On November 27, 2013, we alerted you that officials in the small town of Manderson, Wyoming were set to take the third and final reading of an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of Rottweilers and Dobermans on December 2. The Town Council meeting was scheduled immediately following a long holiday weekend, and your quick action was imperative in order to allow city officials enough time before the meeting to take the materials being sent to them into consideration.
I spoke with the town clerk this afternoon to follow up on Monday’s meeting. The ordinance, which was on the brink of passage, was voted down and is no longer being considered in any form or fashion.
When I asked the clerk if there was anything specific that caused the Council members to change their minds, she advised it was due to the overwhelming number of e-mails and educational materials received from YOU!
Let me be clear, in FIVE days, an overwhelming number of you reached out to the Manderson officials with your informed and respectful opposition and alternatives to their breed specific proposal…and they not only listened – they made an informed, rational decision based on your suggestions!
Sure, Manderson is a small town, but this is no small victory.
Responsible dog owners across the country are working to raise awareness and educate the public in order to overcome bias and stereotypes against certain breeds of dogs perpetuated, in great part, by the media and its sweeping reach.
Day by day, one person at a time, knowledge is conquering ignorance, even when the soapbox supporting that ignorance seems larger than life and too big to take down.
Who knows…maybe one day the media will finally figure out that the ruthless pursuit of ratings with the use of sensationalized headlines focused on the type of dog involved in an attack, as opposed to educating on how attacks can be prevented, is devastatingly harmful to the public.
Until that time, we advocates will hold the line, educating, changing perceptions, one person at a time.
Finally, keep in mind that Manderson already has an ordinance in place regulating the ownership of pit bulls. Knowing the slippery slope of breed specific legislation, it would have been extremely easy for the council to extend that ordinance to include additional breeds. Perhaps the Town Council, now with a better understanding of the problems associated with breed discriminatory ordinances, may be open to repealing their pit bull ban enacted in 2010.
As they say, you never know until you try.