City Councilman Learns the Folly of Breed-Specific Dog Bans


Aaron Rochester, a city councilman in Sioux City, Iowa, who led an effort to get pit bulls banned in the city is now appealing to prevent his own dog from being euthanized after it apparently bit a neighbor. His dog? A Labrador.

It's just an anecdote, but it's illustrative of the problems with breed-specific legislation. Bad owners create bad dogs, regardless of the dog's lineage. Bans on pit bulls don't prevent dog fighting, nor do they prevent people from raising vicious dogs. They just ensure that dogs fitting the pit bull description will be vicious, because the well-bred lines will be discontinued and good owners will stop raising them. Meanwhile, people who raise dogs for fighting will simply move on to another breed.

Moreover, the term pit bull isn't really a breed at all. It's a generic term that can and has been applied to just about any dog with bulldog and/or terrier traits (take the pit bull test here). The American Kennel Club-recognized breed that's generally associated with the term is the American Staffordshire Terrier. And the vast, vast majority of staffies are harmless (they're actually considered a child-friendly breed).

I hope Rochester's dog isn't put down, and instead sent to a trainer. But Rochester ought pay the approriate damages to his neighbor and perhaps take a couple of dog-rearing classes before he's allowed to own another dog. Maybe he'll even learn from all of this why specific breeds aren't the problem.

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  1. You’re expecting a legislator to learn something? I never pegged you for the pie-in-the-sky type, Radley.

  2. i usually agree with radley balko, but this piece doesn’t make any sense. did sioux city ban labradors? if not, then the fact that this one particular labrador is in trouble is a non sequitur.

    oh, and i support banning pit bulls, because i’m tired of reading about mauled children.

  3. i’m tired of reading about mauled children

    I’ll trade you a pit bull ban for a repeal of children’s helmet laws. Deal?

  4. If I ever have a female dog I am so naming her Karma.

  5. bruce, maybe you ought to learn how to read. The points that Radley made were:

    1) not all pit bulls are dangerous dogs
    2) not all dangerous dogs are pit bulls

  6. Or “Life”

  7. oh, and i support banning pit bulls, because i’m tired of reading about mauled children.

    Again, it isn’t the breed, it’s how the dog is raised.

    Any dog raised to be aggressive is going to be a threat to “maul children.” Ban all dogs that could be described as pit bulls, and people will raise Rottweilers and Dogo Argentinos in the same manner.

    Hold the owner responsible, not the breed.

  8. Staffie’s are about the sweetest, gentlest non-aggressive animals you could come up with. Which is why they are so popular with families. Your toddler, can yank on a staffies ears and tails, bite it, ride it around, even take food from it’s mouth, and the staffie will just sit there with a dumb happy-to-have the attention look. The worst danger is your child will end up smelling like dog slobber from getting licked so much.

  9. Bruce this might explain it better.

    “Last year, Rochester led the council’s controversial effort to ban future ownership of pit bulls in Sioux City. Rochester supported his position with Animal Control reports showing that type of dog is the most apt to bite people.”

  10. Aaron Rochester is a dog racist.

  11. Hold the owner responsible

    I’ve seen some of those owners on Spike TV.
    They should be put down, if only for their stubborn devotion to their mullets.

  12. Chihuahua’s – now those vicious little fuckers ought to be banned…

  13. Bans on pit bulls are the same as bans on many other things – shortcuts to avoid dealing with complicated issues. Most people proposing bans are actually saying “I don’t like this, I don’t want to think about it, I just want it to go away.”

    Bans are also dramatic. They make for better slogans for activists to shout at people who disagree with them. “Ban the Bomb” is from my era. Sounds much more decisive than “Enter a long, complicated series of delicate negotiations aimed at gradually reducing the number of thermonuclear weapons in the arsenals of historically and ideologically diverse countries.”

  14. oh, and i support banning pit bulls, because i’m tired of reading about mauled children.

    If I ever have a female dog I am so naming her Karma.

    Or “Life”

    Or, if she’s little, bruce.

