“It’s a work in progress, and what we’re going to do is probably address all vicious dogs,” Kilby said. “Any dog that has the propensity or history of being violent or has bitten someone. The owner would be responsible for that dog’s actions.”
Poor Tommy Kilby. He has riled up the pit bull owners of Tennessee. Not the golden retriever owners, not the beagle owners, not the owners of itchy chihuahuas nor the selfless owners of hydrocephalic broken-tailed sideways-walking dogs. There will be no easy dog duty for Kilby and the poor folks who have to answer his phone and read his mail. Kilby and his staff—who might as well be stuck in the Ninth Pouch of the Eighth Circle of Dante’s vision of Hell—will be stuck listening to the complaints of pit bull people.
Not that there’s anything wrong with pit bull people. I like them just fine as long as their dogs are properly enclosed, restrained and muzzled.
Well, add sedated to that list. I really can’t enjoy the company of a pit bull unless he’s so woozy from dog dope that he can’t crawl out from under the porch.
It seems the pit bull issue (excuse me, “vicious dog” issue) comes up regularly here in Tennessee. As sure as truckers tailgate Mini Coopers, pit bull aficionados get on TV and explain that pit bulls are not only harmless and precious, but are the sweetest dogs in the world. Sweeter than newborn golden retriever pups. Sweeter than Lassie and Old Yeller put together. Heck, pit bulls are so sweet, they make sugar taste just like salt.
Every time there’s a pit bull incident, a TV crew goes to the home of the poor misunderstood dog, and interviews his owner, typically a mature woman sitting in a reclining chair, with big-headed pit bulls and crawling babies intertwined at her feet. Usually, the recliner woman says something like, “The dogs love these babies. They’re sweet dogs. I’d move out of Tennessee before I’d give up my pits.”
All the while, I’m screaming at the TV, “God almighty, woman! Pick up those babies. Put the dogs outside! Or pick up the dogs and put the babies outside. Just do something to separate the pit bulls from the babies!”
I know, I know. It’s not the pit bulls, it’s the pit bull owners. If you don’t believe it, just ask a pit bull owner. He’ll tell you that there are responsible pit bull owners, and irresponsible pit bull owners.
OK. So far, so good. Now, will somebody please explain the difference? Which was Michael Vick? People need to know. For instance, at a high school softball game last year, a guy who was way too old to be in high school drove up to the ball field, hopped out of his pickup truck, and walked his leashed pit bull over to the bleachers, next to the home team’s dugout. During the game, he walked the dog all around the field.
Was that a responsible pit bull owner, or was that one of the bad ones? If you ask me, showing up at a high school game with a pit bull is irresponsible from the get-go. Pit bulls make people nervous. Rightly so, given that every now and then, pit bulls take down people and eat them. When the dog’s chomping on your leg, working his way up to your neck, it’s too late to assess the responsibility level of the dog’s owner.
The way I see it, a dog’s supposed to be your friend, not your reaper. I’ve been chased and attacked by a pair of trained attack dogs, while walking on the sidewalk in my own neighborhood. Lucky for me, I dissuaded the devil dogs with a few kicks to their ribs, and I got away with just a torn sweatshirt.
In the course of about 5,000 home inspections, I was confronted by a few dogs that were literally foaming at the mouth, and by dozens that would’ve liked nothing better than to bite a chunk out of my leg. And, at the last condo I inspected, there was a little Yorkie that tried to French-kiss me to death.
After all my confrontations with other people’s dogs, I received copious apologies and excuses. Most people told me that everything would be all right if I’d just call their dog by name. Only one owner gave me a fair warning. “Don’t go in the basement until I put the dogs up,” she said. “I’ve got six Rottweilers. That’s a pack.” I guess that was a responsible vicious-dog owner.
I say with all the French-kissing Yorkies out there, and all the happy-faced beagles, warm-bellied basset pups, faithful golden retrievers and cuddly shelter mutts in need of rescue, there’s just no good reason to breed and keep dangerous dogs. If you need security, deploy some security cameras, dig a moat, get some screaming peacocks. But cut the grannies, toddlers and crawling babies some slack. Keep the dogs off them. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Spaying and neutering would be a start.
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