Recently, I was confronted with two issues concerning dangerous dog laws; the first was President Biden claiming that the Secret Service is lying about his dogs biting them and the other was an article that I ran across claiming that animals are not adequately represented in current dangerous dog legislation.
Having worked in the animal control business for most of my life, Biden is like every other pet owner who thinks the victims are to blame for getting bit. It is owners who fail to take responsibility are the ones that necessitate the need for dangerous dog laws.
Concerning the article: DANGEROUS DOG LAWS: FAILING TO GIVE MAN’S BEST FRIEND A FAIR SHAKE AT JUSTICE . The writers are correct, dogs don’t get a fair shake when accused of presenting harmful behavior toward people. They can’t tell their story, so we have to act on their behavior. Behavior that a responsible pet owner would keep in check.
Most dangerous dog laws seem to fall on the notion of one free bite. After that bite, the owner has full knowledge of the propensity of the dog to be potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, like the parents of an unruly child, people fail to recognize the behavior long after it is too late.
Dangerous dog laws are like other laws that remove potential hazards from society. That’s what we have jails for. But there are no long-term facilities for dogs. In the old days, judges used to run dogs out of town. Some probably still do. So that they can become a problem for another jurisdiction to deal with. I am guilty of warning the animal control officers of the jurisdiction in which one of my dogs was vanquished to them.
Dogs are considered personal property. As such, the dog owner must be afforded due process. However, this particular piece of property has its’ own mind and may act against the owner’s desires. The purpose of dangerous dog laws is to protect society. When an owner cannot control the behavior of his pet, the animal may be headed down the path of euthanasia. Is it fair, of course not, but it is the only mechanism that we have to deal with the problem; because responsible pet owners are in such short supply.
The bottom line is that dogs have to live in our world. That is why they have owners. When owners fail, dog laws begin.