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Letter: Pit bulls weren’t bred to be household pets

Pit bulls weren’t bred to be household pets

After having worked in two veterinary clinics and an emergency animal hospital, and seeing the statistics on pit bull attacks on both animals and humans, and after having now had two close friends’ dogs viciously ravaged by pit bulls, I feel compelled to address this issue very frankly.

I have heard both sides of the argument dozens of times, and when I put all the facts, opinions, stats and justifications together into a final perspective, this is what I conclude: Many pit bull supporters don’t seem to realize they are populating this country’s towns and cities with a lethal attack dog that needs to be rigorously controlled.

All the characteristics that make this breed notorious were selected centuries ago. They were used in the sports of bull and bear baiting. They were bred to attack without provocation or warning (hence their “unpredictability”); clamp on to a vulnerable area of the victim’s body with a hold-and-shake grip to inflict major physical damage; and sustain tremendous pain in order to continue damaging the victim. They were not intended to be household pets. They do these things for the same reason pointers “point” – it’s bred into them. It has nothing to do with “irresponsible ownership.”

It’s long past time to bring some common sense (and compassion for victims) back to this debate. Many countries and U.S. municipalities have taken measures to regulate or even outright ban these dogs, and it’s not due to some arbitrary “breed bias.” If you happen to dislike breeds that drool a lot, that’s a bias. Controlling the ownership of a breed that has proven to be a vicious killer is not; it’s sensible and humane policy.

Martin Penkala