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National Pit Bull Victims Awareness Day Focuses on Attacks, Deaths, Need for Breed-Specific Laws (BSL)

ANIMAL WATCH-On October 24, two days after LA Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette reported that Dangerous Animal/Dog hearings [mainly Pit Bulls] were up by 26 percent in September, National Pit Bull Victims Awareness Day 2019 commemorated the 582 Americans who have been fatally mauled by Pit Bulls in a ceremony on the steps of the Michigan Capitol. 

Ann Marie Rogers is the founder of Responsible Citizens for Public Safety and a retired Animal Control Officer, with over 30 years of animal-welfare experience. She stated in a media release: 

National Pit Bull Victim Awareness marks its fifth anniversary on October 26, 2019, with a renewed call for the media to address the critical issue of pit bull attacks. Pit bulls have killed 24 people to date this year, compared to 14 deaths by all other breeds of dogs combined. 

National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day is dedicated to the memory of those who have been attacked or killed, their grieving families and neighbors, and vast networks of emergency response services, animal services, police, doctors and hospitals, victim-support groups, therapists, editors, reporters and legislators who are affected by these tragedies. 

SOBERING FACTS                            

To date in 2019, someone has been killed by a pit bull on average every 11 days. In the first 6 months of 2019, pit bulls killed more people than Dobermans killed in 60 years 

The group has started the following petition which needs 100,000 signatures by November 21, 2019, to get a response from the White House: 

We the People propose that Congress declares a National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day! – 100,000 GOAL 

To date, 582 Americans have been fatally mauled by pit bull-type dogs. Thousands more have been severely disfigured, dismembered and completely disabled by this fighting breed. Pit bulls kill thousands of beloved pets and livestock every year as well. 

This growing number of victims is largely ignored by the media and society in general. Victims, if they survive, suffer physical trauma, years of reconstructive surgeries, PTSD, emotional trauma, and ruinous medical bills. Medical doctors have called the increasing number of pit bull attacks a "public health and safety crisis".

It is time to raise awareness about the escalating number of pit bull attacks in an effort to save lives. 

We the People propose that Congress declares a National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day!   

We have started a petition for this purpose.  

COLLEEN LYNN, FOUNDER OF DOGSBITE.ORG, SPEAKS OUT 

Colleen Lynn, founder of Dogsbite.org, was the keynote speaker at the rally and said, “After my own attack, I wanted to make my community safer -- even if I could only make it one step closer to a safer community. That is an important distinction and also the reason most of us are here today. We are seeking common-sense legislation to protect public safety.” 

ONEIL COLLEY, "HERO" WHO SAVED USPS MAIL CARRIER, RAPS AWARENESS 

Oneil Colley, a Jamaican-American rapper performed at the event rapping his experience saving Detroit mail carrier Todd Bridges, 52, from a pit bull on February 22 this year. The owner of the pit bull explained that "Boss Hog" had accidentally squeezed out the door when his nephew left the house and he never thought he'd bite anyone. Bridges said he still relives the experience and the terror. He used his entire canister of dog spray and it didn't faze the pit bull. Colley later received a USPS Hero Award and a huge thanks. 

ZOEY GREEN, MAULED IN 2017, ATTENDS RALLY FOR VICTIMS 

On March 24, 2017, Zoey Green, 5, was mauled by a pit bull in a devastating attack in Crestview, Florida, during which the dog ripped off her eyelid, broke her jaw and bit her face, WKRG reported. 

Zoey Green was with her mother, dog-sitting two Pit Bulls, when one of the animals suddenly lunged at her and dragged her outside by her face. Paige Woody, her mother, managed to fight the dog off by sticking her hand down its throat and then laid on top of her daughter to protect her. She later needed 28 stitches in the back of her own head, where the dog attacked her. 

As her daughter began losing blood, Paige dialed 911 and Zoey was airlifted to the hospital, where she had dozens of stitches and staples all over her face and head. 

The owner claimed her dogs were great with kids. 

In August 2018, Paige Woody filed a lawsuit for $1 million in damages against Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the animal control officer who investigated bite cases. 

She claimed that Mandingo, the 110-pound pit bull, had “aggressively attacked, endangered, and bit several persons” and a cockatoo at a local veterinary clinic in July 2015; and, if the Animal Control Officer had fully investigated the attack at the clinic, the second incident--the attack on Zoey--would not have happened. 

NUMBER OF ATTACKS BY PIT BULLS IS STAGGERING, SENSELESS 

To date, someone has been killed by a pit bull on average every 11 days in the first 6 months of 2019, RCPS reports. Pit bulls killed more people than Dobermans killed in 60 years.

According to Animals 24/7, in 2018 about one pit bull in 90 participated in killing an animal or a human. (See 40 Americans & Canadians killed by dogs in 2018, 31 by pit bulls.) Pit bulls also killed 14,850 dogs (86% of the victims), injured another 16,800 dogs (93% of the victims), and killed 8,850 cats (88% of the victims).”  

