Favorite

More on pits 

Some years ago, I visited the local Boys Club early one morning. There had been a break-in. Two young brothers had gotten caught making off with pool balls and cues. They weren't going to be arrested, but merely suspended. Police phoned their mother. It must have taken 10 minutes to persuade her to come get them. She kept insisting it was a case of mistaken identity. Her sons were at home with her the whole time.

The cop kept saying, "Ma'am, I keep trying to tell you we've got them right here." They finally had to put one of her sons on the line to make her quit fabricating alibis.

I kept thinking of that incident during recent encounters with what it's tempting to call the Pit Bull Cult. You see, I'd written a column about an unprovoked attack on my two dogs by an unleashed pit on a city park playground. Because my dogs are 120-pound Great Pyrenees who spent nine years guarding livestock (and cats) on our farm, they were never in danger.

Rather, the danger was that they would maim or kill the pit in front of a bunch of little kids. Thanks to the brave intervention of two young fathers, that didn't happen. One big, strong fellow reached into the melee and lifted the pit off the ground by his collar. Later, I talked to a Little Rock cop, but his attitude was no harm, no foul.

I should have pressed harder, because the pit was seriously crazy. It was the canine equivalent of a welterweight jumping Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champions. Also, sane male dogs don't attack bitches.

I ended the column asking rhetorically what might have happened if I'd been walking a cocker spaniel. "Possibly this breed has a place in today's world, although I can't think what it is ... It wouldn't trouble me if it were illegal."

Of course, in many places, it already is.

Besides, this is only partly a dog column. It's also about several things that have gone wrong in American political dialogue: dogmatism, disdain for facts, black-and-white thinking, name-calling and generalized hatred of rival tribes.

Also, the bad effects of social media. People just don't abuse each other in person the way they do on social media. It's a coward's idea of tough.

Here's what I think has happened. Animal shelters from sea to shining sea are filled to bursting with pit bulls and pit mixes either confiscated from or surrendered by people who never should have owned them. Compassionate dog lovers who volunteer at those shelters have persuaded themselves that these wonderful animals — as many of them surely are — need to be protected from mean-spirited people who've noticed the breed's propensity for unprovoked and deadly attacks on animals and people.

But it's not "racist" to generalize. Biologically, race and breed are near opposites. Dog breeds are among the oldest forms of human engineering: pit bulls were engineered to fight.

Nor is it just bad owners. Some are cruel and stupid, others merely naive. But sometimes it's just the dog.

Aggression could be bred out of pits with strong laws and consistent effort, but not by people who deny reality.

Reality being that pit bulls are responsible for the vast majority of fatal human attacks in the U.S. It doesn't matter if I'm an old man who will die soon, as several pit cultists told me, whether I have "masculinity issues," a tendency toward pedophilia, remind them of Donald Trump, nor even if "Cydni" kicks my teeth in, as she vowed.

The website DogsBite.org "recorded 31 fatal dog attacks in 2016. Pit bulls contributed to 71 percent (22) of these deaths, just over 7 times more than the next closest dog breed."

The cult has two objections: Pits are not an American Kennel Club-recognized breed. Hence, in a pinch, it can be argued that they don't really exist: perfectly circular reasoning, but who's keeping score?

Also, DogsBite.org is not a "scientific, peer-reviewed" site. Run by Coleen Lynn, who survived a 2007 pit attack, it doesn't pretend to be. Lynn compiles and tabulates media reports of fatal and near-fatal dog attacks, provides links to the original news stories, and tracks court cases.

So take the DogsBite challenge: Google "fatal pit bull attacks" for any city or state you choose.

In Atlanta: three kids attacked at a school bus stop.

In New York: "A pair of pit bulls left Francesco Bove so badly mutilated that a priest read him his last rites outside a New York church."

Pit attacks appear to be a regular feature of Chicago life.

Even downhome in nearby and neighborly Greenbrier.

But hey, the victim was 75. One foot in the grave, although he could end up losing it.

All isolated incidents and "fake news," pit lovers insist.

Now where have we heard that before?

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (30)

Showing 1-25 of 30

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 30

Add a comment

More by Gene Lyons

  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • Blaming Obama

    A couple of months ago, on May 10, President Trump invited two Russian diplomats into the White House to celebrate his firing of FBI Director James Comey.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Not again

    This just in: Nothing boosts circulation or enhances ratings like a sex scandal.
    • Jan 14, 2016
  • Never wrong

    Quite a few people make noises about leaving the country if the wrong person gets elected president. I've been making discreet inquiries in the vicinity of Kinsale, County Cork, myself — from whence my people emigrated after 1880.
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
    • Jul 28, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Gene Lyons

  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • No one in charge

    The American president has long been described with the honorific "Leader of the Free World." No more.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Blaming Obama

    A couple of months ago, on May 10, President Trump invited two Russian diplomats into the White House to celebrate his firing of FBI Director James Comey.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote, "It makes complete sense that a God who favors a man who…

    • on July 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation