The ‘one free bite’ laws.


Many jurisdictions still have dog bite laws that were created in the middle of last century.  For example, there is the “one free bite rule”, which meant that 3 bites were considered too many. The dog got his first bite for free, and was euthanized after the second, and before the 3rd.  This was a great law back then. Pit bulls and gripper breeds were uncommon as pets. Being “bit” by an occassional dog was part of life. A puncture wound. A bruise. We can live with those bites.

Things have changed. Pit bulls and other grippers are now very popular and are being used as pets in a huge amount of households. The difference? The severity of injuries that pit bulls inflict. People losing limbs. Losing life.Big difference.

A person owning a gripper in a jurisdiction that still has the one bite law can conceivably fight for his dogs right to live after his first ‘serious’  bite, (maul) because of this severely outdated law.  Can we really sit here and say 3 of these attacks are too many?

In the plight for serious injury prevention, shouldn’t we get rid of the one free bite rule for grippers like pit bulls? If we dropped the get out of jail free card for pit bulls and the other grippers, we would be in essence, saying that 2 of these devastating attacks by any one dog would be too many. But…

If we are truly concerned with preventing these attacks that yield massive injury, can’t we just say that 1 of these attacks by any canine that leave massive injuries is 1 too many?

Well that would be going too far. To be honest most dogs of most breeds do not attack and leave these devastating injuries very often at all. For a yellow lab, to have an occasional “freak occurrence” would in no way justify ending the breeding program for yellow labs.

I think we can say a law should stipulate the gripper breeds are more likely to leave devastating injuries, and you as the owner of a gripper know this. Grippers getting the same free pass as dogs that are less likely create these injuries is wrong. For grippers, 2 of these attacks is too many for certain. If we really want to prevent however, we would lower this number of 2, to 1 for grippers.

Non gripping breeds? Normal bites? 3 is too many.







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