A “Canine Innocence Project”?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

This article from the animal rights section of the Change.org ring of websites has been making the rounds on dog-related blogs and Twitter feeds. Arguing that many dogs are mistaken for pit bulls in jurisdictions that have banned the much-maligned “breed,” the author calls for state officials to DNA test dogs before euthanizing them.

The argument is that city officials shouldn’t be able to euthanize a dog simply because it “looks like a pit bull,” whatever that means. But the real aim is to undermine breed-specific legislation altogether by imposing what would sound to most like a common-sense requirement that most cities can’t afford to follow.

It’s a cute idea, and I support the ultimate goal, but the scheme requires too much concession to the misguided thinking behind put bull prohibitions. I’ve written about breed-specific bans before, so I’ll save some time with a cut-and-paste:

Bad owners create bad dogs, regardless of the dog’s lineage. Bans on pit bulls don’t prevent dog fighting, nor do they prevent people from raising vicious dogs. They just ensure that dogs fitting the pit bull description will be vicious, because the well-bred lines will be discontinued and good owners will stop raising them. Meanwhile, people who raise dogs for fighting will simply move on to another breed.

Moreover, the term pit bull isn’t really a breed at all. It’s a generic term that can and has been applied to just about any dog with bulldog and/or terrier traits (take the pit bull test here). The American Kennel Club-recognized breed that’s generally associated with the term is the American Staffordshire Terrier. And the vast, vast majority of staffies are harmless (they’re actually considered a child-friendly breed).

In fact, most fighting dogs commonly called pit bulls aren’t bloodlined staffies. Fighting dogs are bred for attributes conducive to fighting, not for pedigree.

Better to impose strict liability on dog owners for any damage their pets do to others or their property.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

76 Responses to “A “Canine Innocence Project”?”

  1. #1 |  Charlie O | 

    I’m curious Radley. Do the localities that pass this legislation actually put the term “pit bull” into their laws? If that’s the case, according to what you wrote, since there is no breed called a “pit bull,” no dog could be euthanized or banned from such legislation. I’d like to see somehow make that fight.

  2. #2 |  Chuchundra | 

    Well, of all the stupid things about breed-specific legislation, one of the most stupid is that the definition of, for example, a Pit Bull is pretty fluid. How much Pit Bull does my dog need to have in him to be considered a banned dog? Full blood? Half? Quarter?

    And, of course, how do you identify such a banned dog? If I get a mixed breed pup from the pound, who is to say what kind of dog it is? Would a genetic test even work? How much identifiable difference is there in the DNA of a Pit Bull and some other similar kinds of dogs?

    Obviously, breed-specific bans are stupid, but I like this as a back way to attack these laws. You want to ban Pit Bulls? Fine, prove that this dog is a Pit Bull.

    The sad thing is that the Pit Bull is a true American breed of dog. Plenty of famous dogs from the movies and TV were Pits. They aren’t rapacious killers. They’re fine, family-friendly dogs.

  3. #3 |  MikeZ | 

    When it comes down to it with the news lately it seems somewhat of a moot point. Somebody calls the cops because your dog barked, and the cops will come down and shoot it for you. Be it a pit bull or a toy poodle its gonna be the same result. I wonder if anywhere where they have these laws they are actually enforced. All they probably do is change the name of the dog in the window of the petshop.

  4. #4 |  SJE | 

    40lb friendly staffie: banned, to be euthanized.
    200lb Cujo-wolf hybrid monster dog: not banned. OK to keep.

  5. #5 |  InMd | 

    The whole nonsense is just an example of legislators reacting to emotional pleas to “do something” instead of logic. I don’t see why it’s so hard to put down vicious dogs who have done something to deservedly be designated as vicious dogs (like attack someone unprovoked). The whole breed specific thing is ridiculous especially when you consider that the breeding of dogs is a man-made manipulation of the species not something that naturally occurs.

  6. #6 |  Dan | 

    I’m confused. There is alot of confusion about what exactly a pit bull is. My vet tells me that my staffie bull terrier is not a pit bull; that would be an american pit bull terrier. Others tell me they’re all pit bulls. I know that different breeding associations have conflicting definitions for these breeds. But I do know that american bull dogs have been considered pit bulls and ,other bull dog breeds as well, in some locations. I guess If you have a bull dog, and the Powers that be ban them, get out of town.

  7. #7 |  bobzbob | 

    “Better to impose strict liability on dog owners for any damage their pets do to others or their property.”

    People who own vicious dogs may not have significant assets or insurance (the problem with strict liability as a deterrent is that it doesn’t work on those with little to lose), So how does a strict liability approach work when compensating a child with a lifetime disfigurement caused by vicious dog whose owner has no significant assets? “Sorry ’bout the face kid, here – have the dog owner’s ’98 pickup – hope that make’s up for it!”

  8. #8 |  bobzbob | 

    “Studies indicate that pit bull-type dogs were involved in approximately a third of human DBRF (i.e., dog bite related fatalities) reported during the 12-year period from 1981 through1992, and Rottweilers were responsible for about half of human DBRF reported during the 4 years from 1993 through 1996….[T]he data indicate that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.” (Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC, Lockwood R. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. JAVMA 2000;217:836-840.) ”

    In other words, one can significantly reduce the danger by eliminating onwership of a small class of dogs with only a slight impairment of freedom to own a dog (you just have to pick another class). The specific problem with pit bull types is that they have very strong jaws that make them more likely to seriously injure when they do bite (and all dogs will in some circumstances).

  9. #9 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    Don’t know much about breed of dog specific bans, but having some sort of rules on what types of animals are allowed to be kept in residential areas doesn’t sound too terrible.

    For example, bans on pigs and chicken (which smell), or bees, seem reasonable to me, as long as the regulating is done at a local level.

  10. #10 |  God's Own Drunk | 

    My 25 lb. wire-hair fox terrier can beat your pit bull.

    Seriously, my dog is an asshole with a Napolean complex and can’t go to the dog park any more because he gets in fights, usually with the biggest dog around. Funny thing is, I’ve never seen him lose a fight, but I’m not willing to wait until a Rotty has enough of his shit and rips his throat out. And I wouldn’t blame the other dog.

    With people though, no sweeter dog have you ever seen.

  11. #11 |  Kristen | 

    Canine DNA testing is also notoriously inaccurate. I have heard of people with purebred dogs from reputable breeder whose DNA testing said their dogs were a mix of completely different breeds.

  12. #12 |  God's Own Drunk | 

    bobzbob-

    The problem is that it is not the breed specifically that is a problem. Bad owners are drawn to certain breeds because they’re seen as “tough” and either don’t train them or purposely train them for aggression. Ban all pits and rotties and those same people will start getting german shepards, or dobermans, or mastifs, etc. Breed bans do not solve any problems

  13. #13 |  RLemburg | 

    @bobzbob
    The problem with banning dog breeds used for dog fighting is that it would simply encourage and then force people who want to fight dogs to use different dogs. There is nothing inherently dangerous about American Pit Bulls or American Staffordshire Terriers or Rottweilers – rather, they are just the breeds that people who want to train fighting dogs use most often. You could create vicious fighting chocolate labs or golden retrievers if you wanted (its been done). Banning these breeds totally would have the same affect on dog fighters that banning honda’s would have on street racers: they would simply keep doing what they love to do and pick something else to use.

