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Letter: Stop blaming dog breed, hold owners accountable

Stop blaming dog breed, hold owners accountable

We sincerely sympathize with the victims of dog attacks highlighted in an Oct. 18 News article; their injuries and ordeals were horrific. But the article on dog bite attacks was flawed. How many breeds and mixes were lumped into the “pit bull” category to get the percentages stated? People can find lists stating cocker spaniels are No. 1 for child bite incidents if they search far enough.

We’ve volunteered for over 10 years at a local shelter and have worked with many mixed breeds from small to large. Hounds have a high prey drive and will kill small animals. The same holds true for rat terrier mixes. Our point is that any dog, regardless of the breed or breed mix, has the potential to do damage.

Numerous volunteers, ourselves included, have worked with thousands of bully breeds over the years without incident. It is true they can be exuberant, but when they receive the proper daily exercise and mental stimulation they deserve, these dogs become affectionate companions. (For example, Michael Vick’s rehabbed fighting dogs.)

Regardless of the breed, dog owners need to be 100 percent responsible for their own dog and the safety of the people and other animals their dog comes in contact with. Stop blaming the dog or breed and hold the dog’s caretaker accountable for the training and management of an individual dog’s temperament or issues. Supervision and the common sense to avoid situations that may lead to incidents is key.

Bully breeds are just like any other breed. They are capable of search and rescue, are wonderful therapy dogs, are in reading and training programs with children and are excellent family companions, just like any other breed.

Deb Pringle

Rose Ortwein