I very much doubt that anyone associated with the American Kennel Club could be described as an “animal rights extremist.” “California must regulate pit bulls,” (Reader Input, March 20). The organization was formed to promote purebred dogs. To do so, the AKC maintains breed registries (think genealogy) and sets the rules for dog shows and various performance venues.
The AKC opposes breed specific legislation because it is based on misinformation. Dogs of all descriptions will bite people under some circumstances. It is up to their owners to see that innocent people don’t become victims. There are no “killer” breeds. There are dogs bred to kill rodents and others bred to chase larger prey. That doesn’t mean they hunt and kill people. There are about 30 breeds that were developed primarily as guardians of persons and property. Some - but not all - of the guardian breeds don’t have strong inhibitions against biting people. Responsible owners are expected to restrain these dogs and/or train them as to when biting isn’t appropriate.
The AKC doesn’t recognize a breed called “pit bulls”. Among the 200 or so breeds that the AKC does recognize are two - the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier - that might be described as pit bulls. They were bred for dog fighting in the distant past. Today they are known as good family dogs although some extra training regarding other dogs and cats might be in order. They were never bred to bite people. I believe the opposite was true.
I have been threatened by a Golden Retriever and a Newfoundland. A friend was mauled by her own Saint Bernard. I knew one Labrador that bit children and another that killed livestock. I’ve never met a nasty or threatening pit bull. Not saying that they aren’t out there. The number of pit bulls and pit bull mixes in animal shelters indicates a lot of irresponsible dog owners. Breed specific legislation won’t solve that problem. Such folks will just gravitate to yet another breed.
Sue Nielsen, Newcastle