Letter to the editor: Harry Rhea, Ph.D.

Haddonfield resident Harry Rhea provides his take on local pit bull ownership.

As a pit bull enthusiast, I was taken aback by a recent letter to the editor published in The Haddonfield Sun [published in the May 24 -30 edition]. Mrs. Herckner’s argument that pit bulls are dangerous animals is dependent on website statistics. Recorded pit bull bites are problematic, since most dog bites go unreported and accusations of bites by breeds with bad reputations are often recorded without evidence of a scratch. Mrs. Herckner would be interested to know Lifestyle” ranks rottweilers as one of the six friendliest dogs.

Ms. Schaffer’s assertion is correct: stereotyping pit bulls is comparable to stereotyping people. Mrs. Herckner reverses her argument on herself. One can get crime statistics from various websites indicating people of a certain race commit more violent crimes than other races. Consequentially, this results in stereotyping a race as violent.

Pit bulls are misunderstood. Pit bulls are the most physically abused breed. Why are they not perceived as victims? There are countless episodes of pit bulls sacrificing their own life to save humans. Why are they not perceived as heroes?

With their narrow eyes and sly smile, pit bulls desire to please humans. All dogs bite under circumstances, but pit bulls, like all dogs, are not dangerous. Victims traumatized by pit bulls have a place at the table to be heard, but the misperception victimizes the breed and its owners.

As a U.S. Marine, I share a common bond with all Marines; one that only Marines can appreciate. Similarly, pit bull owners share a common bond; one that only pit bull owners can appreciate. We are loved unconditionally by the most loyal animal on the planet. It is true, that “when one owns a pit bull, one simply cannot go pee alone.”

Haddonfield is the home for dozens of terrific pit bulls, and the town is a shining example of the truth about the American pit bull terrier.

Harry Rhea, Ph.D.