Friday, March 31, 2006

The Relative Danger of Pit Bulls

Since I'm working on a book about pit bulls in society, I have to do research about... well... pit bulls in society. This happens to be an incredibly unpleasant experience in many cases, because so many people are so incredibly ignorant about pit bulls yet have no problem spouting stereotypes and myths without any factual basis... but I suck it up. After doing so much reading about pit bulls for so many years, I've become much more savvy about when it is and is not appropriate to "educate" others. Some people simply don't want education, and even if they do, the topic of pit bulls is not one that can be easily and thoroughly discussed within the confines of a message board or a chat room. The issues are deep and heavy, and it takes years of study and experience to truly understand the situation.

So my frustrations come out here instead. And tonight I feel the need to address something I saw repeatedly yesterday while reading through various blogs; namely that the plethora of news articles about pit bull attacks (and relative lack of articles about other breeds) is proof that the breed-type is somehow more dangerous than other breeds. The easy availability of media reports about pit bull attacks versus attacks by other breeds helped these clueless souls reach various conclusions, such as: pit bulls should be banned to reduce dog attacks, pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds, pit bulls are more likely to cause serious damage than other breeds, and pit bulls attack people more frequently than other breeds. Anti-pit writers defended the media, saying "don't shoot the messenger" or similar comments - as if the media were a reflection of real life. As if we really are under constant attack by pit bulls.

This is, of course, an absolutely absurd way to "prove" something (like pit bull attacks) happens all the time. Stories in the media are nowhere near an accurate cross-section of our nation's daily events. News reports are overwhelmingly sensational. They are designed to grab our attention with quick sound bites and flashes of video. They are supposed to stir our emotions. What stories do we see on the news? Murdered children, gun violence, horrific accidents, scary new illnesses, drugs, legal wranglings, and angry people. Is this really "normal"? Are we really constantly surrounded by misery and death? I don't know about you, but my life is pretty calm and boring most of the time. Certainly nothing like what you see in the news. The media does its best to weed out only the most exciting, most interesting, most juicy pieces of abnormal behavior.

So what do we really see in the news? We see unusual events - events that will provoke an emotional reaction from viewers. Does a dog attack provoke an emotional reaction from viewers? Sometimes. If it's bloody enough and a child is involved, probably so. Does a pit bull attack provoke a reaction from viewers? You betcha! And it doesn't even have to be very bloody or involve children. This has become clear to me as I struggle to keep tabs on media articles containing the words "pit bull". Many of the articles I find are not even dramatic or interesting if you replace the words "pit bull" with that of another breed. I have found articles reporting pit bull breeding (oh horror), loose pit bulls (gasp), and a pit bull that chased a cat under a car (dear god, no). Imagine reading about poodle breeding (huh?), loose Golden Retrievers (cute!), and a Dalmatian that chased a cat under a car (typical dog, right?).

The mere words "pit bull" create an immediate emotional response - usually fear, followed closely by anger - in most people. This is exactly what the media is looking for. Key words, triggers - things that draw an audience to them. The media churns out article after article about pit bull attacks because audiences eat them up. Is the media making up all these stories? Hardly. Pit bull attacks happen, and in some cases they are extremely severe. But the media does show a distinct lack of interest in coverage of dog attacks committed by non-pit bull dogs. Compare the deadly attack on Nicholas Faibish by his family's two pit bulls (CA) with the fatal attack on Kate Lynn-Logel by her family's two Alaskan Malamutes (CO). The setup was almost exactly the same - a young child left alone with two large dogs, resulting in a bloody death. The pit bull attack story was on the front page of the CA papers for months, made the national news for weeks, and was resurrected every time the legislature's BSL activities were reported on (BSL prompted by the pit bull attack, incidentally). The Alaskan Malamute mauling ran in the local CO news for one or two days and then vanished without a trace. Why such a difference in treatment?

