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Old 01-24-2008, 07:10 PM
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DryCreek DryCreek is offline
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Default Ohio HB 366

January 24, 2008

Ohio HB 366

I just got this note in from someone who attended the Ohio House Bill Hearings yesterday regarding HB 366. I'm just going to post the comments in their entirety with a small comment at the end:

I attended and spoke at the proponent testimony on House Bill 366. There were about 10 others that spoke as well, including but not limited to: somebody representing the Ohio Veterinary Medicince Association (2400 members), somebody representing HSUS, For The Love of Pits owner (Shana Klein), somebody who owns pits and uses them for community service in Lake County, and somebody who brought their pit bull with them discussing how this dog is going through therapy dog training. I felt it went well. The representatives were asking many questions, including some that grew up in neighborhoods where free roaming pit bulls were a problem. I even felt one of the representatives was consistently asking questions that further helped the testimony. At one point, the question was asked, "Are all of you here to just get pit bulls out of the state law?". The answer was yes, this is where it starts.

On another note, please let all readers know that if they ever go through this, please provide solutions, solutions, solutions. All representatives took a lot of notes on solutions based testimony and asked for further clarification. They set their pens down when personal stories with a lot of emotion came into play. We all love our dogs, specifically pit bulls, but they are not looking for our love of these animals, they want solutions that can work.

This is certainly great news that the House Committee seemed willing to listen and that such a great, well-rounded group showed up to present. I think the writer's note is an excellent reminder in that we cannot always continue to just defend "pit bulls" in these committee meetings, but we must be willing to talk about viable solutions to aid in solving their problems. (Note, I know that the scale of the problem is often debateable, but I do think there is some merit to talking about dog bites, not just fatalities).

However, at this point I want to remind people to be very cautious in the solutions you offer. There has been some really bad legislation written (Louisville) based on these "solutions".

While a great number of the problems can be solved with increased animal control and proper enforcement, I also think we should focus on case studies that have actually worked in other places. Calgary, for instance, has a great case study on the value of building higher licensing, doing a better job of adopting out animals (and getting animals home prior to even going up for adoption), providing more opportunities for animal socialization, and enforcing basic ordinance -- and using this to dramatically reduce the number of bite incidences in the community.

New Jersey and New Hampshire have shown the value of state-wide voluntary low-cost spay/neuter progrmas that have significantly lowered overall animal control costs and lowered the overall population of animals -- without creating unenforcable legislation.

There are great case studies available for people to use to provide real-world solutions these problems with programs (often they are programs, and not laws) that actually work. We MUST focus on these as the solutions...and be careful what other tools we unwittingly give legislators for lawmaking.

Posted at 11:07 AM in Policy | Permalink

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