Lancaster, CA Does Not Care About Responsible Dog Owners

29 01 2009

tax-byline-picGuest post by: Tax, The Wonder Dog Spike’s Little Brother

This week in a unanimous vote, the city of Lancaster, California passed an ordinance requiring all owners of pit bulls, Rottweilers, and mixed breed dogs deemed “potentially dangerous” to:

  • Have microchip implants and vaccinations at the owner’s expense.
  • Be kept indoors or in a securely fenced yard or enclosure constructed at the owner’s expense.
  • Wear a muzzle and a 4-foot-long leash held by a controlling adult when taken off the owner’s property.
  • Complete an approved obedience course at the owner’s expense.
  • Be spayed or neutered at the owner’s expense.
  • Be covered by liability insurance valued at $300,000 per occurrence obtained at the owner’s expense.

Owners who do comply could find themselves facing the impoundment of their pet, and they may be required to pay a $500 to $1,000 fine plus other costs, obtain a $300,000 liability insurance policy, or possibly FORFEIT THE RIGHT TO OWN ANY DOG for up to three years.  If animal control determines that an impounded dog is too dangerous to be returned to their home, it will be destroyed without the possibility of appeal on behalf of the family.  I do not have much contact with animal control officers, since I am a good dog, but the encounters I have had do not lead me to believe they are qualified to make such a determination.

Typically, Spike, Mom, and I support many of those things to be done by responsible families of ALL dogs, this ordinance targets two specific breeds and allows for personnel untrained in canine behavior to determine a dog’s temperament.  I also think that we can agree that spaying and neutering of dogs and cats is the best way to reduce the pet overpopulation, but breed specific legislation is discriminatory and wrong.  Just because a dog has doggie parents of a certain breed does not mean that they are mean, evil, vicious, or bad.  Pit bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, and other large breed dogs are no more likely to be “dangerous” than a Shih Tzu,  Poodle, or Pomeranian.  Any behaviorist, trainer or other dog professional can tell you that the environment a dog is raised in has far more to do with their temperament than their breed. In fact, the most vicious and dangerous dog I have ever encountered was a Spitz, and they are not much larger than a Chihuahua.  This ordinance punishes the dogs unfortunate enough to not know any better, rather than the people who allowed their dogs to remain ignorant of how to act in a civilized dog community.

The council noted that the SIZE of the dog was why certain breeds were targeted, due to the severity of injury they could cause.  Councilwoman Sherry Marquez said, “You can kick a vicious Chihuahua out of the way. You can’t kick a vicious Rottweiler out of the way.”  The mayor of the town, R. Rex Parris admitted, “We are doing this to deliberately harass a certain group of people because that’s what the citizens want us to do.”  He also noted that the ordinance was unfair, but he was willing to “bear the weight of it,” citing the city’s inability to control gang activities as the motivation for the breed discrimination ordinance.

So, I gather from their remarks that they are unable to control a gang problem, and due to the popularity of certain breeds of dogs with gang members, they are punishing all responsible families who happen to own the discriminated breeds, as they intend to harass suspected gang members seen with a Rottweiler or a pit bull.  Even though I am just a Yellow Lab with a “chasing problem,” I see some flaws in their logic.  They are trampling on the rights of everyone in an attempt to single out a few bad apples in the community.  In fact, due to the uncertainty of Spike’s lineage, he could be included in the “problem dogs” this ordinance is trying to eliminate.  Councilman Ed Sileo was quoted as saying, “It’s not perfect. I don’t think there’s a perfect solution.”  Despite the flaws in the legislation, it was passed unanimously and deemed a “good start.”

Mom said that many cities and towns had laws that prevent or severely restrict the presence of certain breeds of dogs.  This is due to a preconceived notion that these breeds are inherently evil, aggressive, or vicious.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list dog bites in their handy Topics menu just “above the fold,” nor anywhere on their main page.  They also note on their “Dog Bite” page, that of the 4.7 million bites annually, only about sixteen, or .00002% of total dog bites, result in death.  Due to the low number of incidents, they can not determine a breed’s likelihood for being vicious.

