In several parts of Edinburgh 500 as many as four dangerous dogs can be seen in one home lying in deceptive calm behind low walls. These dogs belong to residents who have moved into the new Housing Development Corporation (HDC) developments in Edinburgh South and in fact throughout the Edinburgh 500 community. In a visit to the area, residents said that they had been plagued with vandalism and so many had been forced to obtain the dogs in an effort to secure their property. The neighbourhood has seen tremendous expansion over the past few years and according to security officers has attracted vandals and bandits.
Even security officers guarding the community were in possession of a large pit bull secured by a single chain near the booth where they worked. Officers even offered to demonstrate the mild temperament of the bound animal while saying the dog's purpose was to aid in securing the premises from vandals and bandits. However, officers ensured that their dogs were trained both aggressively and socially.
On Monday security officer Denise Rackal, 46, was tragically mauled to death by four vicious pit bulls at Flamboyant Crescent, Edinburgh 500. The pit bulls escaped from the home of a police officer. They have since been put to death. Although residents say that the ordeal has left them shaken, many have still chosen to retain ownership of the dangerous animals.
Jason Marcano, editor of the community's monthly newsletter, said it was important not to just look at the dogs as dangerous animals but to look at the reasons why people choose to have them. Many residents see the dogs as protection in a community with a gradually increasing crime rate. Marcano said a great percentage of homeowners in the Edinburgh 500 community had owned dogs and specifically pit bulls for years, yet an incident as devastating as the death of Rackal had not occurred. He believed, like many other residents that it was necessary to hold the owners of dangerous dogs responsible for the dogs' actions. He said it was clear people needed to protect their homes but laws needed to be enforced for monitoring of the owners of these dogs.
"There should be a qualification process as it is clear that these animals are weapons," said Montano.
Though there is not a process that keeps citizens from obtaining these "weapons", the HDC contracts received by homeowners stipulate that pets are not allowed on properties. One female resident of Flamboyant Crescent said there were times when the pit bulls and even some Rottweilers ran freely in the road. "These people don't listen at all, there are so many pit bulls on this street and in the entire community," she said. She pointed to a nearby house owned by a police officer, where as many as four dangerous dogs could be seen in the yard.
Her sentiments mirrored that of many other residents who said they felt traumatised by what had happened to Rackal. Sherwin Samuel, a father of two said he felt a tremendous degree of anxiety when he sent his two children to school. "I keep thinking about what happened to that woman and praying that it won't happen to my kids as there are a lot of those types of (dangerous) dogs around here," Samuel said.