Lodi faces a tough collective decision on the possible regulation of pit bulls. You probably recall our story about the pit bull that attacked and killed a cherished pet dachshund named Shelby at Lodi Lake.
That killing was horrific, and it was compounded by the fact that the dog’s handler initially provided false identification. Talk about shirking responsibility.
The man was eventually found and cited, as was the dog’s owner. After the incident, the pitbull, named Capone, was serruptiously turned in to animal control officials and eventually euthuanized.
I was personally stunned by Shelby’s death because we often walk Jake, our much-loved Corgi mix, at Lodi Lake. He’s a sweet-tempered little guy who weighs all of 17 pounds.
He’d be no match of a pit bull, that’s certain.
Our police and courts reporter, Kris Anderson, has covered the recent concerns over vicious dogs in great detail. On Thursday, he reported that city officials, in light of the recent concerns, may look at toughening the city law relating to vicious dogs.
While it may seem like concerns about pitbulls are fresh, they aren’t.
This morning, I dug through a sheaf of papers in a file cabinet out in the garage.
I finally found it: A copy of Dog Fancy magazine. One story was marked with a paperclip. It read, part:
Defenders claim the Pit Bull is a loyal and friendly animal that is perfectly docile unless it is abused by its owner. But others claim the Pit Bull - notorious for the crocodile-like strength of its jaws - should be subject to special registration or control. Debate over Pit Bull regulation has raged in several communities so far, and it is likely to spread as the dog becomes more popular.
The date was October, 1980. The author was a cub reporter at the Palo Alto Times named Rich Hanner, who had sold his first freelance magazine piece.
So I have a lengthy interest if not expertise in the topic.
My own take: Pit bulls as a breed are more aggressive and powerful than other dogs and warrant special controls. Because they are so abundant — and so often abandoned or seized — they also pose a special financial and operational burden on animal shelters.
I’m not sure whether tactics in other cities, such as requiring pit bulls to be spayed or neutered, or trying to have owners post special bonds or insurance, are right for Lodi. Maybe we can craft our own unique and balanced approach.
Why not a city council shirtsleeves session to air out the options and let everyone be heard before we proceed with consideration of an ordinance?