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Old 01-29-2008, 07:29 AM
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Default Aurora Colorado 2-Year Report

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January 28, 2008

Aurora Colorado 2-Year Report

Last week, the City of Aurora Colorado began the 2-year analysis on the City's ban on "pit bull-type" dogs (and by their definition, they included 10 different breeds under their definition of "pit bull").

If you read the media reports, you'd think that their ordinance was really working. Based on their reports:

-- The city euthanized 636 'pit bulls' in the first year of the ban (2006) and 173 in 2007

-- The number of registered 'pit bulls' in the city dropped from 498 in 2006 to 355 in 2007

-- In 2005 (the year before the ban), there were 27 bites by 'pit bulls", that number dropped to 8 in 2006 and was back up to 15 in 2007.

--- The ordinance has also paid for itself because of the increased fines and revenue coming in off of 'pit bull' owners is more than the city is spending enforcing the law.

Basically the same information was presented in the other news story covering this as well.

However, my friend Sonya out in the area emailed me a copy of the entire two-year report and it actually shows a dramatically different story.

In 2005 (the year before the ban), there were 137 dog bites in Aurora -- 27 from "pit bull type dogs" and 110 from "all others". The ban went into affect in February 2006. In 2006, there were also 137 dog bites, 8 from 'pit bulls" and 129 from all other breeds. In 2007, there were 172 dog bites, 15 from 'pit bulls' and 157 from "all other" breeds.

So, since the ban, the city has seen a 26% increase in overall dog bites and a 43% increase in bites by all non-'pit bull' dogs.

What may be even worse is that the city also ended a 3 year trend of declining dog bite numbers by enforcing the ban.

So I ask, is the city better off because of their ban?! Are people safer? I'd say a 25% increase in dog bites over 2 years of the ban would be a resounding no.

And yet, the media (who I assume had access to the same report I got), only reported the decline in the number of bites by "pit bulls" - -and failed to mention the dramatic increase in bites by all other breeds of dogs. Well, the city killed nearly 1000 'pit bulls' in the two years of the ban -- OF COURSE thenumber bites by those dogs is going to decrease. There are a lot fewer of them. The real story here, from a public safety perspective, is that the number of bites went UP. Dramatically.

I want to note that this is the same result as what happened in San Francisco when animal control declared their law mandating spay/neuter of all pit bulls was "working", even though their total number of dog bites had doubled in the first half of the year.

This is the same result that occured in Council Bluffs, IA when animal control declared their BSL was "working" because "pit bull' bites were down following their new law in spite of the reality that their total number of dog bites went up.

There are a couple of other things about the report I find interesting.

1) I find it odd that a city with a three year decline in dog bites would enact new legislation that has been proven in other areas to make matters worse.

2) If you look at the number of killed dogs, and the number of licensed dogs, there were approximately 1400 pit bulls in the city of Aurora (there are likely many more than that, but that is just a total of the confiscated dogs and the ones that are licensed in the city. I think it's fair to say that many people are still hiding their "pit bulls" without registering them or left the city voluntarily with the ban).

Even if this is the true number of 'pit bulls' in the city (it's guaranteed to be low), less than 2% of all the 'pit bulls' in the city were responsible for any type of bites the year prior to the ban (and this number would be high and assumes that every single 'pit bull' bite in 2005 was by a different dog, when likely there were a few dogs responsible for multiple bites). This all means the legislation affected hundreds if not thousands of owners of these dogs that weren't a problem at all. All to cause an increase in total dog bites in the city.

This is why people who oppose BSL oppose the ordininances. Any law that by its nature makes criminals out of people, 98-99% of whom are not problems in any way, is bad policy. This takes a fairly large amount of resources to enforce legislation against innocent people -- and in virtually all cases has caused the total number of dog bites to go up in these communities. People who oppose BSL actually really DO want improved public safety. BSL is a threat to public safety.

My hope is that the city of Aurora looks at these numbers and repeals their ban. I also sincerely wish that the media would give an accurate account of the entire report, instead of glossing over the negative numbers. Is accuracy too much to ask for?

UPDATE: The Denver Post has posted a story on this as well...and once again they failed to mention that the total number of dog bites had gone up 30+% since the enacting of the ban. I think it's important to note that these reporters should have received the same 5 page report that I got and apparently not one reporter either read the actual report or found the dramatic increase in dog bites to be relevant information.

