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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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It’s time to give animal ordinances some teeth

DebraDeAngeloW

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From page A9 | June 23, 2013 | 45 Comments

A few weeks back, I wrote a column in the Winters Express about our city council’s inability or unwillingness to address the issue of loose, aggressive dogs, and I don’t mean just this particular city council.

In our “Years Ago” feature on Page 2, I discovered the following entry: “65 years ago, May 21, 1948 — Because of increased complaints about dogs in Winters, the county pound will conduct a campaign on unlicensed dogs Monday, the Winters City Council was told at the meeting Tuesday night.”

Many councils have come and gone since then, and although we have a leash law, it’s only randomly enforced. If the police can go fishing for drunk drivers by pulling drivers over for broken license plate lights, they could similarly go fishing for unneutered, unlicensed dogs by issuing citations for loose animals. Maybe if we establish a whopping penalty for loose, unneutered and unlicensed animals, it will get the police department’s attention.

You’d think a little girl’s cheek being torn off would’ve done it but, sadly, no. Drunk drivers are sexier. And yet, within Winters city limits, I’ll bet that injury from dog attacks — by pit bulls and pit bull mixes in particular — rivals the number of injuries caused by drunk drivers.

The column I wrote in May was prompted by a pit bull attack on a little Corgi while her owner was walking her by Putah Creek Nature Park. I also mentioned other local carnage caused by pit bulls, and prior feeble city council discussions about leash laws and pit bulls as recently as 2010. The Corgi’s owner addressed the council about the attack, and they listened politely, and Councilman Woody Fridae requested that the issue appear on an upcoming agenda for discussion.

Well, it hasn’t. So, at a recent council meeting, I stepped up to the microphone and reminded the council that this issue still hasn’t returned for discussion. And, to be clear, I mean serious discussion, not just wistful chin-stroking about how maybe, someday, we could have some sorta licensey kinda thingie … maybe … thanks for your input. OK, next agenda item.

Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry assured me that the council wasn’t avoiding the issue, they’re just preoccupied with more pressing concerns at the moment. Loose, aggressive dogs just aren’t a priority.

Until a loose pit bull clamps down on a toddler’s head and cracks it like a walnut.

And then we get outraged and interested again, for a while, and then it slowly dissipates from our attention span.

Until it happens again.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Enough’s enough. Sixty-five years have slid by, and no city council has tackled the issue of loose or aggressive dogs once and for all. I challenge this city council to be the one that does. If they’re truly too busy, then let’s form an Animal Services Commission to develop pet ownership ordinances that address the entire scope of animal related problems — leash laws, licensing, spay/neuter ordinances, abuse, neglect, and another of my pet (haha) peeves, excessive barking. (Yes, I wrote about that recently too.)

Technically, animal services fall under Yolo County’s jurisdiction. However, in my experience, the county’s ability to respond to an animal complaint is downright comical. Loose, aggressive dog chasing you down the street that evening? Yeah, sorry, no officers on duty tonight. Call back on Tuesday.

Maybe Animal Services is so busy euthanizing all those unwanted puppies and kittens dumped off by irresponsible pet owners who don’t get their animals spayed and neutered, they just can’t spare staff to go out on animal calls, particularly to the hinterlands that is Winters.

For whatever reason, Animal Services just can’t get its act together. It’s time for the city, and our police department, to stop pointing at Animal Services every time there’s an animal-related issue. Other cities are establishing their own city ordinances. Winters can too.

A reader sent me a list of city and county jurisdictions with “nuisance” laws that cover of animal-related issues, complete with citations and penalties. Los Angeles County’s Animal Laws & Ordinances were particularly impressive and offer a great template. (http://animalcare.lacounty.gov/lawsordinances.asp.)

Their ordinances address abandonment, excessive barking, dangerous dogs and inhumane treatment, including loose dogs riding in the back of trucks. It limits households to only one litter of puppies or kittens per year. Dogs must have a license attached to their collar, and are not allowed off leash outside the owner’s yard, and that goes for all dogs, from Pomeranians to pit bulls. Why? Because pit bull owners have successfully lobbied about discrimination against their lovely animals, who would never harm a fly. So delusional, they are. There are only two kinds of pit bulls: Those that bite, and those that haven’t yet. Were it up to me, pit bull owners would be required to carry extra insurance to pay for the medical bills, or funerals, for the people their beasts attack.

