www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-pit-bulls-20130415,0,6144266.story

baltimoresun.com

Pit bull compromise deserved to fail

11:15 AM EDT, April 15, 2013

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Lawmakers didn't act on pit bull legislation this year because the bill under consideration didn't offer any solutions to the problem of dog attacks ("Pit bull compromise fails, trial lawyers win," April 10). Bravo for them.

Here is a simple solution. Have the state or counties license and train dog owners who keep potentially dangerous breeds. Most attacks that end with death or injury to people or other animals could have been avoided if the owners understood their dogs.

I am a lifelong animal lover, with dogs being my favorites. I am also a recent victim of a pit bull attack. In my case, that dog's owner treated her pit bull as if it were a poodle.

If she had training on pit bulls' tendencies and temperament, the attack on me would not have happened. How many other attacks could have been prevented by having the owner properly trained?

What determines a dangerous breed can be as simple as the size and weight of a given breed. Requiring owners to be trained to handle certain breeds would give insurance companies a way to reduce liability and dog owners the freedom to keep the pets they want.

It would also allow animal control first responders to make educated decisions about how to approach and handle animals when they encounter them, while giving victims of dog attacks a clear path to recover damages and establish negligence.

Tom Paxton, Columbia

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