DogsBite.org - A reader of DogsBite.org has sent us a letter that she recently mailed to Edwin Sayers, the President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). We publish this letter in full.
Mr. Edwin SayresPresident and CEO
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
I have had AKC registered dogs for many years, participated in Obedience Trials, AKC CGC and pet therapy work as well. I did not favor BSL because I heard the “slippery slope” argument so frequently at events, I accepted this as truth. My experience has shown me that I was wrong. I am writing to you to urge cessation of the ASPCA’s relentless opposition to communities and states considering BSL. These entities have the right to determine what law is appropriate to protect their citizens without pressure from national lobbyists. I find your “Legislative Alert – contact these lawmakers to voice your opposition to BSL” an unsavory tactic. This encourages those in far distant states to pressure contentious local officials doing their best for their own constituents.
The AKC and the ASPCA continue to deny a genetic link to behavior in the pit bulls but acknowledge and promote the same for other breeds. Hunting dogs hunt because they were bred to do so, herding dogs herd because they were bred to do so, tracking dogs track because they were bred to. Fighting dogs fight for the same reason. The educated public understands much more is involved than the irresponsible owner. The results of your failure to speak continually and loudly to the public are deadly. Especially since “The Care of Pit Bulls in the Shelter Environment”, an ASPCA power point delivered at Montana Animal Control Association Conference is freely available online through the U.C. Davis, Koret Shelter Medicine Program and it is so very specific in warnings to shelter workers. Don’t you feel that this information should be shared with the public?
Please consider the victims of the pit bull genetic heritage (and I am one). Please consider the loss of life to humans, Pablo Hernandez just yesterday, Tanner Monk in May, Julian Slack in May, and Kelly Chapman in January of 2008. Please consider the loss of life to countless dogs, cats, horses, mini horses, donkeys, goats, llamas, pigs and recently 34 out of a herd of 36 tame farm raised deer to pit bulls and pit bull mixes. All of us, human and animal have value.
I believe that the dog lobby has a great deal more to lose than to gain by stubbornly supporting fighting dog breeds despite daily reports of death and maiming as a result of their genetically based behavior. So many communities are fighting so hard to pass law to protect their citizens that there is a very real possibility that someday they will grow tired of the constant and empty “punish the deed and not the breed” statement and simply ban all dogs over an arbitrary weight.
ASPCA interference in local law is intrusive and inappropriate. As a dog owner and dog lover I have too much to lose by not speaking up at this time. Just as the herding dogs, the hunting dogs and the tracking dogs do exactly what they were bred to do, the pit bulls do the same. Pit bulls have been bred for many generations to participate in an activity that is so violent that it is now a felony in all 50 states. Many pit bulls change hands for the price of a carton of cigarettes. They are “disposable dogs” and die in shelters in horrendous numbers. This suffering should not be tolerated. Far better for the pits and the public to allow local governments to legislate mandatory neuter and spay as well as any other law the community supports.
I urge you to rethink the ASPCA stand on BSL. Let communities decide this issue for themselves. My life will never be the same since the attack. I deserved the protection of the law, all victims and potential victims deserve the same.
06/02/08: ASPCA Pushing Pit Bull Adoption: Adopt-A-Bull Contest
06/01/08: Pit Bull Ban FAQ by Councilman Brian Powers