What’s to be done about the pit bull menace?
Pit bulls are back in the news, as they often are. Two pit bulls, roaming without a leash, have attacked a woman walking in Titahi Bay. They are now in the pound while their future is decided.
There have been other stories of vicious dog attacks in Porirua recently.
There’s been a spate of pit bull attacks around New Zealand. A 2-year-old Christchurch boy was mauled by a pit bull on April 8 and the following day a 7-year-old boy from South Auckland was badly wounded, again by a pit bull. Those and other cases this month have led to renewed calls for dangerous dogs, especially pit bulls, to be banned.
Of course, it’s not that simple. For one thing: what is a pit bull? Does a pit bull cross count? American pit bull terrier, American staffordshire terrier, staffordshire bull terrier and American bulldog are all often lumped in under the ‘‘pit bull’’ label.
And would a ban be feasible? Would the owners of pit bulls be forced by legislation to have their dogs destroyed, a sort of mass extermination? Before pit bulls entered New Zealand, the Government was implored to prohibit them being bred here. The suspicion remains now that the genie is out of the bottle on that one.
Besides, some owners will tell you their pit bulls are lovely animals and not dangerous. It is perhaps a pity that such doting owners are not showering other dogs, without the same attacking instincts, with their love. However, that’s the way it is and unless draconian steps are taken at government level, that’s how it will remain.
Yet we keep coming back to the haunting images of toddlers’ faces being ripped apart by pit bulls. The dogs can be so fiercely determined that they simply cannot be prised away from their victim.
It’s a difficult situation and police and local authorities struggle with it.
How much onus should fall on councils to ensure their streets are not being made more dangerous by packs of dogs? That vigilance could be extremely timeconsuming and costly.
As it is, Porirua City Council does not do callouts about wandering dogs after 4.30pm. Is it time for that policy to change? But would residents be happy to foot the bill for yet more costs, perhaps in the way of another rates rise?
There’s no simple solution, but one thing is certain: it’s grim news when yet another pedestrian minding their own business is savaged by a pit bull.
* What do you think? Should pit bulls be banned? Write to editor@kmananews. co.nz.