1. BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION DOES NOT PROTECT THE PUBLIC Breed bans and breed specific laws do nothing to stop dog attacks, they do nothing to stop illegal activity, they do nothing to protect the public from irresponsible dog owners and only punish responsible dog owners, causing court litigation, wasted tax money and impoundment of innocent dogs while criminalizing U.S. Citizens. There is no data at this time to prove that a breed ban or breed specific restrictions has been effective legislation. There is no scientific proof that genetics cause a breed of dog to be aggressive, vicious or dangerous. Irresponsible owners are to blame for the behavior of dogs that are aggressive, vicious or dangerous. Breed specific legislation is an injustice, genocide of dogs. In this country according to a study done by the National Council on Pet Population between 1994-1998 showed 2- 2.3 million dogs are taken in by shelters across the country each year. 44% are found new homes or returned to their owners. The number two leading cause of dogs ending up in shelters is landlord issues ( insurance discrimination and breed specific legislation )
2. COURT LITIGATION PROVES BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION IS NCONSTITUTIONAL Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1521, 267 Cal. Rptr. 2d 755. The court found there was not sufficient evidence to prove Pit Bulls have an inherent nature of being dangerous. Carter v. Metro North Assocs. (1998) 255 A.D. 2d 251; 680 N.Y.S.2d 299 A New York appellate court determined that the alleged propensities of Pit Bull Terriers to behave more viciously than other breeds had not been authoritatively established. On December 13, 2002 ACF filed civil action against the city of Pontiac Michigan for 500,000 dollars in damages for passing breed specific legislation, Pontiac negotiated and repealed their breed ban. ACF litigated the city of Huntsville Alabama in 2002 in a case that was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. Huntsville v. Four Pit Bull Puppies (Ala. 08-30-02), No.1010459, unreported. The court determined that American Pit Bull Terriers were not dangerous. In March 2003 ACF sued the city of Ottumwa Iowa for 750,000 for passing a breed ban, the case is in litigation. ACF v Ottumwa EQEQ 103700 On July 16th 2003 ACF brought forth a constitutional challenge against Ohio's state law that declares the Pit Bull vicious. The case was heard in the Toledo Muni Court and the court found the American Pit Bull Terrier was not dangerous and granted Pit Bull owners due process , the case is in appeal. Tellings v State of Ohio CRB02-15267 In August 2004 a case ACF assisted in was heard by the Ohio Supreme Court. State v. Cowan 103 Ohio St. 3d 144 , 2004 – Ohio – 4777 The court found ORC 955:22 violative of the right to be heard as applied to ORC955:11 which declared the Pit Bull vicious in Ohio. The decision struck down Ohio's breed specific legislation at the state level. Ohio was the only state to have this type of legislation at the state level.
3. BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION DOES NOT REDUCE DOG BITE RELATED INJURIES In analyzing nonfatal dog bite injuries we find an increase in serious injuries each year. A study was done by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Center for Injury Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5226a1.htm. The study showed in 1994 333,700 patients were treated for dog bites in emergency departments (EDs), in 2001 368,245 persons were treated in Eds. A study was done by the American Canine Foundation which shows that where breed bans have been enacted that dog bite incidents reports have increased. Banning ten breeds of dogs from a city from current dog bite data will not reduce dog bites given the ratio between mixed breeds compared to purebred dogs.
4. EXAMPLES OF WHY BREED BANS DO NOT PROTECT THE PUBLIC Breed bans have been passed by cities in the United States with the animal rights organizations supporting them claiming they will reduce dog bites and fatalities, statistics show us breed bans do not reduce dog bite incidents, fatalities or stop illegal activity involving dogs. Denver Colorado passed a breed ban on American Pit Bull Terriers in 1988. A state law was passed in 2004 to stop breed specific legislation in Colorado. Data from Denver revealed that there are more American Pit Bull Terriers in Denver now than before the breed ban, there have been over 40 severe attacks and 2 fatalities by dogs since 1988 and they were not American Pit Bull Terriers. All Denver's breed ban accomplished was seizing innocent dogs that had no aggressive behavior and at the same time criminalizing their owners. The enforcement became so bad the courts ended up releasing dogs seized to addresses outside Denver and dropping charges on the owners. Not one case of a Pit Bull being released can be found where the dog injured someone. Denver's animal control director Doug Kelly admitted to ACF members on a Denver talk show the breed ban was not working.
5. ACCURATE FATAL ATTACK STUDIES SHOW BREED IS NOT A DETERMINING FACTOR The National Canine Research Foundation http://ncrf2004.tripod.com/ did a study on fatal dog attacks from 1965-2004 and the study shows us that fatal attacks have not been reduced by breed specific legislation. It was discovered that the number of fatal attacks each year over a 30 year period have remained close in numbers. 6. DOG OWNERS HAVE DUE PROCESS RIGHTS Nicchia v. People of State of New York, 254 U.S. 228 (1920). The case is referring to the licensing of dogs and the U.S Supreme Court makes it very clear that the requirement of dog licenses does not take one mans property and give it to another, nor does it deprive dog owners of liberty without due process of law. The US Supreme Court supports a finding from a New York Appeals Court case, Fox v. Mohhawk & H.R. Humane Society (1901) The US Supreme Court gives broad power to regulate and control dogs including drastic measures as long as it does not take away due process.The Nicchia case clearly supports a finding that dog owners have a right to liberty and due process.
7. NO BREED OF DOG IS GENETICALLY DANGEROUS Reported by Attorney S. Zendorf Toledo Ohio "On August 30, 2002 the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a Circuit Court Decision that four American Pit Bull Terriers born at the Huntsville Animal Control Shelter did not lack any useful purpose" as required by the local ordinance Huntsville v. Four Pit Bull Puppies (Ala. 08-30-02), No.1010459, unreported. The court determined that the puppies were not trained to fight and were not vicious. In addition, it held that three women who wanted to adopt them had a right to intervene. The City of Huntsville claimed the Pit Bull puppies were genetically dangerous, used expert witness testimony, and appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court after the lower court rejected its arguments and evidence. The Alabama Supreme Court granted the Washington Animal Foundation's petition to participate in the proceedings as Amicus Curiae because the Foundation is an expert on canine genetics. The Foundation provided expert testimony to prove that Pit Bulls and other breeds are not inherently genetically dangerous and must be trained to fight". S.Zendorf (Attorney at Law)
8. FATAL DOG ATTACKS IN TEXAS The state of Texas has had over 40 fatal dog attacks since 1965 ranging from a Brittany Spaniel to Great Danes. Studies show us that severe mauling's have occurred from many different breeds in many cities throughout Texas and many of these go without attention that the media give to certain breeds such as the Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier. Targeting a specific breed of dog will do nothing to reduce dog bite related injuries from occuring.
9. EFFECTIVE CANINE LEGISLATION Strong laws that penalize the owners, regardless of the breed are what is needed. These types of laws are valid, have merit and are not vague or capricious. ACF supports laws that hold owners accountable for their dog's behavior.
Sincerely, American Canine Foundation http://acf2004.tripod.com/ Jeff ShaverJeffery J. ShaverWhite Shaver11200 Westheimer, Suite 200Houston, Texas 77042713/953-0860 telephone713/953-0917 telefaxJShaver@WhiteShaverLaw.com*Board Certified - Personal Injury Trial LawTexas Board of Legal Specialization