The Pit bull may be America’s most-reviled dog. An aggressive reputation and association with dogfighting have made pits one of the least adopted and most euthanized breeds in the country. It isn’t even legal to adopt or own one (unless it’s a guide dog) in Miami, Denver and more than 300 other U.S. municipalities. But a loose network of pit lovers is out to change the perception. Through social media, the power of celebrity and outreach efforts at decidedly gentle settings like schools and nursing homes, these advocates are trying to convince the country that pit bulls are no more dangerous than any other furry friend.
More Photography from Time
If you want to be safe, join the military and live on base, or move to Denver or another jurisdiction which wisely reduces its pit bull attacks to zero.
The President of the United States thinks BSL doesn't work so time to bury BSL real deep because the last nail has been put in that coffin. Thankfully we can get to seeing Pit Bulls for what they really are, a DOG, that's it and no more.
Numbers dont lie. Think statistically
children comprise 60% of the dog bite victims.
Its easy to defend a dog when its victims dont comprise of the owners.
As a pit bull owner, rescuer and trainer, this is the analogy I use when people automatically assume that my two bullies (both Canine Good Citizen certified) are vicious:
Two people leave a bar heavily intoxicated, get into their cars, and while driving home, cause accidents. One person is driving a Hummer and one is driving a Smart Car. Both drivers exercised bad judgement , created a dangerous situation and should be held accountable for their actions. But which car did the most damage? The force, construction and sheer torque of the Hummer is going to destroy much more than the smaller, less powerful car.
Point being: every dog owner has the responsibility to control, nurture and secure their animals. An unstable/unattended/untrained Chihuahua is just as likely to attack people or other animals as a pit bull in the same situation. But pit bull owners have a bigger responsibility because our dogs have the strength and force of a Hummer; they are going to cause much more tragic injuries than a toy dog would.
Pits are extremely loyal, smart and loving dogs. Both of mine are rescues from abuse/neglect situations and I spent months training each of them in obedience, socialization and never - I repeat, never - lose control of them. They are always leashed, secured in our yard and get daily exercise and play to stimulate their "always on" personalities. I can't tell you how many people are in love with these two awesome dogs. If anything ever happened to me or my husband, there would be an all-out fight over which of our friends or family would take care of them.
I respect people who don't like pits because of personal experiences; nothing any of us advocating for the bully breeds will ever change their minds. But I love nothing more than the opportunity to educate and often change people's opinions of these magnificent creatures, one sloppy kiss or paw-shake at a time.
This poor breed continually suffers a bad rap due to several irresponsible individuals in our society. Funny people arent constantly mentioning all the horrible things Michael Vick did to these dogs, I guess all if forgiven with him but the poor animals still suffer having a bad reputation.
Pit Bull is NOT a breed. Unless you do a DNA test you do not know what kind of dog it is and we all know DNA test are never 100%. Stop saying pit bull breed, there is no such thing! However, "pit bull" dogs are amazing dogs just like any other dog out there and we love every single one of them that has come through our home to foster. Our children love them as well and advocate! In my book they are the best family dog!
200 yrs worth of selective breeding them for dog vs animal combat, says that you are wrong BOBW11, With that understanding you can breed out a pointers pointing abilities by breeding pointers to pointers. lol You can't
Clay Hundenshire If the most vicious dog you've ever seen is a GSP you really need to take a look at your rationale. The most vicious dog I've ever seen was a Karelian Bear dog........ and they are supposed to be (when working) just like pit bulls are supposed to be (when working)
American Pit Bull Terriers can be redeemed by breeding them for different purposes than dog-to-dog combat. In fact, that has already been done. The revised breed is called the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Does a pointer need its image changed ? does a lab need its image changed ?? or are their images known for what they do? As this article is just another pit bull apologia form of madness, stemming from a need to fight what obvious fact dictates. The function of the dog in question is to bite and hold, that doesn't mean they do it out of anger or spite. It means that it is its biological function as a dog !!!! As much as it is a collie to herd, hound to follow scent, pointer to point, and this is no different than that...... how these people claiming their for families and babies is hard for me to swallow because i know what the dogs function is...... They are fantasic dogs that are attractive to people for all the wrong reasons, they are not the nanny dog they call them, not the family dog they call them, and changing a dogs image into that when the dogs original premise is combat, They will find this change the image campaign of theirs to be fueling the dogs failures. Accept them for what they are and why they are. Changing things you don't like won't physiologically change the dog.
