PROPOSED PIT BULL BAN WORRIES BREED LOVERS
By JULIA SZABO
MAD BULL? The "Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar" shows photos the kid-friendly side of the often stereotyped breed.
January 7, 2007 -- ON the day after Christmas, Queens City Council member Peter F. Vallone Jr. called for a citywide ban on pit bulls, explaining that the dogs pose a threat to public safety. "It's our job to get this done before another child's face is ripped off," Vallone said.
Two days later, celebrity chef and red-nosed pit bull owner and lover, Rachael Ray, took a very different stand on her talk show. She held up a copy of the 2007 "Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar," which features color photographs of pit bulls doing the unthinkable - cuddling with children - and declared, "I support this." (All proceeds from calendar sales go to New Jersey's Liberty Humane Society. For more info, go to theunexpectedpitbul l.com)
Pit bull advocates like Ray know a different side to the often stereotyped dog, and insist they're nothing close to the dangerous "weapon" characterized by Vallone, but rather an affectionate, dependable family pet with a long history of gentleness and kindness around children. In fact, Pete, the mascot of Our Gang in "The Little Rascals," was a pit bull.
Noted children's book writer-illustrator Dorothy Donohue, author of "Veggie Soup," has two toddlers - Julia and Joe - and their best friend is a pit bull named Matilda.
I have four rescued pit bulls myself, and shredding kids' faces is not their style. In fact, they prefer giving wet kisses.
If a breed ban goes into effect, it would mean a death sentence for the thousands of sweet pit bulls in the city's animal shelters. Even without a ban, potential adopters who are fearful of the breed's "vicious" reputation routinely overlook these dogs.
So whose side are you on? Contact council member Vallone, and let him know: (718) 274-4500 and [email protected]