Monday, March 30, 2009

Pit Bulls Should be Banned

I am a huge animal lover. Huge. Anyone who knows me knows my soft heart for any and all animals. However, after a recent experience with a dog breed, the Pit Bull, I am now a top advocate for the banning of this breed of dog.

Have you ever listened to the news regarding a dog mauling/biting and heard dog breeds such as Golden Retreiver or Poodle as the culprit? How many times have you heard Pit Bull? Is there ever any *good* news regarding this breed? Quite often you'll hear owners, after their dog bites or attacks say things like "He was such a good dog and I never had any problems with him until now." Or, "There were never any signs of aggression until today." It seems that this breed can and does too easily and quickly cross the line into dangerous territory. So-called "good" dogs of this breed go bad very quickly, and the results are quite often life-threatening. And many, not-so-responsible owners actually encourage the aggressive and territorial behavior that is innate to this breed.

What is the fascination with this dog? I am sure that most Pit Bull owners would say that this breed should be taken on a "case by case basis" and that "most" Pit Bulls are nice/fine dogs. Why would anyone want to mess with an animal who has fighting and attacking bred into their nature? These dogs were selected and bred specifically for fighting. Can this really be taken out of the dog?

My case in point is my own personal encounter with this animal last week. Last Thursday here in Western Washington brought an afternoon of nice, warm, sunny weather. It was one of those perfect cool, yet clear spring days that we can get here. Perfect for going for a nice jog, which I did.

I was running on the sidewalk past my neighbor's house a few blocks up and over when charging out of their front yard, completely unrestrained came this Pit Bull. He was in the front yard with two women and a small child, completely unchained/unleashed. He came running towards me and as he did one of the women came running after him shouting "Fluffy (or whatever his name is) stop! Come back!" (As though yelling at a chargin dog of any breed ever works.) Startled, I did not know whether to stop myself, and so I kept running. "Fluffy" clearly thinking this was a game of some sort continued to run after me, jumped up on me and promptly sank his teeth into my back left thigh.

The woman, by now, had caught up with us and dragged "Fluffy" off of me and back up to the yard. I stopped, turned around and said, "Your dog just bit me." The woman, unresponsive, continued to drag the dog back to her yard. I said, again, "Your dog just bit me." As I walked up to the front of the house, I was met with blank stares from both women. They put the dog into the house and I asked "has he had rabies shots?" One of the women finally said, "He's not my dog, he's my boyfriends." I repeated the question adding one about insurance. Both women, kind of looked at me and then one got on the phone to call her boyfriend.

The boyfriend, whom I spoke with, also claimed to have the dog updated on his shots, but neither he nor his girlfriend could produce paperwork. To which I said I would return to look at the next day. After hanging up with him, his girlfriend asked me if I was bleeding. I replied, "I am not pulling my pants down on your front yard to look!" I said I would return the next day to get the rabies information.

I walked the few blocks home, looked, and sure enough, blood. I had my housemate take a few pictures and then knew I needed to let authorities know. I called Animal Control and then the Health Department and then my father to find out if he thought I should go to the ER, which is when I finally lost it. The realization that I had just been bit by a dog, finally hit me and I wept.

I returned to the home I had been bitten at to show them the digital pictures, I think mostly because I was so shocked at their lack of concern for what had happened. Both women acted like it was no big deal that I had been bitten. I showed them the pictures and one of the women had the audacity to say "I don't think he bit you, I think it was just his nails...they're really sharp."

I did end up going to the ER (rather Urgent Care which is a step down from the ER) and then called the non-emergency police nuber to file a report. My Urgent Care visit provided me a tetanus shot and some antibiotics.

I ended up talking to the Animal Control Officer the next day who was equally as shocked that the owners did not seem to recognize the seriousness of what had happened. She said most owners when dogs bite go out of their way to help the person who got bit, no accusing them of lying.

At any rate, this dog is now on record having bitten someone, will be suject to quarantine for ten days to ensure it does not have rabies, and the owners are being cited for not having their dog on a leash.

As for me, I am fine. A little sore, but more convinced than ever that this breed is NOT one we should allow people to have, especially owners like these who do not seem to understand the breed that they have and its ability to cross the line from playing to attacking so quickly and easily.


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