A common, senseless mistake by animal control workers is to release dogs that have mauled people. These are dogs that have proven themselves and, often, their owners, of being unfit and untrustworthy. By releasing them back into the community, animal control workers act negligently and with conscious disregard for the safety of children and the public in general.
A current example of this can be read about here. A pit bull trespassed into a neighbor’s yard and mauled an 8-year-old Illinois boy. The child had injuries on his head, eyes and back of his neck. Animal control picked up the dog, held him for 10 days, and then gave him back to his owner. All the city workers were interested in was rabies.
Attorney Wayne A. Ritchie II and I have filed suit against animal control and law enforcement officials in Knoxville, TN, following the horrific death of Jennifer Lowe last November. The pit bulls that killed her had been declared dangerous by animal control, which was a good start. However, when officers saw — with their own eyes — that the dog owner was allowing the dogs to run at large, they did not impound the dogs or take action of any kind (other than to remind the owner that he was violating the law). The dogs brutally killed Jennifer days later.
Officials need to understand that releasing dangerous dogs is a bad example to dog owners (telling them that the animal control laws are a joke), and unacceptably risky to the public. Just as dog owners need to be held accountable, public officials also need to be held accountable. We are hoping to scare animal control departments into doing the right thing: take the bad dogs off our streets for good, not just for 10 days!