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Using pit bulls to sensationalize

In March of 2007, a 16-yr-old student, Kodjo Yenga was stabbed and beaten to death by other teenagers.

This is how the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald) reports the story:

LONDON - School had just ended and Kodjo Yenga was walking home along a tree-lined London street when a gang of angry youths blocked his path.

One held a snarling pit bull terrier that strained against its lead. Chants of "Kill him!" erupted from the mob.

The teenagers, some of whom still wore their school uniforms, seized Yenga and one stabbed him in the heart. Witnesses heard members of the gang laugh as he lay dying in his girlfriend’s arms.

You can't help but think of Kodjo as a young scholar who was merely strolling the oak-lined boulevard with his beloved girlfriend in tow when, out of the seedy alleys of London emerged a mob of murderous teenagers. Perhaps murderous teenagers aren't quite dangerous enough, so the snarling devil dog is thrown in for good measure.

The actual story, while still tragic, isn't exactly the AP's version.

Kodjo and his girlfriend, Cookie, weren't walking home after school - they stopped for dinner at the house of Cookie's mom. Afterwards, they took Cookie's pet dog for a walk. They were approached by one juvenile hellspawn who picked a fight. Kodjo said the standard "let's take it outside over there" where Kodjo was suddenly accosted by several other hellspawn teenagers who beat and stabbed Kodjo several times.

Why did the fight start? Oh, you know that "snarling pit bull"? Well, the fight was actually over Cookie's pet dog - an apparently placid Staffordshire Bull Terrier. There was no pit bull gnashing his teeth, straining to tear into Kodjo. The hellspawn teenager wanted the dog and Kodjo said no. So he was stabbed twice in the chest, beaten and left to die in his girlfriend's arms.

In the grand scheme of things, especially in the grand scheme of this story, the fact that the pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier is transformed into a snarling pit bull is a minor inconvenience. Still, it is yet another example of how tough the media is on pit bulls.

If you care to know (and you should), two of the five attackers were sentenced to a minimum of 15-yrs in prison. The remaining three were sentenced to 10 years in a detention prisoner. The youngest attacker? Thirteen at the time of the murder. The oldest? Sixteen at the time of the murder.

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