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It happened again: another story on TV about the evil pitbull who mauled a lady,  A scarey, ugly incident followed by cries for a breed ban. Pit bulls are dangerous, filled with rage toward people, on a hair trigger for random violence toward the respectable and the innocent!

Kind of reminds me of something...hhmmm, what is it?

Oh yeah. Willie Horton.  A bad black man who loomed up through the TV into the living rooms of white voters, triggering their unspoken fear of the Other...

This post is about our culture’s fear based narrative about pitbulls and how that narrative grew out of our culture's fear narrative about low income people in general and black men in particlular.. I posted this once on Street Profits and I’m posting it here now because of the recent discussion of a dog for the Obama girls got me thinking about how people but cultural constructs onto others. For many years the bogeyman of America was the black man: presumed to be sexually agressive, presumed to be full of rage. Demonized.

And now it is a dog that has been demonized. And dogs can't defend themselves.

The term "pitbull" is commonly used to refer to three separate breeds, breed mixes, and dogs with some of the physical features of the three breeds.  In other words, its an umbrella term which is used to refer to any medium sized smooth coated stocky dog with floppy ears.

The American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are closely related but recognized as separate breeds.  All three breeds are smooth coated, stocky, strong dogs with blocky heads and floppy ears.  All have the terrier heritage: bred for generations to hunt vermin, which, in the terrier mind, means anything small that scurries away.  All three breeds have a  tendency toward aggression  toward other dogs.  And all are highly people social, bred to be obedient people pleasers.  

The breeds originated in England  in the mid nineteenth century when bull baiting became illegal.  Dogfighting was developed as a replacement "sport"  and dogs were bred to be fighters. The original pitbulls were bulldog/terrier crosses.  They very quickly became popular dogs for all kinds of purposes: farm dogs, pets, watch dogs, etc.  In the mid-1800’s these small, tough, smart dogs came to America where they  became the stereotypical family dog.  Dog fighting continued on the fringes of society but the "pit bulls" were accepted everywhere.

Hellen Keller had a pit bull. Teddy Roosevelt had one in the White House.  By the nineteen thirties pits were America’s family dog: three times on the cover of Life magazine, used in military recruitment posters, used in advertisements (the RCA puppy is a pit) and featured in family entertainment (Pete the Pup of the Little Rascals was a pit).

Why were they so popular?  The overriding breed characteristic of all three "pitbull" breeds is that they are highly people social and highly trainable.  They love people and they want to please so they become the dog their person wants them to be.  They make excellent service dogs, drug and bomb sniffing dogs, excel at agility training, and are affectionate, well behaved family pets.  For example: Wiggles, of the Washington State Patrol, who was saved from a kill shelter and now sniffs containers for bombs on the docks of Seattle.

Remember  the pitbulls rescued from Micheal Vick? Of the forty plus dogs rescued from his dog fighting kennel only one had to be euthanized. Please read this article:

An underdog’s second chance
Saved from Michael Vick’s property By Cheryl Wittenauer
Associated Press Writer
updated 10:58 a.m. PT, Sun., Jan. 27, 2008
His back resting comfortably against her chest, Hector nestles his massive canine head into Leslie Nuccio’s shoulder, high-fiving pit bull paws against human hands.
The big dog — 52 pounds — is social, people-focused, happy now, it seems, wearing a rhinestone collar in his new home in sunny California.
But as Hector sits up, deep scars stand out on his chest, and his eyes are imploring.

"I wish he could let us know what happened to him," says Nuccio, the big tan dog’s foster mother.
Hector ought to be dead, she knows — killed in one of his staged fights, or executed for not being "game" enough, not winning, or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as "kennel trash," unsuited to any kind of normal life.

Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet.
After the hell of a fighting ring, he has reached a heaven of sorts: saved by a series of unlikely breaks, transported thousands of miles, along with other dogs rescued with him, by devoted strangers, and now nurtured by Nuccio, her roommate, Danielle White, and their three other dogs.

snip
Inside Vick's dogfighting operation
Authorities descending last year on 1915 Moonlight Road in Smithfield, Va., found where Vick, the former NFL quarterback, and others staged pit bull fights in covered sheds, tested the animals’ fighting prowess and destroyed and disposed of dogs that weren’t good fighters.
snip
Officers who carried out the raid found dogs, some injured and scarred, chained to buried car axles. Forensic experts discovered remains of dogs that had been shot with a .22 caliber pistol, electrocuted, drowned, hanged or slammed to the ground for lacking a desire to fight.
A bewildered Hector and more than 50 other American Pit Bull Terriers or pit bull mixes were gathered up. So were "parting sticks" used to open fighting dogs’ mouths, treadmills to condition them, and a "rape stand" used to restrain female dogs that did not submit willingly to breeding.
The dogs, held as evidence in the criminal prosecutions, were taken to a half dozen city and county pounds and shelters in Virginia.
Hector was bunked in the Hanover pound in a cage below a dog named Uba who was smaller and more clearly showing anxiety.
Uba flattened on all fours when Tim Racer, an evaluator on a team assembled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, arrived at his cage.
"Are you going to kill me now?" was the message another evaluator, Donna Reynolds, read in Uba’s eyes.
The black-and-white dog tried to wriggle away once out of the cage, but he came around after a while. He wagged his tail when the team showed him a 4-foot doll, to test his response to children. He spun around and got into a play position when they brought out a dog.
"This is the big secret. Most of them were dog-tolerant to dog-social. It was completely opposite of what we were led to believe," Reynolds said.
How much to trust the capacity of fighting dogs to have a new life as pets or working dogs in law enforcement or therapy settings is an issue that has divided animal advocates; some believe most such animals should be put down as a precaution, while others say they must be evaluated individually. One dog seized at Bad Newz was euthanized as too aggressive, but the others, four dozen plus in all, have had different fates.
Nearly half have been sent to a Utah sanctuary, Best Friends Animal Society, where handlers will work with them. None showed human aggression and many have potential for adoption someday. Others, evaluated as being immediate candidates for foster care and eventual adoption, went to several other groups.

Pitbulls are people social. This cannot be emphasized enough; they have been bred for generations to be obedient people pleasers. Think about it: if you were going to bred a dog to be strong, have a hard bite, and be a determined fighter of dogs, would you want the dog to be aggressive toward humans? Of course not. You wouldn’t want that bite to be turned on you! The three pit breeds have been bred specifically to NOT be aggressive to people so they would be easy to control during the excitement of a fight.

