Op Ed: Unfairly Targeted as a Dangerous Breed, Pit Bulls Deserve Another Chance

Op Ed: Unfairly Targeted as a Dangerous Breed, Pit Bulls Deserve Another ChanceEXPAND
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Earlier this year, CBS4 reporter Karen Morfitt wrote about a pit bull attack at a Westminster Hills dog park. The story explains how a large pit bull attacked a smaller Yorkshire terrier.

Since that incident, the owners of the Yorkie, John Flannagan and his wife, Barbie Stephens, have been working with the City of Westminster to ban pit bulls. According to the Dumb Friends League, Aurora, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Lupton, La Junta, Lone Tree and Louisville still ban pit bulls, which are often considered a dangerous breed.

People who are against pit bulls claim they are dangerous because of their locking jaws. But National Geographic tackled the biting issue, equipping a bite sleeve with specialized computer equipment. The experiment proved that the pit bull has a bite pressure comparable to its size. Rottweilers and German Shepherds were also tested, and "the pit bull had the least amount of pressure in its bite."

Still, people walk unusually far around me or cross the street to avoid my pit bull mix when we're on a walk, and pit bulls are often passed over for adoption. If trained to be violent and protective, any dog will portray dangerous qualities; labeling pit bulls as a dangerous breed is wrong.

Breeds like the pit bull, German Shepherds and Rottweilers might make better guard dogs because of their size, but a smaller dog, such as a Chihuahua, may be more likely to bite an intruder. In a statement issued in 2013, President Barack Obama said, “[W]e don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.” In other words, just because a dog looks a certain way does not mean they think a certain way.

All dogs, specifically pits, deserve the benefit of the doubt. The ASPCA puts it this way: “All dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals. Treating them as such, providing them with the care, training and supervision they require, and judging them by their actions and not by their DNA or their physical appearance is the best way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together.”

Dogs are amazing creatures, and we don’t deserve them. They love unconditionally every day and live to please. Don’t believe the fabricated stories; give pits a chance.

Taylor Carlson is a psychology major at Front Range Community College and hopes to one day enter the criminal-justice field. She rescued her pit bull/pointer mix a few years ago.

Westword occasionally publishes op eds on issues of interest to Denver readers. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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