By Shawn Kleine, from Journal of the San Juans
I am the father of the latest pitbull attack victim and I am outraged that yet again we have to deal with another attack in this community.
My three-year-old son was attacked and bitten by a pitbull in the parking lot of the San Juan Island Library as he was trying to attend a children’s play group to see Santa with many other small children present. Time and time again over the past few years, we have all heard of similar attacks. People being attacked in their own yards; other dogs and livestock as large as alpacas have been killed by these dogs. Is it going to take the death of my child or your child before we take action in this community?
Many will argue that other dog breeds attack people as well and this is true, but rarely are these attacks fatal. A child climbing on or scaring an unfamiliar dog can initiate an attack or bite, but it is out of fear or defense. Sadly, pitbulls have been bred to be aggressive and non-submissive and often they show dominance toward humans and other animals. Most attacks by these dogs are so vicious that they cannot be separated from their victims. I have witnessed this myself here on this island on three different occasions.
Not all of these dogs are dangerous but I would say that 90 percent of pitbulls that I have personally witnessed in this community are. Knowing this, I feel that 90 percent of these owners are irresponsible as well. Why own an animal that is hard to control and is known to be very aggressive toward other animals and other people? Why own an animal that causes people to cross to the other side of the street or huddle there children closer as you pass by? What is the novelty of these animals?
I urge everyone else in this community that feels the same way to say enough is enough. Whether it’s outlawing pitbulls within town limits to keep them away from highly populated areas with our children and schools and libraries or outlawing them completely, something needs to happen before there is a tragedy.
I also urge anyone who does not feel this way to contact me and explain to me why they feel differently. You can see my son’s wounds in person and ask him why he no longer wants a puppy for Christmas.