DogsBite.org - Over the past 4 weeks, there has been an inundation of politicians, journalists and bloggers using the terms: "attack dog" and "pit bull." Some recent headlines include: Obama Gets His Attack Dog, Giuliani Drafted as McCain's Lead Pit Bull and Pit Bull with Lipstick. The terms are most frequently used to describe politicians. In 2006, however, a Florida law firm was reprimanded by the Bar for using a pit bull logo.
The lipstick example involves Alaska governor Sarah Palin who asked a McCain aide, "Do you know what they say the difference is between a Hockey mom and a pit bull?" Palin answered, "A Hockey mom wears lipstick." Pit bulls, however, are far more ruthless than Hockey moms. Two weeks before Palin's comment, and in her city of Anchorage, Isis Krieger was attacked by the family pit bull. The dog broke her neck and killed her.
Irony and Responsibility
It is ironic that politicians posture themselves as "attack dogs" and "pit bulls" given that they are the very people responsible for developing policies to protect the public from them, particularly innocent children and senior citizens. Too often, politicians fail to address the brutal and continuous pit bull problem that plagues US cities from coast to coast. The issue instead falls beneath the "perceived problem" radar just days after a violent or deadly attack.
Politicians that call themselves pit bulls -- or allow others to label them as such -- readily accept the label to mean "relentless attack." The role of the political pit bull is to "attack" and "shred" the opposition and to do so tenaciously. It speaks volumes that the word "pit bull" has become interchangeable to these concepts. It means that as a culture, America recognizes the word "pit bull" to mean a tenacious, mean-spirited, attack.
Death and Injury by Pit Bulls
Since January 2006, pit bulls have killed 46 Americans. Based on an extrapolation of CDC data from 2001, it is estimated that in this same time frame (36 months), pit bulls have sent over one-half million Americans to emergency rooms. When viewed this way, the pit bull problem comes into tangible focus. DogsBite.org calls on policymakers to do what the public expects them to do: protect citizens from these widely recognized dangerous dogs.
08/22/08: Video: Isis Krieger, 6-Years Old, Killed by the Family Pit Bull
07/09/08: Proactive Dog Policy: Why Seattle Needs It
04/20/08: Flashback: The Pit Bull Problem is Over 20 Years Old
12/31/07: Grim 2007 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics