The increasing authority of breed-specific legislation is something every dog owner should be aware of. This goes double for Pit Bull owners. The new laws that have been coined “Legislation with Teeth” are aimed squarely at Pit Bull owners.
Is This a Prelude to a Nationwide Trend?
The most commonly banned dog in the United States and the United Kingdom is the Pit Bull. However, in America, there seems to be a shift in the degree of punishment and we are not talking about mere fines.
Prosecutors and Judges alike are on the verge of something unprecedented in way of sentencings for dog-related offenses. The law, in general, is built upon justice, but also upon precedents. If one can set a precedent, any case falling within the same realm already has a better chance of success in court.
These stiffer penalties are just the beginning. The shift in climate is already underway.
Where is the Line Between Agenda and Justice Drawn?
The tougher laws and more aggressive forms of enforcement are said to be key elements to combat dogfighting. These efforts are being spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States. Their reasoning for such a need of increased aggressiveness is their claims of the ever-growing increase in dogfighting.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are approximately tens of thousands of people involved in dogfighting. Though this is only an estimate, the real number is believed to be much higher.
I know your first thought is, “What does this have to do with me?” “Sure, I own a Pit Bull, but I do not participate in nor condone dog fighting.” Neither do the people I am about to introduce you to.
When Does the Crime Fit the Punishment?
To illustrate the more aggressive philosophy, I present to you two cases that exemplify things to come.
Meet Alphonso McCloud and his wife Stanyelle Miles-McCloud. Both are decorated US Army Veterans and now felons. When you first hear this, you might not consider it a tragedy.
I am sure you are thinking, “What bank did they rob?” or “Did they kill someone?” You would be wrong on both accounts. They are guilty of owning a Pit Bull that mauled their neighbor. This will bring a more sobering light to what I have been saying earlier about the stiffer penalties.
A Case of This Nature Can Set a Precedent
Alphonso McCloud and his wife, Stanyelle McCloud, are accused of serious bodily injury after their Pit Bull Bully attacked Doris Mixon Smith. The attack happened on March 6, 2017, while Doris was gardening in her yard.
The attack was so vicious, that the Pit Bull pulled off her arm just below the elbow and mangled her face. The 73-year-old stated in court, “As a Christian, I have to forgive you, but tell, me, how can I forget?” she said. “I can no longer tie shoes, fasten my earrings, or dress myself.”
This was indeed a horrible incident and no one is overlooking that fact.
Alphonso, a 27-year-old Army Veteran, was given a chance to address the jury and he had this to say. “I’m originally from Detroit, I am from the hood, I’ve been blown up for my country,” he said. “I am not a criminal. I don’t appreciate social media and the news, everyone making me seem like a bad guy.”
Was this Justice or an Agenda in the Making?
Shortly after his statement a verdict was handed down.
Alphonso received four years in prison and his wife received 10 years probation.
So, was this justice or an agenda in the making? You be the judge.
If Your Reason is Clear, so Should Your Motives
The reason cases like these are being justified was to combat dogfighting. Well, it appears to have missed the mark. The McClouds’ were not involved in dogfighting. Their Pit Bull was on record for escaping his allotted space only twice including the incident in question.
So my question to you is, “How does this apply to their case?”
There was no determined or implied intent to harm anyone. This was an apparent accident and yes it was unfortunate. However, the real question is, “Where do we go from here?”
Another Example of Changes on the Horizon for Pit Bull Owners
Meet Sandra Adams, a 70-year-old grandmother from Hartwell, Georgia.
She is a senior citizen and a Pit Bull owner. It is the latter that has her fighting for her life in the Georgia Courts.
Ms. Adams has been accused of murder after two pit bulls at her home fatally mauled her toddler grandson in August 2017.
The Punishments are Continuously Escalating
She has been arrested and formally charged with second-degree murder. In addition, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) also charged her with two lesser counts: involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children in the second degree.
Upon further research in the state of Georgia, this carries a possible sentence of life or 30-to-40 years.
At 70-years-old, 30-to-40 years is the equivalent of a life sentence for Ms. Adams. I know that this entire ordeal is tragic and no one should have to bury a child. Not to mention, your own grandchild.
A Tragedy of This Magnitude Should not be Compounded
I have experienced the loss of close family members, but I have never experienced the loss of a child. I can’t imagine the anguish and hurt Ms. Adams is experiencing. This is compounded by the fact that she is considered the reason for this anguish.
Furthermore, the strain this must be putting on her family. They are obviously close if they trust her to babysit her grandson.
So, where is the dogfighting connection in this case? Their entire premise behind the need for stiffer penalties is to head off the dogfighting “epidemic.” There was no malice or intent alluded to in Ms. Adams case.
Is This What Enforcing Safety Looks Like?
The GBI said “historical information indicates … [she] had been cited on multiple occasions by the Hartwell Police Department under a city ordinance maintaining disorderly animals.”
That was the extent of how they were justifying the charges.
Pit Bull owners have been put on notice, and at this time, it is unclear how far this will go. Consequently, if the laws of physics apply, it will only gain momentum unless a strong enough force opposes it.
That force is Pit Bull owners collective voices.