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Old 07-26-07, 08:39 AM   #1
oilman_15106
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Every State should have these laws

Saw this in a newsletter. Make the owners of dangerous dogs bear the cost of their actions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/23/us...th&oref=slogin
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Old 07-26-07, 10:05 AM   #2
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States Weigh Safety With Dog Owners’ Rights

By IAN URBINA
Correction Appended

RICHMOND, Va. — Bear is a golden retriever-shepherd who attacked a bicyclist. Dee Dee, a pit bull mix, killed a cat. Cody, a Labrador mix, bit the neighbor.

Their mug shots, misdeeds and home addresses went online this month at the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, a new Web page modeled after the state’s sex offender registry. It lets residents find dogs in their county that have attacked a person or an animal, and that a judge has decided could cause injury again.

Created after dogs killed a toddler and an 82-year-old woman in separate incidents in the last two years, Virginia’s registry is part of a growing effort by states to deal with dogs deemed dangerous. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia hold owners legally liable if their dogs maim or kill, and in 2006, Ohio became the first state to enact a breed ban, though it was later overturned.

In the last two years, nearly 100 municipalities have taken similar steps — banning pit bulls, Rottweilers, English bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers, or passing regulations that require owners to use muzzles or short leashes in public, according to the American Kennel Club.

Last month, Texas responded to a November 2005 mauling death of a 76-year-old woman by enacting some of the harshest criminal penalties for delinquent dog owners, making it a felony with a possible 10-year prison sentence for anyone whose dog seriously injures a person while off its leash.

But lawmakers taking steps to deal with growing concerns have struggled to ensure public safety without impinging on the privacy and property rights of dog owners. Several of the measures have been overturned in the courts, and many national dog owner and veterinarian associations say the bans are difficult to enforce and ineffective since, they say, if one breed is banned, dog owners seeking aggressive dogs will simply begin fostering fierceness in other breeds.

After the indictment of the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who is accused of running a dog-fighting ring from his property in Virginia, the Humane Society estimated that more than 30 percent of dogs in animal shelters were pit bulls, many of them trained as fighting dogs and later abandoned on the streets. That is up from 2 or 3 percent of the shelter population that were pit bulls 15 years ago, the officials said.

“Of course it’s a serious concern when you have more people wanting and training aggressive dogs, and more of those dogs are being abandoned,” said John Goodwin, an expert on animal fighting with the Humane Society.

Counties in Florida and New York have also created publicly accessible dangerous dog registries like the one in Virginia, and legislators in Hawaii are considering one. Critics of the registries say that by publicizing the home addresses of dangerous dogs, they invite harassment by neighbors and invade the privacy of dog owners. Seventeen states now have a “one bite rule” protecting dog owners from liability for the first attack.

“It seems a little unfair to single out a dog if they haven’t done something in the past,” said Jacqueline Short, 40, who lives in Newport News, Va. She is Bear’s owner and says the bicyclist was her pet’s first biting offense.

Now that Bear has been officially designated a dangerous dog, he must be muzzled and walked on a short leash when he is taken in public. But Ms. Short says the toughest requirement has been the $100,000 liability insurance that she now has to carry, which costs about $1,000 a year.

“Courts need to look at the dog’s history and the severity of the incident,” Ms. Short said, “and if the dogs haven’t shown aggression in the past then that should be taken into account before they are considered dangerous.”

Even with stiffer penalties, animal control departments are often understaffed and under-financed and therefore unable to apply the laws.

“Leash laws don’t work because they’re not enforced,” said Mary Hill, the sister of Lillian Stiles, who was killed in Texas in November 2005 by a pack of dogs and whose death inspired the state’s law.

Ms. Hill, who likes to exercise regularly, said she was often frustrated by dogs left off their leashes that chase and harass runners and walkers.

Each year, roughly 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and about 800,000, half of them children, seek medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On average, a dozen people die each year from dog attacks, according to the center. In 2003, 32 people died from dog-related incidents.

From 1979 to 1998, more than half of the dog-related fatalities were caused by pit bulls and Rottweilers, according to a study published in 2000 in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Randall Lockwood, a senior vice president of the association and one of the authors of that study, said it was a mistake to make policy decisions based on dog-related fatalities, because they are so rare.

“In the ’70s, Dobermans were the scary dogs of choice, and they were involved in more fatalities,” Mr. Lockwood said. “And later, German shepherds and St. Bernards used to be the ones involved in attacks, which is probably why Stephen King chose to make Cujo a St. Bernard, not a pit bull.” Fatalities are, above all, a reflection of the type of dog that is popular at a given time among people who want to own an aggressive status symbol, he said.

Pit bulls have undoubtedly become that symbol in recent years, and communities that have tried to ban them have run into problems. At least 12 states prohibit local municipalities from passing breed-specific legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Critics say the bans are costly and impractical to enforce since breeds are often difficult to identify and dogs are often of mixed breed.

In March 2006, Ohio’s law banning pit bulls was overturned on the grounds that the state could not prove that pit bulls were inherently more dangerous than other breeds.

In Virginia, 75 to 100 dogs have been declared dangerous by a judge, and many of them have been euthanized or moved out of state.

But victims say the insurance is actually the most important part of Virginia’s new law.

Betty Greene’s mother, Dorothy Sullivan, 82, was killed by a neighbor’s three pit bulls that entered her yard. Ms. Greene said she had heard from a number of victims of dog attacks who, more often than not, ended up having to pay for their hospital bills.

The three pit bulls were euthanized and the owner was sentenced to three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, Ms. Greene said.

“There is no way to explain the grief,” she said. “It’s even worse when the victim has to pay for the lawyers, the death, the hospital bills.”

