Monday, January 01, 2007

Live from New York! Its not the dogs--its the dog owners ! As New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. attempts to surf the fearmongering wave his recent anti-pit bull tirade spawned, who will step in to control the spin? Vallone? I'm thinking not so much. At this point, it looks like Vallone can't find his butt with both hands. His comments on pit bulls are a steady stream of misinformation, myth and hype. Shocked members of the Dog Federation of New York rushed to offer their assistance in understanding things like bite statistics and dog anatomy. They offered to help him set up community-based dog safety programs within the scope of existing law.

Let's just hope he takes it. He seemed to have no facts of any sort available to him.

No traction on the mean streets of New York

At least not for a tough guy wannabe like Councilman Vallone, trying to work a crowd that's been there, seen that, and gave the t-shirt to the dog.

Predictably, his talk of banning pit bulls from the Big Apple met with a cool reception. Many New Yorkers fondly remember former Animal Care and Control Director Ed Boks' comments on pit bulls. Ed famously suggested renaming the dogs "New Yorkies" and quipped:

New Yorkers, like pit bulls, are sometimes perceived as a standoffish and mean breed - but are actually some of the most generous and open-hearted people I've ever met.

And here's Ed with a New Yorkie. Yup. "Pit bulls" have plenty of advocates in the City of New York. Including outspoken members of the "animal protection" business, like New York's ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for Animals, the Humane Voters League, and others. But politics abhors a vacuum. The momentum Vallone created is going someplace.

If NYC doesn't ban pit bulls, what will it do? Gotta do something about the ruckus he kicked up. Right? Blame gamesmanship in the Big Apple I think Vallone is looking to nail someone. Anyone. He has to. Otherwise he's just a wussy that started something he couldn't finish. Not the image he wants to cultivate. So let's look at his remaining options for spinning that pit bull-inspired media blitz, and maybe saving his political rear end while he's at it. Resolution 156, Vallone's call to the New York State legislature to reverse state law and allow him to ban pit bulls and other breeds reads:

. . .dogs are often the weapon of choice of drug dealers and gangs seeking to intimidate and terrorize neighborhoods

That language is remarkably similar to what Humane Society of the United States' Pam Rogers used to stampede the Louisville City Council. In Louisville they passed what may be the worst animal control ordinance in the country.

Pam Rogers wrote:

["pit bulls"] are likely the most popular dog in the country, but unfortunately, they are also the dogs of choice for drug dealers, gang members, and anyone else who is looking for a dog to be a status symbol."

The ASPCA, long a dominant force in NYC animal issues, says: [“Animal owners” have] title to and dominion over the animal for the owner’s enjoyment and benefit as he/she sees fit. [Shifting to "guardianship"] will foster better protections for animals, as well as the development of a more respectful and humane society. And then there's Jane Hoffman, President and COB of the NYC Mayor's Alliance for Animals. Questioned by the NY Daily News about Councilman Vallone's pit bull tantrum, she responded: . . .dangerous dogs are created by neglectful owners who often leave them chained up in a yard.

Pointing the finger at. . .us?

Oh, yeah.

Its not the dogs. Duh. We knew that.

Its us. Nasty, mean, criminal, vicious, drug-dealing spiteful dog owners.

Dog owners need regulation. Supervision. Rules and boundaries. Lots and lots of them. Maybe 100 page's worth, like they got in Louisville. It will serve us right.

Sound like a plan? It will take a little more spinning, of course, but I'm thinking Peter Vallone will have some help with that.

What do you want to bet something very similar to that Louisville ordinance is going to hit Peter Vallone's desk with a thud?

Any takers? I'll give you good odds.


Anonymous said...

Where are all these dogs tied up in
their yards that Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor's Alliance,
finds in New York City? Almost everyone here lives in apartment
housing, therefore no yards, therefore no dogs tied up in yards.

Is there no one in city government or responsible for animal control who bothers to verify his or her
assertions with FACTS?

Roberta Pliner

Anonymous said...

Like humans, even dogs react differently to different situations