Thursday, September 29, 2011


I just finished a letter to the editor of my local paper proposing that the City Council should consider an ordinance requiring owners of dogs with a reputation for attacking people and other dogs to carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.  What prompted this letter was the recent proliferation in my neighborhood of pit bull owners.  Just today, one of these dog owners was walking 2 pit bulls and another large dog in front of the building where I live.  When they spotted a guy walking his beagle, the pit bulls went berserk trying to get at them and the woman had to sit down on the curb to restrain them.  Even then, they turned on one another.  I couldn't help but think what an attack by these dogs would do to someone on blood thinners, like myself or to someone elses small child or small pet.  God help the guy if he'd been just a little closer, at the very least the beagle would have been toast.  It has gotten so bad that I'm always nervous when walking my 5 lb. chihuahua.  He's already been attacked 3 times by large dogs.  Each time I've managed to retrieve him just in the nick of time.  I don't know how well I'd fair against a couple of pits, I'm thinking not good. 

In the town where I grew up, they started having a lot of problems with people not keeping control over their dogs, so they passed an ordinance requiring the dog owners of certain breeds, with reputations for dog attacks, to carry $150,000 in liability insurance and to muzzle their dogs any time they took them out in public.  Even then they continued to have so many problems, it got to the point the city banned pit bulls entirely. 

I like dogs and I think you should be able to have any dog you choose, but I also think you should be responsible and accountable for your pet.  If you choose to own a dog with a reputation for vicious attacks, then you should be responsible enough to carry insurance if something bad were to happen.

For those of you who own pit bulls and would argue your dog would never do such a thing, I say tell that to the little kid who was attacked in front of my sister's house by the neighbors pit bull, or to the mail man in a nearby city who is undergoing extensive plastic surgery for being viciously mauled by 2 pit bulls on his route.  Or explain that to the guy in southeast Missouri who barely survived when his four pit bulls turned on him and nearly killed him.  He'd had his dogs for several years and had never had a problem.  Then ask yourself, what if my child were mauled by a pit bull or by my own dog?  How many of these stories do we have to hear?  Face it, some dogs have a reputation because they've EARNED IT.

So, in my opinion all dog owners should be required to carry liability insurance.  If you can't afford the insurance then you most likely shouldn't own a dog in the first place.  It would be financially irresponsible to be unable to pay for any damages caused by your pet.  My dog could turn on somebody some day, but I think I could afford to pay any damages caused by my 5 lb. chihuahua.  Can you say the same about your dog?

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