Crossposted from e-mail/yahoo group... it's a summary of all the recent BSL related happenings in Colorado, and what is being planned for the new year. Written by the wonderful Sonya Dias, who has been there for pit bull owners from day one: organizing anti-BSL efforts, figuring out how to get pit bulls out of Denver, and being a helping hand to pit bull owners (and dog owners alike!)
Change gonna come, oh yes it is...Sam Cooke
I wanted to send out a sort of review of what's going on in the New Year. We've got a tough row to hoe, but I will have some REALLY good news to relate to you all soon, but I cannot now. Sorry, I know that's a bit of a tease, but please know that in the midst of all this bad news coming from all the cities surrounding Denver, I did want to let you know that something good is on the way. I will tell you as soon as I can.
The below is going to be long, but know that it's my sad attempt to kind of recap what's going on as I'm away from e-mail so much these days and will continue to be until our case is in court and I get moved. So here goes...
DOGS KILLED IN DENVER
Brace yourselves. Here are the latest Pit Bull numbers from Denver as of today. Sick.
Dogs Impounded - 1015
Dogs Killed - 725
Returned to Owner - 230
Brought in Dead - 11 (??)
Transferred to Other Organizations - 46
ALL AROUND DENVER
Okay, so we all know that so many cities surrounding Denver are talking about breed bans. Several amazing people have agreed to head up the efforts to stop this continued madness. If you feel you can help in any of these cities, please contact the people below directly. In the various cities, many have activities planned and you can help. They need our support.
Lakewood - Sonja - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kris - email@example.com
There is a meeting to talk about a potential ban on January 30th. Please contact Kris or Sonja for details
Parker - Kay and RJ - RJandKay@comcast.net
There is a meeting on Tuesday, January 17th where we'll need support. Please contact RJ and Kay for details.
Lonetree - There is no one to head up the efforts here, but there is going to be a meeting on the same day as Parker's on the 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Lone Tree Civic Center on Lone Tree Pkwy near Park Meadows mall. I'm going to forward to you separately an e-mail that was sent out to various neighborhood leaders that is very pro-ban. If we have no one there speaking, it's going to slide right through. We NEED supporters at this meeting!!!!
Lafayette - Rhonnie - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm going to forward separately an e-mail that Rhonnie sent to me about Lafayette. She will keep us updated.
Longmont - There's no one yet specifically to head this up or keep us informed, so if you're interested, go for it!!!!
Rocky Ford - I know we have some members here, so if someone wants to keep us updated, we'd appreciate it!
Federal Heights - Same as above.
Both Mariah's Promise and BEND are continuing to do Pit Bull rescue (among all you individuals who are doing it as well) and are both facing daunting tasks in the face of all these bans. Mariah's Promise is a sanctuary west of Colorado Springs and they have taken around 100 of the Denver dogs until their owners could get moved. They need donations of food, tarp, bungee cords, and a host of other things that Toni, who runs it, can tell you about. You can contact her directly at email@example.com.
BEND does training and PB rescue, and is in desperate need of foster homes and other things that they can tell you about. You can contact them at BendCo@comcast.net.
I know there are also individuals and other groups who are doing rescue, and I don't want to leave them out, so here are some of the wonderful groups that we're working with, all of whom could use your donations or help in other ways: MaxFund, All-Breed Rescue Network, Table Mountain, and Clear Creek shelters as well.
COLORADO STATE REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE STAFFORD
Daily we see ignorant and fear-filled legislators taking the easy and ineffective route to do something about public safety (ha!) by enacting these bans. It can often make us feel that no one in government is listening to reason. But...Debbie Stafford has been our biggest champion and supporter and now it's time for us to support her. She is up for re-election, and we need to do what we can to insure that she remains in our State Legislature. She has spoken brilliantly at Aurora and Commerce City meetings multiple times, has met with Councilors individually in various cities, is tireless in her efforts to help, and was the primary proponent of SB1279 which is the state bill passed in 2004 which prohibited breed bans. Of course, Denver fought that on the Home Rule issue, but we need that law to stay in place as well as we need Debbie to stay in place.
