Hold dog owners responsible for vicious attacks So this...

LETTERS

January 28, 2001

Hold dog owners responsible for vicious attacks

So this is what it's come to -- racial profiling for dogs ("Banning killing dogs," editorial, Jan. 18).

Another citizen (this time a child) has been mauled by a pit bull. We are horrified and outraged -- as well we should be.

We say that people keep these dogs as weapons -- which they do.

But thousands of citizens are killed or maimed by handguns every year and we do not round up the weapons, destroy them and criminalize their possession.

Why? Because gun owners have a rich and powerful lobby. Dog owners do not.

Almost any dog, in the hands of the wrong person, can be turned into a lethal weapon.

Pit bulls and Rottweilers are the ones that seem to be getting most of the bad press lately. But this is not because those breeds are inherently aggressive or vicious, but because they have been sought out by people who are aggressive and vicious.

These people are responsible for keeping their dogs from harming others -- in the same way that the owner of a gun is responsible for keeping that weapon from harming others.

Many people who deal with animals every day have had very positive experiences with both breeds. They can be loving pets and loyal companions, just like any other dog.

Rather than legislating against these dogs, for no better reason than that some dogs of that breed are vicious (which is the equivalent of racial profiling), why don't we look at this problem in a different way?

If people treat these dogs as weapons, let's make the people responsible for these dogs legally accountable for their actions. That's what we do with people who misuse weapons in this country.

When a young child recently killed a classmate with a gun he found in his home, we did not kill the child who did the shooting or outlaw the weapon he fired.

We filed criminal charges against those who left the gun where the child could get it.

If a vicious dog is allowed to run loose or is kept in circumstances where it may escape to harm others, let's make the people responsible for that dog criminally responsible for the damage it causes.

Bring the dog owner up on aggravated assault charges. Ban him or her from ever owning another dog. Aggressively enforce these sanctions.

Let's also enforce the registration of dogs, as we do with handguns, to establish legal ownership and legal responsibility.

To paraphrase the National Rifle Association: Dogs don't hurt people, irresponsible dog owners do.

Peggy Terl

Hampstead

Eichmann's passing leaves void in art world

The recent passing of Richard Eichmann leaves an enormous void in Carroll County and in Maryland's art community.

When we list his many achievements, we should include teacher. He taught not only his methods, but the philosophy that sustained them.

I, among many others, am profoundly grateful for his unselfish sharing -- and we should all be thankful that we were allowed to be among the first to view his magnificent portraits.

Mr. Eichmann's work will be cherished for many years to come.

Tom Holder

Westminster

Power of `Big Industry' undermines public good

We are blessed to live in a democracy. Compared to much of the rest of the world, we experience an almost incredible freedom from oppression from government.

Conservatives believe that we have too much government interference in our lives and talk about the problems of Big Government. I believe that we have too much interference from another source: Big Industry.

Through sophisticated and increasingly omnipresent marketing, Big Industry molds our values, our aspirations, our perceptions of what is important in life.

Nationally and internationally, Big Industry wields power and protects its interests through a broad range of inter-connected influences.

For example, promotion of gas-guzzling motor vehicles, intensive use of commercial inorganic fertilizers (which can be produced only by high energy technology) and whetting our appetites for large climate-controlled and appliance-laden homes with high-input lawns all feed into continued high use of energy.

This promotes reliance on fossil fuels, and this dependency exacts high social costs in problems related to national and economic security, the degradation of biological communities and air and water pollution.

These issues could be addressed by promoting conservation on a personal level and shifting to an alternate, cleaner program for meeting our energy needs.

Such a program could open new doors for technological development and labor-intensive industry, resulting in more jobs and better economic outcome than the current scenario which is dominated by the capital-intensive oil industry.

Furthermore, a focus on sustainable agriculture would offer multiple benefits, including decreased reliance on commercial fertilizer, with its multiple problems.

But these changes that would truly benefit society might not increase the profits of already-wealthy Big Industry. And, now, a group that is clearly aligned with Big Industry (especially the oil industry) has come to power in our country.

From the history of key members of this administration, we can expect the interests of Big Industry to be given high priority.

I pray for a time when the goals of industry will be aligned with the best interests of society.

I pray for a time when greed will be superceded by thankfulness for plenty and a desire to use and steward fiscal, human and natural resources for the good of all.

I pray for a New American Revolution at the polls in 2002 and 2004.

Melissa Melum

Finksburg

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