To the Editor,
Re: Reputation of dogs a result of breeding, Letters, July 28.
In response to Matt James’s castigation of the breed of pit bull, let me first say that, although I am a dog owner, I do not, nor have ever owned a pit bull, so I have no personal agenda; however, I feel they are undeserving of the bad reputation they seem to be gaining.
The only North American air carrier I could find who had a prohibition on pit bulls was United, and it was lifted in spring of this year after much public outcry.
As to the comment that, “These happy dogs can turn territorial and see red if they are triggered with an event that appears threatening”, I am sure the majority of dog owners would agree that most any breed can turn given the right circumstance.
The writer states that pit bulls are responsible for 30 per cent of deaths when it comes to bite attacks on humans. In charts from The National Canine Research Council of Canada, fatal dog bites tracked from 1964-2010 showed one Lab-cross pit bull out of a total of 47.
Even in the case of the 51 true ‘fighting’ dogs that were apprehended from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting operation, 47 out of 51 dogs were given reprieves after being examined by experts.
Those dogs have either been adopted, or are living their lives out peacefully at sanctuaries; some have even gone on to become therapy dogs, something which requires rigorous testing, and training, and the utmost confidence in the animal and its behaviour.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has this to say about this much-maligned breed:
“Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma, however, controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous. … And as owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal and/or violent acts – breed correlations may have the owner’s behaviour as the underlying causal factor.”