Pasadena city leaders are pushing for new controls over potentially dangerous dog breeds just a month after a move was made to crack down on unlicensed dogs. According to a news report in the Pasadena Sun, Councilman Steve Madison said at a recent City Council meeting that Pasadena should consider a ban on pit bulls within city limits.
His take on the issue is that this particular breed of dog poses an inherent threat to public safety. However, the councilman’s suggestion is not likely to be accepted because California law prevents cities from banning a specific breed of dog.
The councilman’s comments have however gotten city officials talking about proposing laws that place additional requirements on pit bull owners.
The city of San Francisco, for example, requires all pit bulls in the city to be spayed and neutered. That law was adopted after a 12-year-old boy was mauled in 2005 by a pack of pit bulls. San Francisco officials say that law has significantly reduced the number of dog bite incidents involving dangerous or vicious pit bulls in the city.
Statistics Relating to Breeds
Animal and pit bull advocates have consistently argued that such a law would unfairly punish responsible pit bull owners and discriminate against certain breeds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in its last released statistics in 1998 relating to dog attacks and breeds, stated that pit bulls and rottweilers together accounted for 60 percent of fatal dog attacks over a 20-year period.
According to Dogsbite.org, a web site for dog attack victims nationwide, of the 88 fatal dog attacks in the United States in a three-year period between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, 59 percent or 52 incidents involved pit bulls followed by Rottweilers (14 percent), American bulldog and Husky (5 percent each).
Dog Owners’ Liability
As a California personal injury lawyer who has represented victims of dog attacks, I welcome any attempt made by cities to make dog owners more responsible. Among other things such as getting their pets spayed and neutered, dog owners should also be required to carry liability insurance so a victim does not have to bear the expenses and losses related to his or her injuries.
Our dog bite attorneys have seen first-hand the damage a pit bull can cause as opposed to any other breed of dog. Victims who are attacked by pit bulls, especially a pack of pit bulls, suffer major injuries including puncture wounds, broken bones, disfigurement and even nerve damage. Statistics show that pit bulls are the most likely breed to be involved in fatal dog attacks. Cities should take action to ensure that innocent victims are protected and dog owners are held responsible for the actions of their pets.