Don’t get me started.

So, how about it, Winters City Council? Are you ready to end 65 years of foot-dragging? Are you ready to appoint an Animal Services Commission to outline a plan? Moreover, are you ready to insist that the police department actually enforce the ordinances? How about putting citations for loose and unlicensed dogs in the police report?

And cat owners — you don’t get a free pass either.

I also wrote recently about kittens left to die in a box by the road in rural Winters. The very next week, a woman reported that someone did it again — more kittens were boxed up and abandoned at the high school ag site. This is double-dipping into the animal cruelty pot — failing to spay/neuter cats and then essentially torturing their unwanted offspring.

It needs to stop. Right here, right now, in Winters.

And if anyone at the county level is paying attention (I believe there are a few Davis residents running for county supervisor), I will throw my support, and vote, to the candidate who finally puts some teeth in our countywide animal ordinances.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at debra@wintersexpress.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.edebra.com

Debra DeAngelo

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Discussion | 45 comments

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  • DawnJune 23, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    It is unfortunate that some good points about responding to loose dogs has been overshadowed by DeAngelo's obvious hatred and bias toward one particular breed.

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  • jon felosiJune 25, 2013 - 11:03 am

    It is simply ridiculous that every time someone braves the crazies and speaks the truth about pit bulls there are always people jumping on saying the same old worn out cliches about nanny dog, my snookums wouldnt hurt a fly, and there is always some excuse for the attack. It is the same people who jump on a thread about a child killed by a well treated and "socialized" pit bull and start blaming the victim, anyone except the dog. It is no mystery why such people have pit bulls in the first place. When a child gets killed their sympathy and concern is for the mutant fighting dog, not the baby or family. Now ask yourself this question, Do ya really think these people care about YOUR safety and the safety of YOUR children? They dont even care about their own children or they wouldnt take such a risk.

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:07 am

    It our understanding that you have had no respect for life either, Jon Felosi. You have no room to speak.

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  • CACJune 26, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Actually, based on a 20-year CDC study on dog aggression and breed that was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, breed is not a factor in dog aggression. The CDC recommends "enforcement of generic, non-breed-specific dangerous dog laws, with an emphasis on chronically irresponsible owners, enforcement of animal control ordinances such as leash laws, prohibition of dog fighting, encouraging neutering, and school-based and adult education programs that teach pet selection strategies, pet care and responsibility, and bite prevention." Focusing on breed will only allow aggression incidents to continue. Focusing on proven methods that are recommended by the U.S. government and the largest professional veterinary society in the world WILL have a positive impact on the reduction of dog aggression incidents. Caring = being informed and intelligent. Your hysteria causes more problems than any dog breed in the prevention of future aggression incidents.

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  • MaryJune 23, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Your ignorance regarding the way a dog looks and its supposed actions that are inevitable are disturbing, especially now that you smear this hate across such a needed fix for a problem everywhere. Your hate for animals and people alike drip from these words heavy, it's clear you would make strict laws with much prejudice and I'm so glad you don't have the power to do so.

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  • JaloneyJune 23, 2013 - 11:06 pm

    CRUSHING truth 15 fatalities by pitbulls.. this year. DID You flunk logic and math? No other dog is killing people at this rate. or anywhere near this rate.

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  • JaloneyJune 23, 2013 - 11:11 pm

    CRUSHING TRUTH LINK... meet the 2013 victims.. LOOK, learn and imagine being the parents, sisters, brothers, children and imagine someone telling you that it is just acceptable that these deaths keep happening. Just blame the irresponsible owner right? Does that bring back the dead?? It is high time that ordinances to control aggressive breeds are put in place. http://mappingteam.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=efd8f14e12ca425fbc8b8fdbfe084775&webmap=92043c2106204902b0dec1a2957696e5

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:19 am

    Jaloney: Are you sure these dogs are the breed of dog that you claim them to be? Might want to do some analysis and research before you make such claims.

