Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan: Too many excuses for vicious dogs

145 comments
You say your dangerous dog is a teddy bear? I say you’re wrong, writes Raybon Kan.
Excuse: "It's not the dog, it's the owner." Photo / iStock
Excuse: "It's not the dog, it's the owner." Photo / iStock

Full disclosure. I am petless. Maybe I just haven't met the right dog yet. But I'd call myself an animal-lover.

Airport beagles make me smile. It appals me that the black rhino is extinct. I find lions very good-looking. Many of my favourite cartoon characters are animals, such as Snoopy or Woodstock; or they dress up as animals, like Batman.

I even love coral, which technically is an animal. And staying in the ocean, if a human is killed by a shark, I never blame the shark.

But when it comes to pitbulls and other dangerous dogs, I'm on the side of human safety.

In the past week or so, in Christchurch and South Auckland, a 2-year-old, a 7-year-old, a pregnant woman, and a 72-year-old female cyclist were all attacked by dangerous breeds such as pitbulls. Three attacks at home, one in the street. The victims required surgery. No doubt they'll suffer trauma for years to come.

So what can be done? And why hasn't it been done already?

To tackle this issue, I read all the news stories about these dog attacks. And then, I read the comments. People sure do love their pitbulls, much the way hostages love their captors. Here are the top defences, apologies and pleas in mitigation for dangerous breeds.

It's not the dog, it's the owner

Imagine if we said that about lions or crocodiles. It's the dog. And it's the owner. Bad owners are drawn to bad dogs. Dogs, let's remember, have been carefully bred for certain attributes and temperaments.

The pitbull's main attribute is this clamping jaw which originally was chosen for its ability to hold a bear. Did you see The Revenant? These dogs can take down a bear. If your dog has a clamping jaw which can brake a truck tyre on a motorway - it's the dog.

Video

The most common biters are labradors

The worst owner in the world could own a labrador or a bichon frise, I wouldn't care. Plastic surgeons aren't treating children for tail-wagging injuries, or for being licked to death.

But if you have to be Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, to control a pitbull, then owning a pitbull is a professional skill, like being an electrician or riding a circus motorcycle. It can't be done by the hobbyist. It's the dog.

Kids need to be trained how to behave around dogs

In other words, "It's not the dog, it's the victim." Come on - is it ever the dog? That's like saying it's not the landmine, it's the detonator.

Kids learn to swim in a shallow pool. There is no shallow end with a pitbull. Instead of training kids how to behave around asbestos, how about society getting rid of the asbestos?

Do dogs only bite humans who've shown fear? Well, duh, fear is exactly the correct response when being chased by a snarling, Satanic gin-trap with a temper. Even if the dog doesn't smell your fear, it's probably detected that involuntary pooplet you released at first sight.

Knives kill people - should we ban knives?

A knife doesn't have the brain, limbs or nervous system to autonomously attack. A knife doesn't have to be chained up to be safe. An unattended knife won't leap across a fence to take down a cyclist.

Calling for extinction of a breed of dog is what Hitler did to the Jews

Not exactly. This is more like Donald Trump towards Mexicans. A giant wall will do it. We're calling for pitbulls and their like to be treated the same way society treats lions, grenades, adult chimpanzees, asbestos, plutonium, and machine guns.

My pitbull is a teddy bear

Genuine teddy bears don't get called teddy bears. This is the classic humble-brag, the owner who protests too much, getting off on the scary factor of their dog.

The only time something or someone gets called a teddy bear, is when they are actually murder-one, neck-tattoo, splatter-movie dangerous, but they haven't quite got round to killing you yet. Just wait.

If you show a dog the most love in the world, they will always show it back, regardless of breed

Siegfried and Roy thought that too. Dangerous dogs - the ones bred for fighting, the ones with the concrete-block for a head, the locking jaw, the crazy eyes, and the two mood settings - angry and angrier - are a public hazard. You're allowed to own a car. Just don't drive around with nuclear missiles. There's kids here.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan's books of humour include ‘America on 5 Bullets a Day’ and ‘An Asian at my Table’. Before comedy, he graduated with honours in law and his legal research was published in the New Zealand Law Journal. His TV work includes a documentary in which he trained to be a casino croupier. He once held his breath for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Visit RaybonKan.com

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