A couple of days ago the latest issue of Runner’s World magazine was delivered to our house. We have been subscribers for a good amount of time. However, this latest issue as given us pause to consider otherwise. I read Runner’s World because I like the advise on foods to eat, things to wear, and races to run. What I don’t need is 10 pages of novella filled with primarily one sided view points and a lack of knowledge. I’ll explain.
If you open your October 2012 edition you will find an article entitled “Don’t go out in those hills. There are Dogs out there.” Written by John Brant. It is 10 pages of a story on a family attacked by dogs in a California desert. (Let’s start with no article in a magazine should be 10 pages long. If I wasn’t peeved I don’t think I would have even finished it). It is a terrifying tale of 2 boys attacked by dogs while out on their run, any runner’s fear. Here are my issues with this article.
1) Knowing full well the dangers of a desert why would they go out into it without any type of protection? Pepper spray or something should have been carried. When I run in the city I carry mine, for fear of a dog or a person attacking. This is simple common sense and why does Runner’s World not comment about that?
2) Why doesn’t Runner’s World comment more on how runner’s should be protecting themselves in this situation? Just because a runner can throw on shoes and run does not give them permission to run anywhere that they would like. If this property belonged to someone their dogs can protect it. People, runners, need to be more cognizant of where they are running and if they should be running there. In addition, why does the magazine not offer any suggestions to runner’s on how to protect yourself from a charging dog?
3) I don’t know where the author got his definition of what a pit bull is, “The pit bull, a cross between the English terrier and assorted English bills dogs…” is not correct. There is an American Pit bull terrier breed, however the term pit bull is an amalgamation of all the different bull terrier breeds.
4) If people interviewed knew there were dogs out there that were dangerous why was this family running out there? Why does Runner’s World make them out to be unsuspecting victims when they knew the dangers that were present? It appears, in the article, to be common knowledge of loose dogs on those trails. I don’t care if you have been running there your whole life, it doesn’t make you immune to danger.
I believe the article does bring to light a large issue of how to deal with a loose or attacking dog while running. Except that they don’t have a supplementary article on how to deal with it should you run into a similar issue. I also, appreciate the Doctor who points out that typically the dog is trained that way. If the owner came down to leash one up, he knew what they were doing. This doesn’t make the dog bad, it makes it an irresponsible owner. This is why most counties have an Animal control facility. Shouldn’t they be trying to capture these stray and/or harmful dogs?
All in all, this article just helps to perpetuate the stereotype that the breed of dog is bad. Which it isn’t. I am thankful to the Dr. Hofler quoted in the article. Dr. Hofler brought, what seemed to be, a knowledgable and unbiased opinion.
I do plan on sending this into Runner’s World. They missed a prime opportunity to help runners with a common problem. Instead they decided to write a heavily one-sided story. Without admonishment to all the people in the story about taking safety precautions while running. Something they typically include in every issue.
Side note: I am sure some people will disagree with me, please, it is completely fine. Know that this is just my opinion and should be taken as such.