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OPINION | EDITORIAL: Dog-gone discrimination

Something tells us that’s the whole point March 22, 2023 at 3:30 a.m.

You might remember the news stories that came out of Memphis back in the fall. Before Halloween, a family was torn apart--literally torn apart--when a couple of pit bulls attacked two toddlers.

The attack lasted 10 minutes. The young mother fought off the dogs as best she could, but the dogs killed her 2-year-old and her 5-month-old. The mother was put in the hospital with bites "all over her body," according to a family member. We can't write any more about those details because the damnable story is just too hard.

But this stands out, as it almost always does when it comes to pit bulls: The family had owned the dogs for years, and there was never an incident before the children were killed.

Isn't that almost a required statement in any story you read about pit bulls killing young children or elderly people? There's always a neighbor or a family member or an official police statement that says the dogs had never hurt a fly, never even snapped at a person ... until the family has to bury a child.

Arkansas is debating this again, and it appears as though the Ledge is coming out on the right side. The General Assembly did not advance a bill last week that would have prevented your local city council from banning the pit bull breed in its jurisdiction. But there were those who spoke in favor of the ban-ban.

They complained about discrimination. Bad dogs should be punished, they said, not bad breeds. And one person said, "The goal of the bill is to treat all breeds equally."

But all breeds aren't equal. Cocker spaniels aren't in the news for killing people. Yorkipoos don't snap one day and turn on their owners, putting people in the hospital. Beagles are hunting dogs, sure, but they don't hunt humans. And it wasn't two schnauzers that killed those toddlers in Memphis.

Even among big dog breeds, great Danes, St. Bernards and Irish wolfhounds aren't in the papers for bloody murder. Pit bulls are.

The Arkansas city in this news item is Maumelle. A few years back, the city council lifted an enforced pit bull ban. And two dog attacks since then have added to the register. Two pits killed a small dog and seriously injured its 73-year-old owner in 2022. Then, a few months ago, a young lady was attacked by a "pit terrier/bull mix" that she was fostering.

The best comment may have come from Steve Mosley, a council member in Maumelle: "We've now had two serious injuries to humans here in Maumelle that wouldn't have occurred had the council not lifted a long-existing ban on such dogs. Maumelle's two-year experiment with introducing pit bulls into our community certainly appears to be a failed experiment, and it appears that it's just a matter of time before an attack tragically involves a young child."

That's the point.

Discrimination has its uses. Taking steps to avoid dangers--and dangerous animals--is a form of discrimination, all right. Humans use that same kind of discrimination to avoid rattlesnakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles. And, increasingly, pit bull dogs.

Print Headline: Dog-gone discrimination


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