Distortions and Denial of the Truth
Joplin, MO - Upon reading this article Saturday, DogsBite.org sent a letter of truth to Joplin City Council members. Today, council members are expected to review "health board recommendations" about the city's current animal ordinance to try to reduce the risk of dog bites. The health director, Dan Pekarek, will help provide these recommendations, and he appears to be a "pit bull apologist."
Pekarek said the health department does keep statistics on dog bites and the breeds involved in the bites. Those statistics reflect that pit bulls are the most common biting dogs, but he does not believe that is entirely accurate.
"You have to take that data with a grain of salt," Pekarek said. "People are more prone to report pit bulls. I think it’s the nature of people that they are more likely to be reported than a bite by another type of dog."
The is the exact same distortion that Kathy Jenks, the Director of the Ventura Animal County Department of Animal Regulation, used after the fatal mauling of Katya Todesco by a pit bull. Pekarek's usage of this distortion, however, is more lethal. Pekarek is the director of health with the sole duty of "protecting" the public from harm. Unlike Jenks, he has no duty to protect pets and distort truths on their behalf.
A local veterinarian, Ben Leavens, offers more untruths commonly voiced by pit bull advocates. Though ample evidence exists to the contrary, he says there is "no evidence" that breed-specific laws work. He adds that "a lot of dogs look like pit bulls" and can't be properly identified. On the Constitutionality page of DogsBite.org, one can read many court opinions -- including the U.S. Supreme Court -- that show that pit bulls can be identified.
In our email to council members, we sent examples of successful breed-specific laws. These examples are easily found on the Internet. As recently as last Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld Ontario's pit bull ban. Since one year prior to the enactment of the ban, the province has seen a 66% drop in pit bull attacks. Since Council Bluffs, Iowa passed a similar ban, they've seen a 100% drop (0 bites in 2008).
- Springfield, Missouri Pit Bull Ordinance is Working
- After Ban in 2005, Council Bluffs Sees Fall In Pit Bull Attacks
- Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results
- Ontario Pit Bull Ban Greatly Reduces Bite Count
- A Two Year Review of Aurora, Colorado's Pit Bull Ban
While council members consider a new dangerous dog law, DogsBite.org hopes they base this consideration on weighing truths instead of distortions. Only then can policymakers form a realistic plan about the difficult "pit bull problem" that plagues U.S. cities from coast to coast. We also ask that council members keep in mind the catastrophic mauling of Alan Hill in Independence, Missouri in 2006.
No person should ever have to endure such a brutal, devastating attack.
10/10/08: 2008 Fatality: 5-Year Old Girl Killed by Pet Pit Bull in Simi Valley
06/11/08: Pit Bull Victim Alan Hill Awarded $7.25 Million Dollars