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Portuguese Water Dogs & Pit Bulls: The Politics of the President’s Pets

By Edie Jarolim | Published: August 26, 2013

Will My Dog Hate Me?:  Anything that President Obama does is news, which goes with the Leader of the Free World territory. And when the President does something warm and fuzzy, like getting a pet for his family — as opposed, to say making recess appointments of agency heads – more sections of the blogosphere than just the usual political ones pay attention.

Bo and Sunny

Bo and Sunny, First Dogs (actually, first and second ‘First Dogs’)

The official announcement on the White House blog on August 19 read:

Today the Obamas welcomed the newest member of their family – a little girl (puppy) named Sunny!

Sunny was born in Michigan in June 2012, and arrived at the White House today. Just like Bo, she’s a Portuguese Water Dog, which works great for the Obamas because of allergies in their family.

Sunny is the perfect little sister for Bo – full of energy and very affectionate – and the First Family picked her name because it fit her cheerful personality.

In honor of Sunny, the Obamas are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society.

Lots of people had something to say about this. 

Normal people’s reactions

Here is the typical normal pet lover’s reaction to the following film, released by the White House along with the article:

Awww!! She’s so cute! She plays so well with Bo, who was lonely for doggie company before Sunny came along. It’s nice that the family got a breed that Melia, who has allergies, could enjoy. It’s nice that the Obamas donated money to a shelter.

Awwww!! Ooooh! 

Reasonable and useful reactions from the pet community

This is a teachable moment. The Daily Beast had a sensible article by a veterinarian that includes information about whether you should get a second dog, introducing the second dog to the first dog, etc.

All good things to know. 

Well intended but misguided reactions from the pet community

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled New White House pup Sunny: Why not a rescue dog? is typical of the reactions of the “should have adopted” community. After a feel-good introduction, so as not to antagonize everyone who had the above-mentioned “awwww” reaction, such pieces cite a well-known figure in the animal welfare community to make the case.

Cue Wayne Pacelle, director of the Humane Society of the United States:

[Pacelle] noted on his blog Tuesday that the Obamas made little reference to exactly where Sunny came from, other than to note that it’s the Great Lakes State.

But given her pure-bred status, it’s unlikely that Sunny came from a rescue organization or a shelter. [emphasis mine, and not sourced to Pacelle]

“As we always say in such circumstances, we hope the Obamas considered adoption or rescue as the first choice in obtaining a pet,” wrote Mr. Pacelle.

Like all the other should-have-rescued articles I came across, this one misrepresents or ignores one bit of important information: That about 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. There is a breed rescue for Portuguese water dogs, as there is for most breeds.

The fact is, the Obamas went through a reputable breeder for both Bo and Sunny. If they had ordered Sunny over the internet or bought her at a pet store, the pet community would have something to squawk about. But reputable breeders play an essential role in the world of animal lovers. It would be a good thing to emphasize that more, and scold less. 

Off-the-wall reactions from the pet community (or an ostensible member)

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

This article from Salon.com titled Another Portuguese Water Dog? The Obamas Should Have Made A Different Statement is likely just link/click bait because it is both ill-informed and wildly off kilter. It starts:

Bo Obama, America’s first dog, has a new playmate named Sunny and the first family is getting criticized for not adopting a mutt from the animal shelter. If the Obamas had gone to their local shelter, the Washington Humane Society, they wouldn’t have found a purebred Portuguese water dog. Instead, they might have come home with a pit bull — and that would have been a good thing.

There are three problems right off the bat.

  • The link in “the first family is getting criticized” clause directs us to PETA. A writer who knew anything about animal welfare would know that criticism from PETA means diddly squat — and especially in the context of an article related to pit bulls. PETA advocates that all pit bulls that turn up in shelters be put down.
  • What part of “the Obamas need a certain breed of dog because Melia has allergies” doesn’t the author understand?
  • As I noted above, 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. You cannot say with authority that the Obamas would not have found a purebred Portuguese water dog at the Washington Humane Society.

