Monday, October 11, 2010

Official Discusses Concern After Latest Dog Attack


Pit bulls have a nasty reputation and have been responsible for some horrific attacks, but the chief dog catcher in Pittsburgh believes that the recent attacks may not be a case of nature, but nurture.

A man was taken to the hospital Sunday evening after a dog attack in Pittsburgh's Arlington Heights section.

"The neighbor's dog went after my boyfriend and ripped his hand apart and tore his shirt, his back; he had scratches and was bleeding everywhere," said Jessica Rieber, the victim's girlfriend. "They just left him out there, just shut the door."

A few days ago, a 6-year-old Allentown boy was mauled in the face.

Pit bulls were blamed in both incidents and the perception may be that Pittsburgh is being overrun by them, but that is not the case.

According to Animal Control, only 5.2 percent of dog licenses are sold to pit bull owners in Pittsburgh.

"If you look at the bites and the context in which it happened, a majority of the time it wasn't really the dog's fault," Pittsburgh Animal Control Supervisor Gerald Akrie said.

Of the 133 animal bites reported so far in 2010, about 40 percent have been from pit bulls.

Those numbers may lead some to say the breed should be banned, but the next breed on the list are Labrador retrievers.

Pit bulls can be aggressive, but Akrie said the person holding the leash is usually responsible for the dog's behavior.

"Most of the time, animals reflect their owners. I guarantee it. As many times – I've been on this department for almost 18 years, you see an aggressive dog, you talk to an owner, you got a knucklehead owner," Akrie said.

The man attacked in Arlington Heights Sunday night was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

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