Puppy love

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Every day when I come home, the minute I cross the threshold to my apartment, I am faced with a thousand kisses from the two best dogs in the world.

Dogs have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. Naturally, since I love dogs so much, I’m often not scared by many of them. I also tend to give most dogs the benefit of the doubt.

What makes me a more understanding and forgiving dog-lover is because the two dogs I come home to every day are pit bulls.

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I can hear most people scoffing already.

Like most pit bull owners, I am enraged at the treatment of the breed in the media. Every story that gets posted about a dog bite is about a pit bull, and almost always the story just causes more fear mongering.

Former columnist for the Virginian-Pilot, Kerry Dougherty, was one of those people that incited fear-mongering in her writing about the breed. Due to stories of fatalities linked to pit bulls, Dougherty called for banning of the breed from residential areas.

A fake Super Bowl ad, created by Kenneth Phillips, was passed all over the internet in recent weeks, and it was a poorly edited video of fake statistics about pit bull attacks.

What I think people tend to forget about dog bites are how often they happen, and that news sources don’t report every dog bite. According to the CDC, 4.5 million dog bites occurred in the United States in 2016.

Chihuahuas make the list as often as pit bulls, but no one seems to think the pint size breed is aggressive.

Yes, pit bull attacks account for a large number of fatalities in the United States, and those ankle biter dogs aren’t even close, but that can be boiled down to the sheer strength of the dog. The average bite strength of an American Pit Bull Terrier is around 235 pounds of pressure, which is less than a Rottweiler, 328, and a German Shepherd, 238.

The temperament of a dog is largely shaped by the owners they have and the environment they are in. If you give a dog love, ample attention and a safe environment, that is the kind of dog you will have. If you breed an animal to fight and live in fear, that is the kind of dog you will have.