I have written often here about how pit bulls are unfairly demonized. But bringing a rescued one into the White House is a ludicrous idea, for many reasons; they are detailed in the 300 plus comments that this piece drew. I couldn’t have summed it up better, however, than commenter “Schmoopi”:

You are fucking kidding me, right? You want the president who can’t do anything without it being made political and a “Black thing”… to adopt a dog that is the stereotyped official dog breed of the ‘hood?…

I like pits. They are a much maligned breed. They are naturally sweet-natured, loyal and affectionate….Pitbulls are also heavily abused and over bred by idiots…. Nevertheless, I find the suggestion that my President, our first Black president, a man who spends every day being “nibbled to death by ducks,” should deliberately do something that would enable the racist trolls of our country to hit new heights of asshattery to be the dumbest thing I have heard all summer.

This leads me to…

Bat-shit crazy political reactions

The supposition that the name Sunny was chosen because it’s close to Sunni, the sect of Islam to which Obama purportedly belongs, may be a joke, but the observation made by the right wing Daily Caller wasn’t:

With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.

As for more comments about how diabolical the decision to get Sunny was, see Atlantic.com’s Best Conspiracy Theories About the Obamas’ New Dog, Sunny., and you be the judge…

Boring but important political pet news that got lost in the Sunny fuss

While the President was busy not adopting a pit bull, he did something much more important. The White House responded to a petition asking it to “Ban and outlaw Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the United States of America on a Federal level!” with the following statement:

We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.

As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.

That’s a far better use of the President’s bully pulpit — pun intended — than making the family dog into a political statement rather than a pet.

What I would add is that at least the next time Bo gets to go on vacation on his own jet… he will have a four-legged companion to travel with… JOMP~

You be the judge…

Related:

Yet Another Taxpayer Paid Luxury Vacation For The Obamas, Including a Private Jet For The First Dog… Again

Obama admits to eating dog … fur finally flies

Bo Obama’s dog trainer dies at age 52 (Jan. 2011)

Bo the First Dog and His Trainer Arrive in Martha’s Vineyard… – Bo travelled on his own jet on the taxpayer’s nickel in 2011 as well. I’m as big of a pet advocate as anyone… but really? Guess we are off the green kick and global warming???

The mystery of Bo’s ‘Hawaii trip’ is solved: White House says he stayed in Washington and never went on holiday with First Family

President Bush and His Pets

Arrival of New First Pooch Imminent

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

Busts of presidential pets Barney and Miss Beazley at George W. Bush Library

Presidential Pet Museum.com

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pit Bulls and the Media: Hooray!

April 26, 2011

By Leslie Smith, (as first posted in Dogtime on April 19, 2011)

Hooray? Yes, hooray.

I noticed the link to a video clip titled, Blind kids get a helping paw from pit bulls, and I had to click. In it, Today Show correspondent Jill Rappaport reports on a pioneer program created by Main Line Animal Rescue: Pit bulls as therapy dogs at a school for the blind.

The clip is worth watching for several reasons, not the least compelling of which is the flood of shots of adorable pittie pups.

But as the video played, it dawned on me that the big news here isn’t about pit bulls comforting the blind. The real story is that a mainstream media network chose to cover pit bulls in a positive light. This is huge. Not to mention highly unusual.

The report wasn’t perfect. More than once, Rappaport brings up the breed’s flawed reputation. Ok, fair enough. But in speaking to Main Line’s founder Bill Smith, she insists, “This is definitely an aggressive… not aggressive, but dominant, breed…”

Smith half-corrects her, reminding Rappaport that pit bulls were bred to fight each other, but remain loyal and gentle with humans. Any dog, not just a pit bull, can (and likely will) become aggressive when treated cruelly or violently.

