After reading Colman McCarthy's article "Dog-Owning Has Had Its Day" (Op-Ed Page, Sept. 13) in which he proposes a "20-year phase-out plan" for domesticated dogs, I pinched myself a few times to be sure I wasn't dreaming.
It's true that a very small percentage of dogs attack mail carriers and other people who trigger their natural instinct to defend their master's territory. However, this does not justify the condemnation and phasing-out of 50 million domestic dogs in the United States. Irresponsible dog owners who fail to keep their dogs securely confined in the backyard or house, or who specially train them to attack people are the ones to punish.
McCarthy states that "domesticated dogs are wolves with numbed-out brains." His brain is "numbed-out" if he is blind to the overwhelming benefit to our society provided by the centuries-old special friendship between mankind and dogs. Dogs aren't burdened by the often pettiness and cruelty of human emotions. Dogs provide unconditional love and companionship to millions of lonely people regardless of race, creed, political affiliation, physical appearance, age or financial status.
I feel sorry for McCarthy if he has never experienced the joy and reassurance of returning home from a rotten day at work or school and being greeted at the door by a hyperactive, tail-wagging dog ready to plant a sloppy kiss or two.
PETER R. STEINBLUMS