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I’m a supporter for a national, non-profit dog attack victim’s group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks and supporting victims – National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA). NPBVA speaks for more than 75 organizations and Facebook pages concerned with breed legislation and victims of pit bull attacks.
Thank you for keeping your citizens safe by banning pit bull-type dogs. It is not an accident that pit bull restrictions are being challenged. Cities and towns face heated challenges instigated by people sympathetic to the pit bull lobby [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/pit-bull-lobby/], which spends tens of millions of dollars disputing both local bans and enforcing bills at the House level to prevent BSL state-wide [https://www.dogsbite.org/legislating-dangerous-dogs-bsl-faq.php#statepreemption]. The current Missouri House Bill to ban pit bulls state-wide is being proposed by Representative Ron Hicks, who operates a dog rescue.
The purpose of a breed specific ordinance is not to prevent bites, but to prevent maulings. The main issue with pit bull attacks is that they cause much more serious damage than most dogs. Bites require band-aids or a few stitches; maulings require amputation, plastic surgery, and rehabilitation therapy. On average, 30 people are directly killed every year by pit bulls. Hundreds more people die of related causes such as falling downstairs to escape an attack, having a heart attack during the mauling, or being hit by a car escaping an attack, and thousands are hospitalized for emergency surgery. Reconstructive surgery with skin grafts often requires multiple procedures over a period of years. Please follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NationalPitBullVictimAwareness/ for daily reports of multiple pit bull attacks in the media, and hear the stories of the victims.
The temperament and behavior of most dogs is heavily determined by their environment and their upbringing, but not in the case of pit bulls. More than half of the approximately 30 people killed by pit bulls each year were killed by their own dogs. Many of these people loved and trained their dogs for years before they inexplicably attacked. The groups represented by NPBVA are made up of tens of thousands of victims, including former pit bull owners, whose lives have been changed forever by pit bull injuries and deaths.
In the USA, pit bulls make up 7% of the dog population but inflict 72% of dog bite-related human fatalities [https://blog.dogsbite.org/2019/05/2018-dog-bite-fatality-statistics-discussion.html]. Anyone who understands statistics knows this is enough proof they are dangerous in our neighborhoods. Most insurers don’t cover pit bulls because they can’t afford the actuarial risk.
In Missouri, there have been 20 serious attacks in the past two years [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/attacks/pit-bull-attack-database/], including a 13-month old girl killed in Cape Giradeau; a family of four mauled in Rivers Township; police officers attacked in Meramac and St. Louis; and a little girl attacked in St. Ann. These are the people you are protecting with your current legislation. Please note these are only the attacks reported by the media. Studies suggest hundreds more attacks never make the news due to privacy reasons.
Twenty-four articles recently published in refereed medical journals conclude pit bulls pose the highest risk of biting, cause the most damage per bite, and the most deaths by dogs. Some studies examine thousands of cases. [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Articles-in-Refereed-Medical-Journals.pdf] In addition, Level 1 trauma center dog bite studies from all geographical regions in the U.S. are reporting a higher prevalence of injuries from pit bulls than all other breeds of dogs, a higher severity of injury, and require a greater number of operative interventions. [https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-studies-level-1-trauma-table-2011-2018.php]
Medical studies recommend parents keep their children away from pit bulls and dogs built like pit bulls. I feel it is critically important that cities keep or enact actual bans since we live in communities and accidents happen. Many children are attacked in their own yard, at playgrounds or at school grounds. Please see maps of attacks reported by the media for the past 5 years for the extensive number and nature of pit bull attacks and deaths in the community. [https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/attacks/map-of-attacks-2019/]
Your current ordinance is well-written and comprehensive in addressing this issue. In particular, it prohibits breeding, transferring and selling, which are the main causes of unwanted pit bulls in city shelters. BSL also cuts down on the transport and re-homing of dangerous pit bulls between states from No Kill shelters, which are desperate to reduce their numbers.
There are 1,160 cities in the USA and 50 countries outside the USA that enact breed specific ordinances because pit bull type-dogs present an unreasonable risk to health and public safety. [https://www.scribd.com/doc/56495216/Estimated-U-S-Cities-Counties-States-and-Military-Facilities-with-Breed-Specific-Pit-Bull-Laws]
I hope you will discuss these facts when considering the repeal of your current legislation.
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