Thursday, May 29, 2008

Please OPPOSE DC Bill 17-89 (Animal Protection Amendment 2007)

The D.C. City Council’s Health Committee has quietly voted to approve a bill that threatens your dog's security*. We need your help to keep this breed-specific legislation (BSL) from passing.

Bill 17-89 (Animal Protection Act Amendment of 2007) would authorize the District’s mayor to label any breed of dog as potentially dangerous and create a list of such breeds. If your dog's breed happens to make the list, he or she would be at risk of seizure—and as the owner, you will be required to comply with a host of restrictive new regulations.

Having already passed in the Council’s Health Committee, Bill 17-89 now heads to the Judiciary Committee, whose chair, Phil Mendelson, has already voiced his support. In the interest of preventing this bill from progressing any further, please act now!

(* Note: This breed-specific provision was added to the legislation AFTER it was introduced and may not yet appear in the legislation available on-line at the DC City Council's website. Please see the below ASPCA site for a summary of this provision. See also the comments of the various council members, elsewhere on this blog.)

What You Can Do If You Live in DC (whether you own a dog or not)


This Bill represents such an egregious act of animal cruelty --- but posing as one that purports to protect animals --- that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has chosen to weigh in on this matter itself. Please go to the ASPCA's Advocacy Center (CLICK HERE) to read more and to send a letter to members of D.C. City Council, asking them to oppose Bill 17-89. (Or, if you prefer, read below and the next next posting for more information on what you might do on your own.)

To make even more of an impact, we urge you to call your representative on the Council, too. If you do call or write, politely remind your councilperson that there is no evidence that breed-specific laws reduce dog bites, while there is significant evidence that well-enforced, breed-neutral laws do. Please thank them for listening to your views. The members of the Council and their phone numbers are shown below, followed by the link to the web site with their other contact information.

D.C. City Council Member Phone Numbers
Vincent C. Gray (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8032 Room 504
Carol Schwartz (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8105 Room 404
Phil Mendelson (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8064 Room 402
David Catania (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-7772 Room110
Kwame Brown (AT LARGE) - (202) 724-8174 Room 506
Jim Graham (WARD 1) - (202) 724-8181 Room 105
Jack Evans (WARD 2) - (202) 724-8058 Room 106
Mary M. Cheh (WARD 3) - (202) 724-8062 Room 108
Muriel Bowser (WARD 4) - (202) 724-8052 Room 406
Harry L. Thomas, Jr. (WARD 5) - (202) 724-8028 Room ?
Tommy Wells (WARD 6) - (202) 724-8072 Room 408
Yvette Alexander (WARD 7) - (202) 724-8068 Suite 400
Marion Barry (WARD 8) - (202) 724-8045 Suite 400

The address for all the City Council members ( at the above indicated room numbers) is: 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20004
(Click here for brief postcard or letter you might wish to send some or all of them by mail)

Click here for Web site for DC Council Members

Please also send an e-mail to Mayor Adrian Fenty (mayor@dc.gov) asking him to oppose the obnoxious breed-specific provision. He is a thoughtful person who wants to move Washington into a progressive era. Since he looks to New York as a model for many things, remind him that New York's ASPCA is leading the opposition to D.C.'s breed-specific provision.

Also, please consider joining The Point, an advocacy website, which has as one of its campaigns to oppose 17-89. Click here to go to that site.


Thank you for supporting this effort and for caring about animals, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere.

WHAT YOU CAN DO IF YOU ARE NOT A DC RESIDENT.

EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT A DC RESIDENT, YOU ALSO NEED TO BE CONCERNED. IF YOU WISH TO VISIT DC WITH YOUR DOG, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AT ALL OR NOT WITHOUT ONEROUS RESTRICTIONS. OR IF DC IS SUCCESSFUL IN PASSING THIS LEGISLATION, OTHER JURISDICTIONS WILL TRY TO FOLLOW DC'S MISGUIDED LEAD. PLEASE GO TO THE WEBSITE FOR THE DC CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS (CLICK HERE) AND SEND THEM A LETTER EXPRESSING YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT IN DC FOR THIS BACKWARD STEP IN ANIMAL WELFARE THAT IS SURE TO ADVERSELY AFFECT ANIMALS IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS TOO. (Sample letters are shown in the next two postings.)


ALSO, PLEASE SEND AN E-MAIL TO THE MAYOR EXPRESSING YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS MATTER. MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY'S E-MAIL IS: mayor@dc.gov

Please note: The effort to stop 17-89 from being enacted with this breed-specific provision in it is not about large dogs versus small dogs, nor is it about truly dangerous dogs (made so by irresponsible owners). In fact, it is not about dogs at all. It is first and foremost about responsible government and then animal welfare. The city has no governance mechanism for ensuring sound animal welfare policies and most city council members do not have the experience or staffs to create such policies in a vacuum, so they need to rely on the voices of their constituents. That's what this blog is all about.

1 comment:

89 said...

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