Calls Out Failure to Protect the Public
Ipswich, MA - Last summer, Massachusetts legislators passed S.2192 that overhauled the state's animal control laws. As has been done before in legislative "overhauls," lobbying groups inserted a statewide anti-BSL clause mainly unnoticed. Passage of the bill immediately removed pit bull laws in Boston and other cities. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Councilman Rob Consalvo were outraged and submitted new legislation to return regulation control to cities and towns.
The new statewide anti-BSL measure also incensed citizens. On February 11, Ian Pepper, a citizen from Ipswich sent DogsBite.org an open letter about his local animal control officer (See: Open Letter to Matt Antczak). The letter portrays how animal control departments continue to fail their constituents and distort the truth about pit bulls by reciting myths perpetuated by pro-pit bull groups. Pepper's follow up letter, sent to DogsBite on March 3, voices additional urgency.
March 3 2013
From: Ian Pepper PhD
4 Rosewood Dr.
This call to action and demand for accountability is addressed to:
Matt Antczak, Animal Control Officer for Ipswich Massachusetts:
Nishan D. Mootafian; Patrick J. McNally; William M. Craft; Charles D. Surpitski; Shirley A. Berry, the Board of Selectmen, Ipswich Massachusetts:
Robin Crosbie, Ipswich Town Manager:
Paul Nikas, The Chief of Police, Ipswich Massachusetts:
To everyone: please reproduce, publish, and disseminate this letter.
Subject: PIT BULLS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN 50% OF FATAL DOG ATTACKS in the United States, MORE THAN ALL OTHER BREEDS COMBINEDOn February 10 of this year, each of you received a copy of my “open letter to Matt Antczak, Animal Control Officer for Ipswich Massachusetts.” (Which I am again attaching)Three weeks later, I have yet to receive a reply from Matt Antczak, or from any of you.Both the specific and general issues I raised in my letter are public health matters of the greatest possible urgency, and require your collective and individual attention.Each of you owes me a response, personally, but you also owe it to the people of Ipswich to respond to these issues in a professional and competent manner.First of all, how the (non) handling of the incident on Nichols Hill was handled requires an explanation, to reiterate:I made two 911 calls from Nichols Hill in Ipswich on Thursday, February 7, because a pair of unleashed, extremely agitated pit bulls, one previously ordered muzzled by Mr. Antczak, were roaming around together with their extremely agitated owner. Mr. Antczak failed to show up at the scene, and this has yet to be explained (see my letter of February 10 for details).Now to the general issue: apparently, all of you are AWOL on the issue of pit bulls in Ipswich, and that needs to change. Please prove me wrong -- nothing would make me happier than having to issue mea culpas!!Mayor Menino is trying to at least partially reverse the statewide ban on breed-specific regulations that was snuck into a larger bill and passed unanimously by the legislature (all of whose members seem to have been sound asleep while voting, as usual).All of you should be working intensively with Menino for a full reversal of this ill-advised measure, which ties your hands when it comes to dealing with an escalating public health emergency.This is an issue that desperately needs a public airing. You should be organizing public hearings to discuss the escalating danger and measures for dealing with pit bulls.An absolutely indispensable measure short of a total ban would be that all pit bulls in Ipswich should be muzzled in public at all times. Moreover, an alarming number of serious and fatal pit bull attacks throughout the nation and the Commonwealth have been committed by dogs that were “securely penned.” Needless to say, without strict enforcement and stiff penalties, none of these measures will prevent the inevitable serious pit bull attack in Ipswich. A $25 fine is simply a joke: violators should lose the right to own a dangerous dog -- permanently.Another indispensable measure short of a total ban is a breeding ban for Ipswich, along with the requirement that all males be neutered, and a ban on bringing new pit bulls into the town.The dog population in Massachusetts and in Ipswich is exploding, and if you do not take adequate and timely measures, you will someday be in the awkward position of explaining to the public why you failed to act before a serious or fatal attack occurred in your town.Ever since the pit bull breeds made the transition from inner city to suburb, the number of attacks has escalated steadily. While other dangerous breeds are responsible