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  • Sophie CairnsJune 29, 2013 - 3:55 am

    Eula: what on earth makes you think they weren't ID properly... even gthe PIttie apologists can't D a pit..l or Pit mix... they have been so outbred with the bigger more aggressive dogs in the pst 40 years to make them bigger stronger more 'game' aka AGGRESSIVE and dominated by druggie/gangsta/felon networks (I worked in juvenile corrections). The truth and reality is that people with socipathic personality traits would choose a dog that rips people and animals apart... it's part of the blood sport profiles... may wear a suit and carry a briefcase but it doesn't eliminate the anti-social aspects of the owners and promoters of these killer dogs. WHY would someone deliberately CHOOSE a dog that kills and maims esp. within (hopefully only O it's own family circle.... which 2/3 of the deaths this year have been the owners or the owner's child. If Pitties would only STICK to that diet, I probably wouldn't complain but they dont' they also maim and kill people and other animals living next door or just walking down the street or on the nature trail. Pit owners are the true 'haters' not those of us who want to live in peace and safety in our own communities. If you like your dogs and the people who have them, why not form your own towns and STAY there.

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  • CACJune 26, 2013 - 10:49 am

    Let me give you a little lesson in math and statistics from someone with an advanced degree who makes a living in this field. You can't define (qualify) what a "pit bull" is. You can't give an accurate baseline percentage of how may "pit bulls" exist relative to the approximately 80 millions dogs in the U.S.(quantify). If 15 "pit bull type" dogs killed people in one year, and the definition of pit bull is everything from mastiff to bulldog to dogo to every mixed breed of medium size and short hair (which is currently how "pit bull" is being designated), there is less than a .0002% chance of dying from a "pit bull" attack. Your chances are 500 times greater of dying in a plane crash. You are 600 times more likely to die from food poisoning. You are just as likely to die in a malfunctioning elevator. You are just as likely to die from a dog attack by a dog of another breed. Your hysteria is ridiculous, and frankly it crosses the line into mental illness.

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  • KarlaJuly 01, 2013 - 9:39 pm

    Folks who use the defense of "how do you know that it was a pit bull?" HAVE no defense. As so frequently mentioned, these "mutant killers" have become a wicked and deadly combination of the various "bully breeds", selectively propagated to kill and maim without regard to physical pain to themselves. The sooner the world is free of this type of dog, WHATEVER you want to call it, the safer we will all be!

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  • mochiJune 23, 2013 - 2:51 pm

    Crack it like a walnut? I couldn't read any more of this ignorant opinion after that. What is a pitbull's jaw made of? Steel? What sort of pressure is in the head? Oh, you probably believe their jaws lock too.

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  • KaseyJune 23, 2013 - 3:22 pm

    "And yet, within Winters city limits, I’ll bet that injury from dog attacks — by pit bulls and pit bull mixes in particular — rivals the number of injuries caused by drunk drivers." That's a pretty bold statement to make. Let's see some numbers to back that up. "There are only two kinds of pit bulls: Those that bite, and those that haven’t yet." Really? Cite your references. As long as you make unsupportable statements like this, it's going to be tough to get reasonable people to take you seriously.

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  • ChrisJune 23, 2013 - 9:50 pm

    Here's some good references about dangerous dog attacks for you, Kasey: http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics.php

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:25 am

    Chris: In the real world, we use verified statistics. Not ones that are made up by a hack, a pseudo-researcher who has no idea how to conduct real research, or a website that makes up it own rules (and twists information into the form that they want it to be in) as it goes. The website that you refer to is the laughing stock of the internet!

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  • CACJune 25, 2013 - 8:20 pm

    dogbite.org is not a real website. It's a personal "blog" run by a woman with no education or experience in animal-related matters, or any professional or academic credentials. It's also a meeting spot for loonies who post violent and disturbing fantasies about poisoning and stabbing dogs as well as their owners. I would not recommend it for anything but a good laugh.

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  • Sophie CairnsJune 29, 2013 - 4:08 am

    Kasey: we already have DUI laws and yes, they should be enforced. Don't try to divert attention to THIS problem... and that is this: that Pits should be regulated and those regulations need to be enforced and enforced on ALL Pits or other dangerous dogs. Stick to the bloody topic.

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  • DawnJune 23, 2013 - 3:24 pm

    DeAngelo's obvious bias about Pit Bulls has overshadowed any other points she might have tried make.

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  • ChrisJune 23, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    Bit bulls have killed one person every 10 days so far this year. You are right on the mark, Ms. DeAngelo. These breeds are a serious health and safety hazard.

