Let's Have A Conversation About Rodney Moore

It will be worthwhile, I promise you.

This week Democratic Rodney Moore, of Mecklenburg County, introduced a bill that would make thousands of innocent North Carolinians criminals.  It would most definitely make me a criminal, for two reasons.

First, because I own this dog, and will likely own dogs of similar appearance in the future;


And second, because I would never obey Rodney Moore's command that I submit to a criminal background check and enroll in a four hour course sponsored by the Humane Society on responsible ownership of pit bulls, rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, and similar "aggressive dog breeds."

Three hundred and fifty years ago, King Charles II granted the charter that led to the founding of North Carolina. And for all three hundred and fifty of those years, North Carolinians have enjoyed the fundamental liberty of owning whatever damned breed of dog they please, without submitting to a criminal background check.

During that time, North Carolina has suffered the oppressions of King George III.  North Carolina has endured invasion by Sherman, and military rule by occupying federal troops.  North Carolina has been terrrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. North Carolina has been attacked by the dreaded U-Boats of Adolf Hitler.

But neither King George III, nor Sherman, nor any military governor, nor even the Ku Klux Klan and Adolf Hitler ever presumed to require a North Carolinian to submit to a criminal background check to own a dog. Without having to sit through a four hour class.

I daresay that if Rodney Moore's bill were to become law, the people of North Carolina would rise up, march to Raleigh, carry Rodney Moore from his seat in the Capitol, and dunk him into the nearest lake.

If Rodney Moore didn't know that at the beginning of this week, when he introduced his monstrous and intolerable act, he knows it now.

Any person who possesses an aggressive dog breed without passing a criminal background check and obtaining a permit is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Any person who possesses an aggressive dog breed without passing a criminal background check and obtaining a permit is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Stung by public criticism of his insolence, Moore now claims that he never expected the bill to pass.

Moore claims he just wanted to start a "worthwhile conversation."

Well let's have that conversation, Rodney Moore.  I'll start with a few questions.

When you asked the people of Mecklenburg, County, North Carolina to entrust you with legislative power, did you run on a platform that involved outlawing dog breeds you find offensive? Or did you feed them some claptrap about "maximizing the potential of sound policymaking decisions to enhance the opportunities and aspirations of the citizens of the State of North Carolina."

Is filing a bill that has no chance of passing, just because you want to start a "worthwhile conversation," a sound policymaking decision? Do people in Mecklenburg County elect representatives because they want to have conversations, or because they want representatives to propose sound laws that actually have a chance at passage?

As for the bill in question, is giving a Sheriff the power to require criminal background checks of potential dog owners, without specifying what crimes disqualify the applicant, a sound policymaking decision?  Does it "enhance the opportunities and aspirations of the citizens" to give the Sheriff such arbitrary discretion with respect to breeds that are disproportionately owned by the poor and minorities?  Without defining the term "pit bull"?

And should the people of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina evaluate your answers to these questions in deciding whether to return you to the House in 2014?

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. That Anonymous Coward says

    But but but the media said all of these things were bad, so I wrote them all down and threw them in a hat. After an odd proposal to have criminal background checks of pit bulls before they could purchase a human this is what we ended up with.

    Given the horrible state of just about every state budget wasting time, money, effort just to produce a bill with no hope of passing to have a conversation. You started a conversation alright, and it is a conversation where people who voted for you are wondering if they were drunk when they voted.

  2. says

    I think the discussion he wanted to have had a lot more to do with background checks for gun ownership than with dog ownership. But given what our Gen'ral Assembly has pulled the past 2+ years, I'll grant you it might be hard to tell. They're getting harder and harder to distinguish from recurring characters on The Onion.

  3. joe pullen says

    Basically it's just a stepping stone to all large someone vicious looking breeds. We had a mastif, who unfortunately passed away last year, who weighed not too much less than I do. I imagine he might have looked scary to someone else but he was just a big schlub. The kids used to ride him around when they were younger. It's wanky to imagine that someone might require I attend classes and submit to a background check for owning a dog whose sole purpose in life – other than squashing the wifes flower beds – was to find a sunny spot to nap in.

  4. Lucy says

    And what about intentionally wanting a dog for protection? A trained guard dog has been legitimate since dirt.

  5. Kelly says

    I second what SPQR said, they would have to pry my dogs from my cold dead hands.

