Defending Pit Bulls

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 25, 2005

Dear Editor,
   "Problem Dogs," the rant against pit bulls submitted in the Jan. 21 letters column ["Postmarks," Jan. 21], is so inaccurate that it calls into question whether Jack Bishop has even seen a pit bull. I, however, have met more than a dozen pits in my life (including my grandparents'), plus innumerable mixes, and in all that time, the most danger I've been subjected to was a puppy who ate my volunteer nametag at TLAC.
   Mr. Bishop claims "centuries" of fighting use for the pit bull. But the breed isn't that old, and less than a century ago, people were already seeing them as lovable animals to be spared the pit, not kept there: the Little Rascal's Petey, Buster Brown's dog (the same dog, in fact), and the original RCA dog (Thomas Edison's). Pits were even used on pre-Worl War I propaganda posters to represent America! The bulldog is centuries old, but how mean are they?
   Bishop claims pit bulls are more likely to attack, without quoting sources. But statistics show the pit is one of the least likely dogs to bite, the pack being led by poorly bred "family" dogs: the overbred German Shepherd and Dalmatian (thank you, Disney), the standoffish Chow, and even the Cocker Spaniel and Chihuahua! Pits are some of the most popular dogs in Austin; if they're dangerous, why did it take so long for the recent attacks to happen?
   Meanwhile, "locking jaws" and other supposedly damage-causing [traits] are pure fiction, media hype that scientists disproved years ago.
   Lastly, Bishop says only pit owners defend them, and that their objections can be "ignored." Think again: It's the ASPCA and similar groups that have gotten "breed-specific legislation" banned in several states, and they'd know the facts. Try and ignore them.
Nicholas Ivan Hentschel
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