Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pembroke Pines wants to ban vicious dogs

By Joe Kollin South Florida Sun-Sentinel Posted

PEMBROKE PINES City officials have vowed to take a run at getting the state to let them ban breeds of dogs they consider vicious.They may be barking up the wrong tree, however, if they expect support from other municipalities."I wouldn't be willing to open Pandora's box again," said Coral Springs Commissioner Vincent Boccard, who last year unsuccessfully sought support to get Tallahassee to let cities regulate breeds. "The dog lobby is pretty big."Plantation Councilwoman Diane Veltri Bendekovic agreed. "I applaud them for doing it, but it isn't the dog itself, it is the owner," she said. "Aggressiveness is a behavior dogs learn. Owners make them aggressive."The state in 1990 passed a law forbidding local governments from adopting ordinances that are breed-specific. The law was a reaction to Miami-Dade County, which in 1989 banned pit bulls. The state allowed Miami-Dade's ordinance to remain in force. Pembroke Pines commissioners last week unanimously agreed to take steps to win the right to restrict dogs by breed. They want Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint a panel of experts to study the possibility of breed-specific laws and would offer Pembroke Pines as a test city for the study. Larry Smith of Hollywood, the city's Tallahassee lobbyist, suggested Pembroke Pines work with other cities because a solo effort would be useless. He said cities should parade victims of vicious dogs before lawmakers to show the need.Commissioners agreed to try creating a coalition of cities."Collectively, as a group of cities, we need to put pressure on them," said Commissioner Iris Siple, whose daughter, Amy Siple, 29, was attacked by a neighbor's dog in May. She is still recovering from the German shepherd's bites and may need surgery. Commissioner Angelo Castillo said South Florida cities and counties need to work together because northern Florida politicians "love their pit bulls" and are preventing regulation by breed."We in local office are unable to deal with the problem and Tallahassee doesn't have the political courage to deal with it," he said. Getting support from other cities won't be easy.Although Boccard in September won support for requesting the power to outlaw specific breeds, the Coral Springs commission backed down a month later under pressure from dog owners."I was e-mailed from around the world," Boccard said. "It isn't that we were intimidated, but we opted out." Coral Springs instead created a task force to educate dog owners about how to work with animals.Plantation adopted an ordinance to punish owners of vicious dogs of any breed two years ago, after a rash of dog attacks."We made owners responsible for their dogs," Veltri Bendekovic said. "I realize pit pulls do the most damage, but even a cocker spaniel can jump into a 4-year-old's face and do the same amount of damage."The Broward County Commission in 2002 adopted a vicious dog ordinance that allows the muzzling and confinement of dogs declared dangerous. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...a-news-browardCONTACT INFORMATIONMayor Frank C. Ortis954-435-6505 fortis@ppines.com Vice Mayor William B. Armstrong954-436-3266warmstrong@ppines.com Charles F. DodgeCity ManagerPh: 954-431-4884cdodge@ppines.com City Clerk's OfficeJudy Neugent, City Clerk 954-435-6501 jneugent@ppines.com Commissioners:Angelo Castillo954-436-3266 acastillo@ppines.comCarl Shechter954-436-3266cshechter@ppines.com Iris Siple954-436-3266isiple@ppines.com Assistant City ManagersMartin Gayeski954-437-1116 mgayeski@ppines.com Gordon “Skip” Keibler954-431-4884 gkeibler@ppines.com
__________________Rockin RottMulti BOB Can Ch Brandy Hills Foxy Lady CGC TT (AKC pt'd)Multi BOB BISS A/C CFC Ch Brandy Hills Eze v SteinplatzAt the Bridge:Roxanne, AJ, Chaty, Brava, & Ebo,Junior, & Odie

