On March 17, Aurora city council will consider revisions to their breed ban, which currently bans American Bulldogs, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Cane Corsos, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasileiros, Presa Mallorquins, Presa Canarios, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Tosa Inus, and any mixed breed dog resembling one of these. Per city documents, the ban was passed due to public perception and fear of these breeds—not because of any public safety data indicating these breeds were problematic in Aurora.
City council and other officials have touted the “success” of the breed ban by observing that bites from restricted breeds have decreased. It should be noted that bites by non-restricted breeds have NOT decreased. In fact, non-restricted dog bites are above pre-ban levels.
Courtesy of the city, from January/February 2011 council packet:
2003 Total bites: 213 Restricted breed: 28 Non-restricted breed: 185
2004 Total bites: 211 Restricted breed: 33 Non-restricted breed: 178
2005 Total bites: 137 Restricted breed: 27 Non-restricted breed: 110
Breed ban enacted in 2006, dog-on-animal bites now included in data(?)
2006 Total bites: 137 Restricted breed: 8 Non-restricted breed: 129
2007 Total bites: 172 Restricted breed: 15 Non-restricted breed: 157
2008 Total bites: 224 Restricted breed: 8 Non-restricted breed: 216
2009 Total bites: 229 Restricted breed: 9 Non-restricted breed: 220
2010 Total bites: 194 Restricted breed: 6 Non-restricted breed: 188
In 2008 and again in late 2010, council received bite data as well. It should be noted that the numbers provided in 2008 and 2010 do not match the numbers provided in 2011 and in fact paint a less-sunny picture. For instance, the 2008 report provided the following data for 2006 and 2007 (dog-on-animal bites not included, for comparison purposes).
2006 Total bites: 182 Restricted breed: 11 Non-restricted breed: 171
2007 Total bites: 180 Restricted breed: 13 Non-restricted breed: 167
It is not clear why the numbers differ. In 2008, the city acknowledged past record-keeping inaccuracies, but claimed to have corrected both the data and the data collection process at the time of the 2008 report. It stands to reason that if the data was accurate as claimed in 2008, there should be no difference between 2008 and 2011 data. Why, then, do over 40 bites disappear from the 2006 data when reported in 2011?
The city has also continually struggled with a mingling of dog-on-human and dog-on-animal bites and has apparently accounted for these different types of bites inconsistently over the years. The city claims that 2006 through 2010 data includes both dog-on-human and dog-on-animal bites, whereas pre-2006 data was dog-on-human bites only; therefore, the numbers from 2006 through 2010 appear deceptively high when compared to pre-ban numbers. However, Aurora does not provide exact data for dog-on-animal bites, leaving us to make an educated guess. The 2008 bite report does call out dog-on-animal bites for 2006 and 2007; it was 30 and 18 bites, or 14% and 9% of total bites, respectively. Even if we subtract the higher percentage (14%) of dog-on-animal bites from each year starting in 2006, doing so does not reveal a trend of decreasing total dog-on-human bites; post-ban dog bites remain (mostly) higher than pre-ban dog bites.
Additionally, while the city currently puts forth the idea that restricted breeds “tend to” inflict more-severe bites than non-restricted breeds, the city has not provided data to prove this assertion—and the city’s 2008 report actually disproved this mantra. The 2008 report broke bites down by severity for 2006 and 2007. Over 90% of severe (AND over 90% of moderate) bites were inflicted by non-restricted breeds in 2006 and 2007. The breed ban did not appear to reduce severe dog bites—in fact, severe bites increased from 2006 to 2007, and non-restricted breeds were the ones implicated (restricted breed severe bites remained steady at one per year). No more recent data regarding bite severity has been made available, making it difficult to challenge the city’s current claim.
You can view the 2008 data here: http://stopbsl.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/june-27-aurora-city-council-meeting-dog-bite-stats.doc
It is not clear how the city can declare the ordinance a public safety ”success” when they don’t have any numbers to prove it. I would also think last year’s 188 victims of non-restricted breeds’ bites would have something to say about the purported success (namely, “What about us?”).
Aurora city officials have nevertheless staunchly recommended that the ban remain in place. The proposal to “loosen the ban” or eliminate it altogether has been met with much skepticism from city officials and councilmembers.
Please provide intelligent, polite public input to encourage Aurora city council to do away with their breed-specific law, for the sake of public safety.
Aurora Mayor and City Council, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Fifth Floor, Aurora, CO 80012
Aurora will reconsider ban on pit bulls
By Carlos Illescas, The Denver Post
Posted: 03/14/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT
AURORA — The city is considering loosening its ban on pit bulls, just as a new federal ruling kicks in Tuesday stating that any breed of dog can be used as a service dog.[...]
On Thursday, an Aurora committee will discuss several options to the current ban. Those include doing away with the ban and keeping the ban but allowing pit bulls as service dogs.[...]
After Thursday’s meeting, the Neighborhood Services Policy Committee will forward a handful of proposed ordinances to the City Council for consideration.[...]
Full article retrieved 3/14/11 from http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17608120