  15. Chihuahua’s – now those vicious little fuckers ought to be banned…

    Now THAT is a ban I could get behind. Those little bastards are MEAN!

  16. Can we just have a ban on making them wear clothes? For humanity’s sake?

  17. Let’s not forget that the horror stories about pits are produced by, wait for it, journalists.

    Why on earth would you believe that a given dog attack was committed by a pit? Because you read it in the paper?

    Most journalists don’t know dick about dog breeds. What they do know is that “Pit Bull Mauls Child” is a headline they want over their byline.

  18. Oh, and as the proud owner of two rescued pits, bringing my lifetime total to six, I totally concur with domo’s take on Staffies.

    Once you’ve gone Staff, you can’t go back.

  19. Having, at one time, been a newspaper journalist, I can tell you that if a story came into our newsroom about a Lab/any other breed biting a child, it wouldn’t get a sniff.

    If the breed could even loosely be described as a “pit bull,” it would most likely have been front page news.

  20. I may be creating a monster here, but do certain elements ever pursue a *serious* “breedist” approach?

  21. domo, how about a ban on misusing apostrophes? Dick.

  22. I often thought that dog owners ought to have licenses according to the size of their breed.

  23. I don’t agree with banning them, either.

    However, “its the owner not the dog” only goes so far. Pit bulls often have the physical ability to kill. Labradors generally do not.

    True, a lab or golden retriever or poodle might bite you or even “maul” you. But compared to dogs and people that I’ve seen mauled by pit bulls, there is really no comparison. Spend six hours in the waiting room of your local emergency vet this Saturday, and you’ll see my point quite vividly.

  24. As usual, well said Radley. Balko provides an invaluable service…No other area should be more concerning to anyone who values liberty and freedom than law enforcment, since while it’s bad to be denied a permit to sell hot dogs on the street, the government is at is most oppressive when they use force on folks to lock up and possibly kill them…

  25. However, “its the owner not the dog” only goes so far. Pit bulls often have the physical ability to kill. Labradors generally do not.

    Sorry, but this is nonsense.

    Pit bulls have strong jaw muscles compared to hunting dogs like Labs, but Labs can still kill any unarmed human that they have a reason to.

    The 85 pound Lab I grew up with nearly killed a guest one Chrstmas. She took the arm clean off of his military parka in less than 10 seconds. Had he been wearing just a shirt, he would have died from blood loss before we would have been able to do anything about it.

    Any dog that weighs more than 70 pounds or so can kill a human without even trying very hard.

    My Chihuahua, on the other hand, is the friendliest dog that I have ever owned.

  26. domo, how about a ban on misusing apostrophes? Dick.

    What am I, a fucking english major now!? You ought to know that I can’t spell/use grammer worth crap!

  27. My Chihuahua, on the other hand, is the friendliest dog that I have ever owned.

    You are obviously not kicking it enough.

  28. Still workin’ out the repercussions of “Pit bulls don’t maul people; *people* with pit bulls maul people.”

  29. My Chihuahua, on the other hand, is the friendliest dog that I have ever owned.

    You are obviously not kicking it enough.

    Domo, I would say that a friendly Chihuahua is one that has been kicked enough. Enough to break its natural viciousness.

  30. “Labs can still kill any unarmed human that they have a reason to”

    Hence the use of the term “generally” above. Labs have killed people, as have pomeranians. However, if a lab, pom, and pit were to each have equally heinous owners, the dog most statistically likely to harm someone, by a long shot, is going to be the pit.

    Or, stated by Clifton, Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006:

    “If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed–and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.”

  31. Kyle – so do rights rest on statistics now? I mean, guess what? When the meathead at the gym has a “bad moment” at the bar, he’s more likely to kill or disfigure someone than little ol’ me will if I have a bad moment. Does that mean you should have to get a license to lift?

  32. I have a 95 pound lab. If you are ever around me and the dog, you’ll agree its the friendliest animal you’ve ever met.

    But I’ve seen him when he feels threatened or the need to defend, and I’d wager he’d kill you as fast as any 95 pound animal could if given the chance.