for serious attacks as well, and must be regulated, pit bulls are responsible for more serious and fatal attacks than all other breeds combined.If you find yourself saying: “Gee, I didn't know that my local, friendly pit bull lobbyists had me convinced pits were among the safest breeds,” all I can say is: you need to get up to speed on the facts -- and FAST.After every serious attack, we learn that the owners are shocked, shocked, shocked! That such a “sweet, affectionate, child-friendly family pet” could have attacked a child with such ferocity. After all, it passed the ATTS test with flying colors!!That is the point: these incredibly powerful animals are dangerous by design, are built to kill, to attack without warning, to lock their jaws onto the victim, to tear and rip flesh away, to hold on until death. They are TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE, and the biggest LIE of all is that “only maltreated pits are a problem.”Something every public servant in the US should have known 25 years ago.Your collective negligence on this issue is particularly egregious because we have 2 prominent pit bull breeders/lobbyists/propagandists in town. At a single site (or 2 combined sites next door to one another), we have potentially dozens of pit bulls right across from the Foote Brothers Canoe rentals, where families come to paddle on the Ipswich River.How many patrons are aware of the fact that if a gate, or pen, or lock fails to hold, a dozen pit bulls could be racing across the street toward them, all at the same time?That pit bulls are different from other breeds, and represent an extraordinary public danger should simply be a truism.And it is in many European and other countries, for example in Germany, where I live for part of the year, where the Supreme Court has long-since affirmed the medical reality of the extraordinary danger of pit bulls, decided to maintain a national import ban, and to allow the individual German states to impose breed bans and other measures as they see fit.In German law, the most dangerous breeds are: pitbull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, bull terrier.Also strictly regulated depending upon the individual federal state are the following breeds: alano, American bulldog, bullmastiff, cane corso, dogo Argentino, dogue de Bordeaux, fila Brasiliero, mastiff, mastin Espanol, mastino Napoletano, pitbull bandog, perro de presa Canario, perro de presa, Tosa Inu.Most of the above breeds, of course, are closely related to the four main pit bull breeds.The Staffordshire terrier -- the one being bred at Ipswich’s pit bull factories -- has been deemed an especially dangerous dog in all but one German Federal State (and the exception, Thuringia, is reconsidering after a particularly grisly attack).In Germany, a small number of horrific pit bull attacks led to resolute, rational, medically sound nationwide action -- 15 years ago!In the US, an extraordinarily large number of horrific pit bull attacks have led to…evasion of responsibility, buck-passing, wishy-washiness -- a legislature that not only fails to take responsibility for regulating Frankendogs, but actually forbids individual communities, from doing so. Duvall Patrick, members of the legislature, is this some kind of sick joke?The most basic and well-documented facts about the special danger represented by pit bull breeds are still being drowned out by a fog of lies disseminated by the pit bull lobby. Ipswich has an animal control officer who has been brainwashed by the lobby. Mr. Antczak, please deprogram yourself and learn the facts.And that is because you -- all of you -- have failed to do your jobs as public servants.Pit owners tend to avoid financial and other responsibility for attacks, to blame victims, go to incredible lengths to resist having vicious animals euthanized, reject unwelcome facts, no matter how well-established, and occupy an echo chamber where the same half-dozen talking points are repeated ad infinitum.Why do these charming people have such an undue influence on the animal control community?Your job, Mr. Anctzak, is to INTERRUPT this dangerous cycle of delusion, not REINFORCE it -- or be sucked into their black hole of self-perpetuating lies.Mr. Antczak, to have any credibility, you must demonstrate to the people of Ipswich that you understand the basics -- the physical and behavioral differences that make pit bulls especially dangerous, the medical facts about the severity of pit bull attacks.You must stand up to the pit bull breeding lobby and fight for our safety, and the safety of this town’s children.Despite being only 3% of the dog population, pit bulls are responsible for more than 50% of fatal dog