Pit Bulls, Not demons....

This is a post from a good friend of mine and I felt it needed to be seen here, please feel free to copy and paste this post everywhere, The dog Named in this post is Bella she is a Pit Bull, and I personally know her, A Big sweetie pie. Bup knows her too, when he was 2 she curled up on the Ground and he romped all over her, and pulled her ears and stared in her eyes and generally had a good ole time, he calls her Bella BoBo, she lay there quietly and occasionally licked Bup's face, a really sweet dog.
>Yeah I'm pissed off. Normally, I'm OK with CNN and generally check out the headlines every morning while having my coffee. So, this morning, I log on to see the following headline: Marauding pit bulls attack six. You can read the article yourself here: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/06/pit.bulls.ap/index.html
The article describes how 2 pit bulls attacked a pair of children who were going door to door to solicit for some fund raiser. We'll leave aside for the moment my opinion that dragging your "adorable" spawn door to door to ask for money is A) Not a good idea in the first place because attack dogs are only one of the possible horrible things that can happen when you invade a stranger's privacy and B) My taxes already pay for a good chunk of your child's school activities so pressuring me to pay even more out of pocket is pretty low... and move right to the thing that REALLY ticked me off. That ridiclous headline. "Maurading" were they? Somehow this conjures up pictures of pit bulls in eye patches, peg legs and big floppy coats and hats rampaging through the town waving cutlasses as they leap off their pirate ship The Black Doggie. The truth is, they weren't even running loose, escaped from their home, when the attack occurred. The attack began in their own yard because some ninny decided it was perfectly fine to teach their children to ask strangers for money and went knocking on the door the dogs were, to start with, securely behind. The dogs were NOT running loose to begin with and so they were clearly NOT "maurading!" It's this kind of bombastic and melodramatic "journalism" (and I use the term loosely), that is so irresponsible as to be criminal, that really gets to me.

The article also goes on to state that the dogs "attacked" both their owner and 2 people (one being one of the children's father) who tried to "stop them" (the dogs) and "protect" the children. This "stopping" and "protecting" also included the use of baseball bats. Let me tell you, you hit me with a baseball and the LEAST I'm gonna do is bite you! Did anyone honestly expect these dogs (no matter their breed) to do differently? While the dogs may have indeed been engaged in an attack on the children it seems pretty clear to me that they were simply defending themselves from the adults. Should the adults simply have stood back and done nothing while this was going on? Of course not, they did what anyone (I hope) would do in a similar situation, they risked life and limb to save the children. But, again, this particular piece of yellow journalism does its best to slant the piece using words that are not imflammatory towards the actions of the adults (note they did not "beat," "hit," or "attack," the dogs) and saved all the inflammatory words ("maurading," and "attacking") for the actions of the dogs.

In an eigth grade journalism class I was taught that, as a news reporter, you were charged to report nothing but the facts. Therefore you could not write, "It was a beautiful day." But you COULD write, "The sun was shining, there was a breeze, and the temperature was 72 degrees." That was the difference between fact and opinion. Presenting FACTS allows people to make up their own minds. And sure, simply stating the facts of this case would indeed have presented pit bulls in a bad light. So I don't see why all the melodrama was necessary.

What is ALSO missing from this article, as in so many others, is the human factor in the attack. Why was this owner in such poor control of his dogs that he could not keep them from racing past him out the front door? Why has HE allowed his dogs to become dangerous? Yes, I own an American Pit Bull. So this is a hot button issue for me and THIS is, indeed, an opinion piece. I'm not reporting for CNN or any other news organization.

