So there's been a lot of talk about the Maryland ruling in the Tracey v. Solesky case, which declares pit bulls inherently dangerous dogs. I don't know how many people have done their homework on the Solesky case, but I am pretty familiar with it, since it was the case that spurred Baltimore County Councilman Vince Gardina to introduce legislation in 2007 that would have declared pit bulls in Baltimore County dangerous dogs and required pit bull owners to keep their dogs in locked, covered pens with concrete bottoms whenever they were outside and muzzled in public. I was at the County Council hearing, at which the parents of the child who was mauled by a pit bull, Dominic Solesky, testified about how their son was mauled by a neighbor's pit bull, who was kept in an inadequate pen in a backyard. Obviously, they wanted the breed-specific legislation to p$#@!.

But pit bull people came out in droves to speak up on behalf of our dogs. I spoke up. Tons of others did. Most of the speakers were professional, calm, collected, measured and sympathetic toward the traumatized family. Despite the overall sensitivity most people showed to the family, there were some people who obviously caught their eye as ... well, maybe as not so sensitive. And their perceptions well, at least the father's perceptions are documented in painstaking detail in an e-book he put out (with the help, apparently, of an opportunistic organization with an agenda whose site I won't bother linking to and whose name I won't bother typing) called Dangerous by Default. It's up on Scribd.com, and I've embedded it below, and I think it's valuable reading for anyone who owns, loves and advocates for a pit bull.

Why?

Because it shows how incredibly horrific it really is when somebody experiences this kind of incident. It's an insight into the PTSD-type feelings that victims of serious dog attacks experience, and a reminder that even if we are offended by their hatred of our dogs that they have valid feelings about what happened to them and that it doesn't do any good to lash out at them because they have those feelings. It's also an important reminder, if you read the part about the hearing (I think it's in the chapter titled "Dog (and Pony) Show"), that we need to think about how the outside world perceives us, even those of us who go about our lives with our dogs and aren't hurting anyone.

It's sad to think that, even though most people who showed up at the hearing back in 2007 were polite, kind, peaceful and respectful, the victim's family saw a group of people who were anthropomorphizing dogs, unconcerned about dog-bite victims' suffering. I'm not exactly sure how that perception came to be I suspect it started with the jack$#@! pit bull owner who carelessly let his dogs do serious damage to those kids back in 2007 but it's something all pit bull owners (and prospective pit bull owners) need to be aware of. Even when we're at our best, some people will only see the worst.

It's not a long book, and it's pretty emotional. It makes me sad for a whole lot of reasons. So, like I said, if you really want to know how and why this whole nightmare in Maryland got started, this is one starting point.

Dangerous by Default: Extreme Breeds by Anthony Solesky



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