  33. Kyle, on your argument, guns, and heck, most cars, would be banned. I mean, a guy having a bad day can certainly do more damage with a car than horse and buggy.

  34. TAO,

    not that I agree with Kyle, but I’m not sure I think dog ownership is a right.

  35. Yo queiro Taco Bell?

  36. TAO – not to mention the educated. I mean, a survivalist with trained in knowledge of guns and explosives would be much more dangerous than your average person.

    Maybe you should have to get licensed to to obtain any type of education. Or any knowledge for that matter.

    Govt. can firewall the entire internet and to gain access to information, you have to apply for a permit. Wouldn’t want anyone to be at a greater risk to other than any other person.

  37. domo – err, what is it then? A government-granted privilege?

  38. but I’m not sure I think dog ownership is a right.


  39. animals are property. The right to property is (tautologically speaking) a right.

    Case closed.

  40. It is worth pointing out again that ‘pit bull’ is not a breed of dog, but a very broad, very loose designation. Most legal definitions of ‘pit bull’ in breed bans name at least three discrete dog breeds, then go on to include mixes of those breeds, and–here’s the big one–any dog with ‘a majority of characteristics’ of any of those breeds. (Please go read a breed standard and tell me how you quantify a ‘majority of characteristics’ of that.)

    People are strongly disposed toward IDing mean dogs as ‘pit bulls,’ so if you actually look at some of the dogs involved in well publicized attacks, you’ll see a lot of Labs, Boxers, bulldogs, and other breeds being called pit bulls just because they bit someone.

  41. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a proponant of the ban, for exactly the reasons Mr. Balko outlines.

    I really do f—ing hate pit bulls though, and for that matter, rottweilers. I used to have a rottweiler, and as friendly as it was, it got plain mean when visitors came over unexpected. That was after I had the dog put through two years of dog socialization and obedience classes, as well as daily exercise and dog-park time.

    I’ll stick with my yellow lab now, who prefers lick unexpected guests.

    Can a rotty or pit be non-violent? Of course, which is why a ban is non-sense. But the facts are simple- some breeds are more prone to aggression and attacks than others.

  42. Aaron Rochester owned a pit bull and didn’t even know it (see picture #8 in the pit bull test).

    domo, you have to watch out for a Staffie’s tail. I don’t think it ever stops and whips back and forth with such force it could leave bruises.

  43. TAO,

    I obviously agree that animals are property, and that people have a right to their property. However, animals present a special case in that they are capable of doing damage independantly of their owners action. I think that reasonable regulation is probably acceptable. In any case, your right to own a dog is lower down that my right to not get bitten. This is a terrible discussion to have using pitbulls which are usually really sweet, so do the math using my pet tiger instead.

  44. domo – isn’t that true of children? And I am disappointed to see that you used the “my right NOT to be X” to try to “trump” the right to own a dog.

    I have the right to own a dog. you have the right not to be attacked. These two things are not in conflict with each other. After all, you have the right not to be killed by a car, but that doesn’t mean you can claim that car ownership is a nonright.

  45. I have two staffies that come to my office every few days. both (60 lbs each) try to get in my lap at once – it’s like a shopping bag full of kittens. huge, slobbery kittens.

  46. I often thought that dog owners ought to have licenses according to the size of their breed.

    Good in theory, but impossible in practice. With pure bred dogs you can make a reasonable guess as to how large a puppy will grow, but with mixed breed dogs, particularly those of unknown parentage, this is impossible to guess with any accuracy. Also, weight is hugely dependent on how much and how well the owners feed and exercise the dog.

  47. I see your point here, and I am willing to be wrong in principle. But going to my tiger example – if I walked around the neighborhood with Mufasa, you wouldn’t say that the potential risk to the people in the neighborhood was great enough to overwhelm my individual right to own the tiger? I can’t control the tiger if it goes apeshit and starts tearing people, so doesn’t my walking around with him violate peoples rights at some level just by the level of risk?

