September 29, 2014
Pit Bull Owners Protest 'Dog Attacks' ArtPrize Entry In Michigan

Pit bulls are spoken about often, and normally it's regarding a dog attack somewhere in the country. Despite the fact that there is an abundance of stories and reports to offset the weight of pit bull attack stories, the attack coverage tends to be in the spotlight far more often.

So when an "art exhibit" showed up at a Grand Rapids, Michigan, art competition, many local pit bull owners were less than happy. The Lansing State Journal reported on the local art competition.

"Pit bull owners are protesting an entry in the Grand Rapids ArtPrize contest that memorializes dog attack victims because they say it unfairly blames the dog breeds."

The entry into this year's ArtPrize contest was from Joan Marie Kowal. Her page on the ArtPrize site lists her hobbies as "several (neutered) feral cats, and pet squirrels. Plantaholic and animal lover." The entry in question is called "Out of the blue." A photo of the entry can be seen below.

Out Of Blue Art Entry

Woodtv 8 reported on the details of the exhibit that has drawn mixed responses from the locals, even amongst pit bull owners.

"The entry, 'Out of the Blue' by Julie Kowal of Wyoming, is made up of crosses and the faces of 30 people who were killed this year in dog attacks in the U.S., the artist says. Several of the victims are children. Most of the attacks featured in the entry involved pit bulls."

The local pit bull owners peacefully protested the seemingly morbid art display by bringing their pit bulls for a walk around the art competition. According to the Lansing State Journal, a local pit bull owner who brought her pit bull to the protest was not offended by the piece.

Tonya Choryan said she brought her pit bull to show "responsible ownership" is crucial to the conversation about dog attacks. She said she felt the piece is "encouraging dialogue" about the breed. Choryan is a certified pit bull trainer.

Paige Timmer, another pit bull owner and protestor, said that it's "all about the owners," and that they "need to take responsibility as owners." However, she had a different take on the art entry, Woodtv 8 reports.

"We kind of took offense to the fact that these were kind of pin-picked bully breeds, that most often in this piece here are displayed as bully breeds are the ones that killed them. I don't know that breed is necessarily needed in this piece."

The Lansing State Journals reports that the artist stated that she heard from some of the "dog attack" victims' families were offended that the protestors showed up with their pit bulls and t-shirts.

Is this appropriate for an art contest? Is it offensive to pit bull owners?

What are your thoughts?

[Images Courtesy of Woodtv And ArtPrize]