The liklihood of being killed or injured by an object - its relative danger - is not dictated by how many news articles it appears in. If this were the case, why is it so difficult to find news articles on the dangers of peanuts? More people are killed by peanuts than by pit bulls (or any type of dog) each year. Yet searching media reports for "death by peanut" proves to be a waste of time. Why? Because the word "peanut" does not strike fear into the hearts of readers. There's no shock, no anger, no hatred, no blood, no betrayal, no screaming. Only another silent death by allergic reaction.

Clearly, using the news to prove a breed's relative danger is unscientific, to say the least. In order to determine whether a particular breed is more or less dangerous than another, we have to use statistics gleaned from comprehensive scientific studies. Currently, I know of no such studies. Even the famous oft-abused, flawed CDC fatal dog attack study can not be used to determine a breed's relative danger, as the authors themselves pointed out.

How do you scientifically determine whether a dog breed is more or less dangerous than other breeds? First, remember that a dog's breed has to do with a dog's genes, not its environment or its upbringing. Therefore, all dogs in a test group must be raised and trained in exactly the same way, in exactly the same environment. This will isolate the dogs' differences in temperament to the genetics (i.e. breed) only, without environmental influences. Next, of course, we will need to make sure our test dogs are 1) purebred, 2) accurate representatives of the breed (did not come from breeding stock that was somehow tempermentally flawed), and 3) of a reasonable, meaningful population size (in other words, 2 or 3 test dogs per breed will not cut it).

Now, assuming all of our test dogs have met this nearly impossible criteria, we must now start pushing their buttons to see where they start to crack. If the dogs have all been raised and trained the same, and they are all being provoked in the same manner under the same circumstances, then presumably their behaviors will be dictated primarily by their genetics. I would imagine that this would give us data about which breeds would be "more likely to bite" than others.

This still does not tell us about a breed's relative danger. Some people have asserted that large-breed dogs are capable of doing more damage than small-breed dogs simply by virtue of their weight, or muscle mass, or head size, etc., etc. The ability to do more damage translates to higher danger. And yet, I would argue that a dog's size makes little difference in the face of their attitude. A highly aggressive Cocker Spaniel can do just as much (or more) damage as a laid-back Rottweiler. If a breed temperament study such as I have described above determines that Cocker Spaniels have a significantly lower bite threshold than Rottweilers (and mind you, this is just conjecture on anyone's part since there has never been a scientifically planned breed temperament study such as what I described), then which is actually more dangerous - a big ol' Rottweiler that probably won't bite or a small Cocker that probably will?

To determine relative danger of a breed, we would need to come up with some sort of algorithm that is based on a combination of both its typical bite threshhold (gathered as I have described above) and its size/strength (and it should be noted that within each breed, individuals vary in size and strength, so this is going to be a very complicated algorithm indeed).

And here is where I come full circle and ask, ultimately, whether this sort of experiment even matters. Sure, we may be able to pinpoint breed-specific bite threshholds. But in the end, in real life, the dogs we face are not just products of their genetics but also of their environment and their training. Our experiments may determine that Dalmatians have low bite threshholds, but outside those experiments, in real life, we may find that Dalmatians are being raised, trained, and socialized by responsible, loving, attentive owners. Meanwhile, the same experiments may indicate that pit bull-type dogs are remarkably tolerant to provocation... but in real life, many pit bulls are being neglected, unsocialized, or even trained to bite.

In real life, you can not isolate genetics from environment. They are intertwined. Even genetically sound dogs can be ruined by bad ownership. Even dogs with flawed genes can be managed responsibly by good owners.

At any rate, my three points here are thus. One, counting media reports of pit bull attacks in order to prove that the pit bull is "more dangerous" is incredibly unscientific. Two, there have been no scientifically valid experiments performed which would prove beyond a doubt whether any particular breed is more or less "dangerous" than another. Three, we should not be hung up on a dog's breed as the sole determinant of its behavior when in fact dog owners themselves have so much power, control, and influence over their dog's actions in the first place.

Having gotten this off my chest, I'm going to bed.


David in San Francisco said...