    This is an argument that is often used to ban guns – and I do not accept it in those cases, because guns don’t shoot themselves. But animals, to my mind MAY present a grey area.

  48. and FWIW, I don’t consider ANY dog breed to be possessed of a level of risk like that. I am speaking generally to the question of “is all animal ownership an overriding property right” now.

  49. domo – I think once you talk about “violating people’s rights” based on statistics, you’ve lost the war. After all, isn’t that the same logic behind the Drug War? That the “odds are” that you’re going to lose control?

  50. My basset hound preferred to lick his nether regions, THEN kiss unexpected guests.

  51. I’m not a black and white adherent to rights – mostly because I recognize how peoples legitimate rights can conflict. I know there are purists here who are going to say “rights can never conflict, if they do, one of them is not a right” or “there is no conflict that can’t be resolved with strict liability and payment of damages” – but I’m not an anarchist, I think minimally invasive public safety regulation is a legitimate use of government power. In the case of a tiger, I’m ok with the government saying “that’s really dangerous, you can’t have one of those and walk around with it on a leash.”

  52. I see your point here, and I am willing to be wrong in principle. But going to my tiger example…

    Which is a really bad example. We’re talking about dogs here, not tigers. Dogs as a class are domesticated, tigers are not. This is an important difference.

  53. I don’t think the drug war analogy holds up – I use drugs that may harm me, if I lose control, I am a) hurting myself, not you or b) assuming I go apeshit and hurt someone am still a legal entity that can be punished for my moral turpitude – not so much the tiger.

  54. Which is a really bad example. We’re talking about dogs here, not tigers. Dogs as a class are domesticated, tigers are not. This is an important difference.

    Fair enough, but I already stipulated that at 4:20. So then my response is: Is dog ownership a right, but tiger ownership not? Is the distinction, then, that of domestication? What about wolves which are genetically identical to dogs? How about 1/2 wolves? How about wild animals that are nevertheless harmless?

    What rule would you propose?

  55. There’s no need for a pit bull ban, if nothing else then because that’s someone that private industry can handle. Or am I the only person who has had, or knows someone who has had, trouble getting home insurance because of owning a pit bull-type dog?

  56. Aaron Rochester should be euthanized, after all his dog bit a neighbor.

  57. Oh, and as the proud owner of two rescued pits, bringing my lifetime total to six…

    R.C., good on ya. My wife works in a shelter, and the pit types are really hard to place.

    I own a APBT and just love him. He’s probably the most loving and fun-loving dog I have ever owned. But I wouldn’t leave him alone with children. Children are great at finding a dogs “on” switch, not so good at finding the off button.

    Of course, I wouldn’t leave children alone with any of the dogs I’ve owned. Not even my previous dog, a bullmastiff. Bullmastiffs are really, really hard to piss off, even for a kid, but the downside is just too ugly.

    The American Kennel Club-recognized breed that’s generally associated with the term is the American Staffordshire Terrier.

    Hmm. I think they are becoming distinct bloodlines, although there is much in common.
    Some would say only American Pit Bull Terriers are “pit bulls”. The AKC and the UKC are at odds regarding this. In my experience, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a bit shorter and wider, not quite as good for a running companion. Some say Staffies are a bit more easy going than the APBT, but my wife used to have a Staffie and our experience was the opposite. YMMV.

  58. “domo – isn’t that true of children?”

    Er, yes.

    And we don’t consider children property, do we?

    I’m curious as to what “makes” animals property. Wide-spread and long standing agreement? Magic words? Because if that’s it, I got some other “rights” you guys are gonna love…

  59. In fact, we don’t think parents have some inalienable “right” to their kids in any sense, unless anyone here wants to argue that we can’t forcibly take a child from obviously abusive parents.

    Bad analogy, TAO, bad!

  60. One doesn’t require an enumerated right in order to own a dog. I think we lose perspective on where right abide.

    I don’t even license my dogs – why should I have to request permission from the state/county/city to have a dog? I take better care of my mutts than anyone I know of and a permission slip from a city bureaucrat won’t change that – neither will it change those who don’t take care of their dogs.


