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Letter: Not all 'dangerous dogs' are inherently dangerous

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opinion Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

After reading the front page article in the Feb. 17 Detroit Lakes Tribune about lawmaker wanting to ban "dangerous" dog breeds, I am amazed...amazed that the lawmaker in question, Rep. John Lesch, blindly believes that Rottweilers, pit bulls, chow chow, and Akitas are inherently dangerous breeds.

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Does Mr. Lesch know that in the mid-1800, the American pit bull terrier was known as the "all-American dog" and popular as family pets?

Does he know that Rottweilers, when properly trained, are playful, devoted, and eager to please?

Does he know that Akitas are incredibly loyal to their family and were often used as babysitters? Does he know that the chow chow is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and is the model for the traditional stone guardians in front of Buddhist temples and palaces? Obviously Mr. Lesch needs to do more research, as no dog breed is "inherently dangerous," as he claims. No dog will suddenly turn on people and attack; there's always provocation in some form.

If one breed is banned, than all breeds should be banned, because all dogs can bite and attack. Let's include the Pomeranian in the breed ban, because on Oct. 7, 2000, a 6 week old girl was killed by the family Pomeranian in Los Angeles (http://www.igorilla.com/gorilla/animal/2000/dog_kills_baby_los_angeles.html).

Lets ban bloodhounds as well, since a bloodhound mauled a 3 year old boy in Maine back in 2002 (http://igorilla.com/gorilla/animal/2002/dog_attack_maine.html).

Oh, and let's ban golden retrievers because one strangled a 6-year-old girl in New York in early 2006. It's only fair.

Does Rep. Lesch realize how idiotic his breed ban sounds? Because SOME Rottweilers, SOME chow chows, SOME Akitas, and SOME pit bulls have attacked people, he says that ALL of the Rotties, pits, chows, and Akitas should be banned.

It's like saying that ALL fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles should be persecuted and possibly put to death because SOME fathers, SOME mothers, SOME aunts, and SOME uncles have abused and killed their children. Why ban all for what only some have done?

Yes, something needs to be done to curtail the amount of injuries caused by dogs. But banning certain breeds in not the answer. As I've said before no dog breed is dangerous; the only dangerous dogs are the ones with irresponsible owners.

What we need to do is crack down on the owners. First-time owners should not own certain dogs, including Rottweilers, pit bulls, chow chows, and Akitas, without understanding the history of the dogs. For instance, chow chows, Akitas, and pit bulls are more apt to be dog aggressive than other breeds.

They are all strong-willed breeds, and need a firm hand to train them. Furthermore, all dog owners should be required to take and pass at least one obedience training class and a Canine Good Citizen class, as well as have their pet quality dogs spayed or neutered.

I applaud Rep. Michael Paymar, who says that the bill he's drafting is to strengthen existing dangerous dog laws, and that "the onus should be on the owners to control those (potentially dangerous) dogs and provide penalties for those owners who refuse to abide by the law." That's the kind of bill that Minnesota needs, not a breed ban.

Mr. Lesch, since pit bull and pit mixes seem to be the most persecuted breed lately, please do something for me. Visit this web site, http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html, and try to identify the pit bull.

You'd be surprised at how many breeds can be misidentified as a pit. If you have never seen this site before, I am 99.9 percent sure that you will not find the pit on the first try. You'll probably be surprised that a few well-known breeds can be mistaken for a pit. -- Jessica Hembre, Detroit Lakes

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