Aggressive dogs became a significant issue over the last few weeks as two incidents involved pit bull terrier attacks on smaller dogs. One dog was killed in one case and another survived with injuries.
The subsequent debate predictably split along the lines of those who believe pit bulls are dangerous and should be regulated, if not outright banned. On the other side of the coin were those who profess it’s not the breed of dog but the owner that’s at fault.
Both of those positions have merit but the real issue here is the right of residents to be able to walk their dog down the street without fear of an attack from another dog – regardless of breed. Pit bull owners and supporters say that all dogs can potentially attack and kill another dog as well as children and that is true. Any dog has that potential. They then ask why the pit bulls get all the attention. The reason, of course, is that most of the cases that are reported involve pit bulls. It’s simply a matter of numbers. For whatever reason, pit bull attacks are reported by the media most often. That’s because they happen most often. If a dog of any breed attacks and kills or injures another dog or a person, this paper, for one, will report it. So far, we’ve not come across any situation involving different breeds but we can only report what we know about.
But it doesn’t really matter what breed is involved. No dog should be so out of control that it attacks and kills another dog that is under the care and control of its owner. When one dog owner’s animal is on leash and obedient to commands, then that person has every right to expect to be safe from attack. Dogs that run free or escape from yards and enclosures put the community at risk. The owners of those animals are responsible.
Anybody who is walking along the street, trail, park or beach whose dog is running free is also responsible for their animal as well. They’re still entitled to live free from the fear of an attack by an aggressive dog but there is a degree of culpability there too.
Dogs running rampant create an unstable and risky scenario. They may be the nicest dogs in the world but they can agitate other dogs and upset people.
We all need to take responsibility for our animals.