Friday, December 10, 2010

No place for vicious dogs

From Aiken Standard

Pit bulls don't get much good PR, and this week was no exception.

A dog attacked an Aiken man this week, biting him on the arms, legs and chest and, most disturbingly, biting off one of the man's toes.

The man, who fortunately survived the attack, was able to force the dog into a pen. When animal control officers arrived and tried to collar the animal, it attacked the pole they were using. Ultimately, the dog had to be tranquilized.

On Wednesday, it was determined that the dog was not licensed and did not have a rabies vaccine. There is only one way to test an animal for rabies, and that does not involve a live dog. The dog was euthanized and is being tested for rabies.

That said, even had the dog been vaccinated, euthanasia was the only acceptable decision. A vicious dog capable of mauling someone as this one did is a ticking time bomb. What if the victim had been a small child or an elderly person? We would probably be discussing a far more tragic outcome. Why run the risk of allowing an attack to happen a second time? One strike, you're out.

Defenders of pit bulls say the breed gets a rap. "Blame the deed, not the breed" is the rallying cry for pit bull supporters. That argument has merit. Plenty of sweet, kind pit bulls (and other large dogs) are as suitable as a family pet as a beagle or a Schnauzer. But the deed should be punished, swiftly and certainly.

Additionally, laws should be toughened for anyone who owns a vicious dog that attacks someone. There should be a severe disincentive for anyone who thinks it's a good idea to have an animal capable of such an attack.

The victim this week escaped with his life, thankfully. The next victim may not be so lucky. And when losing a toe is considered a lucky day, you know just how severe it was. 

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