Letter writers differ in their opinions of pit bulls and related dog breeds.

Biting into the pit bull debate

This letter is in response to Mr. Paul Sparrow’s letter “Ban dangerous dogs,” June 24.

I am very sorry for what happened to you, your wife and your dog, and thankfully everyone is okay. But I find it astounding that the first thing you decide to do is blame the dogs themselves.

Yes, years ago pit bulls were trained for fighting and in some illegal circles they unfortunately still are, but what a horrible stereotype to have for such a beautiful breed.

It is not the dogs that people should fear, it’s the owner. Dogs respond the way they are trained and treated. Any dog could be “genetically bred” to be an attack dog. Not long ago German shepherds had the same stereotype, and now look at them: The poster dog for police officers.

I myself have experience with the pit bull breed and they are the sweetest dogs I have ever spent time with. They are compassionate, caring and the biggest couch potatoes.

My point is any dog can be vicious. It is not the dog’s fault, but the owner’s. Not all pets are fortunate enough to have loving owners like yourself to love and show them the proper behaviour.

All dogs, large or small, ultimately want to please their masters. So the next time you begin to blame a specific breed, think about what may have made that dog that way. The dog is a strong representation of the person that stands next to him.

 

Krista Green

 

Ban the deed, not the breed

 

In response to Paul Sparrow’s letter: My sincere condolences for the dog attack that you recently endured.

I have had many run-ins with unleashed dogs who were not under their owner’s control – barking, unleashed animals who came running at me and my dog.

Unfortunately, banning a dog breed is not going to protect you or me from irresponsible owners and their dogs. Though it was the dogs who attacked you, it is the owner who is truly “dangerous.”

Pit bulls (which is really a catch-all term for many different breeds) are not “genetically bred as an attack dog” – this is just an unfortunate myth. Though you claimed you were attacked by a pit bull, how certain are you? In a study of the Journal of Applied Welfare Science, trained shelter workers were wrong up to 87.5 per cent of the time they attempted to guess a dog’s breed.

You may be trying to ban a breed of dog totally not associated with the attack you experienced. If you want to work to protect yourself and your dog, you need to look more deeply than rally cries of “ban the pit bulls” as it won’t do anything to reduce the numbers of dog bites.

I own a Staffordshire-cross which would be banned if I lived in Ontario or Winnipeg, and you know what? She has never bitten anyone, run to attack anyone, or mauled anyone else’s dog. Aside from being a good dog, it is because I am a responsible owner who keeps my dog under control.

Breed-specific legislation does not actually diminish the number of dog bites. Instead of calling to ban a breed, call for responsible and accountable dog ownership. Responsible dog ownership is what will protect Surrey residents.

I would encourage you, and all interested readers, to visit www.hugabull.com and look up the research that backs the facts here. HugABull does wonderful work re-homing pit bulls to responsible caring owners and advocating for the too-often misunderstood pit bull.

 

Tamarack Hockin

 

These dogs are bred for image

 

I find it unbelievable that Surrey does not have help available on the weekends if a vicious dog attacks. This is unacceptable.

Once a dog has bitten a human it is extremely likely it will repeat the offence. A vicious dog that has attacked either a human or another dog should be destroyed immediately.

It is unfortunate that in many cases people choosing pit bulls are not looking for a family pet but rather for an image or to keep people away from their illegal activities.

Any breed of dog that has been bred as an attack dog should not be allowed within city limits.

Dianne Watts needs to get off the fence and deal with this problem. If she is not willing to ban these dogs in Surrey for fear of controversy then she must, at the very least, find a solution that will protect the average citizen.

 

Ann Lagerstrom, Surrey

 

Dangerous dog, ignored issue

 

Stories about pit bull attacks are becoming a monthly repeat.

My wife and I were both attacked in March 2010.

So far, she has not physically or mentally recovered from the attack. Her upper arm is still partially numb and scarred for life. She has only gone once out of the house for a walk as she is still scared to death of larger dogs.

For over a year I have tried to get any action from Mayor Watts and council to make our streets safe to walk on.

So far all we have heard from the above is that they will be looking into the matter “soon.”

Along with Mr. Sparrow, I ask again: How many more people have to be attacked or killed before Surrey takes any action?

Here in Canada statistics are conveniently not available as to the number of attacks and cost to taxpayers.

Does anybody knows that in the U.S. between 2006 and 2008, 88 people were killed by dangerous dogs, which means one every 21 days?

Pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers accounted for 73 per cent of these deaths.

In 2001 over 368,000 people were treated for dog bites, which means every 75 seconds or over 1,000 each day as the number of dog attacks have doubled in the last 15 years.

All above numbers have drastically increased during the past years because of the “popularity” of these dogs originally bred to maim and kill. Further, do parents know that 42 per cent of these attacks were on children under the age of 14?

Do they also know that these kind of dogs attack their owners, spouses, children, grandchildren, relatives, visitors, neighbours and more without explainable reason?

All the above statistics obtained from: www.DogsBite.org

So again I am asking: What is Surrey going to do about this very important issue?

 

Pieter Spierenburg, Surrey

 

It’s not the dog, it’s the owner

 

Give me a break. When is the community going to finally educate themselves?

It’s not the dogs, it’s the owners. There are tons of pit bulls out there that are incredible family dogs, great companions, and fantastic protectors.

When you take any dog, chain it up in your backyard, smack it around, show it zero love or in the very least the bare minimum of necessity, of course it’s going to become vicious. That’s a fact whether it’s a pit bull or a poodle.

Both of my dogs have been attacked by small dogs to the point where blood was drawn.

You can’t ban a breed of dog because the irresponsible owners in Surrey and all over the Lower Mainland don’t know how to raise a healthy, balanced animal. Punish the bad owners, not all the owners.

 

Stephanie Argitos, Surrey

Surrey North Delta Leader

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