June 24, 2005

HELP FIGHT AGAINST Unfair Pit Bull Bill Proposal in Calif.

Senator Speiers introduced Bill SB861 on Tuesday that would amend CA's law against BSL. While it still prevents an all out ban, it's still BSL and the ramifications are unthinkable! Cities would have the ability to ban pit bulls essentially by passing different regulations against pit bulls including but not limited to insurance requirements, required muzzles, uses for medical purposes (as in Canada), etc.

This bill can also then easily be modified in the future to allow for what is happening in Denver (dogs are being taken from good homes and euthanized). We have just heard that the bill is now on FAST TRACK.

The Senator has fastracked the bill (cheated) by taking a bill sb861 which was already in the health comittiee and completely rewriting it to address BSL (it was about prescriptions). Apparently if the bill is a rewrite they do not need to hold hearings, they just need a committiee vote to send it to the floor...

The bill is now scheduled to be voted on July 5!

If you are against this bill, please start calling your Senators and Representatives and ask meet with them! It will be decided on July 5! Get your friends, family and neighbors to call and voice their opinions asking them NOT to support any amendment allowing for any type of regulations by breed. Get the letters and statistics in the mail!

There is a sample letter here on the Bad Rap website and you can also find out who your representatives here!

California Senate Website
California General Assembly

(PLEASE call and email everyone that you possibly can and express your opposition and ask how you can attend any hearings on the bill).

*** By the way, here's a great letter example of points you may want to bring up about pit bulls when you contact your politician of choice ***

June 7, 2005

My Letter to the Editor About Pit Bulls &
the San Francisco Media's Unfair Coverage

Since the incident with the pit bull mauling last Friday, the media in San Francisco has gone nuts reporting about it -- making pit bulls out to be the next Frankenstein monster. So in an effort to remind not only the public, but our Mayor Gavin Newsom who seems to be hinting at a San Francisco ban against all pits, I wrote a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper commending them on the single story they wrote that showed the other side of the story. Granted, it was one pro-pitbull article in a sea of articles sensationalizing the incident, but I figured I better write in nontheless.

Here it is:


Dear Editors of Chronicle,

Thank you so much for publishing the story Despite reputation, trained pit bulls can be wonderful pets, experts say by Julian Guthrie which sheds light on the mass hysteria that seems to be generating over the pit bull mauling. It's no doubt that this incident is horrific, but it's not the entire breed that should be punished for the actions of other pits that were neglected, not taking care of properly (like being neutered) and of course others that are trained to dog fight.

As a pit bull owner for 4 years, I can tell you not all pits vicious killers like the media seems to want to portray after an incident like this. My dog has never hurt another dog or person in the whole time she's been alive. In fact, she lives in the same area as those pit bulls that attacked that boy, and she's never been in any incident where an attack has happened. Many pits live in the Sunset and go to Golden Gate park and are perfectly trained, happy dogs. Pits are loving, caring animals that don't "turn on their owners at random." I hate it when uneducated journalists buy into myths instead of getting all the facts and showing an even, objective story. But of course, objectivity doesn't always sell newspapers.

I'm glad Julian Guthrie's story was published, even if it was buried in the sea of sensationalism that seems to have taken over the media in San Francisco. What scares me more than anything is that out Mayor will buy into the hysteria and make an example of this incident by banning all pits from San Francisco. Because of one dog attack, I'm completely petrified the mayor will take a knee-jerk reaction to the media hype and go after pitbulls that haven't done anything wrong (like with my dog's case) with this possible ban.

This won't help the situation. The people that abuse or don't know how to properly care for pit bulls as pets, will merely ignore this law. And the people who do know how to care for pits and give them good homes will be out of luck, because chances are they happen to be law abiding citizens.

If Newsom really wants to help the situation, maybe he should have tougher law enforcement on dog fighting rings, as well as instigate required neutering of all pits. That way if people want to own pits they must buy them from a licensed kennel or the Humane Society, instead of from someone's basement. If it's true this attack was cause not because the animal was pit, but because it was in heat, then that's the real story here.

I have a hard time understanding also why the media isn't bringing up the fact more that the dogs weren't socialized properly in an article in the Chronicle:

"Michelle O'Leary, a neighbor on Lincoln Way, said the pit bulls were puppies, not fully mature.'They were nice dogs but rambunctious,' she said. They weren't as well socialized as they could be. They would come bounding and run up to you. They would come bounding and run up to my dog. They didn't seem to have social awareness.'"

