Once again, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has claimed the life of another pit bull. According to a recent study, more than 937 cities in the United States have Breed Specific Legislation in place.
Statistically, pit bulls are the most often euthanized dogs in shelters. To think an abandoned, adult pit bull to be adopted and to live a happy life is a pipe dream that only few dogs will realize. Most of the abandoned pit bulls will be condemned to die from lethal injection or live a tragic life on the streets.
In July 2006, the city of Clinton, Mississippi ordained, adopted, and approved an ordinance banning pit bulls and Rottweilers from their city. Debbie Fortner Toth, an animal rescuer knows all about Clinton’s ordinance pertaining to the breed and how quickly they euthanize these dogs. She set out to rescue a female bullie named Soul before Animal Control could get a hold of the dog.
Soul had been seen around the area for a few weeks and was described by those who encountered her as scared and non-aggressive. She would dodge people at all costs and take refuge in the woods if someone tried to approach her. Debbie set up a trap on 10/22/18. Her intent was to trap Soul and take her to safety outside of Clinton, Mississippi. Unfortunately, Clinton Animal Control was also out to capture Soul. They were seen riding around the area where Soul was seen eating out of garbage cans and sleeping.
Local authorities in the area were advised to call Debbie or her friend Daphne if Soul was spotted so they could get to her before Animal Control did. There was also a potential owner who had lost a dog with Soul’s description. Debbie wanted to capture the dog and return her to her rightful owner.
For weeks, Debbie watched Soul playing, sleeping, and looking for food. Then, one day Soul just vanished. Debbie looked for her, watched for her and waited. Someone advised Debbie that Soul had supposedly gotten into one of the field houses at the local high school and instead of Debbie or Daphne being called, Animal Control was notified. They would’ve taken Soul to the Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL) where she would’ve been automatically euthanized because of her breed.
There are witnesses that say Clinton ACO picked Soul; there was even a photo taken by one of the witnesses showing Soul at the end of the Animal Control Officer’s catch pole. Debbie wanted answers on what happened to Soul, so she scheduled a meeting with Phil Fisher, the Mayor of Clinton, asking him to do an investigation.
Two conflicting reports came in regarding Soul’s fate. MARL stated Clinton Animal Control had not brought in any pit bulls recently, nor were any logged in. The possible owner also visited MARL and was informed no pits had been brought in. An hour and a half after Debbie left Mayor Fischer’s office, his secretary called her back and stated the Chief of Police told the mayor’s office that Clinton Animal Control had picked up Soul and dropped her off at MARL.
So, who is lying and who is telling the truth?
According to Debbie Fortner Toth, when a animal is brought in by ACO, that animal is supposed to be on a five day stray hold to give the owners a chance to claim them. That does not happen at MARL. Debbie has stated.
“A family pet can be taken there even with their collar on and owner’s info on the collars and they are still euthanized with their collars on. Nor does MARL scan for a microchip”
If everyone told the truth and if MARL had followed the five days stray hold rule, Soul might still be alive today and possibly back with her rightful owner. Debbie is angered that no one notified her about Soul being picked up and euthanized. The animal control officer has not returned any of her calls, nor any other calls regarding Soul, including her possible owner.
Later, Debbie I found a dog dumped in a black bag that had the same colors as Soul. Was the dog killed before ever even going to MARL?
Another dog killed just because of her breed? Hopefully the day will come when no dog is killed based on their appearance. Pit bulls were once loved by Americans until dog fighting became lucrative in the underworld.
With the help of celebrities such as Cesar Milan, pit bulls are regaining their rightful place as pets. Attitudes are changing once again, and people are realizing that BSL is only adding to the problem of pet overpopulation. With enforcers, lawyers, and even the American Bar Association tiring of trying to litigate such confusing and specious laws, BSL may slowly be dying out.
The following states all have laws that prohibit local governments from enacting breed-specific legislation or have statements saying that BSL may not hold up in court: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Unfortunately, it will never bring Soul back nor any of the other Pit Bulls who were unlucky enough to be caught in cities where they are banned.