Monday, December 14, 2015

MICHIGAN - THE TIMES HERALD OPINION: "PIT BULL ATTACKS ARE NOT A RACIAL ISSUE"

There are glaring differences in the media coverage of the two back-to-back pit bull fatalities in Michigan.
In the Detroit case, the media immediately released pictures of the black dog owner and verified who owned the property, and statements from neighbors that said the dogs had been loose in the past were included in news articles. In Port Huron, the white dog owners, and property owners’ names and pictures are not given in the news coverage, and statements from neighbors that said the dogs had been loose in the past were not in news coverage.
In Detroit, the fences around the property are in good repair but the media showed photos of the gap at the bottom of the fence gate. In Port Huron, the back chain link fence and gate were in bad shape and gave evidence of several spots where the dogs could get loose, but these portions of the fencing were not shown on the news.
Both fatalities involved pit bull puppies on the property, too but this was only mentioned in the coverage of the Detroit mauling. Many believe that both Xavier Strickland and Rebecca Harding were killed in an identical way by pit bulls that escaped their yards and pulled the victims back home.
Pit bulls do not discriminate and we can’t address this safety problem if the media paints a false reality.
The fact is black people own pit bulls and black people are killed by pit bulls and white people own pit bulls and white people are killed by pit bulls, too. Equal application of criminal charges is warranted, too.
JOAN KOWAL
Grand Rapids, Dec. 13


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