attacks United States -- and a corresponding number of severe injuries.It is a scandal that public officials give credence to a totally fraudulent and corrupted ATTS system that allows pit breeders and owners to give their own dogs high rankings. Pit bulls kill more than all other breeds combined, but rank highest on the ATTS test: food for thought!!When officials allow pit bull breeders to evaluate pit bulls for safety, the inmates are running the asylum.I would be more than willing to meet with any of you in order to go over the basics about pit bulls, about their undisputed and well-documented physical and behavioral characteristics, and about the undisputed and well-documented severity of pit bull attacks.I would also be willing to put together an information packet for you.And to try to set up meetings with medical personnel who could perhaps dispel the magical thrall of all of the obscene garbage about “therapy dogs,” “nanny dogs,” “family dogs” that seems to have hypnotized and mesmerized too many public officials -- who seem to believe that the only known cure for nursing home residents suffering from the blues is to have their faces licked by Staffordshire Terriers.Start paying attention to what the doctors who must treat these horrific wounds have long been saying:
ANDREW FENTON, M.D“As a practicing emergency physician, I have witnessed countless dog bites. Invariably, the most vicious and brutal attacks I have seen have been from the pit bull breed. Many of the victims have been children. In a recent study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, pit bull attacks accounted for more ER visits than all other breeds combined.In young children, the most common part of the body injured was the face. Numerous studies have proven that the number-one cause of dog bite fatalities is the pit bull breed.”
DR. CHRISTOPHER DEMAS“Bites from pit bulls inflict much more damage, multiple deep bites and ripping of flesh and are unlike any other domestic animal I've encountered. Their bites are devastating - close to what a wildcat or shark would do.”
DR. PATRICK BYRNE (specializes in facial reconstructive surgery at John's Hopkins Hospital)“I can't think of a single injury of this nature that was incurred by any other species [breed] other than a pit bull or a Rottweiler--one hundred percent of the cases I've seen in six years on the faculty here at Johns Hopkins….They're similar actually to motor vehicle accidents, except the bony trauma isn't as bad, but the soft tissue injury is usually worse."Or from this distinguished Australian veterinarian and animal welfare advocate:
DR HUGH WIRTH (RSPCA Victoria president)The RSPCA has renewed calls for a ban on American pit bulls after a man was attacked and his pet dog killed yesterday.
RSPCA Victoria president Dr Hugh Wirth said the dogs were a menace and were not suitable as pets for anyone.
"They are time bombs waiting for the right circumstances,'' Dr Wirth said."The American pit bull terrier is lethal because it was a breed that was developed purely for dog fighting, in other words killing the opposition."They should never have been allowed into the country. They are an absolute menace."Is this news to you?? Then you have been living in the fairytale universe concoted by the pit bull lobby. Welcome back to reality!!During your next conversation with a pit bull fanatic, confront them with the data from this devastating new study by a large team of clinicians in Texas.Remember: PUBLIC SAFETY FIRST. The insane demands of the pit bull lobby: DEAD LAST.To the members of the medical community who are reading this letter: your immediate and ORGANIZED action is required.To the members of the educational community who are reading this letter: your immediate and ORGANIZED action is required.To the members of the legal community who are reading this letter: your immediate and ORGANIZED action is required.To the members of the law-enforcement community who are reading this letter: your immediate and ORGANIZED action is required.The national response to 9/11 was to prevent another attack.The national response to the national health emergency caused by pit bulls is to encourage further attacks.Ipswich is famous for many things -- its piping plovers, bald eagles, its magnificent shoreline and marshes, its clam chowder, its antique homes.Is there some compelling reason why you want your town to be notorious as a place where pits roam around terrorizing people? As a pit bull factory?Please start doing your jobs. Otherwise you may find yourself explaining your collective failure to grieving parents.I look toward to hearing from each of you.
Ian Pepper, PhD
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