People are not the only ones suffering serious dog bites and attacks these days. DogsBite.org, a dog attack victim’s support group has released a report titled Dog Attacks on Livestock and Horses January – May 2008. The report is very timely and highlights a less discussed aspect of our nation’s growing dog bite problem – the damage caused by dog attacks on livestock and horses.
Roaming dogs can cause extensive losses to livestock owner. But, according to the report it is specific breeds of dogs – the “fighting” pure or combination bred American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, bull terrier, that present the biggest danger to livestock. The qualities of tenacity and refusal to back down coupled with natural aggression and physical strength of these breeds inflicts a significant toll on livestock, according to the article.
Livestock are often caught in their enclosures during attacks and a single pit bull type dog becomes as dangerous as a pack because it will eventually attack every member of an entire herd, including larger animals. The cost to the livestock owners can be devastating.
The report points out many U.S. States with semi-rural counties do not have laws that effectively protect livestock and horse owners or enough animal control resources to effectively tackle the problem. Existing dog laws in California and other states were passed on the assumption that a dog and its owner can be identified. Without identifying the offending dog and its owner the livestock owner has no recourse against the dog’s owner. Many pit bull owners know this, and to escape accountability they do not register or microchip their dogs, so even if the dog is captured, it can’t be traced back to its owner.
The “No Adopt Out” rule for pit bull type dogs from Livingston County, Michigan states that strays will only be held for four to seven days at county animal shelters depending on evidence of ownership before being put down.
New laws or more animal control officers are not going to effectively stop dog owners’ from letting their dogs roam, at night. If pit bull types are allowed to roam, they are going to cause damages. I say the best way to handle a roaming pit bull that is attacking livestock is with the business end of a rifle.