Ultimately though, Rappaport’s message is accurate and hopeful. Pit bulls can become aggressive when in the wrong hands, but when treated with love and respect, they are just dogs. Just dogs. Today Show anchor Meredith Vieira reiterates the sentiment at the close of the segment: “Dogs are like people. Some can be good, some can be bad.”

It doesn’t surprise me that such a strong bond between blind kids and misunderstood dogs has been forged. But it is ironic that there are still “normal” adults who can’t see the light.

Did you know? 

 

The classic children’s television show, The Little Rascals, featured an American Pit Bull Terrier as “Petey the Pit Bull.”

 

 

Video:  THE REAL PIT BULL THE WAY THEY WERE INTENDED

h/t to Stubby Dog – Cross-Posted at Ask Marion

Related:

Camden NJ – Officers Open Fire on Crowded Street, Killing Innocent Pit Bull Puppy

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Dogfight Videos

American Pit Bull Terrier Dogs… In Memory of Ace

Dog Rescued from Fighting Becomes Therapy Dog

Guarding Dogs  -  Documentary in the Making

Dog Fighting Game Released for Android Phones – CALL TO ACTON

May 5, 2011 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Perfect Chew Toy

Best Chew Toy

So You Think You Know a Pit Bull Person?

American Pit Bull Terrier Dogs… In Memory of Ace

Dog Rescued from Fighting Becomes Therapy Dog

April 25, 2014 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, pet products, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences | 4 Comments

I Am Loved…

image

Pitti Kisses

 

So You Think You Know a Pit Bull Person?

The Stubby Dog Project

American Pit Bull Terrier Dogs… In Memory of Ace

Dog Rescued from Fighting Becomes Therapy Dog

Camden NJ – Officers Open Fire on Crowded Street, Killing Innocent Pit Bull Puppy

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Dogfight Videos

h/t to Deonia Copeland for photo!

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal abuse, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So You Think You Know a Pit Bull Person?

Max_400_jessica_biel_and_pit_bull

Jessica Biel and her Pit Bull

by Michael Mountain – Founder, Best Friends Animal Society and The Stubby Dog Project

People are watching as the gang approaches from down the street. There are about 10 of them, each tethered to a Pit Bull, all in uniform and on a mission.

The location is downtown San Diego. The “gang” is a group of young Southern California women who call themselves “Pretties with Pitties.” And their uniform is a hot pink T-shirt. The dogs are shelter pets sporting vests that say “Adopt me, I love to cuddle.”

“A lot of people have the perception that Pit Bulls are really for masculine guys and tough guys,” said Kerri Ewing, co-founder of Pretties with Pitties. “We wanted to show people that that’s not the case. They are great dogs for anybody.”

Pit Bulls are warm, friendly, family dogs and not at all like the caricatures that have been portrayed as in recent years. Ewing, a graphic designer and social media consultant, is about as far from the stereotype of a Pit Bull person as you can get.

Ewing, a foster mom to rescued Pit Bulls, has just placed Harry Potter in a great new home. Harry was found abandoned and starving near the Mexico border.

“He refused to believe he was anything but a lap dog,” she said.

In fact, Pit Bulls are as much an “everyone dog” today as they were 50 years ago when they were known as “America’s family pet” and, in the UK, as nanny dogs. And while Labradors and Goldens have been claiming that particular title more in recent years, Pit Bull people span the social spectrum, too. Here are some examples of that.

Won over by Pit Bull puppy

At her Hudson Valley estate outside of New York City, Marilyn Cohen is checking on lunch. That would be lunch for China, her 11-year-old Pit Bull who has cancer and is on a special diet prepared by the chef. Cohen, after all, is in the business of good food – she owns two top-rated restaurants in Manhattan. So only the best is good enough for China.
China is Cohen’s second Pit Bull.

“My twin sons were teenagers on vacation in Florida 11 years ago when they saw this Pit Bull puppy on the beach,” she said. “One of them decided they had to bring the pup home, and he paid his brother to drive her back to New York. That way, he could come home a day later and wouldn’t have to have me yelling at him. Of course, I fell in love with the puppy on the spot. We called him Morgan.”

