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25 Years Later and BDL Still Doesn’t Work in Miami-Dade

Another installation of The Bully PulPit.

Recently in, Miami-Dade, a county in Florida that has banned “pit bull type dogs” since 1989, a local reporter took steps to demonstrate what the animal welfare and justice communities have known for a long time: breed discriminatory legislation is an unenforceable, dull tool that does not really address responsible ownership within a community.

In the story, the reporter finds and buys a pit bull puppy within a matter of 30 minutes and $200. The people from whom she bought the puppy told her “nobody cares” about the ban, substantiating the National Canine Research Council’s warning that “[a]busive owners, scofflaws, and criminals will continue to flout the law, and to obtain whatever dog they wish” after Miami-Dade enacted BDL.

So why is BDL so unenforceable? One significant hurdle is the extraordinary cost. The article cited that, since 1989, Miami-Dade’s Animal Services have issued 4,857 citations and collected $1,798,846 in fines over the past 25 years. That might sound impressive, until you compare it to Best Friends Animal Society’s estimated costs of enforcement: $3,678,595. Per Annum. This means that the fines collected represent less than 2% of the estimated costs of actual enforcement.

The other major hurdle, which also ties to the financial impracticality, is the amount of manpower required. The folks at animal services departments across the county are already over-taxed; in this county, they have 5 personnel responding to approximately 4,000 animal cruelty cases annually. Assuming they work 5 days a week, every week of the year (no Disneyland for these poor souls), that means they have to respond to, process, and resolve 3 cases every day. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to pursue beloved family pets who happen to have a certain type of build. At least, it shouldn’t.

If states are the laboratories of democracy, then local governments might be considered the crucibles, and Miami-Dade’s 25 years have shown that BDL can’t stand the heat. I only hope that other the county, municipal, and state governments can learn from Miami-Dade’s lesson before pursuing such an irresponsible policy.

Texas-Sized Thank You!

Jeff holding the donated iPad

We would like to give a big heartfelt THANK YOU to the amazing folks at CPR – Cell Phone Repair, who donated an iPad to Love-A-Bull during this recent holiday season!

Once the owner of the Round Rock location, Jeff Babcock and Manager Robin Kratzer heard about Love-A-Bull’s need they got the ball rolling. Then Shane Mericle of the Southpark Meadows location joined them to make this generous donation happen.

Thank you so much CPR! This will be so helpful when selling merchandise at fundraising events and keeping track of inventory, as well as many other uses!

CPR can help with any kind of electronic issues. They specialize in repairing cell phones, smart phones, computers, laptops, game consoles, cameras, mp3 players and most any other gadgets. Locations in Round Rock at La Frontera and South Austin at Southpark Meadows (http://www.cellphonerepair.com/).

Thanks again to CPR for making this a great start to the new year for us!

The Bully PulPit – a new blog feature

The Bully PulPit will be a new feature on our blog dedicated to providing information and updates on breed specific legislation and advocacy opportunities, triumphs, and tribulations. The primary focus will be within Texas, as Love-A-Bull in located in Austin and where we stand to make the most immediate impact. However, we will also cover significant stories around the nation. These will be a mixture of learning opportunities for improvement and victories for celebration, to provide not only hope for the good reputation of pit bull type dogs, but also as reminders of the importance of responsible ownership of these truly wonderful dogs.

Last month, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association published a peer-reviewed, scientific study of a decade’s worth of dog bite-related fatalities (DBRF) with an eye toward identifying the occurrence of potentially preventable factors. The paper opens by identifying that dog-bite related injuries are a preventable public health problem, and it stands to reason that DBRF are just as preventable. While perhaps not providing new conclusions, the researchers assert that this study is based on more sound evidence than used in previously published articles on the matter. Where often media reports are cited, the researchers here chose to pull data exclusively from reports written by animal control specialists, police respondents, and interviews with eye witnesses and other closely connected parties. Media articles were used to identify incidents to investigate, but then cross-referenced with, and often found to be inaccurate by, the other documents.

The researchers evaluated 256 incidents for 23 factors, ranging from the victim’s age and gender, to the general nature of the dog’s relationship with its owner, to the physical characteristics of the dog itself. The study found that more than 80% of DBRF involve four or more factors. Conversely, only 2.7% involved only one factor. In other words, this study shows that legislation that only takes one factor, e.g. breed, into consideration can be predicted to be ~3% as effective as policies that address multiple factors, e.g. animal management and caretaking. But, hey, if not effective, at least those one-factor policies can offer astronomical costs, right?

