Cumberland County, North Carolina is proving to be a pivotal
battle in the war to end breed discrimination.
More than 100 people who represented people who live with or care for
pit bulls – guardians, caregivers, rescuers, trainers and groomers – showed up
at a hearing last night, December 8 to explain to the county Animal Control
Board that a plan to ban or limit adoptions of pit bulls simply won’t work to
reduce bites or improve public safety. On October 3, Animal Control Director Dr.
Lauby, DVM, CVCP and the Animal Control Board recommended a ban on adoptions from
the shelter by county residents of pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows, Presa
Canarios "or any mix of those breeds". This would mean that because of their so-called
breed or appearance, these dogs would be euthanized after they are impounded with
no chance of finding a home.
In the past several weeks the county Animal Control Director
Dr. John Lauby has received more than 18,000 emails from people protesting the adoption
Dr. Lauby told the Animal Control Board at the October
meeting that pit bulls present a "major concern" because of "liability". Yet he offered no evidence of this in
Cumberland County. Since then Dr. Lauby has said that 80% of the 200 or so
calls that Animal Control receives each day involve pit bulls. The calls
generally involve dogs that are off leash, at large. People call because the
dogs are "chasing people, chasing dogs, they’re on school grounds and generally
It’s curious that the focus is on the dog’s so-called breed
or appearance and not that the dogs are running around loose. The issue would
seem to be the negligence of guardians or caregivers in failing to leash or
control the dogs. Does the county enforce the leash or at large laws?
After strong public opposition to the plan when it was
announced in October, Dr. Lauby in a December 4 email claimed "My discussion with the board was to limit the
adoptions in Cumberland county not ban the adoptions. I am working ….to
initiate a program to better screen the homes for adoptions in cumberland
county. No where in my discussion did I say to stop adoptions of Pits and or
ban the pits in cumberland county. We both know irresponsible owners are the
cause of most of my problems. What I really need help with is creating
stronger penalties in our ordinances which give me the power to go after the
owners who are causing my problems. Most of the dogs that are causing our
problems are neither vaccinated or registered in our county making ownership
hard to establish. This demonstrates the need for better licensing and
vaccination programs through effective use of Chameleon by our Animal Control.
I would hope your organization would like to help us find homes for a majority
of the adoptable bullies were are putting to sleep every year. I think we
need to go education programs, and spay neuter for any aggressive or menacing
animals running loose no matter the breed."
The October 3 minutes reflect that Dr. Lauby clearly talked
the Animal Control Board into recommending a ban on adoptions of pit bulls and
the other breeds and mixes. His December 4 email backing away from that with a
plan to "limit the adoptions" sounded, of course, like buzz words for what
would in effect be an unwritten adoption ban.
But at last night’s meeting, the Board formally dropped the
idea of an adoption ban and Dr. Lauby agreed to work with rescues and others to
develop protocols for screening adopters. The idea is to make sure dogs are
adopted to people who can manage and care for them humanely and
responsibly. The new plan still sounds
breed specific, but hopefully will serve as a first step to improving public
safety by holding guardians and caregivers responsible for dog behavior instead
of the so-called breed or appearance of the dog.
Also, few bullies are adopted from the shelter regardless.
If you or your organization can help Dr. Lauby increase adoptions of bullies,
please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org