Debate over dangerous dogs
The Twin Cities has seen four serious animal attacks this month. Aggressive dog breeds tend to get the most blame and media attention, but there are many cases involving other breeds that don't get such publicity.
St. Paul, Minn. — A Twin Cities woman who was recently attacked by two pit bull terriers said she thinks pit bulls should be "off the face of the earth."
Joann Jungmann, 59, was attacked when she tried to serve legal papers at a home in St. Paul. She says the dogs jumped a 3-foot-high chain-link fence.
Jungmann said a neighbor of the dogs' owner helped save her life.
The owner gave the dogs to the city and they were euthanized Wednesday. They will be tested for rabies.
Also Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council passed an ordinance that says pet owners cited more than once for abusing or neglecting an animal can't legally own another pet. The ordinance targets those who train dogs to fight, puppy mill operators or pet owners shown to be irresponsible or negligent.
Existing city law requires all dogs more than 3 months old to have a license.
Monday's attack was the fourth dog attack in the Twin Cities in a month. The first three attacks were in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels said he might propose changing the city's dog ordinance to allow the city to destroy dogs after just one attack.
While Jungmann's feelings about pit bulls were understandable, they also highlight the difficulties in policing dog attacks.
While some cities including Denver and Prescott, Wis., ban pit bulls or dogs classified as "dangerous," other places -- including Minnesota -- mandate that cities designate dogs involved in attacks as dangerous and track them.
One difficulty is that at least 25 breeds have been involved in fatal attacks.
MPR's Cathy Wurzer talked with Petra Mertens, an animal behaviorist with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. With her infant daughter in the background, Mertens said incidents involving so-called aggressive dog breeds tend to get the most media attention, but there are many cases involving other breeds that don't get such publicity.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
- Morning Edition, 04/25/2007, 8:38 a.m.