MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Police and city leaders are talking about how to prevent attacks by pit bulls and other vicious dogs.
Specifically, police say pit bulls are responsible for about half of all reported dog bites in Medford. The city council requested this information from Medford Police after two incidents last fall where pit bulls attacked other dogs.
The city council is trying to decide whether there needs to be additional rules for those dogs or their owners. According to statistics from Medford Police, there were 89 reported dog bites: 43 against humans, 24 against other dogs, 9 against cats, and 13 involving both humans and dogs, like when someone tried to break up a dog fight. Police say of those bites, half of them were from pit bulls or pit bull mixes.
Police laid out several options other areas across the U.S. have done in regards to pit bulls, including banning the breed outright, banning them from certain areas like parks, requiring sterilization, or requiring harnesses and muzzles when they are taken on walks.
Some people, including the Southern Oregon Humane Society, says it’s not about one type of dog. Kenn Altine, the executive director of the Southern Oregon Humane Society says pit bulls get stereotyped as dangerous dogs, and he says the focus should be on the dog’s owners.
“I’ve met a lot of vicious dogs. Some of them have been pit bulls, some of them have been Chihuahuas. One of them was a particularly nasty cocker spaniel. So when you look at, what is a vicious dog? We’re talking about a behavior, and not a breed,” said Altine.
Medford Police admitted the statistics might be incomplete, they said there are a number of dog bites that are never reported.
City councilors did not make any sort of decision on Thursday. The issue will be taken up by the police advisory council, which will take public comment on any proposal.