The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, May 08, 2006


The Troy City Council recently enacted "Vicious Dog" legislation that would, in part, increase fines for owners of dogs that attack people or other animals. The legislation applies to any dog that attacks, but we all know it's primarily aimed at 'Pit Bulls' and other attack dogs.

At the outset, let us say that we whole-heartedly support the law. We know the arguments: it's how the dog is raised and trained, it's not the particular breed.....That may be so, but the legislation does not single out a breed despite the fact that certain breeds will be impacted more than others. The fact is, 300 people a year die in dog attacks and pit bulls are responsible for a majority of those deaths.

Pit bulls are like Germans. Sure, you can meet nice ones, but overall their track record for the last century ain't great.

Recently, a disgruntled RPI student sent an e-mail to Councilman MarkWojcik:*

From: Justin Stone
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 11:20 PM
To: Citycouncil.
Subject: Mark D. Wojcik

Regarding your policies on pitbull ownership,

I am a RESPONSIBLE pitbull owner who attends RPI and I am appalled that
a person with such obviously limited intelligence could ever obtain a
political office. Anyone who has done even the most minimal research
knows that pitbulls as a breed are not even near the top of the fatal
bit list. My pitbull is temperament tested, well trained, and handled
responsibly at all times. Yet you still desire to make it "as hard for
me as possible" to own my dog. The reason breed specific legislation is
illegal in New York State is because individuals much smarter than
yourself realized that the problem is the irresponsible owner (of any
breed) and not a specific kind of dog. Please, do some research (it
involves thinking I know) before you consider attempting anything more
drastic in your pointless crusade against one of the most loyal and
people friendly breeds. If you continue down your current path you will
discover that many pitbull owners are as determined, energetic, and
loyal as the dogs they love.

Justin Stone

A rather rude, impolitic e-mail for someone who'd like a councilperson to address concerns.**

Mr. Wojcik responds:

Mr. Stone,

Thank you for your interest in our proposed legislation concerning "vicious
dogs" on the Troy City Council agenda for the May 4, 2006 meeting. I have
to be honest though, I have to question your credibility as a college
student attending RPI. Being very familiar myself, of the various type of
writing assignments required of matriculated college students, including
research papers, technical manuals and fictional and non-fictional essays, I
sense that there was a obvious lack or interpretation of the facts as
presented in your e-mail.

First, to correctly state the facts about pit bulls, they have been bred
through the centuries as a dog trained for attack fighting. They also
possess characteristics that almost all other breeds of dogs do not possess
such as an extremely low inhibition to attack as well as the propensity to
maim or kill, whereas most other security dogs would back off.

But maybe you are offended that we may be "stereotyping" the pit-bull. If I
am to be guilty of stereotyping the pit bull, I guess it would be because of
the numerous attacks that have been initiated by a particular breed. Maybe,
it is also because the "pit bull" is the dog of choice of the drug dealer,
the street-level criminal's security or perhaps an emasculated male with
penis envy

And finally, on a personal note, and as a dog-lover, I can't understand why
people need to buy or adopt a potentially very dangerous dog, when the
shelter puts down hundreds of homeless dogs every year. And why people feel
that it is acceptable to harbor these dogs within an urban setting. Great
white sharks don't attack all people, but I wouldn't put one in
the Grafton Lake's State Park either.

Hopefully, the legislation will curb both dog attacks and penis envy, two worthy goals. We also applaud Mr. Wojcik for his brave stand against introducing Great White Sharks to Grafton. That needed to be said and he's the only elected official speaking out against such a proposal. In fact, we imagine a Great White in Grafton Lake would be quite dangerous for the few hours it survived in fresh water.

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Let's make sure this never happens!

A story related to the legislation?

* We received a copy of this e-mail from an unusual source and because of that are not totally convinced of its authenticity.

** Moreover, we don't know why this legislation would make it difficult for Mr. Stone to own a lovable, loyal pit bull that doesn't maim and maul other living creatures.

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