Pit Bull Victim Shares Survival Story

11-16-05 - An Atoka boy attacked by a pit bull in a relative's backyard is sharing his story from an Oklahoma City hospital bed.

Nick McMaster is recovering from two surgeries as others debate the danger level of this controversial breed.

With his leg that looks like it does, you might call Nick McMaster a lucky kid, hut he doesn't want to hear the "L" word.

“That was the dog’s name.”

Nick says a relative told him to go to the backyard to get a box. A man riding his bike nearby heard Nick scream and threw a rock at the dog.

It's taken two surgeries for doctors to repair what Lucky did to Nick's leg. Now lawmakers are trying to ban the dogs.

Those who support the ban say the next child might not be so lucky. Investigators say since the dog was chained up the owners will probably not face charges.

Lucky has been picked up. There is no word on whether the dog will be euthanized.

Oklahomans favor a ban on pit bulls by more than 20 percentage points, according to a survey conducted by pollsters Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates.

State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft, R-Moore, is proposing a bill to effectively ban the pit bull terrier in Oklahoma. Those people currently owning pit bulls would have to meet certain requirements in order to keep their animals.

"Some of my colleagues were under the impression that the majority of Oklahomans opposed the ban because legislators have received a flurry of calls and e-mails from people who were against banning pit bulls," Wesselhöft said. "However, most of those contacts were generated by a strongly organized vocal minority of breeders and owners, many of whom were from out of state."

Wesselhöft said that Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates conducted the survey without his knowledge or involvement.

He did say, however, that the results of the survey clearly demonstrate strong support for the ban across the state of Oklahoma and across both political parties, as well as among urban, rural, conservative, liberal and moderate voters.

The poll of 500 registered voters across the state was conducted from August 8-11, 2005. The data shows 44 percent strongly favored a ban and 11 percent somewhat favored a ban, for a total of 55 percent. 17 percent strongly opposed a ban and 18 percent somewhat opposed a ban, for a total of 35 percent. 10 percent were undecided.

Women favored the ban by 60 percent, while 30 percent did not. Men favored the ban by 49 percent, while 42 percent did not. Republicans favored the ban, 52 percent to 36 percent. Democrats favored the ban, 58 percent to 34 percent. Urban voters favored the ban, 56 percent to 35 percent. And rural voters favor the ban, 54 percent to 36 percent.

Only 8 percent of respondents favored doing nothing at all about vicious dog attacks.

Research has shown that children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to vicious pit bull attacks, and the poll shows that elderly Oklahomans favored the ban 61 percent to 28 percent.

Wesselhöft predicted that his legislation to effectively ban pit bulls would pass and become law during the 2006 legislative session.