Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | December 10, 2012
Home : Letters
LETTER OF THE DAY - Ignorance breeds rabid fear of dogs
THE EDITOR, Sir:

It was quite fitting that Dr Orville Taylor's column of Sunday, December 9, 2012 was partially titled 'more bull'.

Outside some cutesy metaphors and double entendres, your article severely lacked credible substance. First, he neglected to cite sources for the statistics he vomited up about pit bulls (or 'pit bull-like' dogs, I'm sure) and Rottweilers being responsible for all but one dog-bite fatality in the states within the last 10 years.

If he had bothered to research some credible sources, he would have found that at least 25 different breeds have been responsible for these dog bite-related deaths in the states.

One such credible source, The American Humane Association, which fights for the protection of both children and animals, asserts: "Responsible breeding and ownership, public education and enforcement of existing laws are the most effective ways of reducing dog bites."

It goes on to assert that adults and children must be taught how to behave around ANY dog. Persons must be taught how to responsibly raise ANY dog, as ANY dog can bite.

Jamaicans who consider themselves dog owners are responsible for breaching ALMOST ALL of the stated procedures and precautions as stated by the Humane Association and yet still, when the inevitable happens, we point fingers at the dog. Such is the typical behaviour of a society as short-sighted, irresponsible and conveniently blinded as ours.

By ignoring the more fundamental issues surrounding these attacks and using a specific breed as a scapegoat, as you have done, we perpetuate the very ignorance which is undermining our society.

The other side of the coin

He also quoted Caesar Milan as a respected dog behavioural specialist in the United States, but you conveniently neglected to mention his stance on the matter. Caesar is the proud owner of two lovely pit bulls and is a long-time advocate of the breed.

Not surprisingly, he blames the media for perpetuating negative stereotypes against them because the many stories of the breed's loving, heroic nature never make the headlines, only the maulings by 'pit bull-like' dogs. One of Caesar's favourite sayings, "There is no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners," rings true to anyone who has had the pleasure of being a responsible pit bull owner.

The problem is not the canine breed but, instead, the breeding of ignorance in our society.

KAHLEN JAMES

kahlenjames@hotmail.com

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