The caller wanted to know why we ran a big headline on the front page that a pit bull had attacked a family.
Because a pit bull did attack the family, I said.
But why single out a pit bull, asked the caller?
Because it was pit bull. I said if it had been a Pomeranian or a Maltese, the headline would have been Maltese menaces family. Pomeranian pounces on family. Certainly would have made for better alliteration. Fact is, it was a pit bull.
She said the media is always picking on pit bulls. Coming up with stories about how they attack people. She said she has one and it’s the perfect pet. So loving. She’ll never get rid of it. Then she hung up.
I don’t doubt her pit bull is a loving pet.
I’m sure there are other pit bull owners who feel their dog is also a loving pet. Maybe if I had a pit bull who was a loving pet, I’d feel the same way.
But I don’t. I have a cute Pomeranian and an equally cute Maltese. You know why?
Because I know that they will never maul my family. Never.
My cute little doggies will sometimes yap like there’s no tomorrow, poop where they’re not supposed to and on occasion, nip the ankles of a stranger or one of my boys. I’ve been known to do the same.
But my Boo Boo and Bitsy will never maul my family.
And as much as all pit bull owners love their dogs, treat them well and maybe have no fears for their family, the reality is they should be afraid.
Pit bulls are bred to be violent. And often their animal instincts take over.
Unfortunately, what happened to an Orange County family this past week when their 3-year-old pit bull, Supreme, suddenly turned on them, biting the arms and legs of grandparents and the face of their 8-year-old granddaughter, is an all-too-familiar story.
A recent Time magazine article about the dangerous breed reported that “pit bulls make up only 6 percent of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68 percent of dog attacks and 52 percent of dog-related deaths since 1982.”
Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention, told the magazine in the 32 years that he’s been compiling research, there has never been a year when pit bulls have accounted for less than half of all attacks.
A report published in the Annals of Surgery found that “one person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, two people are injured by a pit bull every day, and young people are especially at risk.”
Don’t think pit bulls are attacking strangers.
The website DogsBite.org noted that in the first eight months of 2011, nearly half of the persons killed by a pit bull were the dog’s owner and primary caretaker.
Despite these statistics, the number of cases of dogs being attacked by vicious breeds and the chilling stories of children needing reconstructive surgery and months of painful rehabilitation, pit bull owners blame irresponsible owners for the aggressive actions of these dogs.
My dogs are family pets. These pit bulls are ticking time bombs that I pray never go off.