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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Public Safety and Dangerous Dogs

Published in the NY TIMES, 4/16/06: 

To the Editor:

Re "Buster's Law" (editorial, April 2):

In an attempt to clarify why this county is establishing a "dangerous dog" Web site, I ordered the stats on dog bites from the Westchester Department of Health. I expected to see a burgeoning explosion; instead, it showed the numbers are decreasing. So why do we need a registry?

You state that "dogs as their owners will surely remind us have due process rights." Oh, really? I often equate the legal problems of animals with the problems facing victimized children. What makes you think the judicial system will work better for dogs, who are also among the most vulnerable in our society?

You also state, "As long as there are nasty dogs among us, and negligent owners willing to shield them, the public should have abundant means to protect itself." In my vast experience, "nasty" dogs are caused by owners or guardians who turned a loving animal vicious. Precious few are born that way. Your view would almost guarantee the dog a bad day in court.

A public registry will serve only to cause dogs to be dumped in shelters, enrich the insurance companies and create a bonanza for breeders of teacup poodles.

Kiley Blackman
The writer is spokeswoman, Animal Defenders of Westchester.

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