    I would like them to try that with me. I will NEVER move to NC after the idiocy they have passed recently… but this is above and beyond. There may actually be steam coming out of my ears. My dogs are not dangerous, but demanding I get a background check and take a course would likely make ME dangerous. I would also be on the phone calling lawyers. Idiots! It is not a 'dangerous' breed, it is dumb as a post idiots owning them and teaching them to fight that is the problem.

    There are some people that just need a swift kick, perhaps him losing the next election will be the kick he needs to get his brain working?

    Gah! I am so angry over this.

  6. Merissa says

    Hello, precious baby. Who's a good girl? You are!

    I think pibbles are the best dogs other than perhaps Huskies, and that's coming from a cat person. As to the actual topic, I have to say that NC seems to be on a roll lately. It's almost like you're trying to out-Texas us.

  7. says

    Speaking as a native and near-lifelong resident, I fear that by 2016, the Leg will have reduced us to Mississippi with more teeth. My wife, who moved here from Mississippi, regularly looks at me like it's my fault and says, "You know, I moved here from Bat Country to get AWAY from this shit."

  8. says

    Oh, and for the record, I'm a lifelong Republican and favor concealed carry. But I also think, based on a quarter-century of crime reporting, that there are way more people who CAN get guns with no trouble than there ought to be. "Responsible" gun owners are a much smaller proportion of the total than the NRA would have us believe.

  9. nlp says

    I've met some really aggressive Cocker Spaniels. Should they be put on the list of dangerous breeds?

  10. orvis barfley says

    that bill wasn't thought out.

    pit bulls are, by nature, lovely dogs.  as usual, the problem is the owners.  mr moore has that part right.  the hard part is figuring who is an ok owner and who isn't.

    i propose that when dogs do something really wrong, we put them to sleep.  not the dogs.  the owners.  that'd put some starch in the right shorts.

  11. says

    At first I thought this was another satire piece, so I made sure to click through the links before commenting and holy crap. If that man serves another term then shame on his constituents.

    I owned a rescued pit bull when I was young (or, more likely, he owned me) and other than being a lot stronger than other dogs his size he was no more a danger than any other dog.

  12. says

    It's just another of many, many examples of the state finding "pre-crime."

    Because someone did something bad or foolish in the past, you, peon, may not be trusted with the freedom to do as you wish unless the state deems you worthy. And even then, we'll make it as big a pain in the ass to do as we can.

  13. Rick H. says

    The title immediately made me think of the Seattle pornographer of the same name.

    Anyway, it's really infuriating when legislators use that absurd "I wuz just starting a conversation" gambit:

    One, because, as Patrick points out, that ain't their fucking job.
    Two, it's a "conversation starter" in the same sense of walking up to a group of strangers and threatening them with a gun; the medium (legislation) is the message.
    Third, it's perverse to claim your own bad faith as a defense. "Hey, no harm, no foul! It was a totally bogus bill!"
    Finally, he's lying.

  14. Doug says

    Mastiffs are aggressive??? At least get your facts straight, Rep. Moore. My dog Cubby Bear is very big and can make himself look damn scary when he wants to, but he's the gentlest dog I've ever met, he breaks up fights at the dog park, and he was a wonderful companion to my 80-year-old dad when he had Alzheimers. Mastiffs HATE conflict–they just want everybody to get along. I think Rep. Moore could take a lesson from that.

  15. James Pollock says

    I'm not with you on this one. Not because I think there's anything particularly dangerous about pit bulls (there isn't) but because A) to the extent that pit bulls ARE dangerous, they're made that way by bad owners, and B) this law isn't particularly out-of-line.
    Disclaimer: No, I don't own a pit bull nor do I want to… but I would like to own a mountain lion (nice kitty), and it's illegal to do so without a permit, which takes a LOT more than a background check and a 4-hour class. Heck, around here the animal shelter does a background check and makes you take a class before you can have ANY animal, even a little yappy dog or a cute little kitten (yes, I'm biased. Sue me.)
    We get people who think the solution to the "pit bull problem" is to just ban owning them. This proposal deals with the actual problem… bad owners make dangerous dogs… while leaving the majority of people free to enjoy the companionship of their chosen pet(s).

