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Oregon chose to focus on deeds, not breeds

twodogsandacat
March 8th, 2006, 12:12 AM
Last legislative session, Sen. Ryan Deckert, D-Beaverton, planned to introduced legislation that was aimed at pit bulls. There was a well-publicized incident in his district in which a woman was injured while shielding a young boy from a pit bull attack.
But Deckert learned something after he introduced his bill. "I got to meet a lot of great pit bull owners and great pit bull dogs, ones you'd feel as safe and comfortable around as a basset hound," he says. So he created a task force that recommended beefing up state law based on the deed, not the breed.

Pretty smart guy. Full story and link below

Laws deal with 'dangerous dogs'
http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1141694737292240.xml&coll=7

Some places reject entire classes of canines, but Oregon chose to focus on deeds, not breeds
Tuesday, March 07, 2006

When Rufus the colored bull terrier won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Valentine's Day, he became America's sweetheart.
The brawny dog with the egg-shaped head was an instant celebrity, making the rounds of the morning talk shows and eating lunch on a silver platter at Sardi's. This friendly, happy dog is pretty much the canine equivalent of George Clooney: handsome, charming and huggable. But there are cities in America where Rufus and his relatives aren't welcome.

Two weeks ago, Auburn, Wash., declared that 12 breeds, including bull terriers, are "potentially dangerous." These breeds are treated under the city's ordinance as if they've already bitten someone.

The rationale for Auburn's ordinance -- and similar ones around the country -- is that certain breeds are natural-born killers, used by gangsters to terrorize their neighborhoods. "We recognize the fact that there is an element in our society. This is to protect our city from the drug dealers that are using their dogs for the wrong purposes," says Eugene Cerino, the Auburn City Council member who headed the committee that recommended the ordinance. He says Auburn police had to shoot five pit bulls in separate attacks in the past year.

Several hundred U.S. cities have passed breed-specific laws about pit bulls and their relatives. In Denver, it's illegal to own or house a pit bull, pit bull-mix or a dog that just looks like one. More than 400 pit bulls have been confiscated and euthanized by local authorities; almost none of the euthanized dogs had harmed a person or pet. San Francisco is more gentle: While authorities won't kill a well-behaved pit bull, the city passed an ordinance in November requiring pit bulls and pit-bull mixes to be spayed or neutered.

The question is whether it's fair to punish all dogs of one breed for the crimes of a few. The answer depends on just how dangerous you think these dogs are.

"Pit bulls" are a broad class of dog originally bred as butchers' dogs. They became popular in 19th-century England, when they were pitted against bulls in a betting sport. Many of these dogs, including American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and bull terriers, were also used for dog fighting. Although dog fighting has been illegal for decades, it is a cruel and current reality for some animals.

Let's be clear: A lot of these dogs are lovers, not fighters. Meet Dickens, an American Staffordshire terrier, and it's hard to stay afraid for long. Like Rufus, Dickens is a champion show dog. He's owned by Karen Herrold of North Plains but lives with Debbie Sikes of Lyons, who is training him for obedience competition.

This is a friendly, happy snuggle-bear of a dog. He quickly settled his rear end on my lap and his front end on Sikes' while I talked with her.
"I love these dogs," says Sikes, who lives with four American Staffordshire terriers and has put 67 obedience and agility titles on dogs of this breed. "They always want to touch you. They're intelligent and fun and half-clown."

Nature vs. nurture
Whether or not these dogs are dangerous, most experts agree, depends on how they are raised.

"What we see are dogs of all breeds that are involved in serious incidents and great dogs of all breeds that we place in homes every day," says Mike Oswald, director of animal services for Multnomah County.
That doesn't mean there isn't a problem; there are plenty of people who simply want their dogs to be mean.

Just ask Rufus' owner, Barbara Bishop of Holmdel, N.J. "Unfortunately, Rufus is from a breed that criminals sometimes get hold of and try to turn into aggressive dogs, capable of intimidating and attacking people. If, instead of raising a dog right, you do the opposite and chain him out in a yard alone, abuse him, starve him and teach him to attack, you're not going to get a dog like Rufus.

"That's not the dog's breed; that's the breed's owner," Bishop says.
As long as that cycle of violence continues, there will be dangerous dogs. "If dogs are bred indiscriminately to make money or fill a niche in a subculture, it's a recipe for a problem," Oswald says. He adds that there has been an increasing number of fatal attacks on cats and dogs because of these aggressive animals.

So, in city after city, the answer has been to write legislation to protect the public from these dogs with the assumption they are owned by violent people, even if dogs like Dickens and Rufus might unintentionally get caught in the web. But something different happened here.

The Oregon solution
Last legislative session, Sen. Ryan Deckert, D-Beaverton, planned to introduced legislation that was aimed at pit bulls. There was a well-publicized incident in his district in which a woman was injured while shielding a young boy from a pit bull attack.
But Deckert learned something after he introduced his bill. "I got to meet a lot of great pit bull owners and great pit bull dogs, ones you'd feel as safe and comfortable around as a basset hound," he says. So he created a task force that recommended beefing up state law based on the deed, not the breed.
In January, Deckert's revised legislation became law. The new law strengthens the punishment against people whose dogs -- of any breed -- harm people, including fines and imprisonment. "This gives prosecutors the kind of law that can really address the situation," Oswald says.
It's harder to make laws that are nuanced, rather than just blaming a single breed for a societal problem. But it's also more fair. The result is more protection for Oregonians, and the knowledge that dogs like Rufus are still welcome here. That's enough to make a tail wag.
Deborah Wood: TaoBowwow@aol.com

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
March 8th, 2006, 02:47 AM
Way to go. :thumbs up

jesse's mommy
March 8th, 2006, 07:18 AM
Finally. A mis-educated politician has been educated and made the right decision. If only ALL politicians would lead by this example.

babyrocky1
March 8th, 2006, 03:00 PM
Finally. A mis-educated politician has been educated and made the right decision. If only ALL politicians would lead by this example.Sadly this is next to impossible in Ontario cause for that the politician would need INTEGRITY, A quality sorely lacking in the profession of late!
:eek:

seeker
March 8th, 2006, 08:11 PM
I tried but can't seem to get it . Can someone print this story {not the thread}and send a hard copy to Bryant's office as well as Clayton Ruby .Thanks

babyrocky1
March 8th, 2006, 08:19 PM
Why are you wanting the hard copy sent? Do you mean the actual news paper article or just the print out? I could try and print it and Hand delver it to Queens Park, many of us are already filtered out of Bryants mail. Probably all of us LOL What about giving it to the opposition members instead or as well. Like Peter Kormos and John Tory! And what about the case where the high court found a restriction on pit bulls to be unconstitutional? If anyone feels it would do any good I would be happy:evil: to deliver them personally.

jesse's mommy
March 8th, 2006, 09:44 PM
Give me his email address, I'll send it. :evil:

seeker
March 8th, 2006, 09:47 PM
Maybe Kormos and Tory are the ones that should see it . One more story supporting our cause so when the Libs are gone ..you know the rest.
I don't know what will be used in court but Ruby might be interested .
And on second thought don't waste the effort on Bryant .