Pumpkin, a big fluffy orange cat who confidently sat on his porch as I daily walked by with my two dogs, was killed yesterday by a pit bull allowed to roam free by the SUNY Brockport students who kept it. This dog and another, larger dog of the pit bull variety, attacked my dogs just a day before. The student caring for the dogs, apologized for the attack, and there being no lasting injuries, I decided to take no further action. If I had, as I seriously considered doing, Pumpkin would still be alive today serving his role as family pet and neighborhood icon. Instead, because of irresponsible students, Pumpkin met a savage and violent death.
Increasingly it seems, college students adopt dogs from local shelters or from litters irresponsibly bred by other students. Pit bulls seem to be the breed of choice, either because of their availability in the shelters or because of their macho image which appeals to the young males students who adopt them. These dogs are recklessly bred by irresponsible owners financially unable or otherwise unwilling to spay and neuter. The shelters bare some responsibility in the matter when they allow adoption by students lacking resources or maturity necessary for responsible pet ownership. I believe a pit bull, responsibly and properly socialized can be a worthy pet. Pit bulls were traditionally bred to fight and be aggressive. That tendency is imbedded in their genes. But, by proper training and socialization, a predisposition to be aggressive can be overcome. Anyone skeptical of this should read Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog, by Vicki Hearne.
But it takes an owner committed to training and patience and supervision of the dog and responsible pet ownership. SUNY Brockport students for the most part, have none of these attributes and anyone authorizing them to adopt a pit bull is equally reckless and irresponsible.