Posted at 07:24 AM in Failed BSL, Media Irresponsibility | Permalink
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:11 AM
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GREAT link to a GREAT blog! I am posting the link elsewhere to spread the word.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:22 AM
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That was very interesting, thanks for posting!
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:56 PM
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And send the info to the news channel that did the original yellow journalism.
Maybe if they have any scruples they will post the whole thing and retract the orginal praise.
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:32 AM
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I don't doubt it is true, but I do wonder . . . why did the total dog bites go up? Bits from non-bully breeds would, of course. But why the total? IT just makes me curious . . . what is it about breed bans that make total bites go up? Are the ACs to busy busting pit bulls? Are people less careful around dogs? If we knew why it would probably give us a good arguement against BSL .. .
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
I don't doubt it is true, but I do wonder . . . why did the total dog bites go up? Bits from non-bully breeds would, of course. But why the total? IT just makes me curious . . . what is it about breed bans that make total bites go up? Are the ACs to busy busting pit bulls? Are people less careful around dogs? If we knew why it would probably give us a good arguement against BSL .. .

My guess would be A-bully breeds were banned so now they had to call the mixes something else.
B-The people who buy dogs because they are big mean tough dogs, just went to anothe breed they saw as big mean and tough and made more monsters with their irresponsible ownership.

My vote is for A
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
I don't doubt it is true, but I do wonder . . . why did the total dog bites go up? Bits from non-bully breeds would, of course. But why the total? IT just makes me curious . . . what is it about breed bans that make total bites go up? Are the ACs to busy busting pit bulls? Are people less careful around dogs? If we knew why it would probably give us a good arguement against BSL .. .
This is a great question - and an important one. It's all a matter of how resources are allocated.

If you look at the very bottom of the post, there is the note about how -- at best -- 98-99% of the 'pit bulls' in Aurora were not problem dogs. This is going to be pretty consistant among most cities. When Animal control starts spending its time, energy and resources trying to enforce laws on a group of dog owners, 98-99% of whom aren't ever going to cause you problems, you take animal control resources away from other areas and dealing with problem area dogs. So instead of spending time with dogs that are neglected or abused, or gathering up strays, or dealing with irresponsible owners (typical animal control work), they are checking out pit bulls -- most of which wouldn't ever be a problem.

Most cities have limited animal control resources. The only way to help the dog bite problem is for them to foucs those resources on the highest risk dogs/owners. Any time you create an ordinance that affects a huge number of people that will never be a safety issue, this is going to take resources away from important safety issues.

Did I explain that well? I'm not completely caffinated yet this morning.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdogblog View Post
This is a great question - and an important one. It's all a matter of how resources are allocated.

If you look at the very bottom of the post, there is the note about how -- at best -- 98-99% of the 'pit bulls' in Aurora were not problem dogs. This is going to be pretty consistant among most cities. When Animal control starts spending its time, energy and resources trying to enforce laws on a group of dog owners, 98-99% of whom aren't ever going to cause you problems, you take animal control resources away from other areas and dealing with problem area dogs. So instead of spending time with dogs that are neglected or abused, or gathering up strays, or dealing with irresponsible owners (typical animal control work), they are checking out pit bulls -- most of which wouldn't ever be a problem.

Most cities have limited animal control resources. The only way to help the dog bite problem is for them to foucs those resources on the highest risk dogs/owners. Any time you create an ordinance that affects a huge number of people that will never be a safety issue, this is going to take resources away from important safety issues.

Did I explain that well? I'm not completely caffinated yet this morning.
That would be my guess too . . . but is there a way we could prove it, I wonder?
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
That would be my guess too . . . but is there a way we could prove it, I wonder?
The proof is in the results I suppose. I have the stats lined up for the UK, San Francisco, Aurora, and Council Bluffs IA. The results are very similar in all places.

I also have some reverse stats where the county where Sandusky, OH quit enforcing their BSL during the Toledo v Tellings case for fear of the lack of Constitutionality and saw decreases in dog bites during both years that they suspended the ban -- and indeed, when they re-looked at instituting the ban following the Ohio State Supreme Court's overturn of the Tellings case, they decided against reinstituting the ordinance.

I'm trying to pull a few more case studies together (Kansas City being one). The proof becomes in the results...with more or less speculation at this point as to why.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:49 AM
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I'm going to be interested to see the justifications in keeping bans around if it is managed to be proven that overall dog bites go up.

KC proper has had a ban in place for quite some time now (or at least KCK, I think KCMO was the one that just enacted a new ban last winter). Yet the news still loves to crow about all these "vicious dog attacks" that are still happening and in one case when the dog couldn't be proven to be any form of pit, they actually pulled out FILE video of a different story that showed a "pit" hitting a fence to bark at the camera. How's that for sensationalism?
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