Interview With Randy Grim, the Man Who Talks to Dogs -- Day 4
Randy Grim talked about the causes of America's feral dog problem in yesterdays' blog. Today he talks about what we must do to begin to fix those problems and how the media treats dog issues.
JW: Most dog people come from the middle class. What do you say to them if we really want to take America out of this third-world mentality, what do we do?
RG: Wherever you are, encourage your local shelters to get involved in the poor urban areas, or the poor rural areas Ive heard its just as bad. But to get involved. But encourage, if you donate money to a shelter, with your donation check, write a letter saying, What do you do with the strays you pick up? Do you have a feral dog program?" Weve got to start as an animal welfare community to at least start recognizing that the problem exists before we can start working at solving anything. I cant do it alone and I realize that now.
JW: What happens if we dont recognize that the problem exists?
RG: Then it keeps getting worse. Already its gotten worse in the sense that so many of the street dogs across the other side of the river have TVT. Id say fifty to seventy percent.
JW: What is TVT?
RG: Its a form of cancer. Its a venereal tumor through sex. This is something vets are taught in school, dont worry. Youll never see this. Weve had over a thousand cases. Its treatable but the best method is chemotherapy. This is going to start crossing over into mainstream society. Once that starts Im sure awareness will be there but Im also a little concerned that were also an alarmist society well just take the inhumane method. My fear would be a shooting policy, a police shooting the dogs. And its not that Im against euthanasia; Id rather see a doggy put down rather than suffer but I think that we need to always try to save them.
JW: Is this reminiscent of whats going on in the breed specific legislation where people are starting to
RG: Thats big alarmist hoopla. The thing that kills me about the breed specific legislation thats being passed now is that there have been no, for the last thirty years, the amount of people who have been killed by a dog attack has not increased at all but the population has increased tremendously so its gone down. The dog that has caused the most injuries to the people in the United States is not the pit bull. The other thing, to identify a pit bull is almost impossible. If you mix a boxer and a lab it looks just like a pit bull. Quentin, the dog that survived the gas chamber, is half pit bull so hes not welcome in a lot of places but he travels first class on an airplane. Its, we have to be responsible pit bull owners and if you want to pass a law saying no more breeding of pit bulls, Im all for it but weve got to still deal humanely with the ones that we have and the ones that end up being born. I have two at home and I love them and they are the most wonderful dogs in the world. Its just people. Its people. Im not saying that all pit bulls are the sweetest dogs, but theres usually a person behind them making them the way they are and Ive seen that too. If you think back, it used to be the Doberman and it was the Rottweiler. Next its probably going to be the Akita. So really if they look at the Center of Disease Control statistics its the Cocker Spaniel.
JW: Whats causing that?
RG: The breeding. Its over bred. The woman that had the face transplant, it was a Lab. But if it was a pit bull, everyone in the world would know. Nobody knows that it was a family pet, their Lab. The all-American dog mauled and took her whole face off. My point is once you start pointing fingers like that. Oh, and my favorite statistic is that you have a better chance of winning the Powerball twice before being mauled and killed by a pit bull. Im on the streets all the time and Ive never been bitten by one. The truth is, I have been bitten by a Cocker Spaniel at someones house.
The point is that the media really has hyped it. The media loves this. They love scaring people to death. I blame the media for making this, that horrible couple in San Francisco with the Canarios, theyre the reason why all this is happening. It made such news. Even though they werent even pit bulls. I think it put the media on alert that theres always going to be maulings and people dying from dogs. There always has been but the San Francisco story was so big, so international.
JW: Did you see a change in the media or peoples reactions?
RG: I did. I saw a big change in the media wanting to do negative stories on any type of terrier related to the pit bull family and I saw people being more afraid of any dogs that look like the ones from San Francisco. Sure. And you know the odd part is, like I said, that there have always been maulings by dogs that killed people. Last year, a Pomeranian mauled and killed a child. Thats a Pomeranian. These statistics are from the Center for Disease Control. Theyre not made up.
Come back tomorrow as we continue our visit with Randy Grim!