Dogs. The Canine. Canid. A mammal of the dog family (Canidae).
Yes, the dog family. I am one of them. Ask anyone who knows me, I am a friend of the dog. One of the clan. The pack. I have been known to stop traffic on a busy street in order to rescue a dog. I have picked them up on country roadsides, fostered them until their “humans” were found, and on several occasions, adopted the unwanted. I have raised 13 puppies with little help from their mother, our Saint Frances the Sissy.
So let’s talk about dogs. Specifically, the ones who are in the news lately. Those Pit Bulls. Now, I have known several Pit Bulls and their owners. And. They all say the same thing, “Pit Bulls are the best dogs in the world. They are sweet. They are nice. They are great dogs. It is all how you raise them.” And all of the etceteras.
I am sure what they are saying is very true to them. I will not try to discharge their claims about their dogs. But I will state some factual observations. In 2016, in the United States, there was NOT a single death by Beagle. Or Corgi. Or Poodle. Or Terrier. Conversely, according to dogbites.org, there were 26 deaths by Pit Bull that very same year.
Let me take it a step further. Staying with 2016, there were zero deaths by Black Bear and 1 death by Brown Bear. Zero by Mountain Lion, or Cougar. Again, 26 deaths by Pit Bull.
When given those numbers, one may begin to see that Pit Bull deaths are far more prevalent than any other dog breed, and exceedingly more common than wild animal deaths.
So why, why, why, do we still allow them to be in our homes and around our children? Hell, around our 53-year-old gray-haired women?
The owners go back to that same argument. My dog would never do that. My dog is great, kind, sweet, gentle. Again, I am sure that is true. Until they are provoked or disturbed.
Here is the thing about dogs. They protect. They guard their territory. It is in their nature, It is ingrained in the DNA. It is what they do. Most of the time, dogs are “chill” with this. Unless they are somehow threatened or provoked. And in those times, they can be ugly.
When someone gets bit by a dog, the following interview ensues:
You were bit by the dog?
Did you do anything to threaten the dog, or provoke the dog?
No. Heck no. I was just standing there until I started moving my arms like this.
(The person begins flapping their arms, up and down, wildly. Like an overgrown Albatross battling a strong headwind.)
And then the dog just bit me for no good reason.
Now. Who knows WHAT might provoke a dog. (I can tell you this. If someone starts waving their arms around me like that? I will definitely be provoked. To the fullest. I may even haul off and bite the person.) Yet sometimes, a person may just look at a dog, or have a certain scent, or moved a certain way…. and they have gotten bit. Sometimes, it is hard to tell what is going through the mind of a dog. Or anyone else for that matter.
Here is the thing. All of this aside. I think we need to reconsider the Pit Bull as a domestic breed. I am sure there are a lot of completely awesome Pit Bulls around. But this past week, another young man was killed in Dayton. He was on his morning walk. He was attacked and mauled to death by a Pit Bull.
My suggestion is this. If someone wishes to own a Pit Bull, they should have to have a special license, and adhere to very specific guidelines concerning containment and transportation. It would be just like owning an Exotic Animal. Special cages. No public access. No transport by leash. And on. Very regulated by the State or Federal Government.
I love dogs. And people too. I think elephants, and lions, and polar bears are amazing too. But we have to be smart about how we live around those animals. We need to know the limits of those creatures, great and small. Nature has taught us so. It seems pretty clear to me.
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. — Nathaniel Branden
Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal. — Deepak Chopra