Officials with the Franklin County Animal Control office are asking an Ohio judge to apply the "dangerous dog" label to three dogs that were involved in a deadly attack on two other dogs. The attack has largely horrified the community of Gahanna, Ohio, because the dogs that were killed were inside their own home at the time.
The three dogs involved in the attack are all pitbull-mixes. They somehow escaped their own yard and managed to get inside a neighbor's home through an unlocked patio door, mauling the Shetlands inside to death. The homeowner was away at the time -- or the attack may have taken even more lives.
Neighbors living near the dogs are terrified of what may happen next. The community has many other small dogs, children and elderly people who wouldn't stand much of a chance in a dog attack. They say that designating the dogs as "dangerous" does nothing to ensure anyone's safety -- especially since the owner has already shown that he can't keep the animals contained inside their own yard.
Unfortunately, in Ohio, a dog can't be forcibly removed from its owner even once the "dangerous" designation is given. Officials can ask the owner to surrender the animal, but can't take further action without a warrant. It takes an attack on a human -- or several attacks on other animals -- for a dog to be labeled "vicious." Only then can authorities remove the dog against the owner's wishes and have it destroyed.
One Ohio lawmaker has been trying to pass new legislation that would strengthen the ability of authorities to take action against dangerous dogs -- but there's been little movement by the proposed bill. Supporters are afraid that new legislation that would increase legal penalties for the owners of dangerous dogs and require authorities to follow-up on complaints, among other things, simply isn't getting the support needed to make changes.
If you've been injured by a dog, make sure that you seek medical attention immediately. It may be possible to seek compensation for your injuries later in court, but first you need to make sure that you have the appropriate treatment.