There is an ordinance in place that says Robert Wade can’t have his dogs. Not because they’ve done anything wrong, but simply because they exist. Read that again, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY EXIST.
Robert’s rescue dogs, Diamond and Molly, do not run loose. They have not bitten anyone nor shown any signs of aggression. They are loved and well-cared for, they are part of a family. But the City of Dayton, Kentucky has decided that Diamond and Molly must go – simply because of what they look like. Because they have “characteristics” that deem them unworthy of a loving family in the City of Dayton. Mayor Virgil Boruske has stated that he is just enforcing the law, stating “We’ve got to uphold the ordinance… They cannot be in town. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do.” That law is “BSL” (Breed Specific Legislation), which has been proven time and time again to be an ineffective tool in doing anything except punishing loving owners and innocent dogs in a feeble attempt to avoid the underlying issues.
If a law has been proven ineffective in achieving its stated objectives, then I would expect responsible lawmakers to seek alternatives that actually serve to achieve their purpose – in this case, keeping their constituents safe.
On May 16, 2012, the City Council in Cincinnati voted to repeal the city’s breed ban, following the historic repeal of a statewide breed discriminatory statute in Ohio, three months earlier. Over the past two years, more than 100 municipalities across the USA have overturned bans and other restrictions that target dogs in the pit bull family, and opposition to BSL comes from sources as diverse as the American Bar Association, animal rescue groups, the Center for Disease Control and even President Barack Obama, who said in August that the laws are largely ineffective while doing nothing to improve public safety, and are often a “waste of public resources”. Nineteen states have passed laws to prevent local governments from passing breed-specific legislation, (with a handful more considering similar prohibitions), making it illegal for cities to pass bans targeting pit bulls or any other breed. The White House has chimed in, stating “Breed Specific Legislation is a bad idea…“, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, “We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources…As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.” With so many US communities increasingly ditching pit bull bans, I would hope that Dayton, KY, and the State of Kentucky, will follow suit.
BSL is based on the idea that breed restrictions of any kind will result in increased community safety, which they have never done, wherever they have been implemented around the country and across the globe. These regulations are also based on the discredited belief that one kind of dog is more likely to bite or injure a human being than another kind of dog. A report released in April 2012 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), based upon an analysis of 40 years of dog bite studies from Europe and North America, affirms this.
If you want to ensure a safe dog environment in the community of Dayton, why not address the real issue and step up to do the work that is needed to facilitate a safe environment for your citizens. Deal with Dayton’s reported drug problems which historically go hand-in-hand with illicit and abusive behavior toward dogs. Ensure there are no backyard breeders in the community. Punish the irresponsible owners and make an example out of them, (not innocent dogs and responsible owners), when specific situations and incidents arise within Dayton city limits.
Do the hard work necessary to do the job right – BE AN EXAMPLE of what is possible when you take the time to implement positive change. People will notice. If bully breeds and mixes can serve in our schools, nursing homes, and hospitals as therapy and service dogs, then they certainly have a place in our communities. This legislation is outdated and discriminatory, and the ways it is being enforced in communities are barbaric – forcibly removing family pets from their loving homes, and in many cases, holding them in isolation pens and then killing them. Please take time to be the voice for these innocent dogs. Call Mayor Boruske (859) 491-1600 and ask the hard questions, let the Dayton City Council know this law needs to be repealed and Robert Wade reunited with his dogs.
Here’s an idea, take it old school and write a respectful, passionate letter, tell your story of the dogs you love and how you would feel if someone took them away? Write those letters and send pictures to the Mayor and members of City Council at 514 Sixth Avenue, Dayton, KY 41074.
(Once you are on the ‘Meet your Council’ page, simply click the name below each photo to send a note to Mayor Boruske and Council Members.)
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