Pit bulls shouldn't exist

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

At a Labor Day parade in Des Moines, three people were injured, including two who had to be hospitalized, as the result of an attack by a pit bull.

Ironically, the two who were hospitalized were the dog's handler and his 18-year-old niece. The Associated Press report of the incident did not clarify what was meant by use of the term "handler" rather than "owner." The report stated that the attack was prompted by an assault on the handler by another man and that the dog then became confused, attacking the handler and his niece.

There are dogs bred specifically for ferocity, but pit bulls have a vicious temperament that goes beyond that of rottweilers and dobermans, becoming a danger not only to strangers, but also to owners and family members.

Centuries of pit bull breeding for competitive fighting has produced a creature that wags its tail in joy as it clamps down on its victim. Anyone foolish enough to interfere with the pit bull's killing frenzy will likely suffer for it, as apparently the handler of the dog and his niece in Des Moines did.

Children seem to be particularly prone to attacks, the pit bull regarding children as potential fight competitors.

There are breeds that are not appropriate for families with young children but none more so than pit bulls, which have been known to kill children they have lived with for years.

It is like the illegal practice of owning wolves or wolf-dog mixes. This seemed to be growing in popularity a while back, until education or law enforcement efforts became successful in curbing the practice. Still, some people don't understand that wolves cannot be domesticated.

In nature, when a wolf reaches about the age of two, it will often make a serious challenge for dominance of the pack by attacking the pack leader or make a challenge to move up in the pack hierarchy by fighting a rival member of the pack.

This is sometimes a fight to the death but not usually. The wolf facing defeat instinctively knows how to signal submission, placating the other wolf and stopping the fight. If a wolf is raised with a human family, the humans become pack members who don't know how to signal submission when attacked. A wolf that mauls or kills a member of a family that it lives with is behaving naturally.

A pit bull is not as dangerous to a family it lives with. It will not challenge its owner for dominance like a wolf will. In most cases, a pit bull will not kill or maul a child in the family it lives with, but there have been enough incidents of this happening that it is grossly irresponsible to allow pit bulls around children.

Actually it is irresponsible to allow pit bulls to be around anyone. They shouldn't exist.

It is amazing to hear pit bull owners describe their pets as gentle and loving creatures. Who do they think they're kidding? People who own these vicious animals do not own them because of their similarity to cocker spaniels.

In Cherokee, an ordinance requires the kenneling of certain dog breeds. They can be walked on a leash but cannot be left unsupervised on a leash in an unenclosed area.

In addition to pit bulls, similar breeds and mixes involving such breeds, the ordinance lists the breeds of akita, rottweiler, doberman and chow or any mix containing one of these breeds.

In the case of pit bulls, the ordinance does not go far enough. The city or maybe the county should simply prohibit ownership of such creatures, conceding to the potential heated arguments of pet owners only to the point of making the ownership illegal of dogs born after some future date.