Today, our local rag published a dog-bites-man article..on the front page..for the third time in a month. Slow news week? Humorous story? Nope...more a blatant HIDE THE CHILDREN, LOCK YOUR DOORS, LIVE IN FEAR, PITBULL SAVAGELY RAVAGES MAILMAN kind of ignorance from which BSL idiocy is born. And there went all my hard work at keeping my blood pressure under control. Below is the letter I posted on their website. Not that I expect miracles, but one can only hope that John Q. Public isn't as dumb as the papers hope they are.
"So…is it a slow news month or what? Three times now dog bite cases have made the front page. Of course, these weren’t just your run of the mill situations, oh no, these were (cue villain music) PIT BULL ATTACKS. Never mind that the post office has had 19 dog bite incidents in the past three years, it’s not news unless it’s a PIT BULL ATTACK. What is it, Morning Journal? Trying to whip readers into a frothy BSL frenzy to increase readership?
I can hear it now…but…but…it was a PIT BULL ATTACK! Uh huh…color me unimpressed. Let’s take a look at the situation beginning with the owners of these two dogs. The female’s owner didn’t even know her dog was in heat?? The male, very likely treated abominably to increase aggression and living in (and I quote) “very poor conditions”?? Some people shouldn’t own goldfish much less a dog. Oh, but you say, everyone KNOWS these types of dogs are aggressive by nature! I point you to the American Temperament Test Society who says Pit bulls score at or below average for aggression when compared to other dogs. Temperament evaluations give American pit bull terriers a very high passing rate of 82.6 percent. The average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs in the tests was 77 percent. The dog that literally tore the face off a French woman? A Labrador retriever.
Condemn the deed not the breed. Owning a large dog (or any animal that can bite for that matter) and NOT educating yourself and the dog to be good citizens is like owning a gun without the first idea of weapon safety. Instead of giving (and I use the term loosely) owners like Michael Vick (yes, I do believe there are some crimes which are unforgiveable) a slap on the wrist for turning nanny dogs into monsters, maybe we create and ENFORCE tougher laws. If you can’t afford to vet ‘em, don’t get ‘em. Have your dog spayed or neutered! No single neutered household pet pit bull has ever killed anyone.
And for anyone who wants to REALLY see why bully cases make the papers while other dog bites don’t, I recommend this article http://stubbydog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/PitBullDiscrimination.pdf from which I quote, “The National Canine Research Council recently issued a report that shows how similar attacks over a four-day period involving four different types of dogs resulted in significantly different media exposure. And the ASPCA issued a statement that the media has repeatedly told them that they have no interest in reporting attacks involving non-pit-bull-type dogs.”
Yes, pibbles do bite. So do Yorkshire terriers, St. Bernards and mutts, as well as the demonized dogs from the past…German Shepherds, Rotties and Dobes. Pit bulls are used in law enforcement as drug dogs, they are therapy dogs in nursing homes, and in my case, they are the much beloved TV pillow/confidant of my grandkids. What the owner makes of them is where it all hinges. You can raise loving “nanny dogs” or headlines. But let’s not add to the problem by foaming at the mouth hysteria. I highly recommend the website www.stubbydog.org to learn more.