Pit Bull Cruelty: Breed Specific Legislation

  • by: Erica De Angelo
  • target: To Honorary Mayor Caliandriello and the Council of the City of Garfield, county of Bergen

To Honorary Mayor Calandriello and Council of the City Of Garfield:

We petition against the biased legislation against Staffordshire and American Pit Bull and Bull Terrier breeds including any Canine with the "appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of these breeds."

We are objecting to the cruelty towards pit bulls, one of the most intelligent, obedient, and loving breeds. A breed that through out history has proven to be a loyal and loving animal. Pit Bulls cry in our shelters day in and out because of the ignorance spread about the breed's temperament and perpetuated by ordinances such as this one.

We object to the amendment on the following grounds:

-Section 80-39 License Required:

-The demand for a license within 30 days is unreasonable on multiple grounds. The lack of a grandfather clause forces those who already own one of the aforementioned breeds to pay an additional fee just to maintain ownership.

      - Furthermore, additional fees are being imposed on pet owners during an economic recession when the State of New Jersey is suffering from an unemployment rate of 10.2 %.

         -To insist that a license is in the best interest of the City of Garfield further degrades the breed and their owners while forcing false fear of Pit Bulls into the public mindset.

-Section 80-40- Muzzles or Leashes; insurance requirements; Other Rules:

1 a.)Requiring a Pit Bull to be restrained with a leash having a minimum tensile strength 0f 300 lbs. is unnecessary considering that the average weight of a full bred Pit Bull is between 35 and 60 lbs. Any Larger breed such as a German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiiler, or Saint Bernard can have up to ten times the strength of a Pit Bull yet there are no laws mandating animal control approvedd leashes for these breeds.

Furthermore, any canine can grow exponentially in strength when provoked due to the simple survival mechanism and animal instincts which we can neither fault, nor punish them for.

b.) The law orders that Pit Bulls be preventing from biting by having its jaws confined by a securely fastened muzzle.  The muzzle does not merely keep the Pit Bull from biting, but from salvitating as well. It constricts the jaw so as to agitate the dog so that he is more apt to bite because he no longer associates having his jaw touched with positive reinforcement. 

The basket muzzle may irritate the muscles and tendons in a Pit Bull's jaw.  The fabric muzzles may impede the ability of the dog to breathe or swallow saliva. When the muzzled dog bites down, its jaw may misalign and cause the dog to bite itself.  Keeping a muzzle on a supervised and well tempered dog is nothing more than animal cruelty which animal rights activists will be quick to condemn and repeal.

c.) We adamantly refuse to let a law pass which injures not only the reputation of the breed, but the dog health as well. The more we taint the breed with the garb of a 'malicious or dangerous dog' fewer people  will "expressly consent "to having the dog on any premise un-muzzzled. This increases the time such Pit Bull has its jaw jailed by a muzzle and the degree to which health problems can occur, which scientific veterinary evidence proves.

d.) The liability insurance imposed on the breed owner covering "any damage or injury by a Pit Bull in the minimum of $50,000 dollars" demands that hard working and unemployed persons alike forfeit money they can not spare. It is most notably inane considering that the United States is in a severe economic crisis, and the unemployment rate in New Jersey has currently grown from .2 percent to .5 percent, and is equivalent to the unemployment rate of the United States itself. This rate is set to rise due to the  legislation passed by Governor Christie, which has recently cut, in Garfield alone, over fifty positions in one week. At a time where people are struggling to pay for food, when food costs have significantly risen and jobs have exponentially decreased, the City of Garfield is imposing an additional economic disadvantage on innocent pet owners          

e.)This law violates basic human rights set forth in the Constitution of the United States.  It prohibits any person under 18 years of age, to handle a Pit Bull, even if that dog is the person's best friend.  While persons of age 16 can acquire a work permit and attend to the breed in both vet offices and shelters world wide, the council intends to pass a law that  takes away these young peoples right to own and handle their own pets.

f.) There is zero evidence that proves that walking two Pit Bulls at a time increases the bite rate, which makes the rational behind this stipulation obsolete.

Because the ordinance has not put forth any grandfather clause, they are actively stressing the Pit Bulls who have grown up being walked with their companions.

This violates both animal rights and an owner's constitutionally recognized freedoms.

Section 80-42-Any person not following one of the clauses of Article VI added  to Chapter 80 by the City of Garfield may be fined in the amount not to exceed $1000.00, and/or six months in jail for such violation.  The repercussions for a father letting his daughter play with her pet, or for choosing not to victimize and muzzle the dog exceeds the lesser charges often pleaded and won by drug dealers and domestic violence offenders.

In sum, we unanimously petition Article VI which criminalizes innocent puppies and dogs that have even an ounce of Pit blood.

Realize that if you pass this, the city has done NOTHING to stop the real enemies, the people who train their dogs to harm others or to kill each other to feed their sick obsession with money and power.

Pet owners and well mannered loving pits/pit mixes will be punished, while the people who fight our breed will continue their clandestine activities. Breeders who breed fighting dogs will knowingly breed in aggressive personality traits and they will pursue their unfortunately profitable business, while our shelters will lose the money to continue to rescue because there will be less turnover. There will be fewer and fewer towns where, the dominant breed in our county shelters is even LEGALLY PERMITTED to find a forever home.

Statistics prove that more dog attacks are made by Labradors and canines other than pit bulls, (see attached statistics,) but we are being ordered to chain, confine, and muzzle only our pit bulls, which will only serve to perpetuate the myth that pits are 'dangerous' dogs. Muzzling a dog screams to the public, "BEWARE -This dog WILL bite."

Not only does this breed specific legislation unjustly intend to alter our pet's lives, but it promotes forever destroying the breed's reputation and very existence.

We appeal to the humaneness of the mayor and council, and on behalf of both animal and human rights, we will oppose this ordinance until it is completely invalidated and/or repealed.

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