3 on Your Side: City of Brandon gets tough on vicious dogs - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on Your Side: City of Brandon gets tough on vicious dogs

By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

BRANDON, MS (WLBT) - A new vicious dog ordinance has been adopted in Brandon and Flowood, a tough and expensive law for people who own pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

The Centers for Disease Control found that man's best friend bites about 4.5-million people in the United States of America every year, and 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children.  These stats are not "breed specific" to pit bulls.

Vicious attacks have occurred in this area, even deaths related to pit bull terrier attacks. Brandon city officials have taken notice, while responsible pet owners say they are getting a bad rap.

The mayor said Wednesday it was high time for restrictions on certain dogs.  "The goal is to prevent tragedies from happening to any innocent individual.  I would hate to turn on the TV set and see that one of our children was mauled or died because of steps we didn't take as a city," said Brandon Mayor Tim Coulter.

Dog owners have two months to get a special permit in order to keep their animals.  Not only that, but they will also have to keep them in a special pen with a concrete floor and roof.

The owner of a mixed breed terrier objects, saying she can't afford this, plus a 100,000-dollar proof of liability insurance.  Deja's owners told WLBT they refuse to give up their pet and may be forced to move.  Meanwhile, pet owners in Flowood have less time to react, only one month to get special permits in order to keep their pit bull terriers.

According to the CDC, the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages          five-to-nine years of age, and the rate decreases as children age. 

Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region.  Injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls. 

The CDC is committed to reducing this public health problem by working with state health departments to establish dog bite prevention programs and by tracking and reporting trends on U.S. dog bite injuries.

Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem, and adults and children can learn to reduce their chances of being bitten.  Things to consider before you get a dog:  Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household.  Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children. 

Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. 

Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it.  Use caution when bringing a dog into the home of an infant or toddler.

Spay or neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies).  Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog. 

Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling).  Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household.  Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g. rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling). 

Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.  Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly:  Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.  Do not run from a dog and scream.  Remain motionless (e.g. "be still like a tree") when approached by an unfamiliar dog.  If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g. "be still like a log").  Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.  Avoid direct eye contact with a dog. D Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.  Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. 

If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.  A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the U.S.A. between 1979 and 1998). 

There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and, consequently, no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.  Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites.

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