Without regard for his own personal safety, Dennis Jenkins, 62, beat the crazed dog unconscious with a 4-foot-long bedpost. Mr. Jenkins is a portrait in courage, a hero. The owners of this vicious dog who allowed it to prowl the streets looking for food are mutts. These owners should be identified and held accountable for this attack. In addition to whatever civil penalties they may face, they should be charged as criminals.
Once again, we are reminded of the need in southeast Queens to protect innocent bystanders from dogs that have been bred for their strength and aggressiveness. The time has come to lay down the law for people who choose to make pets of potentially dangerous animals.
Yeah, yeah, we know, the dogs we are talking about - pit bulls, rottweilers, Dobermans and German shepherds, etc. - can be trained as loving and safe pets. Unfortunately, they can also be trained to attack and kill. And while mean people can raise any dog to be mean, in the hands of the wrong owner these breeds become particularly dangerous.
We urge the City Council to pass a law that would set strict standards for the ownership of all breeds commonly used as attack or guard dogs. The Board of Health should work with the SPCA to develop a mandatory training program for people who want to bring these dogs into their homes or businesses. That training should include instructions about the responsibility these pet owners have to the communities in which they live. Just as some people are not qualified to own a gun, some people should not be allowed to own a dog that can rip a child in half.
It is the duty of any government to balance personal freedom with the welfare of the public. There is no freedom without responsibility. Too many times too many owners of these potentially dangerous breeds have acted in a most irresponsible manner. This time a child nearly died and may be permanently disfigured. The city should not wait for a tragic death of an innocent child before taking action.
A light of hope
It was one of the more dismal stories ever reported by the Times-Ledger. On Sept. 1, the owner of a Chinese restaurant making a delivery to what turned out to be an abandoned building was beaten death, allegedly by five teenagers looking for a free meal. The murder left his widow, Bio Zu Chen, 38, and his two children without any means of support.
The family lived in a small apartment in the rear of their Springfield Gardens restaurant. Like many immigrant families, they invested everything in their business and had nothing to fall back on. But the light of human kindness has overpowered the darkness in this community. Since the murder, the Chen family has received more than 400 letters of condolence, most of them containing a check. In addition the mayor's Community Assistance Unit and Brooklyn's Homecrest Community Services, an organization that serves Asian immigrants, has also come to the aid of this family.
The widow, who speaks little English, will get help in relocating to a new apartment. The donations will help the family get by until they can find a new source of income.
The brutal murder of a hardworking father showed southeast Queens at its worst. The coldness of this crime sent shivers through the community. The response has shown the other side, a warmth and caring that too often go unnoticed.
©2000 Community News Group
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