When Morgan came down with lymphoma some years later, Cohen became obsessed with finding a cure – anything that would save Morgan or even just give him a little more time. “I almost gave up my businesses taking him from one vet to another. My dentist told me ‘You’re crazy; you could have bought a condo for the amount you’ve spent on that dog.’ But not long after that he got a dog himself and admitted that ‘I would have spent any amount on that dog. They’re family.’ ”

Cohen’s husband, Dan, is an Israeli film director, who’s worked mainly in Germany and is best known in the United States for his 1978 movie Madman, starring Sigourney Weaver. Today, he’s at work on a novel that tells a fictionalized version of the family’s Pit Bulls, which he’s also planning on making into a movie.

Does your State Senator have a Pit Bull? Connecticut’s does.

Equally passionate, and a staunch member of the unofficial community of Pit Bull people all across the country is State Senator Bob Duff of Connecticut. “My family and I have adopted two abandoned Pit Bulls, welcoming them into a home with two small children without fear. We’re proud and lucky to have them in our lives,” he said.

Column_duff_family_550p

Connecticut state senator Bob Duff’s family includes a Pit Bull

Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Christine Craig grew up in Miami where her parents had emigrated from Haiti in the 1960s. She recently received her MBA, and has been in marketing for several years.

“I couldn’t have told you what a Pit Bull was,” she said. But she adopted one of the puppies after her ex-boyfriend’s Pit Bull had gotten together with the Rottweiler across the street.

“I’ve had Diva nine years. I don’t think of her as being a big dog like a Rottie or a German Shepherd,” Craig said. “But people still seem surprised that I have a Pit Bull. I think they see me as a rather demure person who should have a dog who fits in my purse!”

Craig thinks that most people assume that Pit Bulls are a man’s dog. “Their perception of the dog doesn’t match their perception of my personality. But that just means they don’t know Pits!” she said.

In the city of sin

Across the country in Las Vegas, Tino Sanchez believes that most people in his part of the country really do understand Pit Bulls. He says they know that most of the fear of Pit Bulls is fostered almost entirely by the media’s negative portrayals.

Sanchez, a disc jockey, is a regular volunteer at the city animal shelter, and helps get the dogs ready for new homes. Right now he has five Pit Bulls at home, two of whom are certified therapy dogs.

“Yes, I get weird looks sometimes when I take them all out for a walk,” he said, “but nothing like as much as I get positive reactions. People are always coming up to me asking ‘Why do these dogs have such a bad rap when they’re such good dogs?’”

Rags and Riches

At either end of the economic spectrum you’ll find Gary Michelson, a California, Forbes 400 billionaire and the spinal surgeon who invented spinal implants, and David Love, a homeless man in Brookings, a small town on the Oregon coast.

As a dog lover and, especially, a Pit Bull lover, Michelson is using much of his wealth to help animals, offering $25 million to the first inventor of a safe and effective injectable sterilant for cats and dogs, and another $50 million to support the research and development of the product. His goal is to replace spay/neuter surgery, which is comparatively expensive and time-consuming, and so to reduce the numbers of unwanted, homeless dogs and cats coming into shelters.

In a different way, Love also strives to do the right thing for the world around him. On any given day, he can be found checking on his friend, Buddy, another homeless man, who, like him, gets around in a wheelchair.

Buddy lives more than two miles away. But it’s an easy ride for Love.

“Kitty is my motor,” he said with a grin, referring to the Pit Bull he adopted and who has become not only his best friend but also his official chauffeur and unofficial service and therapy dog. “I’d always been told they were bad dogs, but it’s all in how you teach them. She’s a very gentle dog and she’s great with kids.”

Love has several medical problems, and Kitty has become his lifeline, who enjoys her daily exercise pulling the wheelchair around town.

