A story doing the rounds this week is that a pit bull terrier held a Mokatse pre-school aged child hostage as he was walking about near his parent’s home.
The dog – one of two of the same breed - is reported to have scaled the owner’s fence and advanced towards the child. No, it was not wagging its tail, but it growled aggressively whenever the child tried to back away.
Mercifully the child had the sense to sit as the dog sat, waiting for him to move. Nonchalantly it waited, despite the din caused by worried family and neighbours as someone scurried to phone its owner who was said to be at work in Gaborone – some 30-something kilometres away.
The owner arrived to find the terrified child still sitting with the dog waiting. The dog would not budge when he instructed it to move, until he got a tyre and tossed it away where it could see it.
It lunged after the rubber, and tore it into shreds, as the little boy’s family whisked him away to safety. This true story, once again, brings back horrible memories of what harm a vicious dog such as the pit bull can inflict. In many countries and over the years, there have been debates as to whether the pit bull should be banned. Some have gone on to declare a ban on the breed. In the US alone, for example, the pit bull breed is said to be responsible for 82 percent of deaths from dog attacks. Many studies have also identified pit bulls as an extremely dangerous breed.
In Botswana more and more people, especially the ‘rap crazy’ American gangster wannabes are breeding the pit bull. There are known cases where a single individual has as many as 10 pit bulls enclosed in a metre high wire fence.
Our little boy in the story was lucky. Attacks by pit bulls often end only when the dog eventually lets go or is brought under control, but having done great damage, even causing death. The attacks are often unprovoked and without warning, and carried out by dogs whose owners will always swear are friendly. Those who say there should be no ban on the pit bull often give the excuse that other dogs bite too.
What they fail to appreciate though, is that the pit bull is inherently a professional killer, having been trained to kill, to cause utter chaos over generations. Those who compare the pit-bull to other sociable dogs could very well be comparing a grumpy malcontent armed-to-the-teeth special forces’ commando to a police volunteer. No Sir, pit bull terriers are dangerous animals.
That is why many animal shelters around the world would not accept your pit bull. We doubt our own Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals do. Well-reasoned judgment therefore, not ignorance as some claim advocates for a ban are, must lead to legislation that bans the breed. And we urge government to start acting now.
“Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”
- Barrack Obama