Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Size Of The Fight In The Dog

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


Anonymous said...

Pit bulls are aggressive because of people using them for aggressive purposes. They are innocent creatures in that respect. The corporate media over the years has taken advantage of the bred-aggressiveness of pit bulls to over-sensationalize them in order to sell a news piece. The number of pit bulls that have hurt others outside the fighting ring I feel certain is miniscule compared to the number of innocent pit bulls that have been mauled as a result of the aggressiveness of man.

I have owned a lot of dogs in my life and Punky is the sweetest dog I have ever owned. She was rescued from 3 men who were beating on her with a hammer. In spite of her incredible sweetness, I never allow her off-leash except inside our home, only because I know that these dogs have been bred to be aggressive, so I cannot take any chances, even with Punky. She would give up her life for me, though, because she trusts me completely....also because she knows that I in turn would give up my life for her.

Cotter Pen said...

I am sure that your dog is a joy and comfort to you, and I respect your caution to keep her on a leash when out of the house. I personally believe those 3 men who were beating her with a hammer should be beaten with hammers in return. I also would say that Michael Vick should be forced into a pit to snarl and engage in aggressive and violent clashes with others as big and strong as he, while drunks watch and make bets, except I believe that is actually what he already has made millions of dollars doing for a living.

Anonymous said...

We live in the very rural country. My boys have owned all sorts of dogs... Dog breeds are bred to be a specific way. Michaels Beagles have hunted rabbits from the day they walked away from their mama. Josh's coon dog, went crazy the first time she smelled a raccoon.. Our border collie will herd anything, children, chickens, baby pigs you name it. Dogs are bred for specific characteristics... Pit Bulls were bred to fight and too kill. It has nothing to do with "how you do them"..Genetics are Genetics.... Talk to a farmer... Despite how ignorant the rest of the consuming public thinks we are... we understand breed a crazy cow to a crazy bull you get a even CRAZIER calf...

Cotter Pen said...

Only ignorant people think farmers are ignorant. And I used to have a border collie named Suzie, the smartest dog I've ever owned but overprotective. Sadly, we had to get rid of her when we moved to a neighborhood with children, whom she mistook for threats.

Anonymous said...

You are confusing two issues here; aggression toward human beings by dogs and dog aggression toward other animals. While a "pit bull" is not an actual breed instead American staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and the UKC only recognized, American Pit Bull Terrier are all distinct breeds. All have some fighting background which in no way correlates to human violence. In fact if you believe a dog inheritantly natured toward the way they are bred, these dogs were all bred to not show violence toward human beings. This can only point toward some sort of human intervention effecting their nature. If you accept that as true than you must also accept that a dog that attacks other dogs can be altered or controlled in that respect as well. It starts with training them at an early age. Any dog can and will attack another dog if left unsupervised irrespective of its breed if it is a non-neutered male. Just as two male bulls will fight to establish dominance. However dogs that are violent toward human being pose a much larger threat to our society than one that attacks another animal. As such a guard dog breed is far more dangerous than a "pit bull" because they were bred to attack human beings. Look at canine temperment tests a German Shepard is far more likely to bite someone as is a Rottweiler than what you call a "pit bull." Yet you fail to consider that. Also your commentary about football, an American sport indicates a glimpe as to the basis for your opinion. I personally think American staffordshire terriers are very attractive dogs and sheepdogs and the dog your claimed was attacked are the most ugly useless things on the planet. I think its pathetic that you're trying to pass yourself off as an expert of any sort ondogs or animals in light of such a terribly flawed argument. Stick to politics you might make some friends in that rhelm with your bias opinions.

Cotter Pen said...

Imagine what joy it gives me to see not only that someone has read anew a posting that has been around this long but also that I have managed to raise some hackles. I would not want you to think that I am offering myself as an expert in anything, least of all breeds of dogs. The things about which I might consider myself an expert would not make interesting reading to many. I will gladly yield to anyone's superior knowledge of the difference between AKC breeds. I have owned Welsh Corgie's, both kinds, and frankly I find them infuriatingly and endearingly alike. I also once owned a Border Collie, which was an impressively smart and athletic dog, but I had to get rid of her when she got it in her head that anything in a baby stroller was a mortal enemy. I did not fail to consider the dangers of "guard dog breeds." I just did not mention them. I have also owned a beloved German Shepherds, but you must understand that the blog posting in question had a more or less specific subject, and did not lend itself to discussion of everything. Indeed, the only dogs that have ever bitten me were a dauschund, a chihuahua, and a Jack Russell. All in all, I believe dog ownership is the source of more irresponsibility than even ownership of firearms, and I do not remember dogs mentioned anywhere in the Constitution of the United States. Regarding the flaws in my arguments, I take pride in careful avoidance of the over use of logic. I prefer impressionistic impressions and the employment of humor, if not outright silliness, if possible. Additionally, everything I write is political, no matter if it is about dogs, football (American or otherwise), or people who against all common sense want to be President of the United States. Finally, I have never written anything with the goal of making friends. I do hope, however, to contribute to your not being bored to death.


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