I've been so busy, I don't remember if I have posted anything
about the hearing last week so forgive me if this is old news.
The hearing was on 9OCT at the PG county admin building in
Upper Marlboro, MD. After being told on the phone that the
public would be given a chance to speak at the hearing, I was
informed when I arrived, that the public would not be allowed to
comment...not a good start. Also, between last hearing and this one,
slight changes to the legislation were made to the legislation
(removing the muzzling requirment was one)along with removing,
entirely, Rotties as being one of the breeds. So, we were left
with just the Pit Bulls, which traditionally have a poor showing
of support at these hearings(come on people, lets get it together).
That being said, I would say that the showing of support by the Pit
folks was decent for this hearing...better than it was for the first
hearing, which was practically a nil showing for the pit folks. After
hearing from the admin types and the animal control people, one of the
committee members(Wilson, I believe) proposed that the public be
given a chance to speak. The committee chairman(Ike Gourdine), who
also happens to be the person who proposed the legislation, was
against this but the motion was second by Scott and thus he(Gourdine)
was out voted by his own committee! So, each of the people
who were there and had signed up to speak at the beginning of the
hearing were permitted a minute, that's right, you heard it,
a measly minute to speak...which is, I suppose, better than nothing.
Out of probably 20 or so speakers, only two spoke in favor of the
legislation and both of them spouted the usual misconceptions and
myths. One of the more absurd suggestions made was by the head
of animal control when he suggested that "pit bulls" should have
to wear a harness in public so that the owners could better control
their dogs. Anyone who knows anything about dogs and has trained any dog,
will tell you that it is much harder to control a dog in a harness
than it is with even just a flat buckle collar! Nevermind the control
one can get with a ***chain or a pinch collar. Thankfully Bob
Maida pointed this out to the committee when he spoke. After everyone
spoke, the committee voted on whether the bill should go on to a
council vote and the tally was 3 - 2 against! The legislation
"died" in committee! Right after the vote, you could see just how
"pissed" Ike Gourdine was...he slammed his folder shut and abruptly
got up from his chair and stormed off. So, while we have won the
battle, the war is far from over. Mr. Gourdine has his mind set on
passing legislation against "pit bulls"...it is my feeling at this time
that he will not be satisfied with legislation that is "non breed specific".
Thankfully, the other committee members do seem open to non breed specific
legislation, and they are the ones that we need to get the information to.
The committee is the Health, Education and Human Services Committee. The
members are: Isaac J. Gourdine(chair), Dorothy F. Bailey(vice chair),
Marvin F. Wilson, Audrey E. Scott, and Anne Mackinnon. Their address
is: County Administration Building, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Dr.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. Both Marvin Wilson an Audrey Scott were very
vocal in their desire to hear the comments of the people who had shown
up, and both seemed unconvinced that Gourdine's legislation would truly
address the problem.
That's all for now, If anyone has anything to add, by all means do, or
drop me a line.