Beginning of the backlash

Pit bull owners raise strong objections to last week's cover story

Short on Water, Long on Houses

Neal Obermeyer had a cartoon in your April 9 issue that asked, “Which is the biggest threat to California water conservation?

He should have had another box labeled Excessive New Residential Construction! It nauseates me to see all these new housing communities going up when 1) there isn’t enough water for those of us who already live here; and 2) there are hundreds, if not thousands of recent homes everywhere!

  • L. McCabe
  • La Mesa

Carvers v. Bernardo’s

In your Happy Hour section you keep listing Bernardo’s as a favored happy hour location. I tend to prefer Carvers in Rancho Bernardo due to their excellent pour of cocktails, and their delicious 14-item happy hour bar menu. Plus, the staff at Carvers is there to serve you with a pleasant smile, and not a “Yeah, what do you want?” attitude. Ask around, see what other RB’ers say.

  • Barry Nally
  • Rancho Bernardo

Free up Some Space

I really enjoy your magazine. Or, at least I think I do. The print is so tiny — and seemingly getting tinier each week. While I am a Boomer, my eyesight is still pretty fair. Maybe a few less ads for seemingly every affliction under the sun or another here today/gone tomorrow sushi-raw food-craft beer-coffee bar-vape bistro might free up some space for a slightly bigger font.

  • Buffalo Barnes
  • Pacific Beach

Mother Nature’s Choke-hold

Re: News Ticker, April 9: “Reduce Water and Continue Building? Huh?

Our wonderful governor (full of wonder), Mr. Jerry Moonbeam Brown, mandates us to use less water. That is what he wants us to do. Well, we want him to not waste billions of dollars on a bullet train. Is what he wants more important than what we, the people of California, want?

When building the bullet train, is there not going to be any water used on that project? Usually when there is any kind of construction going on, water trucks carrying thousands of gallons of water are constantly going back and forth to keep the dust down. So, the bullet train — a project that will benefit a very small percentage of our population — is okay to waste water on?

Whenever I see construction projects that require the use of water trucks, I think to myself, They must use more water in one day than I do in a whole year. Where is that water going to come from? Heaven? Heaven hasn’t been too generous with supplying us with water for a few years now. Even when it does rain, most of that water just flows into the ocean, thanks to all the well-planned reservoirs in California.

Think of all the water we would have here in San Diego if there was a reservoir in Mission Valley instead of all the housing and commercial buildings. If Mission Valley was dammed up, instead of damned with buildings, we would have one of the greatest recreation areas in the country. A reservoir filled with fresh water every time it rains. A reservoir with hotels, and condos, and beaches, and bars on both sides for boaters, fishing, swimming, volleyball, and most important, water for drinking.

So, let’s dam up Mission Valley now before it’s too late. After all, what good are all the houses, condos, and commercial buildings when there is not enough water in San Diego to go around? When nobody can exist without water, those buildings won’t be worth very much anyway. Looking into an extended drought, $500,000 condos won’t be worth $50 when this becomes a dried-up ghost town. When people turn on the tap water and nothing comes out, what will happen then? America’s Finest City will become America’s Crappiest City when there is not enough water to flush toilets.

We’ve defied Mother Nature long enough, living in a semi-arid location as if it were a tropical paradise. Well, Mother Nature has finally gotten a grip on us, and this time, I think, it’s a choke-hold. We’re not helping with allowing all the new construction. It’s similar to mistletoe.

  • Allen Stanko
  • Alpine

Clarifying Her Stance

After receiving some unexpected hate mail and threats today out of the blue, it dawned on me that your pit bull article must have come out. I must say, I was disappointed in the article.

When my partner and I were contacted by you guys months ago to help do an article on pit bulls, we were happy to help. We deal with a large number of dogs and their owners and deal with many pit bulls and bully breeds. I agreed to spend time and talk with author Bill Manson (a few hours of my time) on the condition that my story/experiences/opinions were presented accurately and not cut up, changed around, or left out entirely to present something entirely different.

I feel that my statements were changed and not presented in the context they were said in. Everything from my attack story all the way to statements I made when questioned specifically about certain pit bull issues.

I made it clear from the beginning that I understood both ends of the “pit bull problem.” I have successfully owned/rescued and trained many pit bulls over the years and it is one of the breeds that originally got me into working dogs. I explained to Bill what powerful, athletic, intelligent dogs they were. I explained how they can be extremely tough yet very sensitive at the same time. I explained their domination of working dog events like weight-pulling competitions and iron dog competitions. I explained that they are one of the strongest dogs, pound for pound, and once engaged in something they love, rarely quit. Qualities that are easy to admire.

I went into the history of the dogs that are categorized as “pit bulls” and how that name came about. How they were bred to fight other dogs, and the dog fighters had no tolerance for aggressive dogs. How the pit dogs of old were medium in size and hardly resemble the monster-sized dogs called pit bulls today. I spoke of crossbreeding in the past and more recent crossbreeding of these dogs. I spoke of how aggression is a very genetic factor that can be exacerbated by upbringing. I spoke of how, for many years, I used to believe that if a dog loves you he would never bite you, and that dogs are made aggressive by bad owners.

Once I became involved in real dog training I quickly learned that was far from the truth. People need to know this, it may save lives.

I talked about the different breeds often grouped into the name pit bull, such as American bully, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier, Dogo Argentino (not pits but often mistaken for them), ADBA bred “pit bulls,” UKC bred pit bulls, and so on.

