What's up With the Houston Chronicle's Pit Bull Hate?
The Houston Chronicle really needs to give pit bulls a break. For a June 17 story on "animals that will probably kill you this year," the paper ran a photo of a pit bull. Oy.
The piece itself was simply a slideshow accompanying a few words about the Centers for Disease Control's new data about fatal animal attacks, including how many people are killed each year by cows. It turns out that dogs kill 28. The CDC's info is interesting in a quirky sort of way, and we dig the headline's humor, but why perpetuate a stereotype by featuring a pit bull? (It's possible the art director just thought the dog was cute — which it is — but c'mon. A picture of a poodle would've been funnier).
It wouldn't stick in our craw as much if the Chron hadn't already run an embarrassing abomination of a column by the City Controller's spokesman, Roger Widmeyer, who euthanized his pet pit and concluded that pit bulls "probably don't belong in our world." Citing no sources, Widmeyer also wrote that "nearly 90 percent of all very serious dog bites brought to hospitals are by pit bulls."
As we noted in a response, there's a shortage of legitimate dog bite studies: "The study that's usually most cited, a 2000 review of the previous 20 years' of fatal dog bites, ranks pit bulls and rottweilers as highest on the list, but the study also acknowledges its limitations.
A key limitation of any study is the fact that 'pit bull' is not a breed, but an umbrella term."
Sure, it's just a photo of a dog for a silly little piece, but if you have a choice between running a photo perpetuating a stereotype that has led some cities to ban pit bulls, and a photo that doesn't, we would hope you'd make the responsible choice. We heard there are at least, like, dozens of pictures of dogs online. Maybe, next time, pick one of those.