A Pit Bull adopted from the BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore earlier this month has seriously mauled a Pennsylvania woman and two of her children.
The attack comes just as lawmakers in Annapolis again try to decide whether Pit Bulls should be considered more dangerous than other dogs, reports ABC2 News.
The attack occurred last Monday morning, as the two brothers ages 10 and 11 were playing basketball outside their home in York County, PA. Suddenly their neighbor's Pit Bull attacked.
One of the boys ran inside. Their mother ran out and saw her son being brutally mauled.
“The dog was up on my son's chest, just attacking him,” she said. “So I just ran over and started attacking the dog myself. And he turned around and started attacking me.”
The 11-year-old's injuries are the most serious. He suffered large bites from head to toe, according to the ABC2 report.
“Honestly I think [the dog] would have killed one of us if he had had the chance,” the distraught mother said. “My older son is going to have scars all over his body. And I'm going to have a pretty significant scar also.”
The neighbor who owned the dog would not comment. Other dogs live in the home, including at least one Pit Bull.
Police said the dog was adopted earlier this month from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) in Baltimore.
Pennsylvania State Police said the dog was on a leash but it broke away when it heard the boys playing.
BARCS states on its website that it is a non-profit open-admission shelter—meaning it takes in all homeless or unwanted animals. The shelter's director, Jennifer Braise, would not talk to ABC2 regarding this case, but she did say employees and volunteers have extensive contact with every animal before they're adopted out.
“We are not going to knowingly put an animal back into the community that would potentially bite. So if we know of an animal that has a bite history that is acting aggressive in any way, we would not put that animal back in the community and that animal would be euthanized,” she said.
But, ABC2 points out, this is the kind of attack that led Maryland's highest court to rule in 2012 that Pit Bulls are "inherently dangerous" -- meaning victims of attacks by pit bulls in Maryland don't have to prove the owner or the owner's landlord knew the dog was dangerous in order to win a lawsuit.
Ever since that ruling there have been attempts to change the law -- attempts that have stalled because there are different plans in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
In general -- the plan passed during a special session in 2012 and again in 2013--would have removed the "inherently dangerous" designation from pit bulls. The Senate's plan from those sessions would apply the “inherently dangerous” standard to dogs of all breeds.
The BARCS director said she hopes some kind of compromise will happen, because she says singling out Pit Bulls isn't fair to dogs -- or people.
Ironically this same week, Jackson County Animal Services in Medford, Oregon, shows pit bulls top the list of dog-bite cases involving humans in 2013.
The Mail-Tribune reported today that Medford is currently exploring options to deal with dangerous dogs. A police advisory committee is holding a public hearing Feb. 19 on dangerous dogs and will recommend a course of action by April.
Opponents say the current law in Maryland isn't fair to pit bull owners -- or people who get bitten by other breeds.It's also difficult to say exactly what a Pit bull is; the head of BARCS said there are breeds ranging from bull-dog to boxer in her shelter -- all of which might be considered Pit Bulls.
The mother from York County said she'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in Annapolis. But after the attack last week she says she does believe pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs.
“Anybody who's ever said to me 'I knew a pit bull who was a friendly pit bull' or 'my friend has one and that one seems fine' I definitely wouldn't believe that anymore,” she said.