“She seems to know I’m going to have a seizure before I do,” Love said. When that happens, Kitty takes over, putting her head on his legs and looking at him. “She blocks me from going anywhere!”

Obama’s classmate at Harvard

During the week, David Isaacs is a media entrepreneur, but he often takes time out over the weekend to help find homes for homeless pets. One Saturday morning, he was volunteering for a local rescue group at a table outside a pet supply store on the Upper West Side of New York City. One of the dogs the group was hoping to find a home for was a sad-looking Pit Bull.

“Molly was cowering under a table, so I offered to take her for a walk,” Isaacs said. “I took her for a stroll in NYC’s Central Park. She had a long scar along her back, and she was just terrified, grazing against the wall next to the footpath. I sat down with her, hoping to calm her down a bit. Moments later, she crawled into my lap, curled up and went to sleep.” Isaacs took her home and she’s been part of the family ever since.

Isaacs studied law at Harvard and then at the Harvard Law School, where he was in the same class as Barack Obama. Today he lives with his wife and young daughter in Santa Monica, Calif.

“When we had our baby, a number of people in my wife’s family were concerned,” Isaacs said. “I told them about how in England Pit Bulls used to be known as nanny dogs. But it was soon clear that my daughter could poke Molly, pull her, even ride on her, and Molly just loved her.”

Isaacs said Molly is also the single greatest lover of cats. “The only risk to the cat is that Molly will suck her in through her nostrils when she gets up close to sniff them!”

So who’s a Pit Bull person?

From presidents (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) to pop stars (Pink, Madonna and Usher); TV personalities (Jon Stewart, Cesar Millan, Rachel Ray and Dr. Phil) to athletes (Shaquille O’Neal, Serena Williams, Anthony Kim and Amare Stoudemir); and actors (Jessica Biel, Michael J. Fox, Jamie Foxx and Brad Pitt) to legends (Helen Keller, Thomas Edison and Humphrey Bogart), Pit Bulls are the beloved pets of people of every kind.

So, you think you know a Pit Bull person? It’s easy; they’re really no different from anyone else!

This article first appeared here on zoenature.org. & Cross-posted at DogTime


Michael Mountain is one of the founders of Best Friends Animal Society, the nation’s largest animal sanctuary and one of the pioneers of the no-kill movement for homeless pets. As president of Best Friends and editor of Best Friends magazine, he helped to build grassroots adoption and spay/neuter programs all over the country before stepping down in 2008. He currently is the editor and co-founder of Zoe — a new online magazine for people who care about animals, nature and the environment — and the co-founder of StubbyDog, which is working to change public perceptions of Pit Bulls.

Related:

Pit Bulls and the Media… Hooray!

Camden NJ – Officers Open Fire on Crowded Street, Killing Innocent Pit Bull Puppy

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Dogfight Videos

American Pit Bull Terrier Dogs… In Memory of Ace

Dog Rescued from Fighting Becomes Therapy Dog

Guarding Dogs  -  Documentary in the Making

Dog Fighting Game Released for Android Phones – CALL TO ACTON

May 13, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Supreme Court strikes down law banning dogfight videos

A case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulls attacking other animals and one another.

A case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulls attacking other animals and one another.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Justices say banning the videos is an unconstitutional violation of free speech
  • Court threw out conviction of Robert Stevens who sold videos
  • Stevens was charged in 2004 with selling depictions of animal cruelty

Washington (CNN) — The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dogfights and other acts of animal cruelty, saying it is an unconstitutional violation of free speech.

The 8-1 decision was a defeat for animal rights groups and congressional sponsors of the unusual legislation.

The specific case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulldogs attacking other animals and one another in staged confrontations.

The justices Tuesday concluded the scope and intent of the decade-old statute was overly broad.

"The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the government outweigh its costs," said Chief Justice John Roberts. He concluded Congress had not sufficiently shown "depictions" of dogfighting were enough to justify a special category of exclusion from free speech protection.