  16. Kat says

    My husband and I rescued a pitbull down in Little Rock when we were still living there. We found her wandering around the parking lot trying to drink from muddy rain puddles (it was summer and had been a week since it had last rained–so not many were left). Her previous owners had abandoned her when they moved out. She was not let out at all–from all indications on the property and the testimony of neighbors, she lived on their back porch and did all of her business there. This included excreting and giving birth to two litters of puppies according to the neighbors. The porch was basically a balcony overlooking a forest-like area, in the Hillcrest area (one of the few areas in Little Rock that hadn't been totally urbanized). The back door and storage area door were scratched in a way that indicated that she had spent a lot of time trying to get out of her prison.

    She was one of the sweetest dogs we ever owned. Really gentle, never growled or barked. I guess she must have still been pretty young, because we were able to train her to at least go in the doorway if she couldn't wait, where we had a bunch of puppy pads spread out where she could go. We passed her off to my in-laws, who have others dogs that she could play with and a big backyard. They've never had any problems with her either, except that they needed a little assistance in affording to get her fixed, which is compulsory in this area for 'aggressive breeds'.

    This is another case where people who are raising pit bulls for breeding and fighting don't give a shit about the laws and aren't about to inconvenience themselves. That dog meant less than nothing to those people and they were never made to pay any prices, as far as we could tell. Instead, it was us and our family that paid, even though we were providing her a proper environment. The laws don't make any difference on the people they purportedly target, they just give one more law that needs to be enforced that annoys most of the populace and doesn't do anything to solve a problem.

  17. Chris R. says

    @James Pollock,

    I think you should need a background check and a 4 hour class on responsible ownership to add aftermarket speakers and stereo systems to a car.

  18. UlrikeDG says

    I've been bitten by a golden retriever (I was 11 and selling candy bars for a school fundraiser). Meanwhile, the Rotties I've known have all been sweet and well behaved. The one who lives across the street from me now is nicer than my brain damaged Rat Terrier.

  19. Grifter says

    At least no dogs were shot in the making of the bill? That's better than the cops usually manage…

  20. LW says

    When I was ten a Labrador retriever charged me from across the street, knocked me flat, and bit a chunk out of my leg before her owner could grab her. I didn't provoke her — I never even saw her since she hit me from behind. Is Rodney Moore going to add Labs to the list? What an idiot.

  21. Matthew Cline says

    I don't understand where pit bulls get their bad reputation. Every one I've met has been friendly.

  22. Scote says

    Ok. So let's have the discussion. We don't need a bad law to start it.

    Do the bites of dogs bread for dog fighting cause more damage than other breeds? Is this a valid reason to consider whether to regulate some aspect of dog ownership?

    Bad owners make bad dogs. But a bunch of drug dealers with bitey Chihuahuas is no big deal. Same with drug dealers with BB guns. But change that to strong pit bulls and shot guns and you have something to worry about.

    So, what do we do? Nothing?

    I don't know if their is a good answer to this, but I do know that even if pits are just as nice as any other dog (and I don't know if they are or aren't–I've only met nice pits) the difference in potential injury they can cause is a legitimate issue. Let's ramp it up, should Presa Canario's be treated the same as Chihuahuas? Or should, at the very least, people with strong dog breeds be required to know training or attend dog training classes to teach how to handle alpha behavior?

    My next door neighbor had a sweet, but dominant female pit bull. Her ex got it and she wound up with the dog. The woman was way too cowed by the dog, who was under socialized because the woman just didn't know how to deal with an alpha dog. I tried to steer her to free pit training classes in my area, but I don't think she ever went. That dog was a danger to people, IMO. And I think that situation is all too common.

  23. Scote says

    "bread for dog fighting" Doh!

    (Must be a new kind of bread…my copy editor is sooo fired.)

  24. eh says

    Anybody who thinks this post is about dogs, and therefore feels compelled to describe some breed or other that catches their attention, is an idiot.

  25. Scote says

    The post is at least tangentially about dog breeds and bad laws governing them. Otherwise it wouldn't be a good example of a bad legislator. Ad hominem rejected.

  26. says

    @Scote The hypothetical drug dealers in question have already shown contempt for existing laws by being drug dealers. Unless they're evil pharmacists; don't get me started on the pharmacists! I have little faith they'll comply with a background check and pre-ownership class for their dogs.

  27. says

    Scote, why don't we widen the conversation, to talk about seemingly sensible legislation that doesn't accomplish its goals, and a country in love with such legislation? Leading to more and more such legislation (because some children will be bitten as long as we tolerate the existence of dogs), and more and more criminals.

