EDITORIAL: It’s not the dog, it’s the owner

TRUST Kim Aranha to talk some sense.

There has been a lot of talk in recent times about pit bulls – a lot of it sounding very much like a kneejerk reaction.

The discussion has come about after a very real, and truly severe incident. A woman in Grand Bahama was left hospitalised after being attacked by pit bulls – with two of the dogs euthanised after the incident.

That prompted FNM MP Adrian White to call for a ban on breeding and ownership of pit bulls to be considered. Even he did not sound convinced. He said: “I know it’s not an incident where every dog is a problem, but there are dog owners that continuously are not taking the proper precautions to secure their animals.”

He did point up a disparity in the law – where importation of the breed is banned but not the breeding here in The Bahamas, and that is a fair concern to highlight.

Mr White found support across the political divide in Keith Bell, the Labour and Immigration Minister, who warned that crossbreeding with potcakes is making our traditional Potcake more dangerous.

He said: “When you look around at the dogs now, at the Potcakes, you notice their feet are huge, that means they’re mixed. So when you have some of these attacks, it isn’t from the traditional Potcake any more.”

He offered no further proof beyond big feet, but he appeared to share the concerns.

The point that Mr White nearly makes is that the problem is more the dog owners than the dogs themselves – and that’s where the good sense of Ms Aranha comes in.

In today’s Tribune, she says that dog owners who fail to train or restrain their pit bulls properly should be heavily fined – rather than banning the dogs themselves.

She spoke after another attack – this time a potcake being attacked by a pit bull that escaped its leash.

The owner of the dog, a 13-year-old potcake that had its stomach torn open in the attack, described it as looking “straight out of a horror movie”.

But as Ms Aranha said, “the wrong people are handling these dogs, and they’re actually encouraging them to be aggressive. And so, if you have dogs that are being encouraged to be aggressive by being tied up, by not being fed regularly, perhaps being teased or taunted, sometimes they’re even being beaten, it makes the dog aggressive.

“An awful lot of the people who own pit bulls want them to be aggressive, so they’re sort of creating a monster, and they’re being totally irresponsible with keeping that monster behind a fence.”

The truth is, that with owners like these, any dogs can be made to be aggressive – and banning pit bulls will just see attacks carried out by other breeds instead.

Keeping a dog is one of life’s great pleasures – but it is also a responsibility. Those irresponsible owners whose animals are not controlled and end up attacking another animal or a person are the ones who should be held accountable.

We shouldn’t be banning the dog – we should be banning some of these owners from being able to keep them. If they can’t be responsible, they should not be trusted with any animal.

Ms Aranha encourages “huge enormous fines”, and she is right. Put enough of a disincentive on the owner and they might think twice about the way they raise their pets – and in making sure those animals do not get the opportunity to attack anyone.

So thank you for the wisdom, Ms Aranha – we hope that people will listen to you.


bahamianson 11 months ago

The wrong people are handling these dogs. Well, someone is talking sense. Well, we can carey it farther. The wrong people are having children. The wrong people are driving cars and causing accidents. The wrong people are carrying guns. It is always a few irresponsible people destroying it for others. I owned two pitbulls and two Rottweilers. I have had pitbulls and Rottweilers all my life. I know that I need to be responsible. No one has to tell me to consider my neighbors. So, 50 years later and no problem. Politicians play and pander to emotions not logic.


DillyTree 11 months ago

Thank you, Kim!

There are many responsible put bull parents who hate to see the whole breed given a bad name by irresponsible and ignorant pit bull owners. We are tired of seeing these loyal, intelligent and gentle dogs being blamed for the actions of a few bad ones.

While out and about, we take every opportunity to educate people on the "good" pit bull, and people see how loving and playful a well-adjusted pit bull can be.

The old adage holds true -- there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

The bad owners need to be held accountable -- not their dogs.


jus2cents 11 months ago

Yes, we know these delinquent pet owners are rife here, but nothing is being done to prosecute them, why?

The Pound / K9 Unit is government funded. They're the ones that need to do more regarding educating and enforcing laws, & stop expecting the Humane Society a Charity, to do their job.

We need more accountability in these government funded entities that do little to nothing, they sit back (quite literally, go and look) while BAARK! Humane Society, Potcake Puppy Place, & many other rescues groups go out into the communities helping to spay & neuter, reduced suffering for pets and educate society, however these entities are charities & really struggling to get by, still they are the ones actively doing the K9 units work.
You would be surprised to know what is really going on in the Government funded K9 unit, why are there so many large dangerous dogs kept there? Plus many other questions... but people scared to ask or say anything for fear of repercussions.


Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 4 weeks ago

No news here. Kim Aranha has always had her head deeply planted in the sand when it comes to ignoring all of the inter-breeding (genetic engineering) that man has subjected dogs to over the past 200+ years. Man's interference with the evolutionary nature of dogs has been driven by a desire to produce many different breeds for one purpose or another, including strength combined with innate aggressive beaviour. Pit bull dogs and other breeds like them are well known to be much more prone to unexpected moments of highly aggressive behaviour regardless of their past experience(s) with humans. This particular breed was bred for fighting until the death in pits while gamblers on the winner looked on; hence their name.


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