Monday, May 31, 2010

Hunger Strike to Protest BSL

During the month of June, Chako's founder will be joining two other woman on a hunger strike to protest breed-specific legislation across the United States.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Auburn Attacks Pit Bulls

Will Wong, Auburn's Community Development Director, today released the draft dog ordinance that the city council has been pondering for months. Despite the fact that several city council members expressed their belief that all dog owners should be held equally accountable for their dog, the city is now considering an ordinance that singles out Pit Bulls.

In an email to one of our supporters (who kindly forwarded it our way), city councilmember Bill Kirby stated, "I support the spay and neuter of all dogs except licensed breeders and certified show dogs."

City Councilmember Keith Nesbitt told the supporter, "Staff will be bringing back recommendations for a stronger ordinance. I do not believe it will be breed specific."

When we directly asked city council member Mike Holmes whether Auburn would be considering a Pit Bull specific ordinance, his response was a succinct, "No."

That leaves a clear majority of the city council who have said they will not support a Big Brother government by enacting breed specific legislation. So what happened? Well, apparently, a few of them flip-flopped, but we'll find out for sure during the May 24th city council meeting.

Read the full draft ordinance via our Google Docs account.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Procter & Gamble purchases Natura -- Bye, Innova and Evo!

Procter and Gamble has purchsaed Natura Pet Products, which sells the premium dog food brands Innova and Evo. Innova has been a privately held company based in Davis, CA. Procter and Gamble also sells California Natural and Karma, among other brands.
Procter and Gamble has a very spotty record when it comes to putting the health of its customer pets over its bank account. A few years ago, Proctor and Gamble lowered the recommended feeding guidelines for its Iams and Eukanuba brands in order to claim its products were cheaper to feed. Pet owners and a competing manufacturer sued Procter and Gamble. According to the Dog Food Report, "The suit claims that Iams misled consumers by lowering the portion sizes. It also refers to five independent studies testing Iams feeding instructions and statements made by the company. In all five studies, the humane officer terminated the study because of 'significant weight loss suffered by the dogs following Iams' feeding instructions.'"

Visit the Washington Post to read more about what Proctor and Gamble did with Iams and Eukanuba after purchasing those brands.

Another nationwide class action suit against the company filed in 2007 claimed that Proctor and Gamble and other dog food companies misled customers about the quality of its dog food, stating, "Millions of euthanized cats and dogs are 'rendered' and ultimately made into pet food. Drugs used in the euthanasia process have been detected in pet food because the drugs are not destroyed by heat." You can download the complaint via our Google Docs account.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How To Get Your Dog Banned in One Easy Step

Auburn, California, as we've previously blogged, had an incident a few months ago where a small group of Pit Bulls attacked a teenager. After that attack, Auburn was looking at drafting a new anti-Pit Bull ordinance. Originally, council member Kevin Hanley wanted to ban Pit Bulls (Auburn Journal report), but he later discovered that banning Pit Bulls is illegal in California.

After many hours of advocacy and education attempts, it appeared that we had been successful in showing most of the Auburn City Council members that any new dog law should target irresponsible owners of all breeds, not Pit Bulls as a breed. Will Wong, Auburn Community Development Director, has been working on some draft ordinances to submit to the city council, and we've been in close contact with him about when these draft ordinances might be ready for review.

Just before the draft ordinances were finalized, a dog that the Auburn Journal identified initially as an 80-pound male Pit Bull escaped its owners yard, went into the neighbor's hard, and attacked a 91 year-old man, doing serious damage to his hand. A responding police officer chased and ultimately shot and killed the dog.

As it turns out, the dog is not a purebred "pitbull" (as Auburn spells the breed). The dog was identified by animal control as a Rottweiler / Pit Bull mix. What that means is, unless the owners have both parents on site (which doesn't appear to be the case), there really is no way to determine with any degree of accuracy the breed of the dog. Pit Bulls, as educated people know, generally do not reach the 80 pound mark (unless they are very overweight!). The breed standards for the various registries that recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier generally call for a dog between 40 and 65 pounds.

In a followup article, the Auburn Journal changed the breed reference from "pitbull" to "pitbull cross," referencing once in the second paragraph that the dog was identified as Rottweiler-Pit Bull mix.

Although, according to News10, the dog in question was actually a record-breaking, 80-pound Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Now that is one really, really big Bull! (For those who don't know, Staffy Bulls are generally between 24 and 38 pounds).

Of course, even though Pit Bulls are usually smaller, that doesn't mean they don't get up to 80 pounds. Sure they do, just like human beings sometimes reach seven feet in height. However, 80+ pounds is not typical of purebred Pit Bulls (of course, there are many mixed breed dogs identified by bystanders as either "Pit Bulls" or "Pit Bull" mixes).

Not that it really matters what breed the dog was in this case. What matters is that an irresponsible owner who, according to some reports, had a dog known to act aggressively in the past, continued to keep this dog and -- even worse -- keep it in an unsecured back yard from which it was easily able to escape.

Pit Bull owners (and owners of dogs that look like they might possibly have touched a drop of Bully Breed in their lineage), if you really want to make sure that anti-Pit Bull laws come to your town, all you have to do is let your dog roam loose--bonus points if your dog is aggressive and injures a person!

Of course, we have to point out the obvious once again -- the Auburn Journal has only, thus far, reported on Pit Bull attacks. The only mention of anything even resembling a non-Pit Bull dog attack is in a letter to the editor when a man states a good Samaritan tried to return a wallet when his Rottweiler "almost attacked" the good Samaritan. The other mention is a brief photo caption of a person holding out money as a reward for a dog that attacked a horse.

If you read The Auburn Journal, you'd think that Pit Bulls are the only dogs that bite in Auburn, which is obviously not true. The truth is that The Auburn Journal simply doesn't care to report on bites by other dog attacks. The old adage "Dog bites man isn't news, but man bites dog is!" remains true--except if the dog happens to look like it might be a Pit Bull or Pit bull mix.

To test this theory, we had one of our supporters contact The Auburn Journal to tell a reporter all about an attack by a Labrador Retriever. The Auburn Journal  hasn't yet bothered to return that message.

Author: D Capp