Good article. I have also been doing research to gear up for a possible fight in San Francisco or California re: BSL Laws. Every reputable animal organization says the same thing; that no breed of dog is more dangerous than another. I agree with this. The media is notorious for blasting Pit Bull attacks all over their headlines and rarely prints a retraction when later the dog is identified as some other breed. The biggest problem that I am having is trying to get breed population. I contacted Karen Delise who wrote 2 books on Pit Bulls and statistics and SHE has had the same problem. Making the public aware of the huge Pit Bull numbers and explaining that is the reason you see Pit Bulls more often in the media would help greatly. Making the media responsible for their reporting and sources would also help the Pit Bull's image. In San Francisco, 50,000 of the 120,000 dogs are Pit Bulls. We truly need more positive images of Pit Bulls out there or at least have accurate and reliable data to refute the PRO-BSL groups.

David in San Francisco

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree, but the pit bull is a loaded weapon that their owners can't even contain when attacking another animal or human being. I am sick and tired of hearing the comparisons made between smaller dogs and this dangerous breed when it comes to attacks. Bottom line: A toy poodle on its worst day could never do damage compared to a pit bull under any circumstances. Try your argument with the parent of a child mauled to death by this dangerous breed. I am sure if you investigate injuries as result of a mauling, you will never find one death resulting from a small breed dog. Plenty of small dogs are abused, not fed and live in deplorable conditions, but I have yet to hear just once, about attacks so vicious as those of the pit bulls. I have the right to walk the streets without fear of these animals, yet I have to think twice knowing their owners can't even contain them. I will never and have never owned any dog that has potential to kill. These dogs should be banned.

happypitbull said...

In reply to anonymous... Wow, go do a little research. You say: "I am sure if you investigate injuries as result of a mauling, you will never find one death resulting from a small breed dog."

I'm just curious - are you serious?So you haven't "heard" of small dogs committing vicious attacks? Maybe that's because you haven't been listening.

Just off the top of my head I know that a Pomeranian killed a child. Is that small enough for you? Wait, let me pull out the fatal attack statistics. Here it is: Pomeranian X, Oct. 2000, California, attacked and killed a 6 week old female baby. Let's see, is a Dachshund small? Oct 1979, a Dachshund killed a 14-day-old baby. Sept 1974, a Dachshund killed a 7 month old baby. How 'bout a Westie? That's a small dog. May 1997, killed a 75 year old woman in MA. What about in 1981, when an elderly woman was killed by 6 Dachshund/Terrier/Beagle dogs?

I wonder what dog(s) you own. Because despite your assertion that you will never and have never owned a dog that could kill, unless your dogs have had all their teeth pulled out and their legs chopped off, you're lying. All dogs can kill. Many so-called "family" breed dogs have killed, including Labs, Golden Retrievers, an Irish Setter, and a Yorkie. If you fail to acknowledge the danger inherent in all dogs, then you are only setting yourself up for tragedy, and I'm afraid I can't sympathize with people who are blinded by fear and ignorance.

And of course, I'm completely ignoring the 71 fatal attacks by mixed breed dogs and 15 attacks by unknown breeds. It's hard to say whether these are small or large dogs.

And I'm also ignoring non-fatal attacks by small dogs. Unfortunately, nobody tracks these incidents consistently, so we really don't know how many small dogs have seriously injured people.

Why don't I conclude with an excellent quote by a real live researcher?

"A fatal attack is always the culmination of past and present events that include: inherited and learned behaviors, genetics, breeding, socialization, function of the dog, physical condition and size of dog, reproductive status of dog, individual temperament, environmental stresses, owner responsibility, victim behavior, victim size and physical condition, timing and misfortune." - Karen Delise

That goes for non-fatal attacks too. So many elements go into a fatal attack, yet you would prefer to cover your ears and hum a little tune.

I'm not even going to bother picking apart the rest of your "points." You take one or two isolated experiences and news-media anecdotes and paint hundreds of thousands of dogs and their owners with your brush of ignorance. I'm sorry, but I can't sympathize with a close-minded individual who has obviously passed on many opportunities to learn, grow, and move past your fears.

Anonymous said...

I don't care how nice your pit bulls are. I care that it has characterists of all breeds of dog, and more broadly characteristics of 'animals'.