BSL State legislative updates

The last of the 2007-08 legislative sessions has adjourned, but not before Massachusetts enacted HB 1527, increasing the penalty for aiding or watching an animal fight. The bill was signed into law on Jan. 5, 2009. The following is a link to the AVMA report wrapping up the 2008 state legislative and regulatory activities, covering topics of interest to veterinary medicine. http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/legislative_updates/yearend_summary_2008.asp
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia are scheduled to reconvene this month. The AVMA looks forward to a new year of partnering with state and allied veterinary medical associations to represent veterinary medicine on public policy issues. Already in 2009, a number of bills have been introduced or prefiled that drew our attention. These include:
Florida HB 189 – would eliminate the prohibition of breed-specific local government regulation of dangerous dogs.
DC LR 74 and Montana HB 191 – would prohibit the ownership of pit bulls with limited exceptions, including grandfathering current owners.
Maine HP 4 – would prohibit force-feeding birds in order to produce foie gras.
Montana LD 1832 – would provide that in order to qualify as Montana-certified natural beef cattle, the beef cattle must be raised without any antibiotics.
Nebraska LB 71 – would require veterinarians and veterinary technicians to report cases of animal abandonment, cruel neglect, or cruel mistreatment.
Nevada SB 57 – would make several changes to the veterinary practice act, including rules regarding vaccine administration, consulting with out-of-state non-veterinarians and veterinarians, veterinary license reciprocity and renewal period for licenses and certificates.
New Jersey A 3270, A 3290, S 2190 – would require the suspension or revocation of a health care professional’s license for willful, illegal or improper medical waste disposal.
New York A 255 – would require microchipping of all dogs by the age of four months; creates a state registry.
Texas HB 378 – would exempt floating a horse's teeth from the practice of veterinary medicine.
Vermont HB 6 – would require antifreeze sold in the state to contain a bittering agent to make it unpalatable.
NCSL issues horse welfare resolution
At their annual Fall Forum in Atlanta, Georgia on Dec. 11-13, 2008, the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to oppose legislation that would restrict marketing, transport, processing, or export of horses, to recognize the need for humane horse processing facilities in the United States, and not to interfere with state efforts to establish facilities. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories, and also lobbies Congress on behalf of state legislatures. The resolution was co-sponsored by State Rep. Sue Wallis of Wyoming and State Rep. Dave Sigdestad of South Dakota. Rep. Wallis is a Vice Chair of the Agriculture and Energy Standing Committee at NCSL. "I am especially pleased," said Wallis, "that the strong support of this resolution will allow our NCSL staff the ability to lobby on Capitol Hill with factual, accurate, and compassionate information about the horrific unintended consequences of certain proposed federal actions that would deprive livestock owners of private property rights and thwart state efforts."
Court watch
The National Meat Association and the American Meat Institute have challenged a new California law which bans the sale or distribution of food produced from livestock too ill or weak to stand. The state law was a response to a nationwide beef recall in 2008 stemming from the discovery of an undercover videotape which showed workers at a Chino slaughterhouse abusing cows. Supporters of the law said that existing federal rules were inadequate. They hoped that the law, which clarifies that local authorities have the power to file criminal charges, would discourage the processing of potentially diseased cows and other animals. The law passed almost unanimously in the summer of 2008. Opponents challenging the law, however, contend it illegally preempts federal meat inspection rules and that only federal veterinarians have the authority to decide if an animal's injury affects food safety.
The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up an animal cruelty case, arguing that an appeals court erred in declaring unconstitutional a federal law that bans selling depictions of animals being tortured. In the first case to go to trial under the 1999 law, a Virginia man, who sold videos of pit bulls fighting and killing pigs, was convicted in 2005 of selling depictions of animal cruelty. However, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his sentence and struck down the federal law as an impermissible infringement on free speech. The Solicitor General filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the case and claimed that the 3rd Circuit was wrong in its findings and that this type of speech should not be protected by the First Amendment. There are only a few categories of speech wholly outside the protection of the First Amendment, including fighting words, some kinds of incitement, obscenity, and pornography involving children. The Supreme Court rejects most requests for review. This case, however, has a better chance of being accepted because the federal government is making the request, a federal law was found to be unconstitutional, and three of the circuit judges dissented.

