The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 10, 2012

Aug. 11 Letters to the Editor: Thomas Pickett

Some thoughts on dogs

Letters to the editor

— I am not interested in arguing over whether or not pit bulls or any other breed should be banned from any area.

 Instead I will relate to you a few stories gleaned from 70-plus years of owning various canines. We have had pure breeds and mutts. We had dogs weighing 10 pounds and German shepherds over 100 pounds. Greta was 110 pounds of fun and love. We had farm-type dogs and lap dogs. It never occurred to us to select a dog that was bred strictly to fight and kill and break bones in a single bite. It never occurred to me to question the right of others to select this type of animal. What I question is the right of certain types of people to own a Rottweiler, pit bull, bull mastiff and the like. In a campground some years ago I went outside and met a new neighbor and his two loose bull mastiffs. The dogs were super friendly and nuzzled me all over when I knelt down. The next morning my wife stepped out of our camper and was attacked and mauled by them. They tried to kill our little dog. The owner had let them out of his motor home before he stepped outside. My wife was lucky that he came out in time.

There is a responsibility that comes with pet ownership. Sad to say not everyone has a sense of responsibility. Years ago our much loved Norwegian elkhound showed aggression toward my wife and then would not let the UPS driver out of his truck. I did the obvious and responsible thing, but tears welled up in my eyes when I left the vet office. I had a recent neighbor with a huge dog behind his eight-foot rickety wooden fence. The hound/pit bull would run and slam into the fence every time someone passed by. Imagine my surprise when the dog met me on my front steps early one morning. I tried to drive him away and he drove me into the house. The neighbor is gone now. Last year my wife and I were walking here in the park and were confronted by a large pit bull dragging a heavy chain. He headed for us and our dog with a low growl. I sent my wife home as I backed up between them. Luckily he decided I was too big to eat and he turned away. Several years ago I was cleaning out a storage shed when a large pit bull wandered in beside me. I looked down to see it was wearing a log chain that was welded in a collar round his neck. I know this is one of the ways they strengthen a dog for fighting. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, but he ignored me. I wondered what that dog might do if it came upon a child the size of another dog. If I have a point at all, it is not about the dogs. It is people who think it is proper to extend the dark side of their nature to the animal they choose. When the dog bites, I hope it bites them.

Thomas Pickett

Ashtabula Township