News10 did a story about a Pit Bull Attack. Immediately following that story, it aired another story about National Pit Bull Awareness Day in Sacramento (October 24th). In the middle of talking about the Pit Bull walk, News10 interjected the interview of an Animal Control officer from the City of Sacramento. The officer's name is Clinton Nelms, and he apparently adopted a Pit Bull from the shelter that had behavior issues. (Incidentally, News10 misspelled his name as Melms). Nelms states in the interview that he tried to rehabilitate the dog, but the behavior was not eliminated. Nelms, wearing his animal control uniform and standing in front of the City of Sacramento animal care building, goes on to say he believes that, unless Pit Bull ownership is regulated (think: Breed Specific Legislation!), all Pit Bulls will be banned.
During this interview, News10 shows footage of a white Pit Bull-looking dog in a kennel -- presumably at the very same animal care and control agency. The dog is in a kennel with a sign that says "keep fingers out of cage." The dog also wears a thick chain collar around its neck that's held in place by a large padlock.
The entire interview with Nelms and the background footage is disturbing, and we wonder why having an image of a barking Pit Bull wearing a ridiculous and intimidating collar was chosen as a backdrop for this story. We have questions we'd like answered. You'll have to watch the video (link below) to understand our criticisms and concerns.
First, why is the shelter adopting out dogs with aggressive behavior issues in the first place?
Secondly, does the agency want to ban Pit Bulls -- currently in violation of state law? Do they really and truly think Pit Bulls are inherently aggressive with (unspecified) "behaviors" that can emerge at any time?
Thirdly, why is News10 showing a dog wearing a thick chain collar with padlock? Did News10 ask to see a "scary" Pit Bull? Or did Nelms or another worker choose to show them this particular dog? Was the footage News10's way of "juicing" up the story with the most sensationalized image it could find? Or is the City of Sacramento intentionally selecting negative images to show News10?
Fourth, what was the full context of Officer Nelms' statements. In a preliminary statement, a shelter worker stated that Nelms' interview was heavily edited and "not entirely accurate." Just how heavily edited was his interview? Was News10's editing fair, careless, or intentionally misleading? We're asking News10 to supply Officer Nelms' entire, unedited interview for comparison.
Finally, and most curiously of all, why in the hell is there a dog in the City's kennel that has a thick chain link collar and padlock? Did the dog just come in off the street and no one had five minutes to spare to get the collar off (and if so, why did they then let News10 back to view THAT dog)? Or is this some new policy with the City of Sacramento? Are they now advocating keeping Pit Bulls on thick chain collars with padlocks?
Take a look at the footage (of the relevant portion of the clip) HERE:
We'll be interviewing Carol (and Idge) later, so stay tuned for THAT enlightening video!
We implore all Pit Bull advocates to contact the City of Sacramento Animal Department of General Services to express your opinion about Nelms' ' interview. You can go to their online form here: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/generalservices/contact-us/
Or you can call the animal control agency directly at 916-808-7387
After all, everyone who pays taxes and the mandatory dog licensing fees should have a say in what this agency is doing with all our hard-earned money!
Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.