Whenever something like this happens - some members of the public over-react, and public officials respond in kind - well meaning....but not effective. Banning a breed (Pit Bull-type dogs always among them) never solves a thing. It's a response - but not an effective one, not hardly.
The owner of the two Pit Bulls that were shot by police after attacking a jogger along the South Shore (7715 D. South Shore Drive) on Monday, January 2. The dogs' owner, Jimmy Johnson, has been ticketed for for failing to restrain his dogs, and not having the required city dog licenses, according to the Chicago Tribune. The man attacked remains in critical condition. Johnson was ticketed twice for each dog, according to Chicago Police News Affairs.
I'm surprised but pleased with the weight of the potential fines, $30 to $200 for failing to license each dog, and $300 to $10,000 for failing to restrain each dog (allowing them to roam). Police did consider escalating the charges and fines, but there was no indication that Johnson actions were intentional. Apparently, someone had left the gate open allowing the dogs out.
Apparently, Johnson voluntarily came forward, and he has no prior history of dog-related violations.
Having said that, apparently these dogs were dangerous and had quite the prey drive - to take down a jogger and maul him so seriously. According to reports, the dogs were tenacious. Also, there are media reports of stray or roaming dogs threatening people in the area repeatedly. Were these same dogs the culprit? And, if true, why didn't animal care and control follow up?
No matter what the answers turn out to be - banning Pit Bulls (or dogs you think might be part Pit Bull) just won't do anything.
- Breed bans have been attempted and continue in towns around the country, but don't work to limit violent dog attacks. Some bad guys (including those that fight dogs) simply go even further underground. They are not dissuaded. And violent dog attacks continue.
- Good owners with good Pit Bulls (the vast majority) would be forced to give up their dogs or move. And many may choose the latter. No doubt at least some of these owners will challenge in court, (if there is a breed ban) and cities spend a lot dealing with these court cases.
- In general consider Michael Vick - the dogs used for dog fighting (not all Pit Bull type dogs are used for this purpose, of course) are victims as well. What happens to dogs when a dog fighting rink is broken up?
- What's a Pit Bull anyway? I know, there's a certain look - but there are so many instances of residents being forced to give up Pointer mixes or Boxer mixes or whatever....just because someone believes - correctly or not, that dog is part Pit Bull. These dogs are described based on a general look or phenotype. However, phenotype is not directly related to genetics. For examples, many street dogs in Spain look part Chihuahua, and they are not - they just have that look.
- Mandatory Spay Neuter has been suggested by a few Aldermen in Chicago over the past few years and was supported strongly by the person now in charge at Animal Care and Control - but this doesn't work. Use some common sense, will bad guys who think nothing of shooting people, stop and say 'no my, I must neuter my attack dog?' Of course, it's not only about bad guys - but the presumption is that neutering lessons dog attacks, because neutered dogs are not aggressive. This is an absolute fallacy. Don't get me wrong, I am all for spay/neuter, and glad we have a system in Chicago where if you do comply, the dog tag is less money. Mandatory spay neuter offers a laundry list of unintended consequences, from lowering veterinary visits (and fewer rabies vaccines as a result also is a public health issue) to issues dealing with feral cats.
I really hope I don't have to testify in City Hall, and attempt to rally....Overturning a proposed breed ban was how the Task Force in Chicago on Companion Animals and Public Safety began - it is now dissolved, thanks to some to worked for that to happen.
I do endorse looking at why the most serious of dog attacks occur, any dog of any breed or mix. What follows isn't in any particular order.
-I'll begin with dogs the community knows are a danger but police, animal control, whoever does nothing though there have been complaints...It's like that stop sign residents know should be there...but it doesn't go up until someone gets killed.
-Dogs purposefully trained as dangerous weapons - and guess what some become just that.
- Unsocialized as puppies, they may be maladaped to cope as a result as they become adults. And genetics does play a role in temperament.
And if you pay attention to science - there are more facts....as mentioned dogs you call Pit Bulls may not even have Pit in them....Pits are generally actually VERY good and with people (though potentially 'iffy with other dogs), children in particular, when well socialized....Pit Bulls and mixes don't have locking jaws. Pit Bulls and mixes don't require more protein than any other dog. What is true is that they are strong dogs.
Professionals who deal with dogs daily (veterinarians, groomers) when mentioning breeds they cite 'concerns' about don't typically even include 'Pits' on the list. There is NO science do demonstrate Pit Bulls and Pit Bull-mixes may more likely be inherently dangerous; there is science to demonstrate such thinking is not true.
I have no idea how these two dogs got out, or if it is has happened before. I think that's key concerning these dogs, and also why they responded SO agressively, which is not 'natural' for any dog except those with keen prey drives (since the jogger was presumably running when he was attacked).
It's a tragic story. It never should have happened....but let's not blame what would amount to over a thousand dogs for the actions of two.