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Old 12-10-2014, 02:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
Educate, Don't legislate
 
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Camdenton, Missouri

The city of Camdenton, Missouri, heard a request to review their long-standing pit bull ban yesterday at the board meeting, along with a request to dismiss a citation for violation of the ban. The request was made by Misty Brown, a woman who bought a house in town 2 weeks before she was told her dogs must be removed from the town. The two dogs in question, Karma and Chaos, are registered American Bulldogs.

According to Brown, before closing on her house, she checked with city hall and was told by an employee that her dogs were fine because they are not pit bulls. Despite doing her due diligence, despite American Bulldogs not being a targeted breed and despite the fact that the dogs did nothing wrong, Brown was cited under the ban after a neighbor complained about the dogs. Brown was ticketed and told that she had to get rid of the dogs by November 12th.

The ban, which was passed in 1989, defines a “pit bull” several ways.

“A pit bull may be identified as any dog which exhibits those distinguishing characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club as described in the identification checklist which is on file in the City offices.” (amendment enacted 2011)

“1. Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog;
2. The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
3. The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
4. Any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier;
5. Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier; and other breeds commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs, or pit bull terriers, or a combination of any of these breeds.” (original law enacted 1989)
The law has 2 separate and very different standards. The language an element of its breeding and substantially conform are used and both are different in what they mean legally. An element means any percentage of the specified breeds. Substantially implies over 50%.

When Brown approached the board, she asked that she be allowed to keep her dogs because they are not pit bulls and their lineage as American Bulldogs is documented and provable. The board decided that because the registered American Bulldogs were determined to fit some of the physical description of a pit bull, that they are banned. The board seems to think that they can define a dog’s breed however they wish, based on 8 criteria that are extremely open to interpretation. Actually, not even 8, because a dog only has to meet 5 of the 8 criteria in order to be banned.

Brown and her attorney asked the board to review the ban and the board was told by the city attorney that there is no reason to do so. It is clear the city attorney does not know much about due process, and is perhaps not the best to be advising in this situation, as the law is clearly flawed.

Brown’s attorney stated that the ticket opens the town to legal challenge for a vague law, and it appears that they will be heading to court over the issue.

This case highlights the exact opposite of what the pro-BSL lobby claims. They claim that only actual “pit bulls” are targeted under bans, and that other dogs are not because “everyone” can identify a pit bull. If papers don’t dis-prove a dog is banned, then there is no short-haired dog in the community that is safe. They also claim that dogs aren’t taken from their homes, that bans simply keep new dogs from the community. Clearly, this is not the case.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

Below is the check list used to identify dogs as falling under the ordinance. This gives a chance to see exactly how broadly these descriptions can be interpreted.

- Head is medium length, with a broad skull and very pronounced cheek muscles, a wide, deep muzzle, a well defined, moderately deep stop and strong under jaw. Viewed from the top, the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge.
– Eyes are round to almond shaped, are low in the skull and set far apart.
– Ears are set high. Un-cropped ears are short and usually held rose or half prick, through some hold them at full prick.
– Neck is heavy and muscular, attached to strong, muscular shoulders.
-Body is muscular, with a deep, broad chest, a wide front, deep brisket, well sprung ribs and slightly tucked loins.
-Tail is medium length and set low, think at base, tapering to a point.
-Hindquarters are well muscled, with hocks set low on the legs.
-Coat is a single coat, smooth, short and close to the skin.
__________________
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“When you KNOW better you DO better.”
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
Educate, Don't legislate
 
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Pawtucket, Rhode Island

https://www.valleybreeze.com/2014-11...s#.VIeqYytWp1P


Court rules that Pawtucket can’t ban pit bulls
City officials haven't decided if they'll appeal
By ETHAN SHOREY, Breeze Online News Editor

PAWTUCKET – A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Pawtucket pit bull owner Al Alix in his lawsuit against the city over its 2004 ban on pit bulls.

The decision means Alix can keep his pit bull, “Chubs.”

“I can’t tell you how good it feels, just to prove the city wrong,” Alix told The Breeze on Tuesday. “I had no doubt it was going to come out in my favor."

Alix said he believes his lawsuit against the city cost him the chance to earn a seat on the Pawtucket School Committee, but he’s still happy he fought the city on the issue.

Judge Brian Van Couyghen backed the claims of Alix and the Defenders of Animals against Pawtucket’s breed-specific ban on the dog breed.

City attorney Steve Schonhoff said officials haven't yet decided whether they'll appeal the decision. Once a written order is issued, attorneys will look at that and the transcript of the case before deciding on an appeal, he said.

Schonhoff said he can't say whether he was surprised by the decision or not.

Who Insures You Matters!
Attorney Mark Morse represented both the Defenders of Animals and Al Alix in the case.

In July 2013, a bill passed and became law that banned cities/towns from passing ordinances that banned specific breeds. It was the contention of Defenders of Animals that Pawtucket could no longer enforce their ordinance that prevented Pawtucket residents from owning pit bulls. Attorneys for Pawtucket contended that the 2013 bill was not retroactive, and therefore didn't apply to their ban.

The head of the Defenders of Animals is Dennis Tabella, who also serves as executive director of Woodlawn Community Development and the Woodlawn Community Center in Pawtucket.
__________________
"There are two temptations to which people fall prey with dogs. The first is to think that biology counts for everything. The second is to think it counts for nothing"
- Tom Junod

“When you KNOW better you DO better.”
― Maya Angelou


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