Pit Bull Rights vs. Victim Rights
Omaha, NE - The Omaha World Herald reports that the Mayor's committee formed to address Omaha's pit bull problem is unlikely to propose a ban to Mayor Mike Fahey. This could be due to the fact that the committee is stacked with Humane Society members that oppose all breed-specific laws, even in the instance of mandatory sterilization to reduce bites and shelter occupancy rates.
Like many cities that experience a public safety problem with pit bulls, various animal advocacy groups, such as the ASPCA, the local or state Humane Society chapter and pit bull advocates, urge a watered down Dangerous Dog ordinance that affects all dogs and only affects a dog after it has violently attacked and injured a person. Victims always lose under such laws.
A law like this promises that future Charlotte's will be made.
Mayor Mike Fahey should dismiss the argument that a ban is unenforceable or expensive. Ample evidence shows otherwise, including in the nearby city of Council Bluffs, Iowa and Aurora, Colorado, who recently declared that their fighting breed ban has created a surplus of funds. If Fahey truly wants to protect Omaha citizens, he needs to specifically address Omaha's problem with pit bulls.
Let's walk through what happened to Charlotte again.
Her mother Wendy and friend Carly strapped their two children into a wagon. They began to walk down the block towing the wagon. When they came to an intersection, they saw the pit bull and stopped. They watched the pit bull grow "curious," slip out of its collar and walk toward them. As soon as the dog reached the wagon, he pounced the child latching onto her shoulder then neck.
We understand that screaming and flailing your arms around a pit bull is a recipe for disaster. We understand that seeing another dog may also flip a pit bull into fight mode. In the case of Charlotte, however, there were two stationary adults and two children strapped into a wagon. The pit bull casually approached the foursome then suddenly, and violently, clamped down on the toddler's head.
Pit bulls were selectively bred to hide warning signals.
The first attack by this pit bull may cost over $300,000 in medical bills, not to mention the emotional damage. Stopping a first attack by a pit bull is the very basis for a pit bull regulation. The pit bull bite and its method of attack is unlike other dog breeds, which is the primary legal basis for pit bull regulations. Courts across the nation agree: Pit bulls are "unique" and can be regulated.
Wendy Blevins supports a pit bull ban. She believes that if the city waits for a dog to act out, it could put people in harm's way. She does not want any other family to go through what hers has. She said city leaders need to think about what happened to her daughter and what it would be like to spend a day with her. "Come and sit with me," Wendy said. "What if it was your daughter or granddaughter?"
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org