*sigh* Boy these quotes are getting long.
I really don't want to nit-pick, especially since it seems like we're arguing this issue from mostly the same point of view. I guess my main problem with what you've been saying is the implication, several times, that you think it isn't your problem if someone happens to be afraid of your dog. I think the reality that many people will always
be afraid of your dog (and mine, when he still was alive) regardless of why or whether it's justified, must alter how you act. If someone's afraid of your dog, it doesn't matter that you know he's a sweetie and doesn't jump, they
don't know that. And when someone with a "big, scary dog" drives someone else off a public sidewalk because they don't know if you're one of the responsible owners or not and because you're placing your comfort over someone else's fears, it does a disservice to all dogs and dog owners, because in that person's mind their opinion of many dog owners as arrogant and dangerous is now justified. And it happens over and over again.
I don't think the precautions Aries (for example - sorry for dragging you into it, Aries
) takes are "overkill", as she put it, I think they're pragmatic and respectful, whether she's walking her dog or taking him to the vet's. It's too bad that you live in an area where you can't feel comfortable taking the precautions Aries does, but often there's more to the question of, "Can I give this dog everything it needs?" than just the basic food/water/shots that people think of when they first want a dog. If someone lives in an apartment or house or something where they must walk a pit bull several times daily rather than give him a big yard to burn off energy, or lives in an area where there is no way they can safely avoid having the dog have close contact with small animals or children or fearful people, then I think they've chosen the wrong dog for their life, however much they may love it.