I have always been a dog lover. Never a cat person, always one for Team Dog. Since I adopted Potato near Tompkins Square Park almost three years ago, I have thought of myself as an advocate for the canine especially the bully breeds. This started because when the Chef & I moved back to Ohio the first time we were confronted with fear and ignorance, not only from strangers but also our family and friends. People in Ohio, we found, had a super negative view of pit bull dogs or anything that remotely resembled one. I read about the laws, I started a MySpace group, I sent bulletins. And then we moved back to NYC, the land of the pit bull. The state that fights Bully Breed Discrimination, the state that has laws fight breed specific legislation (something Ohio is known for). All was well again. My activism decreased, my interest subsided. That is until now.
We are back in the suburbs, the land of Hummer's, fake nails, and forgotten beliefs. I know that while we are in this land of ignorance and apathy we must play by the rules, however I guess I wasn't aware of how the rules in this town are bullshit.
Here we go:
Last week, Potato got free. He ran into the neighbors yard and almost got hit by his car while he was backing out of his drive. The Chef got Potato and took him inside. Not a big deal. This particular neighbor has 2 dogs that are constantly in his front yard running free and terrorizing Potato & Vito (who we never let into the front yard). Fast forward an hour. I am outside with the dogs in our 6ft. tall privacy fenced in backyard. I hear a very loud banging on my storm door (I have a doorbell). I answer and it is a very stern Animal Control Officer who tells me that he received a complaint about a pit bull who is CONSTANTLY free in the neighborhood. Bullshit. We have been home three weeks, and Potato got loose ONCE. Long story short, he tells me that my dog is 'VICIOUS' and I need $100,000 liability insurance as well as a 6ft. covered kennel in my already fenced in backyard. I told him that I was under the impression that the UNCONSTITUTIONAL pit bull dog laws had been changed. You see Ohio is the only state in the nation who has a law that says any dog who resembles a pit bull (big head, short hair, stocky body) is vicious. In other states, to be considered a vicious dog, the dog must have had a history of biting, attacking, or menacing someone or something. But not here. This white trash animal control guy informs me that even if the State of Ohio repealed or amended it's bullshit laws, the City of Strongsville overrules state laws. Awesome. So I introduce him to my 'vicious' dog, Potato. Potato licks him.
Now I am pissed. I am pissed that we moved back to this state. I am pissed that everyone is fat and loves GWB. I am pissed that my dog could get killed for no reason other than his looks. I am pissed that people are so ignorant and don't care to change their train of thought, not just about pits but about everything that's going on in the world today. I am pissed that every time someone sees that I am pregnant again they ask me if I am going to name the baby 'Pitcher.'
So what the hell am I going to do about all this anger? Well my friends, I am going to educate and educate some more. I am going to go grassroots for my dog. I am going to recite that poem 'When They Came' everyday and apply those words not just to me but to all dogs discriminated because of other dogs deeds. I am going to start a movement for my dog and all other bully breeds out there being discriminated against on a daily basis. I am going to start local because I know that I am not the only pit owner and other's in this area must be going through what I am going through. As of now I am going to promote my MySpace Group as well as start a Meetup. I encourage anyone and everyone (no matter where live) to join and be active. Write letters. Speak up. After the 'Potato Incident,' I found out that there are some people in the House of Representatives who want this law amended to change the definiton of a 'vicious' dog. I encourage you to write letters to all House members in support of House Bill 189.
You can find House member's contact info HERE. I also encourage you to sign the BAN BSL online petition that I will be sending to the House members before the bill goes up in May. Let your voice be heard!
Also check out these great websites that promote this cause: