An incident that occurred in Hendricks County, Indiana recently illustrates perfectly what I mean when I say that dangerous dog laws (DDLs) can be just as deadly as breed-specific legislation (BSL). Jo Zickmund says she and her mixed-breed Labrador, Jessie, were attacked by her neighbor’s pit bull, Klove, twice. Zickmund said,
“Shes a pit bull, but I don’t have a problem with pit bulls, I have a problem with irresponsible pet owners,” Zickmund said.
It’s nice to see that Ms. Zickmund can reason the situation out and see that it is the owner who is to blame, not the dog. But then why is Klove scheduled to be killed within days from now?
If a person gets inbetween an attacking dog and their own dog in an attempt to stop the attack, should the dog be put down as dangerous or vicious when the dog had no intention of biting or attacking a human; it was just the human who got in the way?
And shouldn’t the other dog’s behavior be examined as well? In other words, if the Labrador mix provoked the so-called pit bull, should the pit bull really be made to pay with her life?
Klove’s owner, Nicholas Hall-O’Brien, believes his dog was simply trying to protect his family, possibly specifically his infant daughter, which would suggest that the Labrador mix was threatening her in some way that Klove perceived and picked up on, but that the humans may not have. Perhaps the Lab mix’s hackles were up or he was giving off signs of aggression that Klove perceived as a threat to her family.
Hall-O’Brien himself maintains that,
“I really deeply feel that Klove, that both the times that she acted out like that, was probably in a way to protect us from something that we aren’t going to be able to see,” Hall-OBrien said.
But that’s just it. With a poorly-written dangerous dog law, a dog can be ruled dangerous or vicious with no consideration given to any mitigating or external factors, and by no more than an Animal Control Officer’s or an Administrative Hearing Officer’s unskilled assessment. The dog in question should have at least had a proper examination by a canine behaviorist or some other expert before being unceremoniously and perhaps needlessly killed.
Still, Ms. Zickmund says she wants the laws changed in Hendricks County so that there is intervention before an attack. She said,
. . . it wouldnt have gone this far if authorities would have fined the Hall-O’Briens, or even showed up to take a report after the first attack.
Zickmund plans to move away from the area because she said the laws are too lax.
Not only could there have been Animal Control intervention before the irresponsible ownership escalated had their been a better-written dangerous dog (owner) law in place, but two neighbors could have been spared hashing their dispute out in court, and a dog’s life could have been spared.
Perhaps it’s not too late. Please write the Hendricks County Animal Control and Hendricks County Council and make a plea for Klove’s life. She shouldn’t have to pay for the mistakes of her owner when she was just trying to protect her family and did not know any better.
Photo courtesy of Indianapolis ABC 6: Jessie the Labrador mix on the left, Klove on the right.