Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We Need To Learn From This

I like dogs, always have.  Some dogs I like more than others, and I imagine that is a lot like other people.  All in all, I like dogs.

Dogs make great pets, service animals, and workers.  From sheep dogs to guide dogs, to guard dogs, and police and military dogs, they take their work as seriously as being a pet.

Over the milennia, dogs have become domesticated, and bred for specific purposes, such as hunting, companionship, guarding the sheep, routing badgers from holes, and attacking.  

Some breeds were bred for one thing, and when that thing was no longer needed, some folks enhanced that  trait by further breeding it to be an attack dog.  In the early part of the twentieth century they were bred to fight.  Dog fighting had become a popular, and lucrative pastime for many.

"Pit Bull is a term commonly used to describe several breeds of dog in the molosser family. Many breed-specific laws use the term "pit bull" to refer to the modernAmerican Pit Bull TerrierAmerican Staffordshire TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier and English Bull Terrier. However, a few jurisdictions also classify the modernAmerican Bulldog as a "pit bull-type dog". All three breeds share similar history, with origins rooted from the bulldog and a variety of terriers. The term can also refer to dogs that were known as "bull terriers" prior to the development of the modern Bull Terrier in the early 20th century."  source:

Some dogs are meant to be pets, some aren't.  Pit Bulls are not meant to be family pets.  They were bred to attack, and fight till their opponent no longer moves.

I know, I know, you know someone that has a calm Pit Bull, or you own a great Pit Bull pet, and your kids are fine around it.  

You are lucky.  You are lucky that the dog has not taken, or found, the opportunity to strike.  Believe me, if the dog is provoked, or in the right situation, it will.  What is kind of provocation would it require?  I don't know, dogs haven't a different brain, what may provoke people would be ignored by a dog, and vice versa.  A fly buzzing around a dogs face may incite it to snap.

Now, some of these dogs are worse than others of their breeds.  Not all Pit Bulls are like the ones we hear about in the news, but they all have the potential to be, and if people would like to keep one of these dogs as a pet, then certain things must come with that responsibility.  We have all heard the news reports where the owner of an attacking dog states that the dog has never done anything like this before, or has always been a good dog.  Just like horses are not allowed in a condo complex, or exotic cats like panthers, Pit Bulls should not be allowed as well.  The density of people population only increases the likely hood of an attack.

Pit Bulls must wear a muzzle when outside their home at all times.  Doesn't matter if they are docile at home, have never barked, bared its teeth, or snarled.  They are a Pit Bull, and for that reason alone they must wear a muzzle.  Just as a horse being walked outside a paddock needs a bridal to insure control, and safety, a Pit Bull needs a muzzle.  A Pit Bull also requires a strong harness, and leash to control it when outside the home, and with that harness and leash, comes a person strong enough, large enough to use those tools effectively.

Recently, here in town, a Pit Bull with  long history of being a problem, was ordered to be euthanized by the Board of Selectmen.  Quite frankly, an order like this should never have to be made if the town adopts bylaws that are designed to protect people, and to insure the dogs are not placed in a situation that would not be best for them.  However, like anything else, bylaws can only help so much.  The bottom line is people need to be educated about the danger of owning some breeds, not the "street" education from cousin Larry who had a Pit Bull for years.

Bylaws are a great first step, but in order to enforce animal control bylaws, a town needs full time trained animal control officers that are on the clock 24/7, and that would really put some bite into enforcement.

Town orders pit bull to be euthanized

(NECN: Melissa Toupin) - The Sturbridge Board of Selectmen has voted to euthanize Peter, a pit bull that's allegedly been terrorizing residents. But Peter's owners are vowing to save him.

Residents raised concerns over the pit bull, and police brought the tough decision before the board Monday night, Shawn Sunoski, Sturbridge town manager, says they found the dog to be "dangerous and vicious" and voted to humanely euthanize him.

Sturbridge Police Chief Thomas Ford said his department was called to the Sturbridge Hills Condominium complex about once a month since August. Each time police arrived at the home of Bruce and Yaska Pote, they found violations by the 18-month-old pitbull and black lab mix named Peter.

Sunoski says the board listened to all sides for more than two hours. He says the Potes' lawyer offered an alternative of sending the dog to a trainer in Paxton, but that was rejected. 


  1. As long as the breed is allowed to go unchecked there will be Pit Bull attacks. A breed with such enormous strength HAS TO BE regulated for safety.

  2. First, "pit bull" is not a breed. It's a term that can mean whatever the speaker decides it can mean.

    Second, I suggest you investigate communities that have these kinds of rules. In the case of Boston, it has not really helped with the root cause: dog owners who have no business owning a dog:

  3. As I quoted in the posting from wikipedia, Pit Bull can be any combination of three basic breeds.

    Yes, I agree with you, however, I also feel the laws should be strict, and fines, and punishment should be more than Boston has. They should be severe for the first offense, and increasingly more so for a max of three offenses. Then, it's either off to where ever uncontrollable dogs go to, or if the history is very severe, then euthanasia. To do this, proper enforcement is necessary. A part time Animal Control Officer could not, and cannot handle something of this magnitude.

    Rules alone cannot help, they must be enforced, and there must be an agency to enforce them. They must be empowered to enforce the law, otherwise it would be a sham, and more children and adults will be harmed.

  4. There are plenty of breeds of dogs that were bred for protection, hunting, fighting, and attacking. In my view, dobermans, rotweilers, mastiffs, and maybe even German shepards fall into the same category; they're dogs with a powerful bite who can turn on you in an instant. But to prove my point, I was attacked and bitten by a small silky terrier about 15 years ago. The scar on my leg is proof. That dog went behind me to attack and bite me, and there I was, thinking how cute it was. And the owner was standing right there the whole time.

    It's NOT the dog; I hate to say it, but it's the owners. They may love the dog but they did a disservice to the poor thing and the condo complex by owning a big dog in a small, densely occupied multiunit building. And that is the root cause of the heartache going around now. I take pity on selectmen for being put in a position to have to make such a decision, although I do disagree with it, regardless of what the police chief and neighbors had to say about it.

    The dog should be placed elsewhere, preferably without other animals in the house or children. It's unfortunate, all around, for everyone and everything.

  5. When a pit bull attacks it's going for the kill. When a person tries to kill someone he doesn't get to just go live with another family.
    Besides, if you knew a certain type of person had a "pit bull" mentality, would you go out of your way to bring him into your circle of family and friends? Why do people bring these dogs home in the first place? Don't they care about other people and their kids, and their sense of safety?

  6. I don't understand the comparison of people with dogs. That's nonsensical.

  7. Why would anyone bring a pit bull into their neighborhood? It's a free country right? Free for whom? The pit bull and his owner? How free do the neighbors feel with a pit bull around? We were taught to feel "free" only as long as our freedom didn't impose on the freedom of others. Also, my dog doesn't belong in the space of someone else without invitation, even if that someone else isn't elderly, or a young child, or mentally or physically challenged.

  8. On Independence Day in Bellevue Iowa, a couple horses got spooked and trampled people, killing one and injuring two. Tell me, should those horses be put to death?

    Dogs have little value in our country compared to a horse; so I highly doubt those horses will be put down.

    They're not people, they're animals. Let the dog be rehabbed!


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