Indianapolis, IN - Caress Garten, the author of On Behalf of Innocents, and the victim of a vicious dog attack, has written an editorial to the Indianapolis Star. In case the paper does not publish it, she shared it with DogsBite.org. In the past week, several violent pit bull attacks have occurred in Indiana, including the fatal attack of 62-year old Chester R. Jordan. In her letter, Garten provides an honest solution to the pit bull problem: mandatory spay/neuter and a $100,000 insurance policy per pit bull.
Pit Bull AttackBy Caress Garten, The Indianapolis Star
November 9, 2008
"Last Monday an Indianapolis hero, who should be honored, was seriously injured, risking his life to save a woman being attacked by pit bulls. The week before an elderly man in Muncie was killed by pit bulls. Fines and citations were issued to those who harbored the dogs. The odds are great they will not have the financial ability to pay any fines. However, Indiana has a dangerous dog law IC 15-5-12-3. According to newspaper accounts of the maulings here in Indianapolis this state law applies and would send the harborer of the dogs to jail.
The larger issue of the pit bull remains a problem for Indianapolis. A tiny minority of very vocal pit bull advocates always step forward with the lamentation, "It's the irresponsible owner, not the dog." Two years ago our city county council was exposed to this litany where the dog loving pit bull owners, dog fighters, dubious pit bull breeders, groups with financial interests in protecting the dog, all held hands to intimidate anyone who wanted any kind of reasonable discussion and restriction on the pit bull. Two-year old Amaya Hess, who had recently been horribly mauled with near fatal injuries, didn't count for much with these people.
The facts haven't changed. The only reason the pit bull exists is to fight and kill other dogs. Dog fighting is now a felony in all fifty states. According to the Humane Society of the United States dog fighters for the last twenty-two years have given away their second rate and human aggressive pits instead of killing the dogs. Now we continue to have a proliferation of dangerous dogs across the country.
Labrador Retrievers love the water. It is a genetic trait for the dog to accomplish the job for which it was bred. Pit bulls have the genetic traits for its job to kill other dogs. The pit bull is unpredictable, has great pain tolerance, very strong jaws with the ability to hang on the victim. This trait is called "gameness" by the fighter causing massive bodily damage. One generation away from the fighter a pit bull tends to lose only dog on dog aggression. However, pit bulls remain highly prey driven attacking humans, dogs, cats, horses and livestock. There is not a pit bull owner living that can guarantee their well loved, socialized, seemingly docile pit bull, will remain that way for its entire life. Many pit bull attacks involve their own family members.
The pit mixes, along with the pure bred American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier (same dog just different names) have fatality rates epidemically higher than any other breed tracked over decades. These fatalities are emblematic of the number of serious maulings by the pit bull. Their behavioral traits have a higher likelihood of causing more severe injuries or death. Many breeders of fighting dogs are criminals. They have no interest in a kinder gentler pit bull. Even pups of a legitimate breeder may eventually have to be put down due to aggression.
Why does Indianapolis continue to risk the lives of its people when cities our size and larger have made laws to restrict this dog?
In June, Little Rock, Arkansas began to spay/neuter the pit bull in that city. Their ordinance was created with the help of the Humane Society of the United States. Omaha, Nebraska began its own restrictions in October, Sioux City, Iowa in July. What constitutes a pit bull is defined legally in these ordinances. Daily in Indianapolis someone at animal control is selecting which dogs are pit bulls because the city does not adopt out pit bulls. There is no constitutional right to own a pit bull, which was confirmed again by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Restrictions are successful in lowering the high mauling and fatality rate of the pit bull. This is easily proven by contacting cities, speaking to authorities, and looking at their bite rates.
Indianapolis needs to have mandatory spay/neuter for pit bulls and other fighting dog breeds banned around the world. I encourage the city council to revisit Dr. Scott Robinsons' spay/neuter proposal for pit bulls in Indianapolis. This plan is humane and with determined enforcement would be successful. Owners of pit bulls should carry by law at least 100,000 dollars in liability insurance. Most pit bull victims receive no monetary compensation from the dog owner while suffering horrendous injury. Responsible pit bull owners often state these two requirements are mandatory.
The public safety committee of our city county council needs to revisit the problems of dangerous dogs. This slaughter of human beings and innocent animals will continue. Fines will remain ineffective for people who have nothing to lose. Our ordinance remains weak. I encourage clergy, the Deputy Mayor for Neighborhoods Olgen Williams, doctors, nurses, all those who will speak for the poor to ask Mayor Ballard and our council to protect these victims who are typically forgotten. The public may learn more by visiting www.dogsbite.org a site dedicated to victims of dangerous dogs for which I am a contributor."
11/07/08: 2 Adults Severely Attacked by Pit Bulls in Indianapolis
11/02/08: 2008 Fatality: 62-Year Old Muncie Man Killed by Pit Bulls
09/14/08: Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results
02/26/08: United States Supreme Court Leaves Intact Ohio Supreme...