I am writing in regard to the two articles that Mel Rothenburger wrote on pit bulls in Kamloops dog parks and his additional article on dog attacks.
I am the owner of a Staffordshire bull terrier and bull mastiff mix, who probably has some American bull terrier in her, or ‘pit bull’. Stella is happy, excitable and loving.
I am extremely offended by Mr. Rothenburger’s narrow-minded comments. In his first article, he mentioned he could only see one woman in the park, “distractedly yakking on her cell”. Then he went on to write “We were between gates and I was about to open the second when a pit bull suddenly slammed up against it. It had the broad, powerful jaws and ugly body typical of the terrier-boxer mix, the kind of dog I will cross the street to avoid.”
Nowhere in his article does he say that the dog was growling or exhibiting any type of aggressive behavior other than running up to the gate and being unable to stop. My dog does this often as she is so excited to meet new dogs and klutzy that she is unable to stop herself and runs into the fence or gate. Her tail is wagging so hard her entire body is shaking back and forth and she has the wide “pitty” grin that bully breeds have.
All Mr. Rothenburger appears to have seen was a breed and he reacted in a small-minded and offensive way. Did this dog growl and bark? There is no mention of that, which leads to believe that this dog was only excited and ran up to the gate and couldn’t stop itself in time. Nothing more.
There is no other mention of how the owner should have behaved in this instance. He just blamed the dog and, more specifically, the breed.
Mr. Rothenburger then decided to continue his ignorance and write another column ‘explaining’ pit bulls’ tendencies. He wrote “pit bulls are highly tenacious — when they want to hold onto something, they won’t let go no matter what pain is inflicted on them.” That is a very definite sentence, Mr. Rothenburger. Have you tried this? Can you tell me for certain that if a pit bull is holding onto a stick and you beat it, that it won’t let go? Maybe the fact that people like you think that you have to beat a dog of this breed to make it do what you want is the problem.
I can tell you that my two-year old son has grabbed Stella’s stuffed toy, which she will hold onto with all her might, and yet she will let go when he grabs the toy. Why? Because she realizes what is happening, that a small boy wants to play. She is not a mindless aggression machine that doesn’t think.
Although it appears Mr. Rothenburger believes he is an expert in understanding dog behaviour, I prefer to refer to the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), a 116 year old Canadian organization that registers 75,000 dogs a year with 25,000 across Canada. The CKC speaks out against breed specific legislation and in support of dangerous dog legislation. They realize that any dog can be dangerous, not just a specific breed.
I would suggest that before Mr. Rothenburger continues with his hate campaign, he take time to learn about this breed. There are great people in this area who work with bully breeds, from rescuing to teaching. Maybe he should expand his narrow mind and try to understand these dogs before sentencing them?