It's Not About Pit Bulls, It's About Pity On A Family Being Bullied

Imagine if we all had lawsuits against our neighbors over things we feared in our minds. Things that haven't happened yet but hypothetically could happen.

Excuse me while I get political, I mean pit bull. Having pits as pets divides the nation almost as much as this months presidential election; most people have a strong opinion one way or the other. There's a wealth of knowledge on the Internet yet depending what site you visit, you're not guaranteed accurate information.

I love pits and as most of you know, I'm a self-proclaimed pittie advocate. I've visited sites of those against pits and they make me nervous. They make me very nervous; nervous because of how powerful the written word is and how an article filled with 'facts' can sway a person so quickly.

While my kids are sound asleep and cuddling our dogs, one of which is a pit, I see the news stories about pit bull attacks. While my kids are dressing our pit into a fairy princess in the morning, I read about pit bull attacks in the paper. Pit bull attack stories sell, that's why the media jumps on them. Whether or not you are a pit lover or you are scared of pits, the headline grabs you and stops you in your tracks.

Disturbingly enough, the most recent article I have read is hitting close to home, around 8 miles from home. What's most disturbing is from what I take from the article 'Wilmette residents sue neighbors who own pit bull' is that not much of anything is based on fact, except the actual lawsuit. I'm not a dog behaviorist, however, I'm fairly certain dogs don't go out 'hunting' other dogs. Nor am I a lawyer, however I'm fairly certain much of this lawsuit is based on four families that are trying to sue someone over their own fears. Imagine if we all had lawsuits against our neighbors over things we feared in our minds. Things that haven't happened yet but hypothetically could happen. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

I can't imagine waking up one morning to find out someone was not only against the dogs I chose to keep in my own house but also took the time to recruit neighbors and contact the media with a hot selling pit story.

I'm assuming while those four families listed in the lawsuit have huddled together to make a big deal of something they fear in their own minds; there is a group of pit lovers, advocates, guardians, etc. that will also come together to support this family that is being 'bullied' by their neighbors.