Correction: July 26, 2007


A chart on Sunday with an article about efforts by states to balance dog owners’ rights with safety referred imprecisely to the 12 states that prohibit local governments from banning specific breeds. Despite those statewide statutes, several local governments in some states do indeed have laws against specific breeds. (In at least one case, the local law was passed before the state’s ban took effect; in other cases the local governments have passed laws as a way to challenge their state’s statute.)
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Old 07-26-07, 11:36 AM   #3
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Couple years ago, walking to the library. Attacked by a female pitbull.

Fortunately, it was a small dog, so when she took a chomp on my gut, her jaws were too small to get a grip on my fat gut.

No serious injury - trip to the ER for a tetanus update, clean the wound and home I went. Animal control was unable to find the dog/owner pair.

Now suppose instead of a 50 something 200 pound fat guy it had been an 80 something 125 pound grandma or a little kid.

The registry sounds like a fine idea to me.

Jeff, still fat
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Old 07-26-07, 12:32 PM   #4
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I can't stand these morons. I love dogs. Had one I grew up with from the time I was 11 and it lived something like 17 years. Great dog.

However, I can't stand most dog owners. No one obeys leash laws. These idiots let their dogs run free, and most times the beasts are completely untrained. You hear the lady in the article talk about the dog not being dangerous if it's only one bite. To hell with that! If your dog is well-controlled, it shouldn't be able to bite anyone - at all! If the dog is appropriately leashed or fenced, it shouldn't have contact with any strangers. Period.

My favorite:
"Critics of the registries say that by publicizing the home addresses of dangerous dogs, they invite harassment by neighbors and invade the privacy of dog owners."

Well, yes. That would be the entire ****ing point. If you make your neighborhood dangerous, and have a dog that has previously bitten someone, you deserve the scorn of your neighbors.
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Old 07-26-07, 12:40 PM   #5
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I have nothing against making dog owners responsible for their dogs...they already are.

a dog database? it's a waste of taxpayer dollars, imho.

an action that kills 12 ppl per year isn't worth legislators' time. considering many states' houses are only in session for 3 months out of an entire year, there are more important things to legislate/worry about that affect a larger number of ppl.
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Old 07-26-07, 12:43 PM   #6
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I have nothing against making dog owners responsible for their dogs...they already are.

a dog database? it's a waste of taxpayer dollars, imho.

an action that kills 12 ppl per year isn't worth legislators' time. considering many states' houses are only in session for 3 months out of an entire year, there are more important things to legislate/worry about that affect a larger number of ppl.
If provided the data, I'm sure concerned citizen groups would be happy to do it for free. The number of people injured by dogs is much higher than 12.
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Old 07-26-07, 12:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
States Weigh Safety With Dog Owners’ Rights

By IAN URBINA
Correction Appended

RICHMOND, Va. — Bear is a golden retriever-shepherd who attacked a bicyclist.... ...; in other cases the local governments have passed laws as a way to challenge their state’s statute.)
Rights, privacy, blah blah blah. KISS MY BAZOOZA. I am riding on the roadway or walking on the sidewalk. Those are PUBLIC PLACES WHERE I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE. I will take whatever action is necessary to stop being harassed by a dog or its owner.

I am usually in rural areas and farm dogs can be really dangerous. They run loose for the obvious reason that they need to guard the farms and ranches. They are used to herding cattle and horses, so they are not intimidated by simple "shoo shoo!" calls, and are very used to sneaking up behind and biting a moving leg. Be aware of this when you ride on country roads.

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Old 07-26-07, 02:26 PM   #8
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I question the need for a database, but I am absolutely in favor of holding owners liable, both civilly and criminally. The number of times I've been out on a ride and some damn pit bull comes racing out of an unfenced yard, no leash, no nothing, and I'm hauling ass for my life. I always find it shocking the number of people out there who want pit bulls or Rottweilers but have absolutely no idea how to handle the things.

I'm a dog owner myself, and my dogs never, ever go out of the house or out of the back yard without being leashed. They've never chased a cyclist, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did just out of instinct. That's why they stay leashed.
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Old 07-26-07, 02:29 PM   #9
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If provided the data, I'm sure concerned citizen groups would be happy to do it for free. The number of people injured by dogs is much higher than 12.
There is already framework and redress in place for anyone injured, via civil suit and/or criminal charge. A database system is unneccessary. Even if someone built the system for free (which would never happen) it still would require resources to run it. Also, I'd be willing to bet it would be nearly impossible to give the gvt something like this for free.

Should there be a similar database system for any car that hits a bike? What about anyone that assualts someone? These are all issues of greater importance that affect more ppl than dog bites.

While I appreciate my county's auto- phone call notification system anytime a sex offender moves into my zip code, I can't imagine how much traffic a dog bite system would create given it's minor impact on society.

Last edited by littlewaywelt; 07-26-07 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 07-26-07, 02:50 PM   #10
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In Virginia, 75 to 100 dogs have been declared dangerous by a judge, and many of them have been euthanized or moved out of state.
In anything like this hte devil is in the details. To me the number at least seems reasonable. What I do not see anywhere in hte article is creating a database of PEOPLE. Note the end of the quote. Many moved out of state or killed. Then a problem owner just goes out and gets a new dangerous dog.
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Old 07-26-07, 02:59 PM   #11
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It is required by law to report any and all animal bites down here but of course that doesn't happen.
It is a whole different thing to be a dangerous dog owner down here. They require high insurance and a secure environment. As in fenced in yard and them in a fenced in kennel with a muzzle on at all times if outside. They must be on a leash if only in a fence. And at least one insurance rep has told me they will drop a policy if the person has any dog bite but especially if there is a dangerous dog declared.

And as far as wasting the legislatures time. Yeah I'm sure there are bigger issues but not any easier vote getting ones. So it's worth their time just not worth our tax money.
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