Tommy Tucker: Is it the Pup or the Press?
firstname.lastname@example.org - 3.18.13
Is it the pup or the press? That’s the question again today after news of a horrific pit bull mauling in Westwego that left a 54-year-old woman in intensive care at the LSU interim hospital, minus an ear, an eye and without any arms. She was attacked by her own dogs, pit bulls she helped raise from puppies and police still don’t know what caused the attack. She was leading a smaller dog into the home on a leash and one of the pits had just given birth and was nursing a litter of pups. Either one of those are possible causes. What is without doubt is that Westwego police had to shoot and kill all four dogs to stop the attack and protect themselves. On the same day, in Wisconsin, a 14-month-old toddler was attacked by pit bulls in his own home. He later died from his injuries.
So, are pit bulls inherently dangerous animals? Or, are they lightning rods for the press, making headlines every time they bite? Statistics would indicate the former. The Centers for Disease Control report 32% of all dog related killings of human beings in the United States are caused by pit bull attacks, yet pit bulls constitute only TWO PERCENT of all dogs. Seventy percent of those mauling deaths were of CHILDREN.
I had the unfortunate experience of having people with pit bulls buy the house next to mine. One dog chased me into the house, while I was outside washing my car. On other numerous occasions I had to bring my then toddler daughter into the house, while both of the neighbor’s pit bulls furiously tried to dig under the fence to get to her while she was in HER OWN BACKYARD. I’m a dog lover but if I had gotten the chance, I would have used the Remington 870 to dispatch those dangerous nuisances to doggie heaven. I wouldn’t have done it out of anger or malice; I would have done it to protect my daughter.
The dogs have been outlawed in the UK. Should we follow that same course here? And should it be limited to pit bulls? I don’t think so. I’m all for freedom. But with any freedom comes responsibility. I think if you decide to own a pit bull, or any dog, you should have to accept with it any consequences that occur as a result. That includes criminal penalties if your dog(s) injure or kill someone in or out of your family. That way the marketplace would decide without having to pass any laws. If you want to own a big, dangerous dog that has a propensity to attack and you’re willing to go to jail if anything goes wrong...good luck. Is that fair? Do you think that would have any effect on the number of people that own big, dangerous dogs?
Photo by Hugo Quintero via Creative Commons with Attribution