Tomorrow from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., anti-pit bull activist Ellen Taft, president of the organization Families and Dogs against Fighting Breeds (FDAFB), is staging a rally in Westlake Park entitled Protect Pets in Parks. The rally announcement specifically calls to ban fighting breeds from the city's off-leash areas. Want proof that such a ban is necessary? Taft points to a pro-pit website that "does not recommend dog parks" for pit bulls because they may "be drawn into 'pack behavior.'"
"Often the public pays for the expense of dog bites, since these dogs are owned by judgment-proof people," says Taft, who was bitten by
a pit bull two mixed-breed dogs 29 years ago. "All of us in the United States have to think of the high cost of medical care." Although the pit-bull debate has raged in public forums, Taft says that she's currently the only scheduled speaker at the event. In addition to Taft says she'll spend the hour reading from an informal online petition aimed at the Seattle City Council that asks for the municipal code to take some basic precautions against fighting breeds like sterilization, liability insurance, and public muzzling.
The petition is based on an initiative Taft considered in 2008, but Taft says she never took it to the streets "because all the signatories would be public information and would be harassed."
Although the event is targeting Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen*, his office confirmed today that he's currently out of the country. "Like everybody else on city council," Taft notes, "he is claiming to be out of town for the rally."
UPDATE: As has been noted on Slog, the event is cancelled, but a quick clarification. The rally was not specifically targeted at Rasmussen, though Taft's recent lobbying efforts have been, if not explicitly, in practice mostly directed toward Rasmussen.