In fact, according to the American Temperament Test results, pits are as people social as golden retrievers.

Ceasar Millan’s best behaved dog, Daddy, is a pit.

So what happened? How did America’s family dog become the evil monster of TV news broadcasts?  Partly because, as in many media myths, there is a little truth: pitbulls are the number two dog named as the biter in dog bite incidents that are serious enough to require some kind of medical treatment. (Mix breed is number one).

How come a people social dog is responsible for so much biting and how come the other breeds in the top ten get no bad publicity?

Let’s take the first half of that question first. According to the Humane Society there is no such thing as a biting breed of dog but there is a certain type of person whose dog will bite. That type of person is usually male  and has an unnuetered male dog that lives on the chain in the yard and is either ignored or socialized to be "a watch dog."  It doesn’t matter what breed the dog is: a dog that is treated that way--neglected, lonely, scared--will bite strangers that come into its territory and, if it gets loose, will bite strangers outside its territory.  Unfortunately for pitbulls  they are more likely than other breeds--say standard poodles--to be treated that way: hence biting behavior from a people social breed.

Also there are a lot of pitbulls. Pits are the number one backyard breeder dog.  There are an estimated eight million pits in the US.  Why is it a surprise that the most common dog shows up as the second most common biter?  The statistic that matters isn’t the raw totals; it’s the proportion. And the proportion of pits that bite people is smaller than the proportion of Great Danes that do.

Besides, hardly anyone can define what a pit is.  The term has become so general that it gets applied to any dog that isn’t clearly some other breed.  One of the problems with breed ban legislation is that the label "pitbull" gets slapped on any dog that has a smooth coat and floppy ears.  Boxers have been misidentified as pits, for example. A self-fulfilling prophesy is in place. Since pits are assumed to be biters, then, if a dog bites a person, the dog is assumed to be a pit ( unless, of course it is obviously something else).

In real life functional terms a pitbull is a mutt. And smooth coated floppy eared mutts are as common as grass.  

But that isn’t why you and I have the image in our heads of the evil pit that for no reason viciously attacks an innocent person.  That image comes from TV.

As all of us liberals have learned TV "news" isn’t news.  It’s entertainment. The reporters don’t do research. They don’t gather information, and present facts in context, with background and perspective.  They report stories and they choose stories that fit established narratives and discard stories that don’t. The pitbull as evil biter of humans is a well establish narrative, therefore pitbull bite incidents get played up, but other dog bite stories get played down.

There was an excellent example of this out here in Washington this summer.  Two pitbulls running loose (how much do you want to bet they were intact males?) attacked a golden retriever and bit the golden’s people when they tried to defend her.  It was all over TV--nice white couple in their nice white suburb and their nice white suburban dog attacked by evil pit bulls!  Well, the two dogs in question certainly should not have been out on the loose, but the truth is any two  dog aggressive dogs (German shepherds, Rotts, blue heelers...) might have done the same thing.

But the real irony is that this other story did not get on the news: a woman, drunk, tripped over a dog that was chained up on the porch late one night. The dog nearly tore her face off. She had to be airlifted to Seattle by helicopter...spectacular story, right? No. Never made the news. The woman wasn’t white, it wasn’t a suburban neighborhood and the dog was a Great Dane.

So the question is: why has the narrative developed that pits are biters?  It is a recent narrative. Thirty years ago no one thought twice about pits.  

At every  point in the history of our culture there has been a breed of dog that was the dog of choice for the kind of people who shouldn’t have a dog at all; the type of human who wants a dog to enhance masculinity;  in other words the type of owner the Humane Society describes as being the kind who makes a biter out of their dog. In the nineteen seventies the fad was to keep a Dobermann chained up, isolated, lonely, scared, in the back yard.  Then Dobies went out of fashion and Rottweilers became the dog of choice for those who wanted a mean dog in the yard. Now its pitbulls.

Middle class people tend to associate that sort of dog owner, the kind who wants a mean dog, with the poor.  The stereotype is of the mean dog chained up behind the double wide, the mean dog in the back yard of a rental.   Low class people with their low class dogs.  As with most stereotypes there is some truth: low income people are more frequently the targets of crime and have more to fear than suburbanites and have more need of a guard dog.  A dog that barks to warn off intruders can be of real service to a family that lives in a scarey neighborhood.  However a distinction needs to be made between the family that socializes the dog and controls the dog’s behavior so that the dog is only a danger to an intruder and the family that simply chains up the dog in the yard and forgets about it or, worse, actually encourages territoriality.  The problem isn’t the use of a dog as a guard per se and the problem certainly isn’t the income level of the family. The problem is with those families who do not involve the dog in family life and do not show the dog who is welcome on their property and who isn’t.

So Dobies and Rotts were demonized by association with the poor who are demonized as being the types who want their dogs to be mean.  This is how narratives are born: stereotypes, shorthand, assumptions, conventional unwisdoms from shallow misunderstandings.

With pitbulls the guilt by association is even worse: for pits the association is with the poor and with African American men.

Who is the stereotype pit bull owner? African American inner city criminal.  

In a culture that harbors fears of  the angry black man, it’s no surprise that the angry black man’s dog would also be demonized.  And guess what: the narrative about evil pit bulls developed right after rap music and the stereotype of the mean black rapper hit the mass media.  And, as is the case with some stereotypes, there is that little element of truth: pits are the fad dog choice for drug dealers. They are the breed that is exploited by dog fighting rings. They are the dog that is scarred with gang signs, gets ears chopped off to look tough and then used a a propr to make a mean man feel powerful.

But that's abuse. It is not the dog's fault. And, anyway, with about eight million pits in this country it should be obvious that most of them are not biting people just as it should be obvious that most black men are not criminals.

Pitbulls have become the dog equivalent of Willie Horton: a symbol of threat, the dog of the Other, the bogeyman's dog.  

So why did I write all of this? Well not because I think people who fear pitbulls are racists. Racism is, in my opinion at the root of the demonization of pits, (along with class issues) but most people who fear pits do so simply because they saw evil-pit-bites-person the stories on the local TV news. People tend to trust their local news.  Why would anyone think that stories about dog bites would be part of a biased narrative? Even the reporters who report the evil pit stories are probably unaware that they are pushing a narrative that has it's roots in middle class fears of the poor, particlarly the black poor.

