybe the Greater Cleveland area needs another WPA program to help rebuild the values and work ethic which made the North Coast beautiful. If they want to talk about tragedies, let's discuss the real issues.

Hope for the Emerald Necklace,
Boris' OEL

Donna said...

Great post, Boris' dad. Thank you for the added bigger picture perspective.

> I hate to admit this mentality also reeks of ‘read between the lines’ bigotry not wanting gangster type of people and thugs in the community

I have to agree with this. Being surrounded by Cleveland has to put the weak-kneed Nimby types on constant alert...always looking out for the next threat to their American dream. The rust belt mentality is so self destructive on so many levels, and bigotry is one of the biggest by-products of fear. BSL is less about "those dogs" but "those people who own those dogs."

> If they want to talk about tragedies, let's discuss the real issues.

Absolutely. Blog it Boris!

Anonymous said...

Maybe pit-bulls are not the only dogs who can bite/ injure/maim people. But lemme tell ya, I'd rather be bitten by a yorkie or a westie or a chihuahua (sp) than a pit bull, regardless of the cirucumstances.

Donna said...

Fear of being bit by a larger dog is an unreasonable reason to ban them, anon.

That's like banning men from my neighborhood because one of them might rape or murder me one day. You just can't live life if you have to live it in fear.

Donna said...

Oh by the way, this child didn't do so well when the chihuahua decided to bite:

http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=16658&TM=52637.34

Anonymous said...

I have fallen victim to this ridiculous BSL crap. It is my opinion that Lakewood is trying to drive out the so called less-than-desirables in their quiet snooty community. If you are going to ban a breed of dog based on the handful of them that inflicted harm or killed another, then lets do the same to people.

Oh yeah, it is against the law to discriminate against those of a certain race, so lets just force them out by getting rid of their pets. Animals have no rights and are at the disposal of those that fear them. Sadly, if you don't have a lot of money in the bank, you cant have your dog. The requirements to keep your pet is so costly, most of these renters can't afford to comply. Mission accomplished!! What is the next step. Pretty soon, no large dogs will be allowed in the state of Ohio unless we put a stop to this needless BSL. My Bubba is a sweet loving Pit/mix that would lick you to death before he ever thought to bite. I probably won't ever see him again unless I can find a place that will allow me to keep him. Not easy!

Please write a letter to your state rep. insisting on putting a stop to BSL. This will protect all breeds of dogs, because remember, yours could be next.