The Municipal League, which is a league of cities in Colorado, has hired a lobbyist to get SB1279 overturned. You think it's bad now, but if they are successful, then EVERY little town in Colorado can pass breed bans. We need our biggest champion in a position of power. So...if you can help her get re-elected with even a small donation, please do so. You can go to paypal.com and look up Debbie Stafford, or you can mail it to:
House District 40
18908 E. Loyola Circle
Aurora, CO 80013
Please help us keep her in office!!!!!! We need her. She is tireless and amazing, and loves our breed. Plus, with a name like Stafford(shire), she's got to be divinely sent to us.
TINA V'S AURORA LAWSUIT
Tina asked me to make sure you all knew that her lawsuit is still on in Aurora, despite the fact that the judge erroneously dismissed it early on. We should all support her efforts. The City of Aurora is filing to dismiss it and they will try everything they can, but my bet's on Tina. We should all support her efforts. The ban begins on February 1st.
A few weeks ago, a nice lady sent me information on the trials of getting her dog certified as a service animal to help with her epilepsy. I cannot remember your e-mail address, so if that person was you, please e-mail me as I need some information from you. Thanks!
PLUM CREEK DOG SHOW
The largest dog show outside of Westminster will be held in Denver (boo! hiss!) at the National Western Events Center off of I-70. About 100,000 people pass through this event. BEND is working on getting a PB education booth at this event where we will pass out information and educate those on our wonderful breeds.
Three people have requested to have some of the dog trainers in our group (we have many) contact them about getting their dogs (and them!) trained. If you are a trainer in the area, please contact these people directly, except for the Lakewood-area trainer, please contact me. Thank you!
Robin - firstname.lastname@example.org - for trainers in the SW Denver/Littleton area
Derek - Deenutzr6@yahoo.com - for trainer in Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Littleton
Lakewood - contact email@example.com if you're a trainer adept at helping with dog aggression for a foster dog.
PIT BULL BAND HISTORY
Early on when we started getting press, one of the writers wrote that I founded the Pit Bull BAND, but I never once said that and it is not true. Since then, just about every other article that has come out has said the same thing as I imagine the writers all research what was previously written. I had to write up a history of the BAND for something else, so I will forward that to you later as it's too long to include here.
I'm going to be away from the computer even more in the coming weeks so please think about joining the yahoo group so you can get updated quicker from others in the group.
Currently, there are about 55 members in the yahoo group, and over 500 on the BAND list. Some are only on the yahoo group, and some are only on the BAND list, so I have to send some things out to both. Sorry if you get things twice, but I don't know any other way to do it.
If you want to join, please send an e-mail to ThePitBullBANDfirstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to put that dash (-) between BAND and subscribe. To get approved you must send your name, address, and phone number and a note certifying that the information is correct. I will not share that info with anyone as I know how sensitive it is to people. I'll tell you when you join why I'm requiring that.
You've seen the pattern--no e-mails for a few days and then ten at once. Sorry, but I cannot help that. If you ever want to be off the BAND update list, just send an e-mail saying so. It takes a lot of effort and time to do what I can to keep you updated and I'm trying as hard as I can. Know that the e-mails will remain blind-copied for obvious reasons.
REAL ESTATE AGENT
Josh Spinner, who is a wonderful agent with RE/Max is a Pit Bull person who is willing to help others with reduced real estate commissions, who have to move because of the bans. If you want to talk to him, please call him at 303-825-2626. I switched to him in November after my house didn't sell, and he got a contract on it in less than a month, enabling me to get the hell out of this godforsaken town. He's got a Pit Bull and placed another Pit Bull with his Mom, and he's an all-around supporter of the breed. If you also need help with a mortgage because you have to move, I will help with reduced fees as I am a loan officer in a mortgage company. I know firsthand that it's difficult and costly to move, and I'll be glad to help in any way I can. I myself am moving from a huge beautiful loft near Cheesman Park, with city and mountain veiws, to a crappy little apartment in Littleton. I know what it's like.
Those dolts in power in Commerce City published in a Council-run newspaper the names and addresses of all the people who registered their Pit Bulls. They said they did this to let the public know about the safety risk. Toni, who lives in Commerce City is going to kick up a storm about this. If you'd like to help her, please write her at email@example.com. This action by Commerce City is so offensive.
