Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crawford pledges not to hear statewide pit bull ban, effectively killing the legislation

State Rep. Hugh Crawford is stopping the bil
Legislation has been introduced to eventually ban pit bulls statewide, but with Oakland County’s Hugh Crawford chairing the committee it’s been referred to, the bill is not likely to see the light of day.
“The message from me, who’s chairman of the Regulatory Reform Committee, is ‘I’m not going to run the bill,’” said Crawford, the Republican State House Rep. from Novi. “It will just stay in committee. I will not even take testimony on this.”
Crawford has a couple reasons for not taking up the legislation.
“I think it’s a people problem problem, not a dog problem,” he said in a phone interview from the House floor on Tuesday. “It’s totally unnecessary to penalize a breed of dog, or really, a variety of breeds.”
Contact State Rep. Tim Bledsoe
The term pit bull is a classification that refers to one of three or four breeds — American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and in many cases, Bull Terriers as well.
The legislation introduced by Grosse Pointe Democrat Tim Bledsoe would ban only the first three, allowing Bull Terriers — the breed best known for appearing in Target commercials and ads — to remain in the state.
Bledsoe’s bill, House Bill 4714, would extend the ban to “a dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the breeds (listed to be banned)” and “a dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any one of the breeds listed.”
If it were passed, it would be illegal to breed or sell a pit bull in the state one year after it takes effect.
Four years after taking effect, it would be illegal to own or possess a non-sterilized pit bull.
Ten years after taking effect, it would be illegal to own or possess a pit bull.
Crawford said another reason he won’t take up the bill is because, “The state has got better things to do than to be the dog police.”
Amen. (Watch my video editorial on this bill)
In terms of what the public response has been since word of the legislation prompted a media firestorm last week, Crawford said, “Oh my gosh, overwhelming.”
“I’m not one to react to polls and responses and to be clear, I made this decision before I received the first email,” he said. “Since then, I have gotten hundreds of emails. I would venture to say that about 98 percent of them are against a pit bull ban for all sorts of reasons.”
Crawford said he also has friends and relatives who own pits or pit mixes.
“They’re fine dogs,” he said of the pit bulls he knows.
Other media reports have said that Bledsoe was planning to meet with Crawford early this week. That hasn’t happened.
“He hasn’t contacted me,” Crawford said. “If he does, sure, I’ll meet with him.”
As for whether the bill could come back in the future, Crawford said he’s learned from being a politician to never say never.
“Sometime down the road for some reason unforeseen to me, somebody might say, ‘Take that bill up,’” Crawford said. “But I’m confident (current) leadership won’t do that. As it stands, I’m not going to take testimony on it.”
As for totally getting rid of the bill now, Oakland Press Political Reporter Charles Crumm said that may not be possible.
“I don’t believe you can withdraw a bill once it has been introduced,” Crumm said. “More likely, it lingers until the end of the two year session when all legislation not acted upon dies when the Legislature adjourns the session. The Latin phrase for that is ‘sine die.’”
The current session will end January 1, 2013.
Dreaming of a better world where dogs aren't banned because of their breed


  1. Hooray! Crawford is a grown-up with a brain!

  2. I was VERY glad to hear they're not going to take this up.

    On a side note, I don't know what copyright you have on your blog posts, I saw that someone cut and pasted, html and all, one of your blog posts onto their site. It's at the bottom of this page: I just thought I'd let you know in case there's a copyright issue.

  3. Cysania, Thanks for alerting me to this. I think this is a website run by the guy who criticized my post about dominance theory being antiquated crap. I'll have to look at the website more closely when I have some time.

    As for my opinion on dominance theory, I feel quite confident about my position. I have proof in my own dog that dominance theory can have some very damaging outcomes, and in terms of me being one of his "75 behaviorists debunked" I am not a behaviorist. I am journalist who studies canine behavior. I have no formal education and no right to call myself a behaviorist, and I don't think that anyone else should give me a professional title I have not earned.

    As for me being "debunked" because I couldn't answer his questions, I have two things to say: 1) He didn't ask me any questions. He left a comment criticizing me, and 2) He didn't answer the two questions I asked him, which of course, are about his credentials and what the heck "cognitive via influence" means.

  4. Karen, first, thank you for your doggie posts. I am a pit-mix owner of two, one of which is a registered therapy dog. Second, this Dale McCluskey showed up on another site (DogStarDaily) and all the trainers/behaviorists debunked him and in fact some were outraged at his downright cruelty in some of his training clips. I think they concluded he is nuts and doing much harm to the dogs he supposedly trains. It's so sad when an owner is so naive about dog trainers that they end up with someone like him.

  5. Anonymous, thank you so much for your comments. I haven't watched any clips of him working with dogs and now I'm not sure I can stomach it.

    It makes me very angry at times that the average person has such little good knowledge/understanding of dogs and what makes them tick — angry at the culture that propagates bad information, angry at individuals who allow ignorance to keep them in the dark, standing staunchly behind ideas like "the dog knows it did something wrong three hours ago and I know it knows because it looks and acts guilty."

    However angry I may get about our culture propagating bad information and individual owners who refuse to see the light, it dulls in comparison to the anger I have for those who call themselves professional dog trainers and use their titles and positions to further spread bad information and hurt dogs and dog-human relationships in the process.

    Nothing creates more behavior problems in dogs than fear. I believe in good leadership, but I have seen firsthand the damage that can be done using tactics that exploit fear. Far too many people muddy the waters, believing that leadership is accomplished through fear. It is not.