  61. Karl-

    As far as I know, the prerequisit to a dog license is not responsible ownership. It is a method for the city to keep track of dog ownership, pay for catching stray dogs, and insure that bubba’s dog doesn’t have rabies.

    By your rationale, good drivers wouldn’t need license plates.

  62. Big B, Publius and others have posted that 70 pound labs and 95 pound labs can easily kill a person. Yes, but a healthy, adult male who knows how to defend himself should be able to put those dogs to sleep-after all, the healthy adult male is probably a lot bigger and smarter.

  63. You should be held liable for the damgages caused if and when your tiger goes on a rampage. Don’t punish the people who’s tiger never hurt anyone during its life time.

  64. > Maybe you should have to get licensed to to obtain any type of education. Or any knowledge for that matter.

    Bite your tongue! On second thought, never mind — this is one of them “irrational logical fallacies” since you’d have to have *some* knowledge in order to obtain the license. Ha ha!

  65. Kyle – I agree with the “reductio ad absurdum” you are attempting with the license plate example. I don’t think drivers should be required to have license plates.

    On the more immediate issue of dog ownership – why does the city have the right to track dog ownership? What business of it is theirs whether I own a dog or not? I though we had a system that did not pre-suppose guilt – ie. I pay to have my dogs tracked privately to ensure that, in the unlikely case they get out, I can find them before they come to harm. I pay to keep them up to date on their shots because I’m very interested in their well-being. If my dogs go stray or get rabies and I don’t take care of it, then punish me. Don’t presuppose guilt.

  66. er, MNG, it’s not an inalienable right to “own” children, but you do have an inalienable right to have children.

  67. Compromise!

    Dogs are rightless property, and they’re also dangerous in a way that’s significantly outside their owners’ control, so anyone who feels like it can lawfully contract for the assassination of your dog, and you’ll receive its depreciated replacement value in Extenze coupons.

  68. I work one day a week at a large animal shelter. I’m really a cat person (a preemptive “screw you” to the inevitable cat haters), but pits have become one of my favorite types of dog. I can’t imagine living with one because of their boundless energy, but, in general, they’re big, goofy joy machines. Rottweilers, on the other hand….

  69. What rule would you propose?

    You can own any animal you want.

    If you lose control of it and does damage, you are responsible for the damage it does.

    If it is threatening or attacking someone, they have the right to gun it down on the spot.

    If it has a history of threatening or attacking people, it is a public nuisance and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Is that so hard?

  70. Yes, the analogy of one’s rights to have children and to own dogs is not a very apt one. In fact, they are not about the same thing at all…That’s kind of my point though, right?

  71. “If you lose control of it and does damage, you are responsible for the damage it does.”

    One problem with this is one can only address the problem after damage has occurred. And we have to go through all of this because of rights or magic or something…It’s a pretty common problem in Libertopia though…

  72. RC Dean,

    yeah, but I was asking Tonio: he thinks dogs are fine, but tigers aren’t – I was inviting him to explain what rule he would use to draw the line.

  73. It also assumes that the person doing the damages will be able to pay, or that damages will somehow make the family feel better that their loved one died.

  74. MNG – You say problem, I say feature. Yes, problems should be addressed after the damage has occurred, not before things go pear shaped. That way lies tyranny. It won’t happen today, nor probably tomorrow, and dog licensing is not the tipping point. But it is a symptom. One day you wake up and what is not expressly permitted is expressly verboten (as I tip-toe cleverly along to the Godwin line). In the real world, you end up with crotchety people like me yelling “Get out of my swamp!” and everyone else getting on with their “reasonable” restrictions, shaking their heads knowingly at the silly absolutists – but without the crotchety, in the limit, reasonable approaches tyranny.

  75. Karl
    I get your point. Punishing people for “capacities” or “likelihoods” for bad things is a bad path to go down.