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  • CACJune 26, 2013 - 10:56 am

    Based on CDC statistics, "pit bull" deaths exceed the overall recorded deaths by dog bites so far this year? How does that work?

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  • CACJune 26, 2013 - 11:02 am

    Approximately 18 people would have to have died from pit bulls (alone) if that ridiculous claim added up. The CDC is reporting 8 deaths so far this year related to dog bites from dogs of all breeds. The average number of dog bite-related deaths in any given year is about 32. That's less than one every 10 days from dogs of ALL breeds.

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  • JimJune 23, 2013 - 3:30 pm

    Boooooo. Lame rant with tired stereotypes. Thanks for insulting me. This "delusional" pet owner gives you two thumbs down.

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  • JoniJune 23, 2013 - 5:49 pm

    Thank you for grouping responsible pet owners with the irresponsible ones. Excellent job (not!) researching before making some uncalled for, ridiculous assumptions

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  • Elizabeth van DuyvenvoordeJune 23, 2013 - 9:55 pm

    As of 19 June 2013, 17 dead by dog attack. Pit bulls killed sixteen so far this year. Ten of the sixteen dead are children. Remembering and mourning them again here: Child fatalities by pit bull type dog: Christian Gormanous - 4 yrs old Isaiah Aguilar - 2 yrs old Ryan Maxwell - 7 yrs old Dax Borchardt - 14 mos old Monica Laminack - 21 mos old Tyler Jett - 7 yrs old Jordyn Arndt - 4 yrs old Beau Rutlidge - 2 yrs old Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old Adult fatalities by pit bull type: Betty Todd - 65 yrs old Elsie Grace - 91 yrs old Claudia Gallardo - 38 yrs old Pamela Devitt - 63 yrs old Carlton Freeman - 80 yrs old James Hardin - 62 yrs old - chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls

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  • CACJune 26, 2013 - 10:40 am

    If you are going to post statistics, you need to: 1. Qualify "pit bull type dog". This is not a designated breed, and the designation has been proven subjective by DNA testing (which has shown little-to-no common breed ancestry in dogs designated as "pit bull" by shelter workers). Actually, any short-haired, medium-sized, mixed breed dog compiled of over 20 breeds (everything from boxers to mastiffs to boston terriers) can (and often is) labeled a "pit bull type". Unless you can qualify your terminology, statistics are meaningless. 2. Can you QUANTIFY your statistics? Based on the preceding point of lack of qualification, you would also need to provide a baseline for the number of "pit bull type" dogs in the U.S. Some anti-pit bull people lump American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Boxers, Cane Corsos, Cane Presarios, Dogos, and most mixed breed dogs into the category of "pit bull". If this is the case, then the number of human deaths relative to the number of dogs (approx. 80 million dogs in the U.S. divided by the percentage of dogs that fall into your established "pit bull type" category) is a MUCH lower risk than dying in a plane crash, from food poisoning, or in an elevator accident. THOUSANDS more children die every year at the hands of abusive or neglectful family members. More children die in high chair accidents than by all dogs of all breeds.

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  • Michelle PippinJune 23, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    "Because pit bull owners have successfully lobbied about discrimination against their lovely animals, who would never harm a fly. So delusional, they are." You, obviously, have never owned a Pit bull and probably have never even known one. I live with 2. I rescued my first one 9 years ago from a local animal shelter, he has never bitten anyone and is caring and loyal. 2 years later, I got another. Raised from pups, neither of these "BEASTS" have ever been aggressive toward a soul. Kids love them and they love kids. Shame on you for your disgusting attitude toward one of God's creatures and how dare you bad mouth owners of Pit bulls when you obviously don't know any of us. ANY dog can bite. ANY dog can injure someone. Pit bulls are not the problem; Idiots that train them to fight and ignorant people who write articles about them when they know NOTHING about them are the problem. Get educated!

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  • Michelle PippinJune 23, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    You are clueless. Don't waste anymore time writing articles on things you obviously know nothing about. I love my 2 Pit bulls. Humans are the dangerous ignorant "beasts" (This article proves it.) My beautiful "beasts" have never been aggressive toward anyone and I have raised them for 10 years. Get educated before you write as you make yourself appear delusional.

