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It's nurture, not nature, that makes good dogs bad. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

It's not the dog's fault


Since everyone asks, I'll answer it loud and clear. Yes, we pay our freelance writers. And no, when they write opinion pieces, we don't tell that what they can and cannot write.

Such is the case with my friend and colleague Dave Begel. He was a journalist before I was born, and he writes some of the most controversial blog posts on OnMilwaukee.com. I respect what he does for us, even when it incites and incenses our readership.

Sometimes I agree with him.

Other times, I do not.

Today was one of the days I do not.

Dave wrote a blog post about so-called attack dogs. He claimed that the dogs, not the owners, are responsible for violence.

Dave is wrong on this one.

Yes, certain types of dogs have stronger jaws. Certainly those dogs are more frequently raised in hostile, untrained environments. Obviously, these are the dogs that are raised to fight.

But even if rottweilers, doberman pinschers and pit bulls are more frequently trained to be aggressive dogs, it doesn't mean they are genetically predisposed to be attackers.

I'm not an animal psychologist, so I concede that different dogs have different temperaments, and indeed it might be easier to allow these breeds to become violent.

But the crux of the problem is almost completely with the owner. Raise and train a properly socialized puppy, and you'll get a great dog.

Look, I know one sweet and kind pit bull that would let you put your entire head inside her mouth without chomping down. I trust this dog around my daughter, and this dog was rescued from a drug house, so she didn't come from the best upbringing.

Many of us at OnMilwaukee.com are ardent backers of the Humane Society, ASPCA and MADACC. I certainly am. I brought back a rescue dog from Mexico. Playa is the best dog I've ever had.

And I will always, always, always give a dog the benefit of the doubt. To propose rounding up an entire breed because of unrelated, albeit vicious incidents, is cruel and ignorant.

I'm still a fan of Begel, and like my colleagues, we'll still continue and defend his right to write what he wants. We read all the hate mail and nasty tweets. It's part of the job.

But Dave got this wrong.

Don't blame the dog. Blame the owner.

Talkbacks

Photodavie | Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:43 p.m. (report)

OMG!!! YOU PAY DAVE BEGEL!!!!!! YOU ARE WASTING YOUR MONEY!!!!!! Thank you for acknowledging Dave is crazy though, us readers appreciate the confirmation.

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TheyThink | Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. (report)

Replace "dog" with"gun" and "dog owner" with "gun owner" and you'll know how those of us feel about the 2nd Amendment.

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AndrewJ | Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:25 a.m. (report)

I think I'm hip to your metaphor here... as far as OMC goes, you are the owner, Dave is the dog. So all the hate mail that might be rolling in from dog lovers should go to you? That's pretty generous. All kidding aside... when you read him comparing walking a dog to carrying a kilo of cocaine, did you at least drug test him? Breathalyzer?

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pjk | Jan. 29, 2013 at 5:47 p.m. (report)

Thank you

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emills81 | Jan. 29, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (report)

Great Response, but you must realise that by providing Dave a forum to spread his ignorance you are condoning it. Would you let Dave post a pro-nazi article?

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