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16 thoughts on “Why Aren't Dangerous Dog Owners Charged With Animal Cruelty? by Dog Lover - Perspectives of Advocates

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  1. Why? Because some local and state laws and statutes are based on the status quo. That is, dangerous canines that maul and kill are the norm. Some local jurisdictions simply accept that dangerous canines will kill and maul other animals and people. The needle pointing at this point on the gauge is what some local jurisdictions accept. Any attempt to move the needle toward less maulings and killings of people and animals is met with fierce official forcible opposition, in some local jurisdictions. In Prescott, Az, dog at large is a criminal offense, but this is close to zero enforced. Basically zero enforcement. The rare exception is when the animal control officer feels threatened by the loose dog, or when the good civilian captures the crime on video. There may be some local jurisdictions where the correct laws exist, and the correct laws are enforced correctly. Tragically, it appears that such almost completely does not exist anywhere.

    • Enforcement is the key here, Richard. Because even the simplest dog laws don’t get enforced. The green strip near my place is ankle-deep in dog sh*t due to lack of enforcement.

      At this point there shouldn’t be a single pitbull that isn’t so old all it’s teeth fell out already, left in Ontario due to BSL.

      Yet here we are.

  2. Did I miss something in the DangerousDog Law. The problem is that it is known that pit bulls are bred to be dangerous. A dog law like the one I read does not prevent the pit bull from killing or maiming a person. Only after the death or maiming is the dog possibly considered to be dangerous. Therefore dozens of people will continue to be mauled to death each year by pit bulls which only after a horror show played out on the body of a human being do they get the designation-dangerous. I’m sure jurisdictions would fight legislation that placed the damage done by a dangerous dogs square on the shoulders of the owners. I believe any owner of a breed like a pit bull, press canaria , cane corso or such that engages in a sustained attack on human being should bear the full criminal charge of malicious wounding or murder or manslaughter. More and more ignorant dog owners are acquiring large dangerous dogs and they don’t have a clue. Others do have a clue but all should be accountable in criminal court not with some silly Animal Control $50. fine. All should be fully liable for all medical expenses and damages as well and incarceration. This wholesale slaughter on human beings by dogs, especially and predictably pit bulls should move to the criminal courts since the states are preempting breed specific legislation. It is an injustice to Victims that is depraved.

    • A model dangerous dog law goes hand-in-hand with a breed-specific ordinance. The two are usually separate, one spells out the definition of a dangerous dog, definition of injuries, hearing process etc, involving all breeds, and the other is the pit bull specific ordinance, like Denver’s model pit bull ban (https://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/model-pit-bull-ordinance.pdf), which spells out the identification, hearing requirements, penalties etc. There is rarely one law as each municipality is governed by the state dangerous dog law, as well as the city’s own ordinance.

  3. Why indeed, DogLover?

    If I pull out a bat and beat your dog to death I will be charged. While the bat is not to blame, the fact that I was carrying the bat around for no sensible reason means I had every intention of harming something.

    Yet, pitbull owners, some with dogs they *know* to be aggressive, are not charged with animal cruelty? Do they ever get charged when the sic their dog on their own cat, or other dogs? How far down the rabbit hole do we need to go?

    Simplest solution is BSL. The usual laws? The pitbull *must* be suitably muzzled in public in which case, your dogs would still be fine.

    At more severe levels or over time if it is strictly enforced, no pitbulls at all which would mean no access to accidentally, or purposefully, having them as weapons against other animals or people.

    • That indeed would be reason to charge under existing animal cruelty laws. The owner sicced their dog on another person’s dog. The intent would need to be clear, such as a witness hearing the owner command this or the witness seeing the owner watch the fight, while clapping, egging his dog on. The horror (and paradox) of it all is that the victimized animal — regardless of the attacking dog owner’s “intent” — has suffered the definition of cruelty. I looked for cases in the UK, and I did find this. “Make dog on dog attacks a specific criminal offence.” So even the UK dangerous dog law, one of the most progressive in the Western world, is not being applied to dog on dog attacks enough (if ever!) https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/568457

      • Here’s the question though, not trying to be difficult…

        At what point does it qualify as an “attack”? Or “deliberate”?

        That’s the determination that’s required. If we are back to the “one bite law” (against other animals this time) then an awful lot of dogs that are defending themselves might be caught in that legal web. Stitch count? What is mauling vs. fighting/defending?

        Not trying to be difficult here but I once had a working Bouvier *defend* himself from a loose, attacking pitbull who was either crippled or later dead from the attack after it tried to go for the throat. Yet he wasn’t hostile to other dogs.

        Do I think some sort of law is necessary to protect animals from stupid owners who won’t take responsibility? Absolutely.

        Just how to put that together would take a team of lawyers and vets that understand how legislation, works. That petition is far too open to interpretation.

        If a dog *murders* another dog unprovoked or after it attempts to flee, or a cat, or other animal that certainly should be legislatable–especially if the animal victim is on its own property. Then of course, there’s the problem of an owner, whose dog murders their own cat/dog/horse the follows up by killing something in the neighbourhood or a second animal owned by the same person.

        It’s complex. Not sure I have the answers for all those questions but it’s worth discussing…

  4. There seems to be minimal culpability extended to pibble people when their land sharks cause death and destruction. The dogs are rarely considered dangerous dogs or deadly weapons. They are also rarely considered property resulting in injury due to owner/operator negligence. Tell me how a pit bull off a leash, without a muzzle, somehow magically loose resulting in a mauling is not considered negligent in the way that the driver of a vehicle resulting in an MVA from an inattentive driver is not?