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  • KelliJune 23, 2013 - 6:31 pm

    Yes, loose vicious dogs should be a more important issue and irresponsible owners should have harsher punishment. But there is no way I can agree with a writer so uneducated on the issue that she would compare drunk driving to dog bites, and specifically citing one breed. Her extreme bias makes this article impossible to take seriously.

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  • Jane RawlingsJune 23, 2013 - 9:43 pm

    Replying to Kelli: When we talk about pit bulls, we aren't talking about little nips or puncture-wound bites. We're talking about sustained mauling, disfiguring, dismembering, killing attacks. We won't allow you to change the subject to dog bites. It's manipulative and abusive that you are trying to do this, particularly in the wake of the tenth child death by PIT BULL TYPE DOG this year.

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  • Dog LoverJune 28, 2013 - 12:24 am

    You have got to be kidding me writing this. You think that pit bulls are really the ones killing everything and responsible for these "attacks"? I would love to see the DNA evidence that these dogs were pure bred pit bulls. I've gotten bitten by 3 dogs working at animal shelters, all of which, were small dogs. Pit bulls to me are a heck of a lot nicer than little dogs, and they are more loyal and gentle. I would also like to see your proof that the shelter is just putting down dogs and cats. That is not what they do, and I think you would be astounded if you actually opened your eyes and looked at all the great work the animal shelter was doing (I would know, I volunteer there). I personally invite you to go to some research then write a follow up article about all the wonderful programs our shelter has, I think you would be amazed. This article is discriminatory and biased and should not even be taken seriously. I am amazed that you even wrote this, considering the shelter staff works around the clock, and we have on call officers that WILL get the "aggressive dog that is chasing you down the street". I seriously doubt you even did any research before writing this, and I suggest your next article might actually have legitimate facts with evidence, instead of your incorrect bias.

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  • Jane RawlingsJune 23, 2013 - 9:39 pm

    You will get a lot of flack and quite a few abusive emails for writing this column, but it's good you did. Thank you for your courage in naming the issues and pushing for real solutions.

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  • JaloneyJune 23, 2013 - 11:08 pm

    https://www.facebook.com/Walkforvictimsofpbodd Free family activities, police security onsite, food, bounce tent for kids, speakers including FORMER pitbull owners that saw their dog attack unprovoked and as usual, the dog wouldnot let go. Come on out.. Candle light vigil to memorialize victims at dusk, too.

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  • MelissaJune 23, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    Thank you so much for this refreshing article. Perhaps not politically correct but addressing a problem that has gone too long ignored. My dog was killed by a pit bull and I went to a lost pets forum for comfort and support. What I found was that there are a huge number of people that lost their beloved pet in the same manner that I did! Upon this realization I did some research; what I found was shocking, not only were pits killing pets they were killing people as well! Looking at the pit's history its dog aggressiveness is explained but why are they responsible for so many human attacks? and why do we give dogs more rights and support then our fellow mankind? It still makes no sense to me.

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:32 am

    I call bull puckey!!

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  • JaloneyJune 23, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    Words from a world reknown animal behaviorist and evolutionary biologist that isn't a sell out to the wealthy dog fighters. The bad wiring can't be detected in the pitbulls first six months of life, -- or at any time until the pit bull has been cremated. There is no training that will counteract genetically determined behaviors. I've seen many pit bull puppies terrify adult dogs already at the age of eight weeks. Others have seemed fine until their sixth or seventh month, at which point they suddenly tried to kill a playmate they'd been fine with until then. And so on, including family pit bulls that suddenly killed a child or an adult owner at the age of five or eight years. SEE http://www.scribd.com/doc/14810086/Heritability-of-Behavior-in-the-Abnormally-Aggressive-Dog-by-A-Alexandra Semyonova Several of the genes involved in this sudden, pathological aggression have been identified. The differences in brain structure and chemistry that they cause are clear (training doesn't fix deviant brain structures). The mechanism -- why the genes activate when they do -- hasn't been figured out yet. Get a hold of this animal behaviorists book: The 100 Silliest Things People say about Dogs. No excuses are given for pitbulls.

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:31 am

    Funny, Alexandra Semyonova is NOT "a world reknown animal behaviorist and evolutionary biologist." The only thing that she does (if she really exist) is climb on your hate-wagon and continue to spread misinformation.

