On January 24, the Ottumwa Courier published a letter to the editor written by a group of dog owner advocates. This letter calls out the bias behind breed-specific legislation – bias that we’ve repeatedly seen in other locales.
Former Ottumwa council member Keith Caviness referred to “pit bull” dog owners as “those people.” Council Bluffs Mayor, Matt Walsh used the same term last year:
That in and of itself is historically a racist term, but Caviness goes beyond that and unabashedly calls “pit bull” dog owners drug dealers. We all remember this racist dog whistle from the 80s designed to make us cross the street whenever we saw a Black man with a dog.
BSL is a legacy of segregation and that is evident in statements like these. It’s up to us to call this out and hold governments and public and private institutions accountable for implementing discriminatory laws and policies.