Pit bulls are not people .. or are they?

Paige Pelonis, Assistant Opinions Editor

When someone abuses a child, in any shape or form, public outcry seldom sides with the abuser. Beating a child in the face and rendering him or her with a broken eye socket, cheek bone and lower jaw is depraved, animal-like behavior that would result in legal consequences for the offender.

Change the word “beating” to “biting,” and swap out a human being for an actual animal, and apparently justice no longer automatically prevails.

A municipal court judge will rule on March 25 to determine the fate of Mickey, the pit bull who put four-year-old Kevin Vicente in the hospital in Arizona with the aforementioned injuries, according to the Washington Post. Since when are canines entitled to a trial?

Will Mickey be rising to his own defense? Of course not – he is a dog. Not to worry, attorney John Schill will be working the case “pro bono at the request of The Lexus Project, a non-profit that collects money to legally defend canines,” according to the Associated Press.

Furthermore, the DailyMail reported that a Facebook “petition to SAVE [the] pit bull” has gathered 44,000 signatures from those who would like to see Mickey back in the comforts of his home. I stand on the side of the mere 500 Facebook signatures supporting the four-year-old victim’s return to his home. But, decisions about Mickey are in the hands of an overly politicized court room setting at this point.

According to an article written by the Northeast Ohio Media Group, “the mauling has renewed debate about pit bulls.” The article sites specific, recent events involving pit bulls attacks against humans, some of which have been fatal for the victims, and then comments that “attitudes about the dogs are softening.” The case is no longer Vicente vs. Mickey, it is now more accurately pit bulls vs. the U.S., as defenders of the vicious creatures are all over the nation.

The defense for the violence of pit bulls argues that the dogs are not naturally aggressive, rather they are products of their environment; neglect, abuse, etc. by their handlers are what cause these dogs to go bad. But isn’t that same idea widely believed to be true of humans?

If Mickey gets to go home at the end of March because the court rules that the negligence of the humans involved caused the accident, then what of human violent offenders who claim they became violent because of their upbringing?

Currently, these arguments are handled on a case by case basis, but if the courts eventually condone the violence of an entire breed of dog based on the belief that these kinds of dogs are raised improperly, then the entire breed of violent men and women will have four legs to stand on in court with that same argument.