The biggest problem I find with their ordinance is that it severely restricts these breeds of dogs, targeting a group of people that are living a life in blatant disregard for the laws that currently exist.  Why would a new law matter to them?  Essentially outlawing them will drive the gang members to keep them from socializing their dogs, keep them from visiting the vet for medical attention, keep them from attending training to correct bad behavior, and keep them tied down on chains in the backyard.

As the council members noted, this is just a start.  It starts with pit bulls and Rottweilers, and then it moves on to German Shepherds and Akitas.  No one speaks up, and before you know it, they are outlawing Poodles and Chihuahuas.

Punish the deed, not the breed.

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7 responses

29 01 2009
jaimesmith

Targeting specific breeds is so wrong, I 100% agree with you. Very nice post, as it makes the number one point in arguing with “bully breed” legislation: its not the dog, its the ENVIRONMENT and PEOPLE who RAISE the dog. I feel terrible for people who own those breeds who now have to spend God-only-knows-how-much on a liability insurance policy. I would move out of the city and pay taxes elsewhere if I lived there. This is bull**it.

30 01 2009
selwyn marock

Sorry is this post of yours from the USA or from Germany ,is the year 2009,
or are we we back in 1938?? What you are describing is Adolph Hitler’s policy.Spay and Neuter= Ethnic Cleansing.
It is apparent that this Lunatic Parris is not a full box of chocolates.
I do not beleive that the new president would allow this sort of Blatant Racism.
Also his few fellow councillors are 4 tells me that Lancaster is a very small town.Am I correct? This modern day Hitler must be STOPPED

30 01 2009
Spike

Lancaster is about an hour outside of Los Angeles, but it is located within Los Angeles County in California.

I don’t see race as an issue in this issue, but rather discrimination targeting two breeds of dog.

30 01 2009
selwyn marock

Spike you can call a spade a shovel.I cannot not even think of a decent analogy
herein.
Could this Lunatic stand up in a court of law and state I want to Murder all the
Pits and Rotties,the dogs have not broken any laws but I wish to pxxs the
gangsters off.
What next? the gangsters enjoy Big Macs ,so will he then close down all
the Macdonalds in Lancaster.They ride Harley Davisons ,so now he Bans
Harley Davisons.
Surely if he is not a coward he should just arrest the gangsters and send them
to jail.
I have been fighting this EVIL and HEINOUS piece of legislation for around
6 years now and this is undoubtably the most ridiculous excuse I have heard,
2nd only to the Mayor of another small town ,whose town had never had a dog
attack in its history,but wanted BSL in place ,his reason I quote “just in case”
“ALL that is needed for EVIL to Succeed is that Decent Human Beings do
Nothing”-Edmund Burke
“A Nation is Judged by the way it cares and treats its Animals”-Ghandhi

30 01 2009
wewa

I own 2 large dogs. I know dog owners and work with vets. I am in the pet industry. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but an experienced and educated opinion holds more value for solving a problem in the right way.
I find that certain personalities of owners who own breeds such as Pit Bulls do so because of their own nature.
I do not blame non-pit bull owners, for being discriminatory, as I have seen an inordinate amount of dog fights and fatal or injurious attacks predominantly by pit bulls and their owners. just look at all the news articles that involve these breeds. its not a coincidence.
oddly enough, the pit bull owner is the very one who often doesn’t bother taking them to obedience training as a puppy, tends to chain them in the yard, and will let them run around off-leash in public areas, at the peril of others and their pets.
You can’t ban the human owning a pit so this would be the alternative to making them understand that there is a difference between dog breeds, and that someone who owns a pit, needs to go beyond the average dog owner in training and socialization to make it an acceptable member of the pet community.
If they cannot understand this, they should consider a aquarium instead.

31 01 2009
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2 02 2009
Caring For Chihuahuas

The problem always goes back to a few bad dog owners who do not take responsiblity for their dogs.

It always seems a few bad dog owners always spoil it for the rest of us.

Also the media plays on histeria as well which doesn’t help.

LUKE

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