BSL Back in the ‘Burg (Or how we elect idiots who like to kill perfectly nice dogs for no reason)

Yesterday, a panel in Reynoldsburg, Ohio decided it knew better than the state legislature and re-enacted their archaic BSL laws.

This decision in Reynoldsburg would be comical were it not so sad. Ohio has decided, based on research done by experts, advocates and researchers that Breed Specific Legislation does not work and devised a comprehensive and impressive system that is more effective at protecting the public from dangerous dogs. Reynoldsburg has decided that their collection of anecdotal evidence and fear in the face overwhelming evidence to the contrary is more accurate and therefore more important than this heavily researched statewide law. It’s honestly quite impressive to see such blatant ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

To put it in perspective it would be like saying that all guns are dangerous and then only banning the .45 Smith & Wesson revolver. All other .45 revolvers have the potential to be just as dangerous yet they aren’t covered by the ban. They are equally likely to be used in a crime when obtained by a criminal yet the Smith & Wesson has been singled out despite no evidence that it is any more deadly than any of the other revolvers. If the Smith & Wesson unavailable the criminals will just move on to using a different make of .45 revolver.

Every single major research group has said that BSL doesn’t work.The Humane Society, The American Bar Association, The National Canine Research Council (just to name a few) have thoroughly researched this issue and concluded that it is not only ineffective but also detrimental to the community. This information is free, open to the public and comes complete with citations so that anyone can review the conclusions. This panel in Reynoldsburg is essentially saying that they’re personal bias and the uneducated bias of the community holds more weight than all of these groups who have put money and time into actually researching and testing BSL.

And the worst part is that they are claiming to be voting with the community. Our founding father’s set up this system so that the general, uneducated public (be they illiterate or uninterested) would have someone whose job is to educate themselves on the issue and govern on their constituents behalf. This panel was obviously just pandering to garner votes and not voting for the best interest of the community. It’s pathetic and I’m unbelievably glad I don’t live there anymore. They should be ashamed.

If you are genuinely interested in learning about this issue before making an informed decision please check out Measle’s Animal Haven, a pit bull rescue group in Columbus that has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for those interested in learning about pit bulls and BSL. Or, spend some time researching actual facts and statistics and make an informed decision on your own rather than condemning sixty percent of shelter dogs and family pets to death because you read a story about a kid being mauled by what the newspaper speculated was a pit bull that one time.

http://www.measlesanimalhaven.org/BreedSpecificLegislation.htm http://www.measlesanimalhaven.org/ResponsibleOwnership.htm The Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org/…/breed-specific… The American Bar Association: http://www.mspca.org/…/american-bar-association… Cornell University: http://blogs.cornell.edu/…/the-five-ws-of-breed…/ The fact that Pitbulls match Labs and Goldens in temperament testing:http://animaladvocatesalliance.org/pitbulls-score-better…/

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Holding Satire Accountable

I genuinely hate arguing with people, especially on the internet. Debating is fun, witty repartee is excellent but once we hit the insult, argue just to argue territory, I am out. I am passionate about things which makes me terrible in battle and worse in the cleanup. So, when I post something, even slightly polarizing on the internet my life is ruined for at least a day until I can crawl out of my blanket fort, conveniently located in my anxiety prison. (Trust me, I know. I’m working on it.)

Obviously dogs, pitbulls specifically, are very important to me. I did shelter photography for two years and helped with a transport group. I’ve seen first hand what happens when you have overbreeding combined with miseducation. It’s not pretty and it leads to a lot of needless torture and death. I take it seriously because as a human it’s my responsibility to protect living things that can’t help themselves. Whatever our life experiences are we need to take a step back and try to wade through the misinformation to find the truth and find better ways to protect ourselves and each other. The biggest challenge (in any social issue) is misinformation.

Misinformation and a lack of education are the things keep undermining progress. We work hard to change minds gradually only to find ourselves undermined by inaccuracy posed in a more understandable light. “Their message is simpler. I get it now, don’t need to think anymore.” It’s soundbite culture at it’s finest. They hear something and move on. Trying to fight that is an uphill battle. Our headlines are so much less interesting. Happy things just aren’t entertaining enough. That’s when the humor comes in. After all, you can’t go wrong with humor, right?

It’s funny to me how farce is regarded right now. It’s a fine line to walk between parody and misinformation. The unfortunate downside to parody is the large amount of people who misinterpret it as fact. See a picture, read a headline, it must be truth! And then it becomes an endless game of telephone. That doesn’t mean that the humor should be banned or disregarded, just that the person making the jokes accept some responsibility for timing and clarity. Sure, things are funnier when they don’t need to be explained but when something is taken out of context in an international forum, even a joke, it can have long reaching impact.