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  • MaggieJune 24, 2013 - 12:25 am

    I am appalled at your witch-hunt for pittie pups. And then you trivialize the damage done by drunk drivers! Shame on you. I agree that there should be better laws concerning dogs running lose and especially pets not being spayed/neutered. Owners need to be responsible for their pets and held accountable for any destruction caused by their animal running lose. A neighbor's Chihuahua came into my yard and attacked my dogs...no tags on him just running loose causing trouble. Did my AmStaf attack back? NO! She didn't even respond to this aggressive little dog. I have had pittie pups for years and been around many others. I have never, ever had one turn mean on me or anyone else. However, I do believe in being a responsible dog owner. My dogs are completely trained and they are supervised when outside their yard. My pit is a certified service & therapy dog. Your tirade against pits shows an excessive ignorance of dogs in general. ALL dog bites have the potential to be deadly. I noticed you didn't write about the lab that killed the kid in his own house or the Jack Russell that attacked a toddler. Yes, I know that a pit attack can be vicious and deadly but they are not the only dogs that attack & kill. However, they are the only ones that the news reporters actually report on. This vendetta you have against pit bulls and their owners breeds hate and ignorance against an animal that does not deserve it. Do some actual on site research with dogs and really learn about the breed itself before your condemn everyone of them. Did you know that 7 different pits were used in the 'Our Gang" series? Did you know they were used in the armed forces and rec'd medals? Did you know they have been called the 'Nanny Dog' because they are so gentle with children? Did you know that they are not recommended as guard dogs because they are too friendly? Did you know that they have to be abused to be forced to fight in the pits? And, did you know that a great majority of the pits are killed by their owners because they do not like to fight (see Michael Vicks about this)? There is not a "genetic" flaw that causes this dog to tweak out at 6 months of age or 5 years of age. But there are stupid people out there who should never have access to any dog because they think it should be used & abused to prove their manhood, to be able to attack and kill everything that crosses its path. Over the years there have been other breeds of dogs that have had the same bad reputation, like the Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler to name a few. Bad breeding, puppy mills, in-line breeding has done a lot of damage to dog breeds in general and that, in turn, can cause issues with certain dogs...BUT not the whole breed itself. So before you continue your vendetta against pit bulls, I ask that you do more research. And do it in person...there are plenty of rescue groups who would be happy to meet with you and let you learn about the breed one on one.

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  • DixonJune 24, 2013 - 2:44 am

    "Debra DeAngelo...Because I say so." Your personal description of your column is so incredibly apt. All your claims in this tripe that attempts to pass as an article, are true because ... YOU, Debra DeAngelo say so. Funny, I didn't see a single credential that would make you qualified to even know what a "pit bull" is, or for you to be able to comment on the subject of dog bites. Your ignorance on the subject is almost laughable Oh and Jaloney, "pit bull" troll extraordinaire, for the millionth time; citing Dogsbiteorg. is equally laughable. A website created after a former internet fortune teller, self proclaimed "sex therapist," and failed book author was bitten by a dog and became an "overnight expert" on dogs. No wonder no one takes dog bites seriously when this motley crew begins talking about them.

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  • april 29June 24, 2013 - 6:18 am

    Excellent column! The author has taken a very courageous stand on an issue that has a strong impact on the livability of a community. It takes equal courage for elected leaders to tune out the shrill rants of non-local breed specific advocates in order to craft laws that protect actual constituents.

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  • carolJune 24, 2013 - 7:15 am

    This should be on the opinion page. Not a fact in the article.

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  • Chris LambertJune 24, 2013 - 4:23 pm

    Isn't it interesting that some of those commenting have attacked Debra's column pretty much like, well, a pit bull! Perhaps there is some truth to the idea that dogs and their owners eventually begin to resemble each other.

