A York City woman plans to ask the city council to take preventive measures, such as banning pit bulls, after two serious pit bull attacks in York County within a week.
Heather Pratt, who is also an attorney, said banning the "inherently dangerous" breed from the city limits should be the goal.
"Owning a dog is not worth ruining someone else's life," she said. "The right of the dog owner doesn't trump the right of society at large."
However, state law trumps local ordinances. State law forbids a ban on any specific dog breed so a local ordinance could be challenged in the courts and would likely be struck down.
But Pratt says she's looking to start a conversation about dangerous breeds in hopes that the law would be changed.
The attacks: On July 7, a Spring Garden Township man and his shih-poo were attacked by two pit bulls, owned by Jasmine Alnisa McKinnis, 29, of York City, as they walked in the township.
The shih-poo, a crossbreed of a poodle and a shih tzu, died in the attack and the man suffered injuries. The two pit bulls were euthanized, township police had said.
Bonnie Cole, who lives across the street from Pratt, was attacked by three pit bulls that got loose as she mowed her yard at her Lincoln Street home on July 4. She suffered major injuries and will have to undergo rehabilitation.
Pratt says something proactive has to be done to help prevent such attacks in urban areas instead of waiting until after a dog attack takes place.
"The way the laws are in Pennsylvania, something has to happen first," she said.
Dangerous dogs: According to the Department of Agriculture, a dog must be deemed dangerous by a district judge.
That typically happens after the dog has shown some sort of aggressive behavior, such as an attack.
If deemed dangerous, the dog's owner must register it with the state annually at a cost of $500 a year.
The owner must also carry a bond or liability insurance for $50,000 to cover injures that dog could inflict. The dog must be kept in an enclosure and muzzled and leashed when out of the enclosure. For its part, the dog must be spayed or neutered and microchipped, according to the department.
Pratt, a dog owner herself, said she questions why pit bull owners in urban area opted to own the breed of dog. She said the confined spaces, where children often walk and play, of city life is not conducive to pit bulls.
"It's like putting a piranha in your swimming pool. You just don't do it," she said.
York City council will meet again at City Hall, 101 S. George St., at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.