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Is it right to discriminate before educating ourselves?

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 07, 2013 01:13 pm

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Re: “Woman continues fight to muzzle pit bulls,” Jan. 11

Dear Editor,

I have been reading other letters you have received regarding “pit bulls” over the last couple of weeks. All pertaining to how vicious pit bulls are. “Pit bulls are dangerous, It’s the owner not the breed and the last the fault lies with both the breed and the owner.” Yes, everybody has a right to free speech and their own opinion, but is it right to discriminate before educating ourselves?

I too was like the other thousand non-pit bull owners out there at one time, newly separated with three young children. My cousin brought a pit bull named Zoe to my home. He thought it would be a good idea for the kids and me to have a dog in the house. My response was “are you crazy, I have three kids!” He said “Give it a couple of days and if you’re still uncomfortable I will take her back.” After three days he came to pick up Zoe and I told him “she’s not going anywhere.”

I have owned several different breed of dogs in my life, from pure breeds to mixed breeds. I had a purebred Labrador retriever when my son was three years old. Unfortunately that was a short ownership as she bit my son in the face. Her teeth went straight through his lower lip. I immediately took him to the doctors and then called animal control. She was a good dog, she did not like kids. That never made the papers.

Zoe our pit bull was outstanding. She was loving, tolerant, and super smart. She put up a lot with three outgoing children, being dressed up, pulled on, laid on and dragged everywhere. Never once did she react aggressively. She was so in-tuned to the kids’ schedule that when 8 p.m. came around she was sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting for bedtime.

I would put the kids to bed and tuck her in too with whom she was sleeping with that night, which usually was my daughter. Zoe represented the nickname “nanny dog” which all pit bulls had at the beginning of the century.

The breed’s history as a family dog: Helen Keller had a pit bull and Petey, the mascot pup with the black eye patch in The Little Rascals was a pit bull. They showed up in photos, flanked by loving family members. Early advertisements, posters, and magazines began to use the image of the All American Dog, including Buster Brown, whose companion was a pit bull, along with the well-known RCA logo. America’s first war dog “Sergeant Stubby” was a pit bull in the First World War. He was awarded a special gold medal for service to his country.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that pit bulls starting getting a bad rap, people seeing the power behind the breed and using it for their own ill-gotten gains, drug dealers and dog fighting rings.

That’s where we need to make the corrections with the breed and question ones ownership. We have to start with the breeders.

There are too many backyard breeders, and it goes beyond getting a license at your local city hall.

In the end, who’s responsible? The dog breed as we know it was our own creation.

Our human need to improve on what we need to suit our needs have created dogs.

They did not ask us. We did not give them a choice. In the end we are all responsible for their care, training and education. So stop being self-centered and correct what we have created. The fault does not lie within the breed; it lies within humanity.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Elizabeth Lieknins, Airdrie


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