These are fantastic photos! Thank you for the highlight.
The most important part of this campaign is to recognize that Pitbulls, Pit-Mixes and "pitbull-type" dogs are to be treated as individuals. Unfortunately, they are often lumped together and only seen as "vicious", "unpredictable", "aggressive", "dangerous". This is not to say that there aren't dogs, of any breed, that fit those descriptions. American Pitbull Terriers should be viewed as individuals. It is wrong to generalize and say that 'all pitbulls are bad', or 'all pitbulls are vicious'. A dog is a dog.
My individual American Pitbull Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Border Collie might not be like other dogs of their respective breeds. I treat them as individuals.
Fantastic job TIME!
ITS ABOUT VICTIMS!This is a letter written by the mother of Seleena Wickward to the Parents Against Dog Chaining, about her daughter, Saleena's vicious attack by a neighbor's pit bull. This is a powerful letter that should be read by all.
Saleena is a young child VICTIM of a vicious pit bull attack that left her severely injured and disfigured for life.
"I noticed on your map, Utah doesn't show any children inj...ured or killed. I am Saleena Wickward's mother & I can testify that in 2010 alone, 3 children just in our area were injured.
People always have a reason for why that particular dog attacked. Let's be honest, the majority of severely injured children or children mauled TO DEATH comes from the jaws of a Pit. I am often accused of being a "Pit Bull Hater" which humors me. I raised American Pit Bulls, owning a total of 51 over the years. The problem that plagues me is that there IS NOT ALWAYS A REASON THAT AN ANIMAL ATTACKS! Chico (the dog that mauled my daughter) was extremely well cared for. He wasn't left on a chain for hours at a time. He wasn't abused, neglected, taunted, mistreated or anything else that one might think. That dog was taken for walks every day. He spent a lot of his mornings & early afternoons inside with his owners & had ample outside time as well. There wasn't one single thing that anyone could say the owners of Chico didn't do.
So now what? While hundreds of people contacted us when Saleena was initially injured, nobody contacts us about it anymore besides her doctors. Nobody sees the now 7 year old child plagued with nightmares, self image issues, & PTSD . Nobody calls to see why Saleena didn't show up to picture day at school. No one has sympathy for us when we went without a vehicle for 3 months because my once pristine credit is now unworthy of a loan for a piece of paper. No one understands when Saleena's older brother has anxiety & panic attacks when anything even suggests a threat to his younger sisters. Not one person gives an iota of a care when four children won't even go to a public park, pool, or grocery store without the fear of God inside of them at all times. This being after almost 2 years of counseling.
Yet, the support for proper care of animals & Pro Pit Bull banter continues. Like a slap in the face, there's a new commercial, website, or facility asking for donations to save the animals, Pits in particular, almost everyday it seems.
WHEN DO WE START SAVING OUR OWN CHILDREN?! When did animals start ranking above our race...our futures...& the little people we bring into this world that look to us for protection?! Saleena's accident brought out the support for pits more than anything. While a child was stuck in a hospital bed, with her hair being rubbed off the one side of her skull due to the severity of injuries encompassing her head... fighting infection...without the ability to open her eyelids due to the excessive swelling and bruising...having lucid nightmares...withdrawing from morphine...and all of this after having her face pieced back together with glue, stitches, staples, a metal plate, a screws. Her family in a state of emotional/physical/mental perdition, unsure of their loved one's outcome, & unable to be together to support & sooth one another not only during that time but for months to come along with more heartbreaking surgeries, scares, and distress at levels in which some will never even fathom... All of these occurrences & ANYONE was concerned for the dog's situation or fate?!? What?!
It makes me absolutely sick that anyone would donate to any of the "animal support" facilities when there are families like us out there paying astronomical amounts to try to save their child's life, put a face or limb back together for them, & pray that somehow a miracle will happen to save us from the poverty that an animal's mouth plagued our lives with.
We eat cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals but chose a canine's life over or own children.
Honestly, how can anyone be confused as to why our communities grow more corrupt generation by generation, or what we're doing wrong by our children to have our crime rates rise, children shooting up schools, or addictions forming at younger ages continually?
