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Monica Millner's article

The article was Great! It was informative and made me consider taking her advice. Thanks!

Jacksonville Human Rights Commission
Fair Housing Division
Jacksonville, FL

Wrong information

In reference to the "Issues Updates" below, I'd like to point something out to you. The dogs mentioned in the below case WERE NOT American Pit Bull Terriers. They were Presa Canarios, a mastiff breed from the Canary Islands. I'm sure someone else has contacted you about this, but just in case, I feel compelled to inform you of your poor research. Media is supposed to be as factual as possible, right? As a responsible pit bull owner, your "news update" is highly offensive. Pit Bulls get enough bad press as it is thanks to irresponsible owners. How about actually researching something before putting it into print?

A. Brooks
TBS Superstation

Opps! Well, I'm not sure where the original source came from. It could be my goof, then again it could be I repeated the goof from another source -- and I didn’t call them “terriers” by the way. Pit Bulls have been a hot topic, especially in Los Angeles where I come from where they rip faces and arms off people and children all the time. Maybe that’s a bad rap, but I’ve never heard of a toy poodle ripping off a face... People often keep these dogs, like roosters, for fighting sport. I would not call them a the kind of a dog I would buy for my 7 year old child as pet.

It should be noted that there is a growing feeling among non-dog owners that all of these breeds of aggressive dogs are not to be considered gentle house pets, like a canary or white mouse. That these aggressive dogs, in general, have a habit of inflicting damage on people, property and other animals, sometimes without warning and sometimes against the desires of their owners!

Who is held responsible for the damage and injuries? I addressed this in an op-ed piece on , dogs, dog owners and liability insurance back in January. As most people who ride bicycles, like I do, will tell you, lose dogs and stray dogs chase after them, often nipping at their feet as they pedal. I was bitten at the age of 5 by a dog and went through rabies shots – 21 of them. I carry mace for self defense against stray, aggressive dogs. I’d prefer to carry a 9mm, but the police won’t let me, so instead I hope the mace will work. I come across lose, aggressive dogs every day in every town I travel. This is a way of life and I personally feel dog owner should face jail and financial liabilities for the privilege of keeping an aggressive dog (a dog who does everything it can to escape involuntary servitude). We do keep them as slaves, do we not? We tie them up. The pen them in. We force them to behave as we want them to behave with newspapers and doggie treats. No human would allow another to “own” them in that manner. I’d like to know where PITA stands on this point. As with humans if dogs are anti-social they should be punished by the judicial system. Since dogs are kept and owned, their owners should be held liable for all injury to person and property. Just like the owner of a car is liable for the damage they do when the car goes out of control and hits people on the sidewalk.

But in an effort to be more accurate and not offend pit bull owners in the future, we’ll remember to make such stories generic and just call them “dogs.”

As to the accuracy, I wish it were true but it’s not. In fact I was researching other information and brought corrections to the attention of many college professors who told me, point blank, they don’t have time to update their course outlines and would make the changes at some unspecified date in the future. So what you learn in college, as was the case of what I had been researching, with every historical text getting it wrong because they all used a central source that got it wrong, you may not always get accurate facts. We try to be as accurate as we can. We generally are more accurate than television news who may have to do spot news stories right now or may be more interested in headlines and ratings than telling a story accurately. Also most newspapers reflect biased politics in their reporting. What is known in the trade as a “slant.”

Am I biased? Twenty-one injections in my chest at the age of five because of a dog bite! Absolutely! I've been bitten three other times as well -- always by lose dogs with collars whose owners can't seem to keep them contained. Why these dogs choose to charge and bite me, I don't truly know, maybe it's a fear factor, maybe they smell it on me. I have been chased by them into streets with fast moving cars (I'd rather get hit by a car, then bitten again by a dog), on one mile runs, for blocks while out bike riding. I also ran into relative of the little five year old boy in Los Angeles who got his face ripped off by a dog. Hence the mace! Anyone who thinks a big, barking, agressive dog is safe to keep around the general public, should remember we have more liability lawyers in this country than anywhere else on Earth. Thank God for Jacoby and Meyers! Maybe like other industries that injure people we need to put a few agressive dog owners into bankruptcy and then give 'em 20 years in Chino! Do that enough and maybe people will wise up and not keep agressive dogs as pets.

-- Earl R. Dingman

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