Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 12, 2013

It's not the breed

Hold owners of vicious dogs accountable, not animals

The Independent

ASHLAND — Lorie Akers wants the Ashland City Commissioner to adopt an ordinance banning pit bulls in the city. Since she claimed her Chihuahua Paco was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s pit bull while the little dog was chained in the back yard, it is understandable that Akers is worried that her children and other pets could be endangered by pit bulls.

However, for the city commission to enact an ordinance banning pit bulls from the city because of the actions of one dog would be unfair to pit bills who are good, friendly pets that are not the least bit vicious. Don’t blame the breed on the actions of one vicious dog.

If a vicious dog with a history of attacking other dogs or even humans is allowed to run free, the blame should lie with the owner of that dog, regardless of its breed. There is no denying that some pit bulls are trained to be attack animals. Indeed, that’s part of the appeal of the breed to some people.  But with rare exceptions, the owner of the dog that has attacked other dogs and even children must bear the brunt of the blame for the dog’s actions. Responsible pet ownership demands that dogs be confined at all times.

From our vantage point, the right steps are being taken in response to the death of Aker’s chihuahua. Akers properly called police, who responded to the call with an animal control officer. The pit bull will be held in confinement until at least a June 17 hearing in Boyd District County on a charge of harboring a vicious animal against the family responsible for the pit bull.

If the dog is found to be the animal that killed her Aker’s chihuahua, the offending animal likely will be ordered euthanized. Once a dog has killed, it likely cannot be rehabilitated and the death penalty is the only reasonable punishment.

This is not the first time a resident has asked the city to impose a ban on all pit bulls in the city, but in the past, the city commission has determined that its current vicious animal ordinance is more than adequate and is actually stronger than banning pit bulls because if covers all dogs that are deemed vicious, be they German shepherds, doberman’s, or even cocker spaniels. In short, the ordinance holds each dog accountable for his or her own actions, That’s as it should be.

Don’t blame the breed of dog, but the person who taught the dog to be vicious. Banning pit bulls or any other dog breeds is too broad and unnecessary.