  14. #14 |  Kidseven | 

    Plenty of famous dogs of cinema have been pits? YOU say they’re fine family-friendly dogs? Well that settles it for me—I’ll take two!

    I’ve a long libertarian streak but I try not to let broad philosophies blind me to common sense or things I can see with my own eyes. Those of you who don’t think pit bulls (the breed, the type, etc.) are any different or more dangerous than most other dog breeds are lying to yourselves or asleep. In article after article it’s a pit bull that’s done the mauling and the owner family is quoted saying “He was never aggressive before.” It’s obvious these attacks aren’t all the result of dogs who have been mistreated or trained for aggression. Pit bulls were BRED for aggression somewhere along the way and they seem particularly good at it.

    I’ll offer my usual argument on this topic: Should I be allowed to walk a hyena around my neighborhood?

  15. #15 |  Philly Girl | 

    Generally, the pit bull ban refers to all bully breeds.

    Bobzbob, the problem with those stats are that many of the dogs labeled Rott or pit are neither. Take a black and tan hunting dog and mix it with a mastiff and you can have something that resembles a Rottie. Same for a black and tan pure bred Catahoula. I’ve seen a Chi mix listed as a pocket pit. The stats are useless and very misleading.

    In Canada, a papered, pure bred lab was taken from it’s owners and killed when animal control decided it was a pit mix. There have been similar cases in the US. Bred specific laws put all of our dogs in danger!

  16. #16 |  edmund dantes | 

    Kidseven I eagerly await your next post where you defend the government’s right to ban and/or restrict certain types of guns.

    Those of you who don’t think assault weapons are any different or more dnagerous than most other types of guns are lying to themselves or asleep.

    Bad owners makes Bad dogs just like Guns don’t kill people people kill people.

  17. #17 |  Kidseven | 

    Edmund,

    Actually I’d probably be willing to die in defense of the second amendment. So I take it you don’t see any fundamental difference between the ownership of an inanimate object with lethal potentiality and one that runs around with free will next to my three-year-old at the city park?

  18. #18 |  Kidseven | 

    And Edmund, you said: “Bad owners makes Bad dogs just like Guns don’t kill people people kill people.”

    I think you miss the main point of the “guns don’t kill people” argument (which I agree with by the way). The point is that a gun can’t just run out and kill someone—like pit bulls sometimes do.

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    No reason to kill any dog (at the point of the first “offense”). As Caesar says “I rehabilitate dogs. I train people.”

    Very, very few dogs have to actually be put down. NONE SPECIFICALLY DUE TO BREED!!!

    Take them away from their human? Sure.

    As for breed bans…remember it is ALL politics. If you think it isn’t politics, you’re wrong. It is always politics.

  20. #20 |  David in Balt | 

    There was allot wrong with that article. While I support attempts to undermine BSL I think the idea of combating laws with more laws is generally a bad idea. Furthermore the statement that there is no such thing as “pit bulls” is BS. I own an American Pit Bull Terrier.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pit_Bull_Terrier

    http://www.ukcdogs.com/WebSite.nsf/Breeds/AmericanPitBullTerrierRevisedNovember12008

    American Staffordshire Terriers are a distinct breed from Pit Bulls, and while it is true that they are a breed derived from Pit Bulls (and very often mistaken for one), to state that Pit Bulls do not exist is simply wrong. My Pit is the best dog I have ever owned and a real ambassador for the breed. If such a BSL were ever passed in the area I live I would definitely move rather then have my dog euthanised. All that being said part of the problem is that people have no f*cking clue what a Pit Bull is, as evidenced by this article. I completely understand and support the undermining of BSLs but the people who wrote this are doing no favors by advancing the (as I have shown) incorrect notion that there are no such dogs as Pit Bulls. They do indeed exist, are a recognized breed (both the AKC and UKC were founded to register them) but unfortunately as this article shows are the subject of much myth and nonsense.

  21. #21 |  Steve Verdon | 

    40lb friendly staffie: banned, to be euthanized.
    200lb Cujo-wolf hybrid monster dog: not banned. OK to keep.

    This.

    The problem with breed specific legislation is that it focuses on superficial traits and not on what constitutes a “vicious dog”. Any dog can be vicious. Laws against vicious dogs should focus on just that. Has a dog bit anyone? Does it behave in an aggressive manner? How do the owners ensure the dog is secure? If you fail these questions, then you have a problem irrespective of the dog’s breed.

    Preventative law making is simply a bad idea. You allow it in one area and then it sets a precedent and it spreads to other areas of the law. If we used the same reasoning behind BSL laws we’d ban black people. Look at the FBI crime statistics, prison population, enough said.

    Dan #6,

    Its even worse, Dogo Argentino is considered a pit bull, Presa Canario is considered a pit bull, as well as a number of others that have little or no connection to the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier (these two breeds are remarkably similar with the latter conformation being slightly heavier). You Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the smallest of the bunch in general and like the previous two breeds has undergone tremendous selection via breeding to be human friendly. American Pit Bull terriers are probably the most dog aggressive breed of the three. A good smart owner is necessary to prevent problems.

    In other words, one can significantly reduce the danger by eliminating onwership of a small class of dogs with only a slight impairment of freedom to own a dog (you just have to pick another class). The specific problem with pit bull types is that they have very strong jaws that make them more likely to seriously injure when they do bite (and all dogs will in some circumstances).

    What a shock another ignoramus spouting a section of a study, but doesn’t include the caveats that go with the study. For example, no attempts were made to measure the dog’s percentage of the dog population. For example, if you have two types of dogs, A and B and you note that A has 2x the number of bite cases as B you might say A is a dangerous breed. But then you find out that ther are 3x as many A’s as B’s. The relative risk of being bitten by A is actually lower and B is the more risky dog.

    Further, the study makes no attempt to put any of the fatalities into context. For example, many of the fatalities are children. Any parent who leaves a small child alone with any dog unsupervised is being a bad parent. There is simply no exception to this. For example, in the study 9 of the fatalities from 1997 and 1998 were aged 1-4 years of age. And that is it for background information. How many were left unsupervised by an adult? Not long ago I read about a dog bit related fatality where the mother left the child at home with a male and female pit bull, neither altered, and the female was in heat.

    Also in the study they note that dog breeds popularity and number of dog bites might be correlated. Ignorant or novice dog owners getting a dog they don’t understand/can’t handle?

    Considering American Kennel Club registration data[7] for Rottweilers in parallel with fatality data for that breed indicates that as the breed has soared in popularity, so have Rottweiler-related deaths (24,195 registrations from 1979 through 1982 and 0 deaths; 272,273 registrations from 1983 through 1990 and 6 deaths; and 692,799 registrations from 1991 through 1998 and 33 deaths).

    The authors do argue that there is a breed-specific problem with Rottweilers and pit bull type dogs, but they are in effect giving their human owners (you know the ones who are supposed to be more intelligent) a complete pass.

    Its a pretty crappy article over all, IMO.

    Keep in mind that the AKC registration data is incomplete in that not all dogs are registered.