Animals experience fear, frustration, danger. Animals have the practical sense of self preservation, and with a sense of allegiance (that we tend to think is sweet),
there is a sense of proteccting the pack.

This all being said, all animals, includiing chipmunks bunny wabbits and golden retievers and pit bulls are capable of attacking, or at least defending themselves out of whatever real emotion they are feeling.

Just I don't care if your pit bulls are nice, I don't care what the likelihood is compared to other breeds that he may attack. The fact is, if he attacks, the threat of injury or death to my attacked child is far greater than from the attack of a bunny wabbit or Golden Retriever. Period.
If I lived next door to you, I would do all I could to
keep your sweet dogs away from my kids.

happypitbull said...

In reply to anonymous (the same anonymous that posted earlier?):
You are correct that dogs are animals, and behave like animals. They are all capable of attacking. Responsible people therefore take care to interact with and manage animals in a safe and humane manner to ensure the safety of the handler, the animal, and the public.

However, you assert that a pit bull will do more damage than a Golden Retriever (I'm not even going to touch the bunny thing, though it's begging for a Monty Python reference). To me, this basically proves you haven't done any research about dog bites or attacks.

Many factors influence the severity of a dog bite: the size of the dog versus the victim, the dog's prior training and experiences, the victim's behavior (i.e. twisting or pulling to get away), the location of the bite, the dog's motivation for biting, and so forth. A frightened pit bull that nips an adult stranger on the hand is going to do much less damage than a territorial Labrador Retriever that bites a child's face.

Golden Retrievers have killed, and mauled, and their bites and attacks certainly do require stitches and even plastic surgery (world's first face transplant was due to injuries caused by a Lab). To deny that all breeds of dogs are capable of such attacks, given the "right" circumstances, is to put your children, and the public, in danger. I certainly fear for the children of a parent who would be in such denial.

It's a shame that you would teach your children unnecessary prejudice and fear; I think that's selfish of you. But as a child who was, myself, told by my parents that dogs were all disgusting, hairy, scary, dangerous animals, I grew up, educated myself, and even taught my parents a thing or two about their misperceptions (such as my mom, who swore my pit bulls would kill me... and now brings them Christmas presents and calls them her "grandbabies").

Anyway, seeing as how my dogs are indoor dogs, and seeing as how they are never outside unmonitored, and seeing as how my yard has a fence around it, it's a little bizarre to hear you declare that you would keep your kids away from my dogs... Your kids would literally have to break into my house to get anywhere near my dogs. Is that something your kids often do?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: You truly ARE VERY IGNORANT and STUPID! But, ok, let's say pit bulls were to be BANNED forever, EXTINCT, WHATEVER. Guess what, fool? Dogs will still kill people! I was a police officer for 8 years and now work at an animal control facility. I know the statistics from having DEALT WITHT THEM MYSELF! How bout you, do you just get your info from "sensational news coverage?"

I've seen SERIOUS dog attacks, even fatalities. No, they were not all pitbulls. In fact, I think I could comfortably say pits only made up a SMALL percentage, if even half. I've seen more small dogs being quarantined for biting than large dogs (or pit bulls). Yorkies, dachunds, pomeranians, chihuahuas, poodles,shizhus,lasa apsos, cocker spaniels, westies, scotties, silky terriers, rat terriers, skye terriers, fox terriers, cairn terriers, do I need to continue? In my experience I have seen EVERY SINGLE FUCKING BREED end up in quarantine. Yeah, you heard me :EVERY SINGLE BREED. As for big dogs, from my experience, the most common ones were Rottweilers, followed by German sheppards. Even "gentle giants" (what ignorant people like you may call them)like Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Mastiffs. Also I've seen my fair share of Dobermans, Chows, Dalmations, Akitas, Labs, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Golden Retrievers, Chesabeake Bay Retrievers, being quarantined also.

