RDOWS POSITION STATEMENT ON BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION (Updated, Revised)

October 8, 2007

RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS OF THE WESTERN STATES

 

P.O. Box 1406  Newport, WA 99156Web Site http://www.povn.com/rdows E-mail US rdows@povn.comBlog https://rdows.wordpress.com  E-mail List http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rdows Cherie Graves, Chairwoman, WA, (509) 447-2821Judy Schreiber-Dwornick, Assistant to the Chair, Director at Large, rdowsdirectoratlarge@gmail.comHermine Stover, Secretary, Press Liaison, CA, hermine@endangeredspecies.comArkansas Director, Roger Schnyer  cajun9@sbcglobal.netCalifornia Director, Jan Dykema bestuvall@sbcglobal.netIllinois Director, Elizabeth Pensgard bpensgard@yahoo.comIndiana Director, Charles Coffman candkcoffman@comcast.netIowa Director, Leisa Boysen rdows_iowa@yahoo.comMississippi Director, Dan Crutchfield farmer1@telepak.netNevada Director, Ken Sondej 4winds@viawest.netOhio Director, Tiffany Skotnicky ohdirrdows@yahoo.comOklahoma Director, Jade Harris aadrlegislation@yahoo.com

Tennessee Director, Gina Cotton ginacotton@msn.com

Texas Director, Alvin Crow crobx@austin.rr.com

POSITION STATEMENT ON BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION ã

Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States was formed October 15, 1989 to protect the rights, and interests of dog owners. Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States opposes breed specific legislation (BSL) on legal, and moral grounds, and upon the Rules of Reason that all laws must meet. Our position is that every dog owner is responsible for protecting the public from his/her dog.

Our research shows that in the majority of severe or fatal dog attacks there had been numerous, previous reports made to Animal Control that were not acted upon. Our research further shows that as shocking, and traumatic as severe or fatal dog attacks are, they are relatively uncommon occurrences in comparison to other causes of severe injury, or fatalities in the United States, given that the vast majority of Americans are dog owners.  The likelihood of any pure-bred, registered dog being involved in a fatal attack upon a human being is infinitesimal.

MORALITY·       BSL is based upon the urban myth of the “pit bull”, which is not a recognized breed of dog. Under the guise of banning “pit bulls” any breed may be thus identified. There are at least seventy-five actual breeds, plus any mixed breed now either banned from ownership, or restricted in ownership in the United States. That is about 1/5 of all recognized breeds.·        BSL is inflammatory, and is based upon unproven beliefs, not facts.·        BSL is under inclusive in that it only recognizes a threat to society from certain  breeds, or mixed breeds of dogs. ·        BSL is over inclusive, as dogs are as varied within their breed, as are human beings within our ethnicity.·        BSL by stipulating, and naming specific breeds as being dangerous indemnifies all of the unnamed breeds as being safe by exclusion. ·        BSL creates a false sense of public safety.·        BSL does not address the irresponsible dog owner.·        BSL punishes the law abiding dog owner.·        BSL orders the death of dogs based solely upon their physical appearance.·        BSL assumes that human beings are inferior to, and incapable of properly maintaining dogs of specific breeds, or appearance. 

LEGALITY·        BSL has been ruled unconstitutional in Court venues across the United States on grounds ranging from vagueness, to an infringement of property rights, to equal treatment, equal protection.·        Dogs have been the domesticated traditional property of human beings for well over thirty-five thousand years. This tradition gives legal standing to dog owners based upon the IX Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America.·        BSL violates the rights granted under the IV Amendment to the Bill of Rights.·        BSL violates the rights granted under the V Amendment of the Bill of Rights.·        BSL violates the rights granted under VI Amendment to the Bill of Rights.·        BSL violates the rights granted under VIII  Amendment to the Bill of Rights.·        BSL violates the rights granted under XIV Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

·        BSL creates a whole new criminal class, the dog owner

·        BSL sets a legal precedent that unchallenged empowers the enacting body to add any, or all other dog breeds, or even domestic species of animals to the prohibition on ownership.

         Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1521, 267 Cal. Rptr. 2d 755. The court found there was not sufficient evidence to prove Pit Bulls have an inherent nature of being dangerous.Carter v. Metro North Assocs. (1998) 255 A.D. 2d 251; 680 N.Y.S.2d 299 A New York appellate court determined that the alleged propensities of Pit Bull Terriers to behave more viciously than other breeds had not been authoritatively established.American Canine Foundation litigated the city of Huntsville Alabama in 2002 in a case that was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. Huntsville v. Four Pit Bull Puppies
(Ala. 08-30-02), No.1010459, unreported.  The court affirmed a trial court decision that American Pit Bull Terriers were not dangerous.  
        On July 16th 2003 ACF brought forth a constitutional challenge against Ohio’s state law O.R.C. 955:11 that declares the Pit Bull vicious. The case was heard in the Toledo Municipal Court. The court found the American Pit Bull Terrier was not dangerous, and granted Pit Bull owners due process.  Tellings v State of Ohio CRB02-15267In August 2004 a case American Canine Foundation assisted in was heard by the Ohio Supreme Court. State v. Cowan 103 Ohio St. 3d 144 , 2004 – Ohio – 4777  The court found ORC 955:22 violative of the right to be heard as applied to ORC955:11 which declared a specific breed of dog vicious in Ohio. The decision struck down Ohio’s breed specific legislation at the state level. Ohio was the only state to have this type of legislation at the state level.

TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 21 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1983

§ 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia

TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 21 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1982

§ 1982. Property rights of citizens

All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.

RULE OF REASON

  • Laws must be reasonable.
  • It is not reasonable to write animal behaviors, legal punishments, and criminal labels for animals into statutes that are enacted to structure human society.
  • Animals must not be criminalized under laws that are intended to protect human rights, and to control human behaviors.
  • It is unreasonable to write animal behavior into laws that no animal has the capacity to understand, answer to, or to function under.
  • It is unreasonable to mete out criminal labels to animals, i.e. dangerous, or potentially dangerous.  It is unreasonable to prescribe punishments to animals under our laws. 
  • It is unreasonable to remove the human owner from blame, or culpability for the actions of his/her animal(s). 
  • It is unreasonable to assume that every dog of a given breed, or physical appearance will behave in exactly the same manner.
  •  It is unreasonable to assume that every owner of every dog of a given breed, or physical appearance is irresponsible, negligent, or careless with his/her animal(s).
  • Human error, carelessness, or negligence is the underlying factor behind every dog attack.
  • Given the actual figures of severe dog attacks, or fatalities related to dog attacks per capita in the United States of America, dogs are not the threat to human life that the sensationalistic media, and urban myth would portray.
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