It’s important to discuss that breed was not a factor in this study. It’s not clear if breed was precluded at the onset, but multiple reasons arose over the course of the research to discount breed: the large proportion of the dogs in the study did not have documented pedigree, parentage, or DNA analysis, and the scientific, medical, and animal welfare communities roundly refute the validity of visual identification of breeds. A second (and perhaps more salacious, for me, anyway) reason is the incidence of discrepancies between reported breed for the same dog in the same incident—as much as 40% (let that scandal sink in).

It’s also important to discuss few factors that stuck out as too common not to be a coincidence. In over three quarters of the cases, the dog involved was what the researchers termed a “resident dog,” one that spent most of its time away from its owner or owners and regular, positive human interaction (less than 8% of the dogs involved live in the home). 84% of cases involved a dog that was sexually intact. In addition, an overwhelming number involved a dog left alone with a child or adult not capable of interacting appropriately with the dogs. It’s very sobering to realize that humans have the ability to prevent all three of these factors.

This study is important for the Bully Pulpit because, by its own admission, it was neither designed nor intended to provide new behavioral understandings of dogs, but to put the already commonly accepted tenets into a form that could inform better public policy decisions. This study also struck home because it not only aligned with Love-A-Bull’s recommendations for responsible ownership (responsible guardianship pledge), it echoed the theme of LAB’s Pit Bull Awareness Day Celebration: “All Dogs are Created Equal.” By focusing on the preventable and thereby almost exclusively human-contributed factors, the researchers assumed the premise that all dogs born with the same potential to be a great companion animal, regardless of breed. If you’re interested, you can read the study here, and review the AVMA’s guidelines for responsible pet ownership here.

Our 3 Wishes This Holiday Season

We have three wishes this year, and would love your help to make them come true!


Opt to Adopt (or Foster) this holiday season.

Welcoming a furry friend into your loving home is one of the best gifts you can give — and you’ll be receiving a whole lot more!

Check out our wonderful adopt-a-bulls looking for their forever home, or print and pass out their flyers to friends looking for their new best friend. And we’re always accepting new fosters now or in the future; find more information the program here.

Take a stroll with a dog.

Our amazing volunteers have time after time stepped up to spend some quality time with our rescue pups in boarding or fulfill various transport needs. It definitely helps their well-being in our program, and often gives the staff a much-needed break.

To find out more about which dogs are currently available to hang out with please email mransom@love-a-bull.org (and perhaps fill out our volunteer app if you’re new).

Help support us – from anywhere in the world!

If you are looking for an alternate way to help out, it’s quick and easy to check out our Amazon Wish List. And now if you shop with AmazonSmile, we can receive a percentage of eligible purchases.

Or collect some items and drop off donations (labeled “for Love-A-Bull”) to Oak Hill Vet Clinic, Parmer Lane Pet Hospital, or Research Pet & Bird Hospital. Check out our support page for some additional options as well.

Thanks for all that you do to support Love-A-Bull and make a difference in the lives of pitties!

Happy Paw-lidays to Yooooouuuu!

Event | Pittie Pride 2013 Photos

You all have completely blown us away with the sheer amount of adorable and fun photo albums from this year’s Texas-Sized Pittie Pride Parade & Festival! I know there’s a ton to go through, but we wanted to make sure to share all of our friends’ pics from throughout the day.

Also search social media for #PBAD2013 for even more fun.

VIDEO: LeRoy and the Frisbee Dogs "Flying Pitbulls"

Love-A-Bull Flickr

Love-A-Bull Facebook

Jennifer Hayes

Amanda Wintenburg Photography

Farmers Insurance

Jagger

Leaps N' Hounds

Mud Puppies

Sidekick Pet Care + Recreation

The Pet Studio

The fun photo booth pictures are still to come … you know so we can keep you on your toes some more.

Event | Halloween Kick-Off Party 2013

We hope that everyone had a wonderful time at this year’s Halloween Kick-Off party!

 
Everyone went all out with their attire – we saw some of the most AMAZING costumes this year! Thank you for creating such fun characters and making great photographs.
 

Special thanks go out to all of the following for making this event possible:

 
Venue – Brenton Schumacher and The Palm Door
Photography – Amanda Wintenburg Photography and Sean Currie Photography
Music – DJ Ivy Injection co-owner of Riot Rags
Gift Bags – Suzanne Haenn & Walgreens
Gift Cards – Brake Lane H-E-B #17
Tacos – Emily, Brad, and Camden at Mighty Bird
Tapas – ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food
Candy – Kym Good and Nestlé
Beer Keg – Jud and Circle Brewing Co.
Beer Cases – Capitol Beverage Company

 
You can see all of the great photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/love-a-bull/sets/72157637670716666/with/10857690504/.

