Editor’s note: This letter to the editor is a response to an article published on TAPinto Westfield Tuesday titled “Garwood Woman Whose Dog was Mauled by Pit Bulls Worries for Others.” To read it, click here.

Recently, a woman was walking her Bichon and it got away from her in Garwood. It went up to two other dogs that also broke loose from their owner and it resulted in the tragic death of the Bichon. The article quoted the woman's concerns for the safety of children in regards to these dogs. The article stated this was an attack against the Bichon which was in direct contradiction to the events that transpired as indicated in the article. The owner of the Bichon herself admits that the Bichon is the one that pulled away to go after the other two larger, stronger dogs.The Bichon went after two pit bulls.

Unfortunately, dogs are not people. They do not have the rational state of mind to say, “Hey, the person running up to me is significantly smaller than me and therefore not a threat.” Even if they were people, if a man that is three feet tall is running at you in a menacing way, any person will react just as much as if it was a man that was six feet tall. Both are capable of inflicting bodily harm. Both are capable of killing you. So saying that we have no right to protect ourselves from someone if they are smaller than us is illogical. They see a dog running up to them. I can only speculate from knowledge of dogs, the dog would be barking as well and they are going to do what they need to defend their pack, which is themselves and their owner.

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The article's tone and the Bichon's owner made pit bulls out to be monsters. The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS), a national not-for-profit organization actually lists Bichons as breed that has failed temperament testing (only 76.7 percent passed temperament testing) more than the American Pitbull Terriers (87.4 percent passed temperament testing). Please see list of breeds and temperaments at the following link https://atts.org/breed-statistics/statistics-page1/ .

While I do not say the dogs involved in this incident do not have a specific aggression issue as I do not know them myself, I do say that to blame them entirely for the incident is not only a biased viewpoint, it is just plain wrong. The Bichon initiated the incident. If you have not met a pit bull, I encourage you to go to a shelter or an adoption event for shelters/rescues. Pit bulls are currently filling shelters/rescues because they are being bred in such high numbers due to the demand. Some people train them well and some people don't train them as they should be, which is the case with all dog breeds. 

In the meantime for this incident: Allow Animal Control to do their investigation before judgment is passed. People are calling for these dogs to be put down for having an instinct to protect themselves and their family, which is a basic instinct all animals, including humans, have.