For many years, I owned Staffordshire Bull Terriers (one of the
breeds to be affected by this new law) and showed frequently in the
eastern US in Obedience and Agility with my Staffords for a number
of years. Although I don't currently own Staffords at the moment (I
instead have a young Field Spaniel) I remain active in the Stafford
AKC parent club as Health Chair, and "support the cause" against all
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). I therefore make it a point to
avoid travel and dog showing in major areas where BSL exists, and I
encourage all other dog owners - no matter what their breed - to act
likewise (many do, realizing that - no matter what their breed - the
sad fact is that "their breed may be next", since there is no end
once BSL is started.)
You must realize the economic cost should such a measure pass. The
typical dog show entrant, besides show fees, will spend $75 - 100
per night per lodging, $20 - $40 food per person per day, plus
gasoline, sightseeing, and miscellaneous expenses. Your city has
several dog show "clusters" that are exceptionally noteworthy and
which I attended a number of times in years past with my Staffords.
Those would be off my list with my Spaniel should this new ordinance
past, and many others dog owners - with or without "bully breeds" -
would likewise not attend.
Multiply the above figures by many hundreds or even thousands to get
the full economic picture. Therefore, if passed, this ordinance
would have a huge negative impact on your community.
I urge you instead to consider strict enforcement of leash laws as a
way to enhance public safety.
BSL is simply not effective in reducing dog attacks. I'm sure you've
already been sent the statistics by others illustrating this, but I
wish to add my own personal observations. I recently spent my
two-week summer vacation in Michigan's UP, where leash laws are lax.
My sweet young Spaniel boy, who I always kept on leash, was attacked
twice by off-leash dogs: a Lab and a Shih Tzu. I myself had my
ankles snapped at by an off-leash Pomeranian while walking on a
public fishing pier one evening without my dog (the Pom's owner made
excuses that his dog is "just a little possessive", illustrating
this was not a new problem with this dog.) None of these three
breeds are typical BSL target breeds, yet these three dogs were a
public menace. This underscores the need for strict leash
enforcement rather than BSL as a way to effectively control problem
dogs of all breeds.
Thank you for your consideration.