Anti-B.S.L. letter aimed at the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury
Here is the letter in response to proposed B.S.L. (for the 2nd time):
Well, folks, it’s that time again. Juror Russell Young, of the Pointe Coupee Police Jury, has decided it’s time to once again put forth his personal agenda of banning all “pit bulls” due to his own personal dislike of such dogs. This push for Breed Specific Legislation (B.S.L.) also comes at a time when we approach the anniversary of the death of 4-yr-old Michael Blaise Landry on April 10, 2009. For those who are unfamiliar with Blaise’s story, he was savagely attacked by 3 Boxers while playing in his own yard. He died as a direct result of this attack. One may ask why I bring this up. You see, Juror Russell Young wants to use this attack as a rallying cry to ban “pit bulls”, but if his proposed legislation was in effect at the time of this incident, Blaise would have still been killed.
Several problems lie in Mr. Young’s proposed idea of B.S.L. The first, and most important, is that there is no such breed of dog as a “pit bull”. The term is just as generic a term as “retriever” and “hound” and “terrier”. The term “pit bull”, in its modern-day usage, refers to several different breeds of dogs (American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Bully, and even the American Bulldog), any mix of these breeds, and also to any dog displaying common physical characteristics regardless of its true lineage. So my questions are these: Who, exactly, is deemed an “expert” in the field of dog breeds that will be responsible for putting the “pit bull” label on all parish resident dogs? What recourse will an owner have when their Mastiff/English Bulldog/Lab mix is deemed a “pit bull” and subsequently confiscated and destroyed? What happens to the responsible families that own “pit bulls” having no bite record to their names, when they are forced to turn their dogs in to see them euthanized for simply being a “pit bull”?
The second problem arises with the issue of enforcement. How, exactly, is this proposed B.S.L. going to be enforced? It is no secret that the parish only has a single Animal Control officer, and there is no actual Animal Control facility with the ability to house all confiscated “pit bulls” before they are euthanized. In regard to enforcing the ban, will there be a weekly round-up? Where will the confiscated dogs be taken? Who will be in charge of the mass euthanasia of these dogs? And if the existing leash ordinance and laws pertaining to neglect and abuse are incapable of being properly enforced, how will adding yet a new law to the books change things?
The third, and also quite important, issue comes about with the actual outcome of such proposed B.S.L. Banning “pit bulls” will not stop irresponsible owners from acquiring dogs. It will have no real impact on dogs being allowed to roam loose and be a nuisance, or danger, to others. It will not stop dog attacks from happening. It will not force irresponsible and negligent owners to change their ways, nor will it punish them for their actions. And it will not save other children like Blaise.
The fourth issue is a personal one, and it is that it is just not fair legislation. Responsible “pit bull” owners, who keep their dogs properly contained in their homes or yards, walk them properly restrained with a leash, and love them with all their heart, are forced to turn their dogs in only to have them mercilessly killed. At the same time, irresponsible dog owners, whose dogs are running the roads being a nuisance and menace, are ignored.
B.S.L. has already been enacted in various cities and towns across the United States. And yet, today, those same laws are being repealed because of their ineffectiveness and the trouble in enforcing such laws.
My suggestion for the Pointe Coupee Police Jury is to look into enacting a parish-wide leash law (if there isn’t one already), or tighten up enforcement of the current leash law. It needs to allocate funds to hire more than one Animal Control officer. It needs to take a close look at and change the punishments applied to owners who refuse to properly restrain and contain their dogs or whose dogs are responsible for bites inflicted onto others. It needs to impose strict fines that will affect an owner’s pocketbook, or even give no choice but to have the owner surrender the dog. And most importantly, it needs to hold ALL dog owners, regardless of breed/mix owned, accountable for their actions as well as the actions of their dogs.
You see, in the case of the Boxers that were allowed to run loose and subsequently attack and kill Blaise Landry, the owners received no punishment more than having their dogs euthanized. To put it bluntly, there were no consequences for the negligent actions that resulted in the tragic death of a beautiful 4-yr-old child with the face of an angel. While two owners lost their dogs, nothing was done to prevent them from moving on with their lives and allowing them to acquire future canine pets. For Mr. and Mrs. Landry, time will forever stand still on that day their beloved son was savagely killed before their eyes.
If Mr. Young really wants to make a difference in his parish, then he needs to look at the facts and acknowledge them, without having his own personal likes and dislikes clouding his judgment.
I would like to conclude by bringing to light Russell Young and Meme Meche’s insinuation that “pit bull” owners are nothing more than irresponsible thugs looking for attention. Here is a description of myself: 5 ft. tall, blonde hair, green eyes, female, college educated, veterinary technician, stay-at-home-mom to 3 wonderful young boys, and proud American Pit Bull Terrier owner. What they portray me to be to the media, and what I am, are two very different things.
The Hokey Pokey. That's what it's all about.