Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pitbull Death Advocates Rely on Phony Legal Threats

KC Dog Blog reports on a failed bid to modify Springfield MO's Pitbull ban to allow rescues to pull Pitbulls from local shelters and adopt them out in other, more reasonable, cities:
The council apparently agreed with City Attorney Dan Wichmer, who said the city would be at risk of a lawsuit if someone ever got bitten by a dog the let go.

This flawed logic, as KC Dog Blog points out, takes the responsibility for biting dogs off the owners and drops it into the lap of the city. And when I started thinkin' 'bout flawed logic, I got the HSUS testimony in the Wilkes Co, NC case in my head. In trying to convince the judge that death was the only option for the 146 unevaluated dogs and puppies in that case, an HSUS representative said:
You know, we could be a couple years down the road and one of these dogs could do something, and I think it ultimately could come back on the county of Wilkes.

So riddle me this, Pitbull death advocates: In how many bite cases in the US has this scenario come to pass? That is, someone gets bitten by a dog and pursues legal action - not against the dog's owner - but against the shelter where the dog originated. The bite victim's attorney would need to inquire to the dog's owner to find out where the dog was obtained. In the (theoretical) cases of the Springfield and Wilkes Co dogs, the answer to that would be a rescue group. The bite victim's attorney would then have to inquire to the rescue group to find out how they had gotten the dog. I'm not a lawyer but this doesn't pass my common sense sniff test. What say you lawyers - would you advise a client to pursue legal action - not against the biting dog's owner - but against the shelter who released the dog (presumably with a signed standard release form absolving the shelter of liability) to a rescue group?

Statistically speaking, in what percentage of dog bite litigation cases has this happened? I don't know the answer but my guess would be that it's very low, possibly statistically ZERO. If my guess is correct, how is it that legislators and judges feel threatened by this straw man - enough to kill unevaluated dogs who would likely never bite anyone anyway? (Most dogs don't bite and dog bites are declining due to a number of factors.)

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation. And responsibility for individual dogs lies solely with the owner - not with the friend of a friend's neighbor's Uncle who had the dog at some previous point in time. Dog owning is a right and a responsibility to be undertaken and protected with care.


Caveat said...

My thoughts exactly, all these poltroons are reading from the same playbook.

Fear-mongering is the only growth industry on this continent lately.

If we extrapolate further, I suppose that if a dog bites me I should sue the breeder of the dog they placed at about 8 - 12 weeks of age, completely bypassing the owner.

I object to the premise not only because it's irrational and self-serving but also because we don't want to give litigious wankers any ideas. Remember the McDonald's coffee lady?

Anonymous said...

Well, there are at least 3 cases where the govt was pursued/the rescues, for doing it.(That's where 3 people were killed by shelter dogs) In those cases, it was because known dangerous dogs were allowed to be re-homed, re-sold, etc. In the general sense, most attys don't want to sue the govt because it costs too much and attys have to front the costs. That is the main reason even for 42 USC 1983 cases. so in my opinion, while not basing it on untested dogs, if I was to look ahead to what the Plaintiffs would say IF a dog later killed a child, I would not want to be defending that case. Would you? OTOH, I can understand that it looks unpersuasive on the surface. But for me it would not necessarily have to do with the dog breed type, but rather the breeders, since there are many things that can transpire when breeding dogs.

YesBiscuit! said...

Anon - Please provide references to the 3 cases you mention. I am definitely interested in reading about them.