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Baltimore County, Maryland
Mina - awesome
rinalia wrote in stop_bsl
Hearing October 15th.

Proposed regulation of pit bulls:

First District - Councilman S.G. Samuel Moxley -
754 Frederick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228
(410) 887-0896
(410) 887-1012 (fax)

Second District - Councilman - Kevin Kamenetz -
Old Courthouse
400 Washington Ave.
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 887-3385
(410) 887-5791 (fax)

3rd District - Councilman T. Bryan McIntire -
District Outpost
Hannah More Senior Center
12035 Reisterstown Rd.
Reisterstown, MD 21136
(410) 887-3385
(410) 887-5791 (fax)

Fourth District - Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver -
400 Washington Ave.
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 887-3389
(410) 887-5791 (fax)

Fifth District - Councilman - Vincent Gardina -
400 Washington Ave.
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 887-3384
(410) 887-5791 (fax)

Sixth District - Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder -
7856 Belair Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 887-5223
(410) 887-5410 (fax)

Baltimore County council:

Pit bull owners speak out
Breed-specific laws are not effective, they say

by Bryan P. Sears

Email this story to a friend

It won't work.

That's what pit bull owners are saying about legislation proposed by County Councilman Vince Gardina that would require owners of that breed and other dogs deemed dangerous to be kept in locked, anchored runs, among other restrictions.

"Breed-specific legislation is ineffective and woefully out of date," said pit bull owner Lauren Abel.

Abel, a college student from Harford County, commented on the law at a Sept. 17 County Council meeting.

Abel and others spoke out against the bill on the night it was introduced. The bill has attracted the attention of pit bull owners from around the state and the country.

The council is scheduled to discuss the bill at its Oct. 7 work session. A final vote is scheduled for Oct. 15.

The proposed law would require owners of pit bull or mixed pit bull breeds or other individual dogs that have been declared dangerous to keep the animals in anchored, outdoor runs that are locked and covered. Those same dogs would have to be muzzled when out in public.

Violators would be subject to a $1,000 per day fine.

Gardina's proposal is in response to the mauling of a 10-year-old boy in Towson Manor Village in April. That attack nearly killed Dominic Solesky. The boy is still undergoing physical therapy to help him regain the use of his leg after a pit bull ripped away his thigh and severed his femoral artery.

The law defines pit bulls as any member of the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or American pit bull terrier breeds or any dog that is a mix of any of those breeds.

Determining the breed of the dog often can be difficult, according to a 2000 study on dog bite-related deaths nationwide from 1979 to 1998 by the Centers for Disease Control. Optimal enforcement might hinge on time-consuming and complicated pedigree analysis, according to the report.

Mark Warren, a Perry Hall resident, said his pit bull mix, Steve, is a perfect family pet known for frolicking in the park.

"I take exception to having to do something special," Warren told the council.

"Laws like this punish owners who are good. They don't punish owners who are bad."

Gardina, a Democrat who represents the 5th District including Perry Hall and Towson, was not available for comment by press time.

The bill is co-sponsored by Councilman Ken Oliver, a Democrat who represents the 4th District, which includes Randallstown and Woodlawn.

Singling out pit bulls is wrong, Warren said.

"Other dogs bite," he said.

In all, the CDC report found that pit bull or pit bull-type dogs were responsible for 118 deaths over the period of the study -- the most of any breed.

Researchers pointed out that the number is misleading because other breeds with smaller numbers of total bite incidents had higher rates of fatalities than pit bulls.

The report raised concerns that a breed-specific ban would drive people to turn to another breed that has the same qualities they had sought in the banned animal.

A recent review by a county task force estimated that only about 9 percent of the roughly 200,000 dogs that live in the county are licensed.

It is not known how many of the licensed dogs are pit bulls, according to county officials.

Some pit bull owners said Gardina's proposal would drive owners of the breed to keep their dogs off the books.

"What it's going to give way to is people having more of these dogs underground," said Killy Bins, a pit bull owner from Catonsville.

The task force rejected the creation of breed-specific laws in favor of education.

Gardina criticized the efforts and recommendations of the task force in an interview earlier this month.

The CDC report praised additional education efforts in other jurisdictions but said "these approaches appear formally unevaluated for effectiveness."

E-mail political editor Bryan P. Sears at political editor Bryan P.


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