Bloomington Herald-Times, August 25, 2009
To the editor:
With the recent tragic mauling of a young boy, there have been posts on HTO complaining about Pit Bulls and repeating stereotypes about the breed. According to the American Temperament Test Society statistics (see www.atts.org) as of December 2008, 85.3% of Pit Bulls passed the temperament test. 84.6% of Golden Retrievers, 83.7% of German Shepherds, 81% of Beagles, and 80.6% of Border Collies passed the temperament test. Pit Bull statistics are similar to all of those other breeds which are not normally thought of as vicious dogs.
The problem with Pit Bulls is that since they have a reputation as "tough" and "mean" dogs, thugs and thug wannabes get the dogs and either train them to be aggressive or abuse them. If all Pit Bulls vanished today, the thugs would pick Rottweilers, Dobermans or German Shepherds.
The key is to educate yourself about a breed before you get a dog. Beagles, for example, can develop a weight problem and their food intake should be regulated. Pit Bulls need lots of exercise and their physical strength should be respected. All dogs need socialization. Any dog can make a loving pet or be a menace, depending on whether the owner is responsible.