I wrote up at the very to[ that I wished the Obama's would adopt a pit. I mean it. If they did they could become spokes persons for the most abused breed in America.  Teddy Roposevelt's dog was the first pit in the White House. If the Obama's brought another to the White House, then maybe pits could be resgtored to their rightful place as America's household mutt. But, bottom line, I hope the Obama's get the dog the girls want.  My real purpose in writing this is to advocate for pits since they acn't advocate for themselves.

The truth is that people have harmed pits more far, far more than pits have harmed people. The Humane Society estimates that only one of every six hundred pits that goes to a shelter gets adopted. The rest are euthanized. Many shelters don’t even bother to list pits --they just take them straight back to the euthanasia room.  As I said before pits are the most common backyard breeder dog. That means that there are far, far too many of them, far too many for good homes but people keep on exploiting them for profit.  Pitbulls on average only live two years.  They are further victimized by breed specific legislation.  And then there is the dog fighting , the neglect, the abuse.

.

I hope that you, dear reader, will fight against breed specific legislation if it rears it’s head in your community. I hope that you will consider making a  donation to a pitbull rescue, and that you might even consider rescuing a pit yourself.  But please, next time you see that evil pitbull story on TV remember that the akita who bit someone did not make the news and that pit who did was probably a victim too.

Originally posted to wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:51 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Depends. (12+ / 0-)

      I have a friend with a two year old squirt and a five year old Pit.  That dog is the most loving thing on the face of the planet.  

      It's almost never the dog, but almost always the owner.

      We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.

      by TheStormofWar on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:57:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Training and common sense (11+ / 0-)

        Sadly lacking in not a few pet owners.

        Hey, President-Elect Obama - don't tell Bush too many of your plans lest he preemptively torpedoes them!

        by PatsBard on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:58:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it would be fair to most terrier (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bustacap, zett

          breeds to put them in the mele of the White House.  There are lots of dogs that are less instinctively wired to pursue and that are more mellow in the midst of a constantly changing environmet.

          I also think that a dog that isn't a genius escape artist would be better in such a public and busy place - most terriers are genius.

      •  Even so, there's a lot of evidence that (5+ / 0-)

        these dogs can abruptly turn their aggressive tendencies on animals and people that they love.

        Proud to be an American, once more.

        by LeanneB on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:59:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which can be true of any breed. (9+ / 0-)

          As far as I'm concerned, breed based assumptions are really no better than race based ones.

          The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions

          by dog lover for obama on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:02:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, yeah, it can happen with any breed. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap, Jane Lew

            However, I prefer to subscribe to the where-there's-smoke-there's-probably-fire attitude.  Why would there be a concerted campaign against a breed of dog?  It just doesn't make sense to consign all reports of pitbull aggression to "breedism."

            Proud to be an American, once more.

            by LeanneB on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:07:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  If you want a dog for hunting, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap, Rosemary, Jane Lew

            I am sure you will agree it is much easier to train one that was bred for it. You want a working dog for a ranch and the choices will be obvious.
            Pits were bred for one thing, and to be shocked, I say shocked, when many many examples of children getting hurt when they got their face too close or made a poor choice of movements is disingenuous. (I have seen it happen)
            Breedism, if that is a word, has no relationship whatsoever to racism, unless you believe some races are bred for certain abilities.  Dogs were bred not only for certain appearances, but certain behaviors.  There is no longer any justification for the original use of these dogs, and I submit there is no place in society for this breed.
            Your dog may never harm a person, but that does not mean you did not take that chance.

            •  Very Strong Statement... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nailbanger, KentuckyKat

              "no place in society for this breed."  I disagree.

              A patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government. Edward Abbey

              by mattwynn on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:42:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just a cursory look at dog homocides (0+ / 0-)

                reveals a pretty devastating pattern.

                If pits were objects instead of dogs, they would already be banned.
                I understand the attachment to a singular dog.  I dont understand the attraction to a breed of dog that was bred to injure and kill. There are many breeds that have the built in desire to please without the risk of  a tragic ending.
                Keep in mind there is in many states a strict liability law that holds the owner responsible for anything the dog does.

            •  Pits were family dogs (0+ / 0-)

              Ever watch little rascals?

              Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

              by bvig on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:12:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Genetics matter. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap, Rosemary, Nailbanger

            If I was looking (as I am) for a dog most likely to find and retrieve upland birds and the occasional duck, I wouldn't choose a chihuahua.

            If, as in the case of pit bulls, generations of dogs have been bred with aggression as a primary characteristic, then the odds of getting a highly aggressive dog go up in that breed.

            Your statement about breed-based and race-based assumptions ignores 10,000 years of selective breeding in canines that has not happened with Homo Sapiens. Today's dog breeds are as specialized, and as artificial, as an Angus cow or a Bantam chicken.

            If you are wondering about the prevalence of a certain trait in a dog breed, look carefully at what that dog was bred to do, and what traits contribute to that purpose.

            --Shannon

            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:00:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agressiveness is, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KentuckyKat

              taught not bred. IMHO

              A patriot must be ready to defend his country against his government. Edward Abbey

              by mattwynn on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:45:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with some of the above (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zett, KentuckyKat

              but you can't judge all dogs of a certain breed or conformation because of the historic nature of the breed.  If you could, your own search would be a simple and quick one, wouldn't it?  Just pick a breed that has been used for birding and viola, you've got yourself a good retriever.  As you undoubtedly know, the search is not so simple.  We are really arguing nature vs nuture.  My contention is simply that you cannot say all "pitbulls" are bad any more than you can say all german shorthairs are going to be good for birding.  Doesn't that make sense?

              The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions

              by dog lover for obama on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:57:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True, but in genetics we're talking odds... (0+ / 0-)

                My odds of getting a dog with a strong prey drive, good nose, and brains are better with a breed designed for what I want it to do, and with proven genetics toward that goal, shown by pedigree.

                If, and I understand this to be true, aggression has been a goal of pit bull breeding programs for many generations, then the odds of a given pit bull being aggressive go up in proportion to the number of the dog's ancestors that showed that trait.