“The Dog Fighter” Movie Release

We are happy to announce The Dog Fighter, featuring retired Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Gordon “Shotgun” Shell and directed by Douglas Schulze, released on Vimeo On Demand this past Friday. Over the weekend the comments and appreciation have begun to flood in among the various social media sites – I’m not going to even attempt counting them.

The timing couldn’t be more appropriate as we just wrapped up our 5th annual celebration in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness two weeks ago (more on that later), and Shell was one of the special guests for Texas-Sized Pittie Pride in 2012. You might recall a couple blog posts introducing him (http://love-a-bull.org/2012/10/part-1-the-heart-of-a-fighter/) and this very movie project (http://love-a-bull.org/2012/10/part-2-fighting-the-good-fight/).

Gordon has even invited Love-A-Bull to join several other non-profit organizations as a beneficiary for a portion of the films profits!

Attached is the official press release for the film. We encourage you to watch the film, and to share with your friends and family.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Producer, Director Douglas Schulze 248-563-9404

PRESS RELEASE

In the shadows of a bankrupt city one man has declared war on an illegal dog fighting epidemic. Retired MMA fighter Gordon Shell is risking his life to rescue man’s best friend. Despite a failing heart, Gordon Shell agreed to come out of retirement to fight one last fight for the dogs. Last year, in spite of his doctor’s warnings, Gordon returned to the ring in a selfless effort to raise awareness and funding to stop illegal dog fighting in the city of Detroit. His inspiring journey and his tireless work with animal rights groups like the Michigan Humane Society was all captured by filmmaker Douglas Schulze and is now the subject of a riveting documentary entitled; THE DOG FIGHTER: DOG’S BEST FRIEND. The documentary is about to be released exclusively to vimeo.com and everyone can help the cause simply by watching the film. The Producers are donating a generous portion of all revenue generated from the movie to help dog rescues and shelters all across the US. Every three months new shelters and rescues will be selected to receive a generous portion of the revenue generated from the film’s release. To watch the film and see the trailer go to VIMEO at www.vimeo.com/77460460 or to learn more about the shelters being helped please visit the Official Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/thedogfightermovie. Together we can make a difference.

For more information contact: Producer, Director Douglas Schulze 248-563-9404.

The DOG FIGHTER MOVIE LLC
2040 Crooks Rd. Ste. B.
Troy, MI 48084
248-528-1760 – fax 248-528-2829
www.facebook.com/thedogfightermovie

Check out The Dog Fighter on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/6401/77460460

Find more information on the movie project, Douglas Schulze, Gordon “Shotgun” Shell, and more.

RESOURCES:
• Official Facebook Page: The Dog Fighter Movie
• Movie Project Website: The Dog Fighter Documentary

ARTICLES:
• CNN’s iReport 09/28/12: The Dog Fighter, a documentary
• MPI (Motion Picture Institute) 08/06/12: The Dog Fighter MMA Standout Gordon Shell
• MPI (Motion Picture Institute) 09/24/12: Gordon Shell Ends Dog Fighting in Detroit in 38 Seconds
• Life With Dogs 09/25/12: MMA Fighter Gordon Shell Retires from Fighting but not from Fighting for Dogs
• Examiner.com 09/24/12: MMA fighter Gordon Shell begins a new fight: saving Detroit’s dogs
• Michigan Humane Society 09/06/12: Spurred By Mike Vick Scandal, MMA Fighter Gordon Shell Risks His Life To Fight So That Dogs Don’t Have To
• Michigan Humane Society 09/12/12: On The Eve Of His Last Professional Match, MMA Fighter Gordon Shell Reflects On What Makes Him Fight

Love, Bigger in Texas.

Hello Love-A-Bull Supporters!

With Texas-Sized Pittie Pride right around the corner (October 27th), we are lucky enough to get a NEW custom mural this year! We are again working with the nationally known team of Sloke and his partner Ramon – who created the amazing, custom graffiti mural for us last year.

Sloke’s work (www.slokeone.com) is most influential in the south, and you can still see Sloke & Ramon’s pittie mural on the side of Sunrise Mini-Mart at 5th and Oltorf.

The mural will be going up beginning September 27th on the side of Frank Restaurant (4th and Colorado) in downtown Austin.

So you will have another chance this year to get your family’s name painted on the wall (or perhaps you’d like to honor a lost pet) with the mural. We only have room for 25 sponsors, so get yours before they’re gone. With a contribution of $100 or more, you can secure a spot to be listed under the mural as a Pittie Pride supporter. Last year they sold out in TWO DAYS!!! We are hoping to make our mark loud and proud again this year – so claim yours now!