June 06, 2005
If pit bulls are lesbian lap dogs, Gavin Newsom has a problem!
"If we can't change people's behavior and make them think what's in their best interest, then that's when government comes along and becomes a bit paternalistic."
So says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who's considering legislation which would ban pit bulls.
I want to address Newsom's apparent contention that people who own pit bulls don't "think what's in their best interests." I've had these dogs since the mid 1970s, and while I've perhaps not written enough posts about this issue, it's because it makes me so sick that the government would try to take my dogs away because someone doesn't approve of them that I fear I'd be overly redundant and emotional.
Joe Gandelman has a thoughtful post on the subject, but I'm really disappointed to see the ignorance displayed by some of the comments.
The thinking seems to be that because a pit bull killed a child, all pit bulls should be banned. It would be one thing if these attacks were common -- or typified the breed.
According to the statistics, neither contention is remotely true:
Approximating 20 deaths per year in a dog population of 53 million yields an infinitesimal percent of the dog population (.0000004%) involved in a human fatality.Dogs kill 20 people per year? In a nation of 300 million people, I would have expected a higher number.
Frankly, it horrifies me to see the types of thugs who often buy pit bulls, and I'm amazed that there aren't more attacks on innocent people, because the dogs are powerful as hell, and loyal as hell to their owners. Which means that if the owner is bad.... It's a little like a bad guy with a gun or a knife. Yet I can't tell you the number of times I've stopped to pet a pit bull being walked by young toughs, only to be told "GET BACK, MAN! HE'LL BITE YOU!!" And they actually seemed angry at their pit bulls for wagging their tails at me. Personally, I don't think that type of person should be allowed to own a pit bull. Or any dog. Because if they couldn't get pit bulls and were forced to have a dog which turned out to be a "wimp," they'd abuse that dog.
I knew an animal control worker in Berkeley who told me a sickening story about a family which adopted a pit bull the shelter had considered gentle. The problem was that their child was not gentle, and he proceeded to beat the dog with a baseball bat. Eventually, the pit bull defended himself and severely injured the boy. Guess what? The family sued the city, and Berkeley was forced to stop adopting out pit bulls. Every time I read one of these stories, I wonder what's not being reported.
There are always going to be powerful dogs, and bad people. A few years ago, CNN reported that the Rottweiler had "passed pit bulls as America's deadliest dog breed":
The large dogs were involved in 33 fatal attacks on humans between 1991 and 1998, the American Veterinary Medical Association said.Now, despite the fact that Americans are almost five times more likely to be fatally struck by lightning than killed by Rottweliers or pit bulls, I think it's worth asking what accounted for the statistical shift. Might the crackdown on pit bulls have had anything to do with it? Or were the thugs discovering that the pit bulls were too friendly to be of much use? I don't know, but I am tired of the hysteria.
There's no end to it. And as I've said before, the best way to stop this legislation is to glamorize the breed, and make it hip to own them.
There's nothing I like more than visiting San Francisco and seeing a hip young lesbian walking a pit bull. It makes me feel that Puff and Coco are safer, and I am absolutely serious.
(After all, not everyone gets to see pictures like these, showing graphically what pit bulls can do to children.)
Or to cats:
UPDATE: DO NOT MISS SayUncle's post on this issue. Not only is he less worried about being emotional than I am, he's posted a much better picture of the savage maulings these dogs inflict on children!
Pointing out the folly of breed specific legislation, he also links to this game of "Find The Pit Bull."
Wonderful! (And thanks for the link!)
UPDATE (06/08/05): My thanks to my old blogfriend Craig Ceely at Anger of Compassion for linking this post, and supplying a marvelous World War I era poster, which I'd love to reproduce here, but I'd rather have you go see it at Anger of Compassion. So go take a look!
posted by Eric on 06.06.05 at 11:08 AM
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference If pit bulls are lesbian lap dogs, Gavin Newsom has a problem!:
» More on the SF dog ban from SayUncle
Eric has more on Frisco's proposed ban on politically incorrect dogs: I want to address Newsom's apparent contention that people who own pit bulls don't "think what's in their best interests." I've had these dogs since the mid 1970s, and whil... [Read More] Tracked on June 7, 2005 8:08 AM
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