The Watertown Common Council in Jefferson County, Wis. approved increasing fines at Tuesday's meeting for dog owners who do not carefully control their vicious dogs, however the council would not approve pit bulls being labeled as a vicious breed.
According to JS Online.com, Watertown Mayor John David stated:
"The folks who opposed this told us to punish the owner, not the dog."
Last July, a pit bull was shot and killed attacking a man and his Labrador retriever. A neighbor trying to help was also attacked by the dog.
Until the late 1990s when pit bulls gained ill-gotten fame because of convicted dog fighter Michael Vick, other breeds including doberman pinschers, rottweilers, and German shepherds were considered dangerous. In reality pit bulls are not an inherently aggressive breed, but their irresponsible owners have given these strong, athletic, and intelligent dogs a bad reputation.
Who could forget the old comedic "Petey" of the Little Rascals? No one gave the American Pit Bull terrier a second thought; after all Petey accompanied the rag tag little cuties of mischief. There were no references to dog fighting.
Pit bulls are no more problematic than any other breed as long as they are properly raised, socialized well, and treated with respect and love.
The original wording of the Watertown animal ordinance failed to define "high risk dogs." Dogs who become involved with attacks on other domestic animals and humans will now be required to be leashed at all times and to be confined to fenced areas. Fines will increase to $114 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense, and $807 for a third offense.
"I wish other municipalities would fashion themselves after Watertown. The media hype is what has and continues to give pit bulls a bad rep when it could be any kind of dog who attacks someone. We just don't read about the Standard poodle who bit a child in the face. There is no specific bad breed; there are however bad people who abuse dogs and make dogs suffer because of their greed," stated Belinda Winters, Miami, Florida.
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