So here's my point. Pit Bulls ARE naturally aggressive and VERY protective. They can, and sometimes do, view even children as a threat. So, just as if you owned a gun, it is YOUR obligation to make them safe and see to it that they don't "go off" at an inappropriate target. As an owner it is on you to TRAIN them, be aware of their natural tendencies, and counter them. My "bully", Bella, loves children. She personally feels it's her job to protect any child she lays eyes on. Alas, this also includes "protecting" them from their parents, who are strangers to her after all. We are well known in the neighborhood we walk in and she is regularly mobbed by kids. Their parents know her and know she isn't a threat and so they aren't stupidly rushing up to her and looming over her, thus becoming a threat as far as she's concerned. Beacuse of this I do not take her to crowded places where she's not known. Nor is she ever off a leash when I am out with her unless we're hiking out where there are no other people. I have worked hard to train her to come to me when I call her, no matter what else has caught her attention and interest. While naturally aggressive towards other large dogs (whereas small dogs and cats can completely dominate her) she will wheel away and come to me when called even if she's charging another dog. This has taken a lot of hard work and years on both my part and my husband's. But we have always known it's important to control her. When someone comes to our door she barks her head off and would LOVE to bust out past me. But I've trained her to sit behind me, away from the door. She still barks and sounds very scary I'm sure, but she's under control and won't move until I tell her it's OK. So there's little chance she'll eat even the annoying solicitors I rather wish she would. When I walk her I carry a walking stick. We've been attacked by dogs running loose on half a dozen ocassions (funny, NONE of them were pit bulls) and even though it is her natural reaction to spring forward and defend me, I've trained her to stand behind me as I step forward and whack them with the stick to drive them off. I do this becase A) I don't need the vet bills and B) even though I'm observing the law and keeping my dog on a leash I know very well that even if we're attacked by some "maurading" dog with no owner in sight to control it, it will be MY dog that's dragged away and killed if there's a fight merely because the media has whipped up such hysteria overher breed.

Don't believe me on the point that it's the media that has convinced everyone that pit bulls are so dangerous and not the actions of the pit bulls themselves? Then read the information here: http://www.dogexpert.com/HomePage/DogBiteStatistics.html This article will tell you that most dog attacks are by mixed breed dogs. The pure breeds that most often bite are Chows (and I've had close encounters with them!) and German Shepards. It will also tell you that the breeds most often involved in FATAL attacks are Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. So while Pits aren't the dogs most likely to bite you, they are the dog most likely to kill you IF they DO bite you. Well this makes a certain amount of sense when you consider how much more physically powerful they are than most other types of dogs. Just like a .357 handgun is a lot more likely to kill you than a .22 handgun, so it goes with "higher powered" dogs. And, again, that's why the focus should be on owner responsibility. But the big thing this article will point out is that it's not the dogs but, rather, HUMAN ERROR, that leads to most dog attacks. So, if you happen to be an idiot, you probably should not own ANY dog (or have children for that matter), let alone a physically powerful one that's probably smarter than you are, too.

The fact is, every state has laws in place to deal with dogs (in general, BEFORE they even lost their minds and started in with pointless and stupid breed specific legislation) that pose a threat to the community by either running loose or actually attacking people. Those laws carry pretty high monentary fines. Court precedent has also shown in recent years that owners can and will be held responsible up to and including murder or manslaughter charges when they have a dog that is a danger. If those laws are enforced diligently by local law enforcement regardless of the breed of the dog involved that alone will be enough to greatly cut down the amount of all kinds of dog attacks. People ALSO need to be held responsible for their own stupidity and when they act negliently or carelessly (like leaving their small children unattended with an unknown dog or failing to teach their children NOT to stick their hands through fences to pet unknown dogs!) have it made plain to them that THEY are at fault in the instances (which are the overwhelming majority of times that a dog attack occurs anyway) when it is their own actions that provoke the attack. If local law enforcement started taking a bite out of people's pocketbooks believe me, they'd sit up and notice and people would start being a whole lot more careful about their dogs, no matter what breed they happened to be. Breed specific legislation is nothing more than racial profiling and if we aren't allowed to racial profile when it comes to humans then logic dictates that we shouldn't do it to dogs either. Just as all people of Middle Eastern descent aren't terrorists and all African Americans are not crack addicted criminals, neither are all Pit Bulls dangerous killers. The illogic of breed specific legislation just seems so obvious as to be laughable... if it weren't punishing and even killing wonderful dogs.

So feel free to "maurad" through cyberspace and repost this article anywhere you see fit.

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