I'm not going to disagree with you that a pit bull can do a lot of severe damage, including death. But guess what, you damn idiot:EVERY SINGLE BREED MENTIONED ABOVE CAN AND HAS ALSO DONE THE SAME THINGS. They just don't sensationalize it in the media like pit bulls do.
Another thing, most pits I've seen in general as well as in the shelter weigh probably anywhere between 40-70bs, with the average around 50. Not what I would consider a huge dog. If you think a 285lb mastiff is any less dangerous that a 50 pound pit, something is wrong with you (the photos animal control took looked like a lion's kill)If you think a 270 lb St Bernard (who ripped open his owner's stomach) is safer than a 50 lb pit, again something is wrong with you. AND I can also honestly say some of the most vicious dogs I came across were NOT pits! Have you ever heard of "backyard breeding" Let me explain it to you. People who breed for the sole purpose of making greedy profits. (and EVERY breed has thousands of "backyard breeders") They don't give a damn about the health of the animal. They don't give a damn about breeding between mother and son dogs, or father and daughter or brother and sister. The result is often a retarded offspring with severe physical or mental problems, sometimes even DERANGED and VIOLENTLY DANGEROUS. Then they continue to breed this offspring,do you get it? I'll never forget "Rusty" Beautiful Chesapeake Bay Retriever. But he was like a lion that escaped from the zoo (which by the way is a reality that happens all the time; I don't see you insisting they be destroyed. It's society's responsibility to protect ourselves from dangerous animals. It's their world too). It took several employees JUST TO HUMANELY EUTHANIZE Rusty. I'd never been so scared in my life. Why was he brought in? Rusty's owner said the dog nearly killed his 6 year old son, after already seriously mauling his wife. He'd been quaranitined before. The owner finally realized the next time might be a fatality.

Then there were the two rottweilers that killed a yorkie on the beach. That yorkie could have EASILY been an infant. These rotties were wonderful with the owner. Loyal, very well taken care of. But obviously not socialized or responsibly looked after. Do you think the rotties said to each other, "oh,look. It's a yorkie.We hate yorkies, Let's kill it." No, they said, "Look, it's small, making a lot of noise, and running away. Let's kill it." Hello! Infants/children are small, make a lot of noise, and will run if scared.

Then there was the "pure bred" German Sheppard that was confiscated by Animal Control Officers. Obviously neglected, starved, un-socialized. We wanted to help, to make him come around and learn to trust people. But sometimes they're beyond help and understanding. That sheppard...he bit an employee's boot, breaking through tough leather, puncturing his foot. It took at least 8 staff and animal control officers to make that dog release his vicious hold. And the poor thing never got over his food aggression. Up to the last minute, as I led him to "the room" on a ketch pole, I let him take his pig ear. It was the last thing I was able to give him to show I cared. I let him chew away at it until the light left his eyes. But I knew it was the right thing. "Scamp" was no longer a danger to anybody.

The sad thing is, pits are MORE LIKELY to fall into the wrong hands. You don't see "poodles bred for fighting" or even "Great Danes bred for fighting" But AS WITH ANY DOG/BREED, IF GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCE, there is potential for DANGER. And if pits were completely wiped out (which will never happen because you can't stop people from going around the system and doing illegal things), they'll just go back to making the Rotties or Dobies the sensational "killers" .

EVERY single dog that attacked had one thing in common:owner irresponsibility/neglect/abuse. And the majority of the victims were children. Not only because they were smaller targets and obviously at risk of more injury, but also because children innocently provoke these dogs, because of ADULT IRRESPONSIBILITY. If somebody jabbed a pen in your eye, don't you think you would bite? If somebody kicked you in your ribs, punched your face, bit your stomach, what would you do? This is what unsupervised children do to dogs. Not only two years ago, a two year old child was fatally mauled by the family's two pit bulls. For one, neighbors said the dogs were CONSTANTLY neglected outside, that the owners were constantly into drugs and alcohol, had existing criminal records, AND left the child ALONE IN THE HOUSE with the dogs, which had just had a litter of puppies.(the only reason why they were brought inside the house) Many dogs are SWEET until it comes to protecting their young. Which is probably what happened. Another innocent child's life lost, because of the fucking parents, not because of the dogs. And sadly, many who hold the same view as myself also see the dogs as victims themselves. These dogs were born innocent, but conditioned and forced into an environment that CREATED potential for aggression.

