Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Pit bull owners

To the editor:
In my opinion, the Jacksonville City Council made two mistakes when it voted to ban pit bulls.

The type of owner who was at the council is the type of person who appears on the Jerry Springer show. These are the type people who encourage aggression in, and often train their dogs to be, aggressive.

They are so alienated from what most consider to be societal norms that they avoid the “man” at all costs. The level of fear or threat (that someone would take their dogs) that they must have felt, sufficient to mobilize them to the point that they would stand up in the “man’s” forum and challenge and threaten the “man” who they normally avoid at all costs, is both astonishing and very sad.

Yet, they came to defend their dogs. They came to have their say. They fought for their pets in the only way they knew how to – with threats and insults.

The level of rudeness displayed by these owners at the council meeting is inexcusable. And, while it is, using that rudeness as an excuse to ban a breed is reprehensible.

The council acted no differently than the owners of the dogs. Both said the equivalent of, “Do something I don’t like and I will exact my revenge!” The difference between the two is that the council did so with more subtlety and should be above such behavior.

To make matters worse, the council enacted legislation based on hype, hysteria and ignorance. While it is possible that no one contacted them by phone, fax, email or regular mail, and politely provided information that dispels the usual hype, hysteria and ignorance, my money is on the fact that they were inundated with it.

The overwhelming majority of professionals (veterinarians, behaviorists, trainers, researchers, the National Animal Control Association, and the Center for Disease Control, to name only a few), maintain that breed-specific legislation is not the solution to dog aggression.

One can only hope when tempers cool that the Jacksonville City Council will revisit this issue and enact a decent, fair and effective dangerous dog law.

Donna Malone
Memphis, Tenn.