No one seems afraid to stand up for the animals. In my opinion not only should they be afraid, but ashamed. Ignorance plagues our country like an outbreak of Ebola Zaire. Then to add salt to a wound, we publicize the "animals rights over children's safety/lives" for the entire globe to see. There were actually comments on the articles about Saleena's accident saying that "the dog was in his yard (mind you there was no fence & a dog run built having never been used) the little girl got what she deserved". I researched to the highest extent possibly in desperation to find the sadistic tormented mind behind those words. I wanted nothing more than that person to say those words while showing his/her face. There is no way that person had children. I'd love to sit with those people & show them every photo of Saleena taken due to this dog. The pre surgery photos would cause almost anyone to have haunting visions and nightmares for the rest of their days. I could go on and on from the $ worth put on a little girl's face to every single domino of our lives that fell all aftermath of "man's best friend."
I pray that we quit breeding ignorant & self destructive tendencies into our children. When will there be enough lives taken, enough innocent children sacrificed? I wonder how many "animal rights activists" could voice those same opinions after seeing their child shredded like the first course of a starved lioness.
I wish it was as simple as changing the way we confine our pets. Instead, our communities stand & support this issue as our children are one by one traumatized, brutalized, & demonized. You never hear these stories where the dog owner says they knew there was a problem. The first time so often being the only time due to the severity.
Animal rights..... What happened to Human Rights? Who is going
to protect our babies if we don't???"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
https://www.facebook.com/WalkforvictimsofpboddAn event to spread awareness and support victims. Free family activities, police security onsite, food, bounce tent for kids, speakers including FORMER pitbull owners that saw their dog attack unprovoked and as usual, the dog wouldnot let go. Come on out.. Candle light vigil to memorialize victims at dusk & more. Come support victims, spread awareness,and have fun.Print off a flier, Like us on Facebook, ask your church to sponsor a victim's trip to the event, or organize a sister event!
I've help raised approximately 22 dogs, from my childhood years and on into middle-age. And in that time, I've learned that about 99 percent of the experts don't know as much as they pretend to know regarding dogs. Chris Schindler (at least in the print article version), of the Humane Society, is attributed with saying that "Pits are capable of violence." Duh. So are Labradors, Poodles, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russell terriers (one of the latter bit off part of the finger of a local politician, during one of the annual media blitzes about dangerous Pit Bulls). While he is right about the behavior of individual dogs (an obvious point), Chris Schindler goes onto say that the behavior of any dog can never be predicted. NOTHING can be predicted, but the behavior of EVERY dog can affected, controlled and even anticipated. The ONE truism that I've learned is that (barring any physiological anomalies) ALL dogs -- like all children -- start out sweet and wanting to please their owner, or, as they see it, their pack leader (and pseudo parent). If people -- especially men -- refrained from hitting dogs (as with children, it continues to be the method of choice with most), allowed them to live indoors (so they don't feel abandoned by their pack), make sure they get plenty of walking (or, dropped off at a doggy daycare if one doesn't have time), and spend time with them (as one needs to do with one's children) and don't just lock them up in a yard or a house and expect them to not get fearful or angry, just about every dog -- including pit bulls -- would turn out happy and friendly and well-behaved.
MY buddy, Irving, seen in the profile pic, adopted me and my family (he was left on our porch) before we moved to Australia. He was the first American Staffordshire terrier-type dog I'd ever shared a home with (we discovered he's also mixed with a boxer). At seven years of age, I can say that he is also the smartest, sweetest, happiest dog (he likes to play like a rugby player -- pinching and tackling --but NEVER wants to fight when confronted with an angry dog, small or large). And having raised him the way I mentioned above, I ALWAYS know how he will react in any given situation, even now that he is older, and over six years of age (a time when most dog experts claim dogs will "change" in their behavior, usually due to old-age crankiness). I've spent more time around dogs than humans -- dogs are ALWAYS more predictable -- and I can say that if you treat the dogs the way I described above, you'll have a happy, reliable, friend for as long as your dog lives.
There is a new, wildly popular, full color illustrated children's book about a loveable Pit Bull. This book helps teach children respect and safety around all dogs. Here's the link
And, Pete (my dog) socialized as well as any dog. In his first year, I took him to dog parks so that he would be well socialized with other dogs. And, he was great. If anything, he tried to stop aggressive behavior between other dogs. I used to call him the peacemaker. This idea that the breed of "pitbull" is radically different than other dogs - dumb, dumb, dumb. Raise any dog right and you won't have a problem with him. Like I said, too many folk get pitbulls for stupid reasons and then don't properly raise them on top of it (probably do quite the opposite). If you raise any dog the way some raise pitbulls, any breed would all bite and attack. It's the owner, not the dog.
