A New Witch Hunt in Massachusetts
August 25, 2009, 3:50PM MT
By Katie Bray, Best Friends Network Volunteer
A proposed breed discriminatory bylaw in Mashpee, Massachusetts, calls for the destruction of newborn puppies...
A New Witch Hunt in Massachusetts
The City of Mashpee will hear an alarming breed discriminatory bylaw at its Annual Town Meeting on October 19, 2009.
This disturbing bylaw includes claims that certain breeds have “a strong instinct for dominance” and a prey drive that results in “aggressive pursuit of . . . human children”. These statements made in Section 1 of the proposed bylaw are reckless and entirely unfounded. Even more appalling is subparagraph (i) under Section 4 of the proposed bylaw. It reads:
“In the event [a pit bull type dog has] a litter, the owner or keeper (i) must deliver the puppies to the Town Kennel for destruction. . . . Any pit bull puppies kept contrary to the provisions of this subsection are subject to immediate impoundment and disposal. . . .”.
Best Friends Animal Society feels compelled to emphasize that the aim of this bylaw is to hunt down all dogs that have the appearance of a certain breed of dog and destroy any offspring. This bylaw is a representation of misinformed policy-makers and public making panic-induced decisions without consideration of civil liberties and reason. It takes on a school of thought similar to the witch hunts that took place in Massachusetts over three hundred years ago whereby paranoia and panic is taking over logic and reason. These assertions and recommendations are counterproductive to ensuring the safety of town residents and are wholly unsupported by any scientific evidence.
Your Action Needed to Prevent Breed Discrimination
To Massachusetts Residents
We implore Mashpee residents to contact your town representatives regarding this proposal. Contact information is listed below.
Request More Effective Legislation
Best Friends opposes canine profiling as it does not reduce dog bite incidents nor effectively manage dangerous dogs. Rather than breed-discriminatory restrictions, legislators should mirror good generic dangerous dog/reckless owner laws that have been enacted in Illinois and Minnesota.
Some of these laws include regulations that:
• Protect innocent dogs and responsible owners.
• Encourage residents to spay/neuter their pets.
• Effectively identify and manage truly dangerous dogs.
• Restrict tethering.
• Enforce stricter consequences for dog fighting.
• Prevent reckless owners from having dogs.
1. Provide your name and address
Legislators want to know that you are one of the people they represent.
2. Ask for specific action
Ask members to oppose any ordinance that bans or regulates a specific breed of dog.
3. Give reasons and examples
• Chose from the list below or share your own. Remember to be always be respectful and avoid being emotional. This is your chance to educate someone about truly effective ways to manage dangerous dogs.
• It is often difficult for even experts to determine the breed of a dog-particularly with mixed breed dogs. Click here to find the pit bulls on the web. Many dogs are misidentified and confiscated simply for their appearance.
• Breed discriminatory laws cause unintended hardship to responsible owners of friendly dogs that happen to fall within the regulated breed category.
• Breed-discriminatory laws compromise public safety by requiring officers to enforce regulation on dogs that may or may not be dangerous instead of investing resources into proven, effective tactics that make the community safer.
• A dog is an individual with its own personality. It should be judged on its temperament and not its appearance.
Studies of pre and post breed ban dog-bite-rates in the United Kingdom and Spain concluded that their pit bull breed ban had no effect whatsoever on reducing dog bites.
Italy recently revoked its breed ban stating the ban had no scientific justification.
Calgary, Canada has lowest dog bite rates in 25 years, without enacting BDL.
Contact Town Selectmen and City Representatives Today!
City of Mashpeehttp://www.ci.mashpee.ma.us/Pages/index
The ordinance will be discussed at the Annual Town Meeting at the Mashpee High School at 7:00 p.m. on October 19, 2009.
Contact Mashpee Selectmen here!
Mashpee Town Hall, 16 Great Neck Road North, Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: (508) 539-1400
Board of Selectivebos@ci.mashpee.ma.us
Deborah Dami, Town Clerktownclerk@ci.mashpee.ma.us
Thank you for taking action for animals!
Additional Information and Resources
Join the Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog campaign to help put an end to breed discrimination.
Learn more about breed bans and dog bite facts at the National Canine Research Council.
Photographs by Crissa Cook and Katie Bray
Posted by Katie Bray, Best Friends Volunteer