Saturday, August 4, 2012

All Your Pit Bulls Belong To Us, and We Will Destroy Them

Here is a fun fact. The crime of owning a Pit Bull in Independence, Missouri is about on par with the crime of assaulting someone. Truth!

If I get caught a second time with a dog who resembles a Pit Bull, I can be fined $500 and spend 90 days in jail. If I physically assault someone, I can be fined $500 and spend up to 6 months in jail. I will receive the same penalties of nearly beating someone to death if I am found with an illegal Pit Bull a third time.

Beat someone with a lead pipe? $500 fine, 6-mos in jail. Walk your dog for the third time? It's JUST LIKE BEATING SOMEONE WITH A LEAD PIPE. Logic!


When the law went into effect in 2006, authorities made it virtually impossible for existing Pit Bulls to remain in the city with the following restrictions:

Dogs have to wear two leashes and two collars.
Dogs have to wear a basket or leather muzzle.
Dog must be confined in a crate while traveling in a vehicle.
Dog can only be walked by someone 18 and older.
Dog must be castrated and vaccinated against rabies.
Premises where dog resides must have signage indicating a "dog on premise"
External fencing must be 6' tall and buried 2' underground with only once entrance into the outdoor area, which really means the dog must be confined in an outdoor kennel.
Entrances to any structure must be padlocked.
Guardians must have $300,000 liability insurance.
Guardians must pay an annual $100 licensing fee.

If I did not know better, I would have thought these were licensing requirements for owning a liger which, by the way, no matter how you cut it, is way more dangerous than your average dog of any breed.

This type of law leads to this kind of story.

This family has a dangerous dog. By dangerous, I mean the dog bites people and poses a valid public safety risk. The guardians of this dog know he poses a risk, which is probably why he spends most of his time outdoors. Their other two dogs do not pose a safety risk, which is probably why they are inside the home.

The dangerous dog - a German Shepherd - attacks his owner. Police arrive, upon which the dog is so interested in biting people that he digs his way out of the yard and proceeds to bite two officers before one of them shoots the dog. The family wants the dog killed because they failed to either rectify his aggressive tendencies or find someone who could (or humanely killed the dog).

But what gets me is that police discovered that one of the other two dogs on the property looked like a Pit Bull. A non-aggressive family pet confiscated. Because the dog is not licensed, the dog will be murdered. I mean, "destroyed". Whatevs.

I tried my hardest to find out how awesome Independence, Missouri's breed specific legislation has been at eliminating Pit Bull bites. I cannot find anything. One would think that something as important as improving public safety would garner an annual or bi-annual report touting the praises of this program of dog killing.

So Independence? Where's the statistics? Where's the rock-solid evidence that killing dogs who look like Pit Bulls and excluding their guardians from your town has improved public safety?

Cue crickets.

Maybe the female Pit Bull used a mind meld on the German Shepherd. Phew, order of the universe restored - it really WAS the Pit Bull!

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