Sound Off: Don't target pit bulls

I would like to “weigh in” on the “Pit Bull Problem” article (Oct. 3) and “Sound off: Stop Adopting Out Pit Bulls” (Oct. 6).

We have been proud pit bull owners for 11 1/2 years. Both of our dogs are success stories for adopting and rescuing pit bulls. The most our dogs will ever do, like Cody in the Oct. 3 article, is slime you to death. Twelve-year-old Roxy came to us at 6 months old, rescued and repossessed by her reputable breeder. Nine-year-old Astro came to us at 4 1/2 months old, rescued by another reputable breeder. Both have lived their lives happily and without biting incidents.

I’d like to share some pit bull facts:

1. America’s first war dog was a pit bull who was the most decorated war dog in the history of the United States in World War 1. His name was Stubby and he inspired the K-9 Corps. He earned several medals in the rank of sergeant. He was honored at the White House and went on to become Georgetown University’s mascot.

2. The “Little Rascals” dog, Petey, was a pit bull.

3. Alaska’s first hearing dog was a pit bull.

4. The Ken-L Ration hero of 1993 was a pit bull named Weela. She rescued 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses, and a cat during a flood in Southern California. The article was in Reader’s Digest but the media refused to print that she was a pit bull.

5. Helen Keller’s companion was a pit bull.

6. Pit bulls are used today in police work, as well as being used as therapy dogs for the elderly. (See “The Working Pit Bull” by Diane Jessup at www.pitbullsontheweb.com.)

These are just some of the true stories about this wonderful breed. In our 11 years as pit bull owners, never have we seen our dogs go on the attack of anyone. The fact is, the nature of this breed is such that, the pit bull requires human nurturing and contact. This is very important to them. Just like any other dog, they want to love and protect their humans.

Most dog biting stories in the media are attributed to the pit bull. Let’s face it, pit bulls sell papers. Most dog bites are actually perpetrated by other breeds. In the Sept. 21 issue of the Whidbey Examiner, there was a story about a dog bite that prompted rabies shots. The dog? A black Scottish Terrier that WAS BEING WALKED ON A LEASH. No investigation was warranted because, “it was a provoked attack.” What about the Rottweilers that were chasing a woman and her dog on Scenic Heights Road a few weeks ago? How about the “bad” dogs from the past? German Shepherds, Dobermans, and even Great Danes? How about the other fighting breeds? The chow and the Akita, to name just two? When will it stop?

The media attack should start to focus on owners who are not taking responsibility for the breed that they have. Breed specific laws are not going to make the problem go away. The problem will just continue and go underground, more than it already has.

Any breed of dog needs care. Pit bulls are targeted because of their historical breeding and irresponsible breeding practices by some. To speak out against and persecute them is wrong. To declare them to be openly hostile animals is a lie. Any thinking person will acknowledge that the blame should rest, not on the dogs, but on the owners: those people who aren’t taking responsibility.

WAIF is doing a good thing by not accepting any more pit bulls for adoption. They cannot find homes for the dogs that they have now. Pit bulls that need to be relinquished, should be given up to pit bull rescue agencies such as the Chako Pit Bull Rescue. These breed specific rescue agencies are experts in the handling of this breed.

Banning pit bulls in our community is unrealistic. “It is the deed and not the breed” so that any laws and punishments should be targeted at the deeds of the irresponsible pit bull owners, who have the control as to the upbringing of their pit bull dogs. To echo an American icon: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Petra Anderson

Oak Harbor

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