Monday, November 28, 2005

Dogs transformed into loving pets

Dogs transformed into loving pets
Nov. 28, 2005. 01:00 AM
Urban thug accessory
Nov. 27.
Finally, the Star gets it right — and in a grand fashion. As an owner of a joyful, 30-pound purebred Staffordshire bull terrier named Pixie, I want to thank Jennifer Wells and the Star for running a long feature about the true cost of Ontario's ill-conceived pit bull ban.
One thing I would add to Wells's insightful article: She accurately points out that the American pit bull terrier (APBT) was originally created for dog fighting. This fact is frequently used by politicians who want to portray APBTs as dangerous. But these same politicians, who are usually woefully ignorant about dogs and dog breeding, ignore two vital facts.
One: Ethical breeders of purebred, kennel-club-registered APBTs, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers, have spent decades (and many, many dog generations) transforming these former combatants into loving, stable pets. In almost every case of a so-called "pit bull" attack, the offender is actually a mixed-breed mutt of indeterminate breed origin.
The second point: Half of the world's breeds were originally created for an aggressive or violent purpose. Karelian bear dogs hunted bears, while Rhodesian ridgebacks hunted lions. Anatolians, Kuvasz and Komondors defended flocks against predators. Dobermans were created to protect a tax collector from unhappy citizens and bullmastiffs were designed to tackle poachers on England's large estates.
Virtually every single terrier — the word comes from the latin "terra," meaning earth - was created to attack other animals, usually by going down into dark burrows and warrens. Yes, even the bow-bedecked little Yorkie. The "bull and terrier" breeds have a distant, violent past, but the same can be said for dozens, if not hundreds, of other breeds.
Eric Sparling, Waterdown, Ont.

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