Paul Ruffins’ retread article (“Dog Days,” 11/23) calling for a ban on so-called pit bulls (clearly his agenda) starts with a dogfight between “a massive, muscular dog” and a “70-pound mixed shepherd/pointer.” The latter dog is injured and the owner declares, “That’s when I knew it was a pit-bull attack.” Much later in the article, we are told that the aggressor dog is not an American pit bull terrier but an American bulldog. This twisted logicthat any dogfight or attack becomes a “pit-bull” attackis the result of 20 years of journalists rewriting the same “éxposé” on the “pit-bull menace.”
The American pit bull terrier is a uniquely American breed of dog. It is tough, loyal, funny, and smart. Theodore Roosevelt and Helen Keller owned American pit bull terriers. Petey, the dog on the Our Gang and Little Rascals series, was a typical example of the breed. They are fine dogs, not a menace to society.
It was interesting that one of the proponents of a ban on “pit bulls” tried to draw an analogy between gun control and dog control. According to historian Clayton E. Cramer in his article “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” pre-Civil War Maryland banned slaves and free blacks (but not whites) from owning dogs without a license and authorized whites to kill any unlicensed dogs owned by a free black “for fear that blacks would use dogs as weapons.” It is clear that this unspoken fear of black people with dogs is the main motivation for the current legislation.