It’s important to be cognizant of all of the people you may be undermining with an ill-timed joke. The best and worst thing about comedy is that it has it’s roots in truth. If you find something particularly hilarious you already have some form of connection to it. If you make a joke about a vicious pit bull you are perpetuating all of the misconceptions that people have niggling in the back of their brains. They don’t know when or where they heard it or saw it but they did and little by little the blocks start stacking back up. Your bit of fun stacked another couple of blocks in a few thousand brains and the dogs, shelters, volunteers, etc. are the ones who pay for it.

I love that the Onion wants us to realize how ridiculous and inaccurate that stereotype is. I just don’t think that the unfortunate negative ramifications of their platform and reach are worth it.

An open letter to news media.

My blog isn’t followed by very many people. My audience is small and specific to my personal interests. I don’t have a large reach and it’s definitely not anywhere near what major news stations are able to communicate to. What I do have, and I hope you’ll agree, is a sense of integrity.

I don’t talk about things I don’t like. I’m upfront about my beliefs and, more specifically, making sure people know that they are just that: my beliefs. 

Tonight I watched Fox 11, a news station in Los Angeles, run a misleading and inflammatory preview for what I’m sure will end up being a misleading and inflammatory segment about pitbulls and the “pitbull problem”. As many of you know I have been an active and outspoken pitbull, shelter and owner responsibility advocate for three years now. I’ve also had a pretty bad week and a half so to say that it made me angry is quite the understatement. The news ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing evening with two of my favorite shows. I took to Facebook to voice my displeasure but it’s just not enough. It’s like walking into a crowded train station and trying to yell above the din. Ineffective, unsatisfying and lonely.

The problem is that this segment is just a symptom of a bigger issue. One that has been written about and expressed again and again but to no avail. The news no longer keeps us informed. It doesn’t provide us with the services it once did. It doesn’t give us a voice or keep us free anymore. It’s a soundbite. A tagline. A single, uninformed voice.

There’s no research anymore. It’s become a rush to see who can get the latest soundbite out the fastest. It’s about money and power and most importantly, keeping us dumb. I don’t know if you’ve picked up a paper or turned on the local news recently but there’s now more exposition than facts being reported. It’s as if they actually believe that humanity can’t be trusted to take in facts and come up with their own solutions. They are eliminating our deductive reasoning on a daily basis and it has to stop.

One day, in Ohio a few years ago, I stopped watching the morning news. I watched Andy Dominiyani and his co-anchor make fun of a woman that they were reporting on. The saddest part was that the story had been biased in her favor. They made fun of her. Blatantly. On a live broadcast. Not because it was a time for editorializing. They made fun of her because they thought the were better than her and that they were better at judging her character than anyone else. I turned off the local news that day. I put down the paper and I stopped paying attention. I have to source my news from several different sources. None of that is any better in the end but being uninformed would be even worse. 

Now it’s about being better at disregarding the bias than they are at spewing it. There’s no class for that. Worse yet, there are a lot of people who listen to the news and trust these people to make their judgements for them because, as reporters, they MUST be smarter, right? 

I have two points to make and then I will go back to my standard posts.

1. Learn to think for yourself. 

No one is qualified to decide how you feel other than you. Giving up and letting others lead your mind is giving yourself over to another person’s control. That’s enslavement. Feel how you feel and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have that right. 

2. If you have a platform that reaches above the din then you have a responsibility to be honest.

You have a voice. A voice so many people wish they had. With that voice comes a great responsibility to be honest and it should never be abused. Tell the truth, give us facts without bias and let everyone else think for themselves. If they are asking for your opinion, be honest, but remember that what they do with that information is on you too. You’re not exempt from responsibility once it leaves your mouth or your brain. You have that power and responsibility to own it and make damn sure that you’re damn sure about what you’re saying.

I’ll hop down off of my soapbox but I’ll leave you with this: Everything that I say here, I mean. If I change my mind or beliefs I will be the first person to let you know, right here. I am always open to new opinions and ideas but when I change my mind I do it because I was given facts and information that I agreed with. Not because somebody else told me to. 

Oh, and do some research before inciting a public riot against pitbulls. We advocates outnumber you and we are a lot more passionate. We also have cute, fuzzy dogs at our disposal and look what that did for YouTube.