Friday, July 27, 2012

Fighting BSL – Assistance Needed

I have always stood against injustice, prejudice, ignorance, and the sheer stupidity that result in prejudice and injustice.  Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) certainly fills the bill.  Thanks to ignorance about banned breeds and dog behavior, the proliferance of dog fighting, irresponsible owners, and media sensationalism, BSL has become a monster of epic proportions.  From the mass extermination of pit bulls in Denver from 2005 to 2008, to the killing of Lennox, Wicca, Bear, and Kooda in 2012, thousands upon thousands of dogs and families have been affected by knee-jerk reaction laws and actions.

Dogs have been deemed dangerous just because of their breed and/or how they look no matter their behavior and history.  Dogs have been ripped from their families’ arms and homes, and executed.  Owners have been forced to buy excessively expensive insurance and follow other restrictive measures, and many forced to re-home their beloved pet to insure its safety.

To say I hate BSL would be an understatement.  In honor of Lennox and all the other dogs who have died or are otherwise victims of BSL, I am doing two things.

First, as a part of my Facebook page, I want to create an album for the victims.  I haven't decided on an album title yet, but it will be along the lines of "Why We Fight BSL - The Victims".  I already have two BSL albums - Lennox and Pit Bulls - and this new one is intended to compliment them.  The first entries will be Lennox, Wicca, Bear and Kooda, and Ace.

Second, as a member of AVRAL, I will be working against BSL in Alabama.  We will be looking to stop proposed BSL laws, hopefully get BSL repealed where it already exists, and hopefully bring about the passage of a state law making BSL illegal in Alabama.

How You Can Help

1. Provide pictures and information about victims for inclusion in my new album.  Links to pictures can be sent to me via message or posted to my wall.  It is important that I have the link where you found the picture so that I have whatever information was with it, as well as photo credits.  The type of information I'm looking for is:

* Dog's name
* City/State (e.g. Denver, CO) or City/Country (Montreal, Canada)
* Date killed
* Why/What - the "meat" of the issue - what happened (and why when known) that caused the dog to become a victim
* Facebook page (if the dog has one)
* Links to any relevant news articles (if they exist and you have them - I will also research)

2. If you live in Alabama, I need your help in staying on top of BSL.  I will be researching everything sent to me, but the more info you can give me, the better because it's from the viewpoint of a resident.  If I need to directly attribute anything to you (such as a quote), you will only be identified by initials unless you give me permission to use your name.

* If there is BSL in your city/town - where, when it was enacted, why it was enacted, any known results (is it being enforced, are dog bites/attacks down, are owners re-homing pets elsewhere)

* If BSL is being proposed in your city/town - where, why, and if known, the date of the next meeting of whichever government body is handling it

We can only fight BSL with your help.  The more info you can provide, the better my group can work on this.  We do not have members in every city and town in the state, so we need you to be our eyes and ears.

3. Support AVRAL.  If you live in Alabama, and are not yet a member, please join.  It doesn't cost anything, other than some time, to be a member.  Even if your only participation is through email campaigns and voting, it will make a difference.  No matter where you live, donating to AVRAL either through direct donation or by buying a tshirt, helps.  We need funds for flyers, office supplies, and the many other things that are needed to effectively fight for the animals of Alabama.

In Conclusion

I have been working on this post for about 2 hours now, my hands shaking and tears in my eyes.  This morning I heard that our efforts to save Wicca had failed, and she was killed yesterday.  I am still outraged about Lennox, and then I hear of Wicca’s death – my emotions, both sadness and anger, are running high.

Ever since I became an animal advocate, I have been searching for my niche … the one area where I will devote a significant portion of my advocacy time and energy to.  There are so many different areas that need to be addressed in resolving the problems with companion animals and shelters in this country (you might want to read my Stop the Killing series of posts for an idea of what I mean).  It’s difficult to pick just one. 

But today I made my decision, pushed over the brink by the execution of Wicca. 

Today I pick up arms in the battle against BSL.  

Update: The album, Why I Fight BSL - Remembering the Victims, has been created.