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  • Janet FultonJune 25, 2013 - 2:36 pm

    I formerly feared Pit Bulls and angrily would never let one get near the dogs I owned at the time, even when the Pit Bull smiled, sniffed and just wanted to say "hi." When doing research on the best dog breed fit for my family, I was stunned when Pit Bulls consistently presented at the top of the list. I researched more, learning of many positive attributes of this breed--not the least of which is a great desire to please humans. I am now an owner of a shy, sweet American Staffordshire Terrier (one of several breeds that fall under the umbrella term "Pit Bull"), who is obedience trained, loves other dogs, is a welcome regular at the Toad Hollow Dog Park, and continues learning at Thinking Dogs classes. I invite you to review the web pages of BadRap (http://www.badrap.org/) and Chako (http://www.chako.org/), both based in Northern California. BadRap was central in the assessment of the former Vick dogs on an individual basis, some of which transitioned to become family dogs, AKC Good Citizens and therapy dogs. Jim Gorant, a writer for Sports Illustrated, authored "The Lost Dogs, examining the rescue and rehabilitation of the Vick dogs. He brought to light that the reason why Vick's organization killed so many dogs is that they didn't want to fight. Or, watch the documentary Beyond The Myth, available on Netflix streaming. It does a good job addressing the often subjective judgments of journalists and animal control officers when using the labels "Pit Bull" and "Pit Bull type dogs." I agree that unleashed dogs are a nuisance, if not dangerous. I'm fed up with cavalier, irresponsible owners who watch their unleashed dog charge mine, who is on leash and terrified, shouting "It's ok! He's really friendly!" Throw the book at those numbskull owners; I'll help you! I also think that individual dogs whose behavior proves they are dangerous should be euthanized. However, condemning an entire breed, or dogs in a subjective moment that "look like" a "type," to villainy and, potentially, death is neither fact-based nor an effective means of addressing the real problems of owners who disobey leash laws and legally dangerous dogs.

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  • CACJune 25, 2013 - 8:42 pm

    A CDC-sponsored 20-year study on dog bite fatalities published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: "the data contained within this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities (e.g., neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be said to be more “dangerous” than any other breed based on the contents of this report)." CDC advice on preventing dog aggression: "Strategies that can be used in an effort to prevent dog bites include enforcement of generic, non-breed-specific dangerous dog laws, with an emphasis on chronically irresponsible owners, enforcement of animal control ordinances such as leash laws, prohibition of dog fighting, encouraging neutering, and school-based and adult education programs that teach pet selection strategies, pet care and responsibility, and bite prevention." HSUS statistic: Pit bull type dogs are more often the victim of humans than the other way around -- 25% of animal cruelty cases involve abuse or neglect against a pit bull type dog. ASPCA on media bias against pit bull type dogs: "A pit bull bite is also far more likely to draw media attention. Many dogs of other breeds bite people, but these incidents almost always go unreported. They’re just not exciting enough fodder for television and print... a well-bred, well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable. It is truly a shame that the media continues to portray such a warped image of this beautiful, loyal and affectionate breed." There is so many more studies and statistics from respected veterinary and animal advocacy groups to even start to copy and paste here. I would advise this journalist, and any readers, to educate themselves with INTELLIGENT and PROFESSIONAL research (i.e., not a personal blog by women in Texas with a GED). Breed hysteria will not lower dog aggression incidents. Intelligent and reasonable laws based on actual science (as opposed to manufactured hysteria and doctored statistics) WILL lower dog aggression incidents.

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  • Eula FreyJune 26, 2013 - 10:05 am

    Debra, Debra, Debra, tsk tsk. Some of your opinion makes sense but when one get to the part(s) about Pit Bulls in particular, we learn to not take you seriously and realize that you have a vendetta against something that you do not understand. One would also have a tendency to believe that you are biased, intolerant, and practice speciesism to its fullest extent. Talk about delusional.

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  • Leopold RothJuly 02, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    BREAKING NEWS! Ignorance Abounds in Davis. All of you, that speak out against a breed and not the thuggish irresponsible owners that raise the dogs to behave badly, probably own those dogs that you take to the dog park, but tell everyone else your dog is not there to play and stay away. REALLY? If any of you ever really paid attention to these stories of "attacks", including Ms. DeAngelo, you'd realize half of them were accidental, caused by a sudden startling of the animal. Sadly, I apparently need to stress here, that all dogs are animals and unable to rationalize a "threat" against them vs a careless behavior, such a child using it as a pony. Sad as these events are, it is the responsibility of the parent to teach the child proper behavior around and animal and to have constant watch while a child and any animal are interacting. Common sense 101 people. The other thing you people seem to be missing, is most every "attack" is from an intact male or female. No one should be allowed to keep an intact dog or cat, without a special permit. You're asking for trouble and animal over population when you do.

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