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Simi Valley City Officials Discuss Regulating Pit Bulls after Fatal Dog Attack

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The Simi Valley City Council is considering legislation relating to pit bulls after a September, 26, 2008 dog attack that killed 5-year-old Katya Teresa Todesco.
Katya was viciously attacked and mauled to death by a 35-pound pit bull in a neighbor’s backyard. Council members, who are talking about a breed ban in Simi Valley, got a report from an animal regulation expert, who said that pit bulls “do not see a child under the age of 12 as a human.” Instead, children are normally viewed by these dogs as “prey” or “predators.” Our source for this blog is this news report in the Ventura County Star.

The State of California does not allow breed-specific bans. Pit bulls, however, are under scrutiny in certain California cities such as Manteca that have taken the right step and passed “dangerous” and “vicious dog” ordinances to regulate pit bulls.

Pit bulls have proved themselves more dangerous than other breeds because of their natural propensity to be aggressive. It’s not just the attacks, but the sheer power that these dogs have over their “prey.” Some of these dogs weigh around 100 pounds. They can effortlessly leap over fences and attack an unsuspecting neighbor walking his or her dog on the street or overpower a postal worker on his or her daily route.

According to Dogbite.org, a national advocacy group for dog attack victims, between July and September of 2008 alone, six people were killed and 158 people were injured in pit bull attacks in the United States. About 63 percent of these injuries were severe and 10 percent of the incidents entailed severed body parts. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 65 percent of the nation’s fatal dog attacks involve pit bulls. In Simi Valley this year alone, 10 people were injured by pit bulls. This, of course, does not take into account pit bull attacks on other animals and smaller pets.

I hope the City of Simi Valley will do the right thing by revising its vicious and dangerous dog laws to impose more stringent regulations on pit bulls and their owners. Dog owners must be made to take responsibility for restraining their pets and doing their part to make streets and neighborhoods safer. Although breed bans are not allowed in California, cities do have the right to impose regulations that relate to particular breeds. They should definitely put these laws and ordinances in place before more people are injured or killed.

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  • Katia Todesco

    I am the mom of Katya Todesco, a precious little girl that died after the fatal wounds from a dog. I THANK YOU for bringing light and attention to the subject of dog bites. Most dog owners defend their right to have and protect dogs even when the breed is known to be dangerous and unpredictable and don’t want hear nor have any law restricting the known to be dangerous breed. My little girl did not deserve to be attacked, viciously mauled and killed by a dog. The horror that she went through during the attack and what I went through trying to defend my girl, I wish could be prevented from happening to others.

  • Anonymous

    My neighbors just got a puppy pit bull and our yards are only separated by a 5 ft tall fence. I am really concerned because I have a 2 and a 4 yr old children who play in the back yard and I know that in no time their dog will be big enough to probably jump the fence. I will be going to ask the city if the neighbors are required to have a higher fence to keep others (us) from potential dangers.

  • Simi Valley Dog Park Goer

    I just had both my dogs attacked by a pit bull at the Simi Valley dog park. The saddest part was that the owner was egging the dog on and enjoyed the fact that he was putting his dog as well as our dogs in danger. Pit bulls are great dogs, but the people that own them can make them into dangerous toys. I wish they at least had a city volunteer there to at least kick them out of the park and save everyone a lot of pain.

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