So, anonymous, the sweet loving dogs you have, whatever they may be: guess what, if they were starved, beat, encouraged to attack, and deprived of food,water, shelter, and socialization, they're either going to turn vicious or bite out of fear. There are very few who somehow find a way to forgive mankind and learn to trust, and it is the most heartwarming feeling to see such an animal begin a new leash in life.

Some of the sweetest, smartest, most loving and loyal dogs are pits. Some, just like any other dog, save their owners from fires, bear attacks, etc. (but you don't hear about that in the news, just the labs get reported) Of course you wouldn't know that. But then again too, even with Rotties having the highest statistics on biting, I've seen some of the sweetest rotties too. And Dobies, and Danes. I hold no prejudice WHATSOEVER against any breed, and you're stupid if YOU DO. You may come across a loose Golden Retriever some day. You better think twice before thinking, "oh, how cute. Come here, baby."

I have fostered MANY pitbulls just by the mere fact that they are diffficult to get adopted BECAUSE OF IGNORANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU. These dogs have been around my two small terriers, two cats, a bird, a hamster, and a child...with PLEASANT RESULTS. I'm not stupid. I know the warning signs and the environment certain "biting dogs" come from that make them a danger, and would never risk taking them home. Many pitbulls (as well as rotties, dobies, etc are dumped at the shelter or turned loose in the street BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO SWEET AND LOVING. Yeah, get that. People wanting to get vicious animals and instead get attacked with slobbery kisses.

In fact, both my 20lb TERRIERS had poor temperament because of horrible abuse and neglect. Luckily, I worked at the shelter and had the opportuntiy to responsibly work with them and take them home, where they have been reformed. But I know for a FACT that had I been irresponsible at the time they were suffering from an anquished mental and physical state, they could have KILLED. Don't laugh. My westie was so emaciated and seriously food aggressive (rightfully so). You think if a baby would have crawled next to his food bowl, he would just give a pleasant warning growl? No. My little girl terrier had to be pulled out of a empty apartment (where she was abandoned, freezing, terrified, with no food and water) with a ketch pole, because as the animal control officer said, "she was trying to kill me"

Yet, we laugh when little dogs try to "kill". Do you think it's funny when they actually do? Like the Pom that killed the 6 week old baby. Or the westie that killed the elderly woman. I could go on for pages.

Do your research before being "pit racist" Kind of an odd comparison, but did you know that the majority of people in prison (especially for serious crimes)are men? (although females are increasingly rising) Are you going to fear all men? Are you going to assume as soon as you see a male that he is going to murder, rape, rob, or beat you? So can a woman. So can a child. So can an elderly. So can a black person, an asian, a hispanic, or a white person.

Do your damn research before putting out your own ASSUMPTIONS. Maybe you SHOULD adopt a pit. It's like SPCA states: Don't believe the bull. Adopt a bull.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous commenting on how "dangerous" pit bulls are is probably intimidated easily and believes everything they hear. This summer I was attacked by a german shepherd/retriever mix and he almost ripped my hand off...I have 2 pit bulls and have never experienced an ounce of aggression toward my family or myself, and neither have my neighbors. Your lack of knowledge shocks me and quite frankly pisses me off. Next time you would like to post a comment about how dangerous pit bulls are, go do so research.

Anonymous said...

Ok first I'll try and keep this short and to the point. Second please e-mail me your responses as I am looking to get a pitbull and would love all feedback.

Ok Now I am speaking from experience I have been attacked by 3 dogs and my brother one when we were children. What where they? the first dog I got attacked by was a mutt, now he did no damage as I was tangled in his rope and the owner got to him in time, but he snapped his rope to get me when I was playing in a neighbor kids lawn 300ft away I did not even know he was there and he came for me what the hell is that?

The second one was a pitbull I provoked him as a 6 year old wanna be bad ass I kicked him (yes cruel and mean)it was stupid, but he did nothing so I grabbed him aroung the neck he then pulled away. Next I went in for more and before I got to close he barked and nipped he did not hurt bad but I mean if it was a person I think it would have done the same thing right.