    But I also worry about never being able to act to prevent a harm, and in a case where somebody is doing something wrong anyway I don’t mind. For example, a regulation that says that you can’t serve rancid meat to an unknowing customer. Doing that is wrong whether the guy who eats it got sick or not, so I don’t mind a regulatin that would fine someone for doing that before damage was done.

    Now, my opposition to dog bans is that such a small % of any breed causes damage that you would be punishing every owner for the negligence of about 1%. If the owners are the problem banning the dogs seems like a stupid way to get to the problem (potential or after the fact)

  76. There’s a Bully Bash here in St. Louis. I have some pictures of a small child hanging off a staffies ears and sitting on a Bull Mastiff that was the size of a Honda Civic. At least 100 bull dogs, terriers, mastiffs, dobbies, and other dogs (including “snacks,” the lil’ guys like chihuahuas) all running around and I didn’t see one snarl. Lots of barks and playing, but no aggression.

    People make the dog. There is something to having a bull headed working dog regardless of breed. But anyone that understands you have to be the one in charge has no issues.

    Dent county here has a kill law. There are two rescue shelters that take the dogs and bring them to St. Louis County to find them homes. Some hard working people with little funding right there. It’s basically two ma and pa outfits.

  77. If you have privy to what a Labrador or another breed can do as far as killing goes you would change your mind as Labs, Jack Russels, and various other breeds can and do kill and more often then we realize. There have benn three incidents in North American and the Uk where Jack rs hav killed children and there have been incidents in the Us where Labradors have killed several times. This is reality, not fiction.

  78. I was doing some research once into wolf hybrids (I really want a couple, but don’t have the space), and someone bred a grey wolf with some kind of mastiff. The thing looked like a small bear and if I remember correctly weighed around 285 lbs or something like that. According to the owners it was the friendliest animal on the planet. It was incredible.

  79. If only pit bulls attacks and maulings caused so little injury! “The neighbor suffered a scratch to his right leg as he tried to push the dog away, some marks on his chest and bites to his thumb that required five stitches at a hospital emergency room.”

  80. One problem with this is one can only address the problem after damage has occurred. And we have to go through all of this because of rights or magic or something…It’s a pretty common problem in Libertopia though..

    This is a foundation issue with progressives; they feel compelled to regulate all human endeavors to ensure that nothing bad can ever happen to anyone.

    For libertarians; regulation equals prior restraint. Prior restraint is bad and must only be used in the most compelling circumstances. Dog ownership is not one of those compelling circumstances.

  81. kinnath,

    I’d agree with you – but some were arguing that NO circumstances are compelling enough to justify prior restraint. That only actual damages should serve as a trigger for restraint. I still say – no tigers.

  82. “Prior restraint is bad.” kinmath, you should have left it at that. The moment we accept the ole “except in the most compelling circumstances” rationale, tyranny wins.

  83. Bruce, thank you for making it easy to see your ignorance.

    First off, there is no such thing as a ‘pit bull” that is an umbrella term used as stated above to cover a multitude dogs from a similar breed line. Boxers fall under “pit”

    I Own a Boxer and a pit mix. i keep them both leashed and on lock down. Not to protect you from them.

    But to protect MY dogs from people like you.
    “pits” aren’t the only dogs that”maul” children. While the statistics at “dog bite” are interesting. they are not accurate. 90% of the reports of “pit Bull bites” are inaccurate breed recognition. thats like saying…I don’t know he looked Arab. Ok…that doesn’t narrow it down.

    Go take the dog identification test.

    I can personally name about 85% of the dogs on that list with out looking at their names.

    Why becasue I am a educated dog owner and studied in animal husbandry.

    Stop blaming the animals, and pin the owners.

    All dogs bite, anything with a mouth has the potential to bite. And when people start treating dogs like dogs, and not their baby, or baby sitter. We will have less dog bites all around.

    And by the way, small dogs have a higher incidence in bites than large breeds.