    Where every law creates a new class of criminals, while the country becomes, slowly, something unlivable, where everyone wonders why the laws are so confusing, and why there are so many of them?

    And meanwhile, old people like me wonder why they can't adopt a stray puppy who showed up in their front yard, cowering from a storm (as I did, with the dog above) without submitting to a criminal background check?

    All because of people like you, who want to start a conversation.

    Only it isn't a conversation. In a true conversation, I can tell Rodney Moore to fuck off, and he can ignore me or tell me to fuck off in return. In Rodney Moore's "conversation," I go to jail if I disagree with him.

  28. Peyote Short says

    I hate dogs, especially pit bulls, and even I think that's a stupid law. Is NC trying to break some sort of world record for backward legislation in one year?

  29. Colin says

    Well, at least my dog wasn't on that list. Even though Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be rather intimidating to anyone who doesn't know them…

  30. Scote says

    Patrick • Apr 20, 2013 @5:20 pm

    Scote, why don't we widen the conversation, to talk about seemingly sensible legislation that doesn't accomplish its goals, and a country in love with such legislation? …
    All because of people like you, who want to start a conversation.

    Right…because talking is a bad thing :-p

    Do you know me? No, you don't. So, no, not people like me. You assume facts not in evidence for your fallacious slippery slope, you can't even talk about it argument. Saying we shouldn't even talk about issues to see what makes sense is a bad thing. That way lies censorious thuggery.

  31. Scote says

    BTW, I cop to a fallacy of my own: "That way lies censorious thuggery" could be considered a slippery slope.

    Now let's see if others can cop to their own logical fallacies.

  32. En Passant says

    Scote wrote Apr 20, 2013 @3:56 pm:

    I don't know if their is a good answer to this, but I do know that even if pits are just as nice as any other dog (and I don't know if they are or aren't–I've only met nice pits) the difference in potential injury they can cause is a legitimate issue. Let's ramp it up, should Presa Canario's be treated the same as Chihuahuas? Or should, at the very least, people with strong dog breeds be required to know training or attend dog training classes to teach how to handle alpha behavior?

    For a horrifying tale of murder of a woman LaCrosse champion by Presa Canarios, and two lawyers convicted for same (one for murder, the other for manslaughter), see the tragic story of Diane Whipple.

    You can't make this stuff up. Yep, it was second degree murder, acting with wanton and willful disregard of unreasonable risk to human life.

    However, I don't think that particular case should be basis for legislation on qualifications or mandatory training for dog ownership. As my crim prof was fond of saying, "Don't be afraid to say the word. It was M-U-R-D-E-R!"

  33. Lucy says

    Some states have a three strikes clause. Maybe there should be such a thing for politicians; three bullshit moves like clogging up the system from man power to paperwork on a conversation starter, and they are gone with no pension, no references, and no notice.

  34. OngChotwI says

    I went to school with a pocket knife; a fellow a generation before me went to the local school with gun. Nowadays, there's a cop in the school, and bringing a knife or gun to school will get you kicked out. Rather than let children learn to be careful with danger – we seem to be moving to the point where we have legislated an environment where a Pierson's Puppeteer would feel safe from danger. And since 2001, I've noticed a fair number of rules put forward for flying on planes to make the public feel safer without actually providing added safety.
    These seem like sham laws – addressing a symptom but not doing enough to address the real problem. (How will a 4 hour class keep the bad owners from purposefully teaching their dogs to be over aggressive?)

  35. Scote says

    "These seem like sham laws – addressing a symptom but not doing enough to address the real problem. (How will a 4 hour class keep the bad owners from purposefully teaching their dogs to be over aggressive?)"

    They may not. Are driver's ed courses and testing requirements sham laws, too? There are still plenty of bad drivers. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have drivers tests.

    It is hard to define breeds, and dogs are individuals with their own individual temperaments. However, different breeds do have breed-specific characteristics, both physically and behaviorally–that's why we breed them, to get those differences. We can't pretend that a chihuahua and a Presa Canario are the same potential danger any more than a spit ball is the same as a .50 handgun.

    I don't know what we do about that, if anything, but what I know we shouldn't do about it is shout down people such as myself who are sincere and want to evaluate these issues on the merits, not on the hyperbole of either side.

