pit bull attack and maul small dog, killed in self defense

Posted on 28. Jul, 2015 by in Bull Attack

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Learn what encompasses a breed-specific law, the dog breeds that are most often targeted, how cities enforce these laws and answers to other frequently asked questions.
Q: What is a breed-specific law (BSL)?

A breed-specific law is a type of dangerous dog law. It is defined as any ordinance or policy that pertains to a specific dog breed or breeds, but does not affect any others. Proponents of breed-specific laws seek to limit public exposure to dangerous dogs by regulating ownership of these breeds. The objective of breed-specific laws is to prevent future attacks before an occurrence.

Dangerous dog laws that are non breed-specific punish a dog owner after an attack and subsequently leave new victims in their wake. The trend in the U.S. and across the world is to regulate a class of dogs that have a genetic propensity to attack so that first attacks by them can be avoided. First attacks by pit bulls, for instance, almost always result in severe injury.
Q: What kinds of dogs are included in these laws?

Breed-specific laws were invented to regulate pit bulls. This class of dogs is comprised of several breeds, including: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier. The American bulldog can also be classified within this group; the two breeds share a common gene pool and are close cousins. The breed standard for the American bulldog, Scott-type, was developed by crossing early Johnson lines with the American pit bull terrier.1

Though pit bulls are by far the most popular “fighting breed,” several U.S. cities have expanded breed-specific laws to incorporate additional fighting breeds, including: dogo argentino, tosa (tosa inu), fila brasileiro (Brazilian mastiff), cane corso, presa canario and presa mallorquin. Yet, these instances are rare. The focal point of breed-specific laws revolves around pit bulls. This is because this class of dogs is the most common and negatively impacts communities the most.

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Q: I own a German shepherd; will my dog be regulated next?

Pit bull advocates and humane organizations often use scare tactics to help gain support for their cause. They say if pit bulls are banned today, German shepherds and cocker spaniels will be banned tomorrow. The former Dog Warden for Lucas County, Ohio, Tom Skeldon, was the most recognized authority in the U.S. concerning pit bull regulations during his tenure. In a 2005 article, Skeldon highlights this scare tactic: “Some humane groups have been manipulated by these pit bull factions to where they fight breed-specific legislation using scare tactics like ‘your breed will be next.’ And for 13 years, their breed hasn’t been next.”7

Communities that enact breed-specific laws usually do because a single class of dogs — pit bulls — constitutes a small percent of the registered dog population but commits a large number of bites. This is further compounded by the fact that many pit bull bites result in severe injury. The rational basis for regulating pit bulls, as opposed to any other breed, is that selective breeding has produced a dog with bite and attack traits unlike any other dog.

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pit bull attack small dog, shot dead by responsible victim dog owner

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