Takes on "Possessed" Furries
Boston, MA - On Monday, sports columnist and commentator, Michael Felger, wrote a column titled, "NFL Dogged by Pit Bull Problem." He begins his piece by saying that pit bull owners fall into two categories: "Creeps. Or Imbeciles." He then talks about the recent attack involving James Harrison's pit bull that sent Harrison's young son to the hospital for a week. Felger rightly calls Lisa Ripi an "imbecile" for telling reporters after the attack, "I feel bad for the dog."
Recap: On May 21, James Harrison's pit bull attacked his 2-year old son when he started crying. The boy's mother, jumped on top of the child to protect him and the pit bull began biting her. Lisa Ripi, who was also present, grabbed the child, ran about 40 yards and dropped the baby over a fence. The pit bull then chased Ripi, biting her and also tried to attack the baby through the fence. This was a multiple assault that sent three people to the hospital, including Ripi.
As one might imagine, Felger's column sent pit bull advocates into to a fury, flooding his inbox with hate and propaganda email. Two days later, Felger published some of these emails with a short response to each in a new column, "Pit Bull Nation Pushes Felger to a New Level." Reading Felger's responses was like watching a Pro blast ball after ball out of the ballpark while at the receiving end of a pitching machine. So clever were his responses that we share several below.
Nearly first up was a letter from American Humane, an organization with the tagline: "Protecting Children and Animals Since 1877." Allie Phillips, the Director of Public Policy, cautions Felger on calling a certain breed of dog dangerous, specifically pit bulls. This caution was given despite the fact that pit bulls have topped the charts for maiming and killing children since the early 1980s. In his response, Felger questions American Human's statement about the recent attack.
Felger: "Also, do you guys really think the Harrison attack was an "accident" and a "tragedy"? I call it an incredible case of child neglect and stupidity."
Next up was Kim from Philadelphia -- who allegedly owns a 15-year old pit bull named Sarge that was allegedly rescued from a dogfighting ring (after allegedly serving as a bait dog), and has recently, and allegedly, also passed a "Therapy Dog" evaluation. Felger correctly places Kim into a third category of pit bull ownership: The "Do-gooder." The other two Felger categories being "Creeps" and "Imbeciles." He also zeros in on the shuffling a dangerous pit bull problem.
Felger: "I’m sure you were happy to learn that after finally seeing his son released from the hospital on Tuesday, Harrison declared through his agent that he’s looking into ways to keep his pit bull from being destroyed. You know, find him a home. Relocate him. Sort of like a pedophile priest.
Felger then calls out the "canine racism" frequently demonstrated by pit bull advocates. This racism is often directed at Dachshunds, a breed that pit bull owners love to promote as the top "biter," but just as quickly love to debase. Alicia Oxenhorn, the owner of two pit bull-mixes, wrote to Felger, "Why don’t you go after dachshunds they are the number one dog to attack. Perhaps they remind you of yourself. Small minded." Felger was quick to catch the paradox:
Felger: "Dachshunds have small brains? Now there’s a dog racist for you."
Finally, Adam Moran from Dogs Deserve Better (a group that pushes for anti-tethering policies), challenges Felger to "find a breed known as a pit bull." Moran uses such "furry" distorted reasoning to frame his argument that it does not bear worth repeating. Felger recognizes the distortion as well. In response to the challenge of identifying a dog known as the "pit bull," Felger zings both Moran and Dogs Deserve Better and accurately states the following:
Felger: "It’s the one that pinned James Harrison’s son to the ground. It’s the one that nearly chewed his leg off and then tried to gnaw through a fence to finish him off. You can make that the official identification there at "Dogs Deserves Better."
Overall, the piece is an excellent read. In a humorous and hard-hitting manner, Felger captures the bizarre feedback people face when they attempt to question the status quo, such as the logic of Harrison wanting to "rehome" his dog after it sent three people to the hospital. Felger's piece also captures what victims of serious dog attacks often face following an attack. They have few laws designed to protect them and even fewer voices willing to speak up for them.
Felger: "Forget Harrison’s son, who could have died in the attack, or Harrison’s ex-girlfriend, who suffered from another form of physical violence. Those are just people Mere humans. Here in dog-nut nation we show far more compassion and concern for [Harrison's dog], the poor fella."
While writing this blog post, it was reported that an "unidentified" woman has become the new owner of James Harrison's pit bull. The woman may keep the dog or adopt it out.
05/27/09: Steelers Linebacker James Harrison's Pit Bull Attacks His Son
05/25/09: Professional Athletes and Pit Bulls: Dogfighting, Abuse and Violent Attacks
11/13/08: 70-Year Old Man Mauled by Pit Bulls in New York
10/14/08: "Shuffling" a Pit Bull After a Dangerous Dog Court Hearing