Breed specific laws aimed at pit bulls, rottweilers, and the other more dangerous breeds would be unlikely to provide relief from the growing incidence of dog attacks in Tyler, Texas. This is not to say that pit bulls and rottweilers are not more likely to cause harm than the other breeds. When a Chihuahua goes rogue you need new shoelaces. When a pit bull goes off you need a new leg. However, the problem of enforcing breed specific laws would be insurmountable and the effect insignificant.
Tyler and the surrounding East Texas area has a problem with attacks by “yard dog” pit bulls. The profile of a “yard dog” pit bull is a dog which appears to have numerous pit bulls in its’ family tree but which has no papers. The American Kennel Club has never heard of this dog. It does not have a collar and has never seen a veterinarian’s office. It hangs around the yard and sometimes gets fed and sometimes does not get fed. Its’ true breed can be determined only by very sophisticated scientific procedures and if it bites someone its owner will deny ownership. Breed specific legislation will be unlikely to have any effect on “yard dog” pit bulls and will only be a burden to the responsible owners of registered, well cared for, well mannered pit bulldogs.
The notion that the owners of large dogs which are allowed to run free should be required to carry insurance has merit. Not because the owners of most farm dogs will ever need the insurance but because it will allow an additional enforcement vehicle for local agencies. Large dogs should also be required to wear a collar that has ownership information and proof of current vaccinations attached to the collar. When a constable or animal control officer sees a large unrestrained dog the officer can easily check for insurance violations, vaccination violations, and identity violations and appropriate citations can be issued. If the dog is not collared and the owner of the property on which the dog is found denies ownership of the dog then it should go to the local animal shelter.