My 14 year old pitbull that I've raised since puppyhood has been the greatest, sweetest dog I've ever known or had. This idea that they can't be socialized is not only wrong but silly. These are dogs, not secret robots from an unknown planet. If you want to raise them to fight, you can - and that's the problem. A lot of people get these dogs for the wrong reasons which is why they end up high on dog bite lists.
There are reasons training and socialization work with other dogs but not with pit bulls. You can NEVER make these dogs safe: http://www.scribd.com/doc/36262682/Comments-on-My-Pit-Bull-Experience-by-Alexandra-Semyonova-Giancarla-Churchman-Story
Of the 4,274 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 2,676 (63%) were pit bulls; 535 were Rottweilers; 3,450 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 513 human fatalities, 260 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 383 (69%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,411 people who were disfigured, 1,586 (65%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 313 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 1,999 (79%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls--exclusive of their use in dogfighting--also inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.
Well, the thing is, the numbers do lie, and they lie a lot, especially coming from a highly discredited source that you used. Us that understand basic statistics know that most statistics are used to prove a point, and the stats you used are way to vague and inaccurate.
@EmilyGates Sorry but my ADBA papers prove you wrong.
Seems that no one told the UKC, the registry for the American Pit Bull Terrier, the folks "who wrote the book/rules" for the fighting pit.
The UKC accepts American Staffordshire Terriers to be dual registered as their American PIT BULL Terriers.
How many AST breeder websites state: "We NEVER breed dog aggressive dogs?" I haven't found a single one.
The opposite is true. "Dog aggression is what makes a pit a pit." "Pits are the Warrior, the Gladiator." Ask the folks on the pit forums. Dog aggression, the vicarous aggression, power, sadism, that's what attracts many to the pit bull.
@ScottRicher History Lesson: Physiologically, Pitbulls get their strength from two muscles in their heads. One in the jaw and the second is over the top/side of the head, in the temple/eye region. These muscles overlap, working together like when a fist is clinched, like the power between a thumb and index finger have for a fist. This is common amongst all Mastiff type breeds(Pitbulls, Rotweillers, Mastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers, Argentinian Dogos, Bull Terriers, (English, American, French)Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Pugs, yes Pugs are the littlest Mastiffs).
Pitbulls are descendants of Molosser, a breed of war dog the Roman Empire used. The breed looks similar to modern day Mastiffs, and Bull Mastiffs except had longer hair. (Not all mastiffs are molosser dogs) They were big, dense and powerful, but lacked the speed. Faster breeds, such as the Terrier blood was introduced to make this breed faster. Terriers, which its name means Earth, are killers of ground vermin(rabbits, moles, squirrels, etc.) Mixing the powerful Molosser and Mastiff bloodlines with the swift Terriers, produces a "pitbull".
Now how it did get from the War field to the Pit? There were common sports of Bear-Baiting and Bull-Baiting. These sports were common in the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon regions. This is where the term "Bull dog" comes from. They trained dogs to fight and pin the bulls. As if this sport wasn't enough, they trained the dogs to fight one another. Firstly, because this new sport was cheaper. Secondly, during bull fights, many of the dogs trained wouldn't make it out alive, having been killed by a massive bull. But the dynamics of dog fighting in a pit wasn't as easy. Dogs that are put into the pits have been trained through practice. Bait animals, such as weaker dogs, puppies, cats, and various other animals are introduced in order to train the animal to fight. We have learned more recently, even with the Michael Vick case how many pitbulls that were in fact good dogs were murdered, because they wouldn't fight, or only fought to defend themselves, losing the match and were subsequently murdered out of shame. This leads to the conclusion that even after hundreds of years of pedigree, not all "pitbulls" fight, or a willing to fight.
Opinion section: The overall point is, yes, we need to change the image of Pitbulls because we, Humans, were the ones who changed it in the first place. I accept what my dog is. She is fabulous. Everyone loves her.
True characteristics of a Pitbull: They snore. A lot. They are like children with ADHD: they are energetic, needing lots of consistency, and tasks to perform. They are by far the easiest dog to train. I have a Border Collie, which is supposed to be the smartest dog, and the Pitbull learns twice as fast. They are adaptable. They can come from horrible living conditions to be placed with a normal family to lead happy and long lives.
