Two Ankeny pitbulls, declared vicious in a 2014, attacked and killed a small dog yesterday and menacingly approached the 81-year-old owner when she intervened in an attempt to save her dog.
A similar incident played out in Jasper County in August when a woman walking her dogs was set upon by another group of neighborhood pitbulls. In the scuffle that followed, the woman, the other dogs’ owner and a boy were all injured trying to get the dogs under control.
In an effort to prevent incidences such as these, which clearly can present a safety hazard to residents, the city council of Des Moines is intent on holding owners more accountable for misbehaving pets.
According to city standards, pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire terriers are defined as high-risk breeds and their owners will face more discipline if their dogs are involve in biting incidents. Owners of high risk breeds, previously referred to as vicious, may also be subject to additional restraint requirements and be required to obtain insurance.
Although many owners of these specific breeds complain that their dogs are being unfairly targeted, the council maintains that while pitbulls in general are not bad dogs, “when they do bite, they maul” and, in the scheme of things, “a bad poodle is not the same thing as a bad pitbull”.
Statistics appear to support their views, According to available data, of the 34 U.S. dog related fatalities in 2015 alone, pitbulls contributed to 82% of the deaths, with rottweilers as a distinct second. The same combination, was responsible for 76% of 232 fatal attacks over an 11 year period running 2005 – 2015. Unfortunately, many of the victims were children.
If you or a family member is involved in an animal attack it can be a very frightening experience and may result in serious injury, disfigurement and scarring, or even death. A person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or responsible party. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and sometimes punitive damages. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Iowa personal injury Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help.
Sources: WHOTV, 2 Pit Bulls Attack and Kill Chihuahua in Ankeny, Owner Could Face Fine, by Ben Oldach, October 27, 2016.; dogsbite.org, “2015 Dog Bite Fatalities”, accessed October 27, 2016.
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