Editorial: Euthanizing pit bull is difficult, but right choice

Published 10:30 am Thursday, April 5, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

Austin’s city council made an unpleasant decision Monday night, but one that was ultimately correct, in determining that a dangerous dog needed to be put down.

The case began March 9 when a pit bull rushed onto a residential walkway and killed a smaller dog, which was being walked past the property on a leash. The man who was walking the dog was also injured. After a period of observation, animal control officers determined that the pit bull should be euthanized, and the owner then appealed the decision to the city council.

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While it may be possible that an animal with such a short fuse could for the rest of its natural life be blocked from ever again attacking another dog — or, even worse, a child — possibility is not the same as probability. Every pet owner is aware that dogs will roam if given the chance. And, in this case, a gate left ajar or a muzzle left off could result in another animal’s death or injuries to more people. It’s an unacceptable risk.

This is a case where there are no winners. It is sad that the pit bull’s life will end — sad for the owner, sad for the animal and sad for everyone who cares about animals. It’s too late for the small dog that was killed, and that too is sad. The best that can be said of the situation is that euthanizing a dangerous dog ensures that it will do no further harm.

Putting an animal down is never good. But it is better than the real risk that more animals would die if this dog is allowed to live.