                To the extent that aggression has been a trait that pit bull breeders have bred for, then this is an aggressive breed. Yes, there is variation in any trait, but we are talking about inherited characteristics here, much more than matters of "choice". To whatever extent that word even has meaning as applied to canines, of course. Beware of anthropomorphism... it almost always leads to error.

                --Shannon

                "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                by Leftie Gunner on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:21:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If we really break this down then (0+ / 0-)

                  perhaps we can agree that dog-dog aggression is a problem with the breed but dog-human aggression is much less so (I would argue no more so than other breeds).  In fact, it would be counterproductive to breed those dogs that turned on their handlers.  

                  As for anthropomorphism, it is actually a good thing in some aspects of my profession, but I don't think it's affecting my judgement in this case.

                  The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions

                  by dog lover for obama on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 12:22:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Is aggression seperable as a trait, (0+ / 0-)

                    in the way that you propose? If it is, then it should be possible, albeit more difficult, to control dog/human aggression while preserving dog/dog aggression. If the trait being bred for is simply "aggression", generalized, then it wouldn't work.

                    I do not know which is the true case. There's also the question of the number of breeders willing to do the detailed record-keeping, evaluation of potential breeding stock, and the culling of dogs that showed human aggression that would be required. I have my suspicions, based on statistics cited elsewhere, but I wouldn't call it "knowledge".

                    Note also that I'm not in favor of breed bans. I don't like gun bans, why would I support dog bans? Both are potentially dangerous things. But potential owners should be fully informed. Were I interested in a pit bull, I would select my breeder with great care. More even than I am using in my current search, for a GSP. Because, and tell me if you disagree, the required diligence is greater, due both to the potential consequences and to the odds.

                    --Shannon

                    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                    by Leftie Gunner on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 04:06:08 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree. Breeds have been selectively bred (0+ / 0-)

            for many years, often centuries, to produce breed-specific, detailed characteristics including temperament.

            Breed-based assumptions are valid in the majority of cases. There are always exceptions, of course.

        •  You could say thaht about any breed. (7+ / 0-)

          ANd be equally wrong.  it;s exactlyt the kind of assumptioin that underlies a witch hunt mentallity "They seem nice on the surface but underneath they can't be trusted: with "they" being black men, pit bulls, immigrants, whoever the current target of baseless fears happens to be.

          Second star on the right and straight on til morning

          by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:07:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your own diary underscores that (4+ / 0-)

            this breed has a higher incidence of biting than others.  I don't understand why my attitude toward pitbulls would be taken as evidence of a "witch hunt" mentality.  I know that many people swear by these dogs, and that many owners have raised them without incident.  That doesn't trump the other evidence of them being more dangerous overall, in my view.

            Proud to be an American, once more.

            by LeanneB on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:11:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They don't have a higher incident (4+ / 0-)

              in porportion to their numbers.  Suppose you have five million of breed A.   Ten percent of breed A dogs bite someone: that's fifty thousand bite incidents. Suppose you have one thousand of breed B. One hundred percent of Breed B bites someone. Tthat's One thousand bite incidents. If you get breed A are you more likely to get bit than if you get Breed B?

              Shar peis, in poroportion to their number in our countyr bire far more people than pits.  So do great Danes

              Second star on the right and straight on til morning

              by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:14:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's also been proven that there are many breeds (9+ / 0-)

              which are identified by the public as a "pitbull" when in reality they are just dogs with larger heads and are muscular.  Regardless, in my experience as a veterinarian, there is very little validity in the myth.  As a matter of fact, I'd almost uniformly rather see a "pitbull" than a min-pin or chihuahua.  It all comes down to responsible ownership and training.

              The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions

              by dog lover for obama on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:16:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We currently have (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KentuckyKat

                a dachshund, a Brittany mix and a pit mix, all neutered. The dox is a male, the other two are females. The pit is our son's dog, and she's like the diarist described ... prepared to be aggressive with strange dogs but completely docile and submissive with people. I trust her wholeheartedly around children. My dachshund and my old cranky Brittany (you'd be crabby if you had arthritis in 4 hips too) not so much.

          •  Selective breeding of animals is irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

            to the issue of human stereotyping.  

            Controlled breeding does produce specific, increasingly uniform characteristics in captive animals.

             

        •  Well, there are a lot of people willing to make (4+ / 0-)

          this arguement - evidence, not so much.  The only reason bullies are in trouble is that they are currently a scary status symbol, and this causes them to be popular with people who don't raise them properly, sometimes on purpose.

        •  evidence? (0+ / 0-)

          Where's the evidence that pitbulls are more likely to turn?

          Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

          by bvig on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:11:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If that dog, G-d forbid, goes after that child... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, golconda2

        an excellent case could be made for neglect.

        It's almost never the dog, but almost always the owner.

        Have you ever seen a two year old "owner" with a dog. Two year olds do not know when they are hurting the dog.

      •  sorry-----I know too many incidents where these (5+ / 0-)

        dogs were raised in a loving family, not by some alpha male selling drugs, and one day they turned ----with disastrous results.  
         We had an incident in our area about a year ago---2 young kids going door to door selling candy for their school---in an upper middle class area----2 pitbulls came charging out of the door and tore the kids apart----they have gone through multiple surgeries and will never be at full capacity.  Did damage to all the adults who tried to intervene also.
         I don't trust those dogs----the same story happens over and over with these dogs.

        •  For the sake of argument, let's allow that (3+ / 0-)

          this story is true.  Had those dogs been socialized with children?  Were they fixed?  Given training? Golden retrievers have mauled children too - it just doesn't get publicized.

          •  Believe me, it's true----was a series of reports (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap

            in our paper for weeks.  Owner said they had no indication etc., that the dogs were always well-behaved etc.  The point made was that all dogs will bite if feeling threatened (see Barney), but that pitbulls jaws are so much more powerful than other dogs.  All kinds of adults tried to stop the assault, and no one could pry their jaws off of the kids and they lost parts of arms etc. in the process.  They latched on and wouldn't let go, even when being hit with baseball bats and being hosed with blasts of water.  Police finally had to respond, shot one of the dogs and other was captured and euthanized.

          •  Give me a break. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap, Nailbanger, Jane Lew

            There are plenty of nice dogs who do not need to be fixed or trained in order not to attack people.  Pit bulls are not among them.

