Poll: Many back ban on certain dogs
Sunday, January 21, 2007
By BRENDAN KIRBY
Support among area residents for banning dangerous breeds of dogs has increased dramatically over the last five years and so has the number of people identifying pit bulls as the dogs most likely to attack people, a new survey suggests.
In the Press-Register/University of South Alabama poll conducted last week, 52 percent of residents in Mobile and Baldwin counties said they believe breeds with a history of attacking people should be banned. That was up from 38 percent in a similar poll conducted in June 2002.
When asked to name the breed they most associate with attacks, 70 percent named the pit bull, up from 48 percent.
"That is definitely a statistically significant increase," said Keith Nicholls, a University of South Alabama political science professor who directed both polls. "There's been a lot of publicity about pit bulls of late. ... It's just gotten a lot worse."
The telephone survey of 403 adults in Mobile and Baldwin counties, conducted Monday through Wednesday, has a 5-percentage-point margin of error.
Count Felicia Maddox among the 52 percent who favor banning certain dog breeds. Two pit bulls attacked her father-in-law, Robert Maddox, in November as he was walking back to his Semmes home from his mother's house.
The 66-year-old man suffered a broken arm and deep cuts on his legs. Felicia Maddox said he has been undergoing arduous physical therapy.
It was the first of two high-profile attacks involving pit bulls late last year. Last month, a pair of pit bulls attacked Charles Henderson in his yard on Dauphin Island.
"I think that type of breed, they need to get away from that devil," Felicia Maddox said. "It's in their nature. Stop breeding them."
Some animal advocates, however, said breed-specific bans are difficult to enforce and miss the real problem of irresponsible dog owners.
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