Mention the words pit bulls in a conversation. Talk about rottweilers to work colleagues. German shepherds are a divisive topic at a party. The reaction often culminates in anger, strong debate, or stories of attacks. Why?
Certain dog breeds have been labeled as dangerous. However, the argument over dangerous dogs isn’t new.
Is it possible that these episodes of dog biting can be put into a simple context of predatory emotions? Or do we need to look deeper than this? It is thought and argued that some breeds are particularly aggressive and cause more injuries and even fatalities to humans and other dogs.
Legislation has been instituted that control or regulate dog breeds which, according to extensive research, are dangerous to humans and other animals. However, these enactments have been highly controversial, and proponents of dog breeders and the insurance industry are divided.
Insurance companies banning dog breeds are doing so because they have been dealt a large blow with excessively expensive liability claims, such that these insurers have compiled a list of banned dog breeds, and many will not provide sufficient coverage or any at all if owners do not heed this list.
In the United States in the early 1980s, BSL began to gain favor due to the media reporting of ‘pit bull’ attacks. The consequences of this momentum left millions of dogs homeless and owners just disposing of the dogs due to the pressure from friends and neighbors.
Whether you’ve been bitten by a dog or you’re looking to buy a new dog, it’s essential to understand the insurance rules surrounding certain breeds. An experienced attorney can help.
Predatory behavior and affective aggression are two main causes of dog attacks.
Dogs indicating predatory behavior are motivated by killing or consuming prey, offspring protection, and space. They are focused on moving in and stalking their prey, grabbing, dissecting, and consuming.
Typically, this behavior is regarded as non-emotional or non-affective, and the communication between the dog and the victim is absent, and empathy is low.
On the other side of the coin, affective aggression can be triggered by fear, anxiety, and threats. When a dog postures itself in a threatening or harmful stance, this is a form of communication; in a sense, a warning of putting distance between the attacker and the prey – the target of his aggression.
Besides the obvious damage done by the animal’s teeth, dog bites have the ability to paralyze humans with severe consequences for both the animal and the victims.
Many of these incidents have long-lasting traumatic effects, both physical and psychological. In some cases, bacterial diseases called zoonoses can also be passed on from the dogs to the victims.
Many opponents infer that BSL policies are racially biased and culturally linked to racially-diverse areas. Perceptions abound that dog-fighting rings and gang violence are associated with pit bulls which were previously regarded as ‘prototypical America’s Dog.’ Animal rights groups argue that their argument is flawed and thus invalid.
Another source of controversy is the determination of breeds and why they have been labeled as dangerous. Physical characteristics are generally used by BSL, and opponents are of the opinion that the difficulty of discerning dogs based on their physical appearance cannot be considered sufficient criteria for the labeling.
If you own a dog breed that insurers are banning, or if you’ve recently been involved in an incident involving one of these breeds, the best option is to seek legal counsel immediately.
This is a fraught and emotional part of the law, and expert help is always useful. Find a good dog bite attorney near you for the best results.