The high court threw out the conviction of Robert Stevens, a Pittsville, Virginia, man who sold videos through his business, Dogs of Velvet and Steel. According to court records, undercover federal agents found he was advertising his tapes in Sporting Dog Journal, an underground magazine on illegal dogfighting.

"This is what I was hoping for," Stevens told CNN just after the ruling was announced. "I am not nor have I ever been a dog fighter or a promoter of dogfighting. I am a journalist and an author."

Among the products Stevens advertised was "Catch Dogs," featuring pit bulls chasing wild boars on organized hunts and a "gruesome depiction of a pit bull attacking the lower jaw of a domestic farm pig," according to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based appeals court that ruled on the case earlier.

Stevens was charged in 2004 with violating interstate commerce laws by selling depictions of animal cruelty. He was later sentenced to 37 months in prison, and promptly appealed. That sentence was put on hold pending resolution of this appeal.

He argued his sentence was longer than the 14 months given professional football player Michael Vick, who ran an illegal dogfighting ring.

It was the first prosecution in the United States to proceed to trial under the 1999 law.

The video marketer is not related to Justice John Paul Stevens, who turned 90 Tuesday. The court made no mention of the milestone as it held a two-hour public session.

Nearly every state and local jurisdiction have their own laws banning mistreatment of wild and domesticated animals, and usually handle prosecutions of animal cruelty.

Several media organizations had supported Stevens, worrying the federal law could implicate reports about deer hunting, and depictions of bullfighting in Ernest Hemingway novels.

Roberts agreed, saying, "We read [the federal law] to create a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth."

"Jurisdictions permit and encourage hunting, and there is an enormous national market for hunting-related depictions in which a living animal is intentionally killed," said Roberts. "An otherwise-lawful image of any of these practices, if sold or possessed for commercial gain within a state that happens to forbid the practice, falls within the prohibition of [the federal law]."

During oral arguments in October, the justices offered a number of wide-ranging hypotheticals over what the law could forbid, including: fox hunts, pate de foie gras from geese, cockfighting, bullfighting, shooting deer out of season, even Roman gladiator battles.

Only Justice Samuel Alito dissented in the case, and he focused on one of the most disturbing aspects raised in the appeal, the marketing of so-called "crush" videos, in which women — with their faces unseen — are shown stomping helpless animals such as rabbits to death with spiked-heel shoes or with their bare feet.

"The animals used in crush videos are living creatures that experience excruciating pain. Our society has long banned such cruelty," he said. The courts, he said, have "erred in second-guessing the legislative judgment about the importance of preventing cruelty to animals."

He predicted mores crush videos will soon flood the underground market, because the ruling has "the practical effect of legalizing the sale of such videos."

Roberts suggested a law specifically banning crush videos might be valid, since it would be narrowly tailored to a specific type of commercial enterprise.

Alito noted that would not help dogs forced to fight each other, where, he said, "the suffering lasts for years rather than minutes."

The government had argued a "compelling interest" in stopping people who would profit from dog attack tapes and similar depictions. Roberts dismissed suggestions by the Justice Department that only the most extreme acts of cruelty would be targeted.

"The First Amendment protects against the government," Roberts said. "We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it responsibly."

The Humane Society, other animal rights groups and 26 states backed the government.

If the law had been upheld, it would have been only the second time the Supreme Court had identified a form of speech undeserving of protection by the First Amendment. The justices in 1982 banned the distribution of child pornography.

This is the second time this year the high court has tossed out federal legislation on free speech grounds. The justices in January nullified parts of a sweeping campaign finance reform law, giving corporations, unions, and advocacy groups more power to bankroll federal elections.

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer – April 20, 2010 3:31 p.m. EDT

I am a free speech advocate and constitutionalist… but I don’t think that the Found Fathers approved of freedom of speech that directly could be connected to causing violence against living beings and creatures:  animals, pets, children, elderly etc.

RELATED TOPICS

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment