The title of one of Malta Today’s editorials is misleading and instigates stigma, labelling, and hatred towards dog owners of particular breeds: readers expressed their disapproval.

By Marica Micallef

What a disgusting and disgraceful title for an editorial. Who is the person who came up with this misleading title? Unfortunately, this is a lousy editorial with few good points, which are the following:

Naturally enough, these scenes have instilled fear among neighbours and the general population: including responsible dog owners, whose pets could also end up on the receiving end of vicious attacks.  In short, this is one of those episodes which erodes the fundamental right of everyone to ‘live in safety, without fear of bodily harm’.”

Two more good points are:

This, in turn, points towards the existence of a criminal underworld where dogs are not just used as symbols of power and aggression; but often end up being exploited for monetary gain, in horrendous and barbaric dog fights.

There should be zero tolerance for such behaviour, and people with a history of animal abuse should be forbidden from keeping dogs.  Owning a dog comes with responsibilities; and should not be considered as an automatic right.

I agree with these points but then, the article has internal contradictory statements, which make you scratch your head. It first states that “certain breeds of dogs pose a manifest danger to humans and other animals” but further down it adds “while pit-bulls and other bully-breed dogs arguably pose no such danger.

Another paragraph with contradictory statements is the following:

And while pit-bulls and other bully-breed dogs arguably pose no such danger, when brought up by responsible and caring owners” but then the same article states “and while it is true that dogs are as ‘dangerous’ as their owners, it is legitimate to question whether certain dogs – whose breeding actually contributes to their aggressive traits – should be bred at all.

Are dogs as dangerous as their owners, as the title of this editorial implies, or do dogs pose no danger when brought up by responsible and caring owners? As an editor, he or she must be more consistent and express himself or herself well with clear statements.

It is unfair for caring dog owners that the editor neither rephrased his misleading title nor cleared his editorial of internal contradictions. Instead, he should have kept to one argument and delivered it conspicuously to the readers.

The point is that the mainstream media should refrain from lousy journalism. Journalism should be there to educate people. Good journalism should desist from coming up with headlines that instigate stigma, labelling, and hatred. Why should responsible owners of obedient pitbulls endure more stigma, labelling, and hatred thanks to such a wrongful editorial title? Thankfully, the message of Malta Today against certain breeds did not go through, as the comments below confirm:

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