Friday, January 3, 2014

The Bad Seed

Here it is, the start of a new year, when the winter winds blow in most climes.   Earth rests, her work is done, the harvest is in, and the fields lie bare.  As the start of the new year, we take a look at our seed stores, usually it means something highly personal and metaphysical.  However, reaping and sowing can also be something pragmatic.

Often we take for granted, or we fail to understand and appreciate, the most fundamental law of sowing and reaping on our good Earth.  That law is of the good seed and the bad seed,  have been both germinating and growing together throughout history, since the dawning of time, seeds from the first garden in Eden.

"For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).

Jesus taught two parables of reaping and sowing, the first concerned with the cultivation or condition of the soil...rocky ground, thorny ground, or cultivated soil.  The seed will produce what it will, regardless of the soil.  Planting wheat yields wheat.  Planting tares yeilds tares.  

It is a common argument of the pit bull advocacy, that the destiny of the dog is shaped entirely by the climate of its nurturing environment.  One of the most gracious voices to bravely speak out about the dangers of pit bulls this year, is a mother who had stepped away for just a moment, and came back to see her child in the grips of a dog she had raised from a puppy.  It had never once, in eight years shown any signs of aggression.  She disclosed, of how she had rescued the mother, who had been a fighting dog.  She had been warned by a few people,  that pit bulls were dangerous, but she had equal amounts of more persuasive people tell her, "it's all how you raise 'em".  She so wanted to believe in redemption and second chances and the power of love.  After a litter was born, the mother dog began to show some aggressive behaviors that caused her concern, so she put the dog to sleep.  Never once did it occur to her, that "bad seeds" lay latent in the dog she considered to be part of her family.  That one day, in the blink of an eye, she lost not only her dog, but her beloved and darling two year old child.   She contacted others who had litter mates of this dog, and some decided that they would also put the latent demon to sleep. 

It doesn't matter how you raise 'em.   A pit bull is a pit bull, be it in a good home or a bad home. If we look at the fatalities of just our past year, the pit bull from the loving family home lead in fatalities, over the "stray", or "resident" dog.

The end of 2013, we find that two Bull-Mastiff litter mates living a mere eight miles apart, were responsible for two human fatalities.

"Through investigation, authorities learned that Joan Kapplan was killed by Patrone was the littermate of another bull mastiff that killed a 5-year-old child earlier in the year in Jessieville. There were nine dogs as a part of that litter; authorities have not been able to locate the other seven."

Puppies sold in a parking lot...these seeds may be harder to find than the smallest mustard seeds. 

The second parable taught by Jesus was about sewing the good seed with the bad, and how it corrupted the crop.  It's so like the
household of many dogs, when one starts a fight, the rest of the pack joins the fray.   It's the bad seed

Aggression in dogs is highly heritable.  In most breeds, it's considered to be a fault.  Pit bulls have been selected for it for hundreds of years, and continue to be bred for the purpose of dog fighting. 

An even older book, the Talmud taught, "Breed not a savage dog, nor permit a loose stairway." 

In an age where we are demanding to know about GMOs in our food crops, where is the angry mob screaming to investigate the ethics of redistributing the dogs and litters from known fighting dogs, by both tax funded shelters and donation driven humane groups? 

When a dog has killed, how much effort goes to find litter mates and litters produced by the dog? 

It seems, the man biters are not culled, their seed has spread so far and wide, the entire crop has been corrupted by the bad seed. 

Read more about the genetics of aggression:
Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog