Vicious Dog or Vicious Law?
This past Monday, I - as usual - attended the City Council Committee meeting. When the time came for the much-anticipated Safety Committee to convene, Chairman Rolletta opened the floor to the citizens in attendance. For about an hour, we heard testimony from about a dozen citizens whose lives have been thrown through a wood chipper thanks to the enforcement of our controversial ban on owning "pitbulls". A lawyer who has taken it upon herself to represent the citizens affected by this law - and the administration thereof - pointed out that the term "pitbull" actually has been used to target a number of breeds. In essence, "pitbull" has evolved from a reference to a specific breed to a label now affixed - at the discretion of an enforcer, it turns out - to any dog that may be perceived as intimidating.
Horror story after horror story of alleged harrassment by an authority figure for the "crime" of owning one of these dogs captivated me. One man even described an incident wherein he was told to visit the police station to retrieve his dog only to meet handcuffs upon doing so. As he so eloquently asked (and I'm paraphrasing): "if the dog was vicious, then why were they going to let me bring it home?" I'm not educated enough about animals to determine for myself whether or not there is such a thing as a "vicious dog", but I sincerely hope that all future legislation pertinent to this issue is based on the evidence as well as what is in the legitimate best interests of all citizens, not paranoia.
I was happy to see that Councilman Rath volunteered his services to the concerned citizens. They need their voice to be heard, and I hope that they remain persistent in their pursuit of justice and a change in our laws. At the end of the day, if a law is doing more public harm than good - or if it is having no impact in achieving its supposed objective -, then it is time to reconsider such.
I will be paying close attention to this moving forward, you can rest assured of that. Until next time...