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11-08-2009 11:03 AM #1
MI-Genesee County Considering Pit Bull Ban
Too violent for society? Pitbull debate rages in Genesee County following serious attacks
By Flint Journal staff
November 08, 2009, 6:00AM
GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan — Kevin Thompson thinks pitbulls are too vicious for society.
Thompson, 51, said he has had to fight off roaming pitbulls with a hammer and been forced to seek refuge on the hood of his car when he parks outside the rental home he owns in Flint.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Thomas. “The neighbors are terrorized by these dogs.”
Maybe pitbulls are a problem because of the way they are treated. Or maybe it is because of the way they are bred.
After two attacks in recent months, the debate is raging here again — so much so that some officials are even considering a total ban of the breed.
Pitbulls are so potentially dangerous that Genesee County Animal Control won’t adopt out those that end up in its shelter — and attacking dogs usually do — meaning the 30 pitbulls there last week will ultimately end up being put to death, said Director Stepheni A. Lazar.
“The sad truth is we’d rather have them put to sleep than have them live a horrible life, then have them go out and hurt someone,” said Lazar.
David Norris blames the people who mistreat pitbulls.
The Mt. Morris Township man spent a year caring for a rescue named “Baby” and trying to get the 2-year-old pitbull comfortable around people again.
But, still, the dog cowers at even the sight of him — the same way she was when Norris found her covered in scars, pregnant and emaciated in his driveway.
“She’s really just a victim of abuse and because of that she probably is not going to get a fair chance at life,” said Norris, adding he will likely have Baby euthanized if he can’t find a proper home for her.
Flint City Councilman Scott Kincaid, who represents the southeastern portion of the city, said he would be willing to consider banning breeds of dogs “that have characteristics of being vicious toward human beings” — not just pitbulls alone. However, he wouldn’t trust a pitbull in his own home.
“I personally wouldn’t own a pitbull, but I’ve got grandkids and I’d be worried to death about the breed that would attack my grandchild,” he said.
He also said the city needs to enforce its existing vicious dog ordinance that regulates dogs that could or have attacked people or other animals. The ordinance requires vicious dogs to be kept on a leash or muzzle outside of a kennel, pen or house and mandates that owners display signs reading “beware of dog,” keep insurance in case of injury or death caused by the dog, and register the animal with the city clerk.
“I can’t tell you whether anyone has ever been prosecuted under our ordinance,” said Kincaid. “We should be going after them.”
In October, a 3-year-old girl was badly hurt by a pitbull who got loose from a neighboring home in Flint. A 13-year-old neighbor who was nearby put the dog in a choke hold until it let go of the toddler’s head. Weeks earlier, another three-year old was attacked by a pack of pitbulls while out playing with older siblings in the family’s own backyard. On Halloween, a Mt. Morris Township pitbull was shot by police and dumped in a trash bin when it was loose and his family was at a church event.
Flint Journal articles about these attacks generated hundreds of online comments from readers who either love the breed or want them all banned.
In the more than eight months since Lazar took over as director of Genesee County Animal Control, she said she has come across two pitbulls in the shelter that she has felt comfortable around.
Most of the pitbulls that end up in the shelter came from bad situations where they were mistreated and bred to be aggressive, said Lazar.
“It makes it kind of hard to trust them because most of them aren’t very nice dogs,” she said.
At the Genesee County Humane Society, the shelter will place pitbulls with families, but have more freedom to be selective with those families and with the dogs, said David Tucker, executive director.
The shelter looks at pitbulls just the same as any other breed and only adopt out dogs that are not aggressive toward people or other animals, he said. However, when it comes to pitbulls, if there’s any inkling that the adopter wants to use the dog for fighting, they can prevent it from being placed “in a situation that would fail.”
“That’s the one thing that for sure separates the pitbulls from the rest of the animals,” he said.
