I live in the Laurel/Redwood Heights district. On four separate occasions our dog was hounded by 5 different dogs as I took her for walks in our neighborhood. Two times my daughter was with me: once in a stroller, the other time in a baby backpack. On those occasions, my dog ran to get away from the other dogs pulling me to my knees. The dogs threatened my dog, injured me (scraped knees, torn jeans), and placed my daughter at risk. I felt like I'd been brutally mugged. I ended up being too scared to take our dog for a walk. In my experience, owners do not acknowledge how dangerous their dogs are: one person claimed that her dog wanted to "play." I called the Oakland Police Department regarding one of these incidents, but there was no consequence for the owners.
A Scottish stag hound the size of a small pony attacked a college student as she jogged along our street recently. She suffered bites to arm and leg before a neighbor chased it away, and the owner brought it inside. We don't know how it got free to roam. It was reported, and the dog was taken away by animal control officers. But it was returned a few days later. Must this behavior be repeated before the dog is impounded for good?
In my experience volunteering at the SPCA, I found pit bulls to be among the most friendly and fun breeds. I also have noted over the years that they have by far the worst record of serious attacks not only against other dogs but also any humans that are unfortunate to be around when they "go off", as they were bred to do. The pit bull breed was created specifically for killing, and the fact that they are cuddly when not engaged in fulfilling their deadly purpose should not lead anyone to naively think of them as suitable pets. The breed ought to be allowed to phase out through normal aging and non-reproduction. There are plenty of other breeds equally cute and greatly safer for dog lovers to keep in our community.
I had to stop walking the trail above Montclair Village because most dogs were unrestrained and the owners turned nasty when I asked them to please leash their dogs while I walked by. You wouldn't believe the language I heard from the dog owners. Not very civilized.
I don't believe that pit bulls are any worse than other dogs, I just think they have the potential to do a lot more damage than other dogs if they do become aggressive. I'd like to see certain breeds (starting with pit bulls) require an extra requirement for getting a dog license. Pit bull owners would be required to attend a special dog training session that would be offered by the SPCA on how to handle and train potentially aggressive dogs. It would help us keep better track of these dogs, would better train owners on how to handle them and could be a source of funds for the SPCA. It might also discourage someone who casually gets a pit bull without understanding their special training and supervision needs (like the owners who let their pit bulls escape their yard repeatedly). I think everyone would feel better if they knew someone was overseeing animals that often cause fatalities if they get out of control. Also, any dog that kills another dog in an unprovoked attack should absolutely not be returned to their owners. That is a "one strike you're out" situation. Owners need to be held responsible when their dogs kill innocent animals.