ANIMAL WATCH - CA Senator Adam Schiff, has introduced the “Pets Belong with Families Act” to allow Pit Bulls and other aggressive dog breeds in federal public housing subsidized by our tax dollars.
There are varying reasons people want or don’t want Pit Bulls, especially in subsidized rental units, and an equal number of impacts it can have on all residents. People in high-crime areas often say they want a Pit Bull for protection, but with that comes the high possibility of an attack on an innocent person and liability for the landlord, as well as the tenant.
Crime is rampant in most public housing locations—and dog fighting is common as entertainment and a gambling opportunity.
Michael Vick, who threw away his Atlanta Falcons football career and his fortune to buy Bad Newz Kennels, said he grew up involved in dog fighting and bragged that “the hood was still in him” is an example of how addictive the feeling of power over life and death can be and what motivates gambling on dog fights (usually Pit Bulls) held in and around public housing.
Pit Bulls are often not just “pets,” but often fill in gaps in personality that relate to the need for status, protection or power—and, for some, “blood lust.”
WHO IS SUPPORTING THIS BILL?
This ill-conceived “Pets Belong with Families Act” is supported by-some of the wealthiest non-profit organizations and/or service providers and is explained as “amending federal housing law so that housing agencies cannot ban Pit Bulls and other dangerous dogs based on breed, but only “on specific behaviors or actions by the animal”.
The most obvious problems with this approach is that it relies on someone, or a number of people or animals, getting hurt or killed. Then—if the animal is already a tenant—a procedure must be in place for isolating/housing the animal while a procedure is developed for a hearing to be held and a decision evaluating the conduct, and then enforcing the eviction of the tenant and/or the dog.
In addition to the fact that this would not be necessary with a loving, gentle family pet, all of this comes out of our taxes, which are already subsiding the housing. For that amount of manpower and added expense, how many more humans could be helped?
This change would apply only to public housing units and would not affect other federal housing programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8), that offset payments to private landlords.
WHERE ARE THE PERSONAL PIT BULLS OF SUPPORTERS OF THIS PLAN?
It is notable that, so far, Senator Schiff has not posted an easily accessible photo of himself with a Pit Bull, but with at least three other breeds.
Interestingly, I found many photos on social media of Senator Schiff with a dog, but not one was a Pit Bull nor a bully breed of any type.
And, Best Friends Animal Society’s which is listed among the strong supporters of this bill, has pages of lobbying opportunities for Pit Bulls, but none of their 21 Board of Directors and Chief Officers is shown on this list with a Pit Bull as their personal pet.
Military Housing: Eagle Heights at Dover
There is reference to military housing, which also bans aggressive breeds. Rules banning specific dog breeds in military housing started around 2008-2009.
It’s commonly thought that these bans were set into place after two significant events. The first was an uptick in dog bites and attacks on military families living on base. The second was the full implementation of privatized housing, which had to accommodate safety regulations in order to obtain insurance.
A comprehensive list of restrictions on pets for branches of the military is shown here and each is related to safety.
WHAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THIS BILL
U.S. Rep. Schiff (D-CA), explained that the bill would “put an end to overly broad breed-specific pet restrictions in public housing, which force many low-income families and individuals to make the impossible choice between their beloved companions and secure, affordable housing.”
However, an interview with the Seattle Housing Authority at that time, received the response from the Communication Director that “its breed ban hasn’t caused many major problems, such as residents being evicted or having to give up their dogs.”
So, like any solution needing a problem, a man owning two mature blue-nose Pit Bulls was brought into the discussion to state that he had trouble finding housing. But, he was accepted after he “made a case to the property manager that his dogs were better trained than other pets in the building and helped him manage his post-traumatic stress disorder.”
DOG FIGHTING COMMON IN PUBLIC HOUSING
Dog fighting by primarily young residents is a long-standing problem in government-funded housing, but it is not a racial issue. It is economic-based because of the gambling opportunity and it is also based on a sadistic sense of social stature.
If Pit Bulls are allowed in this environment, getting a free dog at a shelter or from an ad and mistreating it to make it aggressive and then “match” it in the neighborhood in a vacant building or alley while bets are placed is a fast way to make money and establish “respect”/fear in the community.
There is really no concern for the dogs, which are not registered or licensed and when injured can just be dumped in the streets (thus overcrowding shelters with dangerous, unadoptable dogs trained to attack other animals, although most may be unaggressive toward humans.)