    And lets keep in mind that dog bite related fatalities are extremely rare. If you are worried about this you should be worried about being struck by lightning.

    It’s obvious these attacks aren’t all the result of dogs who have been mistreated or trained for aggression. Pit bulls were BRED for aggression somewhere along the way and they seem particularly good at it.

    Yes aggression against other ANIMALS, not humans. Back when it was primarily dogmen (i.e. people who raised and fought dogs) doing the breeding it worked like this:

    Test a dog for human aggression.
    Dog fails test (i.e. is human aggressive).
    Shoot dog.

    As such there was a tremendous selective pressure against an American Pit Bull Terrier being human aggressive.

    Now we have punks and backyard breeders going with the latest trends. Dogs with big heads (a draw back from a dog fighting perspective–lugging around a huge skull adds nothing to a dogs fighting ability and detracts from it). Short and wide dogs (short/shallow chests means the dogs have no endurance as their lung capacity is reduced). Just plain mean dogs. People think a dog that wants to attack everything is gonna make a good pit fighter, this is just nonsense. So you have bad breeders that cross a good stable pit bull with another breed to get traits that are not only against the conformation of the breed in general, but also bad for the future of the breed in terms of aggressiveness and the people around these dogs.

    You are blaming a dog for the nature of people. Grow up. People are far, far more dangerous, depraved and willing to kill than 99.99% of the dogs out there.

    Actually I’d probably be willing to die in defense of the second amendment. So I take it you don’t see any fundamental difference between the ownership of an inanimate object with lethal potentiality and one that runs around with free will next to my three-year-old at the city park?

    Mothers and fathers kill far more children than dogs do. YOU are a greater danger to your child than my pit bull. Perhaps we should euthanize you. Based on the sound type of statistical analysis dingbats like bobzbob likes to use of course.

  22. #22 |  David in Balt | 

    @bobzbob

    I think you should really take a look at that study again. One of the biggest problems with it is that, like the people who wrote this article, the people who put together that study have absolutely no idea what a Pit Bull is. If you actually read it, it says “pit bull like dogs.” Jumping from the shoddy classification and work of the researchers to “it’s a small price for people to pay to ban such dogs” is utter BS. The people who wrote that paper included American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, etcetera under the heading of “pit bull.” As my previous comment illustrates this is simply the result of ignorance on the part of most people as Pit Bulls are a well defined and fairly old (as American dogs go) breed with specific requirements. Furthermore similar studies can be shown that put German Shepheards and Dobermens as more lethal at other times in history. Fortunately the ‘aggressive dog’ concept is on 20-30 year rotation (Dobermens and German Shepherds being the ‘bad guys of WWI, WWII fame, followed by Rottweilers and Chow-Chows) and Pit Bulls are close to being replaced (hopefully). One final note is that, while Pit Bulls and Pit Bull type dogs may account for more fatalities if you actually look at the data they account for a minuscule number of bites with poodles and other breeds far outnumbering them (they also score a 89% on aggression tests, the higher number being better, out-pacing even Golden Retrievers on friendliness and temperament).

    Please, people, do your damn homework.

  23. #23 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Pass rates for canine temperment testing.

    The American Pit Bull Terrier has a pass rate that is comparable to that of a Golden Retriever (85.3%/84.6% respectively). The APBT decidely beats “Lassie” with Collies coming in at 79.4%.

  24. #24 |  JS | 

    God’s Own Drunk # 12 wins thread!

  25. #25 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Kidseven,

    I’ll do the baby version for you here,

    And Edmund, you said: “Bad owners makes Bad dogs just like Guns don’t kill people people kill people.”

    I think you miss the main point of the “guns don’t kill people” argument (which I agree with by the way). The point is that a gun can’t just run out and kill someone—like pit bulls sometimes do.

    Person picks up gun —> kills another person.

    Bad owner gets a dog —> dog injures or kills a person.

    You focus on the dog on one case and give the human a pass, in the other you focus on the human and hold them accountable.

    In short you are inconsistent and haven’t thought it through very carefully.

  26. #26 |  bobzbob | 

    “One final note is that, while Pit Bulls and Pit Bull type dogs may account for more fatalities if you actually look at the data they account for a minuscule number of bites with poodles and other breeds far outnumbering them ”

    Which is EXACTLY the problem with these dogs – they don’t bite or attack more often than other dogs, but WHEN THEY DO they are much more likely to seriously main or kill. It has nothing to do with the temperment of the dog, but to the strength of their jaws and their instincts to clamp tightly and hold that has been bred into them. That is why these breeds are different. Granted there is some gray area about exactly which dogs are the problem, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. These dogs were bred for jaw strength and to use it. The long thin nose of a poodle has a hard time doing serious damage – the shape and musculature don’t have the same strength. The “Pit-bull” type dogs have short jaws (better leverage) and strongly muscled jaws and necks. Yes you could train the poodle to be vicious, but it wouldn’t be such a threat as an equally trained pit bull type.

    The other issue is that rotweilers are much worse than “pit-bulls” and there isn’t really any debate about what the rotweiler breed is. Nor is there any debate that “strict liability” is an ineffective deterrent to those without significant assests.

  27. #27 |  Kidseven | 

    Sorry, Steve, you’re not that convincing—even with the condescending flourishes. I’m not being inconsistent at all. I see a difference between an inanimate object and an animal. I can be a “good” dog owner and my pit bull can still hurt somebody. All it takes is a moment of erratic or unpredictable behavior. Guns don’t jump fences. The gun analogy was a bad one and I think I’ve shown why.

    When did I “give the human a pass”? Of course I’d hold them accountable—but you can bet I’d hold the dog accountable too, unlike the person above who would send the dog out for a training session.

    I’m not even suggesting there is anything practical that can or should be done about aggressive dog breeds. I just tire of hearing this lame argument that “it’s not the dog, it’s the owner.” Resist legislation all you want, but these crap anecdotes about how your pit bull is so sweet kill me.

    Maybe Google “Dog mauls…” and look at the photos. No DNA samples required. Let me know when you see a Golden Retriever. Maybe as an amateur freakonomicist you can spin some canine temperment stats and make me a believer. Not so good thus far.

    Oh and your dog was bred to be aggressive toward other ANIMALS? That’s a relief.

  28. #28 |  David in Balt | 

    @bobzbob

    Putting aside for a second that you failed to refute my point, that being that if you actually properly classified the dogs in that study I have no doubt that Pit Bulls would fall well behind other breeds in the number of fatal bites, what is your solution? Euthenize the twenty odd breeds of dogs that regularly get classified as ‘pit bulls’? Seriously, what do you suggest? I do not think you have thought this through at all (mostly because you cite such a shoddy study, further because when I point out to you that the study improperly classifies dogs as ‘pit bulls’ hence raising the number of bites, the study really classifies roughly 12 different breeds as ‘pit bulls’ including actual Pit Bulls, you fail to retract your false statement). When I lived in Towson we were told, by our apartment complex, that we had to leave because we owned a ‘pit bull.’ I asked them what exactly constituted a ‘pit bull’ and they included everything from actual Pit Bulls to bulldogs and boxers. Do you suggest we euthenize all such breeds? Your shoddy study suggest that we should because they are all ‘pit bulls’ anyway.

