Editor, The News:
Re: Dr. Adrian Walton’s letter, The News, July 27.
There has been a great deal of talk recently about pit bulls and related breeds and their pros and cons as pets.
I understand there is support within the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows community for the pit bull and related breeds as pets.
I don’t wish to begrudge pit bull fans their rights to their strong opinions. However, I would like to speak as a representative for the other side – one of those citizens who fears the pit bull, and I would like to share the reasons why I do.
I believe Dr. Walton when he says that he is bitten more frequently by poodles and chihuahuas. Small breeds in general tend to be temperamental and quick to bite.
The difference, however, between a poodle or chihuahua and a pit bull is that an attack by a small dog is relatively easy to fight off, even for a small child, and rarely results in what statisticians refer to as “maiming” by a canine.
Pit bulls, by contrast, do not simply bite.
When a pit bull bites, it does not nip and release like a poodle. It clamps down, or clamps and releases over and over again until someone or something much stronger than it overpowers it. All children and many adults are not strong enough to overpower a pit bull when it bites.
When you look at the statistics regarding fatal dog attacks, you won’t find a single poodle or chihuahua on the list.
You will, however, find the pit bull and related breeds. (I would like to note, though, that statistics also indicate that fatal Rottweiler attacks are about equal to, and in some areas and years greater than, those of the pit bull.)
Fortunately, fatalities due to dog attacks of any breed are actually extremely rare in Canada.
The disparity is even greater when you leave out the statistics noting fatalities and look only at those that result in maiming.
For every two poodle attacks that lead to a victim being maimed there are more than 1,000 pit bull attacks that leave a victim maimed.
The ratio of pit bull to chihuahua attacks resulting in maiming is even greater. (In fact, the statistics regarding chihuahua attacks resulting in maiming are practically negligible.)
I have a healthy fear of and respect for dogs of all breeds and sizes, and have instilled that same healthy fear into my children.
We never approach and certainly do not pet a strange dog without permission from its owner.
Even if granted permission, we approach cautiously and with respect for the dog’s natural protective instincts.
However, if I had to choose whether I’d rather confront a poodle or a pit bull in a dead end alley, I bet you can guess which one I’d prefer to defend myself against.
Again, I respect those who love pit bulls, but I just happen to be one of a group of people just as significant in number that don’t care for the pit bull as a family pet.