(Long Island, NY) An East Quogue pit bull mauling has me wondering whether people there have lost their minds. First we have the pit bull owner in question-According to some reports, neighbors complained that the owner seemed to have little control over the animals. Such a notorious breed of dog is looked upon with suspicion in the best of times, the reports of an alleged lack of control of what sane people consider to be potentially dangerous dogs is scary in the extreme.
Then there are the reports that the Southampton Town Justice Court must evaluate the dogs. If the two dogs are deemed dangerous, it has been reported, the dogs could be euthanized or permanently confined.
Er, excuse me? Don’t we have proof enough that these damn animals are dangerous? An unprovoked attack is proof enough for me. Yes, yes, I can hear the cries of ‘due process!” even as I write this. Maybe it wasn’t an unprovoked attack. Maybe that nice couple in their sixties needlessly provoked the dogs by walking down the street and assuming there were no pit bulls running around loose.
Many people love pit bulls. Then there are people like me, who read report after report of maulings, unprovoked attacks and other incidents. What possesses people to own these types of creatures? Does it matter? If you are in possession of a lion, it’s your responsibility to make sure it is properly contained. Ask any zookeeper or circus owner. Why do the owners of particular breeds not take the necessary precautions, especially knowing the awful reputation pit bulls have? It is sheer folly to ignore such a reputation and assume YOUR pit bulls will be nothing but cute and cuddly animals. They’re called ‘precautions’ for a REASON.
All of this is terribly reactionary, it’s true. Still, it seems that a rather large number of incidents where dogs attack innocent people crop up with the owners nowhere to be found until it is too late. Where was the owner in this case? The reports I read don’t indicate where the owner was until after the attack. Why was the owner unable to control the animals? Did they escape? Can an animal bent on escape truly be considered pet material? What the hell is going on in people’s minds?
Pit bulls and other seemingly difficult-to-control breeds may need to be outlawed, if for no other reason than the fact that some owners have ruined it for everyone. It’s the same concept as gun control laws that forbid weapons discharges within the city limits, require licensing and background checks. Rotten apples spoiled unrestricted gun ownership for the rest of us, and now it may be necessary to impose similar restrictions on some breeds of animal. Nobody ever reports a cat going for the jugular of a nice elderly couple. Goldfish have an outstanding record in terms of not being viciously inclined. A lizard owner will never wonder why the animal suddenly bit his face off. We have more than a few breeds of dog where these incidents DO happen. Can we really be expected to accept a continued lack of regulation?