  84. One of our cats has mauled the shit out of my foot, at 3am no less. I’m thinking of having it put down.

  85. Actually, I highly doubt that Mr. Rochester trained his dog to be aggressive and to bite. He’s probably not a horrible dog owner, but he had the misfortune to get a lab who wasn’t typical of the breed. Labs that bite are rare, but they certainly exist, just as labs who hate the water and who hate swimming are not typical of the breed but they exist.

    Pit bulls are BRED for a propensity to race across a pit, attack without provocation and keep on attacking until their adversary is dead. Not surprisingly, they kill people a whole lot more than labs do.

  86. Have you guys ever seen the damage the animal called a human is capable of,weight is not even an issue all he needs is a gun,knife, the steering wheel of a motor vehicle after a good bottle of bourbon,some of these creatures only need a box of matches to wreak unholy havoc,buy a newspaper from any city in the world and you will see what I mean WoW.
    These creatures should definitely be banned.

  87. Dogcentric, did you even bother reading the links in the article? Even when the majority were being bred for fighting/baiting, any dogs that showed aggression towards humans were culled. A human, unknown to the dog, could walk into the middle of the fight, pick up a dog, and hand him over to the owner without being bitten. Any dogs that did bite were killed.

    Bullies do have a very strong bite. Once they get fixated on something, it is hard to break that fixation. They have a very high pain tolerance. All that said, they are also very trainable, and very eager to please humans. Are they dangerous? No more so than any dog. Where they get in trouble is that when they do decide to bite, they can do a great deal of damage. But so can any number of dogs.

    I have two bully mixes, and they are very sweet dogs. That said, I take no chances with them – they are always on a short leash or in a fenced yard with supervision. When we take them to the dog park I keep a close eye on both them and the other dogs, and I know when danger is brewing.

    I am a firm believer that responsible owner=responsible dog. Careless owner=dangerous dog.

  88. If it is threatening or attacking someone, they have the right to gun it down on the spot.

    According to Mr. Balko, a lot of cops agree with you.

  89. Very interesting, the comment about pit bulls being the animal with the most incidents of biting is incorrect. The dog who has the most incidents of dog bites it the German Shepard. I remember the days when people took responsibility for the actions of their children and animals. My neighbor call once to tell us that our doxie had bit her son. Well she did not call to complain about the dog bite she called to have her son apologize for being in our back yard throwing rocks at our dog. Maybe each individual case needs to be investigated, even a docile dog will finally get tired of being abused.

  90. I like the fact you mentioned about the people who are fighting these breeds are going to continue to do so and continue to breed their dogs for those reasons which is a great point I have not thought of. But I do not feel 1 bit sorry for Rodchester, his family or the dog! It hurts me to say that but the fact of the matter is that Mr. Rodchester took this pitbull ban and ran it through the coucil as quickly as possible while citizens tryed to plead their case. They have know knowlege of what a “vicious” dog is and I asked on many occasions which “professionals” they consult and no one felt the need to answer any of my questions. Also the city coucil had no reguard to the little kids and families who cried and who were worried sick to hear an outcome of their ordinance. And the city had no remorse for the lady that had her 2 pits taken by animal control and put down in the same day. . . Notbecause they were “vicious”. But because they were pitbulls who were not registered by the 1st deadline they set. Then like what 2 weeks later they reopen the registeration for people who didn’t get their dogs registerd. Over 300 dogs were registered the 2nd time if that gives everyone an idea on how quickly this ordinance was thrown together and how much notice were givin to this city’s citizens. And in Rodchesters own words . . . “A bites, a bite”. I encourage all who has read this article to google “sioux city pit” and encourage you to read articles that include many ignorant statements about these breeds made but our councilmen. Its rediculious and saddens to say I’m from sioux city. In addition to Mr. Balko’s statement about not putting the dog down I disagree. It does need to be because anyone else in this city wouldn’t get the dicision overturned and be offered training as a consiquence . . . Regular citizens would be lucky for their dog to stay alive for the time period they say you get to oppeal to the courts because animal control is known for “accidently” putting dogs down.

  91. Bruce: You are an idiot if you can’t see the relationship between BSL and this incident. A non-sequitur? I believe you should look up the word. Moron.

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