Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dead Dog's Owner Sues Pit Bull Owner

Tuesday’s Daily News reports the aftermath of a fatal dog mauling by an unleashed pit bull, albeit one that seems to have started out leashed:

The owner of a tiny terrier mauled to death by a rampaging pit bull named Spike is taking the fight to the big dog with a $250,000 lawsuit.

Sandy Lee is suing Spike's owner after her beloved 3-pound Yorkie, Dior, was torn into while taking a birthday trot on E. 54th St. in April.

"The pit bull was huge and you could see the intensity in its eyes," Lee said. "It was coming for a kill."

Lee, 33, had just taken Dior to buy $50 worth of snacks for his third birthday when Spike broke free from his leash and pounced on the tiny pooch.

Can a dog really break free from a leash (if the leash doesn’t break and the owner doesn’t let go)?

This is far from the first fatal mauling of another dog by a pit bull that’s off-leash. Here’s another one, at a dog beach at Huntington Beach (California, I guess) last March, and
a third one, at the Long Beach, CA dog beach last January. Others are catalogued here
(although—full disclosure—the website’s stated purpose is to advocate banning pit bulls). But while pit bulls generally may be a problem—according to this report on the dogbitelaw website, based on compiled press reports, pit bull terriers were involved in half of the dog attack deaths and maimings in the U.S. & Canada September 1982 to November 13, 2006—the common denominator is most often that the attacking dog was off-leash. In some cases, it may be that an entirely different breed was involved; in one attack—last October at Prospect Park's dog beach-- that was initially reported to be a fatal attack by a pit bull on a dachshund, it turned out that the perpetrator wasn’t a pit bull after all (and the attack wasn’t fatal). Plainly, dogs that are active and aggressive—just the type of dogs that have “excess energy” that can supposedly be vented only by letting them off-leash—are just the ones who need, for everyone’s safety, to be kept securely on-leash in public.

One would think there ought to be strict liability for attacks by dogs that are unleashed, deliberately or accidentally. That would at least curb irresponsible behavior by owners who care about losing their assets. It still is no solution for the many dog owners who, for whatever reason, do not.

* * * * * * *

Prospect Park this morning around 9 A.M., PE#1-Marcia was spotted with her two unleashed terriers. A park worker instructed her to leash them, which did not stop her from being observed with her unleashed dogs 50 minutes later in the Midwood. And around 8:45 A.M., 4 unleashed dogs were observed in the Ravine: a golden setter accompanied by a middle-aged white woman, a pit bull and mongrel with a young white man, and a pit bull with two black men.

1 comment:

Datnioides said...

A dog can break free of a poorly fastened or twisted leash. Or it can simply pull out of the collar (hard to see happening with a big headed pit, though).

Very rarely, my pit bull's leash pops off. Because of rock solid training from 6 months of age, this is not a problem with my pit bull. My dog will not bolt. All I have to do is say "down" and she will lie down and wait for me to hook her up again.

I once did this after my dog's worn out training leash broke - while another off leash pit bull dog was running circles around us - in Prospect Park, where else! I could at least point to my dog as an example of what training can do..and hopefully shamed the idiot owner who purposely let the other pit off leash and yelled and screamed for it to come back to no avail. Why do the morons all think that yelling and screaming is the only training their dog needs? It's by no means just the pit owners either.