Two vicious dog attacks that happened within hours of each other this week have prompted police to, once again, ask the public to step in and help crack down on the problem.
Those two dogs are now at the Ohio County Animal Shelter, where dozens of dogs on the "vicious dog registry" end up. Around 10 pit-bull mixes end up in the animal shelter every month. This month, there are 11. That's more than 100 dogs a year, and Dog Warden Doug McCroski says he has never actually seen a city of Wheeling registration tag.
A dog that is any part pit-bull, is required to be registered with the city, and the vast majority of them are not. McCroski answers calls all over the county, and has this seen first-hand. On Wheeling Island, he estimates 50 to 100 dogs that are on the vicious dog registry who are not registered. He said it's common for him to go to a house and see three of four vicious dogs unregistered, and in the uncommon cases, even more than that.
McCroski thinks that if more dogs were registered, we would see a decrease in the number of dog bites. He said, "The accidental incidents of the dogs running loose and biting somebody are going to cut down."
Those registered vicious dogs are required to be behind a six foot fence, but building a fence like that doesn't come cheap, neither does the liability insurance. And, people who surrender pit-bull mixes every month, say they can't afford those costs. McCroski doesn't want anyone to be confused about where he stands, he's not in favor of breed specific legislation. He says irresponsible owners are to blame, not the dogs. He said, "That beagle yesterday, had that dog not been off the property, out of the owners control, that guy wouldn't have been bit." But he did, and now that beagle will sit here in the shelter, with the other two pit bull mixes picked up Tuesday. They won't get adopted, but the owner could still get them back, if they came forward, paid the fees, went to court and complied with the ordinance.