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Bitch Noone Wanted
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BSL ALERT: Charles County, Maryland

Posted on July 22, 2011 by Bless the Bullys| Leave a comment

This Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 4:00 p.m., officials in Charles County, Maryland are holding a work session focusing on revisions to the county animal regulations. Nestled among the 57 page proposal is a provision that would regulate the ownership of "pit bulls."

§230-12.5(J) defines "pit bull terrier type" dogs as:
Staffordshire Bull Terriers;
American Staffordshire terriers;
American Pit Bull Terrier;
American Bulldog; and
any dog which has the appearance of being predominantly of the breeds of dogs named above. Predominantly, as used in this bill, means that "the dog exhibits the physical characteristics of a pit bull terrier type dog more than it exhibits the physical characteristics of any other breed of dog."

The entire proposal can be found here:
http://www.boarddocs.com/md/chrlsco/Board.nsf/files/8JXMV75D04F4/$file/Animal%20regs%20revision%202011%20from%20LEGAL.pdf

Please contact the Charles County officials to voice your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE opposition to breed specific legislation. Please use the opportunity to share with them the various problems associated with BSL, as well as suggesting viable alternatives for their consideration.

You may contact the Charles County Commissioners at [email protected] or individually:

President- Candice Kelly
[email protected]

VP- Reuben Collins
[email protected]

Ken Robinson
[email protected]

Debra Davis
[email protected]

Bobby Rucci
[email protected]

The work session begins at 4:00 p.m. and is held in the Commissioners Meeting Room on the first floor of the County Government Building, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Maryland.
 

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Bitch Noone Wanted
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Discussion Starter #2
Officials in Charles County, MD are holding a work session today, July 26, 2011 beginning at 4:00 p.m., on revisions to county animal regulations. The proposal includes a provision that would regulate the ownership of "pit bulls." The work session will be held in the Commissioners Meeting Room on the 1st floor of the County Government Building, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Maryland.

The original alert, including a link to the proposed bill, can be found here:
BSL ALERT: Charles County, Maryland | Bless the Bullys

Please attend if at all possible.
 

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Bitch Noone Wanted
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Thanks to Kirstyn and EVERYONE who attended this afternoon's work session in Charles County, MD. The fight may not be over, but WOW did they make an impact today! Even if you're too far away to attend a council meeting, if you've ever thought that your one letter or one e-mail doesn't matter, let this be proof of what people can accomplish when they come together for a very important cause.

Great report from Kirstyn who attended the work session today:

I feel as though the session went very well! Just over 80 people showed up. They acknowledged that hundreds of letters were sent in in protest. There was not enough time for everyone to speak so they plan to continue it tomorrow and vote in September. You could see the surprise in the faces of the people who wrote it up. They were shocked that in only 5 days, word could spread so quickly and so many would come out against it. You could just see the shock. So nothing is finalized either way, yet, but I have a better feeling now than I did over the weekend.
 

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I was at the work session on July 26. We did have a good crowd. No one got to talk because it was a work session not a public hearing. It did not continue the following day. The commissoners want to review and discuss the proposed changes and will have another work session in Sept. I have a pit. so does my daughter. I understand there is a problem with pitbulls at large in some areas of the county but I do not feel it fair that I will have to keep my pitbull on a 6' leash inside my fenced yard if this passes. He has never been a bad boy.
 

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Bitch Noone Wanted
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Charles proposal puts stricter control on pit bulls
by ERICA MITRANO, Staff writer

Proposed new animal regulations for Charles County include stricter controls on pit bulls, bulldogs and other "pit bull terrier-type" breeds, deeming them "potentially dangerous," a label previously reserved for animals that had attacked or threatened a person or animal.

The proposed change aims at reducing the general public's contact with these dogs, according to a presentation compiled by county staff members.

The impetus behind considering the new rules was a fatal mauling of a housecat by two at-large pit bulls, Chief of Animal Control Services Ed Tucker told the Charles County commissioners Tuesday.

The rules, backed by hefty fines for violations, would apply to the American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier and American bulldog as well as "dogs which have the appearance of being predominantly of the breeds of dog listed above," including any dog listed as one of these breeds on any kind of official paperwork.

As potentially dangerous animals under the law, owners of pit bull-type dogs would have to have the dogs microchipped and report the microchip number to Charles County Animal Control.

Also, any owner who keeps or lets the dog outside would have to fence off all or part of his yard, then create a smaller, locked and secure enclosure for the dog that does not touch the outer fence. If outside the secure kennel, the owner would have to leash and accompany the dog, even inside the outer fence.