  36. Anony Mouse says

    Chows are aggressive? I always thought they were just "those dorky dogs with black tongues."

  37. James Pollock says

    "(How will a 4 hour class keep the bad owners from purposefully teaching their dogs to be over aggressive?)"
    It doesn't. But after they get convicted the first time (and have their dogs taken away from them), they'll fail the background check when they try to get more. Of course, being the sort to disregard inconvenient laws, they'll find a way to get more dogs without going through that background check… but when the cops roll up on their unlicensed dogs, they can seize them immediately for being unlicensed instead of having to prove they're dangerous dogs, which gives the Humane Society a chance to get them before they ARE dangerous dogs. Just like gun registration, it doesn't solve the problem of bad people having the dogs and doing bad things with them, but it does provide at least a small improvement (At the expense of however much it costs to run a background check every time someone wants a dog, plus however much the Humane Society charges for the class, times the number of controlled-breed dog transactions in the state of NC.
    If you start with the notion of "gee, it should would be better for everyone if bad people didn't have big, strong dogs that are dangerous", and grasp the principle that it isn't the breed of dog that makes it dangerous, it's the disposition and training of the owners (or lack thereof), then trying to separate the owners that raise dangerous dogs from the raw supply of dogginess, it's reasonable. If you believe that every American has a right to own whatever kind of dog they want, then it isn't. But this solution is way, way better than the simplistic solution of just banning the breed from private ownership, which has also been, well, a topic of discussion in several states.

  38. James Pollock says

    "we have legislated an environment where a Pierson's Puppeteer would feel safe from danger."
    We've got a long way to go. A Pierson's Puppeteer would be an inert lump on the floor in any inner-city high-school.

  39. 205guy says

    I will speak up to join the few who believe society needs some regulation on threatening dogs. I think it mostly boils down to this: what right do I have to not feel threatened in public by an aggressive dog?

    I feel this is a legitimate right, one that is often violated but not protected by any laws. And no, I don't agree with this politician's modus operandi (though the tone of this post is rather lame as well), but i would like to see such laws. While the question is very close to the oft-lambasted topic of feeling insulted, and feelings of personal security vary, I still think it's possible to protect one person's right to feel safe and not infringe on another's right to own dogs. some questions to ponder:

    Can the mere appearance of a dog be considered threatening? Did you get those "Bully Max" ads on the newsobserver.com link?

    If I walk on a public right-of-way, what amount of barking and aggressive behavior is allowed by a dog on someone's property? Should I have to worry about the owner's potential negligence in keeping his dog restrained? What if said restraint is not initially visible (leash lying in grass), and I fear for my safety?

    If an owner of a yappy dog lets it walk off-leash (legally), but that dog engages in behavior that terrifies my child, what recourse do I have? Should I bear the burden of paying attention, calling my child (she's under voice "control," unlike some "children"), and physically protecting her by picking her up, or worse, shielding her? Have I not lost some rights to that public space now?

  40. Another Woman says

    @205guy – what recourse do you have? Reporting it to local authorities. EVEN here in So. Carolina (in a neck-to-neck race with No. Carolina for Most Idiot Politicians) there are local laws to deal with problem animals. We live in the county – well out in the country, surrounded by trailer-red-necks and the dogs they love to own – and my husband cycles the area roads. He is periodically threatened by an aggressive dog (bitten once too) – but comes home and immediately reports it to the local agency. Dogs in the county MAY be off-leash, but may NOT be on county property (roads, etc.). The dog that actually bit him was new to the owner – who was mortified and surrendered it to the county immediately. The rest have gotten phone calls. After a certain number of calls, they get a visit. If the problem persists, I believe the animal is removed by authorities. I don't believe it usually gets to that as the threat of it is usually enough to solve the problem. I believe the local city has even more stringent regulations and procedures.

    @Anony Mouse Yes, Chows are aggressive. There was one living on a nearby street that scared us several times when we were out walking. The owner was always out when the dog was, but he seemed unaware of how scary the stupid thing was. We no longer see it, so I presume it either expired normally – or someone had a real encounter with it.

  41. Aonghus says

    With all due respect, 205guy, you have no more right to force others to make you not feel threatened than you do to force others to not offend you. You do have the right to take appropriate steps to make yourself feel safe, and you have the right to complain to the appropriate authorities if you feel the situation is unsafe.

