A brutal pit bull attack in Lowell, Massachusetts on October 21 resulted in the death of a 7-year-old boy. Two dogs were involved in the attack. The attack had attracted the attention of multiple neighbors, who frantically called 911 for assistance. Sadly, by the time law enforcement arrived on the scene, the child was dead.
One of the pit bulls escaped the enclosure where the attack took place. The other remained near the victim. When the first officers arrived, the dog charged, and the targeted officer drew their gun to open fire in self-defense. Despite being struck, the dog continued to charge. It would be captured and euthanized in the wake of the incident. The other dog would also be captured, and is being held by local animal control services.
It is another deadly pit bull attack that has defenders of the breed clashing with those calling for stricter regulations. The breed maintains a reputation of aggression, and attacks like this do not paint it in a positive light.
Pit bull attack epidemic, or sensationalism at work?
The nature of social media and news reporting today means that we are all more likely to hear about incidents from all over the country. Supporters of the pit bull breed often point to this as why their favored dogs have the perception of danger hanging over them. It’s a defense that is getting plenty of work; the tragedy in Lowell is not the only pit bull attack to make headlines this month.
In Orlando, Florida, a 4-year-old boy was wounded in a pit bull attack that occurred while he was sleeping. The attack, reported on October 11, prompted child-abuse detectives to consider the matter. Reportedly the dog’s owner was visiting the child’s mother at the time of the incident. While they were in the living room, the unattended dog wandered into the child’s room, and attacked the child unprovoked. The injuries were not life-threatening.
Another pit bull attack in Aurora, Chicago sent a 10-year-old boy to the hospital. The child was walking to school on October 13th when two pit bulls ambushed him. A driver passing by put a stop to the attack. One dog was captured by authorities, the police could not locate the second dog. The owner has been cited for letting the dogs run free, leading to the attack. Also concerning was that one of the dogs was overdue for its rabies shot. It is not clear which dog this concerns.
A Stamford, Connecticut pit bull attack caused a rabies scare for a 58-year-old woman who was wounded in the attack. The dog in question was placed under 14-day quarantine when it was discovered that the dog had not been up-to-date with its vaccinations. She declined a rabies vaccine, due to the risk of developing an autoimmune disease, but did accept a tetanus shot.
Fatal pit bull attack leads to renewed calls for bans
A Lowell city councilor is planning to call for a complete ban of pit bulls in the wake of the fatal mauling. Calling it a public safety issue, the councilor believes the controversial ban would be justified. It is a goal dating back to 2011, in the wake of a series of pit bull attacks. However, pit bull advocates claim that the dog owners are more to blame. If any ban does go into place, it will likely see immediate legal challenges by dog advocates.
Lowell is not the first city to consider a ban of ‘dangerous’ dog breeds. It is also not the only time pit bulls have been directly named for a specific ban. Montreal, Canada banned the breed over a year ago. In August, the city sent out letters to pit bull owners that gave them 4 weeks to find a new home for the dogs, or move out. However, there are serious problems not only with the ban, but with how it is being implemented.
Regardless of what Lowell decides to do, it is all but certain that pit bulls will be in the cross hairs for years to come. When another pit bull attack does occur, the debate will only continue to heat up.