In a pit(bull) of despair

- August 29th, 2012

What have we learned in the past week?

Some pitbull owners don’t like bites by their beloved breed reported on, will question the media’s balance on reporting other attacks, and will accuse us of supporting a breed ban. All this because a columnist had some harsh words for owners who don’t question bad owners, a provincial cabinet minister said it’s up for municipalities to institute bans and a poll on our website asking if readers supported a ban.

In our paper’s editorial today, we clearly lay the blame where it’s deserved, for those who were wondering.

Based on some of the comments on my column this week, I’m not sure it will persuade some.

But in reply to a couple of commenters (yes, I am pettily furthering the argument), Michael Platt didn’t call for a breed ban in in his column August 20. He has written the opposite in the past, and has been the one who reported that pitbulls aren’t the worst offenders in terms of total bites.

He did say “other breeds bite more frequently, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dog with the bloody-minded tenacity of the pitbull: once they attack, they rarely stop. Hence the massive damage to their victims,” but he never calls for a ban.

His point, quite rightly, is that if bad owners cause enough problems for the breed, without a change in focus, the community could see a ban imposed.

“It’s bad owners who are behind the vast majority of dog attacks, yet pitbull defenders never seem to ask why so many of their chosen breed end up with people who couldn’t properly raise a goldfish,” he wrote.

If they want to snarl, maybe those who love pitbulls should snarl at the people ruining the breed.”

Some pitbull owners get it, as evidenced in some of the comments under my column and Platt’s. Some don’t.

The problem isn’t the breed, or any breed.

But, as the band Sloan once sang “It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.”

Categories: Politics

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2 comments

  1. Mastiff Owner says:

    I am a English Mastiff owner and, I would like to believe, a responsible owner. I believe that a dangerous dog is a sign of a bad or even dangerous owner, and there are breeds that by nature should only be handled by only the most experienced owner. That being said I am not writing to defend the Pitbulls or any dogs for that matter, I wish to address what I believe is at issue here;
    1.) These columns seem to be a bit one sided, if your readers choose to challenge you they face further public ridicule “red neck”, one who wears “wife beater shirts” and so on, a characterization I am not sure is fair. When you publicly denounce something, and then in that same statement suggest that those who will, or are, opposed to your viewpoint are not worthy of an opinion because they are blind to reality, not properly educated or from the wrong social strata, people react. So not everyone is defending Pitbulls but rather arguing against the general disparaging of their character not just the breed. (I used a generalization here as not all columns or editorials are written the same, but a generalization is easier. Correct?)
    2.) The media tend to rush to descriptions that are either incorrect or only partially researched, and then choose not to follow up to complete the story. One story, not to long ago, described the dogs in the story as Shepard/Huskies, where as any dog owner who saw the news clip could tell they were a lab or lab cross. I often read that “Mastiffs” are dangerous dogs, ignoring the fact that there are many types of “Mastiffs” and this generalization tars many of the large dog breeds with a label they do not deserve. I have read stories where the description of the events made me leery of the victim’s account, and left me wondering what happened before the events or after the events but no follow up, so dog and dog owner guilty, end of story. Your lawyers have you saying alleged when dealing with individuals in other news stories, what happened to the same respect for the pet owner and pet, what about following the story through to the respective ending.
    This is why I am somewhat concerned; the media has a responsibility to provide a balanced viewpoint when it comes to any subject, and not pander to the majority or sensationalism. Dog owners know that when it comes to the court of popular opinion, our rights will never be equal and a Pitbull ban tomorrow is a Shepard, Rottweiler, Doberman and Mastiff ban shortly thereafter, which will continue until anything over 20lb is at risk.
    As a whole the majority of dog owners is responsible and is concerned as everyone else about these attacks. These columns, news stories and commentaries enflame others but do not educate the readership. I had someone stop the other day to pet my puppies, and after petting them and getting their usual licks and slobbers, she asked me what they were. Saying they were Mastiffs, her response was “oh, their not at all like I read about them”. I wonder where she rea

  2. Monashee1 says:

    You can’t ban the owners so you have to ban the breed if one or a couple of breeds are responsible for unprovoked and damaging attacks. Society does not have to cater to owners of dogs that attack and maim.

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