In April 2003, an 80lb registered American Bulldog named Kain attacked a small boy in Fremont, ripping off part of his ear. The media immediately reported it as a pit bull attack, despite the fact that the dog's owner and the shelter knew it to be an entirely different breed.
Here we are again. A large male dog reported to be between 80-130lbs attacked a Fremont mother and child, and once again, the Diana Diamonds of the world have been clucking and tsking about banning these horrible pit bulls. Never mind that this current attack - not unlike the one in 2003 - was certainly not a surprise -- the dog had a well known reputation for being a problem dog and human aggressive biter.
Why did it happen? Well, not because of his breed. It happened because - in each situation - very troubled dogs that were known to have issues with people were not properly contained.
It's THAT horrifically, tragically simple.
A reporter contacted us for an interview and wanted to know what would lead a pit bull to attack a child. (I'm always amazed at these kinds of questions; somehow our experience with pleasant family pets gives us license to speculate on the behavior of sketchy randomly-bred dogs we've never met. Scary, huh?) I asked if she was sure that it even WAS a pit bull. Pit bulls typically don't come super-sized unless they're mixed with something else or are imposters altogether. I was pleasantly surprised when she hesitated and admitted that, No, she hadn't considered that the police may have made assumptions.
Of course, the police are not trained in Breed ID. And, breed misidentification is as common as plantar warts at the YMCA...a disturbing trend that is bedeviling wonderful dogs everywhere.
I reminded her that whether or not the dog was a pit bull or an AB or a mix or something completely unknown, the real issue wasn't the label, but the "perfect storm" of circumstances that lead to such frightening events.
We're so very relieved that the Fremont mom in this storm was brave, resourceful and that her child is safe. And we can only hope that this reporter helps her, and the rest of the bay area understand that blaming a breed is just another way to confuse people away from the real issue: Troubled dogs need to be obsessively contained, or put to peace. Period.
By the way, we haven't met this dog, but he doesn't look very much like a pit bull to us. Then again, who cares? His rap sheet is the only thing that anyone should be looking at.