Opinion – 2/23/2007

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 23, 2007

The Panolian: OPINIONS

 From the 02/23/07 issue of The Panolian        

Perceived threat from dogs causes concern at city meet

Google "pit bull." You instantly find organizations devoted to the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. Not unexpectedly, those organizations’ web sites include considerable information about how pit bulls are unfairly singled out as threats to humans.

"Fact: Pit Bulls are genetically predisposed to aggression towards other animals," according to a sidebar at .

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"Myth: Fighting dogs are a danger to humans," the narrative continues, explaining that they are "dogs bred for fighting … for aggression towards other animals; aggression towards humans is a different trait altogether."

Elsewhere, at , the web site author cites far higher rates of attacks on humans from breeds other than pit bulls, placing the odds of a fatal attack on a human from a pit bull at 1 in 145 million. Besides, the web site continues, most dog attacks on children are provoked by the children; it is really not the dog’s fault.

So why would the owner of a Batesville day care become so concerned about the pit bull or two chained next to an area where he hopes to expand an outdoor play area for the children that he went to the mayor and aldermen to seek protection from what he perceives as a potential threat so close by?

It is because of the "my-dog-can-whip-your-dog" subculture that has arisen among us. That is the factor that is not acknowledged either when public officials speak of a "vicious dog ordinance" or when pit bull fanciers talk about what gentle and loving pets they make.

The threat comes from the mentality of people whose inference is "my dog’s bad; that makes me bad, too."

Because when owners of "bad dogs" come together, a dog fight resolves whose dog is baddest. That’s the pit bull subculture, regardless of any other window dressing that is placed around it.

That men enjoy violence to the extent that they channel it through their animals is the problem.

That the city now must deal with the problem created by this violent subculture is a no-brainer.


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