It would not be fair to label American Staffordshire Terriers, like the one that bit a girl in Progress Village, a mean breed, according to the spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Animal Shelter. A dog’s behavior is usually a result of its care.
“It would not be accurate to say that Am Staff or any dog is ‘known’ for being aggressive,” said Marti Ryan of Little Buck, which is under county care since the bite. “Animal experts and responders like those at Hillsborough County Animal Services along with other professionals such as the American Veterinary Medical Association uniformly emphasize responsible ownership versus labeling of breeds.”
She added that the pit bull terrier is not so much a breed as it is a mix of breeds. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, she said.
The girl was at home where her family was dog sitting the animal in the 3200 block of Lancaster Lane in Progress Village about 2:20 p.m. Sunday when Little Buck bit her, according to Ryan.
“The mother was embracing the child and squeezing her very tight, the dog turned on the child,” Ryan said.
The child may have screamed loudly and startled the dog, prompting the attack, said Ryan, who did not know the extent or the location of the child’s injuries.
The child was treated at the scene and transported Tampa General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“An investigator is on scene now that will be impounding the dog and will be investigating the incident,” Ryan said.
The dog was unneutered, which could have played a role in the attack, Ryan said.
Hillsborough County Animal Services investigates about 2,000 dog bites a year, Ryan said, and the attacks typically happen to children, the elderly, letter carriers or those who must go onto property for work.