Should a Dog Die Because a Man Can’t Read?

pit bullThere was an article in the New York Daily News about how a man was "mauled by three vicious pit bulls when he entered a fenced yard to pass out menus" even though there was a sign that clearly read "Beware of Dog."

The man, Chinese immigrant Xiu Ming Li who has lived in America for 26 years, was bitten on his legs, arm, and head and had an earlobe chewed off.

The man's daughter, outraged, argued that her father couldn't read English; therefore, the sign was useless. The three dogs were taken into custody, where one died, presumably of a heart attack due to the incident.

The story mainly focuses on the man and the injuries he suffered, but, call me unsympathetic, my heart really goes out to the dog that was killed. And, yes, I am using the word killed because that's what happened.


The owner clearly had a warning sign, cautioning visitors (unwelcomed or not) of the presence of guard dogs -- dogs who are territorial and will go at lengths to protect their family. The guy had been living in America for 26 years ... I'm sorry, but there is no reason why he shouldn't have learned the language by now. Not to mention that entering a fenced-in area, regardless of warning signs, is considered trespassing in most states. And if you need to unlatch a gate to enter a property, it probably means you shouldn't be going in there in the first place. Literary knowledge isn't needed to know that -- it's called common sense.

In my opinion, the dogs were just doing their job.

The laws for dog attacks vary from state to state, but for the majority, they read something like this:

The owner of any dog that has bitten a human being shall have the duty to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to remove any danger presented to other persons from bites by the animal.

Whenever a dog has bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions, any person, the district attorney, or city attorney may bring an action against the owner of the animal to determine whether conditions of the treatment or confinement of the dog or other circumstances existing at the time of the bites have been changed so as to remove the danger to other persons presented by the animal. This action shall be brought in the county where a bite occurred. The court, after hearing, may make any order it deems appropriate to prevent the recurrence of such an incident, including, but not limited to, the removal of the animal from the area or its destruction if necessary.

BUT ...

Nothing in this section shall authorize the bringing of an action pursuant to subdivision (b) based on a bite or bites inflicted upon a trespasser, or by a dog used in military or police work if the bite or bites occurred while the dog was actually performing in that capacity.

Trespassing -- which is allegedly what the man was doing, since he came into a fenced-in property, uninvited. And though the police have no plans to charge the dog owner (and she'll get her two dogs that did survive back as long as she produces registration papers), one dog died in this incident and nothing is being done. Should animal rights not be considered in this situation? If someone came onto a property, uninvited, and caused a human to die during a struggle when protecting their home, you bet your ass the intruder would be charged.

What do you think should have happened in this situation? Do you think the fact that he couldn't read lets him off the hook (or puts the responsibility in the owner's hands)? Or do you think Xiu should be charged?


Image via Tobyotter/Flickr


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