Medford police, city officials target pit bulls, other dangerous dogs

Medford police urged the City Council on Thursday to put more teeth into local laws to combat the threat of dangerous dogs such as pit bulls.

"If we see dogs on drug search warrants, they are pit bulls," said deputy chief Brett Johnson.

The dog of choice for drug dealers is also the most menacing dog in Medford, according to police.

Over the past three years, more than 50 percent of the 89 attacks on people and animals have been by pit pulls.

The City Council appeared poised to enact some kind of local laws to deal with this growing threat, but asked a police advisory committee to look at the issue before taking action.

Councilor Bob Strosser said he preferred an approach that would create harsher penalties on residents who continue to own attack dogs.

"In a majority of these cases, the irresponsible individuals walk away," he said.

In many cases, a menacing dog that has attacked someone is euthanized, but the owner just buys another dog to replace it.

Many councilors indicated they hoped to draft a law that didn't single out a particular breed, though pit bulls dominated the discussion.

— Damian Mann

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