The term “Dog Fight” is not a new one, and it certainly refers to a universally recognized event in nature. Multi-million dollar National Football League quarterback Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons has pleaded guilty to conspiring to start dog fights, not for the purpose of gambling, of course, but for entertainment only. It was just a hobby, a way for an athlete to use his fame and free time to give something back to the community, like NBA Superstar Shaquille O’Neal trying to encourage overweight children to go easy on the junk food and get in shape, maybe improve their health and save their lives.
The U.S. government now has possession of some 50 pit bulls formerly belonging to Quarterback Vick and seeks the advice of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals about the future of the dogs. Vick and his friends already disposed of some dogs without consulting with the ASPCA.
Pit Bulls look like bodybuilders on an overdose of steroids. They are as attractive as alligators or rattlesnakes. Pit Bull owners get quoted often in the news that the breed is not naturally vicious. This is usually offered as an explanation and defense after a pit bull has mauled and sent to the hospital a pre-school child lucky to be alive or elderly person unable to sprint and dodge like an NFL quarterback. Pit bull attacks sometimes are blamed on the owner’s leaving the dog in the custody of a ten or eleven year old.
A local television station recently showed a victim of an attack by a pit bull. Still in the hospital, the four year old child’s face looked like a jigsaw puzzle. His parents did not have the money to pay for his hospital bills or the needed plastic surgery. The TV station gave out information about making donations. The parents of the injured child could bring a lawsuit against the pit bull’s owner, but he also had no money to make the child whole again. In most places, it is illegal to drive your car without liability insurance to protect the innocent in case your car gets out of your control. Maybe the only protection against pit bulls is to carry a tube of mace, available at most drugstores, or better yet a 9mm Glock, available at your neighborhood pawn broker, sporting goods store, or wherever you shop for lethal weapons other than pit bulls. Invest in some target practice, lest you endanger a pit bull owner by mistake.
I once owned a pit bull myself, or at least, it was a member of my household. My son wanted it for his high school graduation present, so that he could go hunting for wild razor back pigs in the Georgia swamps. We raised that pit bull from a puppy, sitting on our living room couch watching “Wheel of Fortune,” next to our big, black, clumsy, long-haired Bouvier des Flandres, Sam, with the disposition of a circus clown. One day without warning, the pit bull grabbed Sam by the throat in a death grip as they romped in the yard. My wife, son, and daughter could not pull the pit bull off Sam. Everybody yelled. I grabbed a two-by-four out of the garage and slugged the pit bull, connecting like I was batting a baseball and going for the fences. After the pit bull released Sam, we telephoned the man who sold us the pit bull and told him we wanted to return it. He hesitated, “Well, that dog’s momma done killed two of my neighbor’s cows.” Eventually, another $100 convinced him to take back Sam’s attacker.
Pit bull owners and enablers like to say it’s all in how you treat them. There must be some other reasonable explanation why nobody ever tries to organize dog fights with Old English Sheepdogs vs. Bouviers des Flandres, even if it’s just for fun.
Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter