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LETTER: Other options better than breed legislation

To the Editor:

The Daily Republic recently wrote "Another pit bull attack, and another day without an ordinance. We suppose it would sound sadistic if we said it's unfortunate that a Mitchell police officer's aim was off when shooting at a charging pit bull earlier this month." The editorial then says "we are thoroughly weary of hearing of dangerous dogs within the city's borders and wish dangerous breeds --especially pit bulls -- would simply be outlawed in Mitchell."

Clearly many people at The Daily Republic do not realize that aggression is a dog issue, not a breed issue, and any dog can be trained to behave aggressively. The problem of dangerous dogs is not remedied by the quick fix of breed-discriminatory laws. All dogs can bite.

Rather than breed-discriminatory restrictions, animal control laws should be enforced and if need be enhanced. For example, Mitchell should restrict tethering. Twenty-five percent of all fatal dog attacks involve tethered dogs. And prevent reckless owners from owning dogs. Minnesota prohibits repeat reckless owners of dogs deemed dangerous from owning dogs in their state. Illinois prevents convicted felons from owning unsterilized dogs. Any dog that is found to be "dangerous" should be required to be:

1. Spayed or neutered. Studies have shown that more than 70 percent of bite cases come from animals that are not neutered.

2. Microchipped. If a dog is found to be "dangerous," it should be required to be microchipped so there is a permanent identification of the dog.

3. Muzzled. All "dangerous dogs" should be required to be muzzled when in a public place, and walked by a person at least 18 years of age.

Breed-specific legislation is an ineffective solution to animal control problems because it fails to address the heart of the issue -- irresponsible ownership.