I spoke of pit bulls I’ve met and worked with that wouldn’t hurt a fly, and some that I’ve worked with that would probably kill someone if given the chance.

When speaking of pit bulls as “nanny dogs,” I wanted to clear up the confusion surrounding that. I never stated that pit bulls or staffy bulls were unpredictable! I actually told you the opposite, and stated that the tendencies of these dogs are very predictable but may be difficult or impossible for the average pet owner to read. That’s why attacks may seem like they are without warning, but in reality there were signs. Pit bulls were not dogs bred to be nannies to children and although I’m sure there are many out there that are fine with children, I wouldn’t recommend them as a wise choice.

When questioned about the “pit bull problem” and a solution to it, my reply was that I wasn’t sure what the answer was. I don’t know that BSL really works and I can’t say I support it. I think restructuring the way rescues and shelters are operated may be needed, as well as more education of different breeds of dogs, as well as their requirements. I suggested that maybe people needed to show qualification or have minimal requirements to own very large or powerful breeds so that they don’t put the general public or themselves at such risk. I have seen some awful incidences resulting from owner denial or lack of education.

The subject of no-kill shelters was brought up. I discussed how that was a hot topic in Los Angeles and what the issues were with it. The most significant being overcrowding and maxed-out shelters with no place to put dogs. I suggested that since pits and pit x’s were a large percentage of the shelter dogs in my area (and many others) that aggressive/unadoptable pits (and other breeds) should be euthanized as they are a major liability/risk and are taking up space for a friendlier, more adoptable dog that may die due to lack of space and never get the chance to be considered. In a no-kill system I don’t support or believe in keeping an unadoptable or aggressive dog in a shelter/kennel situation for the rest of its life because we are afraid to do what is best given the situation.

In closing, I want you guys to understand that my goal was to educate people about the pros and cons of “pit bulls,” since that was the subject of the article. Not other breeds, just pits. We discussed many points for a lengthy period of time, and I understand there will be extreme feelings on both ends of the spectrum, but I wanted to make sure my stance on the matter was accurately presented in the article.

  • Stephanie O’Brien

Hoping for Backlash

Re: “You Love Me Now, but Will You When I’m Four?” (April 23 cover story)

Why would you allow such ill-informed propaganda to be spread on your website? Was any research done outside of the highly biased and inaccurate dogsbite.org? I didn’t waste my time reading the article in its entirety because I could automatically see it was coming from an angry, irrational and damaging place. I hope there is enough backlash that you will issue an apology to your readers and perhaps allow an educated article to be posted in its place.

  • Melina
  • via email

Will Just Keep Calling

I run a nonprofit pit bull rescue in San Diego called Passion for Pitties. I want someone to contact me so we can do a positive article regarding pit bulls and their mixes.

Your article was completely negative and false. I want someone to call me so we can fix it. If I don’t hear back from someone, I will just keep calling until I do.

  • Elise Penn
  • via voicemail

Opinion Piece

This story makes my blood boil. I would like to first point out that “pit bull” isn’t an actual breed of dog. Also, the writer’s cat was off-leash and able to roam wherever he pleased.

How can the writer, editor, and everyone reading this not see that if a cat is out roaming free it could be harmed in a variety of ways, including being attacked by a dog? Letting a cat freely roam the neighborhood is irresponsible and lacks common sense if you want your cat to live a long life. This writer did his cat a disservice and should take some responsibility for his cat’s death.

That irresponsibility is also seen in the owner of the dog that attacked another dog in Imperial Beach. She had her dog off leash on a beach where it is illegal to do so. This incident was clearly the result of an irresponsible, law-breaking owner. Most dogs do not like every dog they meet. The dog that loves every dog is actually quite rare and has nothing to do with breed. Very similar to how all humans do not like each other. All dogs are descendants of the wolf and may attack each other, that has nothing to do with breed. And all dogs have strong jaws, there is no such thing as a locking jaw.

This article unfairly characterizes pit bulls when there are plenty of dogs that have behaved the same way. I think you need to show the other side of this story with facts that back it up. This was mostly an opinion piece by a bitter, irresponsible cat owner with a few unverified “facts” thrown in.

Rescue dogs especially have different issues to work out that a dog someone has raised since they were a puppy will not typically have. Sometimes those issues are aggression issues. That can happen to any dog that has not been properly cared for, which is nearly every dog that ends up in the rescue system. However, one should note that pit bulls are overly represented in shelters so it is easy to pawn these behaviors off on them only. These dogs have not had proper training and that can happen to any dog. Also any dog that is large and strong and untrained can be aggressive.

There really needs to be another article on this “breed” of dog and I respectfully ask that the Reader publish another article featuring some independent research and balance. This “article” can only accurately be described as commentary and should have been an opinion piece.

  • Kelly Marquez
  • North Park

Put the Owners to Sleep

“You Love Me Now, but Will You When I’m Four?” (April 23) is the best story you could have written. I’m a animal lover and there is very little that I don’t know about dogs, cats, or birds. I have said from the start to many people who fear pits that it is not the dog its the owner!

To outlaw pits from the city is not the problem — it’s the owners that need to be outlawed from the city. It’s the owner who is 100% at fault. You can make any dog mean and bite if you mistreat it enough. Pits, Rots, and Dobies are not born that way! So, stop putting the dogs to sleep; put the owners to sleep because it’s their fault, and they should be the ones to go down.

The dog is only trying to please their owner, the hands that feed them,you might say. Long live the pits, Rots, Dobbies, and even shepherds.

  • Diane Roe
  • Linda Vista

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