Stands by Pit Bull Ban
Lakewood, OH - Councilman Brian Powers responds to non-constituent critics about Lakewood City Council's efforts to make their city a safer place to live.
When I agreed to serve as a member of Lakewood City Council, I vowed to strive to do the right thing for our residents, not necessarily the popular thing. Since introducing legislation to ban those dogs know as “pit bulls” from Lakewood, all members of Council have been deluged with e-mails arguing against such a ban, mostly from out-of-towners. Sadly, the pit bull ban is receiving an inordinate amount of public attention, even though it is but a small part of the broader effort by the Mayor and Council to make Lakewood a safer place to live. We should be focusing on the recent decision to add four new full-time and ten part-time police officers, but we are instead flooded with advice from out-of-state special interest groups about dogs.
In the past few weeks, I’ve personally been called a “hysterical demagogue” by out-of-town blogger Charles Brettell and have been labeled a “canine racist” by pit bull enthusiasts. Let’s get this straight: dogs are dogs and people are people. It is absurd to say that a pit bull ban is a form of racism. To compare human racial minorities to a breed of dogs is an insult and a trivialization of the very real issue of human racism.
Pit bull rescue groups are pledged to the protect pit bulls, so it is understandable that they do not like our proposed law. But members of Council have vowed to protect the people of Lakewood. Pit Bull Rescue Central argues that I have taken language out of context from their Web site. Yet, I quoted full sentences and whole paragraphs. The fact is that even pit bull supporters cannot deny that these dogs are different, as a result of very specific breeding practices. Here is further material from Pit Bull Rescue Central:
"It is unfortunate that one of the original purposes of the APBT [American Pit Bull Terrier] was (and still is) dog-to-dog combat, but it's a fact that can't be denied or ignored. It's important that every potential pit bull owner understand the selective breeding process that took place to make the dogs of today. …The American Pit Bull Terrier has been ‘selectively’ bred for hundreds of years to fight other dogs. This is the sad ‘work’ these dogs were created for. In the same way that Labradors were bred to retrieve birds, APBTs were bred to face other dogs in mortal combat. Even in dogs that are not recently bred from fighting lines, the urge to fight can arise at any time. Not to strongly emphasize this fact would be negligent….Training may help the owner control his/her dog, but it will not eliminate the risk for fights. In the case of a fighting breed, the urge to fight is often the result of genetic heritage. Remember that there is no magic cure to remove an inherited behavior selectively bred into a dog." (from PBRC.net)
Thus, it is clear that pit bulls ARE very different from other dogs. Some pit bull enthusiasts point to studies allegedly showing that golden retrievers and even poodles have a worse “temperament” than pit bulls. But the fact remains that, between 1982 and 2006, poodles killed no humans, while one person was strangled when a golden retriever accidentally tugged on a scarf, but pit bulls accounted for at least 110 deaths.
For the above reasons and for safety of our residents, I remain in support of the proposed “pit bull” ban.
06/01/08: Pit Bull Ban FAQ by Councilman Brian Powers
And with my one vote for person of the week: Brian Powers
There’s a legislative will that’s refreshingly cogent. I just got jealous of Lakewood!
I would like to make an important point about the ATTS test, since it has become an urban legend promoted by the pro-pit lobby. Maybe this could go under “pit myths”, or on a sticky.
The ATTS was NEVER designed to evaluate dogs to determine their suitability as family pets. It is designed to evaluate dogs for bitework…protection sports like French Ring and Shutzhund. It is commonly used to evaluate dogs that will be ultimately used as police canines. If you look at the number of dogs that take the test each year, GSDs outnumber any other breed listed by a huge margin; this is because they still are the most common breed used in police work.
The ATTS test rewards boldness…they evaluate how the dog reacts to gunshots, a threatening stranger, etc. There is also a tracking portion of the test, where the dog is required to walk across a strange surface, like plastic and wire (think of a police canine chasing a suspect). Timid dogs do not do well on the test, naturally. Also, the test is subjective…aggression is checked against the breed standard; one can assume that a Golden Retriever would be held to a different standard than a Doberman. It is unclear how the ATTS evaluators are experts on the temperament standard for every breed.
An important ommission in the ATTS test is dog/dog aggression; the test does not evaluate the dogs reaction to other dogs. A dog could pass the ATTS with flying colors, even if it was dangerously dog aggressive.
The pro-pit lobby has deliberately confused the public into believing that the ATTS is equivalent to the CGC, which is often used to evaluate dogs for therapy work. The ATTS is an excellent tool to evaluate dogs for SAR, protection sports, Police canines, hunting trials, etc. But it in no way indicates which breed is “safer” to have as a family pet.
Thank you! I’ve been telling pit bull advocates this for years – but it continues to fall on deaf ears. They like to think the temperment testing proves pit bulls are “better” than other dogs, but the test does nothing of the kind. It only shows how individual dogs reacted – dogs that have been trained and whose owners have paid for them to take the test. It does not tell us how the average dog of any breed will react, and it especially does not tell us how a poorly trained dog will act. Yet the claim about the test is posted on every pit bull site out there. Further proof that pit bull advocates are not interested in the truth and will deliberately deceive people to improve their dogs’ image.
Here’s the disburbing comments of a proud Pit owner who recently passed an ATTS “test”:
“Doja did great and passed with flying colors. I was so proud of her.
She was the only dog tested there today that wanted to eat the threatening stranger – so she got high marks for that.
It was funny – most of the other dogs (Belgians included) only looked at him, or ignored him, Even when he was hollering and bashing a stick on the ground. But Doja hit the end of the lead like the little freight train she is and was telling him that he had best stay far away from her Mommy NOW!! Some of the people watching (including some of the testers) actually applauded a bit when she did that.
5 dogs from the NTBBC club attended the test and 4 of them passed with flying colors. 3 who passed were APBT (including Doja) and 1 was EBT.
There were also APBT up from the San Antonio BBC and the Austin BBC.
Dunno how all of them did.”
Each area is graded on a scale of 1-10, and if the dog does not show aggression ..It fails!