2010-06-23 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Banish the Breed Ban: Rockville Centre Board of Trustees, get ready for howls from the dog world. When it comes to monitoring dog bites and irrespon­sible owners, judge the “Deed not the Breed.” Seems you didn’t do your legal homework before slipping through a law forbidding your Village residents from owning Pit Bulls or Rottweilers. Not only is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) misguided, unfair and un­enforceable, it is illegal in New York State. Rockville Centre already had sufficient, existing local statutes to deal with designated dangerous or vicious dogs- dogs that had bitten someone; yet last week the LI Herald reported that the Rockville Cen­tre Board voted to ban two breeds. Supposedly they were not targeting Rotties and Pits already living in the Village. However, those owners would still have to register their dogs at the Village Hall. It seems complaints from residents and the police about problems at a few houses with many Pits and Rotties prompted the breed ban. Hmm…over and above the illegal ordinance, do you see flawed logic? Thealleged houses that are causes of the controversy are grandfathered in.

Breed specific legislation (BSL) is the overall term for laws that discriminate against breeds completely in hopes of reducing dog attacks. According to the ASPCA, one Maryland county spent a quarter of a million dollars a year to enforce a Pit Bull ban, only to findpublic safety had not improved and that all owner/dog transgressions were already covered un­der

generic Animal Control law such as leash laws. Furthermore there is no evidence that BSL makes communities safer for people or other pets. Afterstudying fatalities from dog bites, even the U.S. Cen­ters for Disease Control decided not to support BSL, citing the inaccuracy of dog bite data, the difficultyin identifying breeds (especially mixes) and the likeli­hood that determined dog exploiters will substitute new breeds, not regulated, to make aggressive for dog fighting or intimidation. BSL causes tons of problems. Breed bans penalize good owners and their trained, socialized dogs, which pushes model citizens away. Bad owners of the “No No” dogs tend to ignore the law or go underground. When they hide contraband canines, foregoing out­door exercise, vaccines, and spay/neuter, these own­ers jeopardize public safety and the health of the dogs even more. Where do officials draw the line as the list of unwelcome breeds expands to Shepherds, Dobies, Chows or even piranha Chihuahuas? Who decides which dogs are singled out? Thebreed labeled “Pit” can be subjective with many variations on the theme.Will the trustees be dusting for paw prints or swab­bing dogs for DNA? Most important, New York is one of 13 states that prohibit BSL. “The ban the Rockville Centre Board of Trustees recently passed is illegal as per NYS Agricul­ture & Markets Law, Article 7, Section 107 (5) which says municipalities cannot pass a law that discimi­nates toward any specific breed,” states LI attorney, Amy Chaitoff, an authority on animal legislation.

Come to the Pooch Protest: The targeted breeds need your support. On June 29, the LI Coalition of Dog Fanciers will address the Village Board trying to have this breed ban repealed under state law. All dog lovers, no matter your breed preference, are asked to show up at this very important meeting at Rockville Centre Village Hall (1 College Place) by 7:30 pm. Col­lective

growls will create a stronger impact. If you can’t attend, call Mayor Mary Bossart at 516-678-9260 to explain why this ruling is counterproductive. Leash laws, anti-tethering rules, guidelines to deal with in­dividual dangerous dogs, plus responsible pet owner­ship classes will do more to protect the community. I have tickets to see Denzel on Broadway that night, so would someone please stuff this column inside a Kong and deliver it to Rockville Centre Village Hall?

Free Rabies Shots Reminder: Last Hope Animal Rescue is holding a FREE dog/cat rabies vaccine clinic open to all Long Island pet owners at Babylon Town Shelter 51 Lamar St. W. Babylon this Sunday June 27 from 11 am to 3 pm, rain or shine. No appointment necessary. Dogs must be leashed; cats must be in carr-iers. Last Hope is able to provide this free public service thanks to a grant from Pet Peeves., Inc. There will be a tent set up outdoors for most dog shots but the cats will be invited into the shelter lobby for extra security against escape attempts. For more information, please call 516-223-6673 or email feralpats@yahoo.com.

Last Hope will be supplying the shots, tags, nec­essary paperwork and several vet techs, while addi­tional medical staff and Dr. Tricia LaSala the clinic’s supervising veterinarian will come from Aldrich Ani­mal

Hospital, part of the VCA network. VCA is kind enough to donate super raffle prizes for participating pet owners. Gift certificates are redeemable at any of their ten VCA hospitals on LI. Besides getting a free rabies vaccine, your lucky dog may win a Best Care Package worth $199 (which includes exam, blood work, heartworm test, urinalysis, fecal exam) or fivedays’ free boarding for a dog/cat; or walk away with one of the Advantage or Revolution gift packages.

For Adoption at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl. Syosset: “Hi, Ho Silver” this older male Mini Poodle #309 came in as a stray. He is look­ing to go home with someone. “Muffin” #313 is a magnificentlonghaired tabby who resembles a Maine Coon type. He is only two years old.

Dogs: “Tut’ white Shepherd/ Lab; “Aries” red Shep­herd mix; “Molly”- a Jack Russell Terrier.

Cats” “Barnum & Bailey” #287/288 white cat broth­ers. Both have a trademark V on their skull.

Return to top