Saturday, February 24, 2007

impossible! my fatal would never hurt anyone!

From AP:
Authorities say a pit bull named Fatal attacked an Orlando boy after jumping through a car window.

The 11-year-old boy was taken to the hospital yesterday with bites and cuts on his legs. Fatal, the dog, was taken to the pound. Animal control officers will decide what happens next with him.
I recognize that I am on the wrong side of both contemporary thought and, even more assuredly, history with this--where, projecting ahead from trends in the peoplefication of pets, mature pit bulls will be granted the right to vote in the year 2048--but, if I were King Of The World, ordinary citizens would not be allowed to own pit bulls except perhaps through an elaborate screening and licensing procedure that would exclude anyone intending to name their dog "Fatal."


Tina said...

I think that historical trajectory is on a different path up north

jeremy said...

Ontarians are a sensible people.

gabriel said...

Malcolm Gladwell had an article last year arguing that it's not that pit bulls are naturally vicious (they are not, at least not to people) but that a lot of assholes own pit bulls. This suggests a screening policy is more appropriate than an outright ban.

Certainly i don't think my pit bull is dangerous because:
a) she has a gentle temperament
b) we keep her leashed whenever we are outside
c) we didn't name her "Fatal"

jeremy said...

Gabriel: If you did get a more temperamental pit bull that you named Fatal, s/he would be fun to bring into faculty meetings.

jt said...

My dog (a pit mix with a name that connotes neither mischief or terror) and I were attacked by a pit bull named "Trouble" last year. Priceless.

Gwen said...

I did dog rescue in Kansas for a year, and we had a total ban on pits or pit mixes. Both of us running the rescue acknowledged that there were wonderful pit bulls out there that would make great pets. But we also had an active pit fighting ring in our area, which meant we had no idea which dogs coming in to the shelter that seemed like lovely animals would turn out to have been trained to fight at some particular signal. We had a pit at the shelter once for several months (on a cruelty case) that seemed like the most loving dog in the world, until one day someone walked by her kennel carrying a mop and she FLIPPED OUT. That's when we figured out a mop had been used to train her to fight. Clearly a cocker spaniel or chihuahua or anything else can be aggressive, but we decided the outcome of a pit bull freaking out would be much worse than a spaniel doing the same thing.

My favorite moment was when I was at the shelter and a woman came in with her pit bull on a logging chain. The dog's chest was covered in blood. She informed us that it had gotten into a fight with her other pit bull and when her husband tried to separate them, the dog attacked him. He was in the car, his face mauled, and they were on their way to the hospital. She was all, "This is the second time we've had to get rid of a pit bull because of this! I just don't understand what's wrong with them."

She then asked what was going to happen to her dog and was informed that it would be euthanized immediately. She then yelled at the shelter staff for not trying to find it a home.

I agree that a screening process would help the situation greatly. To the suggested items I would add you should not be allowed to adopt a pit bull if:

a) you want it as a guard dog or mention "being protective" as what you're looking for in a dog
b) you aren't willing to go through some type of training class on how to handle the breed
c) you will not get it spayed or neutered
d) you seem like an asshole or an idiot.

All this sensible talk, and my knowledge of statistical probabilities (I read the Gladwell article when it came out and liked it) and my attempts to be a rational person notwithstanding, I still can't quite get my head around why people get pits and always suspect it has something to do with proving one's masculinity.

But then, I also can't quite figure out why people adopt Weimeraners, since I think they are neurotic and unpleasant and eventually refused to foster them, so I have a lot of weird opinions about dogs.