Where Does One Start?
DogsBite.org – Over the past several years, many persons have written to us and asked, "How do I pass a pit bull ordinance in my town?" As one might expect, there is no simple answer to this question and perhaps a better question is, "How do I pass any ordinance in my town?" This website collects dog bite data, dog bite trends and laws designed to regulate dangerous dogs. The grassroots effort required to pass a local ordinance is a separate sphere.
While researching this issue, we came across a helpful document hosted at udetc.org: Tool Kit to Pass a Local Ordinance. The piece was intended for persons trying to pass an ordinance limiting corporate power. We modified parts of it to help those seeking to learn the building blocks of passing a pit bull ordinance, but may only have a modest understanding of grassroots efforts. What readers learn fast is that this process is rarely undertaken alone.
Our How-To guide covers basic grassroots organizing methods, as well as the process of how an ordinance emerges from an idea, is brought forth to city council members, is placed onto its agenda and voted on. While municipalities work similarly across the U.S., each jurisdiction is unique and governed by its own state laws. The How-To guide serves as a starter kit for actions a group might take and what to expect when trying to pass a local pit bull ordinance.
A Call to Previous Activists
Persons across the U.S. have successfully passed local pit bull laws. To our knowledge, these experiences have not been written down or collected and thus cannot be easily shared. Places to share these stories to help teach other activists our located on the DogsBite.org Links page or by writing to DogsBite.org and we will circulate it through the advocacy network. We encourage previous activists to take this last critical step and write down your story.
It is only through the How-To guide and a collection of documented experiences -- made freely available on the Internet -- that new activists can become knowledgeable and equipped with the resources they need to pursue grassroots organizing to achieve their goals. All current activists should keep notes on strategies they are using and roadblocks that are causing them difficulties and be willing and ready to share them with like-minded activists as well.
Multimillion dollar advocacy groups do not exist to help this cause by offering documentation, guidance and outreach support or through lobbying efforts. Such organizations do exist for pit bull owners (ASPCA, AVMA, AKC, Best Friends, American Humane and others). It is up to activists to help other activists by sharing their "in the trenches" experiences and using data, studies and FAQ sheets found on DogsBite.org and other websites to aid in grassroots efforts.1
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