An Iowa mother was recently mauled by a pack of three dogs, leaving her suffering permanent disabilities and requiring surgery. It will surprise few to find that the reported breed of the dogs were pit bulls.
A neighbor reported screaming outside Brittany Skoland’s residence in Fort Dodge on Nov. 24, and the responding officer found her in the throes of the canine attack, Fox News reported.
The officer tried to scare off the dogs in an attempt to end the attack, but the pit bulls were undeterred, so the officer drew his gun and fatally shot all three animals.
In a statement about the incident, Fort Dodge Police Chief Dennis Quinn said each dog had to be shot “multiple times” to end the attack.
Skoland was rushed to the local Unity Point Trinity Medical Center and then airlifted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines for emergency treatment.
Both of her legs had to be amputated, according to Fox News. She also will require facial reconstruction surgery.
“She also has serious head trauma and much more,” Teresa Hanus, Skoland’s aunt, said in a GoFundMe set up to raise money for her medical expenses.
KCCI-TV in Des Moines reported it had tried to speak with the owner of the pit bulls on Nov. 27.
“He yelled obscenities and told KCCI to go away before walking into his home,” the outlet reported.
As of Dec. 2, no charges had been filed in the case.
Unfortunately, such attacks aren’t very unusual.
In April, a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by a 145-pound pit bull mix in Maryland. His grieving mother posted to Facebook, “My arms ache for the child I will never hold again.”
Another woman was mauled in March, losing her nose and one arm in a Connecticut pit bull attack. The woman believed the animal had been startled and provoked by the UV tooth whitener she had in her mouth at the time of the attack.
Pit bulls are America’s most dangerous dog breed. Although they make up only 6 percent of the dog population, they comprise about 40 percent of child maulings, according to a study in the World Journal of Pediatric Surgery.
Iowa, the location of Skoland’s attack, is one of 10 states where some subdivision of government has a pit bull ban.
Many cities in Iowa, including Council Bluffs, have bans on the possession or sale of pit bulls.
These bans are an example of breed-specific legislation and generate heated debates between advocates and opponents.
The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes BSL, calling it “ineffective.”
Iowa would be well-advised not to outright ban pit bulls or mandate their euthanization but to ban the breeding of pit bulls in the state.
Thoroughbred pit bulls and canines with substantial pit bull DNA should have their owners required to obtain liability insurance coverage, as Austin, Texas, does for dogs deemed to be “dangerous.”
Iowa also should consider mandatory sterilization for pit bulls, as sterilization eliminates the possibility of reproduction and has traditionally been understood to reduce aggressive behavior (although the findings on this are somewhat mixed).
Dogs are the responsibility of every owner, and that responsibility is heightened when the dog’s breed indicates an increased danger to others.
Given the well-known risks associated with pit bulls, it’s appropriate for local governments to consider crafting breed-specific ordinances that maximize the safety of children and others while also preserving the freedom of dog owners.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.