    On a side note my first comment appears not to have been posted, not sure why.

  29. #29 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    You are an idiot. Seriously, the amount of stupid in your post is baffling. You and bobzbob should get together and tell your scary stories about the evil pit bulls to each other while sitting in a closed garage with the car running. The stats do not back up your or his failed argument that actual Pit Bulls are dangerous. Seriously, why don’t you go do a google search for ‘pit bull attacks’ and see if you can count just how damn many of them are not actually American Pit Bull Terriers. The numbers are not on your side, trust me, in fact don’t, go look at the studies other people have posted. Go look at the AKC and UKC websites for characteristics of the damned dog. It is specifically bred to have a very friendly temperate toward people. Yes the dog is bred out of a) bulldogs (used for bull baiting and such) and b) terriers (hunting dogs) but never was the Pit Bull lineage bred for manwork. Yes, manwork is a real term, it is a breed of dog that is bred specifically to be human aggressive (German Sheperads, Rottweilers, Dobermans). Guess what? Pit Bulls are not on any list of manwork dogs you’ll find, do you know why? Let me help you, it’s because they are hard to train to attack people. Its not impossible, but its not as easy as other breeds. Its just not what they were bred for, in fact aggression toward people was specifically selected against.

    As far as you wetting your knickers over the dog being bred to be aggressive towards other animals…so what? It’s a terrier for f*ck sakes. Terriers are hunting dogs. Guess what? Golden Retrievers are hunting dogs, they are bred to be aggressive towards other animals. I know the big bad Pit Bulls are so scary looking though and your happy being spoon fed ignorance from media folks who couldn’t tell you the differences between an American Bulldog and a Pit Bull (let alone a Staffordshire Terrier and a Pit) but seriously, before you go off with your diarrhea of the mouth, at least take some time to actually -learn- something. Ignoramus.

  30. #30 |  Kidseven | 

    David,

    You’re right. I’ll decide how dangerous pit bulls are relative to other breeds by reading the AKC’s website for a characteristic profile. Meanwhile I’ll ignore the study done by five PhDs on dog breeds involved in fatal human attacks between 1979 and 1998. Got it. Any stock tips?

    I know this is a sensitive issue for you since you own one, but I’m sort of sorry I’ve got you wanting me and Bob to die of asphyxiation in a garage somewhere. Maybe it IS the owners. I was going to address your points, but even on rereading I really don’t see where you’ve made any—mostly just attacks. The lineage and history of the breed stuff is sort of irrelevant.

  31. #31 |  David in Balt | 

    Kidseven,

    Do you not read the comments people make to you? I specifically pointed out that if you read the study it says ‘pit bull like dogs.’ They include over 12 different breeds under the heading ‘pit bull.’ How can you possibly make a statement about a breed of dog when you include, stick with me now, -OTHER- breeds under the same name. You didn’t ‘address my points’ because you are incapable of doing such. Show me an actual paper where the breed American Pit Bull Terrier is properly classified and we can talk. Citing a debunked study just shows your own prejudices and lack of knowledge on the subject.

    Furthermore the lineage and history of the breed is -very- important. You are attempting to say they are an aggressive breed but the entire history of the breed, and it’s parent lineages, disagree with you. These dogs were never bred to be aggressive. The numbers don’t back you up (again your debunked study will not help you. That would be like me citing a study that says most people from Britain are black which includes countries from Africa in the group ‘British’. It is simply bad science.) I really hope you actually read up on the subject and stop spreading the ignorance. It really is disheartening to see someone who reads the Agitator fall so easily for shoddy reporting, bad science and urban legends.

    Do yourself a favor, take the “can you spot the Pit Bull” test someone posted earlier. I guarantee you your incapable of figuring out which one is the actual Pit Bull.

  32. #32 |  Kidseven | 

    What makes you think pit bulls are the only breed that get lumped with others or misclassified. If a dog that looks like a German shepherd mix mauls someone, isn’t it just as likely to be classified as a GS as a pit-mix being called a pit bull?

    According to the study: When crossbred dogs were involved in a fatality, each suspected breed in the dog’s lineage was counted once for that episode.

  33. #33 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    Again, your not reading what I write are you? Did you even read the study your citing? Were not just talking about mixes here, they actually classified other, non-mixed breeds as ‘pit bulls.’ That report is sh*t. Unless you have something else to go on then all the claims that Pit Bulls are dangerous are unsupported nonsense. On top of that, as I pointed out and you completely failed to address (imagine that), other dogs held the same ‘bad boy’ reputation as Pit Bulls do now at other points in time. Even assuming the report was accurate (which it clearly is not) all it says is that currently ‘pit bulls’ are more likely to kill when attacking then other breeds (again even ignoring that they are among the least likely to attack and all independent temperament tests rate them in the 85-89%, above even Golden Retrievers).

    I just want to ask what exactly is your dog in this fight (pun intended)? The science does not back you up, the history does not back you up, nothing backs you up but shoddy reporting and your own prejudices. Why is it so important to you that ‘pit bulls’ be bad dogs? You have some sort of issues you really need to address. Seriously, just take two damned seconds and google criticisms of that paper, it has been -thoroughly- torn apart. Your wrong. You don’t have to admit it just stop spreading lies.

  34. #34 |  Kidseven | 

    And David,

    Care to “debunk” the Clifton Report (2009) why you’re at it? More junk science?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_Bull

    The study methodology counted attacks “by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, [that] have been kept as pets.”

    The study found reports of 345 people killed by dogs over the 27-year period, of which “pit bull terrier”, or mixes thereof, were reportedly responsible for killing 159, or about 46 percent, of the people killed by dogs in the attacks identified in the study. The breed with the next-highest number of attributed fatalities was the Rottweiler and mixes thereof, with 70 fatalities or about 20 percent of the study-identified fatalities; in aggregate, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and mixes thereof were involved in about 66% of the study-identified fatalities. In that same study, the number of serious maimings by a “pit bull terrier” was 778; the number of serious maimings by a Rottweiller was 244. The number of attributed fatalities to the German Shepherd dog was 9. The number of serious maimings by a German Shepherd was 50.[49]

    I also liked reading how “some pit bull rescue organizations and advocacy groups recommend owners of pit bull-type dogs carry a “break stick” to lever their dog’s jaws open if it bites a person or animal.” I know YOU said it’s hard to make them bite a person—but given you’re a responsible owner I wonder if you carry a “break stick” in your (lifted or lowered) truck in case your dog gets a hold of someone’s collie.

  35. #35 |  Kidseven | 

    And the of course there are those flighty insurance people—you know how they’re always coming up with these numbers all willy nilly (actuarial tables, risk assessment, etc.) Apparently these ignoramuses have failed to read your AKC temperament manual as well, since many require special liability insurance for pits. Maybe if you tell them you carry a “break stick” they’ll cut you a deal.

  36. #36 |  Dan | 

    Wikipedia is not known for its accuracy mister kiddoseven.

