What do I do if my neighbor has a pitbull?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

If your neighbor has a Pitbull and you are concerned about the situation, there are a few steps you can take to address your concerns. It’s important to approach the situation in a calm and respectful manner, keeping in mind that owning a Pitbull is legal in most places unless there are specific laws against the breed.

1. Research the laws in your city or state: Before jumping to conclusions or assuming anything, it’s essential to know the specific laws regarding Pitbull ownership in your area. Some cities or states may have breed-specific legislation (BSL) in place, which restricts or prohibits certain breeds, including Pitbulls. Understanding the laws will help you determine if your neighbor is within their legal rights to own the dog.

2. Assess the dog’s behavior: Instead of focusing solely on the breed, it’s important to consider the individual dog’s behavior. Not all Pitbulls are aggressive or dangerous. Take note of how the dog behaves when you encounter it. Is it friendly, calm, and well-behaved? Or does it display signs of aggression or fear? This information will be helpful when discussing your concerns with authorities or your neighbor.

3. Communicate with your neighbor: If you have concerns about your neighbor’s Pitbull, it’s best to address the issue directly with them. Approach the conversation in a respectful and non-confrontational manner. Express your concerns and explain why you are worried. Listen to their perspective as well and try to find common ground. They may be unaware that their dog’s behavior is causing distress to others.

4. Document any incidents: If you have witnessed any concerning incidents involving the Pitbull, such as aggression towards people or other animals, it’s important to document these incidents. Take note of the date, time, and a detailed description of what occurred. If possible, gather any evidence, such as photos or videos. This documentation will be valuable if you need to escalate the situation to local authorities.

5. Report to local authorities if necessary: If the Pitbull’s behavior poses a direct threat to your safety or the safety of others, it may be necessary to report the situation to local authorities. Contact your local animal control or non-emergency police line to report your concerns. Provide them with the documentation and any relevant information you have gathered. They will assess the situation and take appropriate action if needed.

6. Seek legal advice if applicable: If you have exhausted all other options and believe that your neighbor’s Pitbull is in violation of specific laws or regulations, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer who specializes in animal law. They can provide guidance on your rights and options moving forward.

Remember, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. While Pitbulls have a reputation for being aggressive, many are loving and well-behaved pets. It’s essential not to judge solely based on breed and to focus on individual behavior and responsible ownership.