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Chesterfield City Council to Vote on Off-Leash Dog Law

Sizzling LEO | 3:35 AM | 0 comments

An amendment to the City of Chesterfield’s laws could soon allow pit bulls at an off-leash dog park, and the debate is raging as to whether to allow the change, with Council members both advocating for breed-specific language and opposing it.

The City Council will vote on December 3 to amend its dog leash laws by removing breed-specific language targeted at pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Eberwein Park is currently open to off-leash animals but current language in the city’s laws forbids “dangerous breeds,” of which pit bulls are considered one. This language effectively bans the breed from the off-leash park. Removing the breed-specific language will allow pit bull owners the same park privileges as those of other dogs.

Currently, the majority of city council members believe breed-specific language should be used and dog owners should be targeted who train dogs to be aggressive or do not keep them under control. However, Mayor Bruce Geiger is a proponent of the language, having witnessed a pit bull attack on another dog. “It’s intense . . . not pretty,” he is quoted as saying.

City Administrator Mike Herring said that city police had conducted research that led to the conclusion that pit bulls are as safe as any other breed if raised properly. He believes that the language has barred people from adopting dogs from local shelters.

Breed Statistics Tell The Story

While the argument continues over breed-specific legislation, the statistics on dog attacks tell their own story. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 4.7 million dog bites each year in the United States, and at least 386,000 require emergency medical treatment. Of those treated, 16 victims die per year on average.

Of the 238 deaths from dog bites reported to the CDC in the years 1979-1988, 66 were pit bull attacks. This means that 28 percent of all fatal dog attacks, or more than one in four, were by pit bulls. Rottweilers made up 39 of these attacks, or 16 percent. Together, these two breeds were responsible for nearly half of all fatal dog attacks in the United States during the relevant time period.

Liability Issues in Dog Attacks

While detractors of breed-specific legislation point to decreasing numbers of pit bull attacks, they may fail to note that breed-specific laws may have done some good in reducing the number of these attacks, especially in public. On the other hand, any dog can be potentially dangerous, and many dog bites occur even with “friendly” breeds such as labs or spaniels.

For the victims of dog bites, it is important to remember that most state’s laws hold the owner accountable unless the victim was illegally on the owner’s property. This means that the victim of a dog bite can collect damages from the owner of the dog including medical bills and pain and suffering. A dog bite injury attorney can assist these victims in holding owners accountable for their dog’s behavior.

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My name is Wajeeh . I'm administrator of All Legal Law. This blog is opened for the purpose of Guest Blogging of Law and Constitution.

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