I have a pet that's kind of dangerous to be around. He's injured several people, including myself. He bit my fathers face on one occasion, and on another fractured a bone in his wrist. He's caused me multiple bruises and has bitten me on the arms a few times, more than once drawing blood. He is not safe for children to be around without close supervision. I would never allow him off leash outside an enclosure.
Who is this pet, and why do I keep him around? If he were a pit bull, (or really any dog over 10 lbs) people would be asking me why I didn't have him put to sleep. And yet no one has ever asked why he's still alive.
The fact is, despite the risks, I find a lot of value in keeping this particular pet. I'm not alone; his breed is very popular, with millions just like him in North America. And, every year, animals of his breed kill people. Yet most
people like him on sight. Children beg to pet him and feed him treats. And I will gladly let them pet him and feed him treats; I just take a few precautions first. Because with very little
effort, the risk of children interacting with him is very small.
You've probably already guess what pet I'm talking about. Funny, though, that we have such different expectations of the different animals in our lives. A single, non-injurious nip from a "scary looking" dog is enough to send some people into hysterics, yet millions of horse-owners take being bitten, kicked, stepped on, thrown, and crushed against walls as par for the course of being around equines.
I have more to talk about on the subject of relative risk and how people are so terrible at judging it, but this is all I got for right now.