ATLANTA — A bill introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives could label some breeds of dogs as dangerous and force shelters to provide bite statistics to people looking to adopt the dogs.
“Logan’s Law” is named after a 6-year-old boy in Atlanta who was killed by a pack of pit bulls while he was waiting for his school bus.
David Scerbo’s dog, Bella, is a Pit Bull, Boxer mix and his dog, Tucker, is a German Shepherd, Akita mix.
“They are on the ‘bad breed’ list, but I think it’s all depends on how you raise your dog honestly. My dogs are lovable and good dogs,” Scerbo said.
However, if the new house bill is approved, Scerbo’s dogs would be classified as “dangerous.”
The list of breeds includes:
– American Pit Bull Terrier
– American Staffordshire Terrier
– American Bully
– Staffordshire Bull Terrier
– Doberman Pinscher
– German Shepherd
– Chow Chow
– Great Dane
– Wolf Hybrids
“If it’s a dangerous breed, then it should definitely be on that list, but I think if you have interaction with them and the more you get them out to socialize, I think the chances of them acting out is really slim to none,” Scerbo said.
Columbia County Animal Services agrees that the responsibility lies with the pet owner, not the dog.
Operations manager Daniel Mayne says the county is opposed to the “dangerous breed” bill because any breed-specific legislation is problematic.
“Determining the actual breed of an animal goes in as deep as its DNA,” Mayne said.
Mayne says even though a dog may look like a Pit Bull, it may have more of a Labrador’s genetics.
“What we look at is the animal’s behavior here in the shelter. If the animal is friendly, it will be up for adoption, regardless of its breed,” Mayne said.
He also says the proposed bill would burden taxpayers because of DNA testing costs and the fact that shelters will have to provide statistics about dog bites, medical costs related to dog bites and legal damages awarded to dog bite victims.
Scerbo likes the idea of the legislation and says those looking to adopt a dog should know what they’re getting into.
“You definitely want to get in the room with that dog and see how they act, see that they act well with any other dogs, or children in the family,” Scerbo said.
If “Logan’s Law” is approved, it would take effect July 1st, 2017.