MANY ATTACKS UNREPORTED     

The above data is derived from actual attacks where a media report was made. There is no way to estimate how many thousands of attacks/deaths of strays or pets are not included. Many are small pets out for a walk with their owner, but never make it home. Animal Control Officers in metropolitan areas report that a Pit Bull attacking/killing a pet is a common/daily occurrence. 

Also, many attacks/fatalities are not identified as caused by Pit Bulls and merely listed as "dog attacks" because some media outlets are either staffed or governed by pit-bull advocates who see the breed as the misunderstood “nanny dog” or by management policies ruled by political correctness.

Many reporters are influenced by large humane organizations; such as Best Friends Animal Society,

Animal Farm Foundation, and others who purport that it is impossible to identify Pit Bulls by physical appearance, yet their websites are filled with photos of Pitties who appear identical to the one whose crushing jaws and grab-and-shake, flesh-ripping style of relating just ended a life. 

WHY PIT BULL ATTACKS ARE SO DEVASTATING 

Many owner/adopters of Pit Bulls are drawn to the physical power and seeming loyalty of the animal, without awareness of its potential trigger-impulse to attack a strange person/animal or a family member, child, frequent guest or a beloved pet with whom it has lived for many years. While not all pit bulls attack during their lifetime, this characteristic may be dormant in the dog and cannot be taught nor removed from its DNA.  

Pit bulls maim and kill in unannounced attacks because of their genetic programming, whereas most dogs reserve violence for actual threats or to guard resources (food, mating, territory.) Also, other breed-types sound warnings before launching an assault.  Barking and growling are usually enough to cause a retreat by another animal or a human and create enough distance for escape, rather than confrontation. 

But, since fighting-dog breeds must depend upon quickly securing a fatal hold on an opponent in the pit, unannounced attack is essential for survival. Applying that to the real world, a victim often has no expectation of the pending danger.  

PIT BULLS ALSO SUFFER IN SILENCE 

Responsible Citizens for Public Safety wants breed-specific legislation (BSL) that will include statewide mandatory spay/neuter and microchipping requirements (among others) for this breed-type, which they describe accurately as "overrepresented in animal shelters nationwide and in cruelty cases." 

“2018 dog breed survey -  at least 41% of U.S. pit bull population are seeking homes,” a report by Animals 24/7 , states,"...the numbers indicate the magnitude of the pit bull glut afflicting animal shelters and rescues throughout the nation:  Of a total of 4.4 million pit bulls alive in the U.S. as of June 2018,  1.8 million––41%––were seeking homes.”  Read more. 

This results in hoarding of rescued dogs that are behaviorally unsuited for adoption, taken from shelters and kept in overcrowded, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions. 

Pit Bulls are also exploited for dog fighting in the U.S. (which is often masked as other types of "competition" but is still widespread and made easier by streaming fights internationally and Internet gambling.)  The losers are sometimes found by the side of the road and claimed by their 'rescuer' to be "bait dogs," because the pathos brings larger donations. 

WILL COURTS TAKE ATTACKS SERIOUSLY? 

Pit bulls maul and kill a 9-year-old girl in Detroit - CNN.com 

August 21, 2019 - A week before 9-year-old Emma Hernandez was mauled to death by three pit bulls in Detroit, her father got into an argument with the dogs' owner about them roaming free in the neighborhood, family members told CNN affiliate WDIV. 

Emma was riding her bike near her home when the dogs escaped and killed her, according to CNN. 

Witnesses tried to save the girl and police said that someone shot one of the dogs but did not reveal who shot  or how many bullets were fired. 

Deborah Golden lives nearby and told WXYZ that she heard screaming and saw Emma on her back with bite marks on her neck. Although she and Emma's father performed CPR, she died of her injuries. 

The dog owner was a 33-year-old man. The three dogs were taken to Detroit Animal Care and Control for evaluation. ."Due to the severity of this case, it is very likely that the dogs will be euthanized," the department said in a statement..

Detroit man charged with murder in death of girl, 9, who was killed by pit bulls...

Aug 22, 2019 - A Michigan man is facing murder charges after his three dogs -- described as pit bulls or pit-mixes -- brutally attacked and killed a 9-year-old girl in Detroit earlier this week. 

Pierre Cleveland, 33, was charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and for having a dangerous animal causing death, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced. 

A NATIONAL DAY OF PIT BULL VICTIM AWARENESS 

People should not have to fear when leaving their home or walking on city streets anywhere in America that they may lose their life, a family member (two- or four-legged), or a friend because of someone else's choice of a pet. 

Victims of Pit Bull attacks are never the same afterward. They often are sole support of a family and suffer such severe injuries that they cannot work or cannot return to the job they had before the attack. These are our neighbors of all national origins and economic levels, children who may be scarred or debilitated for life, or the elderly who are knocked to the ground and never again mobile.

Many victims do not have health insurance or lose it if they can't work. Some people keep dogs they know are dangerous and do not carry insurance to protect themselves and an innocent person with a family, who may be hurt or killed. Who should pay that bill? 

If someone owns a gun, he/she is required to reveal that fact, obtain a specified permit and follow certain safety rules. Are Pit Bulls also a 'loaded gun' which should have special rules of ownership?   

And, should Congress be asked to declare a National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day?

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of Los Angeles employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.