            I'd like to see one documented case of a child being mauled or killed out of the blue by a golden retriever, by the way.  Kids may get nipped or bitten by a dog like that, but I have never heard of an actual mauling.

            "If all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future, or you're not ready to articulate it."--John McCain, 2000

            by jenesq on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:58:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The problem in the sory (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zett, nother lurker, KentuckyKat

          you relate is imporper socialization. They dogs were "defending " their territory. The people of the family should have discouraged any aggression toward :outsiders"

          Three was an incident like this in my community, which since the dogs in question were not pits didnot get in the news., The dogs were German shepard and Rott mixes and they tore the hell out of a visitor who came to the fron t door of a house.

          But it didn't make the news.

          Second star on the right and straight on til morning

          by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:35:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So all the invention of the "Labrador Media"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nailbanger

            Seriously?

            I've known some pitbulls and Rottweilers that were hell in wheels toward other animals, but very sweet to humans.  

            I've also known some pitbulls and Rotts (one of each, especially; a pitbull named Vandal and a Rott named Khan) who were two of the scariest dogs I've ever been around, and who acted as if they would eat the face of every person they saw who didn't live at their house.  I used to play guitar in a band with the owner of the Rott and eventually refused to go over to his place to practice because of this dog's behavior.

            Undoubtedly his raising of the animal was a huge contributing factor, but you cannot in all rationality deny that such breeds have a propensity for aggressiveness with an irresponsible owner.  And when you combine an irresponsible owner with a breed apt to bite AND the physical characteristics and instincts that make attacks very dangerous ... you have a potentially deadly combo.

            i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

            by bustacap on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:29:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  disagree (13+ / 0-)

      my pit was the most child-friendly, child-tolerant dog I have ever known...my nephew rode her like a horse, pulled her tail and ears and never drew a single complaint from her.  If people can't or won't take care of an animal properly, then it is dangerous to children...

      •  My father was a general practioner... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bustacap, Nailbanger

        Because of what he saw, he would never have let a child of his around a pit bull.

        If you had ever seen an innocent child torn apart by a pit, you would understand. According to him, the injuries he saw were from trusted pets...

        For him it was not worth the risk.

        •  According to the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KentuckyKat

          national statistics on dog bites someting like seventy percent of the dog bites are children bitten by the family pet.  famiy always say that they love and care properly for their pet.  However the family pet that is mostl likely to bit a child is the one who isn't around the child much: kept mostly in the back yarde on a chain.  The child is perceived as a stgrnger in the dog's territoy.

          Jealous can also be a trigger. Of the dog was an indoor couch dog and feels supplanted by a child, there can be a biting incident.

          It can happen with any breed.

          Second star on the right and straight on til morning

          by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:32:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pit bulls are associated with fatal bites (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bustacap, zett, Nailbanger

            While bites can happen with any breed, pit bulls and pit bull like dogs are more likely to be involved in fatal bites.

            A comprehensive study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the pit bull breeds are the breed most often involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S.A. Out of 238 dog bite deaths for which the breed was known from 1979 to 1998, 66 were caused by pit bull attacks (over 20%), more than any other breed

      •  We found a stray Border Collie mix when my (5+ / 0-)

        daughter was about 4.  When my daughter accidentally hurt her, Tuffy gently took her arm in her mouth and left 4 little bruises.  Just enough to teach the kid a lesson while showing perfect restraint.  That's what a soft mouth is all about.  She was a wonderful, wonderful dog who died of liver cancer when she was just five.  Now my dogs (recued bully mutts) only eat organic food - no melamine for them (I hope).

    •  I disagree. I spent quite a bit of time (8+ / 0-)

      with pitbulls as a kid, and if any kid deserved to be mauled it was me.  These are wonderful, loyal dogs.  They are just very strong with powerful jaws.  It's all about training.

      "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

      by lordcopper on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:06:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree.. (8+ / 0-)

      ....the look in the dog's eyes comes from camera-shyness, not that Mariel is using him as a pillow:
       Photobucket

      "Respect for the rights of others means peace" Benito Juarez

      by drchelo on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:24:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a pitbull (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, zett, el dorado gal, KentuckyKat

      who absolutely loves children.  Its the friendliest, most intelligent dog I have ever had.

      On the other hand, a pitbull is not good to have, when there are other dogs around.  Once they start fighting, they have no problem with killing another dog.

      And don't ever put lipstick on a pitbull.  They turn into right wing hockey moms.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:48:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All I care about is that they get a shelter (7+ / 0-)

    dog and make sure it is neutered or spayed.  Any breed is fine but I prefer a mutt.  Besides, mutts are healthier, as a rule, than purebreds.

    The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions

    by dog lover for obama on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:00:49 PM PST

  •  I thought you were going to say (3+ / 0-)

    "to put lipstick on it."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtEP3ROE4zw&eurl=

    by Jansan on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:01:23 PM PST

  •  Does this look like the face of a killer? (12+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Skunk Dogg

    1983-1995

    For the record, I was 5 and my sister was two when we got him, and he was excellent with us, and our friends.

    "Mr. Naylor, the great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese."

    by Relevant Rhino on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:01:37 PM PST

  •  Had a friend that was bit by a pitbull (6+ / 0-)

    And the owner of the dog never treted the dog badly ot trained it to be agressive. I can see both sides to this debate.

    "There is nothing wrong with America can't be cured by what is right with America" -Bill Clinton

    by SensibleDemocrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:04:20 PM PST

  •  It isn't fair to blame the local news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeanneB

    They are reporting what happens, and you are putting your own spin on it.

    In your diary, you acknowledge that drug dealers, dog-fighters and gangsters use pit-bulls disproportionately to other breeds.

    You acknowledge that "pitbulls are the number two dog named as the biter in dog bite incidents that are serious enough to require some kind of medical treatment."

    Yet when the reporters report these bite incidents, you still accuse them of pushing a racist narrative. What gives?

  •  This is a great and informative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    golconda2

    post, but until the 3 paragraph rule for quoted material is complied with, I can't tip or rec.

    With this breed, it's all about the owner.  The force exerted by the strength of their jaw makes them very high risk if they do bite, so they need to be appropriately socialized, exercised and loved.

    We've got serious work to do. Health care and civil rights for all, please!

