I could have used the headline that others used, “Pit Bulls maul sleeping woman…” but I think the more important detail here is how this happened. It’s not the breed, it’s the fool who chained them up outside. Yes, some pit bulls are dog aggressive. And yes, they are powerful. But I have seen dogs of all breeds that are aggressive to dogs and to people. And “Pit Bull” isn’t even a breed, it’s a description of several breeds of dog. When a pit bull gets into trouble, “Pit Bull” is in the headline. When it’s a labrador retriever, like the mauling of that woman in France who got face surgery, they don’t usually even bother stating the breed.
But back to the fool and how she created this problem. Rather than being part of her family, her dogs where chained up outside. Chains can make any dog aggressive. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be, day after day, to be tied on the end of a rope while dogs, people, and fun pass you by? Pit bulls have thin fur, so aside from the usual misery of being chained up, they were also probably cold in the northwest weather. Neighbor children may have taunted, dogs may have barked, who knows. All I know is that dogs who are chained up outside have a MUCH higher probability of being aggressive.
This woman, Shelly Wilson, also admitted to breeding these dogs. Responsible breeders do all sorts of things that I doubt she did – breeding only dogs of solid temperament, for starters, socializing the dogs (early and often), and giving them love and care. She may think she loves her dogs, but I’ll tell you – I sure don’t want to be reincarnated as one of this woman’s dogs! She was somehow completely amazed that her dog would do this, even though Betty had already attacked a Papillon in a similar fashion – running into a house and finding the dog. So that final mistake was giving the dogs a chance to repeat their previous forays. If you have a dog that’s going to get into trouble, then manage and train it to keep it out of trouble! Certainly she must have had a door on her own house? If the dogs had been inside their own home, they never would have made it into Sue Ann Gorman’s house.
So what do we do about this? First, I think that in cases like this, part of the punishment for the human should be that they are not allowed to have their own dogs any more, or they have to go through some kind of program to make them responsible owners. I think chaining dogs outside, unsupervised for more than, say, 5 minutes, should be illegal. That would make a huge difference in the lives of so many suffering dogs out there. The offending dogs should probably be put to sleep. My reasoning is this: 1) Shelly Wilson should not get them back and 2) anyone who adopts these dogs will end up needing to put in a ton of work to rehabilitate them, and time put into these two is better spent educating the public and finding homes for the many, many lovely pit bulls out there.
I do *not* think we need a breed ban, although I’m sure this incident is bound to spark off another round of proposed BSL (Breed Specific Legislation), especially in Gig Harbor, where this happened. Somehow, we need to figure out how to outlaw the fools, rather than punishing the rest of the responsible pit bull owning populace.
If you have a bully dog, kiss her forehead and tell her how much you love her. Vow to keep her safe.