May 18, 2024
Annapolis, US 63 F

Opinion: Pit Bull Apologists Need Not Apply

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, any story about a pit bull attacking a person will bring out hundreds of people accusing the media of persecuting the breed.  Or is it the government with their proposed legislation? The argument is immature and very child-like.

As I write this, there are two adults recovering from emergency surgery in a shock-trauma center in serious condition as a result of a pit bull attacking them.  It was not a random act. From the police report, it seems the dog was familiar to the couple–it belonged to one of their children.

Be that as it may, once commenter on our Facebook page was upset:

CommentFirst of all, I am not losing any sleep over losing a Facebook “like”, but when I read this I was scratching my head. First, does a photo that you don’t like really call for someone to boycott a page? Where was the sensationalism? We stated the facts–a pit bull bit two people, they are in surgery, the dog, and the dog belonged to the victims’ child.  So what was so offensive?  Here is the image that was used.

pitbullIf a pit bull mauls two people, how is a photo of a snarling pit bull not appropriate to the story?  I responded to the commenter and said:

Help me to understand….a pit bull attacks two people who undergo emergency surgery and are in serious condition in a shock trauma center; yet you feel the photo of a pit bull snarling is wrong?

Are you suggesting I need one of a pit bull perhaps biting into the flesh of a person? Or do you prefer to have a picture of unicorns and rainbows to effectively convey what happened yesterday?

Pit Bull mauls two people, sending them to local trauma center in serious condition.
Pit Bull mauls two people, sending them to local trauma center in serious condition.

Is this the appropriate photo for the article?

Let’s face facts here. Put bulls are a strong breed of dog which can (and does) frequently overpower their owner. I have witnessed this many times just watching a pit bull (and to be fair other breeds of large dogs) walking a person. Pit bulls are genetically built with powerful jaws. Yes, all dogs can be frightened and snap. But when a pit bull does it, you combine the power and the jaws and you have a potentially deadly recipe. Can a chihuahua snap–absolutely, and they probably do so more often than pit bulls. However, a chihuahua bite is a lot easier to avoid (shake your leg and the dog does flying), and any bite tends to be little more than a scrape–not deep puncturing wounds necessitating emergency surgery in a shock-trauma center.

There are plenty of wonderfully tempered pit bulls. There are also many ill-tempered ones. And there are some (like any dog) that we just don;t know about–will they go off today…tomorrow…never?  To the pit bull supporters, I ask if this is a risk you are willing to live with on a daily basis.

Look at the recent record here in Anne Arundel County.

In April of 2011, a Gambrills grandmother was mauled by 2 pit bulls–two of fifteen in the home. The dogs belonged to her granddaughter who ultimately tried to appeal the Animal Control ruling designating her dogs as “dangerous.”  Really?  Two of your dogs nearly kill your grandmother and you feel it is unfair to deem them dangerous?

I wrote an editorial on pit bulls back in June of 2011 which drew a lot of controversy and I still stand behind it.  And I was an unapologetic supporter of the recent legislation introduced in an attempt to mitigate some of these issues. In this column, I presented all of the facts and figures that support the legislation.  And today, I still stand behind it.

The solution to the issue, I agree, is not in banning them. But in controlling the sale of them. Owners of pit bulls need to be made aware that these animals are more apt to snap and they need to be able to handle the situation. If that involves more secure fencing, a weight limit on the dogs, a minmum size for the owner–I do not have the answer. But if a dog, any dog, is unable to be controlled–there is a problem.

The apologists are so quick to condemn anyone or anything BUT the breed. They are typically unwilling to listen to any opposing viewpoint that argument is a moot point.  This morning as I thought about the people in the hospital, I was wondering how the commenter above would feel if it was not involving a pit bull.

Recidivism among child sexual predators is high–similar to the number of attacks by a pit bull. I think we can all agree that with the right upbringing, most people do not become child sexual predators. But a few do. Would the pit bull apologists be as equally accepting of a child sexual predator living in a home with their children? Just wondering.

Now back to the land of unicorns and rainbows!




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