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:06:43 PM PST

  •  I wouldn't let one in the house, but (2+ / 0-)

    it might be useful outdoors to keep Dick Cheney from lurking in the Rose Garden.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:07:13 PM PST

  •  Just as an aside (6+ / 0-)

    Michael Vicks is a sick man

    You betcha I'm voting for OBAMA"

    by NYCgrl on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:13:25 PM PST

  •  Our family dog is a Boxer, a muscular breed with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, buddabelly, KentuckyKat

    powerful jaws, and people are frequently afraid of the dog.  He is a wonderful playmate for my young daughters and takes plenty of abuse.  Part of the reason for the fear is that a large number of people don't have experience with dogs.

    "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

    by lordcopper on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:14:31 PM PST

  •  Here's ours (8+ / 0-)

    Saved from the streets by a wonderful rescue outfit, Marley just may be the best dog in the world.

     title=

  •  when I worked as a vet tech (8+ / 0-)

    and in my life as a "civilian" I never came across a pitbull that was people aggressive. Plenty of toy poodles and American Cocker Spaniels that would just as soon bite you as look at you, but not one pitbull.

    I don't believe in breed specific bans, but I sure as hell would like to see a lot of backyard breeders stopped however possible, because most of the snippy ill-tempered dogs I did come across could be chalked up to bad breeding practices and other forms of human stupidity.

    Floccinaucinihilipilification makes antidisestablishmentarianism look like a piker.

    by zett on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:27:40 PM PST

  •  Sorry, the only people who should own (3+ / 0-)

    pit bulls are those who are equiped to train and deal with them properly. I say this as someone who lived next door to people who owned a pit bull who had no idea how to train or control him.

       Just my two cents,
           Heather

    •  I don't think they're for first-time owners (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, zett, BachFan, KentuckyKat

      --I've got dogs and have done a lot of breed rescue; I am a Sheltie person myself but I know a good bit, I think, about bull breeds.  They are wonderful dogs, pitbulls.  They are also more suited to owners who are already dog-savvy.  They are generally good with children, but that does not make them a child's dog.  The adults have to be the dog owners in a home with a pitbull.  I haven't seen anything indicating that either Barack or Michelle Obama are looking to take on that task.  

      Granted, parents will be the owners of any dog that is adopted, but some breeds are more child-handler-appropriate than pitbulls.

      If the Obama girls have their hearts set on a Golden-Doodle (and I oppose the breeding of those dogs on principle, but that's another thread), I kind of doubt that they will be charmed by a pitbull.  That's like someone who wants a St. Bernard and is offered a Dachshund.  Um... no, thanks.  

      I personally think that the haters and race-baiters would have a field day with the presence of a pitbull in the household of the first black First Family.  It would not, IMO, break stereotypes.

      There are a lot of poodle crosses in shelters and rescues and I think that the Obamas will find a suitable dog with very little problem.  

      "It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." (Frank Zappa)

      by cinnamondog on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:39:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KentuckyKat

        many many breeds are not for the first time owner. I volunteer at at no kill rescue shelter, too.  Before I started volunteering I was afraid of all big dogs.  

        As I said at the end of the diary I mostly hope the Obama girls wil get the dog they want, whatever the breed.

        Second star on the right and straight on til morning

        by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:42:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you read about the Peruvian hairless dog (0+ / 0-)

          that's been officially offered to the Obamas from Peru?  

          It's a cute puppy, and said to be very loving and sweet.

          Or do you think the Obamas should get a "real American" dog?  

      •  cinnamondog, I agree with your whole (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KentuckyKat

        post, including the part about pits not being for first timers.

        Floccinaucinihilipilification makes antidisestablishmentarianism look like a piker.

        by zett on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:37:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, the only people who should own (5+ / 0-)

      ANY dogs are those who are equiped to train and deal with them properly.

    •  The only people who should own any dog (6+ / 0-)

      are those who are equipped to train and deal with it properly.

      We could go all night on this thread throwing out anecdotes that say "pits are nice" "no! pits are bad" and nothing will get resolved.  Different people have had different experiences, all valid.

      That said, I worked in animal hospitals for years and I cannot chalk up aggression to breed specifics near as much as I can to people picking the wrong breed for their household situation, not setting rules and boundaries for the dog, and generally not paying attention to the dog - for the big 3. There are other factors, like puppy mills and ignorant backyard breeders who don't care about their breed and are just out to make a quick buck - breeding affects health and temperament.

      It is the people, not the dog, that is the problem most of the time - in my experience.

      Floccinaucinihilipilification makes antidisestablishmentarianism look like a piker.

      by zett on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:50:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stupid idea (5+ / 0-)

    The Obama children's pet is not for making some funky political statement that will not be parsed as anything but the usual stereotype.

    Fuck. Can't they even have a goddamned DOG without people having some fucking political bullshit to inject into their decision? They're giving the country their father for the next (hopefully) eight years. Leave their fucking choice of dog out of it.

    Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law. James Baldwin

    by evilene689 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:37:14 PM PST

  •  I was really disgusted (5+ / 0-)

    with the diary a few days ago that mentioned Standard Poodles and all the comments about how great they are.

    our neighbors have a NASTY Standard Poodle that barks NON-STOP and worse has come after our children on more than one occasion.  This past spring it got away and of course headed straight for our backyard, chased, jumped on top of and bit both of them (ages 7 and 9).  They've been keeping it tied up but it's only a matter of time until it escapes again.  I'm afraid to let my kids alone IN MY OWN YARD.

    admittedly this has been my only encounter w/ the breed and the owners are idiots but I don't honestly think I could own any poodle after the experience

    all the Pitbulls I've ever known (maybe 5 or 6) have been angels...just last weekend in line at the Petco we met a woman w/ a gorgeous brindle Amer. pit girl.  I got the feeling some of the other people in line thought I was nuts letting my kids pet her.  Another woman was afraid to let her little boy near but you could see from the look in this dog's face how much she LOVED children.  

    •  Poodles are herders and need to be corrected if (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kittania, KentuckyKat

      they herd the wrong stuff.  They're usually very smart, though they've gotten inbred in recent years and are susceptible to epilepsy.  Any dog can be a menace if not raised right!

    •  Why haven't you reported them to the authorities? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, kittania

      You could.  Once a dog escapes and bites a kid, the owners are on notice.

