Monday, November 24, 2008

Persecution of Pit Bull Owners Public servants retaliate against breed ban opponents
Participation in the democratic process lands dog owners on the shit list Fear and loathing in Sioux City, Iowa Earlier this year Sioux City, Iowa joined the list of pathetic U. S. municipalities that allow hysteria and political pandering to drive public policy. Sioux City showed that negative profiling is alive and well in the heartland when it moved to ban "pit bulls". Mocha, the pup pictured above, isn't welcome anymore. Incredibly, if members of Mocha's family went to a town council meeting and testified against the breed ban -- exercised their right to freedom of speech, in other words -- they unwittingly made themselves a target for special, selective attention from the city clerk's office, and animal control. Sioux City? Not pet-friendly.

Sioux City already required cat licensing, and it has a limit law in place that allows residents a maximum of two dogs per household. Anti-pet and anti-pet owner ordinances are traditional, it seems. Owners of Sioux City dogs accused of criminal pit bull resemblance, and unable to prove that their dog is NOT a pit bull, have ten calendar days to find a way to get their dogs out of the city. That's assuming the dog owner can afford the impoundment fees and other costs associated with seizure, impoundment and prosecution on charges of looking like a pit bull. Because the first thing the city does is take the dog away from his or her owner. If owners don't have the cash, or don't have a place outside the city limits to stash the dog, then Sioux City will kill him. Or her. Heartless in the heartland: "pit bulls" are born guilty Alleged pit bulls are presumed guilty of the crime of being a "pit bull." The burden of proof lands on the dog owner -- who must somehow "prove" to the city manager's satisfaction that their dog is not a "pit bull." Good luck with that, owners of short-haired, medium-to-large, mixed breed or otherwise unpedigreed dogs. Cause you're fresh out of "proof." It doesn't exist. Putting the squeeze on veterinarians The AVMA veterinarian's oath doesn't include becoming a tool in the extermination of innocent dogs. Local vets balked at making breed determinations that will cause the deaths of their patients, and they're beginning to bail on the city's licensing program. We want to take care of the animals --we don't want to I.D. the ones that are supposed to be banned," said [Dr. David] Ray. Lesson learned: Vets involved in law enforcement are gonna have trouble sleeping at night when collaborating with animal control becomes unethical. Push came to shove pretty quickly in Sioux City.

Will Sioux City vets betray their clients' faith and trust? Or will they disengage themselves from breed profiling?

City clerk collects names, addresses

Elected officials in Sioux City have been going around, taking names.

The names and addresses of residents who testified before the city council against the breed ban were databanked by the city clerk's office. 28 households received an intimidating letter from the city clerk threatening them with a $750 fine for failure to license their dogs.

Only people who testified against the breed ban got a letter, even though--by its own admission--Sioux City's license compliance rate is a dismal 10 - 15%.

Chilling effect on the democratic process?

Ya think???

Sioux City's elected officials apparently thought that abuse of power is okay if the victims are just pit bull owners. Maybe they thought no one would care what happens to drug dealers and gangbangers like Mocha's owners.

But trying to shut down opposition through selective enforcement of the law is a recipe for tyranny.

The Iowa State Constitution includes a Bill of Rights. Section 20 reads. . .

The people have the right freely to assemble together to counsel for the common good; to make known their opinions to their representatives and to petition for a redress of grievances.

So what the hell happened in Sioux City? What were Mayor Mike Hobart and City Manager Paul Eckert thinking?

Rights and liberties in Sioux City

In Iowa, cities with a population in excess of 29,000 people -- like Sioux City -- are required to maintain an independent local civil and human rights agency.

The Sioux City municipal code includes a human rights section, and the Sioux City Commission on Human Rights in on 6th Street.

Dog lovers in Sioux City need to have a conversation with the Human Rights Commission.

Abuse of power, retaliation, intimidation. . .is the daily dose for pit bull owners.

But that don't make it right. I'm not okay with any of this, and I'm betting plenty of Sioux City residents aren't either.

1 comment:

Caveat said...

Sioux City Sux.