Let pit bulls be represented by facts
RE: “Pit bulls should not be allowed in the county” and “Pit bulls are dangerous” (SDN Sept. 1)A young child was recently mauled and killed by a pit bull in San Francisco. The media didn’t bother to tell you these dogs, an unaltered male and female in heat, were purchased by the owners to make extra cash off their litters, one of the dogs had bitten the child earlier the morning the child was attacked and the dogs were kept separated and locked in the basement most of the time (www.badrap.org). Pit bulls (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier) are not “unpredictable” and they will not “eat your children (Ray Bezanson, SDN Sept. 1).” Pit bulls do not suddenly snap. Any breed of dog will show clear signals in advance of an attack. Temperament-correct pit bulls have been bred for 150 years to be “nonhuman aggressive.” The United Kennel Club states that “Pit bulls make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. … it is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly … aggressive behavior towards humans is uncharacteristic (www.ukcdogs.com).”It is true pit bulls have been bred to fight other dogs (not people); therefore animal aggression is a normal, yet manageable trait. A well-socialized dog along with a responsible and alert owner should never be in a situation that would allow a fight between animals. The American Temperament Test Society (www.atts.org) put 122 breeds through a variety of confrontational situations, human and animal. Out of 469 pit bulls, 83.4 percent passed all tests. Just for reference, out of 551 golden retrievers, 83.6 percent passed, and out of 176 border collies, 79.6 percent passed.As for breed-specific bans, the Humane Society of the United States (www.hsus.org) asserts that “dangerous dogs come in all shapes and sizes and breed bans just don’t effectively address the issue.” The issue is irresponsible owners. For example in the San Francisco case, there were obvious signs from the dogs and obvious neglect by the owners/parents. And tragically, their child was killed. Neither the dogs nor the child should have been put in that situation. Problem owners such as these only add fuel to the fire of misrepresentation. Research Dangerous Dog legislation and dog bite prevention as an alternative to breed-specific bans. These alternatives could save thousands of dogs’ lives by prosecuting the irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs instead of euthanizing an entire breed.I encourage you to investigate what you have seen in the media regarding pit bulls and other “dangerous” breeds. Please do not let people, especially those with no factual evidence or research, convince you these dogs will destroy our community, scare away tourists and eat our children. As an alternative to breed-specific bans, research Dangerous Dog legislation and dog-bite prevention. And most importantly, support organizations, such as the Summit County Animal Shelter, for representing and caring for these beautiful animals in our community.
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