The recent ruling by the Maryland Courts declaring pit bulls "inherently dangerous" is not only inhumane, it's simply not true ("Fallout from pit bull decision," May 2). Just as a human child needs love and discipline to grow up to be a contributing member of society and not a menace, a pit bull puppy needs love and discipline to become an obedient, loyal and affectionate member of its family.

Examine the early childhoods of people convicted of crime and you will almost certainly find episodes of abuse and neglect. Without the guidance and love of a primary caregiver, a child in an abusive or neglectful home will grow up feeling threatened and insecure and could, quite honestly, be considered "inherently dangerous" to others or to themselves. This lacking in early childhood will manifest in any of several anti-social behaviors later in life, such as the abuse or neglect of their own children, emotional illness, domestic violence, and even murder.

The same is true of all breeds of dogs, not solely pit bulls. If any puppy is abused and neglected, it will grow to be a dog with anti-social behaviors, unpredictable in nature and difficult to control without focused rehabilitation. Of course, if a miniature poodle nips at your ankle, the physical harm is minimal. If a pit bull bites, given its amazingly strong jaw muscles and large teeth, injury can be expected. A pit bull is not inherently human aggressive, this was bred out of them years go; biting a human is an anomaly, not the norm.

My point is this: A human can be dangerous to other humans when improperly raised. Should all humans be declared "inherently dangerous?" History is replete with violence and murder between human beings. Have you read the news today? Wouldn't it make sense then to destroy the human race and put an end to all the violence? That's ridiculous! And so is the death sentence that the Maryland Court of Appeals has brought upon the entire pit bull breed with its callous ruling. At the risk of losing everything they own in a lawsuit, what dog owner in their right mind will now be willing to keep a pit bull on their premises? The shelters will become overrun with pit bulls and, sadly, they will inevitably be forced to euthanize these beautiful animals. Meanwhile, the dog-fighting thugs who are responsible for the lion's share of pit bull abuse and neglect will continue to carry on underground.

I, for one, may not be in my right mind because I will not be abandoning our pit bull at a shelter. He's staying right here, where he will be loved and disciplined, and will continue to be a loyal member of this family; a family that refuses to discriminate between dog breeds.

Valerie A. Wilson, Annapolis