    I am so sorry this happened to you and your dogs.

  5. Why? Our society worships dogs. Dog is our copilot. Our society is dog-sick, misinformed on the nature of dogs, and pit bulls particularly. People’s ego’s are pathologically tied to their pet, moreso the vicious dog crowd.

    • Exactly.

      And, if I’m correctly interpreting this post, the issue is bringing criminal charges of animal cruelty.

      However, there is nothing stopping victims from filing civil lawsuits. Or settling things informally, which happened in my neighborhood last year.

      A young man was minding his own business while walking near my house. Then came the two pit bulls owned by the people across the street. I suspect that they’re running a breeding operation, but I can’t prove it.

      Well, the police, fire department, and animal control came. Animal control confiscated the dogs and, ahhhh. We had peace and quiet in the neighborhood — until the owners got those dogs back. The hellhounds returned to the neighborhood three weeks after the attac,

      But I’m getting ahead of myself. A week after the attack, the young man drove up to the pibble owners’ house, got out of the car, and started having a discussion with one of the two chronological adults.

      Even from my safe inside my house vantage point, I could tell that the young pit bull attack victim wasn’t going to leave until he got some compensation of the green sort.

      Mr. Chrono Adult gave the young man a handful of bills, but nope. It wasn’t enough. He had to run into the house and get more from Ms. Chrono Adult.

      Finally, the young man was satisfied with the compensation he received. He got in his car and drove off.

      • Me again. Looks like Mr. and Ms. Chrono Adult are in hot water.

        Reason: Animal cruelty.

        Seems that they left their pit bulls outside while they went away on a trip to who-knows-where.

        According to the animal control officer who came to investigate, one of the pits was tied up without access to water or shelter. That’s illegal in this county, and the fines start at $150.

        They came home this morning, and they don’t look to be the least bit happy. I’m guessing their unhappiness is due to the fact that those dogs cost them money again.

  6. In order for a crime to have been committed, a PERSON has to commit it. So here we have a dog committing a crime (except that dogs can’t commit crimes since they’re not human). What if the perpetrator was a child? When does the parent become criminally liable for a crime committed by their child? This scenario is a little closer to the dog attacking another animal. When is a dog owner criminally liable for the acts committed by their dog?

    In some jurisdictions, a dog’s owner is “strictly liable” for any damage caused by their dog. This means at least you don’t have to prove “intent” of the dog’s owner, but neither does this indicate a crime. It’s considered a tort, a civil wrong that causes someone to suffer loss or harm. So you sue for the damages the dog’s owner caused you, but no one goes to jail.

    What sorts of “acts” can a dog’s owner commit that are crimes?

    In some jurisdictions, they have written statutes or ordinances declaring as a crime certain acts. Perhaps “allowing your dog to roam loose” might be a misdemeanor. But they would have to have written a law/statute/ordinance declaring it so. And they don’t go around arresting people who let their dogs run loose, because charging someone with a crime is a serious matter. But if someone’s loose dog bit someone, they might charge them with “allowing their dog to roam loose”.

    Perhaps your dog has been declared a “vicious dog” or a “dangerous dog” by a local jurisdiction for having bitten some citizen. And THEN you let your dog roam loose. If that “already declared dangerous dog” bites someone, you likely would be guilty of some sort of criminal negligence because it bit a human (but unlikely to be criminal-level negligence if it bit another dog, which is property, so then you’re back to torts again).

    And then in some jurisdictions where “breed specific laws” are in place, the law might state that “pit bulls are PRESUMED to be dangerous dogs”, which means that allowing one to roam lose and bite someone would be a criminal act of negligence by the owner. (Still probably not a crime if the presumed-dangerous pit bull killed another local animal.)

    And now you know why the pit bull lobby MUST get removed all BSL (breed specific laws). It is that presumption of dangerousness that puts the pit bull owner ON NOTICE that they need to control and confine their dog to a higher standard than otherwise… else they risk committing a crime. And the pit bull lobby can’t be having their favorite dog owners being convicted of crimes for acts their dogs do naturally, now can they.

    And you thought the lobby was doing it so pit bull lovers can have “the right” to own whichever dog breed they want. Oh no. They do it to reduce the criminality they inherently face by owning such dogs.

  7. In England and Wales UK, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Section 4 would cover most attacks on a dog or other protected animal.
    There are points to prove but most cases there is history behind the dog attacking.
    “Failing to control your dog caused unnecessary suffering to a (what ever type of dog it attached).
    Veterinary forensic evidence would be required.

  8. What amazes me is that dogs are a cash cow waiting to be cashed in. Real fines like $500 for dog running loose, $200 for dog off leash, $200 for disturbing the peace, with increases for repeat offenders, would put a real dent in the doggie bad behavior and put some real cash into municipalities. But they’d rather out neighborhoods be like the Serengeti than deal with belligerent, Ahole dog owners.

  9. We’re currently living in a strange situation in which dogs are simultaneously humans (dogs should be allowed everywhere; dogs’ feelings can be hurt by “breed discrimination”) and objects of property (every person has the right to own and breed pit bulls, even to the detriment of the dogs themselves; Pit bull killed your dog? Oh well, it’s just a piece of property. Go get a new one.)

    Pit bull advocates often use these seemingly polar opposite views of canines at the exact same time.

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