Saturday, July 02, 2011

Pit Bulls - Blame The Owners; Not The Breed

By Union-Tribune
midnight, July 2, 2011
In response to Logan Jenkins’ column “Blaming the breed would be a misdeed, says owner of Petey, a smart, gentle pit bull” (Local, June 27): I fully understand those who fear and loathe this breed, but as it is so clearly pointed out in Jenkins’ article, the fault lies with those who utilize the breed to create that horrible and irresponsible aura. It is dog owners’ responsibility to control their pets, and they alone should be the guilty party who must bear full responsibility and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. -- Ron Smith, Pacific Beach

I applaud the U-T for inviting meaningful dialogue on this emotional issue. But what has not been reported is the enormous danger pit bulls represent to other dogs in the community as well as humans.
Is it a breed problem or an owner problem? It’s both.

The dogs are hard-wired for blood sport and the natural canine tendency to play and accept members of their own kind has been bred out of many of them. How else could they tear each other to shreds in the fighting ring? To call them “nanny dogs” or “America’s family dog” (“The debate on pit bulls,” June 22) is absurd. If that is the case, then why is it that the American Kennel Club does not accept pit bulls as a registered breed of dog? Let’s not kid ourselves: Some owners pick pit bulls because they want a dog that intimidates people and other dogs.

The answer to the problem does not come from banning pit bulls but comes instead from banning the breeding and selling of pit bull puppies. That would solve the problem for the public, the overcrowded animal shelters and rescue operations. -- Patricia Del Rio, Escondido

I must admit that when my son told me he was adopting a pit bull, I questioned his choice of dog. But now I believe that the owners of abused dogs, not the breed itself, have created this undeserved reputation. I would fight any pit bull ban. I’d much rather ban the cruel owners from our city and let pit bulls live happily with the people who love them and give them good homes. -- Erika Franklin-Binns, Bay Park

My fiance and I own a 3-year-old pit bull, an extraordinary and intelligent animal. Only guided by the hands of his or her master will a pit bull, or any dog, attack. Pencils are not blamed when words are misspelled. The writer is. Firearms are not blamed when discharged. The shooter is. So why should pit bulls be banned for their owner’s wrongdoing? Ban the beatings, ban the brutality, but don’t ban the breed. Love shows kindness, hatred produces violence ­­– with humans and animals alike. -- Kerry Krotzer, San Carlos

After reading the results of your survey regarding a pit bull ban (“Ban pit bulls or blame owners,” Local, June 25), I did a little research. According to the website, pit bulls are not a distinct breed. The term is most often applied to American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and hundreds of mixes. DNA analysis has shown that most “pit bulls” are predominantly made up of other breeds – from Labradors to poodles.

In temperament evaluations by the American Temperament Test Society, 82 percent of American pit bull terriers passed, compared with an average of 77 percent for the other 121 breeds tested. Pit bull-type dogs are not naturally aggressive, but a small percentage of them have been trained to fight. Such dogs are victims of abuse, and their owners should face severe penalties. But when discriminatory laws against certain breeds or breed mixes are implemented, families must face the wrenching dilemma of moving or giving up a beloved pet.

Let’s go after those people whose dogs pose a genuine threat, not household pet owners whose dogs have the misfortune of looking a certain way. -- Lynn Dowling, Oceanside

I feel that the pit bull attack reported in “Woman mauled by neighbor’s dogs” (Local, June 19) is entirely the owner’s error. Pit bulls are not responsible for the way they are bred, raised or trained.
I am a pit bull owner. My dog was socialized at a young age with dogs, kids and people, and has turned out to be a wonderful house pet. Try shining a light on the good pit bulls in society.

Banning this breed is wrong and immoral, just like racial profiling, stereotyping and discrimination.
People need to stand up and speak for pit bulls! -- Hannah Magre, Rancho Santa Fe

Every time a human being or pet gets mauled or killed, all pit bull owners respond with “blame the owner, not the dog.” Regardless of who gets blamed, it’s the dog that gets euthanized, not the human. You would think people who love pit bulls would try to educate owners who don’t understand the law and its consequences. California Civil Code Section 3342 imposes strict liability on dog owners. It doesn’t matter if the dog escaped without the owner’s knowledge or against their best efforts, or that the dog had never bitten anyone before. If your dog bites someone, first time or not, you are legally responsible.

Pit bull owners should consider this: Ownership of pit bulls is legally banned in several U.S. cities and counties, and many countries around the world have also banned the importation of pit bulls. Other jurisdictions, instead of banning pit bulls outright, have adopted other laws, including public muzzle laws, which physically prevent dogs from biting; mandatory sterilization laws, which seem to lower the potential for aggression; and registration, which requires a potential pit bull owner to pass a test regarding the laws about their dog.

Every state, city, county and country should consider passing such laws, as well as programs to ensure dog owners know the law. It’s your choice, pit bull owners: Own the problem, or you won’t own the dog. -- Drew Granston, Mira Mesa

The irresponsible media will only report negative pit bull stories in order to get better ratings.
Instead of concentrating on the breed, address the real problem at hands.

Irresponsible owners: People are too lazy to properly socialize and train their dogs. They do not care or have the time nor money to bring their animals to training to address any behavioral issues, or to keep them secured.

Backyard breeders: Some only care about how much they get paid.

Overpopulation: Getting your dog spayed or neutered is not only a positive choice for the health for your pet, but it also helps with behavioral issues.

If anyone should be persecuted for the tragic events that have recently taken place, it should be the irresponsible owners. Do not blame an entire breed for the shortcomings of a few. -- Melina Ramos, San Diego

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