Kerry Dougherty editorial and POLL (PLEASE VOTE).

Postby cheekymunkee » April 28th, 2007, 5:34 pm

Owners think press gives pit bulls a bad yap

The Virginian-Pilot
© April 28, 2007

What do you say we unleash a storm today?

Time to talk pit bulls.

Every time I write about this, ah, feisty breed of dog - it's been about a year now since my last column on them - I'm quickly reminded that the only thing more aggressive than a pit bull is a pit bull owner. They love their dogs. Almost as much as they love shooting indignant e-mails my way.

These sweet animals are misunderstood, they insist. Gentle as kittens. Why, a baby could play with my pit bull, they write.

Pit bulls are the whipping dogs of the press, they whine. Just let one high-spirited pit bull maul a toddler and it's headline news.

When toy poodles go on a rampage, no one writes a word.

Several e-mailers have told me they wished a pit bull would gnaw off my head.

Pit bull lovers blame vicious dogs on bad owners, bad breeders and bad press.

They must say this, because if the public begins to believe all pit bulls are unpredictable and potentially dangerous, the breed will be banned.

So when pit bulls make the front of the local section of my paper, I feel compelled to say something.

In Friday's Pilot, we learned that deputies in Surry County came upon what appears to be a dog fighting farm. The fact that 54 pit bull "type" dogs were removed from property owned by football star Michael Vick makes it all the more interesting.

Vick doesn't live on the land, we're told.

I don't blame him. I wouldn't go near the place.

This may surprise pit bull fans, but I feel sorry for fighting dogs.

Dog fighting is a savage blood sport. Animal cruelty at its worst. No need for the gory details, but the life of a fighting dog is unpleasant and short.

It's also lucrative. Owners breed fighting dogs for their tenacity and ability to withstand pain. The qualities that make a dog a fierce fighter also make it a menace to society.

When these temperamental misfits find their way into the community's canine gene pool, they can create all manner of mayhem.

This raid originated, as many do, with a drug investigation. Earlier this week, in separate drug busts, cops in Kentucky and Mississippi came upon a total of more than 70 fighting pit bulls.

In Surry, authorities were looking for dope when they discovered dozens of chained dogs. Some were scarred, some were tethered to car axles. Others were in concrete pens surrounded by tall fences.

Police say they recovered various dog fighting aids, including treadmills, scales, supplements and meds to treat wounds.

Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia, which means the people close to whatever was going on in Surry will no doubt be hiring legal pit bulls to defend them, should charges be pressed.

All this news makes you wonder. If this breed is as gentle as any other, why is it that pit bulls and pit bull mixes are the fighting dog of choice?

Someone please tell us why there are no French Poodle fighting farms.

Here comes the mail. ... &ran=72339

Jodi Preis
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