(Doesn’t this describe much of the problem in shelters nationwide right now?)
A SORDID RITE OF PASSAGE
By the late 20th century, as dog fighting became more popular in the poor areas of major U.S. cities, research and investigations revealed strong links connected with street gangs, drug sales, firearms and other criminal activities.
Dog fighting is also considered one of the most serious forms of animal abuse. This is intentional, as many participants believe the rough treatment of the dogs will make them better, more aggressive fighters.
The dogs endure tremendous pain during and after the fights, and the injuries are so invasive that they often suffer their entire lives, which is why “rescue” and rehab are often not a humane approach. Euthanasia in these cases is far kinder, but not allowed under the current , equally cruel, “No-Kill” policies of animal shelters.
MICHAEL VICK AND “THE HOOD”
In a recent interview, Michael Vick was asked why he risked his fortune and his Atlanta Falcons football career to finance and run a dog-fighting enterprise, Bad Newz Kennel. His arrest and conviction resulted in 21 months in prison, being dumped by his football team, and becoming one of the most reviled individuals in modern history in the eyes of animal lovers.
Vick never took responsibility or showed any remorse for deliberately inflicting pain on the dogs. His only remorse was losing money. When asked why he got involved, he said it was a financial opportunity, and “I still had the hood in me. That is how I grew up.”
“I wish I had a father figure or somebody in my life Vick said on a podcast with current Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill.”
However, in a 2007 report by the AP, “Michael Vick’s estranged father said he asked him to quit dogfighting, and that as early as around 2001 his son staged dog fighting in the garage and in the backyard, “including dogs that were “bit up, chewed up, exhausted ....” (Michael Vick on losing $8M from investments while in prison)
WHAT’S IN THIS FOR SCHIFF?
This bill really has no stated purpose other than the goal of putting Pit Bulls in governmental property—other pets are already allowed.
“Pets Belong with Families” is being supported by multi-million-dollar non-profit organizations and service providers, which undoubtedly hope to benefit from more adopted pets and the good publicity, but the stated problem of large numbers of people having to abandon pets because of a lack of rentals is hardly at a level requiring attention by the U.S. Senate.
BITE STATISTICS MATTER IN THIS LEGISLATION
A report created in May 2022 by Dogsbite.org reports Pit Bulls Lead Biting Incidents (and also most damaging bites) Across U.S. Cities and Counties, according to actual reports.
It includes a Special Report: Dog Biting Incidents (2014 to Present)
And, on July 6, 2023, Animals24-7.org published:
Introducing this study on July 6, 2023, MERRITT CLIFTON adds the following Editor’s Note:
“While pit bull advocates and organizations mass-produce a blizzard of papers published in ‘soft science’ journals purporting that pit bulls and other ‘bully breeds’ are ‘safe,’ hard data published in leading medical journals is unequivocal: pit bulls and other ‘bully breeds’ do more severe damage, more often, than any other dogs.”
DECISION BY JUDGE ALLOWS GOVERNMENT TO BE SUED
Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips recently prevailed in a case deciding that the City of Los Angeles can be sued for horrific damages to a woman whose son adopted a Pit Bull from a Los Angeles City shelter that was known to have attacked before—but that warning was not relayed adequately.
COULD THE FEDS BE SUED AS A RESULT OF SCHIFF’S BILL?
Since the federal government has restricted breeds for many years in public housing on the premise that there was evidence these dogs could be dangerous to residents, can that same government—without any statistical proof that Pit Bulls have become less dangerous—now reverse its opinion and still escape liability for any injuries by these dogs to tenants in subsidized government housing?
It is not the job of our government to spend hard-earned tax dollars on schemes so transparent and illogical that there is obviously some other purpose behind it, either in attracting donations, contributions or increasing the needs for services which will be paid by federal grants or other government funding.
WHAT DOES ADAM SCHIFF KNOW ABOUT POVERTY?
Adam Schiff’s Net Worth is $70 Million (Forbes 2023) in assets
See Table of Contents and complete analysis of net worth here: (https://www.caclubindia.com/wealth/adam-schiff-net-worth/)
Adam Schiff’s Net Worth is $70 Million US Dollars. But, Schiff earns a $174,000 salary annually as a Congressman. (Reported on May 18, 2023)
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatchLA.com.)