  37. #37 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    Thanks for proving my point. The article you referenced has a picture of a dog that is -clearly- not an American Pit Bull Terrier. The article itself states that there are ‘several breeds commonly referred to as ‘pit bull terriers’” which is exactly what is wrong with the other study that was cited here. Just because Joe Schmoe is to stupid to realize there is a difference between breeds does not mean such differences do not exist. Furthermore the study you cited makes the -same- mistake that made the other study worthless, it equates several breeds with ‘pit bull’ and equivocates American Pit Bull Terriers with said other breeds. Are you not capable of understanding this? Seriously, do you lack the mental faculties to grasp this concept or do you have some personal vendetta against American Pit Bull Terriers? Honestly, what is your problem? You keep citing things that are just bad studies and refuse to acknowledge actual, respectable work that contradicts your preconceived biases. Why?

    As far as insurance companies go it would -obviously- never be because they are buying into the same nonsense that you are, would it? No, clearly they know what they are talking about and if I were to bring a Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Staffordshire Terrier and an American Pit Bull Terrier they could -easily- pick out the Pit Bull….Yeah…

    Finally, no I do not have a ‘break stick’ because I properly socialized my dog. Furthermore I do not own a truck, I own a compact car. I assume you are trying to call me white trash but, even if I was, at least I am capable of understanding basic scientific procedures and recognizing when things fail them. You unfortunately seem incapable of doing such. But hey, if you want to go around making shit up for whatever reason (again why such hatred for a breed of dog?) more power to you, I just really hope you find your way into oncoming traffic.

    Oh, and for shits and giggles if your ever down around Baltimore you can come to the dog park were I let my mean, vicious American Pit Bull Terrier run around off leash with other dogs! Its a blood bath I tell you! The poor collies and such. Idiot.

  38. #38 |  Kidseven | 

    Dan,

    That wikipedia reference was just the first place I found a reference to that specific study. You can find a link to the actual study on this page:

    http://dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html

    I’m sure David will be along shortly with more percentage of temperament figures and a thorough debunking of this new biased study any minute.

  39. #39 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    It is a bad study. The methodology is shoddy. Why are you not capable of understanding this? Again, these studies are tantamount to me stating that the British population is mostly black and citing a study that includes African nations under the title “Britain.” It is shoddy work. I really don’t understand your hatred for a breed, you really seem like you have some sort of issues you need to work out. It really is not healthy to have so much irrational hatred. Seriously, you need to work on that. Maybe your just incapable of being proven wrong, but even then its not healthy man, seek help.

    For anyone interested in some actual, scientific information I recommend:

    http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html

    I’d tell Kidseven to go have a look but it is clear to any unbiased observer that he is not really interested in facts.

  40. #40 |  Kidseven | 

    “just really hope you find your way into oncoming traffic.”

    Nice! Who is proving who’s point?

    From your reply I gather:

    1. animal control officers or others with evident expertise=Joe Schmoe
    2. Both major studies I cited= worthless
    3. AKC Temperament guide= unbiased and a definitive gauge of aggression
    4. Insurance companies= prone to failed logic and “buying into nonsense.”
    5. Me= spoon fed ignoramus with issues and wet knickers.

    I’ll continue to try to see the world as it is and you can see it as you wish it were—it’s probably more fun your way.

  41. #41 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    Yeah, thats it, fail to address anything I stated. Your science is bad, buddy. The facts are not on your side so go ahead and ramble on. The studies are bad and I gave you the clear reason why, if you are incapable of accepting that its your problem not mine. The science just is not on your side, sorry. Find me a study that properly classifies American Pit Bull Terriers and we’ll talk, until then your just running off at the mouth making yourself look bad on the internet, good job.

  42. #42 |  Kidseven | 

    Ah yes, I get taken to task for referencing Wikipedia and citing from real studies and you post a link to website run by pit bull owners and the debate is somehow settled. Nice finish.

    Studies= shoddy, bad science
    David the unbiased pit bull owner in Balt= right.

  43. #43 |  Dan | 

    Hey kidseven, take a ritalin and calm down.
    You sound like you’re ready to kill someone, so just take it easy before they charge you with a hate crime or something.

  44. #44 |  M. Zinnen | 

    Regarding the pass rate for canine temperament, first mentioned by Steve Verdon (comment 20) and referenced again later on:

    I don’t think the temperament trials info can really add much to this debate. Here’s why–imagine you’re conducting drug trials on drug A and drug B for rate of occurrence of 3 previously identified side effects. Let’s assume the tests are perfect–random selection, double-blinded, the whole lot. The two drugs are just as effective at treating, say, low blood pressure. You find that drug A has no side effects for 88% of those tested and drug B has no side effects for 90%. Ok, similar pass rates. Do you conclude that drug B is better? I hope not–at least not without looking at the actual side effects themselves. Suppose the 3 side effects are 1) mild feeling of nausea, lasting no more than 30 minutes OR 2) mild heart palpitations, lasting no more than 10 minutes OR 3) fatal heart attack. If any one of the three occurs, then the drug is counted as having had an effect on the patient.

    See the problem here? Without knowing what the breakdown was for the two drugs, we can’t really compare them. If drug A has higher incidence of overall side effects, but 99% aren’t “fatal heart attack” whereas drug B has a 65% incidence of “fatal heart attack”, it makes a difference. That’s the same problem with the ATTS website Steve cited above: the dog fails the test if it displays at least one of the following: 1) unprovoked aggression, 2) panic without recovery, 3) strong avoidance. One of these things is not like the others. I don’t care if my neighbor’s dog has avoidance issues towards me. I do care if it has unprovoked aggression. Even if golden retrievers and pit bulls are passing the test at about the same rate, it doesn’t mean the temperaments are really similar. The goldens could be failing because of higher rates of avoidance, and the pits because of higher rates of aggression. Or vice versa. I didn’t see a breakdown of why the individual breeds failed, and without that info, the stats are useless here. And that’s before we even bring up the issue of sample selection.

  45. #45 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    The debate was over because you have no evidence to present. I’ll do this one last time, and then I’m done.

    The studies are bad because they include dogs in the category ‘pit bull’ that are not American Pit Bull Terriers and then proceed to make judgments about Pit Bulls that do not follow because, stay with me kidseven, because they are adding different breeds together and then making statements about said group as if they were talking only about Pit Bulls. That is equivocation. It is a logical fallacy. It makes the studies -worthless-. Now if you have an actual study that correctly categorizes Pit Bulls we can talk, but you don’t, because no such study exists. Again those studies are as accurate as me stating the population of Britian is majority black when I include the populations of African nations in the group ‘Britain.’ How is my ‘study’ any different then the studies you have linked to? You are incapable of answering that and so you fail.

    @Mr. Z

    The problem with avoidance is that it is a characteristic of fear, and fear leads to aggression. I agree that more info would be nice but the statistics are fairly well done and the group doesn’t have any particular bias in the study, unlike Kidseven.

  46. #46 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I don’t think anyone who knows dogs would say they are all the same. They are not. Nor should you say a pit bull is no more dangerous than a miniture poodle. It is more dangerous. But we’re getting into tallest midget territory.

    I’ll reference below an XKCD comic to make the point. Maximizing “Safety” doesn’t trump all other concerns.

    Let’s say you attend a parent/teacher conference and the male teacher proudly announces to you that he ALWAYS wears a condom when teaching your children. Now, technically it’s a safer situation.

