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More on pit bulls: ‘All dogs start out the same’

I  forwarded my pitbull mail to The Kamloops Daily News but they haven’t had the space to publish it, so I’ll include several of the letters here over the next couple of days. — Mel.

I am very disappointed in the fact you took more time out of your day to write a public article rather then speak to another person. Even a simple question of  “excuse me, should I be worried about your dog?” I know several dog owners (border collies, French bulldog, a golden retriever, a Lhasa poodle x and even a chihuahua) who won’t take their dogs to a dog park because they either can’t mind their manners or their dog will become aggressive. So in fact it’s in the OWNERS responsibility.

By writing that article I feel all you did was run away from the problem, run home and grab your pitch fork. Jump on a band wagon full of everything people who once looked up to you as mayor would eat right up and join in. Nice touch by adding the classic gasoline on the fire line -what if their was there was a child- not a quote but close enough.

I truly feel that you are being discriminatory and I have several pit bulls or bully breeds that you are welcome to meet and I will personally show you how “aggressive” they are! But you would be disappointed I’m sure to see they aren’t aggressive, instead well trained because the owners did some homework. All you did you listened to the bark of a dog and jumped behind the newspaper article before u even knew if there was a bite.

I know by being a public figure, and by including your email address you were aware of any response you may receive will fall on both sides. Not attacking you, just wish you could have a positive encounter with a pit bull. And maybe from this letter you will be given countless opportunities that you feel comfortable enough to put down the pitch fork and see for yourself what countless owners see in their fur babies.

Regards,

ERIN HADLEY

Kamloops

 

I’m sorry to say sir but everything i read in the kamloops paper regarding your opinion on pitbulls was just plain ignorant. I have owned many dogs in my life including a pitbull and a rotie/german shepard mix and their breeds DO NOT automaticly mean or agressive, poor dog owners raise poorly trained dogs, your retreiver could have been mean to, but you raised him right just as the vast majority of so called “viscious breeds” have. So instead of calling for a ban on a specific breed, how about we work together to teach our city how to raise their dogs.

And by the way that pitbull who met you at the gate more then likely wanted to play with your dog and was excited to meet a new friend. I hope this helps you remember that appearences aren’t everything.

TIA FRIGON

Kamloops

 

I would hope that Mel’s ‘ARMCHAIR MAYOR’ of Jan.24 ran out of space prior to the end of his story about the aggressive dog encounter at the Dog Park.  His comments show two (2) irresponsible dog owners, although for very different reasons.  Mel speaks of one.  The other is Mel himself, for without doing something to curtail the action of the pit bull, he leaves a dangerous situation for all others who might wish to avail themselves and their dogs of this municipal facility.

The city By-law department is a complaint driven entity, as the ARMCHAIR MAYOR  should be well aware, yet he did nothing to ascertain the information that would allow a complaint to be filed. Now all the readership is aware of the aggressive behavior of dogs at the parks and nothing is being done to ensure safety for either the people or animals that use them. Mel seems to have acted in a most irresponsible manner.

ALEC FARQUHARSON

Kamloops

 

First of all, Pit bulls were not designed to kill. Second, not all Americans carry guns. I, for instance, do not. I also do not take my dogs to dog parks because ANY DOG CAN BITE. My vet recommends against dog parks because more injuries to dogs come from dog parks. I don’t know who wrote that article but you have your facts wrong. Just fanning the flames of pit bull hate.

TERESA HIEBERT

Bellingham, WA

 

Your column made me think of our sweet Lexi girl who loves everyone so very much and only wants to lick you into submission upon introduction. Lexi has been with us for about 7 years now and is most famous for playing with small children. Allowing them to grab her collar and tow her around the house or front yard. People would come into the house only to have Lexi attack with love and affection.

Lexi is an American Staffordire Terrier. I really do not except you Mel to know what type of breed this is because you seem to be very narrow minded when it comes to dogs, maybe a touch uneducated. Let me explain something to you Sir. No dog just turns bad. My dog Lexi and your dog Jesse started the same, wanting love and attention. Either one could have turned into a killer over the years, with the wrong type of attention, and still could. I would be very careful in reporting any opinions that include any type of stereotypical bias.  You are a smart man and know in your heart that it is not the dog rather the people behind the dogs. People are always at the root of the problem. There are always exceptions to the rule, but I’m willing to bet that you look at the person and you will find the problem in every dog issue. My question is this, did you ask the owner of the dog any questions while in the safety of the cage? Reading your column it didn’t sound like it. You where scared and choose to judge before getting any information at all about this UGLY dog. You blamed the owner for being distracted on her phone, maybe that’s why you didn’t ask any questions? I would venture to guess it was your fear that would not allow you to ask.

