Published in the Vancouver Province among others

pit-bull-behind-fence“Can we start a tally now? And say — OK — it’s going to take five, 10, 20 deaths before we do something about it?” asked the father of six-year-old Jakob Clark, who spent 37 days in the hospital after a near deadly pit bull attack. “When do we need to wake up and do something to protect our children? It’s just gotten outrageous. I don’t understand it.”

Since that 2011 TV news interview aired, 50 more children have been killed by pit bulls as well as 65 adults in the U.S. alone. That’s right: 115 human beings killed by pit bulls in four years, two of them in October during “National Pit Bull Awareness Month.” In addition to that, hundreds of thousands of animals have been killed and there have been thousands of disfigurements and severe injuries from pit bull attacks on humans and animals during that time frame throughout Canada and the U.S.

Unfortunately, the outrageousness Thomas Clark referred to has gotten worse and none of us pit bull victim advocates and public safety activists can understand it, either.

makayla-screenshotWhile his little boy was still in the hospital, five-year-old Makayla Woodard was mauled to death by her neighbour’s two pit bulls while playing in her yard on a snowy day in the same city. Her grandmother was severely injured trying to save her. Thomas reached out to her bereaved family and they joined efforts to raise awareness and try to strengthen the dog laws to help prevent any more vicious attacks. The Woodards started a blog asking people to sign their petition. It closed with only 886 signatures of its target of 5,000.

jakob-screen-shotPeople can be shockingly apathetic.

Until this happens to them or someone they know, the majority don’t pay much attention to this issue. They won’t even voice their desire for BSL (breed-specific legislation) for fear of a backlash from aggressive pit bull fanatics — a bullyish vocal minority who care nothing about public safety or the pain and suffering of others and only care about the reputation of the pit bull and retaining the right to own a pet from the most murderous dog breed on the planet.

In another interview, Thomas mentioned the different ways to deal with the pit bull problem. “My preference is to treat it like a lion, tiger or bear,” he explained. “If you want a lion, tiger or bear bad enough you can get one, but there are all sorts of restrictions, special permits and insurance needed.”

The trusted pit bull that attacked Jakob belonged to a cousin and was well cared for, properly socialized and had played with him many times before. Prior to that horrifying attack, Thomas had believed “it’s all how you raise them,” not realizing that is just one of the many myths promoted and perpetuated by the well-funded pit bull advocacy camp that are currently fooling too many people.

Jakob suffered extensive injuries to his arms and right leg as well as his face and right eye. He’s had several surgeries and skin grafts and will need more over the years. Normal pets don’t do that to children. They don’t kill them, either.

deadly-dog-attacksHow many more children must die?All types of dogs bite, but pit bull-type dogs make up less than six per cent of the dog population and cause more catastrophic damage on the lives of humans and animals than all other breeds combined.

It’s not their fault. They were bred for blood sport, to fight to the death, and that’s why the criminals running illegal dogfighting rings favour them. That’s also why pit bulls with good owners who do everything right can suddenly attack unprovoked and kill if their genetics kick in. You can’t love or train that instinct out of a pit bull any more than you can with a lion, tiger or bear.

BSL (breed-specific legislation) is the only viable solution. Everywhere it’s enforced it works and it benefits everyone —including the million unwanted pit bulls euthanized every year, as it would avoid them being born to die. People who truly love pit bulls support BSL as seen from the commendable efforts of PETA and featured in their latest campaign #LovePits 

The only ones BSL doesn’t benefit are the dogfighters, the irresponsible breeders, the unscrupulous people profiting from their existence and the pit bull owners who don’t want to comply with reasonable regulations in order to keep the public safe.

For more information on BSL: CLICK HERE

For more information on Jakob: CLICK HERE