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Archive for Monday, October 4, 2004

Dog issue

October 4, 2004

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To the editor:

I cannot believe the recklessness exhibited in "Justice for killer pit bull delayed by lax enforcement" (Journal-World, Sept. 27). With The New York Times and CBS giving journalists a bad name, it is important for media to provide accurate and unbiased coverage.

Your coverage of this incident has not.

From the first story about this incident: "Fellers said she hadn't been able to sleep the past two nights and that her 8-year-old son had been crying at night."

This adds nothing factually informative. It is not evidence. It only stirs emotions and fuels negative perceptions about so-called pit bulls. (Note: There are several breeds referred to as pit bulls. Take the time to find out the actual breed of the dog. Breeds commonly called pit bulls are American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.)

The headline of "Justice" added fuel. The phrase "killer pit bull" is inaccurate because it's never been proven that the dog has killed. According to your story, Judge McGrath said the dog "probably" killed the Chihuahua and declared it dangerous. The right headline adjective was dangerous, not killer.

This dog was demonized because it has an irresponsible owner. Any dog will hunt and kill smaller animals, including squirrels, rabbits, bugs or Chihuahuas. That's why responsible dog owners socialize and confine their dogs. The bad guy in this story is the owner, not the dog.

Would this story have made the paper if the dangerous dog had been a poodle?

Erin Jungmeyer,

Overland Park

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