In response to Aurora Sentinel Editorial Board-
Of the anti-dog propaganda we see on the issue, yesterday’s attack piece was among the worst we have encountered. No facts were considered, no real data shared, and the basis of the stories relied solely on amplified attack anecdotes that we wonder if the person who wrote it really understands the other side of the issue at all.
This is not about people liking the 17+ breeds that are considered ‘pit bull’, this is about legislation that propagates misinformation and puts undue burden on our local rescues, shelters, animal services, and unintentional owners. Since the Sentinel was unwilling to present any facts in their blistering attack, we feel it important that the people contact the Sentinel and assist them in fleshing out their story, and we hope that after reading this, they do.
Now, picking a fight with a media publication is not something we want to do. We understand that you can use the power of press to win any confrontation, especially a local one.
But what we do ask is this: To the editorial board, we want to know why no data was used, or research done on the issue before you printed that story. Now by asking this question, you can simply respond by throwing cherry-picked information from DogsBite back at us to create a narrative of breed violence. It’s what always happens. But let’s not take that route – division and politicization of issues is what stops us from having a conversation every time.
So what we want to do is this; we would like to invite the full editorial board (we do not know who, as you were unwilling to put names on the story), to join us in a journalistic exploration. Let’s find out together why every reputable organization including the American Bar Association, the Humane Society, the ASPCA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Care & Control Association, and every other relevant group are against BSL. Is it because they all like the 17+ breeds considered “pit bull”, or was there more data driving their decisions? Only one group of any size seems to be for it, and they fuel most of the cherry-picked misinformation nationwide.
Let’s explore, together, why the University of Denver study on Denver’s Breed Legislation found there to be no increase to public safety as a result of breed legislation.
Let’s explore why misidentification of breeds by rescues results in people ending up with restricted breeds through no fault of their own, and significantly inflated negative stats.
Let’s explore together why the breeds specifically listed in some of your horrible and violent anecdotes probably weren’t even the three specific breeds prohibited in Aurora. Maybe we are wrong about this, but statistically speaking, we probably aren’t.
Let’s talk about what the solutions are, since breed restrictions in Aurora are obviously not reducing the dog population.
Let’s explore why 250+ cities in Colorado without breed legislation are not looking at implementing breed-restrictions any time soon, and only 5 cities in Colorado are left with it.
Let’s explore why most all BSL in the nation was implemented in the 90s and 2000s, as pop-culture started positioning these breeds as prevalent among people of color and ethnicity.
Let’s explore why in the 50s and 60s, the most violent characterized dogs were German Shepherds, and as a result, accounted for the most notable issues of aggression. Then why it turned to the Doberman in the 70’s, the Rottweiler in the 80s, and now the 17+ breeds considered “pit bull” (just in time for the rise of digital media).
Let’s explore why breed-specific legislation in Denver was enforced disproportionately in communities of color in Denver over the last 10 years according to the same University of Denver Study.
Let’s explore why Denver paid an est. $6 million enforcing it for no gain in safety, and lost an estimated $106 million in revenue over the last decade.
These are the questions we would be asking if we were approaching the story responsibly, yes? Without bias, and without an intent to tank a vote in the city that is based on an interest in responsible legislation. Let’s look at the possibility that this irresponsible editorial might only make our community less safe by preventing access to training, socialization, veterinary care, and more.
We are happy to have that conversation, Sentinel. Your editorial piece covered none of these things, just mischaracterized efforts to politicize this issue and imply nefarious irresponsibility on an issue that is originated in the exact opposite of that.
Please don’t use your media platform to weaponize responsible legislation. What the city council did was enact updated dangerous dog legislation that has been presented to the public both online and through meetings spanning over two years now. City council isn’t voting on this because they think “pit bulls” are great, Aurora Animal Services has been working on this for years. And you know this, because you have covered some of these stories.