Wednesday, October 28

Another Case Against Pitbulls

pitbull attack jax

I'm sure some people in Jacksonville have already written me off as that guy who hates pitbulls for no reason. Even my own kids weren't really believers because "So-and-so has a nice Pitbull" or "Their dog is only part pit bull." But when one of these monsters comes charging out of a house in your own neighborhood and attacks your leashed dog on the sidewalk, that's when even the kids believe what I've been telling them.

I live in East Arlington, where there are almost as many dogs as people. Our dog is as hard-headed as a lot of the others, and she barks at some dogs. Mostly, she wants to say hi, but sometimes the two dogs that meet will growl and bark, which is when it's time to pull them away from one another and try again later. Pitbulls are different, which is why insurers won't insure them and why I will always push for eradicating the breed.

This particular pit bull came running out of the garage where a neighbor was watching a game. Yes, it's redneck enough that you're using a garage as a living room--you don't have to add the unleashed pitbull into the mix. Might as well have a tattoo chair set up in there, too. So the pit bull, which is smaller than our dog, comes flying out, no barking or growling. My wife encouraged me to let them say hello, thinking that me yanking our dog away would set them both off. The owner of the pitbull came out and got his dog out of there. He acted like it was no big deal, and he didn't hold onto the dog, which meant it headed back towards us within a few seconds as we tried to continue our walk. Again, no barking and no growling. But I knew better; it's a pit bull. I was readying myself to kick the pitbull in its head if it started anything, but like a typical pitbull, it gave no indication before it attacked. From standing there calmly to lunging at my dog like a missile. Not angry; just natural. The pitbull went low, presumably to go for our dog's throat. Luckily, she is very quick, and she hopped out of reach. Even though she was leashed, I gave her enough slack to take whatever evasive maneuvers she could muster. The owner was on his pit bull fairly quickly, probably lucky the little killing machine didn't turn on him.

That's when I went completely insane on the owner, figuring that a person who owns a pitbull and watches television in a garage appreciates f-bombs. I actually don't remember what I said, but I do know it was a string of insults, threats, and swearing that would have made my dad proud, even though I don't tend to practice the usage very often. I guess with all the pit bulls in Jax, I probably should be more ready to unleash a verbal smackdown at a moment's notice. The owner, of course, said his pitbull had never done anything like that before. He may have apologized. I didn't care. All pitbull owners, after the dog kills a little baby or teenage neighbor, say that the dog had never done anything like that before. (Obviously, right?) However, it's a pit bull--it could not do anything like that for a decade and then suddenly decide to chew a hole in an old lady's throat.

My final summation that the owner and his son heard reiterated my disdain for their pitbull, at which point the kid (who looked and sounded like the kid from King of the Hill), said, "It's not a pit bull, sir." And that's the other fallacy all these pitbull owners are working with: it's some kind of a mix that just looks exactly like a damn pitbull. Probably so the homeowner's insurance doesn't drop them or so that people in the house can sleep at night without worrying that they'll wake up as a mauled mess one day. No, son, that was a pit bull. 100% or 10%, I (someone who would never own this evil breed of dog) could tell that it was exactly what I said it was. And it behaved exactly as it was bred to behave, even if it had never done so in the past. Even if it never happens again.

My daughter cried all the way home. I know she learned a valuable lesson about pitbulls, one that she had begun to doubt because of all the pitbulls she sees in the Jacksonville area. Yes, these dogs are as bad as her old man said. Later that night, after she'd calmed down a bit, she asked me why the dogs even exist, and I couldn't really give her a good answer, comparing the pit bull breed to mosquitoes or Asian Carp. My wife wanted to try to be politically correct and blame the breeders from decades or centuries ago, but that really doesn't address the here and now. In a city that wants to wear its big boy pants and be relevant to the multitudes migrating to Florida, why do we not only allow pit bulls but encourage them by having a humane society that distributes them to new owners who can claim their newly-adopted mix breed dog has never done anything like that before? You mean before someone left it on the side of the road to protect his family? Or before it jumped the fence and killed several cats without you even knowing it was gone? Or before it jumps one of the neighbor kids at the school bus stop?

The problem that I have is that this pitbull owner might not have learned his lesson. Yes, I hope that if his dog ever hurts a human or another dog, it's someone in his family. But he probably won't leash the dog or have it euthanized or even admit to his dopey kid that it's an actual pit bull. Then, several years from now, when it finally happens again, this pitbull owner will probably have forgotten our encounter and tell the news reporter that the dog had never done anything like that before.

A day later, after I’d written this article about my tirade, we noticed our dog DID have a puncture wound right where the pitbull bit at her. It was bad enough to require staples. So, we needed two vet visits, medicine, a cone, and time off work ($200) just so our Neanderthal neighbor can compensate for his own lack of toughness by owning a tough dog. Just see a therapist or lift some weights in your garage living room if you have low self-worth. A couple of weeks later, I saw two completely unrelated pitbulls wandering around the neighborhood, captured on my driveway camera. Once again, the owner said they were sweet dogs and yada yada yada. I’m sure any other dog or cat that was also out at 4am might not have thought the same.

Let’s just recap in this way: if you own a pitbull, keep it on a leash or inside at all times. I am not alone in my disdain for these dogs. Fear and anger are very powerful emotions. While I am glad that my children have finally realized the fear we should all have of pit bulls, the fact that it happened at all just adds to my anger. Every pitbull owner out there needs to realize that non-pit owners and non-dog owners generally don’t like your dogs, so keep them away from the rest of us as much as possible. Think of the dog like your handgun: if you showed it off to everyone, a lot of people would get pretty nervous, but if you keep it in a nightstand, purse, or pocket, the only people that can generally get hurt are your own kin, so that’s where it belongs.

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