Blame the owner, not the dog
This is in response to Joanne Sanders, Sonoma City Council member, proposing to ban pit bulls and other dog breeds in Sonoma.
Reading her proposal made me sad. I don't know what is safe. I'm not a dog, I don't know how they think. Should we also euthanize all the mentally-ill people who murder their fellow human beings? I don't know what they are thinking either.
The United States has a population of 311 million residents, and 33 people were fatally injured in 2010 by "dangerous" dogs.
Is it sensible to have a knee jerk reaction to ban certain breeds? We don't know if those deaths resulted because of heart attack or smothering or mauling. The press doesn't report those details. They report sensationalism.
Scientifically, is it really smart to ban a breed because of those statistics? Were they beaten and kicked by their owners? Does Joanne know the details of each dog's environment? I think these dogs deserve some factual reporting.
Everyone I know who owns a pit bull knows how loving they are. Pit bulls are known to be loyal to their owners. If their owner teaches them to harm, why is that the dogs' genetic fault just because humans are flawed? Most pit bulls will lick you to death. I'm having a hard time understanding why all pit bulls should be punished because rap songs are written about how it's really cool to own a vicious pit bull.
Illegal dog fighting started this craze. Humans figured out that because pit bulls were so loyal, they could be trained to fight - they're loyal, not vicious. Big difference.
Teenage boys go out, get their macho pit bull, shortly are bored having to care for the animal, then drop them on the side of the road so that dog ends up in a shelter.
Not because they are mean, just abandoned. Dog training should be done with love and kindness. If the dog doesn't respond to that, then maybe his "wires" are crossed, just as some of our neighbor humans' "wires" are crossed.
We stay alert. We don't ban. It's never a great idea to stick your face into a strange dog's face. Common sense. I'm not convinced that there truly is a vicious breed out there - just some mentally ill-equipped owners.
My point is, watch how your neighbor treats their dog and then decide what's responsible for that dog's behavior.
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Karen Penrod is a Sonoma resident.