By: Patti Strand  Date: 11/6/2004

On November 6-7, 2004, NAIA will gather top experts in dog behavior, shelter assessment and placement, responsible dog ownership, and rescue to discuss community animal control policies and work on reasonable alternatives to laws and regulations that do not work. The headquarters hotel is the Cincinnati Airport Marriott and the conference will take place at the METS Center near Greater Cincinnati International Airport in Northern Kentucky. There will be a continental breakfast served at the METS Center between 8: am and 9: am, at which time the conference will begin.

Download conference brochure here

For more information visit the NAIA calendar


For immediate release
Contact: Patti L. Strand, president
(503) 761-1139;



Cities throughout the US deal with increasing problems generated by careless and ignorant dog owners and by those who use dogs for fighting, to intimidate their neighbors, to boost their own egos, or to further criminal activity. These owners and dogs pose a dilemma: their actions often remain below the radar until an individual dog or a pack of dogs commits a horrible act that causes the disfigurement or death of a person or seriously injures or kills other pets.

Media reports stir the pot, and citizens become afraid, demanding action from elected officials. Often that action focuses on the breed or mix of dog involved in an attack and includes restrictions or bans that affect responsible owners and good dogs and have little impact on those who violate existing laws about control and confinement of pets.

The National Animal Interest Alliance recognizes the challenge faced by lawmakers who must write fair and enforceable ordinances that calm the fears of the community and help animal control officers get dangerous dogs off the streets. However, NAIA favors laws and policies that educate the public, hold dog owners accountable, and base punishment on dog behavior, not appearance.

“Responsible dog ownership and reasonable, enforceable laws, not draconian prohibitions, are the keys,” said NAIA president Patti Strand. “Breed-specific laws fail because they do not take into consideration the reality that any dog, regardless of its physical characteristics, must be raised, trained and socialized properly to become a good pet and canine good citizen. Breed bans undermine responsible dog ownership by diverting attention from the real issue, which is the need for dog owners to educate themselves about their dogs' behavioral needs and to provide socialization and training consistent with those needs. Dog owners who understand this produce good dogs regardless of the breed or mix.”

Therefore, instead of passing unfair, ineffective laws that are impossible to enforce, NAIA advocates development of animal control programs that encourage dog owners to properly socialize, train, and care for their dogs so they can become good canine citizens and remain prominent members of the cultural landscape.

NAIA also acknowledges that some dog owners will be irresponsible in spite of these efforts and therefore promotes strict enforcement of leash laws and nuisance laws that hold owners accountable for the behavior of their dogs and prohibit dog fighting and other criminal uses of dogs.

To help policymakers and community citizens to write and enforce reasonable laws, NAIA presents its first national conference to bring lawmakers, animal control officials, dog trainers, and other experts together to identify the problems and devise solutions that benefit all citizens. “Helping Communities Solve Dangerous Dog Problems” will bring city and county officials and responsible owners, breeders, and trainers together to develop workable programs to protect residents and protect the right of law-abiding people to own the breed or mix of their choice.

Speakers who will share their experience and insights include:

Andy Mahlman, shelter manager, SPCA Cincinnati: Breed bans pose difficult dilemmas for shelter directors.

Amy Marder, DVM: Utilizing shelter temperament assessment tools;

Dr. Carmen Battaglia, AKC Board Member, AKC Companion Animal Recovery President

Jane R. Berkey, President of Animal Farm Foundation, Inc., an American Pit Bull Terrier rescue, an information resource and a granting organization: Policies and programs  for shelters, animal controls, rescues and owners that will  keep our communities safe by protecting our animals from irresponsible custodians.

Steve Zawistowski, PhD , Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Senior Vice President and science advisor of the ASPCA: The genetics of behavior;

Nancy Campbell, Breed rescue chairman of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America and NAIA Director of Canine Issues: The responsibility of breeders, owners and rescuers to assure that dangerous dogs are handled appropriately;

Robert Gloster, MD, FACEP, Board Certified Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine and member , AVMA task force on canine aggression: Epidemiological overview of scope and severity of dog bites in US;

Stephanie Lane, AKC Director of Canine Legislation: Educating and legislating for responsible dog ownership - a community based approach;

Dr. Mary Burch , AKC Director, Canine Good Citizen program

Adrianne Lefkowitz , Humane Society of Harford County (Maryland) Director of Administration: What to do when a bad dog law comes to your town;

Michael Hingson, National Public Affairs Representative, Guide Dogs for the Blind: The power of the human/animal bond;

Pam Sears, Hamilton County Prosecutor: Enforcing dangerous dog laws one case at a time.

Gary Clemons, DVM: The veterinarian's role in identifying and solving dangerous dog problems ; and

Nancy Hill, Spokane County Regional Animal Care and Control Services Director: Dangerous dog laws that work.

The conference will take place on November 6-7, 2004, at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott Hotel near Greater Cincinnati Airport. For an interview or more information, e-mail or call (503) 761-1139.

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