Pit bulls aren’t killing machines -- Gazette.Net







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The Gazette’s cartoon calling pit bulls “killing machines” displays all the false assumptions and irresponsibility that we at the Humane Society of the United States try to confront every day.

Pit bull type dogs have been vilified, banned and even exterminated, without any scientific justification. The pit bull does not have a different temperament from other dogs; it does not have an all-powerful “magic jaw;” it does not bite people with greater frequency than many other breeds. Pit Bulls have been family pets in the United States for over a century.

Especially in the last quarter century, dogfighters have bred these types of animals for fighting (and no group works harder to crack down on this barbaric trade than HSUS). That said, these tortured animals represent a tiny fraction of all pit bulls. It is estimated that there are 70,000 pit bulls in Maryland alone. The vast majority — as long as they are properly cared for and loved — live happily, peacefully and responsibly with their families.

HSUS supports holding owners accountable for any dog which inflicts injuries. But breed-specific legislation or court rulings that single out pit bulls as “inherently vicious” or “dangerous” are baseless, backward actions which condemn thousands of “innocent” dogs who are good family pets.

Eric L. Bernthal, Potomac

The writer is the board chair of the Humane Society of the United States.