Hero's Welcome / Dangerous Dogs
Great stuff. Well paced. Well reported. Great stuff. Huzzahs to the reporter.
Today, as I drove on Penn Ave., an older-model car sped past with a faded inkjet-framed picture of a taken soldier in the rear window. The driver appeared to be the mother.
As a Vietnam vet, I saw many of the same things these guys experience. Many of my fellow soldiers turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with returning home. It really doesn't matter which war we talk about; it's all the same end result. Young men and women aren't supposed to kill people as a part of their daily lives. War is wrong, no matter how many politicians are yapping about the virtues of patriotism, country, and God. Ironically, many of these same politicians never served.
This piece of trash is about as fair and balanced as Fox News. You've said just enough in defense of the breed to allow you to claim you've addressed both sides of the issue. Similarly, anyone who thinks this article is good and honest and true has already made up their mind on the subject. Your story hurts those of us who love the breed and see every article written like this as a setback for those who don't know anything about the breed.
You list case after case of attack with language that has me thinking the city is plagued by lion-like feral pit bulls that are "muscles with teeth" and are looking for their next child to bite. Bite? My pit bull would sooner lick you to death. We call her our "pocket pit" because she was a runt; she was intended to be sold as a fighting dog, kept in a basement, about to be killed because of her size, her claws ripped out and tail banded until it fell off (our vet was horrified). It amazes me that these dogs still trust us. While I understand the topic is narrow, it could have been examined in an equally eye-opening way, and still have been objective. There is a serious problem, but it's written as if the dogs have a choice.
I agree with all the comments posted here by those the article saddened. I would like to add that I was a kid who, as Mungo so eloquently put it, had my "face ripped off" (not by a pit bull). I had 160 stitches and have scars that have become part of my identity. I don't mean to minimize Mr. Bloomquist's experience by any means, but what good came of depicting the graphic nature of the attack and not addressing why people in the neighborhood were just waiting for something to happen to begin with?
There is a breakdown somewhere in the system. In a population of over 380,000, you can't tell me that only four people deserve to be banned from owning dogs. My experience traumatized me, yes, but I was traumatized by people. I don't fear or hate dogs, or the breed that bit me, because it really wasn't his fault, it was the owners. I have also been rescued and protected by dogs, and in all my experiences the basic fact I have learned is how fickle humans can be.
I could go on about the opportunities for topics that were missed in this article, the serious hard questions, but the fact remains that this is simply a fear-mongering smear. There's no education in it. No voice for the animal. Which, in my opinion, when you print something like this, you have a level of responsibility. It certainly won't help prevent further attacks. For me, it will not help the stigma, or the fact that when people lean in to pet my dog, they step back when I answer their question as to the breed. They'll continue to blame the breed, find it hard to believe she's a "big spoon" cuddle bug and an obsessive licker. They'll stand behind anti-bully measures—they'll cite this article (people already are in my office)—and who can blame them when tripe like this continues to be printed?
There are good and bad dogs in every breed, and I agree with everyone that there really is no bad dog, just bad dog owners. The challenge with the bully breeds is the damage they do if they attack; those jaws and teeth are built for tearing things apart and their single-minded focus when they get into that zone is frightening. The bigger issue is: How do you stop people who have no business owning these dogs? And how do you make the penalties severe enough to maybe deter some of these people from getting these dogs?
I can't believe how many people come out to defend dogs that maim kids. There are bad dogs. They bite kids in the face and attack postmen. They have bad owners. They are dogs, not people, and they need to be put down. Lolo—it would be one thing if you were only putting yourself in danger. But you're not—you're also endangering everyone around you by keeping that dog around. The fact that you were attacked once doesn't mean your actions are justified.
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