Camp Lejeune follows Army, bans pit bulls

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2009:
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. –The U.S. Marine Corps on April 16,
2009 banned pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids, and “any
other breeds [of dog] with dominant traits of aggression” from Camp
Lejeune, the largest Marine base on the Atlantic Coast.
Camp Lejeune commanding officer Colonel Richard P. Flatau
Jr. signed the order just over three months after the U.S. Army
banned pit bulls, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids, chows, and Dobermans
from Army base housing throughout the world.
The Camp Lejeune order covers the housing of approximately
50,000 active duty Marine Corps personnel, plus more than 100,000
civilian dependents of Marines and civilian base staff.

“The reason for this change is clear,” said Flatau. “To the
extent possible, we want to prevent unnecessary injuries resulting
from dangerous or potentially dangerous animals. These specific
breeds present an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of our
residents and are therefore prohibited.”
The 24-page order “allows current Lejeune residents who have
the breeds to keep them if they have an approved pen. A fenced yard
is not enough,” explained Estes Thompson of Associated Press.
The order also details all other requirements for pets kept
by Camp Lejeune residents. “Besides the obvious changes with respect
to vicious breeds,” Flateau said, “the order also acts as a guide
for residents to follow. There may be some questions as to what
steps to take when bringing a pet on base. This order will answer
those questions. Vicious breeds or not,” Flatau added, “we still
need to regularly ensure standard veterinary requirements are being
enforced for all pets residing on base. The health and safety of all
residents is paramount.”
Elaborated Corporal Billy Hall, “Past incidents involving
domestic animal attacks aboard Camp Lejeune have prompted recent
revisions to the existing base order regulating the possession and
control of pets.” Most notably, a visitor’s pit bull killed a
three-year-old on May 14, 2008. The attack came as the Marines
faced a $5 million lawsuit over a 2005 attack by a Rottweiler at Camp
Lejeune that cost a child an ear.
“Because of a brutal, violent attack by a dog upon a
3-year-old boy in base housing that tragically killed the little
boy,” Flateau affirmed in a written statement, “I directed a
rigorous and thorough review of current policy by my staff. Many
experts took part, including veterinarians, animal control
officers, safety experts, housing managers, lawyers and others.
The review, proposal of recommendations, and my decisions have
taken the past 11 months to complete.” Flateau called the order “not
hasty or ill-conceived, and the right thing to do in order to reduce
unacceptable risk to people.”
Pit bulls, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids are singled out,
Flateau said, because of “a significant body of empirical evidence
indicating they are apt to violent behavior, often unpredictable and
have the capability to inflict severe harm or death.”
Flateau noted that military police responded to twelve more
dog attacks at Camp Lejeune while he and other senior staff
Camp Lejeune is the second major U.S. Marine Corps base to
enact a breed-specific dog policy. Marine Base Quantico in Virginia
already prohibits “potentially dangerous dogs such as full or mixed
breeds of pit bulls (Stafford Bull Terrier, America Staffordshire
Terrier and other similar breeds).” The base commander may also deem
any other dog to be dangerous and therefore excluded.

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