You might've noticed that our dear Assistant City Attorney, Kory Nelson, has been (publicly at least) silent about breed bans as of late, when he was so vocal this past summer all over the country. He sent a letter soliciting his help to enact a ban to the council in a small town in Kentucky (he's also sent letters to Iowa and other places) and a dear woman named Sandi got ahold of it. On August 27th, his efforts to enact bans around the country came to a crashing halt via some actions our BAND members took with Kory's boss. Now, he has to get approval for everything he sends out from his bosses. He's still doing some things we're finding out about that are against the City Attorney's new rules, but mostly he's been publicly silent. But that said, I bet he had not a little to do with the cities surrounding Denver talking about enacting bans. I'll have to send you the letter at some point. It's...um...uh, interesting.
One of the primary problems with the view of our breed is the media. When a PB bites someone, it's front page news or a top story (Pit Bull Mauling! Story at 11!), when we all know that all dog breeds attack. If you see or read a salacious story about Pit Bulls that is filled with misinformation, write the station or news writer. We need to educate these people that are educating the masses. Many of you have copied the BAND on the letters you've sent to various media outlets, and I want to commend you for doing it. It is SO important as this is often the only experience someone has with a Pit Bull--the news.
I've seen two angry e-mails lately. One mentioned that people (us) are not doing enough to end this madness with all these new cities talking about breed bans. Just know, if you don't already, that lots of people are doing whatever activities they can to help, if it's writing letters, donating their money, speaking at meetings, organizing, doing PB rescue, and a host of other things. If you're not hearing about all this, it's because I don't have time to relay it all to you. There are so many unsung heros within our little community, and sadly, for now, many of you will have to remain unsung. But, if you do you want to do more, especially regarding the cities that are talking about passing bans, contact those who are organizing the efforts. We need all the help we can get. The Pit Bull BAND is nothing but a group of concerned volunteers who are doing what we can to help.
The second angry e-mail alluded to the fact that we would get more done and stop other cities from enacting breed bans if we whipped people into an angry frenzy and let anger be our guide in our dealings with the various Legislators. If you want an angry frenzy, you won't find it here for so many reasons, some of which I'll mention below.
In talking to various people in positions of authority in Denver, I've heard from many sources that it was precisely the early angry "die you Nazi pigs" e-mails that led City Council to SOLIDIFY their position FOR the ban, when we actually had some Council members on the fence. Many of us (and hey, I was guilty of it once) represented our breed by being snotty and demeaning. And for those who don't know anything about Pit Bulls but what they see on the news (whackos and gangtas), we are helping to reinforce their negative opinions of this breed's owners, and it is not good!
And, I've personally seen how it is when someone comes to the BAND in anger at a ban. If one is fueled by anger, and anger alone, what happens when that anger dissipates, as it always does? Well, it's been my experience that when the anger dissipates, the people who have only that for fuel won't replace it with methodical planning or action, and will instead do nothing. So to what purpose? Also, the "good news" I talked about above would absolutely not have come about if anger had been our primary stance. We all get angry at this stupidity as it affects all of us very, very personally, but it doesn't seem to me to be the best combination to meet their fear with our anger. I feel we would only build up the walls between us and them, rather than tear them down. But that is just my opinion. If anyone wants to whip up a group in an angry frenzy, I cannot stop you.
That said, there are more and more cities who are talking about enacting bans. Our actions have not had the effect we've wanted. I don't think in the face of these legislator's fear and ignorance, if they've already made up their minds (Molly Markert, Bob Fitzgerald, etc) that any of our actions will change their minds, but we still have to try. To strive. If none of us spoke at the various Aurora City Council, the registration fee might still be $600 rather than $200. Of course, $200 is still too much, and the whole ban is still a bad law, but speaking at the meetings actually helped a little. Still, the only true change in all these places is probably only going to come from litigation, and that's where I've chosen to put my primary actions. I will give you details on that as soon as I can.
I just want to say a million times thank you for all that you are doing within the scope of your talents and time. I'm continuously amazed by the actions you're taking and I just can't say thank you enough. If you've taken a break over the holidays, now is the time to jump back in. We've got a lot to do in the coming months. Let's let the tenacity, loyalty, and intelligence of our breeds be our guide. Thank you!