    A yappy dog scare your kid? Get over it and teach her to deal with it. You got frightened by a dog barking at you? Grow a F*****g spine!

    The entire mindset of "I perceive danger, so it need to be outlawed!" is what allows asshats like Rodney Moore to attain and keep power.

    You, sir, disgust me.

  42. joe pullen says

    @T205guy @scote

    There is no need to create additional legislative burden on dog owners when there are already laws to deal with the consequences of irresponsible dog ownership. Not to mention there appears to be no empirical evidence that such additional restrictive legislation would in fact make any meaningful dent in the problem.

  43. says

    Patrick, are you angry because someone is trying to place a restriction on your freedom or because someone is mis-characterizing certain breeds of dog? If you hate laws designed to protect one citizen from another, that's one thing. If you think some breeds of dogs are getting a bad rap, that's another. But your post combines the two questions into one rightous rant and I can't tell exactly what it is you're angry about. That, combined with your penchant for satire makes it particularly difficult to get a bead on your point.

  44. JWH says


    If a legislator wants to ban Pomeranians, I will support him. Damn yappy little ankle-biters.

  45. Lucy says

    I remember when one of my kids was a toddler and someone's small medium mutt was excited about a child. The dog knocked her over, licking her, pitter pattering feet all over her while she was on the ground, my child was screaming scared. The dog owner was smiling, reassuring me her dog was just trying to be friendly while baby talking her dog, allowing more leash like my kid was some dog toy, " Yes a little girl… oh koochie coo" or some shit. I had to dart and grapple with this mauling bratt dog. It's amazing how not cute someone thinks their obnoxious animals are when a parent uses a stern sobering tone and says "Get your dog off my child. Now.“ Sometimes we just need to be direct with each other and get on with our day. FYI she was scared of dogs for a few years after that but is a loyal lover of dogs now. She's a teenager.

  46. Jules says

    Chows can be very aggressive. A chow bit off part of a neighbor girl's face when I was a kid. Once I had a summer gig as a teen babysitting for a couple of rowdy kids with a chow, a miniature poodle and a chihuahua in tow. I will forever regret not asking for more money, at least for extra combat pay.

  47. Jules says

    Scote, the "privilege" to drive on government owned roads is not comparable at all to private ownership.

  48. says

    I have a friend who eats way too much butter. Now that he has kids and does the cooking, he's making his kids eat way too much butter. Given the clear links between fatty foods and heart disease, that's child endangerment. When guests come over to his house, it's the same thing, only they have no way of knowing what's going on. I'm going to be petitioning my state legislator to implement background checks and training classes as a requirement to purchase butter.

  49. Scote says

    "Scote, the "privilege" to drive on government owned roads is not comparable at all to private ownership."

    True, Jules. And I think that "privilege" argument is over used to allow for excess government intrusion into 4th Amendment protections. However, just saying what you have isn't in and of itself an argument against some form of regulation such as, just to give a possibility, requiring people with dangerous things to have liability insurance.

  50. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Lucy – Sadly I've seen that story with parents and their kids. They smile serenely as their child wreaks havoc on everyone around them and think everyone has to just accept that behavior.
    I think its more of a reflection of society as a whole.
    Dogs are our replacement children now and everyone needs to accept what they do like they have to tolerate children behaving badly.

    I don't think we need more laws, I think we need to stop worrying about offending the person who is supposed to be watching over their charge (2 or 4 legged) and remind them they don't get to impose their lack of control on everyone else. That being the grown-up means sometimes you have to be 'mean' and not let them run wild.

    That being said, I think you should have slapped the hell out of that dog owner, but that would have solved little other than making you feel momentarily better.

  51. princessartemis says

    Is filing a bill that has no chance of passing, just because you want to start a "worthwhile conversation," a sound policymaking decision?

    Fuck legislators who do this. This isn't the first time I've heard it happening. Playing with the lives of one's constituents to make a point is a firing offense, so far as I'm concerned.

  52. princessartemis says

    Oh, and regards the behavior of dogs…mine is little and terminally cute. I train him not to jump on people when he meets them, and I'm only partly successful. Some of that is because we don't go out much so I don't have many chances to reinforce his training, and some is because most people *encourage* him to jump on them. Not at all to shift the blame for the behavior of my dog (he is my responsibility), just remarking that it's sometimes hard to get him to greet people politely when *they* insist it's OK to jump on them just because he is small and cute. Fortunately his smallness means he is easy to control.

