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York residents want harsher dog punishment

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A Pit bull attacked a York woman on July 4th and now people want to know what the city can do to prevent it from happening again.

The aftermath from the three Pit bulls that attacked Bonnie Cole is startling.

Heather Pratt and her daughter witnessed it, and called 911 for help.

“It was horrific, it was terrifying to see it and to be there,” says Heather Pratt, an attorney in York.

She says her daughter is now afraid to go outside.

“We went to the pool the day it happened and she went up to the owner and said are you going to allow dogs inside the pool – I mean she’s terrified,” says Pratt.

Pratt is an attorney who has studied breed specific legislation before.

She says Pennsylvania has a law against banning specific types of dogs.

She knows a pit bull ban isn’t going to happen, but says she just wants to keep people safe.

Those on the other side agree with her.

The violence needs to stop.

“The bans in our opinion are a knee-jerk emotional reaction,” says Rachel Robison, from Pin Ups for Pitbulls.

Rachel Robison, who is with the non-profit dog advocacy group, Pin-ups for Pitbulls, says the responsibility lies with the owner and not the type of dog.

“There’s absolutely no connection between dog bite related injuries and the breed of the dog, it all comes back to environmental factors,” says Robison.

Harsher penalties for owners is at the top of Pratt’s suggestion list.

Both just want to keep the people of York safe, and make sure the attack that happened on July 4th, doesn’t happen again.

Robison says there are certain things that may lead to aggression, like keeping your dog alone in your backyard or keeping the dog tethered on a leash.

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As for Bonnie Cole, Pratt says she’s still recovering and will be for quite some time.


  • MyViewpoint

    If it is all the owner and not the breed, why is public perception inundated with report after report of pit bulls being involved? We aren't hearing about dachshunds, terriers, shepherds or retrievers going on rampages. There are reasons breeds were named "retriever" and "shepherd". Just like there is a reason it is called a "pit bull".
    Tigers and gorillas can be sweet and lovable most of the time, too but we do not casually treat them as pets.

    • professordarque

      So, without Google, why are they called "pit bulls", and have you in the past considered keeping a gorilla or tiger as a pet?

    • CAC

      The ASPCA conducted a study that showed that the media will not report a dog attack unless it can be attributed to a pit bull. In a span of a week, despite the fact that more serious dog attacks occurred by dogs of other breeds, only the attacks that could be called "a pit bull" attack were reported, and if the other incidents were reported at all they were given very little mention. The CDC conducted a 20-year study on dog bites and breed, and the conclusion of the study was that neither pit bulls nor rottweilers could be considered more dangerous or likely to attack than any other breed of dog.

  • Eric

    "Public perception" is the key here. Stories can get hyped when it another one of those aggressive dog attacks. One other thing to consider is that many people who are irresponsible dog owners may be attacked to the pit bull type of breeds. One final note, is that there are a handful of similar terriers that people call "pit bulls."

    Pit bulls are just getting the same bad name that German Shepherds and Rottweilers have had in previous decades.

  • anonymous

    See comment #1 for an example of an uneducated reaponse. Pit bulls are a mixed breed so by that rationalization their mix of possibly boxer, labrador, shepherd, cattle dog, etc is also to blame? I seriosuly hope you arent a pet owner….or parent for that matter.

  • CAC

    Most mixed breed, medium sized dogs can be labeled a pit bull. I have two rescued "pit bulls" from shelters. One is 85 pounds, muscular, has a huge head, and resembles an American Bulldog. The other is 45 pounds, slender, and athletic, with a head similar to a Boxer. Both were labeled "pit bull", and most Heinz 57, short-haired, medium-sized dogs are labeled "pit bull" or "pit mix". This is the problem with focusing on "breed". "Pit bull" is not a breed, the identification is subjective, and pretty much any dog that attacks is going to be labeled a pit bull.

    If dogs are a problem in this community, proven methods to lower incidents of dog bites are to enforce leash laws, legislate and maintain humane laws for dogs (specifically tethering and enclosure), and encourage spay and neuter and discourage backyard breeding. Breed-specific legislation is a failure in every community in which it is enacted because it does not address the actual problem — bad owners!

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