[Credentials: BA in History with a certification to teach History, and currently working on my MA in History, volunteer in the animal shelter, and a APBT owner]
The most vicious dog I have ever seen in my life was a German Short haired Pointer. You really haven't a clue about dogs. Pit bulls are just like any other dog, and you are a prime example of someone that has bought into all of the hypes and the myths, like this article talks about. Educate yourself.
@csunbean You really are clueless aren't you? For a start humans are animals too and that is an irrefutable scientific fact! Secondly, there is no evidence whatsoever to back up your claims of humans being so much more important. A species that systematically destroys its own environment, that keeps on breeding at an alarming rate despite knowing the world is already massively overpopulated, that kills for fun and 'sport', that worships non-existent entities, that lies cheats and steals, and that is arrogant to the extreme does not rank highly in my books. I much prefer my dogs to a lot of people.
You really ought to know that humans are a much bigger threat to each other than dogs ever will be!
wow.....sorry but it's not a question on whether it was raised right or not. All dogs send signals before an attack, they are NOT human, and a pit bull is no different than a poodle in that regard. They do signal, it's just a matter of understanding the signal. It could be a look, a shift in body language, something very small, but it is there
and how dare you accuse anyone who sends in money for animals assuming that they don't care for children. It shouldn't have to be one or the other. I have support both a children's hospital and an animal shelter.
and i have found with children, they read into your signals as well, you won't let it go and harbor this great hatred, instead of focusing on the future and teaching her not to hate animals, and that it will be ok, and that one day she'll find that special dog to help her. Being angry at everyone is never going to solve anything, and thus your child will in fact never get over it, because you won't let her.
@csunbean Your position is one of fear. While I understand that, you have to understand that it makes no sense to destroy all specimens of a species because of a few bad experiences. In my city, a child was killed by a teenager. There was no history of provocation and the killers parents claim she was a good girl who had never killed before. That does not mean we should run out and destroy all teenage girls.
The truth is that children are far more likely to be injured or killed by other children or even their own parents than by any dog let alone a pitbull.
Yes, I have children and grandchildren and pitbulls.
I truly hope that you are one day able to conquer your fears.
@csunbean Holy Hater......I suppose you think all African Americans are dangerous, too, just because there are more in Prison than the number of white people in prison?
Thinking this way is no different than being Racist or Sexist....you're a Breedist, and it's JUST as hateful and ignorant.
I absolutely love your response. I knew nothing about pitbulls when my son bought one five years ago. I immediately took the four and a half week old pup to the vet and asked, "How do I get him to become a killer?" When the vet was done laughing, he told me to raise the puppy just like we had raised our rottweilers!
My first grandchild has since been joined by three human grandchildren, my own pitbull daughter and her blind rottweiler brother. Whew, full house! From the time the human babies are old enough to reach for the dogs (about 6 months) we practice proper petting techniques.
Finally, I love that you outline the similarities between kids and dogs. I always tell people that there is very little difference between children and dogs. When people really get on my nerves, I just point out that children are much more likely to be killed by their own parents than by a dog, let alone a pitbull.
@DormanShindler That is what Darla Napora the pitbull advocate from BAD RAP group said before she was killed by her unabused, raised from a puppy sweet pitbull.
Thank you! I will be purchasing one for each of my grandchildren as well as for their classrooms. I am surprised at how many children (and adults) are not educated on DOG safety.
@rogerkabler Then we need to get that book banned. Next.
@PaulBergquist So many people don't understand that handling (past and current) affects a dogs behavior. I have seen several people be mean to their small dogs then they are baffled when the dog bites someone. I finally told one person not to do anything to her little dog she wouldn't do to my rottweiler!
@PaulBergquist "If anything, he tried to stop aggressive behaviour between other dogs". Gotta love that as a piece of Propaganda; LMAO :D
@PaulBergquist Not dumb. Funny Doctors and surgeons that work on VICTIMS that they can't patch up see that the loss of flesh, bone, tendons and tissue is so much more extensive than attacks by other dogs. But they have the beauty industry and all to keep plastic surgeons going. Unllike Vets, there is no financial conflict of interest. They are not afraid of facebook groups harassing them and hurting their businesses so they are free to speak truth: THESE DOGS DO TOO MUCH DAMAGE. The attacks are more like a Lion attack.