  53. 205guy says

    Another woman wrote: "what recourse do you have? Reporting it to local authorities. EVEN here in So. Carolina (in a neck-to-neck race with No. Carolina for Most Idiot Politicians) there are local laws to deal with problem animals."

    Well, consider yourself lucky, because in my rural county, the humane society doesn't respond outside of business hours and doesn't take anonymous complaints (yes, I realize I need to talk to my local politicians). So if a loose pitbull is roaming in the evening, or it's the local motorcycle gang member's pitbull, I'm out of luck. Plus, there's this general attitude that because I'm an outsider (moved here 10 years ago, even though threatening neighbor is from here but moved to our street last year), I should just put up with these bad aspects of rural life (even though the pitbull "fashion" started or spread here in the last 5 years). What should I do when the local authorities do not enforce even the regulations we do have, other than move away?

    Also in response to joe pullen: But why wait until after the incident and rely on citizen reporting, instead of proactive regulations? Your husband got bitten, and cats and small dogs have been killed on my street. A child was mauled and died in another neighborhood of my county. We have OSHA laws to keep people safe in the workplace, even in inherently dangerous jobs like construction. Preventing accidents is better for people and saves money. So I think that regulating problem dog and owner behavior is good for everyone.

    I actually agree that it's hard to conceive of effective and fair regulations, but lack of trying and lack of empirical evidence are not excuses for not devising good and novel legislation.

    The incident with my daughter was fortunately not as bad as the one Lucy reports. It was 2 smallish dogs running around my daughter and yapping and barking at her (this was on public property), causing her to scream in terror (and parents here probably know how that terror scream in their children makes them react). As soon as I ran up to her, picked her up, and yelled at the dogs, they left us alone. I think if I saw a dog on top of my child, I don't think I would be talking to the owner however harshly, I'd be wrestling with the dog, even if and especially if it were a pitbull.

    OK, so what if a dog knocks my kid to the ground and seems to be threatening her, and I react as a parent and jump at or kick the dog off of her. If there are no injuries, we call the authorities and the dog probably get taken away (and likely euthanized if it has a history), and my kid and I have an upset day, and I have to deal with my child's fears for months or years. If there are injuries, then I probably have to sue the owner to recover costs and damages–yay, the system works and everybody has a horrible month in the judicial system. As a citizen, I support reasonable efforts to avoid those situations through lawmaking and enforcement.

  54. Another Woman says

    @205guy – Please note you should not be calling the Humane Society. The local version of Animal Control is much more effective – and is there for just that purpose. They are very different things – the first is about protecting animals, the second about protecting people. (If you actually meant Animal Control, but simply pulled the wrong term out of memory, please ignore this part of my response.)

    If Animal Control is not doing their job, call the police/sheriff and/or your local representative. This is the sort of situation where a 'squeaky wheel' can actually make a difference (vs the frustration of trying to get our state and federal representatives to stop being a–holes and do their jobs).

  55. James Pollock says

    "Scote, the "privilege" to drive on government owned roads is not comparable at all to private ownership."
    Really? Both are manifestations of unenumerated rights (the right to travel freely and the right to own property, respectively) and both are subject to legislative limitation by the state as an exercise of the police power, if a sufficiently compelling reason exists. Both can be subjet to taxation.

  56. 205guy says

    Another Woman: in my county, the humane society is also the animal control. I don't know the details of the arrangement with the county, but for me they're synonymous. But yes, for general understanding, I should've said animal control–the people who come out and catch loose dogs and who can impose fines on animal owners.

    For off-hours issues, we've been told to call 911. That also has the benefit of remaining anonymous (to the dog owner, not to authorities). But that does not seem right to me, to use emergency services, unless people are actually getting harmed, or at imminent risk of being harmed.

    However, nobody wants to be the squeaky wheel in an entire community, calling the authorities on neighbors and complaining to politicians about things the majority of their constituents don't care about (or think are just fine the way they are). You're right it is probably more effective than getting state and federal regulations, so it really is more of a social issue, getting public attitudes and behaviors to change. Still, I think state-level regulations could benefit people in reluctant counties, the problem still being to have them be reasonable and fair (and of course constitutional).

  57. 205guy says

    Aonghus wrote: "you have no more right to force others to make you not feel threatened than you do to force others to not offend you."

