Why bully pit bulls?
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
Bobby McGee, my beloved dog, was born with his three siblings under a house in my neighborhood. His pregnant mom had been dumped and took residence under my cousin’s house. Mama Dog did not like people. She only crept from the damp, dark area to eat the food my sympathetic relative left out for her.
Bobby and his siblings were the same way. In fact, to catch Bobby, it took my cousin and me several tries; she placed food and we quietly sat on the porch waiting for the pups to come out. She managed to swoop down and catch Bobby; he bit her with his six or seven-week old teeth. He bit me, too, later that day.
Bobby never really lost his attitude or aversion to people. He prefers spending his time in my bedroom, usually in the dark underneath my bed. He sometimes will decide to sit next to someone or allow them to touch him, then will suddenly growl and walk away.
I mean, I don’t really discipline him for that because I do that, too. Overall, he’s a loyal, sweet dog. He’s odd, but so am I, so I don’t hold that against him.
Oh, there’s one other thing – Bobby is part terrier, part pit bull, according to his veterinarian.
I get frustrated when I hear people assume every single pit is a vicious killer because the media only shows lethal members of the breed. One person is mauled or killed by a pit bull and the story receives international attention and politicians want the dogs banned completely.
In 2012, 38 dog-related deaths were reported, with 23 of those dogs being pit breeds.
In 2011, 9,878 drunk driving fatalities were reported. Of course, pit bulls don’t bring in sales tax revenues; alcohol does, so you certainly won’t see any city trying to ban that.
That’s not a fair argument, you might be thinking. Okay. How about this: Approximately 100 horse-related deaths are reported each year. Twenty-one cattle-related deaths are reported each year.
But we use cattle for food; livestock is a way of life, a source of income and tax revenue, you might say.
Well, pit bulls are used as service dogs by both young and old with a variety of disabilities.
If you would point out to me that pits are the go-to breed for dog fighting, I would say yes, you are right. The dogs are chosen because of the incredible strength in their jaws.
Any dog can be trained to attack or kill, however. For example, Labradors are the preferred dog in Cajun country, mainly because of their hunting skills. Years ago, my sister had a beautiful black lab who was loyal and loving to the family. She wanted to eat anyone else, however. One day the dog was locked behind my sister’s gated porch. As I approached, the dog attempted to lunge over. She was so irate and determined to get to me that I got back in my car and called my sister. “You have to get the dog before she kills me,” I said. My sister laughed.
I was once attacked by a 10-pound rat terrier while going for an afternoon walk in my neighborhood. I was minding my business. The dog was barking at me but I passed him without a thought. Suddenly, I felt a burning sensation at the back of my leg and turned to see the dog had bitten me; there was quite a bit of blood.
Then, of course, my neighborhood has two very different German Shepherds. One thankfully stays behind a fence because I am certain it wants to eat every human it sees; I would not chance that dog.
The other, despite being a giant, is completely harmless. He loves to play with other dogs and kids and though he is terribly shy, I can sometimes coax him toward me so he can enjoy a belly rub.
One of my closest friends owns a Yorkie that I believe is possessed by the devil.
Another friend has a full-grown Rottweiler that is the biggest baby I have ever met. It simply tries to rub its wiggling, excited body on my leg and I almost fall over from its strength.
You can manipulate the public’s perception of any breed as a killing machine with the right publicity.
You can also turn any dog into a killing machine with the wrong training, especially abuse.
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