      "If all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future, or you're not ready to articulate it."--John McCain, 2000

      by jenesq on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:02:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  tried that (0+ / 0-)

        they are buddies w/ the town dog officer...have lived here for 20+ years we've been here for 3

        I did consult a lawyer and was told about the "one bite rule"...not really a rule but a lawyerly euphemism

        if it happens again there will be no dog anymore...they can move and take their dog or get rid of it in whatever fashion they so choose but we love it here and will not tolerate another "incident"

        You'd think an electric fence would be cheaper and worth the peace of mind

  •  Than oy everyone for the tips pn how to block quo (0+ / 0-)

    quote and link. I have printed out the instructions and will save them.

    I'm afraind to mess with this diary however. I might end up posting the whole thing twice or do some other stupid screwup with it if I try to make chagnes.  

    Second star on the right and straight on til morning

    by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:45:42 PM PST

  •  This whole argument ignores the science (0+ / 0-)

    of selective breeding.  Tt is a FACT that pit bulls were bred to fight.  Once they latch on to a dog or a person, they do not let go.  They were bred to do this, just as retrievers were bred to fetch game and terriers to follow vermin underground.

    Stating facts about a breed is not demonizing it. There are very few people adequately trained to control a pit bull,  or know what to do if their pit latches on to a human or another dog.  THis makes a pit bull a very risky animal to have around other people.    

    Anecdotal evidence about friendly pit bulls is meaningless.  They will be friendly until they feel threatened, and there is no way to predict when that will happen.  

    Yes, there are other aggressive breeds(dobies, rottweilers) bit enough to cause serious injuries to humans.   The crucial difference is that unlike pits, these breeds were not selectively bred to fight to the death.   Most European countries have sensibly banned the ownership and breeding of pit bulls.

    Finally, no dog should be left along with a child.  Childrens' movements are unpredictable and even the most child-friendly breed can perceive a child as a threat.  

    Electing a Republican is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by dotalbon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:49:46 PM PST

    •  Pitbulls were bred to fight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattwynn

      other dogs.  They weren't bred to fight people.

      Also, name me a breed of dog that won't be unfriendly when they feel threatened?

      I think you do have a point about being in a bigger world of hurt if a pit does bite, due to their jaw strength and hanging on.  

      And you are completely right that pits are not for everyone - they are very strong, muscular dogs for one thing. And you are absolutely right that no child should be left alone with a dog (or a cat for that matter) because of their unpredictable movements.

      Floccinaucinihilipilification makes antidisestablishmentarianism look like a piker.

      by zett on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:01:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  very thoughtful and well-informed response (0+ / 0-)

      couldnt agree more but i am more inclined to respond to ignorance with anger which is why i admire somone like BHO so much. I could never act as even-mannered as he does in the face of such nonsense.

    •  It seems to mee that you are ignoring some of the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, mattwynn, KentuckyKat

      the science. The AKA pays for breed testing every year. Year after year pits score the same as golden retrievers. That's data. Pits were bred to fight dogs. they were bred to obey people

      I'm not sure you are correct that "most European countries: have banned the breed, but I haven't researched that. In England there are area bans and congtroversy about that.

      The claim that pits are bred to hang on when they bite is true and their bite can be very bad. However ever "selectively bred to fight to the death" is an over statement. For one thing most pit bull breeding isn;t done for anything except small amounts fo profit for the back yourd breeder,. Tthere isn't any selecting for anything.  The big breeders who have websites and so on don't breed for fighting at all any more because it is illegal. They breed for sgteregnth and obedience. (Which isn't to excuse them for being breeders. I don't approve of the breeding of any dogs.)

      Amnerican Staffordshire terriers are an offshot of the American Pit bullterrier and were bred specifiacllyt to be family pets. That's wjhy the breed was invented in the first place: to break the associatin with fighting.

      Children andn dogs are a bad mix in part because of sixe. A child's face is at the right hieght to be thei first thing a dog sees if the dog is going to bite.

      Second star on the right and straight on til morning

      by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:25:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please show me some data.. (0+ / 0-)

    on how often retrievers, shepherds, and chow chows actually kill people. These dogs are among the most likely to bite, but as for mauling someone to death, it doesn't happen. So you can tell me all you want that chihuahuas bite more, but the truth of the matter is if im viciously attacked by a pomeranian, i can kick it clear over a fence. Pit bulls are more dangerous due to their fatal capabilities. Of course, every dog is different, and every owner plays a role. The problem is we cant babysit the owners, nor can we trust them to train these dogs properly. perhaps we could require special licenses to own certain breeds that would hold people liable and assure they are aware of the potential risks. I must ask this question though, how is this issue any different than gun control? you say its not the dog's fault, or that they arent more dangerous, but that is at best debatable. We can say this as a fact: guns in and of themselves are not capable of harming someone on their own. Yet i can be fairly confident given the nature of this blog site that the same proponents of breed protection here for some reason advocate gun control. If we cannot trust people with potentially dangerous guns, how can we trust them with potentially dangerous dogs without any sort of regulations? My point is, though it may indeed often if not always be the owners fault that does nothing to allay the concerns of those that feel these dogs are dangerous, if for no other reason than we have no way of knowing if their owners are responsible pet owners. Just like decent law-abiding people have to deal with bullshit laws because of irresponsible and or unlawful gun owners, it seems good people must suffer the consequences of ignorant and ill-prepared dog owners. (for the record, i fully support most if not all gun control measures, so im not posting out of spite.)

    •  Let's put your comment into the framiework of a b (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, mattwynn, nother lurker

      breed ban.

      Suppose a certain locality was to put int place a breed ban with the goal ro reducing dog bite incidents. What would be the result?

      Many harmless dogs that had never bitten anyone would be killed. Their people would suffer the loss of a loved pet.  Annd people would stil be bitten but by other breeds.

      So breed bans=stupid. Don't do what they calim to do, cause  needless suffereing.

      There is another appraocj: write laws that traget human behavior. San Francisco for example doesn't ban pit bulls but doesw ban the breeding of pit bulls. Fewer pits means fewer of them in irresponsible homes, fewer as strays, fewer in the dog pound. I don't know if it has translated into fewer dog bites.

      Anther approach: efforts are being made in localities all of the US to ban the practice of keeping dogs outside twentyfour seven: the chianed up back yard dog being the primary biter.  The basic idea is that if [people can't manage to housebrek their dog or otherwise civilize it for living in a home then they probably shouldn't have one.

