According to a story from The Observer recently a blue nose Pit Bull was banned from a La Grande School. Why? Sadly it wasn’t because of anything the dog did but because of the Pit Bull stigma.
This dog is part of a Canine Bite Safety program sponsored by Blue Mountain Humane Association.
Larry Glaze, the superintendent for the La Grande School contacted
the Willow Elementary school principal. He demanded Martha Frasier have Bomani be removed immediately from the kindergarten only school. The principal didn’t know the Pit Bull was at the school. She asked Lani Blaylock, a deputy with the animal enforcement division of the Union County Sheriff’s Department to remove the dog from the school. They informed Lani that she was able to stay and continue teaching the dog safety class but the Pit Bull had to go. Blaylock owns the dog and chose to also leave.
“It was very abrupt,’’ Blaylock said.
What makes this entire situation even more disturbing is that the dog has made appearances at other La Grande elementary schools. There was never any problems. Bomani has always been a well behaved dog that was gentle with everyone. Lani says that he’s absolutely wonderful around children.
The superintendent has his mind made up and feels that it’s best if the dog stays out of the schools. He claims his reason is because of the aggressive nature of the “Pit Bull Breed”. Glaze has said that his number one priority as a superintendent is student’s safety. He’s convinced that putting the pit bull in close proximity violates this standard.
This free program is provided by the Blue Mountain Humana Association and the Louise McNeely Animal Shelter. Since 2008 the La Grande School District has been receiving these dog bite safety lessons. They are conducted with assistance from the Animal Enforcement Division of the Union County Sheriff’s Department.
The superintendent welcomes the Blue Mountain Humane Association to continue the program in the school district. He thinks it’s a wonderful idea to teach children about bite safety. However, he asks that they use a “gentler breed of dog. Despite his decision to ban the Pit Bull he says it doesn’t reflect his feeling about dogs.
“I love dogs as much as the next person. I grew up with a dog and I have a dog in my home now,’’ the school superintendent said. “I just feel that we should use common sense when bringing animals into schools.’’
Unfortunately Glaze is also convinced that because the Pit Bull is a rescue there’s potentially more of a risk. He says it makes it more dangerous because many factors can trigger aggressive responses. While it’s true Bomani was adopted by Blaylock from the Louse McNeely Animal shelter after having a past of abuse he is not a threat.
Cathie Falck the president of the Blue Mountain Humane Association says that they have no plans to continue the program. She made it clear that any dog has potential to be unsafe no matter the dog’s breed.
“We will not be providing dog bite-safety instruction in the La Grande School District. A breed ban is wrong, it is unfair. We feel that we need to take a stand. We should not be condemning a dog just because of its breed.’’
She has been working with rescue dogs for 20 years and points out that this shouldn’t even be an issue. All dogs put up for adoption by the shelter are temperament tested. If a dog is deemed unsafe in any way they aren’t put up for adoption.
An interesting tidbit of information in all this is they had used a different dog in the past. A yellow lab was used and they had to stop bringing it because the dog jumped too much around the kids. It was feared that the dog might knock someone over by accident. Bomani is a neutered Pit Bull and completely opposite in comparison. He’s reported to be relaxed and calm around the kids.
It should also be pointed out that the Blue Mountain Humane Association’s program was recently credited with saving a Greenwood third grader. On September 28th Daxon Barnhart was attacked by a German Shepherd mix outside his family’s home. He remembered what he’d been taught and pretended he was a rock. Curling up with his head down helped Daxon avoid serious injury and may have even saved his life.
The brave boy received a certificate from Greenwood commending him for bravery and following the lessons he’d been taught.
While we Pit Bull lovers and advocates are no doubt appalled by the misinformation and prejudice attitude in this matter please think. Remember if you react in situations like this in a negative way it only adds to the stigma. The anti Pit Bull people will think they’re right and we’ll be considered as evil as our dogs supposedly are. Keeping that in mind I do ask that we make a stand. Write letters and reach out. Show these people that this is not right. As hard as it is keep emotion and anger out of the correspondence because it only adds fuel to the inferno. We need to stand up to such atrocities in this world for our beloved dogs. However, we need to do it in a way that doesn’t ultimately hurt them.