Dog Ordinance Plan Sparks Threatening E-mail 1-25-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Dog Ordinance Plan Sparks Threatening E-mail 1-25-2011

A proposed dangerous dog ordinance is stirring up a lot of controversy in Saginaw.
It’s also at the center of an e-mail a city council member claims is threatening.
Saginaw City Council member Bill Scharffe, who received the e-mail, said its content was so disturbing, he sent it on to police. Scharffe himself wasn’t threatened specifically in the document. Officials said the e-mail is a fiery letter full of racial allegations.
“She replies, ‘Am I comparing dogs to racism? Yes, precisely,’” said Scharffe as he read portions of the e-mail to TV5 reporter Liz Gelardi. Reading through the e-mail reveals the sender is clearly upset about Saginaw’s proposed dangerous dog ordinance.
It would force certain dog owners to pay a one-time fee if their dog was on the city’s list of dangerous dog breeds. The list was originally compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, not by the city.
On the list are pit bulls, Alaskan malamutes and huskies, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, presa canarios, German shepherds, Great Danes, chow chows and St. Bernards.
“My hands actually were shaking as I was reading it,” said Scharffe. “It was very frightening in its tone and its entire text.”
Scharffe said the woman first wrote him on Sunday.
In her message, she included a picture of dead pit bulls and the caption, "What's next, kill all black people? Jews? Christians?"
The council member responded, calling the message absolutely ridiculous. The woman then wrote him back, this time with harsher tone.
That’s when Scharfe said he wanted to get police involved.
“There was no threat directly, but when you see that kind of language and that kind of person, considering what happened in Tucson, Ariz., I don't like it,” said Scharffe.
Scharffe said he has received about 20 e-mails and letters about the proposed ordinance. He said most of them have been positive.
The Saginaw Police Department is investigating the e-mail.
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