The days of the present Dangerous Animal Ordinance may be numbered if residents have their way in Forest City. A meeting to discuss the issue was held in the Emergency Services Center in Forest City. City Council members listened intently to testimonies delivered by city residents who are either looking to have the ordinance changed or remain the same. Concerns centered around the pit bull breed of dog which is thought to be one of the most dangerous breeds.
Lee Dutcher has owned a pit bull all of his life. He believes that the ordinance should allow for the dogs to be kept in the city.
According to DogsBite.org, a 13 year study was done regarding the correlation between dog bites and resulting deaths. According to the survey which spanned from 2005 to 2017, there were 284 deaths or 65.6% that resulted from pit bull attacks. Rottweilers were second with 10.4% or 45 deaths. The remaining 108 deaths involved 32 different breeds. Of all the deaths involving pit bulls, 4 additional deaths were caused by attacks from both a Pitbull and a Rottweiler.
In 2017, 21% or 8 of all fatal dog attacks resulted in criminal charges. Each of these were from pit bulls. Ohio led all states in fatal attacks which amounted to four deaths.
Dutcher maintained that the media was to blame for exploiting pit bull attacks.
Nearly 90 million dogs are pets in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control report that 4.5 million people are bit by dogs annually. In 1998, the CDC stopped collecting breed information on the dog bite reports because it became difficult to accurately determine the breed of dog and because there is no centralized reporting system. The reports come from a number of locations such as police, animal control, or emergency rooms.
To further complicate the issue is a statement from the American Kennel Club. While the term Pit bull is commonly used to describe a particular type of dog, “a pit bull is also used sometimes to describe mixes or breeds that are not registered with the AKC.”
Others who rose in support of the lifting of the ban on pit bulls included Kathy Rollefson.
The Forest City Council will address whether to lift the ban on pit bull breeds in upcoming City Council meetings. Till then, the city continues to welcome comments thru e-mail, in person, or by calling the city hall.