      The bo9ttom line in my opinion is this: dogs are not inanimate objects. Aslo long as all dogs bite and big dogs do more damgae then little ones and badlyt gtreated or neglected sogs bite mnore thatn well trained ones, then what is the use of banning one breed regarless of gthe individual dog's behavior? It';s cruel and stupid.

      I realize that you did not in your comment advocate a breed ban.  I thought that you sort of implied support for one but I could be misunderstanding you.

      Second star on the right and straight on til morning

      by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:07:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  just throwing out an idea (0+ / 0-)

        that could be applied to pits, but should be applied to all pure breeds, IMO:

        People have to take training, pass a course, and get a license before they could breed pits.  Of course figuring out what the training would involve, who'd do the certificaton, etc. would not be easy...

        Floccinaucinihilipilification makes antidisestablishmentarianism look like a piker.

        by zett on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:23:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  simple, no breeding and a grace period (0+ / 0-)

        10 years later the total ban goes into effect.  

  •  as the owner of a pit bull rottweiler mix (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattwynn, nother lurker, KentuckyKat

    as well as 8 year old twins...

    it is all, ALL, ALL about the owners.

    •  its not ALL ALL about the owners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nailbanger

      this statement is absolutley baseless. is it ALL AL about the parents of children who become violent or murderous? give me a break with the anecdotes. And whether its the owners or the breed is irrelevant. You can have owners that train peaceful tame ligers, therefore they should be permitted <--- B.S.</p>

      •  AS I noted in the diary (0+ / 0-)

        assuming you are interested in facts, year after year according to the temeprment tests funded byt he AKA pits score the same as golden retrievers Are you scared of goldies?

        Second star on the right and straight on til morning

        by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:14:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you ignored my basic premise (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nailbanger

          and it is best illustrated by this question... how many goldies claimed the lives of innocent people this year? or in the last 10? the answer to that question is why i am not in fact scare of goldies. im also not scared of pitbulls if they are leashed and/or i know the dog. the point is you cant know them all!

          •  How many goldies (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KentuckyKat

            are branded with gang signs, trained on live kittens, reward with praise and red meat for biting dogs?

            I actally do know of a goldie who killed a beagle and of a goldie that was turned into a dog rescue for biting a child.

            As for claiming the lives of the innocent..only 2% of the population is bitten by a dog each year, 90% of those bites are treatable at the ER with bandages, 70% are peiople bitten by their own dog and 905 of the remaining bites are people bitten by their neighbor's dog.  The sgtory of the person who is suddenly attacked out of vnop where by dogs is big nesws precisely because it hardly ever happens. Why should millions of innocent dogs who never =bit anyone suffer because  you let yourself get all scared of the outlier incident?

            Second star on the right and straight on til morning

            by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:31:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Golden retrievers look cute (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KentuckyKat

          but they are serious dogs.  Pro trainers, vets, and behaviorists I know all treat them with caution, and consider them at risk of behavior problems including biting.  Yes they are smart, they often look adorable, but they are less tolerant than a lot of breeds and many individuals like to run things.

      •  funny (0+ / 0-)

        give you a break with the anecdotes?
        you appear to be swimming in the wrong diary.

        get off our lawn!

  •  i would also like to add... (0+ / 0-)

    that "playing the race card" about dogs that do indeed kill more people than most or all others in this country is pathetic and dare i say despicable. there are so many worse and more blatant acts of racism and bigotry in this country to be concerned about, yet you choose this one? Truth is, if i see a black man walk down the street with his pitbull (perhaps not even on a leash) i am indeed scared and intimidated; NOT BECAUSE HES BLACK, BUT BECAUSE HE HAS A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS PITBULL WITH HIM. So if we are against pitbull ownership in urban areas, we are racists? As a white person who believes in controlling this breed, i am truly offended by this post

    •  You have no reason to take this personally (0+ / 0-)

      I explained in great detail that my theisis is that the origin of the myth of the evil pit bull comes in part form the link in the public imagination with the myth of the evil black man. Bbut I also stated very clearly that most people get their info about pits form the local news and have no way of knowing that the local news is playing up pit stories annd playing down other storiesbecause of a cultural narrative rather than actual analysis of dog bite incidents in the locality.
      So you are off base on your defensiveness.

      And all big dogs are potentially dangerous in theory. There is not logical reason to reacgt with ore fear to a pit than to a rott, dobie, mastiff, Anatolian shepard, chow, large mutt..

      Second star on the right and straight on til morning

      by wren on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:13:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What happened to the pits' reputation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxcat06, AJ in Camden

    You mention a number of times "the Humane Society."  You might find it interesting to read Vicki Hearne, who set out to find the origin of the pit bull wars, the destruction of the reputation of the dog that was once taken as a symbol for our country.  She laid it at the door of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)--a political organization not to be mistaken for any local humane society or animal shelter.  

    You also imply that aggression is associated with intact males in particular.  Check out the behavioral research of James Sirpell at University of Pennsylvania on the relation of spaying/castration and aggression.  Sirpell found an increase in aggression with castration.  Qualification:  there are a variety of types of aggression, and many of the changes were breed-specific.  Still, Sirpell's work clearly debunks the notion that intact males are more aggressive in general.

  •  I used to be terrified of pit bulls... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett

    then I worked with a wonderful woman who ran a rescue agency for the breed.  At her shelter, at any given time, there were at least 50 dogs.  Some were aggressive, because the had been taken from owners who had trained them to be that way, but for the most part, they were the sweetest dogs I had ever met.  The key to most pit bulls is their desire to please their owners; if an owner wants one to be aggressive, the dog will respond in a like manner, but if an owner takes the time to train the dog to be obedient and well-behaved, that dog will be a loyal and loving dog.  They ones who "turn" are often ones who are left as backyard dogs or who aren't exercised enough.
    I saw an interesting program on Animal Planet about the Vick dogs, and the surprising fact that even most of those were able to be rehabbed.  One is even working as a service dog in hospitals.
    No breed is perfect...I love dogs and have been around them my whole life, and the one dog that ever bit me was a friend's scottie (shades of Barney).  Golden Retrievers, perhaps the sweetest dogs around, can be biters, too.

    No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices...Edward R. Murrow

    by maxcat06 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:12:50 PM PST

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