  47. #47 |  Beau | 

    Opinions are like A-holes, everybody has got one. I will stick to facts… I have heard horror stories about authorities going to peoples homes and forcibly removing and killing family pets. I own a two year old pit myself who wouldn’t hurt anyone. Being a part of my family, she will receive the same protection I would provide my sister or child. Over my dead body, and 5.56 rounds punch through kevlar like butter. Don’t bring that stupidity to my door unless you want to make national news. That’s all I have to say about that.

  48. #48 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Fight the real enemy: cat juggling.

  49. #49 |  Andrew S. | 

    Let’s say you attend a parent/teacher conference and the male teacher proudly announces to you that he ALWAYS wears a condom when teaching your children. Now, technically it’s a safer situation.

    Just to provide a little context: http://xkcd.com/463/

    Anyways, it seems that whenever there’s a dog attack from a dog that isn’t OBVIOUSLY a non-pit (like a Doberman, German Shep or a Rottie) is going to be called a pit, whether or not it actually is one. Happens all the time.

  50. #50 |  thorn | 

    Does everyone that own a pit bull believe “it would never hurt anyone”? Just curious, as it seems to be the opinion of a few people here. I’ve also heard it said by nearly every owner of one that’s killed a toddler. So – just wondering if it’s a universal belief…

  51. #51 |  bobzbob | 

    “that being that if you actually properly classified the dogs in that study I have no doubt that Pit Bulls would fall well behind other breeds in the number of fatal bites, what is your solution? ”

    I agree with you 100% that the “pit Bull” terminology used in the study is different from what you use. No argument there.

    But that doesn’t invalidate the study – if we take the study’s inclusive definition of a “pit bull” then it seems you don’t have an argument with it.

    By the way there is a difference between an dog being bred to be aggresive towards other animals and one bred to be aggresive towards other dogs. Dogs are social creatures and there is a BIG difference in being agressive towards other dogs vs. prey species. The biggest concern is that any animal behaviourist will tell you that dogs consider people to be other dogs! Dogs interact with human in the same ways they interact with other dogs – dominance heirarchies for example. Dogs bred to be aggresive towards other dogs are certainly at risk for being aggresive towards people. This is born out by the FACTS that these breeds, bred for intra-species aggresion, are FAR more likely to kill people than other breeds.

    P.S. A new someone in CA who defended his American Pit Bull terrior as nuttily as you do, until it seriously injured a child. Then he had it put down. Hope you learn your lesson before another innocent gets maimed.

  52. #52 |  Beau | 

    to ‘thorn’:
    I guess if you know your dog, you can say this. Some people are not capable of being honest about something like that. “My son would never steal anything” for example.

    To BSL supporters:
    To say all pits are dangerous, is like saying all black people are criminals. I am sure Hitler came up with all kinds of twisted ‘facts’ about Jews when he was in power. There were probably lots of people in Germany who supported some of the policies he implemented, without seeing the underlying evil until it was too late.

    The way I see it, this is no different. Just another color of racism. What happened in Denver is just like the holocaust. Those who would enforce such a policy are no better than WW2 Natzis. I guess we are headed that way, and these are just the early signs(preemptive war, etc). People need to wake up.

    Dogs bite people from time to time, that’s a fact. If you own a dog that is prone to aggressive behavior, you should be aware of this, or you are not paying attention(bad dog owner). The owner should be held accountable. A dog who bites someone, unprovoked, should be put down. If my dog attacked someone, I would put her down myself, and accept responsibility for her actions. Responsibility! My dogs lineage is not responsible for what some other A-holes dog does. Get it?

    Simple minds…

  53. #53 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Dogs bred to be aggresive towards other dogs are certainly at risk for being aggresive towards people. This is born out by the FACTS that these breeds, bred for intra-species aggresion, are FAR more likely to kill people than other breeds.

    You have exactly zero evidence for this. And the claim is silly on its face.

    Dog breed to be agressive towards animals and submissive towards humans is more likely to attack humans….riiight.

    Put down the crack pipe and move away from the computer till you are sober.

  54. #54 |  David in Balt | 

    @50

    It is a dog, despite how much people may want to believe it is a person, their kid, whatever it is still an animal and subject to all the behaviors that go with it. The same can be said of every breed of dog and that is why part of responsible ownership is keeping an eye on your animal.

    @bobzbob

    Yes, it does invalidate the study. It is not ‘my terminology’ it is the proper classification of a breed of dog. It is the same as me lumping collies, sheepdogs, Shelties and Shepherds into one group, labeling them all ‘herding dogs or dog-types’ and then stating that we should put down all Golden Retrievers because clearly herding-type dogs are prone to vicious attacks. It is -bad- science and no amount of your ignorance will change that. There is no reason to take ‘an inclusive definition of pit bull,’ because they are -very- different breeds and need to be treated as such. If you have some sort of reason for it to be otherwise I would love to hear it but so far all I hear is a bunch of whining about how the facts don’t support your biases. Seriously, those studies are a textbook example of the fallacy of equivocation. Kidseven was incapable of answering my question but maybe you can. I performed a study that says the majority of people in Britain are black. In my study I included Britain as well as all the nations of Africa. Why is my ‘study’ incorrect? If you can answer that then you should know why citing those studies is pretty ignorant.

    As far as your fantastical assertion that prey dog aggression = human aggression unless you have a source to back that up I call BS. Seriously, have you considered why you need to make things up to attack a breed of dog? You call me ‘nutty’ but I’m not the one using bad science and made up ‘facts’ to support my case. The history of the breed is well understood and while it is unfortunate that they were used as fighting dogs human aggression was selected against as you actually had to be in the ring with the dog when they fought and you didn’t want a dog that would whip around and attack the handlers. This is pretty basic breed history if you actually took the time to look it up instead of just making shit up.

    P.S. My brother hated my Pit Bull. He refused to leave his kid alone with him but would leave him alone with his Golden Retriever. One day the Golden snapped and mauled my nephew taking a chunk of his face and upper pallet off. He had her put down. I hope you learn your lesson and spread the word of the viscousness of Golden Retrievers. ( I wish there was an emote for rolling eyes, I really do. You do realize that over-breeding of Golden Retrievers has led to a rise in distemperment among the breed, right? Oh wait, your not really interested in learning about dogs, breed differences, or facts regarding them just about not being ‘wrong’ and maligning those big mean evil Pit Bulls.)

  55. #55 |  Steve Verdon | 

    The biggest concern is that any animal behaviourist will tell you that dogs consider people to be other dogs!

    Calling in an airstrike on this bullshit.

    My dog:

    Dog aggressive…would kill another dog if I or another person wasn’t there to keep her under control. However, she exhibits absolutey none of the same behavior towards a human that she does towards a dog.

    Either you are horribly misinformed or just being an outright liar.

