A common element to most vicious attacks is the dogs breed. Research in the USA shows two-thirds of human deaths and about 60% of attacks on humans are from Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs. The report concluded “…thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities." It is possible that these breeds are preferred by irresponsible owners and it is the owners rather than the nature of the breed that is the cause for the attacks, but I think that unlikely given a second common element was the response from the dog owner that the attack was said to be “uncharacteristic”.
Some dog breeds are more aggressive and unpredictable by their very nature, and strong enough to do serious life-long or life-threatening damage to humans.
If these dogs are the problem then we need to ask what price we are prepared to pay to give people the liberty to own an aggressive breed of dog? One child being mauled? Two? Ten, 100? Zero in my view.
Two things need to happen if we are to get real about the dog attack issue. Firstly, rottweilers and all pit bull-type dogs should be added to the list of dogs prohibited from being imported into NZ. That list already includes: American Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Brazilian Fila, and Japanese Tosa.
Secondly, the actions of the dog should be deemed to be the actions of the dog owner in the eyes of the law. In other words, if a dog rips a child’s throat out, then the dog owner should be charged as though it were they who committed the act. That would send a clear message to the owners of dogs that have the potential to cause grievous bodily harm to a human that it is they and they alone who are responsible for the actions of their animal.
One thing is certain. If nothing changes this year and next year and in all the years after that people and kids will be mauled, some killed by a mongrel dog in their neighbourhood.