The Dialogue: Commenters take on pit bull apologist
Editor’s note: Conversations in The Dialogue are pulled from Summit Daily’s Facebook comment threads and website comment sections.
Pit bulls and the Syrian refugees — go! Not surprisingly, local columnist Carrie Brown-Wolf’s recent piece “Pit bulls, people and prejudice” stirred up extensive debate on our comment threads this week. Brown-Wolfe’s column made a connection between the fears surrounding the refugee crisis and her own evolving feelings toward pit bulls as a means of exploring how prejudice works. Not every one bought into her argument. Mainly, commenters rejected the premise that pit bulls are neutral and only develop a savage nature when owners instill such behavior. However, few commenters took on the Muslim refugee portion of the column.
Beth Kehoe: Racism only applies to people. It does not apply to dogs. Pit bulls have earned their reputation by killing and maiming people and pets.
William Johnson, survivor outreach at Victims of Dangerous Dogs Advocacy Network: I sit here completely befuddled by this article. There is absolutely no correlation between dog breeds and races or religion. Dogs are purpose-bred to achieve a desired set of traits. Unlike human beings, dogs are the result of unnatural selection. If you were going to write about fanatical cults, I might suggest the very small group of pit bull activists who seem hell-bent on getting the peaceful public to accept their purpose bred fighting dogs.
Lori Welbourne, columnist at On a Brighter Note: Breedism is not racism, and that’s lovely you had a good experience with a pit bull but that does not negate the fact that pit bulls were bred for blood sport. Pit bulls kill, disfigure and severely injure more children, adults, pets and livestock than all other breeds combined. Hundreds of thousands of innocent human and animal victims! How brutal to write such a tone-deaf and insensitive story right after another two more children were mauled to death by pit bulls. If the public wasn’t constantly being fed the very false notion that “it’s all how you raise them,” more people would be rescuing safer breed dogs rather than playing Russian roulette with the lives of their loved ones and others.
Rachel Simas: “Breed”: A stock of animals or plants within a species having a distinctive appearance and typically having been developed by deliberate selection.
Since the appearance of early dogs, the remarkable flexibility of canine DNA has given rise to a diverse collection of domestic dog types, with an incredible range of size, appearance, temperaments and behaviors, which we’ve grouped into over 400 breeds. If humans displayed the same range of diversity as canids, we could have adults ranging from 1 foot tall to 17 feet tall, and we’d have drastically different body types, temperaments and mental capacities.
Of course, there is no such range diversity in human biology. What diversity of human appearance does exist is extremely minor compared to that found among the population of the domestic dog. We’re all humans and respond in similar ways to given environmental conditions. In other words, there is only one human race, and the concept of different breeds as in the domestic dog simply has no parallel in humanity.
Acknowledging the breed specific traits of pit bulls that were created for blood sport is no more prejudice than acknowledging the breed specific propensity of the border collie to herd or the pointer to point.
Joanie Caldwell-Kenoshmeg: So we should talk to the families of the 200-plus fatal victims of pit bulls in the last ten years, and the tens of thousands of people losing their pets to pit bull attacks and those who suddenly had a pit bull come out of no where and take off their face or scalp and/or leg and ask them if they were having thoughts about dogs of specific breeds associated with certain races when the dogs suddenly jumped out off balconies, ran up to them while bike riding, walking or exiting their cars when they were attacked? This is the most unintelligent article in the endless promotion of the dog breed that is overbred the most and spayed and neutered the least to keep the world safe for dog fighters.
Julie Edwards-Matanga: Ms. Brown-Wolf is silly to compare different religious groups to purpose bred dogs. (Pit bulls) are property, purposely bred for a specific, sordid, cruel and illegal purpose. But since she’s bringing up religion, she needs to consider some scriptures that pertain to dogs in particular:
“Breed not a savage dog, nor permit a loose stairway” — The Talmud
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs nor cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces” — Matthew 6:7
Drew Reges: Well said, Carrie. I’m a firm believer in “innocent until proven guilty.” I can understand where people’s fear comes from, but we must not lose our humanity in the process of coming to terms with that fear. “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
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