  56. #56 |  Beau | 

    To ‘bobzbob’:
    Your ‘facts’ are flawed. Pit bulls were bred specifically for bull baiting. It wasn’t until later that they started to fight them. So, no, they were not bred to fight dogs. Aggression toward humans was strictly considered an unacceptable trait, so dogs who demonstrated this trait were culled/not bred(the only breed I am aware of that had such a standard). This is one reason pit bulls typically make poor watch dogs. Ignorance is the reason people use them for this purpose. Ignorance is the reason people are scared of pit bulls. I find it quite amusing when I encounter these ignorant and fearful individuals who meet my dog. They almost can’t believe she isn’t attacking me, my daughter, and them for that matter. Just like the country boy who hates people of other races who has never known one. Ignorance…

  57. #57 |  Kidseven | 

    I think you’re right, Thorn, most pit bull owners don’t think their dog would ever hurt anyone—and obviously most of them are right. But apparently they believe nurture completely eliminates nature when it comes to pit bulls.

    If you attempt to point out the obvious—that pit bulls represent a disproportionate number of fatal attacks on humans—they will (in between lashing out and wishing you dead ) try to baffle you with temperament scores, the vagaries of canine DNA tests, and breed- specific persecution theories. If you’re lucky you might even get a link to pit bull advocacy group for straight facts.

    Bobzbob, naturally I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. Most of the rest of world accepts that certain breeds are more aggressive, but keep in mind that all of the guys in here “debunking” the major studies and selling us anecdotes OWN pit bulls.

    Oh and, ding ding ding! We have a winner: Beau gets the grand prize for bringing up the holocaust with the line: “What happened in Denver is just like the holocaust.” Spectacular! And bonus points for ending with “Simple minds.”

  58. #58 |  David in Balt | 

    @bobzbob

    One last thing about your ‘facts’ that these breeds are ‘more likely to kill people.’ You do realize that in those studies, both of them, they specifically state that they do not count war dogs and police dogs among the statistics right? Again, putting aside for the equivocation fallacy in the report, you do realize that it is basically worthless as an indicator of aggression and lethality because it fails to include those dogs (usually German Shephards, Doberman Pinschers, etcetera) in the records. This alone makes the report worthless, but you know, if it backs up your biases that doesn’t really matter does it.

  59. #59 |  David in Balt | 

    @Kidseven

    I can only conclude that you are either mentally deficient or a troll (but I repeat myself), as you have been unable to answer even the most basic questions regarding the equivocation fallacy. It is a pretty sad person that has to sit on the internet maligning a breed of dog. Get a life buddy.

  60. #60 |  Kidseven | 

    David, seriously, if you can’t swim in the deep end with the rest of the kids you shouldn’t bother putting on your trunks.

    At least Steve was kind enough to admit his dog will kill another dog if she’s not kept under control (what a treat it must be to own that kind of dog) Fortunately the rest of us with 100-plus IQs can extrapolate from there.

  61. #61 |  David in Balt | 

    Wow. So you started out with an equivocation fallacy and moved on to a composition fallacy. Your obviously not capable of an intelligent conversation so I’m done.

  62. #62 |  Dan | 

    Kidseven its clear your’e not a fan of bull dog breeds, and I guess you think people should not have the right to own them regardless of their behavior or temperment. If I understand your thinking correctly, you would support these bans and the cops killing or euthanizing the animals even if they had no history of problem behavior. I have a staffie bull terrier and I live in a rural area were there is still a remnant of common sense so there are no bans here. I would never move to a place that had these laws, and I would do anything to protect my dog, so when you praise the extermination of a whole group of dogs [any type of bull dog and terrier, even Boston Terriers] have been considered pit bulls in certain locations, it doesn’t go over well with people like me. This dog is part of my family. And it seems you want her dead not for anything she has actually done but for being a bull dog. What I am saying is that if you say things like that, you cannot complain when people strongly disagree. As others have said, there really is not a good defintion of what a pit bull is and attacks by other breeds have been attributed to them by the media or Law enforcement– “pit bull’ has a more intense connotation than labrador or what have you. And so I just do not trust the numbers cited by these studies. Primarily because of the lack of a clear defintion of the breed.

    Staffies are animal aggressive. My dog is friendly to other dogs, but if she is challenged she will not back down. That’s the nature of the beast, so as an owner I have to be especially careful when she is around other dogs. Many of the bites and attacks have happend when people intervene in a dog fight.

    You have every right to believe what you want but don’t expect me or anyone else to agree or be impressed with your opinion.

  63. #63 |  Beau | 

    Like I said, ignorance. Your deep end is pretty shallow, especially if you don’t get the point. There have been two people killed in TX recently by dogs. None of these dogs were pits. Even if they were, would you look at the number of people killed by this race or that, and say, “We need to ban/kill this race, and here is why…”? That is the line of thinking you are embracing here. Do you not see that? A high IQ does not give way to reason, and reason is what I trust in.

    Come to my home and try to take my dog. You will find, the dog is not the one you need to be worried about.

  64. #64 |  Kidseven | 

    Dan,

    Should I expect people to put all kinds of crazy words in my mouth? Because I argue a simple point: that pit bulls represent a disproportionate number of the fatal attacks on humans, you determine that I support bans and the euthanization of the entire breed? That I want people to kick in your door and kill your dog? C’mon man. That’s the problem with debating a bunch of pit bull owners; you guys get so emotional you can’t think straight.

    If you’ll actually look at what I’ve posted you’ll see this line:

    “I’m not even suggesting there is anything practical that can or should be done about aggressive dog breeds. I just tire of hearing this lame argument that “it’s not the dog, it’s the owner.’”

    You said I “praise the extermination of a whole group of dogs.” Really.

  65. #65 |  Kidseven | 

    Very seriously, I came to this discussion convinced that the nature of pit bulls had a lot to do with the fatal attacks—perhaps as much or more than the nurture or owner’s treatment of the animal—but you guys with your anecdotes, defensive reactions and threats have me seriously reconsidering. Perhaps there is just something about the person who would own a pit bull.

  66. #66 |  Dan | 

    Again, don’t complain because others don’t agree with you. What do you expect??

  67. #67 |  David in Balt | 

    @Dan

    Its even worse then that, after having told him -exactly- what is wrong with those studies he still sits there and uses it. Pretty sad but obvious troll is very f*cking obvious at this point.

  68. #68 |  Steve Verdon | 

    At least Steve was kind enough to admit his dog will kill another dog if she’s not kept under control (what a treat it must be to own that kind of dog) Fortunately the rest of us with 100-plus IQs can extrapolate from there.

    Yes, she is actually. You see, I don’t take her around other dogs. If other dogs come around I leave, with her. If they are off leash and their owner is around, I demand that the owner get THEIR dog under control (most places have leash laws after all). Beyond that, she is one of the most tolerant dogs I have ever owned. When I want here to stop chewing something, I put my hand in her mouth.

    So I’m going to take a guess here and say your extrapolation is flawed.

    but you guys with your anecdotes, defensive reactions and threats have me seriously reconsidering.

    Anecdotes? Wait aren’t you the douchebag who appealed to media accounts? Never mind that I and others have pointed out the problem with the studies you relied upon and pointed to other sources such as Karen Delise’s work. And I’ve made no apologies for my dog, I’ve described both her positive characteristics and her negative ones.

    C’mon man. That’s the problem with debating a bunch of pit bull owners; you guys get so emotional you can’t think straight.

    Aren’t you the doorknob who implied that an APBT in the park is more of threat than you are to your own child? Based on what? Newspaper accounts.