The third dog was my next door neighbors dog it was I think a spaniel not sure long haired dog I thought though. I just went in to let him smell my hand and he bit it.

My brother was walking home from school one day and a German Shepard wanted attention so he ran over and tackled my bro nothing but scared him, but when your a kid that can scare the shit outta ya.

So I guess the point to my stories are this any dog will attack and the only constant thing I see is that the owner is not around so whose fault is it?

12345audrey said...

I say shut up to everyone who thinks they can say shit about pit bulls you don't hear anyone complaining about us humans who are the most deadliest animals out there just cause they walk on four legs doesn't mean they are the most dangerous things out there. god put them on earth for a special reason cause they have a right to live just as well as you do. I am a vet and i have seen so many dangerous things so just shut the hell up!!!

Anonymous said...

Cats FTW!!!

Anonymous said...

If what I say will encourage even one person out there to adopt a pit, then I will have accomplished what I mean to.
I adopted a pit from my local shelter, and knew exactly what I was getting into. She was about a year old at the time, and they had no background on her at all. I had her spayed before taking her home, and I have had her for a year and a half now. She is the most caring and intuitive animal I have ever seen in my life, and I'm not exaggerating. Not one single person approaches her without becoming her new friend. She would give you her favorite toy or her bowl of food if it meant a belly rub for her. She is gentle and attentive with small children, small dogs, and cats. The most damage she has ever done was when she was surprised by the vacuum and hit her head on the door, giving herself a black eye.
For a large breed, in my experience, pits are one of the more personable breeds. There is a golden retriever that lives down the street that comes on my lawn and growls at me and shits on my grass at least once a week.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against pit bulls. As a kid, I grew up with pits next door. Sweetest dogs ever born. Wonderful owners. Then I grew up, got married, had a baby & moved into an apartment building that bans large dogs. Specifically, pit bulls, akitas, german shepherds, rotties, that sort. My new neighbor moved in with a 9 month old female pit. The owner swore she was sweet as can be. They've been here 2 months now. This pit constantly breaks free of her chain in the back yard. Has attacked both me and my husband, and 3 other neighbors. (Meaning, biting, tackling, scratching) One neighbor ended up with 5 staples on his leg. She growls at anyone who approaches their home. She was not raised properly, is very aggressive, and if it gives you any idea about her owners, they named her "Felony". They have been warned several times to get the dog out, to no avail. Animal control has been attacked. Was a small young female, ended up with a few lacerations and bruises. Now the owners are protesting and have a lawsuit going. This dog is not a perfectly bred sweetie like the pits I've known. This is a monster. Raised and treated horribly.

IndestructibleLioness said...

I agree with David in San Francisco. Another thing, the more dogs of a certain breed in an area mean the chance of being bitten by one of those breeds goes up. If there were only Labs in the wolrd some would be nice some would be mean, if there were o nly Chihuahuas in the world some would be nice some would be mean, if there were only Pit Bulls some would be nice some would be mean and if their were only Great Danes some would be nice some would be mean. If a person on control their dog that dog won't be a problem no matter what breed. If someone cannot control their dog the dog will be a problem no matter what breed.

Also haven't a few bunny wabbits killed cats before?

Krista McClung said...

When I was a child, I was attached by a Chow. For no reason at all. I was actually just watching TV on the floor. The dog circled me a couple times, then attacked. After this incident, even though I always loved dogs, I was also slightly afraid to get too close to any dogs. Especially the more stereotypically "dangerous" ones. As I got older, I met a friend who owned an loved several pit bulls. These dogs were the biggest babies I have ever met. They would never even harm a fly. This encouraged me to save my own pit bull. Petey, named after the pit bull on Little Rascals, is the most caring dog I've ever had. He LOVES my cat, and my other dog, Buddy, who isn't the friendliest with other dogs. Petey sleeps in bed with me, he goes everywhere with me. He loves other and people. Although occasionally afraid of butterflies.

My point of this story is other dog breeds are justas dangerous as Pit Bulls. But raised right in loving homes, you will have a life-long friend.