Breed Discriminatory Legislation Introduced in Florida

Ask your Florida Representatives and Senators to oppose H.B. 189 and S.B 922 Written by Best Friends StaffFlorida State Rep. Perry E. Thurston, Jr. filed H.B. 189, "an act relating to dangerous dogs," to repeal the prohibition on breed discriminatory legislation (BDL) in Florida. An identical bill, S.B. 922, has also been filed by Senator Anthony C. Hill.H.B. 189 and S.B. 922 would allow any Florida local government to restrict or regulate any breed of dog. A similar effort to legislate BDL was unsuccessful in 2008.Click on photo to the right for a video interview "Owning a pit bull couldsoon be illegal" from Fox 9, Tampa Bay news. Currently Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida that is allowed to “profile” dogs and destroy them because of this. They enacted a “pit bull” ban in 1989 and last year around 800 “pit bulls” were picked up and destroyed simply because of their breed.Best Friends opposes canine profiling. The problem of dangerous dogs is not remedied by the quick fix of breed-discriminatory laws. All dogs can bite. Dogs are individuals and should not be judged by their appearance, but by their temperament.In its study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) did not support the breed specific approach. The CDC noted many other factors beyond a dog’s breed may affect a dog’s tendency toward aggression – things such as reproductive status, heredity, sex, early experience, and socialization and training.These concerns seem well-founded, given that more than 70% of all dog bite cases involve unsterilized male dogs. In fact, an unneutered male dog is 2.6 times more likely to bite than a neutered dog and in 2006, 97% of all dog related human fatalities in the United States involved unsterilized canines.Another insidious problem seen with canine profiling is the potential for abuse. Selective enforcement can be triggered simply by the ethnic background of the owner.Breed discriminatory laws cause unintended hardship to responsible guardians of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs who happen to fall within the regulated breed category. Although these dog owners have done nothing to endanger the public, they may be forced by the municipality to either give up their dogs or move. Those pets who are relinquished are then killed.The most harmful consequence of breed-discriminatory laws is their tendency to compromise, rather than enhance, public safety. Resources are shifted away from routine, effective enforcement of laws that have the best chance of making our communities safer: leash laws, dog license laws, spay/neuter laws and animal fighting laws.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:Politics is not a spectator sport. Please take action on behalf of animals.► H.B. 192 was referred to the committee on January 22, 2009. Florida residents are asked to please write the members of the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Committee and ask them to vote “NO” on H.B. 189 ► Also, constituents are asked to please write or call your Florida Representatives and Senators and respectfully ask them to vote “NO” on H.B. 189 and S.B. 922, "an act relating to dangerous dogs." Local governments already have the ability to adopt regulations regarding dangerous dogs and protect the public as they see fit. Breed bans are ineffective, costly to enforce, and penalize responsible dog owners.To find your Representatives and Senators, please click on the following links:FL Representatives and FL SenatorsFor some ideas on alternatives to BDL, please view the Best Friends Community Safety Program.You can also download the following article posted on Animal Law Coalition’s website to send to your legislators. It contains additional information that confirms that BDL is ineffective and offers real solutions to keep communities safe. ► Join the Stop BSL community for more information on how you can help put an end to breed discrimination.

Pembroke Pines and Hollywood FL want BSL to exist!!!

Pembroke Pines, Florida is standing behind the FL HB 198 and SB 922 which will allow breed specific legislation to take place....please wite and protest this action from happening!

Mayor Frank C. Ortis954-435-6505fortis@ppines.comVice Mayor
William B. Armstrong954-436-3266Charles F. DodgeCity ManagerPh: 954-431-4884
City Clerk's OfficeJudy Neugent, City Clerk954-435-6501http://us.f535.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=jneugent@ppines.com
Commissioners:Angelo Castillo954-436-3266acastillo@ppines.comCarl Shechter954-436-3266scshechter@ppines.comIris Siple954-436-3266isiple@ppines.com