Reader responds to ‘dangerous dogs’ letter

  • Jul. 11, 2012 4:18 p.m.

For people who deem pit bulls and similar breeds dangerous or think that is the only breed of dog that has ever caused harm, give your heads a shake!

Not only are pit bulls and similar breeds as trainable as your ‘friendly’ golden retrievers, collies and poodles, they are equally as lovable, protective, and ‘harm-free’ as those other breeds.

To the letter writer who said he would like to see a ban put on ‘beasts like pit bulls’ and that people should arm themselves against these dogs, why not just stand up and discriminate against everything that some people don’t like? Some people don’t like those of different ethnicities and believe them to be dangerous, should we arm ourselves against them too? What about those who are petrified of cats who can cause a lot of harm if provoked and cause severe infection as well, should we all arm up against them?

The statement made was ridiculous and comes down to one person’s misjudgment and misunderstanding of the breed.

Not one but many dog trainers have said it exactly the way it should be – a dog only acts the way it has been trained to. So who needs the training — the owner or the dog? I for one agree that it is the owners who need the training.

I agree that there are dogs in this City who are not well behaved and who maybe are more aggressive than another, but let’s not label all pit bulls as such. I have known people to be approached and frightened by as well as bitten and injured by everything from Yorkshire Terriers to Great Danes and in between.

So rather than labeling one breed ‘dangerous’ and requiring them all to be put down or some such extreme measures, why not look at the owners. If someone is not capable of training their dog to behave well and not be aggressive, or someone who deliberately trains their dog to be overly aggressive and vicious, then maybe it is they who should be punished, not the dog.

Instead of euthanizing thousands of dogs because they are of a specific type, why not evaluate whether these dogs have been trained properly and are indeed capable of being a part of society at their owner’s side before having them put down.

I realize having a big dog run up to you is scary, I have had it happen more than once myself. But the biggest thing is that much like judging people, you can’t do so by size or stature or colour. One must wait until they know a person’s temperament before deciding if they’re worthy of interaction, so why not evaluate dogs in the same way?

If someone blindfolded you and told you to pet 20 dogs and you got licks and kisses from all of them, or got bitten by all of them, could you really actually tell the difference between breeds? I didn’t think so.

In the case of the gentleman who wrote the letter, yes it sounds as if the owners were a little too careless with their dog, regardless of breed, and maybe that is the information that should be reported – not the fact that they own a dog of a ‘dangerous breed.’

To continue and say that the ownership of ‘large dogs’ should be discouraged is a preposterous idea. How many people own Great Danes, Mastiffs, Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain dogs etc. and have them trained properly? Perhaps these people live on farms and rely on their dogs to keep away coyotes because of their size and stature? What about those who have loving and calm dogs who weigh upwards of 150 lbs. but curl up and sleep at their owners’ feet out of love and adoration for their masters? This is what you want discouraged?

He claims that the dog who attacked him was a pit bull and then continues to say that the dog was a 140 lb. beast, yet pit bulls typically don’t break the 100 lb. mark unless they are severely obese.

So let’s not go ahead and ban all ‘dangerous dogs’ but the dangerous and careless owners who allow their dogs to be less than they are capable of being by not training them properly. Maybe we should arm ourselves against the owners, and let our four-legged companions be.

Catherine Leland

Red Deer