2007-2011 Dog Bite Data
Austin, TX - DogsBite.org recently reviewed 5-years of dog bite data gained from the City of Austin under the Freedom of Information Act. The data shows that dog bites have increased substantially since the city adopted a No-Kill policy in 2010. Between 2009 and 2011, dog bites increased 35%. The primary offenders of all bites were pit bulls and their mixes, responsible for 22% (1,288), followed by Labradors and their mixes, which inflicted 12% (682) of bites during the 5-year period.
Total Dog Bites By Year (2007-2011)
Top Biting Breeds Combined Years (2007-2011)
|Top Biting Breed
Dog Breed Populations
The City of Austin ended its Pet Licensing Program in 2008/2009. Therefore the last year anyone can evaluate the population of dog breeds is 2007. Though pit bulls and their mixes weighed in as the second most popular dog breed in 2007, making up 10% (1,551) of the registered dog population (15,871), pit bulls out bit the most popular breed, Labradors and their mixes representing 18% of the registered dogs (2,832), by nearly a 2 to 1 margin over the 5-year period.
Pet licensing programs are employed extensively across the country by city and county animal service departments to fund animal control services and to gauge the population of pets within a city. Currently and moving forward, Austin Animal Services has no such funding or population data. Furthermore, Austin pet owners are not contributing even modestly more than non-pet owners through annual low cost pet licensing fees to benefit citywide animal control services.
Both No-Kill Shelters "Filled to the Gills"
In November 2011, Austin Animal Services moved into a new $12 million dollar shelter facility to meet the city's No-Kill goals. After one week of opening, the facility was over capacity. Currently, the old shelter, which was only intended to be used as an overflow facility, and the new facility are "filled to the gills" with animals with no end in sight. Austin taxpayers fund both facilities, without a dime extra provided by animal owners through basic, routine pet licensing fees.
As noted in the late July Austin Chronicle article, Austin Animal Services will be asking for a budgetary expansion of $1 million dollars this year, which would be the second consecutive substantial increase for the department. All of this is needed (and possibly even a third facility?) to maintain the No-Kill initiative -- a 10% kill rate. Chief Animal Services Officer Abigail Smith told the Chronicle, "We're figuring this out as we go along," which hardly provides assurances.
Is No-Kill "Delusional?"
First and foremost, animal lovers and the general public alike support shelter reform methods that lower euthanizations and increase adoptions. The problem with the No-Kill movement is that it focuses nearly solely on "more adoptions" and opposes measures such as mandatory sterilization to reduce intake in the first place. No-Kill places the burden of the overpopulation of unwanted animals onto the public instead of upon its true source: accidental and intentional breeding.
Given that pit bulls and their mixes flog open admission shelters across the country and account for nearly a million euthanizations annually, any city attempting to achieve No-Kill must face this challenge, as well as what to do with any incoming dogs with behavioral problems, such as biting and aggression. Foster? Rehome? Adopt out? Warehouse? No-Kill has proven time and again to do all four and even after the dog has been returned to them again and again.
So a clearer picture of No-Kill reads: re-foster, re-rehome, re-adopt out and re-warehouse dogs with behavioral problems instead of humane euthanization.
When No-Kill Meets "Reality"
If readers missed the Delaware County, Ohio class action lawsuit filed in April, do read (See: Court filing). We expect more lawsuits like this in the future. Briefly, victims of multiple attacks sued the Humane Society of Delaware County (HSDC), a No-Kill group, alleging the entity knowingly adopted, fostered out and placed dangerous dogs into residential neighborhoods, despite knowing the dogs had been recommended for euthanization for public safety concerns.
It is a telling story involving the president of HSDC and his wife, Michael and Judith Prasse, creating a homespun hoarding operation at their own residence to spare the deaths of known dangerous dogs. One of the dogs ended up attacking two people and two pet dogs in the neighborhood as a result. Plaintiffs also sued John Doe Defendants 1-25 -- persons who adopted, fostered out and placed known dangerous dogs in the public in association with HSDC.1
Speaking of hoarding, nothing quite spells out "No-Kill meets reality" more aptly. In mid July, Spindletop pit bull "refuge" in Willis, Texas was invaded by dozens of law enforcement officers and the HSUS after reports of pit bulls warehoused and stacked in crates not even large enough for the dog to stand up. Authorities seized 298 dogs. Many of the dogs were "unadoptable" pit bulls, shipped to Spindletop from around the country in hopes of finding the dog a "forever home."
Snacksized Dog recently published an in-depth post about Spindletop. It portrays a number of No-Kill rescue angles that could not adopt out or keep a dog-aggressive pit bull, so instead shipped it off to Spindletop. All the while, fooling themselves into believing that a dog-aggressive dog could live out the rest of its days peacefully along side nearly 300 other dogs and goats and chickens on a ranch. Snacksized Dog states the obvious though oblivious to No-Kill followers:
"There is no magic land where dog-aggressive dogs can live out their natural lives in peace and tranquility."
No-Kill Trumps Public Safety
DogsBite.org does not believe the care of animals is in good hands when under the spell of No-Kill that again fails to focus on the source of over capacity shelters -- endless incoming animals. Animal services departments either infected with or pushed to the brink by rabid No-Kill followers typically have the priority imbalance of "meet the 10% kill rate at all cost," even if this results in the reduction of adoption screening and behavior testing, both designed to keep the public safe.
It is no mystery why dog bites in Austin jumped 35% after adopting No-Kill.
05/13/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 1-Year Old Henderson Boy Killed by Family Dog
03/08/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Newborn Dies After Severe Dog Bites in McKeesport
02/19/09: Shelter Adopts Out Biting Dogs to 'Save More Dogs' and Dumps Behavioral Testing