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Every year the number of dog bites, maulings and fatalities grows. Something has to be done to protect people, their livestock and their pets from being attacked. The first thing that must happen is an open, honest, factual, unemotional discussion on the issue.
Last week we published a story regarding two Pit Bull attacks on humans in Mecklenburg County and one where a Keysville family pet was killed by two Pit Bulls. Since the story ran, we have been notified of another attack on a person and another family pet killed.
As anticipated, we received multiple calls objecting to the article but no letters for print. We also received calls from readers who have had unpleasant experiences with their neighbor’s dogs.
Several interesting comments recurred, all attempting to blur the issue. The first is that there is no such breed as a Pit Bull and that it is impossible to visually identify a Pit Bull. All I can say to that is BULL. In all of the cases we reported in the local attacks the dog was identified by the owners as a Pit Bull. One of the owners breeds and sells Pit Bulls, which is difficult if there isn’t any such dog.
I just had a visit with Buster who came by the office. Buster is a gentleman and Buster is a Pit Bull. He is well trained and is not allowed to run loose in the neighborhood. Buster’s owner calls him a Pit and anyone who sees Buster would call him a Pit Bull.
Another interesting comment is that “most dogs are mixed breed so how does anyone know which part of the mix is responsible for the attack?” Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog in the United States. In the past 30 years they have been involved in three fatal attacks on humans. In an 11-year period Pit Bulls and Pit mixes (number 79 in popularity) have been involved in 232 fatal attacks on humans. Who would even think of blaming the Labrador in a Lab/Pit cross?
The final comment is, “There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.” If that is true, what is it about Pit Bulls that attracts bad owners? 80 percent of severe attacks and fatal attacks are by Pit Bulls. Does this mean 80 percent of Pit Bull owners are bad owners? If so, something should be done to protect the dogs from bad owners.
We should identify the problem and find a solution, not play word games about a real danger.