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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 24, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Breed ban and pit bulls

Let’s require a license for pet ownership

Editor, The Times:

In response to your guest column [“Breed bans won’t solve problem of ‘dangerous dogs,’.” Opinion, June 23] here’s a radical suggestion: Rather than a breed ban on allegedly dangerous dogs, how about requiring people be tested and licensed before they can own a pet?

Before I am allowed to operate a vehicle, I must be trained and take two tests for my learner’s permit and then the driver’s license. Restaurant employees must be tested in their knowledge of basic health issues in order to receive a food-handler’s permit.

So it doesn’t seem unreasonable to require citizens to prove they are knowledgeable and capable of proper care, feeding and handling of an animal before they can own one. It is clear from the most recent case [“4 kids sicced pit bull on women, cops say,” NWTuesday, June 23] that the dog was mistreated and that its owners were not equipped to raise it humanely.

Now that I think about it, perhaps people should be licensed before they can become parents, too.

— Gary D. Tucker, Seattle

Future attacks won’t be solved with breed bans

The tragic attack on two women in SeaTac is another example of how education and prevention could have made a dramatic difference.

This attack was not the fault of the dog or breed of dog but a failure of society to provide these children with a safe environment to become good citizens who care for animals and for their neighbors.

Something is very wrong when children are capable of such senseless violence and turn man’s best friend into a weapon. All dogs want to do is love and please us; twisting that love into violence is a violation of the special relationship between pets and people.

Unfortunately, this incident is likely to incite anger against this dog and this breed of dog. It is the position of the Seattle Humane Society that breed bans will never solve the problem of major dog bites. We know from the work done by the Canine Research Council that breed bans do not lead to a decrease in reported dog bites.

We must find a way to do better — through enforcing our existing laws, educating our community and working to assure that every child grows up in an environment that teaches and practices compassion.

— Brenda F. Barnette, CEO, Seattle Humane Society

Dogs should be tested for aggressiveness

Brenda Barnette’s guest column in The Times, “Breed bans won’t solve problem of ‘dangerous dogs,’.” was a godsend to read.

My daughters each have a neutered-male pit bull. They have worked with their dogs in training classes to ensure they do not end up with an aggressive dog. Two to three years ago when my daughters adopted these dogs, I was concerned about the breed because of what I had heard and tried to find someone to test the dogs for aggressiveness but could not find an agency that performs a service like this.

This kind of a service could be a way to prevent dog attacks by giving the owner a heads-up to either rehabilitate or lose the dog.

— Sandra Humble, Issaquah

This time, don’t punish the dog

I am so saddened by the story of the kids using a dog to attack two women. This poor dog will be put down after being abused himself, after being used as a weapon against strangers. Where is the justice in this? I’m even saddened by my own reaction — that I’m glad the dog bit its tormentor, too.

When I have heard about dog attacks in the news, I usually agree with the decisions made. I am just so upset this dog will be put down due to the evil of others.

These children never should have been released to their parents. They should have been detained. Their parents should also be evaluated, as it is my feeling any decent parent would not have raised such horrible children.

I hope these two women will be OK, though I believe the emotional scars will last forever. They are obviously dog lovers.

I firmly believe King County Animal Control should revisit their policies regarding euthanization in this particular case. I adamantly feel this dog should not be put down. I’m sure there is a loving home for him out there.

— Chris Greene, Central Point, Ore.

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