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LETTER: Canine racism and the truth about pit bulls

While stories of pit bulls attacking humans make headlines, the hundreds of stories of pit bulls actually saving the lives of humans never make the front page.

While stories of pit bulls attacking humans make headlines, the hundreds of stories of pit bulls actually saving the lives of humans never make the front page.

Earlier this year, a pit bull named Ace saved a deaf boy from a house fire. Sweet Dee, a pit bull in Boston, alerted his owner when her husband went into cardiac arrest and ultimately saved the husband's life.

The stories go on and on. So, why is the media focusing on negative stories and promoting pit bull bans?

Canine racism. People are searching for something to blame for bad dog owners, so they blame the breed: in this case, the pit bull.

Perhaps we all need a history lesson. Before the 1980s, there is only one story that made national headlines of a dog attack involving pit bulls. One!

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And in this story, a man intentionally put a pack of 26 dogs on a young woman - showing it was the owner, not the dogs, who provoked the fight.

Before the 1980s, pit bulls were "America's darling," known as sound family companions that also were great with kids. Remember "The Little Rascals" movies? The clubhouse dog in those child-centered movies was Petey, the pit bull. I wonder how all those children in the movies made it out alive?

Then in the 1980s, dog fighting became popular, and pit bulls became the dog of choice. Pit bulls also became the preferred guard dog for drug dealers and gangs due to their agility and stamina. By 1986, communities put a ban on pit bulls. But the real problem was not the dogs but the humans who misused the dogs.

Here's a thought: let's ban the bad dog-owners and stop the racism against pit bulls. Pit bulls are wonderful dogs; it's the humans who have given them the bad name.

Jennie Belanus

Grand Forks

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