    I brought up the similarity myself, though I used the word "insulted," which is essentially the same thing as offended. Yes, these are both touchy-feely emotions which are verry subjective and hard to define, but I think there is a fundamental difference. After all, fear and terror leave psychological scars, even (or especially) in battle-hardened veterans.

    And I hate to tie this into terrorism, but it just seems like the far end of the same spectrum. If you've ever heard a kid scream because a dog seemed to be threatening her, you'd know she is terrified. If you don't feel safe on your own property, is that a fair price to pay so that bad dog owners can avoid being regulated? And yes, I do know the difference between terrified and terrorized, but the personal reaction is similar–only the external cause is different. But are the causes really that different? Don't the tough neighborhood thugs with their "bullies" want to make people afraid of them, keep people in fear of them so they can go about their (alleged) shady business? And dog knows this country has bent itself (and its constitution) over backwards to prevent citizens from being terrorized–so what's wrong with a bit more regulation?

    Did I just compare dog owners to terrorists? Before you think I jumped the shark, please apply nuance and context.

    So then, please tell me the steps I could take to make myself feel safe in the situations I mentioned (aggressive-looking dog say lunging on a leash, aggressive dog barking/snarling on private property to someone on private property, loose dog in neighbor hood or park, either with or without owner, that threatens my family or pets). I sure hope you have solutions that do not restrict me from being on public land, that do not affect my freedom to own property anywhere, and that do not place a financial burden on me.

    Finally, you seem to be writing from a place of self-assured power. You have learned to conquer your fears and not be terrified–or not be affected by terrifying events. Good for you. But people without a f***ing spine, as you so eloquently put it, deserve what then, to live their lives in fear? Should the benefits of society really go to the powerful, the aggressive, and the masters of fear? I take it that you do not measure society by how it treats its weak and downtrodden.

  58. 205guy says

    Patrick, I'll try harder then. Because it really does seem that you are somworked up over this bumbling politician and his vague laws (every body agrees with you on that, you know) because he touches on your pet issue or just your pet. I mean did you really equate a politician introducing a law for debate with an authority issuing a command based on the still-hypothetical situation of that law being passed (and upheld in court)?

    And btw, my previous comment wasn't about terrorism, just so we're clear on that.

    You can't posit that all dog regulations (and especially the ones you don't like) are bad and expect the reader to accept that just because he or she agrees with you about the bumbling politicians and his vague laws. And then you can't expect much standing with all the strawman arguments in our post of 5:20pm.

  59. says


    To the extent I can understand your complaint, that this post was motivated by an unusual concern for my dog's freedom, I'll respond by saying that the post speaks for itself, but it speaks for itself in chorus with hundreds of other posts I've written, all of which are available for your review.

    As for the other points in your complaint, I have difficulty understanding what you write.

    Please make clearer reference to antecedents.

  60. says


    The back door and storage area door were scratched in a way that indicated that she had spent a lot of time trying to get out of her prison.


    I hate stories like this. I take some small comfort that even if I can't save all the dogs out there, I've at least given great homes to three dogs that have been rescued from pounds, all stories of neglect behind them.

    OK…time to go give thrown-out-into-a-forest-when-she-got-pregnant-girl a bellyrub.

  61. Treeanon says

    Oddly enough, I had to undergo a federal background check, complete with FBI fingerprinting, to purchase my dog.

    The longer version of that story is that I was adopting a retired miliraty working dog, a German Shepherd who underwent years of trainning and active combat experience to become an on-command-rip-your-face-off lethal attack dog.

    Just don't tell him that he is a "working dog" now. He fancies himself to be an 85 pound lap dog.

  62. James Pollock says

    Treeanon, are you saying your dog's got some kind of "Bourne Identity" thing going on?

  63. Dan Weber says

    I was going to skip this thread, but two things have brought me in:

    1. "I just wanted to start a discussion."

    Bullshit. I used this line once waaaay back in an Internet debate. Even then I knew it was code for "I started a flame war with my (to me) clever insults that everyone else didn't like, but, look, we're discussing things now, and that's good, right?"

    2. Who is running against this guy in Mecklenburg?

  64. says

    Rodney Moore seems a bit racist.

    Okay, technically I should probably instead say he seems a bit breedist, but then insisting on that distinction would make me a specist.