Can't we work things out with our neighbors without getting the court system and the community involved?  Can't we all just get along? 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Monica Ryan November 14, 2012 at 04:36 PM
A terrific insight to a terrible injustice being launched by a "group of concerned citizens" refusing to be educated or informed.
GrossPoint November 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM
"much of this lawsuit is based on four families that are trying to sue someone over their own fears" So if my neighbor was running a fireworks factory in his basement, and I was afraid that there might be an explosion there, so I sued him to stop, that would also be based on my "own fears", not an actual explosion, and perfectly sensible. Wouldn't litigating over dangerous situations be one of the more sensible things to litigate about?
ann November 15, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I am embarrased for these families who are choosing to sue. I was bit by a dog a few years back and had more damage done to me than this person. I did NOT sue, and the owner of the dog tried to run away and his dog was not up to date on its shots. Also, in this attack on me, my 5 year old son was also bit. I think these families are just trying to make a quick buck (or should I say a quick few hundred thousand) even though this family with the pit bull did everything right. I am embarrased that people in this town are so litigous, what a horrible lesson they are teaching their son.
Nick P November 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I'm fairly certain that having a fireworks factory in the basement is not legal. However, owning a dog is legal. Try a different argument.
GrossPoint November 15, 2012 at 03:31 PM
It isn't the legality that counts. It is the dangerous nature of having a fireworks factory in your basement. If there is perception of danger, then the neighbors have every right to a remedy in court, before the dog attacks/fireworks explode.
ann November 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
To Gross Point, that is the craziest thing I've ever read. If I have a fear of cats, should I sue my neighbors that have a cat, or if I have a fear of loud noises, should I sue my neighbors if they honk their horn. These people are suing because they have a fear of a dog, but where does it stop, should anyone who has a dog of any breed be sued, NO! We don't sue people because of a skewed perception of danger. You really need to rethink your position, unless you make a living out of suing people over every little thing. There are many more important things to do with your time.
GrossPoint November 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM
"that is the craziest thing I've ever read" Really? You must be new to this reading thing. You obviously disagree with the lawsuit, so what? That is why we have courts to settle these sort of disputes rather than settling them by hyperbolic blog posts.
Erin Cooper November 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
To Gross Point - We have a judicial system to settle legitimate suits which this is not. What's it based on again? Fear. Nothing has happened. The families are afraid based on what they have read or seen by the media which skews everything. I would like to believe you have a set of knives or a hammer in your house. Well I'm afraid you're not careful enough or knowledgeable enough to use those items so I think I might sue you for that. Fear. Nothing has happened to me yet by your dangerous tools nor have you been provoked and tried to protect your family or house. A dog attacks out of fear and/or protection. I agree with Ann that these people, as well as yourself, are not well informed enough on the breed and are just out to make some money. America is lawsuit happy and people will find any reason to sue. A dog can't say "Hey you! Get off my property!" when they are threatened. They can only bark and attack out of protection of their "pack" known as their owner and the family they live with. Do a little more research and you'll be rather shocked to see which breeds actually do have the most bites on record as well as the most pressure in their jaw. I believe you're well informed enough to do so seeing as you're not new to this "reading thing." Ever have balloons in your house? I'm afraid those might cause harm or death at a birthday party so there might be a lawsuit sometime in your future. Out of fear. Is there alchohol in your house? That's pretty dangerous to have.
GrossPoint November 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Which is why we have a court system rather than deciding these things via blog posts. Since there is no Village Ordinance concerning keeping pitbulls, the courts seem like a sensible place to determine this. Having been bitten by many dogs over the years, I am sure that your statement that dogs "can only bark and attack out of protection of their "pack" known as their owner and the family they live with" is false. Dogs, much like any other animals, are erratic and do all kinds of strange things with or without being prompted by humans or other animals.
Erin Cooper November 16, 2012 at 03:04 PM
GrossPoint, your name says it all. Period. Clearly you're not a dog person...having been bitten many times. You have ton of research to do. Best you start now so you can have a "dog bite" free Thanksgiving. I'm thankful, and hoping, you're not a dog owner due to your lack of knowledge on dogs. Why were you bitten? Nevermind...I can figure that one out on my own. And I'm curious to know what else you think a dog can do to protect himself other than bark and give a warning. If you don't pay attention to the warning, expect consequences. Even from a tiny Yorkie. Or do you not know what a Yorkie is? Research my friend...it's out there and again you can read so you can find it. The most powerful tool you can own, is knowledge. Your toolbox seems to be a bit empty. Funny you didn't answer if you have knives or alchohol in your house. Do you? Should I start my lawsuit now based on fear of your use of these items?
northbrook resident November 16, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The article referenced here is pretty straightforward. The owner has a problem keeping the dogs under control and the dog(s) have shown aggressive tendencies. The pitbull apologists want the the world to believe that every pit is an innocent lamb, that the owners are being bullied, and that its the neighbors fault. Baloney. You have an irresponsible owner whose father even agrees that that the dog is a problem. Of course, this is all alleged, so court is the perfect place to figure this out. Painting the owners as aggrieved and bullied is just so much hog wash.
GrossPoint November 16, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Wow, I think you have me there Erin. I bow before your masterful knowledge of Dog Psychology and the tricky nomenclature of the "tiny Yorkie". I do disagree with the knives and alcohol comparison though, as knives and alcohol are inanimate objects, lacking ability to attack on their own, as opposed to animals, which are animate beings, capable of all kinds of behavior. By the way, what on earth does your essay have to do with the rights of people to use the courts to find a remedy when village ordinance is insufficient? Gross Point is a old Village that became a part of Wilmette. Not sure how that "says it all", but there you have it.
Erin Cooper November 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Gobble Gobble!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! :0) Hey Gross Point, your "a" in front of "old" should actually be "an". Just as annoying as uniformed people who banish dog breeds without incident. Punish the deed, not the breed. It's the irresponsible owners that create dogs that have issues. And my rottie never bit anyone and was loved by all the kids that saw him everyday on their way to school. If you want an actual essay, do some research about the truth behind the misleadings that have been created by pit haters and such. My sister was bit by a "wonderful family lab" when she was 9. Why? Cause too many kids got in the dogs face so out of protection and fear for her being surrounded by a bunch of kids and confusion, she tried to protect herself and bit my sister. Plain and simple. Bit out of fear and confusion. And what happens when an inatimate objects like knives are placed too close to the edge of a counter and it falls and cuts off your toe or stabs your kid? Or you decide to have a drink and then get in a car? We all know what can happen in that scenario. And both of those inatimate objects are most likely in your house. Have a great holiday!! Starting with research that is highly needed before opinions are formed. A golfball is an inatimate object as well until someone slices and it takes out a window or hits a fellow golfer. Is there a lawsuit there too? By the way, there was no lawsuit when my sister got bit. Was never thought of. Ever.
GrossPoint November 16, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Why do we we need to start "with research that is highly needed before opinions are formed"? The plaintiffs can bring their experts, and the dog-lover party can bring their experts and have it out. It is how litigation works. Providing immunity from litigation to dog owners based on one opinion or another sounds like a very bad idea.
Mparker November 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Interesting, obviously sparking lots of commentary. In terms of breeds, It could be possible that it is not the breed, but what happens to the breed or specific dog. I know someone that was attacked, unprovoked by a golden retriever. It happened to be a shelter dog, it had experienced some sort of trauma to cause it to behave the way it did. There was recently a case of a woman being mauled to death by a mastiff. Would someone sue because their neighbor owns a mastiff?
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