PhD study April 2011 published in Annals of Surgery
Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs
John K. Bini, MD, Stephen M. Cohn, MD, Shirley M. Acosta, RN, BSN, Marilyn J. McFarland, RN, MS, Mark T. Muir, MD, and Joel E. Michalek, PhD; for the TRISAT Clinical Trials Group
Objective: Maiming and death due to dog bites are uncommon but preventable tragedies. We postulated that patients admitted to a level I trauma center with dog bites would have severe injuries and that the gravest injuries would be those caused by pit bulls.
Design: We reviewed the medical records of patients admitted to our level I trauma center with dog bites during a 15-year period. We determined the demographic characteristics of the patients, their outcomes, and the breed and characteristics of the dogs that caused the injuries.
Results: Our Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services treated 228 patients with dog bite injuries; for 82 of those patients, the breed of dog involved was recorded (29 were injured by pit bulls). Compared with attacks by other breeds of dogs, attacks by pit bulls were associated with a higher median Injury Severity Scale score (4 vs. 1; P = 0.002), a higher risk of an admission Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or lower (17.2% vs. 0%; P = 0.006), higher median hospital charges ($10,500 vs. $7200; P = 0.003), and a higher risk of death (10.3% vs. 0%; P = 0.041).
Conclusions: Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.
The attack pattern of pit bulls is different from that of other dogs. With other dogs, children are usually at highest risk of being bitten. In contrast, pit bulls seem to attack adults almost as frequently as they attack children.18 Pit bulls not only are notorious for their indiscriminate attack pattern but also are well known for the tenacity with which they continue with an attack. The case fatality reported above involved an infant that was mauled by 2 pit bulls. These dogs had previously bitten an 8-year-old relative in the face. When the dog’s owner attempted to stop the attack on the infant by stabbing the dogs with a knife, she became a victim herself, and police officers had to shoot (kill) the dogs at the scene.19 It is not uncommon to hear of witnessed attacks in which the pit bulls could not be stopped from attacking.20,21
The inbred tenacity of pit bulls, the unrelenting manner in which they initiate and continue their attacks, and the damage they cause are the result of both genetics and environment. Therefore, this breed of dog is inherently dangerous.10,13,16,17,22 As stated by 1 author, “Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a Pit Bull Terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed, and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs and their victims are paying the price.”18
Over a recent 3-year period from January 2006 to March 30, 2009, a total of 98 dog bite fatalities involving 179 dogs occurred; 60% of the deaths were caused by pit bulls, and 76% were caused by pit bulls and Rottweilers.11 A total of 113 pit bulls were involved in these deaths, and they accounted for 63% of the dogs involved in fatal attacks (Table 2). If the risk of fatal attack is normalized to Labrador Retrievers and Labrador-mix breeds (the most common registered dog in the United States), the relative risk of death related to pit bull attacks is more than 2500 times higher. Data show that, in 2008, pit bulls alone were responsible for 81% of attacks that occurred off the owner’s property; of these attacks, 85% involved more than 1 dog.11 Although adults aged 21 to 54 years composed only 19% of all victims who died, 82% of these deaths were caused by pit bull attacks. Over a 3-year period, 54% of deaths due to pit bull attacks occurred among adults (aged 21 years or older) and 46% occurred among children (aged 11 years or younger). In one 85-day period from July to September 2008, pit bulls were involved in 127 dog attacks, 57% of which occurred off the owner’s property. In these attacks, 158 people were injured, 63% of them severely; 10% of the victims suffered severed body parts; and 6 victims were killed.12 In the same period, 128 dangerous pit bulls had to be shot to death by police officers or citizens.12 A closer look at these figures indicates that 1 person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, a person loses a body part to a pit bull attack every 5.4 days, 2 persons are injured by pit bulls each day, and 1.5 pit bulls are shot to death each day (Table 3).
Dog bites are a serious public health concern in the United States and across the world. They result in substantial emotional and physical trauma and in a substantial economic cost to the victims and to society. Fortunately, fatal dog attacks are rare, but there seems to be a distinct relationship between the severity and lethality of an attack and the breed of dog responsible. The unacceptable actuarial risk associated with certain breeds of dogs (specifically, pit bulls) must be addressed. These breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated. Individual municipalities need the power to enact ordinances that can protect their citizens from this risk. If they are to obtain such power, the issue must be addressed at the local, county, and state legislative levels.
@KathrynDunigan You're wrong. Simple as that.
