Update: This link has a picture of the two dogs involved. The photos aren't very good, but these dogs appear to be pretty much mixed breed dogs based on the photos. Not that breed of dog matters in this case, but while it would be unclear if these dogs would be impacted by a breed-specific law -- they certainly would have been impacted by an even remotely adequate behavior-based one.
Late last week, a Putnam County, FL man was severely attacked by two 'pit bull type" dogs while he was out gardening and sustained major injuries.
Today, 74 year old Roy McSweeney was taken off of life support and is now officially dead.
The story sadly follows a history of incidents involving these dogs. 18 months ago the dogs attacked another man on McSweeny's property and just last month, a 23 year old man suffered significant bites to both arms while visiting the dog's owner. However, in spite of knowing abou the two different attacks, the city failed to act on these aggressive dogs and allowed them to remain in their home with no restrictions. The dog's owner also apparently did nothing to prevent any other such incident.
Maybe more telling is that Capt. Johnny Greenwood apparently tried to blame the 1st victim for not seeking action after the first attack -- although the media notes that it is the city policy and state law that it is law enforcement's responsibility to take action, not the victim's. At this point, the Sheriff's office has quit talking to the media and is not issuing any more statements on the matter.
The most frustrating part of this situation is that it was completely and 100% avoidable if the city had a dangerous dog law (that was enforced) that would target dogs that, based on their behavior, were known to be aggressive. Clearly these dogs would have qualified. And yet, in this case, dogs with a history of aggression were allowed to continue living in a home with no restrictions and with no punishment to the owner.
Major attacks like this are never the dog's first act of aggression.
It's a sad and frustrating story and mythoughts and prayers go out to the McSweeney family. While one media outlet has decided to try to make the story about the type of dog involved, it completely missed the key story here that any type of law doesn't matter if local officials will not take action when a dog has a bite history. You can't judge the actions of dogs without judging the people's actions around them.
As always, I will follow up more if more info becomes available.