Back to Jesse and Lexi. I find it sad that you have to bring up a story in Calgary to instil just a little more fear into your readers. As I mentioned earlier both our dogs could be trained in the same way. The only difference being that Lexi has much better tools at her disposal. Is it her fault that when she does bite something she has hundreds of pounds per square inch more pressure then Jesse? I think that we can all agree that wouldn’t be the dogs fault?  We can also agree that it really does make much better news because fear is the only way to sell papers it seems. So lets use our dogs again, they have been treated badly and become less then perfect dogs. You and I both do something to anger our dogs and they bite us on the arm. Two different dogs, same outcome. Who makes the news, which dog gets called a killer? Who gets kicked out of the dog park?

There was a man in history once who treated certain people the way you propose we treat these dogs. If you continue to close your mind to these wonderful dogs you will miss out on some great personalities. People are the problem and Mel you were part of this problem because you simply didn’t ask if her dog was ok to play. I challenge you to learn more about the breed you so dislike, as we all know. Knowledge will set your fear free.

BRAD JACKSON

Kamloops

About Mel Rothenburger (8126 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on More on pit bulls: ‘All dogs start out the same’

  1. Don Howieson // November 17, 2020 at 4:43 PM // Reply

    It’s interesting to read pit bull terrier owners’ responses to an opinion about a breed specific ban. As has been said before, it’s not unlike an NRA member reacting to a proposal to ban a particularly deadly weapon. The proposal that it’s the gun owner’s fault when someone goes mad and kills people or the dog owner’s fault when his off leash pit bull mauls another dog begs the question. It a question of risk reduction or prevention. It’s a pragmatic approach. A rational approach.

    There’s no right, constitutional or otherwise, to breed or own a particular type of dog. The privilege can be limited or taken away entirely by lawmakers who seek to serve society generally, not just a special interest group. Indeed, it has often been said that if you want to cheapen a constitution just extend it to trifling matters of self interest, private property rights or guns being two fine examples. Thankfully, in our parliamentary democracy, we have forgone such silliness.

    I deal with dog attacks every day. They are often, but not always, the result of a misguided, irresponsible or downright evil (yes, I have dealt with a few of these) owners. I’ve had some where the dog owners were shocked by the behaviour of their dog, often a rescue and, yes, more often than not a pit bull terrier. But in the vast majority of cases the owner has chosen the dog precisely because of the breed’s notoriety and purported disposition towards violence.

    Right now there is population of bully breeds in Vancouver’s downtown east side bred in the neighbourhood for distribution to the areas population of drug trafficker and petty thieves, keep for so called “protection”. These dogs do not protect, but bite innocent victims, little dogs or humans. They cause great pain and hardship for their victims.

    Most recently I have dealt with another pit bull owner who refuses to accept responsibility for the dog which has attacked other dogs and, in one case, two horses. And I’ve seen this over and over again. I am not a psychiatrist, but it seems as if the individual takes a perverse pleasure in watching him animal attack other animals.

    The inevitable result of the more serious attacks, assuming that the dog and dog owner can be identified and tracked down, are by-law charges and a dangerous dog application to have the offending dog euthanized. A time consuming and lengthy process that leaves the dog cooped up in a municipal shelter for a year or more.

    They have a saying. You get the legislation that you deserve. Gouging landlords get rent control. Careless motorists get legislation allowing for the impoundment of their vehicles. If government ban a particular breed of dog because statistic show that the breed is a menace to society don’t blame the elected officials. Blame the dog owners who failed to take the measures necessary to protect public safety. I daresay that some of the people who have written here are such people. That demographic is larger than one might think.

    I support a breed ban, beginning with the breeding, sale and importation of breeds of bully type dogs. I see no particular societal value in preserving the right to won these dogs in the face of the dreadful statistics readily available on line. Existing dogs can be grandfathered, but bully bred dogs owners should be subject to certain regulations that are not applicable to other breeds, such as increased licensing fees or insurance requirements.

    It’s a pragmatic, rational approach to a emotional, irrational issue. It will result in less pain, emotional and physical, in our community. Arguments against it as based largely on self interest, or selfishness.

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