@MerrittCliftonYour data has never been peer reviewed. You take data and do not dig into it so what your quoting is typically deemed as being fabricated. "Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%" is NOT true. Upwards to 85% of dogs are labeled as a pit bull in the US alone. The BREED the American Pit Bull Terrier accounts for 6% of all dogs NOT what the media and some of society INCORRECTLY label as a pit bull.
@IHeartPibbles @ScottRicher Thank you IHeart Pibbles! Having had dogs all my life, of various breeds, I do find my pit bulls the easiest and quickest to train. Also the gentlest toward humans! I have had pit bulls since 1989 and never once a human bite. Intelligent, sensitive and loyal is how I would describe the pit bull. (Credentials: BA in Liberal Arts, BS in Physical Therapy, Physical Therapist for 23 years, wife for 21 years, Mom of 3, dog owner for 48 years, pit bull owner for 24 years.) I do appreciate TIME magazine's effort toward giving the breed "good press", however, if you know TIME's history with its coverage of this breed, its long overdue.
@csunbean @DormanShindler Really? Here is a statement from somebody who knows what REALLY happened regarding Darla Napora! "My parents who live across the street from the house and they talked to the husband! OK here is the real story of what happened.....the dog did not maul her......just found out that the woman fell off a ladder and hit her head...husband came home found the dog standing over her...he put the dog out side....it got loose and cops shot the dog...thinking that it had mauled the lady. The dog had blood on it's body because he was trying to nudge her to make her move....I don't really like pit bulls myself...but in this case there was an error made....so sad that the dog was shot 3x's for something that it really didn't do!"
Actually, I have witnessed a pit bull in action demonstrating what seemed very much like pacifying behavior. It was an eight-year-old neutered male pit bull (and I do not remember whether the dog was an American Pit Bull Terrier, an American Staffordshire Terrier, or a mix, though he looked very much like those two breeds); who belonged to an elderly man. I had my dog (an intact male spaniel) off-leash; the pit bull was off-leash; and as we were talking, we ran into a man who had a male german shepherd. My dog started to growl at the german shepherd; I leashed him. The german shepherd growled back. The pit bull started to run back and forth between the two dogs in a submissive manner, low-slung, tail down and head slightly lowered. At no time did the pit bull make any gesture or sound that could be construed as violent; he seemed to me to be trying to calm the other two, more riled-up, dogs. Either that or the pit bull was just expressing anxiety. But he was not expressing anger or viciousness himself. No dogs were injured, the situation was peacefully handled by vigilant dog owners. I do not, never have and never will, own a pit bull (I don't dislike them; but they're too much dog for me; too physically strong and energetic; as would be a boxer, a young labrador, or various other breeds). But I never forgot that pit bull; who was not only gentle himself, but concerned about the other dogs' slight display of anger.
I have met many pit bulls who are good dogs; some who are dog-aggressive, and some who are not. I do not believe in breed-specific legislation against any breed or type of dog.
@csunbean @PaulBergquist It's not only about how they are raised. In shelter situations, we are finding that dogs that are pulled from abused homes, former bait dogs, former fighting dogs can be adopted out, making excellent pets. This isn't to say that due to poor breeding, that there are some that are not suitable from the get go, but that happens even with pet shop-puppy mill dogs.
Dogs, of all breeds, should be treated as individuals. Not all dogs bite. Not all Pitbulls bite. Not all dogs are vicious, not all pitbulls are vicious.
(that's cool you called him the peacemaker!)
@apple66 @MerrittClifton Your version of "peer reviewed" means NCRC, a corporation, gun for hire and guess who hires. NCRC, a product of a failed self published author whose only credentials are that of a vet tech. The media does not identify the breeds of attacks, that is law enforcement, vets, trainers, animal control, even the owner. We know what a pit looks like, stop insulting our intelligence.
Obviously, you do not understand statistics. Take statistics 101 and you'll understand within the first or second week of that course that the statistics you are talking about are biased and inaccurate: garbage in = garbage out. You are the one that needs to be educated.
@HarveMorgan @DormanShindler @KathrynDunigan It appears that the test subject that Ms Churchman used was not a suitable animal to begin with. Not because it was a pitbull. It just should not have been allowed to leave the shelter. That was a failure on the shelter's end. What she highlights are good steps in rehabilitation of shelter animals, but animals that are feral in behavior, and aren't used to proper human contact are difficult to manage, regardless of breed.
Pitbulls make excellent pets!