Carol Gillespie, animal control officer, said loose pitbulls in county are an everyday occurrence. In her 20 years on the job, she’s been bitten three times — only once by a pitbull.
“Overall they can be good dogs like any other dog, but you have to remember they are a very muscular, strong animal,” she said.
Becki Williams, founder of Friends of Genesee County Animal Shelter said pitbulls will do anything their owners ask and “people abuse that.”
“It’s not so much the breed as it is the owner, how the dog’s treated, that type of thing,” said Williams. “I don’t believe in breed-specific legislation.”
One community in the suburbs of Detroit took the relatively uncommon step of banning pitbulls from the city all together after it had problems with pitbulls getting loose and injuring or killing people more than 20 years ago.
Debbie Reed, animal control officer for the city of Grosse Pointe Woods, said the community enacted a ban in 1988 that keeps pitbulls and any mix of the breed off the streets.
“I think if you have a lot of dogs that are roaming that turn out to be pitbulls ... then I think it is a good ordinance to have,” she said.
If the Genesee County decided to ban pitbulls all together, Lazar said she fears those that abuse dogs and fights them would just turn to another breed and there would be a new problem with a different breed down the road. Dog fighting breeds move in trends, and who knows what will be popular next, she said.
“I kind of hate to see breed-banning because probably in 10 to 20 years, it’s going to be a different breed (that’s popular),” she said.
Too violent for society? Pitbull debate rages in Genesee County following serious attacks | Flint News - - MLive.com
11-22-2009 05:28 PM #2
Re: MI-Genesee County Considering Pit Bull Ban
I am going to the City Council meeting tomorrow afternoon as well as other dog owners, Scott Kincaid may or may not bring up the subject but were going just to see if this Ban is on their agenda........we are not going to address city council until they bring it up so as to not plant anything in their heads, the Flint Journal misquoted 3 people that were interviewed so maybe the paper misprinted Kincaid proposing the Ban in Genesee County.We will see.......I'll keep you up to date. The Special Affairs meeting(where citizens can speak to council) starts @ 4:30 pm on the 3rd floor of the City Hall, then the city council meeting begins at 5:30pm.
11-23-2009 09:21 AM #3
Re: MI-Genesee County Considering Pit Bull Ban
Pit bull debate continues as communities deal with dangerous dogs
Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 7:09 p.m.
A group of Genesee County residents is speaking out in defense of pit bulls.
They want to make sure this area doesn’t follow the lead of other communities across the state, and ban the breed.
Flint City Council President Delrico Loyd says there has been casual talk among city leaders about what to do about dangerous dogs, but he doesn’t expect a ban on any specific breeds.
For the full story, click on the video .
Posted on November 23, 2009 by stopbsl.com
Sadly, the people “speaking out in defense of pit bulls” did nothing to lessen the pit bull and pit bull owner stereotype; the residents were a group of breeders, and their dogs were featured on the news wearing spiked collars, being restrained on thick logging chains. A comment from below the news story reads: “I hear all these people tell how safe their pit bulls are, and then see that one’s using a heavy chain for a leash! Give me a break!!”
Previous alert for Genesee County: http://stopbsl.com/2009/11/09/2488/
Although the Flint City Council president does not expect a pit bull ban to be proposed, that doesn’t mean some other type of BSL isn’t a possibility.
Next city council meetings: November 23 and December 14
Contact info for Flint City Council:
City Council Office, Rm 310 City Hall, Flint, MI 48502
Fax: (810) 766-7032
Delrico J. Loyd – 1st Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3160
Jackie Foster Poplar – 2nd Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3162
Bryant W. Nolden – 3rd Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3159
Joshua M. Freeman – 4th Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3161
Bernard Lawler – 5th Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3164
Sheldon Neeley- 6th Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3165
Dale K. Weighill – 7th Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3163
Michael J. Sarginson – 8th Ward
810-766-7418 ext. 3167
Scott Kincaid – 9th Ward
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