How a Boxer Mistaken for a Pit Bull Served a Year on Death Row.


So, how did a Boxer mistaken for a Pit Bull end up on Death Row? Simple really, all the dog had to do was look like a “Pit Bull”. In today’s society, that is apparently all it takes. I truly believe that if another breed was guilty of the same offense, we would not be having this conversation.

Is There Another Name for Justice?

Mistaken for a Pit BullMeet Bandit, a Boxer Mix accused of being aggressive, a danger, and a Pit Bull. Somehow, those two adjectives are synonymous with Pit Bull and it is the same all over America. All it took was a resemblance to a Pit Bull and this poor animal’s fate was sealed.

Bandit’s journey into turmoil began over a year ago, in Aurora, Colorado, with one seemingly innocent event.

There is little discrepancy in the description of the events, but the what and the why of the matter draws two different pictures.

Justice Cannot be Served if it Does not Fit the Crime.

Mistaken for a Pit BullHere is a description of the episode that eventually doomed Bandit.

“A FedEx driver came to the home and the teenage daughter opened the door to receive the package. Bandit got out the door and jumped up on the driver.”

“That was his habit and how he greeted people.”  “It is not a very good habit, as the family now understands.” “I think the FedEx driver was probably very startled and reacted by shrinking back.” “Then, Bandit reacted with a kind of quick bite or a brief snap.” “It was more like, ‘I scared you, you scared me.'”

How Many Ways Can You Correctly Tell the Same Story?

Pit-Bull-Loves-To-Hug-His-FamilyThe driver visited a local hospital for treatment, Edwards stated. “But it wasn’t a very severe bite and it was not a vicious attack. This isn’t a bad dog. It was just a bad circumstance.”

That was the summary of the events in question as understood by the legal counsel of Bandit’s owners. Jennifer Edwards of Animal Law Center expressed those details in a brief statement upon taking over the case.

The Animal Law Center was not the first team to represent Suren Tatuylan and Olga Jeleznova, Bandit’s owners. Ms. Edwards eluded to some of the details of the case. She believed that more could have been done if the Animal Law Center had been the initial counsel.

The Authority of Breed-Specific Legislation is Setting a New Precedent.

Pit-Bull-Dog-Changes-Man's-LifeThis event occurred in the first week of January 2017. On January 4, 2017, Bandit was taken into custody immediately after the incident.

Bandit was placed in an Aurora animal shelter and the cost to house him was charged to Tatuylan and Jeleznova, his owners.

Talking about adding insult to injury. Bandit’s owners were billed $15.00 per day for the privilege of their dog being taken away from them.

The Punishment Should Always Fit the Crime.

Mistaken for a Pit BullAt the time of writing this article, Bandit has mere hours before he is to be euthanized.

I know that no civilization can exist without order. In our case, these are the laws that govern our great land. However, these laws are purported to be fair, equal, and justice.

I find it very difficult to believe that a dog with no history of violence deserves to die for an incident like this. The punishment seems excessive and to a degree, meant to send a message.

Do Examples Set by the Law Actually Accomplish Anything?

Mistaken for a Pit BullThe Breed-Specific Legislation in Aurora, Colorado, was approved in 2005. It went into effect in 2006. It has been illegal to own a Pit Bull in Aurora, Colorado, for more than a decade.

So, why would anyone that is a law-abiding and conscientious citizen try to circumvent such a law? In my opinion, they would not.

Which brings me to this conclusion. Bandit’s owners were under the impression that he was a Boxer Mix and not of “Pit Bull” lineage. They even stated as much when they were questioned. They did not make any attempts to circumvent the BSL in place.

How Likely are You to Find Yourself in a Similar Situation?

Mistaken for a Pit BullFurthermore, how can they be in violation of the BSL if their dog is not a Pit Bull? That to me is the most baffling aspect of this entire ordeal.

I get that any Pit Bull in an incident involving a bite is just another chance for them to say, “I told you so”. Which in turn, means that there is no surprise with the voracity in which the city of Aurora pursued the death penalty.

Granted, this is an awful situation made worse by the profound bias against Pit Bulls, but I encourage you to look at this case closely. This can become a precedent in which this pursued outcome is the norm or standard.

What if When the People Have Spoken, They are Wrong?

Mistaken for a Pit BullI do applaud Aurora, Colorado because they did not leave the decision to implement BSL to just the politicians. They actually put this on a ballot and gave the citizens the chance to say, “Ya” or “Na”.

Nevertheless, I believe the people got it wrong.

I suppose it goes hand in hand since BSL has gotten it wrong since its inception.

Let’s Do This by the Numbers.

Pitbulls-Acting-CuteCase in point, here are the reported (raw) numbers over a ten year period in Aurora, Colorado.

It covers a three-year span before the implementation of BSL and seven years after implementation.

These reported numbers defy logic as well as sensibility. There are those who would look at these numbers and still believe BSL works.

From 2003 to 2005 are as follows in terms of reported dog bites.

10 Reasons-Pit-Bulls-Are-The-BestFor instance, in 2003 they had 213 total reported dog bites. Of those 213 dog bites, 28 were committed by banned breeds. The other 185 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

Whereas in 2004 they had 211 total reported dog bites. Of those 211 dog bites, 33 were committed by banned breeds. The other 178 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

In addition, in 2005 they had 137 total reported dog bites. Of those 137 dog bites, 27 were committed by banned breeds. The other 110 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

These are the Reported Numbers After the Implementation of BSL.

Moreover, in 2006 they had 137 total reported dog bites. Of those 137 dog bites, 8 were committed by banned breeds. The other 129 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

Also in 2007 they had 172 total reported dog bites. Of those 172 dog bites, 15 were committed by banned breeds. The other 157 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

Furthermore, in 2008 they had 224 total reported dog bites. Of those 224 dog bites, 8 were committed by banned breeds. The other 216 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

BSL has an Adverse Effect on the Number of Dog Bites in terms of Totals.

Blue Nose Pit Bull PuppiesIn conclusion,  in 2009 they had 229 total reported dog bites. Of those 229 dog bites, 9 were committed by banned breeds. The other 220 dog bites were committed by non-banned breeds.

By now, I am sure that this pattern has revealed itself. BSL does not work. It has not decreased the total number of dog bites. In fact, the number of dog bites has increased.

Which in my opinion correlates with the theory that the problem is irresponsible owners and not the breed. Further proof of this, is the fact that the number of non-banned dog bites increased. My theory is, the same irresponsible owners simply switched breeds and continued to be irresponsible.

Illogical Thinking is Causing Yet Another Innocent Animal to be Euthanized.

Blue Nose Pit Bull PuppiesBandit’s owners offered several viable options to their pet being euthanized. These ranged from actually relocating to a town outside of Aurora,  elicit the aid of a Pit Bull rescue, and paying a specialist to retrain Bandit.

The officials of Aurora did not find those suggestions appealing and decided to go through with their original ruling.

So, with what you know about BSL, this case, and the impending outcome, do you believe justice will be served?