Pit Bull Task Force
In March 2010, the Austin City Council voted to begin implementing the No-Kill Initiative, to move Austin towards a goal of 90% live outcomes at the shelter. In this Implementation Plan, the City established several citizen-led task forces, including the Pit Bull Task Force. LOVE-A-BULL is an active participant in the Pit Bull Task Force, and its co-founders are the Citizen Co-Chairs of the group. The Task Force meets monthly, and its activities and discussion highlights are reported to the City’s Animal Advisory Commission at their monthly meeting.
The Mission of the Pit Bull Task Force is: to ensure humane treatment of all pit bull-type dogs, create and implement solutions for safer environments, increase public understanding about pit bull-type dogs, and reduce intake and increase live outcomes of pit bull-type dogs from the shelter.
The Goals of the Task Force are to:
- Strive for healthy pit bull-type dogs (with focus on pressing health issues such as spay/neuter and heartworm prevention)
- Educate owners and the public on “best practices” (increase outreach about training, care, breed information)
- Continue community efforts when it comes to abuse/neglect intervention and awareness/education
- Support rescue and promote fostering/adoption/re-homing (tie-in to the No-Kill Plan)
- Ensure humane treatment (anti-chaining, anti-abuse, anti-fighting)
- Increase positive public perception (community awareness messaging and providing role models)
Some of the Recent Initiatives of the Task Force include:
- Breed Identification (headed up by Tara Stermer, of www.trainingbytara.com) — a project to help shelter staff and volunteers more accurately label dogs within breed categories
- Expanded Long-Stay Foster Program — a pilot program to get long-stay dogs out of the shelter and into homes where increased levels of care, training and socialization, as well as lower stress, can build stronger adoption candidates (See a video promoting this program on YouTube)
- Housing Options — continued efforts to lift breed restrictions for renters who own dogs that fit into targeted breed categories (See our Housing page for more information)
- Pittie Spay/Neuter Day — a partnership with LOVE-A-BULL, Emancipet, Town Lake Animal Center and other civic and community groups to promote and support free spay/neuter services for pit bulls and pit bull mixes
- Education and outreach activities through Tara Stermer’s Mobile Community Education Program, LOVE-A-BULL’s National Pit Bull Awareness Day events, and other community-oriented offerings
We hope that the synergy of the participants on the Task Force will lead to a better outcome for dogs and communities, and that perhaps Austin can provide a model to other cities. The Task Force is open to anyone who wants to contribute to the goals of the group. Representatives from the City of Austin/Travis County Animal Control, the Austin Humane Society, Emancipet, Animal Trustees of Austin, and several local rescues have participated. Some media coverage and blog postings have helped spread the word of the goals of this group.
The meetings are open to the public, and take place the fourth Friday of each month at City Hall (201 W. 2nd Street) at 6 pm. The meetings are also listed on the LOVE-A-BULL event calendar here.
Notes from past meetings are available here (in .pdf format):
(Task Force did not meet in December 2010)
PETITION AGAINST BREED DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION
Update 1/10/11: The petition, with 7755 signatures (wow!!), was delivered to each of the state senators and representatives today. Thank you for all your hard work on this initiative.
If you would like to keep tabs on this issue, please join the Texans Against BSL mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/texans-against-bsl. This is a low-volume, announce-only mailing list. You will be notified via email if and when BSL is filed in Texas.
Please help us in our effort to gather signatures to present to Texas legislators! It is very easy to do; just follow the instructions below. Collect signatures from your friends, neighbors, family members, coworkers, club members, veterinarian, local pet organizations, and at pet stores, the dog park, breed club meetings, canine sport events, and anywhere else you can think of!
Texas state law currently prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their dog’s breed or appearance (also known as breed-specific legislation, or BSL). However, recently, Texas has seen an upswing in cries for breed-specific legislation. The last Texas legislative session also saw an attempt to get legislation passed against “pit bull” owners.
LOVE-A-BULL has started a petition which directs our state lawmakers to:
- Keep intact the current state law that prohibits breed-discriminatory legislation
- Oppose legislation that would discriminate against people based on a dog’s breed or physical appearance
Please help us gather signatures for the petition, which will be presented to Texas state legislators at the start of the 2011 Legislative Session.
- Download and print out ONE (1) copy of the petition text.
- Download and print out as many of the signature pages as you want.
- Gather signatures from people who are eligible to vote in Texas. (They do not have to be registered voters.)
- Make a copy of the signature pages for your records if you wish.
- Send the original signature pages to LOVE-A-BULL by Jan 3, 2011.
Mail to: P.O. Box 18792, Austin, TX 78760