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« Animal Cruelty Videos defended by the Constitution | Main | A second fatality this week -- Millcreek Township, PA »

July 23, 2008

Comments

Jeni

This is another example of the "perfect storm". To many wrongs can never get a right. I'm so sad for the boy, and sad for his family. They will always have to know that ultimately their neglect allowed him out in to the night alone. There are many predators out there, sex offenders, gang bangers, a chained dog. We all need to work as communities to protect the children. If nothing else the media attentioned garnished by the word "pit bull" might draw attention to this neighborhoods greater issues.

Becky

Agreed, Jeni. Brent points out that unsupervised children and dogs present a recipe for disaster. I think it is most important to point out that unsupervised children this young, present recipes for zillions of other possible disasters and tragedies as well, that do not even involve dogs. The media is, as always, irresponsible here for highlighting the pit bull and not the other serious contributing issues.

Becky

Just wanted to add that 2 and 3 yr old children should NEVER be out of their parent's (or caregiver's) sight!

MichelleD

:-( Poor little Tony!

I would disagree a bit on dogs being able to tell good people from bad. The problem with this dog seems that it was never socialized to know the difference - sounds like he was practically feral and was encouraged to view everyone as a threat. And imagine the years of pent up anxiety from being chained, literally being "on guard" for its whole life. This poor little kid probably went up to give him hug and the dog thought he was under attack. This dog was doing exactly what was expected of him.

I didn't read the article but it does seem that they are doing a decent job highlighting the "guard dog" issue. I would like to think that the city leaders will come to the conclusion that CRIME is what needs to be addressed in this situation. And that the caregiver needs to be slapped with a child endangerment charge. I also hope for a peaceful ending to the dog's torment.

MichelleD

Oh, I do agree that dogs make crummy security systems. Having a dog that barks is fine, putting the responsibility of protecting your stuff on an (unsocialized and encouraged to be viscious in this case) animal is a recipe for disaster.

Brent

Jeni,

I certainly hope that the conversation involves what happens when neighborhoods aren't safe, and people are put in the situation to have to protect themselves and their property.

I hope that the conversation will focus on what happens when you train a dog to be aggressive and leave it chained up all the time.

I hope the conversation turns to the risks of letting your 3 year old child roam around the neighborhood unattended.

Of course some will want to focus on the type of dog involved in the attack. But the reality is that it doesn't matter what type of dog was involved...virtually any other type of dog that was put in this type of situation would have caused the same problem. It's tragic...and if we focus on the right things in this attack, we can bring light to these issues and prevent such attacks.

To the media's credit, they are at least covering these aspects of this attack so far.

Monica Schreiber

People often talk about whether the breed is to blame. But let's consider for a moment this fact: Pits and other "bully breeds" just so happen to be the types of dogs that appeal to people who think it is appropriate to chain the dog in a carport for years on end, never giving the dog exercise, vet care, relief from biting flies, protection from the elements, etc. In other words, these breeds appeal to people who believe perpetual chaining is an appropriate way to keep a dog, people who DELIBERATELY neglect and their dog and keep in unsocialized so that it WILL BE MEAN. Why oh why do we allow people to keep time bombs at the ends of chains? Why do we allow people to chain up their dogs, and keep it hungry and frustrated, so that it will grow neurotic, aggressive and eventually insane? Check out www.mothersagainstdogchaining.org

MichelleD

At this point pit bulls being vicious is a self-fulfilling prophecy. HSUS took what was once a beloved breed, turned it into a "monster" and now everyone that wants a "monster" gets a pit bull and turns it into one and now the media just fuels the fire... after Diane Whipple was killed the demand for Presa's increased. I'd never seen such a dog until the last couple of years, also have a Dogo in the neighborhood.

If we can just convince the bad guys that Labradors are the bad dog de jour... (Good one Caveat!)

Lindsay

Very good take on this incident, especially your point about the husky incident that was not covered by the media. What if it had been a yellow lab? It's not the fact that it was a pit bull, but the fact that this dog was kept in an abusive situation, deprived of its needs as a dog. I'm sure it was always rewarded whenever it acted aggressive in the past. Now look what happened.

Caveat

Yes, MichelleD, it pays to advertise. 'Pit bulls' have been sold to a niche market.

However, most 'pit bulls' are not mistreated or neglected. It's the anomaly that gets the coverage, not the day-to-day activities that don't cause problems.

I think it's important to remember that the APBT is the most popular registered purebred in the US, way out in front of the Lab retriever. Add in the other bully breeds, lookalikes and the huge and unknown number of mutts who are perceived as 'pit bulls' and you have a large demographic of dog owners.

The more owners of a particular type, the great the likelihood that there will more outstanding owners, average owners and incompetent/negligent owners.

So, just examples here, if I have 3 million purebred APBTs, maybe a total 'pit bull' pop of 8 or 9 million and 6 - 10 of them hit the news over incidents in any particular year, is there a problem with the type?

Not really.

With an estimated 70 million dogs, give or take in the US and a record high in fatalities last year of 32, if memory serves, I really don't think that dogs are much of a problem at all. This does not mean that I approve of nasty or even deadly behaviour by dogs or people.

I'm sick of the hyperbole about dogs, the overregulation of dog owners, the profiteering over negative incidents, and all the rest of it.

We have much bigger problems out there.

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