Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prejudice and judgements are unjust!

This post is rather personal, so sorry. Readers know I have a beloved Pitty mix, Brooklyn, the light of my life. Well today bills have been introduced in the Tennessee House and Senate that would regulate the ownership of and automatically label “pit bulls” as vicious dogs at the state level.  

My head can never quite grasp this concept, it's as ignorant as saying "that you can catch AIDS from a toilet seat"  and is completely irrational as any other legislation we have seen that promotes inequality. We look back at segregation and see our mistakes, but it took an entire movement to see this. Well it's time for a movement in TN! If you are so inclined (and I hope you are) please consider writing to our legislators. I am drafting a letter as we speak and will post it below when complete. 

Read more:

Read more here:

For more Facts and Stats on please visit:

For me the most interesting parts are the financial hardship this will bring to every resident, not just Pit owners. For the 12 states that have passed BSL legislation it costs about $250,000 per county annually to enforce. There have been 0 counties that have reduced dog bites after introducing these bills. That means our counties could potentially be wasting $250,000 a year! Why not put that money into education, hire more teachers, get more assistants, get better school lunches? Put that money where it matters!

Visit for a Fiscal Cost Calculator. 

Thanks for listening, considering, and writing.

My letter is below. Don't feel comfortable writing your own? Not sure what to write?  This is a GREAT tool for you to use:
Thank you to Best Friends for getting this together so fast.

Re: Proposed bills HB621/SB865 that would regulate pit bulls in Tennessee
Dear Senator Reginald Tate:
I am writing to you about the recently proposed ordinance that would deem Pit Bulls inherently viscous. Passage of these bills will have a negative impact on responsible, law-abiding dog owners, while those who do not abide by the law will simply continue to do so. I am strongly opposed to these bills, and I ask that you vote against them for the following reasons:
This legislation opens up the door for additional costly Breed Specific Legislation. For counties that have passed breed specific bills/bans it has had a high cost. For example, it costs Prince George’s County, Maryland $250,000 annually to enforce a pit bull ban that has not shown any reduction in dog bite incidents. In fact, not one community that has enforced any version of Breed Specific Legislation has seen any reduction in dog bit incidents.  Any legislation that targets a specific breed is infective and is costly to our community.
It is important to note that this law is targeting law-abiding citizens whom are raising beloved family pets. While I agree owners should be held accountable for the actions of their dogs, this bill tells owners and the general public that it doesn’t matter what you do or how you treat your dog- your dog is dangerous. This is simply not true. As a school counselor, I have been fortunate to use Pit Bulls to work with our students. I have seen Pit Bulls and their owners read to classrooms of young elementary students who listened intently. I have seen at risk students find love, compassion, and trust in the paws of a Pit Bull.  This bill is targeting the wrong end of the leash.
Just like we cannot stereotype people, we cannot stereotype animals.  Just as color of skin does not tell about the temperament of a person, breed does not tell about the temperament of a dog. One thing is for sure- the American Temperament Test has proven time and time again that Pit Bulls are kind, loving animals and beloved family members. This evidence-based research has shown that Pit Bulls have an 86.8% pass rate, higher than golden retrievers, poodles, and hundreds of other breeds. The American Temperament Test is just one of the few statistical looks at the just how sweet these dogs are. Unfortunately the media and flawed reports are often what the general public remembers and what is referenced when bills such as these are considered for passage. It is important to note that the CDC has stated their data on the breed is inaccurate and is not supported by any scientific evidence, as the temperament test is. For summary of the flaws of this report I encourage you to visit:
A much better alternative to breed-specific legislation is to support reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs and to hold irresponsible dog owners to a higher accountability. I believe that the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost to enforce this bill should be put into proper dog ownership and dog safety education.
Lastly, I encourage you to continue your education by visiting,, or sit with your family and watch “Beyond The Myth.” These are invaluable resources that I truly hope you will consider before you make a hasty decision.
I ask that you oppose this proposal because any such law that is specific to breed does not address the real problem. I hope you will oppose these bills not only for me, but for the furry love of my life that is currently asleep next to me. I hope you will oppose these bills for every other family in Tennessee that finds a heartbeat at its feet.

Laura Filtness
School Counselor
Proud Pit Bull Owner

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