The owner also would have to hang a prominent sign warning "dangerous dog" at every entrance to the area and notify animal control if the dog runs at large.

Violations of rules governing potentially dangerous animals would carry fines ranging from $50 to $500, while flouting rules for pit bull-type dogs would carry the risk of an additional fine of between $200 and $1,000, to be determined by the Animal Matters Hearing Board.

The proposal has been discussed on websites dedicated to pit bulls, including GoPitBull.com, where someone identifying herself as an Austin, Texas, woman posted the names and email addresses of the county commissioners and urged readers on Monday to "voice your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation."

Charles County showed up on at least two similar message boards as well.

Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said he has received "hundreds" of emails on the subject, most apparently sent by nonresidents.

After Tucker's presentation, commissioners' President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) said the board needed time to consider the changes and that another work session would be held in September.

Opposition

Dozens of local residents turned out for the commissioners' Tuesday work session to oppose the proposal.

Rachel Richards of Lexington Park showed up with one of her five pit bulls, Kari, in tow. She said she feared that if other jurisdictions start restricting the dogs, St. Mary's County could be next.

Kari, a brown and white female wearing a bandana printed with the words "good dog," lolled quietly at Richards' feet or nuzzled her leg during the meeting. The 2-year-old was allowed in because she is a service dog providing psychological support, Richards said.

Richards compared rules targeting pit bulls to racial discrimination.

"It's just like saying, 'You're black, you can't come in.' It's discrimination. Obviously she's not aggressive," Richards said of Kari.
Tom Miles of Waldorf agreed.

"It's a form of profiling. We don't do that with two-legged people, do we?" he said.

Dogs might instinctively attack babies if their cries sound like those of a wounded animal, and no dog should be left unattended with children, Richards said.

"Every dog has the potential to be dangerous or vicious," Miles said.

"All dogs can bite," Richards agreed.

Jessie Rice, a dog trainer from Waldorf, said restrictions are unfair to well-behaved dogs and their owners, and ineffective anyway. She cited her experiences working in Prince George's County, which has banned the dogs outright.

"To me, the fact is Prince George's County tried banning pit bulls and they switched to bigger and more dangerous dogs," like mastiffs, Rice said of people who wanted to own aggressive dogs. Others, in her experience, keep pit bulls anyway, and replace them if authorities confiscate them.

These objectors are joined by the Charles County Humane Society, said Director Anita Marsh. The group has given animal control and the commissioner a statement that "Our stand is … that the Humane Society of Charles County does not support the singling out of any breed for special or unique treatment for any reason. Suitable safety measures must be taken for the handling of individual dogs that have been shown to be dangerous."

The society opposes other proposed changes also, but will not release a statement until it has reviewed the entire document, Marsh said.

Tucker presented statistics about county "exposures" involving pit bulls, meaning any reported animal aggression involving a bite or scratch of any degree of severity to a person or another animal. The proportion of exposures involving pit bull-type dogs is creeping upwards, from 14 percent in 2008 to 19 percent so far this year. By comparison, "lab-type" exposures have dropped from 11 to 9 percent and "shepherd-type" from 8 to 6 percent.

"What the issue is is the irresponsible pet owners that keep their animals in such a fashion that they get at large and they become public safety problems or a public nuisance. We want to keep these animals from becoming at-large" with the new confinement requirements, Tucker said.

A study on the website of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta examined reports of dog bites involving human deaths between 1979 and 1998 and found that the greatest number, 238 of 492, almost half, were attributed to dogs of unknown breed. However, "pit bull-type" purebred or mixed breed dogs were involved in 76 of 254, or 30 percent, of fatal attacks by dogs of known pedigree, more than any other dog type.

But an accompanying fact sheet warned that the statistics were not to be used to draft policy, and that any dog could bite.

Local opposition is matched by the policies of national animal organizations.

"Breed-specific legislation" is "akin to racial profiling" for dogs, said Lisa Peterson, communications director for the American Kennel Club. Instead, counties should impose and enforce laws that affect all breeds equally, she said, because "no breed is inherently dangerous."

Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society of the United States reacted similarly, saying it seems to be the pit bull's turn to be demonized as a breed.

"When you go back through the decades, there's always one or a couple of dog breeds that are, quote, dangerous dogs for that period of time. In the '60s and '70s, Dobermans and German shepherds were the ones. What's really neat is if you go back to the 1800s, you see bloodhounds and Newfoundlands [being feared], dogs we would never think of as being dangerous dogs. It's trendy and I think eventually pit bulls will go out of style and something new will come in," said Goldfarb, who directs the charity's Pets at Risk program.

SoMdNews.com: Charles proposal puts stricter control on pit bulls
 
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