|My brother and his dog.|
But never did I think people would stereotype because of an animal. But we do, don't we? What pops into your mind when you think of someone who has livestock? What about someone who has a snake or pet rat? What about the lady who has a gazillion cats?
Recently, my brother has felt the brunt of people's stereotyping, and it wasn't a good experience for him. Apparently, there are a couple of stray dogs - pit bull mixes - running around his neighborhood. Somebody in his neighborhood keeps calling animal control and even the police department, saying the dogs are a nuisance, dangerous, and may even have killed their cat. That's fine. Perhaps they should call animal control. What they should not have done is to blame my brother, citing him as being responsible for the loose pit bulls. Why did they do this? Because he is the owner of some pit bulls.
|My brother's dog, Baby Girl|
But the other night - late at night - the police showed up at his door looking for the loose pit bulls, which they were told belonged to him. My brother manged to convince them the strays were not his, only to find an animal control officer at his door a couple of days later. The officer had to physically inspect his dogs to make sure they didn't fit the description of the strays. Then he wanted to leave a trap in my brother's yard. My brother told him to do whatever he wanted to until the officer tried to make him sign a paper saying not only that he would be responsible for baiting and setting the trap, but that if the trap was stolen or damaged, he would pay $150. "No way," my brother said. He told the officer he respected that he was doing his job but that he resented the fact that he was being stereotyped and profiled.
|Bishop gets a tummy rub|
Over the years, my brother has taken a liking to the breed - mostly because he felt that people were unfairly prejudiced against the breed. My brother doesn't take in strays, but he wouldn't call animal control on a loose pit bull unless he knew it was hurting someone/something. Why? Because a lot of animal control organizations, including the one where he lives, automatically kill any pit bull they pick up. They don't give them a chance to be adopted out or anything.
Now I'm not particularly a fan of the breed, but I don't agree with prejudice of any kind. Every decade or so, the public, mainly through outrageous media reports, picks a breed of dog to hate and fear. I can remember in the 80s when it was the doberman. Then in the 90s, it became the rottweiler. The pit bull has carried on through the 2000s, but who knows what the next breed will be?
|My brother's dog, Gage|
That being said, I should probably point out that there are no truly reliable bite statistics for the U.S. Why? Because there is not one central agency to report bites to, because most dog bites go unreported, because there is no way to truly know a dog's breed unless it has a pedigree, and because statistics don't take into account things like neglect, abuse, or lack of socialization.
So please, don't discriminate. I'm not saying you should run out and adopt a pit bull. I'm not. But don't be prejudiced against an entire breed of dog, and please... don't point law enforcement to a neighbor down the street just because they have pit bulls.