Or the fact stated in another article in the Chronicle:

"Randy Geyer, who lives two doors down in a cottage that faces the Faibishes' backyard, said he frequently saw Nicholas and his two siblings with the 80-pound dogs in the yard. He said the children often hit the dogs in the face, but they never reacted aggressively."

They hit the dogs in the face? And this was allowed by the owners?

But then in the same article the writers quote the obviously grieving grandparents saying the whole breed should be banned from San Francisco and to my horror I read the following quote:

"Nicholas' maternal grandfather, Colm Brennan, who owns the small apartment building on Lincoln Way, walked by with his Jack Russell terrier, pausing at the shrine. 'I'll tell you what I would do: kill every pit bull in San Francisco,' a red-eyed Brennan said earlier between sobs. 'I don't like pit bulls, never have.'

It's that kind of journalism that instigates witchhunts and mob rule. Even though Julian Guthrie's article is a small blip on the screen that gives some sense of objectivity instead of the endless horror-story journalism that seems to be popping up because of this incident, I'm glad it was published it to remind readers that it's not the breed that should be punished. Instead the focus should remain on the people who are either too clueless or careless when owning not just a pit bull, but any dog.

Bonnie Burton
San Francisco, CA

If you want to help, voice your opinion about pit bulls to:

San Francisco Chronicle: Letters to the Editor:

Mayor Gavin Newsom
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
TDD: (415) 252-3107
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Email: gavin.newsom@sfgov.org

June 6, 2005

Pit bulls are NOT the enemy

After the horrible pitbull attack that happened this week in San Francisco, our Mayor Gavin Newsom may be hinting that he wants a pitbull ban in San Francisco. This scares the hell out of me since I have a perfectly behaved beautiful pitbull mix that's the love of my life. Because of one dog attack, I'm completely petrified the mayor will take a kneejerk reaction to the media hype and go after pitbulls that haven't done anything wrong (like with my dog's case) with a possible ban.

This is outrageous, but knowing San Francisco and it's tendency to blow things out of PC proportion, I could see this actually happening.

I wrote Mayor Gavin Newsom to remind him that not all pits are vicious and aggressive, and banning them from the city making them illegal to own won't make things better, but possibly worse. The people who mistreat or neglect pits could care less about laws. And the people who could give pits a good home do. People who abuse pits by training them to fight for profit, or make them mean to be security dogs, don't make a habit of following laws. But the rest of us who already love and provide caring homes for pits do care about the laws. So where does that leave us?

Not only that, but the media here has gone nuts over the incident, feeding the public's panic with half-truths and blatant lies about the breed. SfGAte.com's coverage is disturbing. Not only are they playing up the idea that the dogs went nuts on the kid for no reason (when in actuality those same two dogs have been detained a year ago for attacking other dogs in the park), but they're also encouraging people to send in their "pitbull horror stories" which are often just people saying they cross the street the other way when they see a pit. It seems that all the San Francisco Chronicle has been doing during this whole ordeal is merely encouraging residents to push the panic button on pit bulls.

What I don't understand is why don't they make a real effort to publish stories that show the other side. It seems as though the San Francisco media doesn't think the other side of the story will sell newspapers or get people to tune into their media programs. After all, a dead boy and two vicious dogs sells more papers, then the fact that not all pits are killers. Please do me a favor and get more informated about these things before jumping on the bandwagon with other folks who only get their facts from the 10 o'clock news or the newspaper.

Regardless how you feel about pitbulls, take a moment to read these myths and facts about pitbulls from Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls.


And don't forget to write both the Mayor and the paper your opinion on pit bulls here:
San Francisco Chronicle: Letters to the Editor:


Mayor Gavin Newsom
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
TDD: (415) 252-3107
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Email: gavin.newsom@sfgov.org

June 5, 2005

Costume Croquet in the Park

If you walked through Golden Gate Park on June 5, you may have stumbled upon a scene of a well-dressed cat playing croquet with other animals and creatures of another place and time. Every year my buddies put on a costume croquet tournament and this year the theme was "Beauties & Beasties."

We took over a patch of the park, and before long tourist buses slowed down to take pics and joggers stopped in their tracks as they took a moment to appreciate adults dressed as cats, werewolves, rabbits, monkeys, gorillas and a handful of princesses, beauty queens and good witches playing a rousing game of croquet.

Check out the photographic evidence here.

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