    Really, you keep ignoring the flaws in the study. Be honest and admit that looking at the absolute numbers while not looking at the relative ratios is misleading. That using a “catch all” catagory of “pit bull type” creates an overly large class of dogs thus giving a biased measure. That lack of context can be problematic in that bad owners are going to result in bad outcomes. That if you see me walking down the street with my dog its absurd for you to equate me with an owner who does not socialize his dog, does not train his dog, does not ensure his dog is secure at all times, an takes preventive measures to ensure no other people or pets are injured. But that is clearly what you would do. Please spare us the denials you’ve made your own bigotry and biases quite clear.

    Does everyone that own a pit bull believe “it would never hurt anyone”?

    No, I’d like to think that if someone were to try and harm my family my dogs would intervene to protect us. So I would not say “never”. Is either of my dogs likely to hurt anyone? Highly unlikely, but Thorn you might kill one tomorrow, either accidentally or otherwise, so I don’t see the point. Humans are far more vicious, depraved and deadly than any dog of any breed…well except maybe chihuahuas.

  69. #69 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Mr. Zinnen,

    I see your point about the temperment statistics, but I think your analogy fails. I think a dog that is capable of attacking an killing a person is probably going to have temperment problems. A stable, well trained, well socialized dog should NOT attack a person, let alone kill them. In short, I think your analogy fails.

    BTW failure in the test is automatic for:

    Unprovoked aggression
    Panic without recovery
    Strong avoidance

    The test even has a component where a stranger advances on the dog in a non-threatening and threatening manners. And since a dog’s behavior is not random like a drug response, I think your analogy is weak at best and outright wrong.

    Of course, if we had data on dogs passing temperment tests attacking and or killing people and the actual context….

    Now, one problem with temperment testing is that only people who think their dog is likely to pass are inclined to take the test. Selection bias basically.

  70. #70 |  Kidseven | 

    “Beyond that, she is one of the most tolerant dogs I have ever owned.”

    Beyond the fact she’ll KILL any off leash dog she encounters? I can only imagine what your previous dogs were like.

    “douchebag” “doorknob”

    Well done.

    “douchebag who appealed to media accounts?”

    Um…no, actually. Only references I recall making were two substantial studies. Both of which have since been debunked here by you and another pit bull owner named David in Balt.

    “And I’ve made no apologies for my dog, I’ve described both her positive characteristics and her negative ones.”

    Clearly, but what does that have to do with my main point about pit bulls and their disproportionate involvement in human deaths?

    “you keep ignoring the flaws in the study.”

    Actually you need to add an “s” I guess. I cited two independent studies.

    “Be honest and admit that using a “catch all” catagory of “pit bull type” creates an overly large class of dogs thus giving a biased measure…”

    The second study makes very clear that all breeds were “catch alls.” If a poodle-like dog mauled someone it was chalked up to poodle. Read the study again, or for the first time. Do you really think a group of scientists are going to miss on that most basic point? Spend all of that time and energy and completely bungle the whole concept of an unbiased survey? Not one major study but two? Give it up.

    “its absurd for you to equate me with an owner who does not socialize his dog, does not train his dog, does not ensure his dog is secure at all times, an takes preventive measures to ensure no other people or pets are injured.”

    When did I say anything about any of that? Again, your own insecurities surface.

    “Humans are far more vicious, depraved and deadly than any dog of any breed”

    Another powerful counter point.

    Yes, I must be a bigot. Only a biased, close-minded fool could conclude pit bulls are involved in a disproportionate number of human fatalities.

    Take care.

  71. #71 |  Dan | 

    kidseven, I guess I’m a bit confused: you say you don’t support getting rid of the bull dog breeds and yet you also insist that they will kill anything when they are off a leash. If they are the devil dog you insist on then why don’t you support bsl and mass euthanization? It looks like contradicting statements to me. And insulting owners of bulldogs because you are angry with those posting doesn’t help your cause either.

  72. #72 |  Kidseven | 

    @ Dan

    “kidseven, I guess I’m a bit confused: you say you don’t support getting rid of the bull dog breeds and yet you also insist that they will kill anything when they are off a leash.”

    I’m guessing you’re just pulling my leg now. Hard to read sarcasm, but of course you know I’ve never suggested they’ll “kill anything” when they’re off leash. It was Steve Verdon (see above) who TOLD us his pit will in fact kill another dog off leash. I’m merely taking his word for it. And as I’ve also made clear, I don’t think most pit bulls are dangerous. My only argument is that (drum roll please): Pit bulls are involved in a disproportionate number of human fatalities.

    Do what you want with that information. If it makes you feel better as a pit bull owner to call me a douche bag, ignore statistics, and to think I’m a troll or have some axe to grind (besides making this one point) then believe what you want and enjoy the weather in your little snow globe world.

  73. #73 |  Dan | 

    Take it easy kid7… when did I call you a douhce bag? It seems that you are having a bad day or something so lets agree to disagree and end this conversation.

  74. #74 |  thorn | 

    It’s amusing that people resort to invoking Godwin’s Law and quoting stats from a bull-lover’s website. What’s next, using MADD as supporting evidence during a discussion on supporting a new prohibition?

    No real point here, just an observation.

    But I will say – Beau, enough testosterone. You love you dog – we get it. But as someone who has been the target of several dog attacks (not just pits, btw) earlier in life – i can tell you one thing: if I ever happen to find myself walking through your neighborhood, or down a road near your home, and your dog so much as growls and approaches me – I’ll put a hollowpoint through its head before it can flare its ears twice.

  75. #75 |  Steve Verdon | 

    The original pitbull problem video,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeuy_PBlqz8

    Interestingly prior to seeing this video I thought alot like Kidseven and others commenting here. Then a few weeks later found a pitbull (an APBT) in the park that we took in and has become our dog. I knew that because she was mostly black and an APBT that if I took her to the local shelter she’d die. If I left her, she’d likely be hit by a car or get picked up by an animal control officer and die. She’d met my rottweiler and was friendly towards her. So I took her home and haven’t regretted it since.

    Beyond the fact she’ll KILL any off leash dog she encounters? I can only imagine what your previous dogs were like.

    Not so long as I’m around. She knows that I don’t like aggressive behavior and tries to ignore other dogs. And she does submit to my desires. So no, she wont kill any off leash dog. My previous dog was a German Shepherd, and she was very well behaved.

    Well done.

    Well aren’t you the one first using media accounts, then a study and refusing to admit its short comings that are repeatedly pointed out to you. So I stand by my characterizations. They aren’t ad hominems is they are true.

    “And I’ve made no apologies for my dog, I’ve described both her positive characteristics and her negative ones.”

    Clearly, but what does that have to do with my main point about pit bulls and their disproportionate involvement in human deaths?

    You claimed that APBT owners have a blind spot regarding their own dogs, yet I describe my APBTs short comings proving your claim false. Yet you refuse to acknowledge it. As you would say, “Well done.”

    Actually you need to add an “s” I guess. I cited two independent studies.

    Both studies make the same mistakes.

    1. Creating a super-class of dogs.
    2. Ignoring relative ratios.
    3. Ignore the correlation between popularity and DBRFs.

    The second study makes very clear that all breeds were “catch alls.”

    A rottweiler is pretty distinctive looking dog; it is hard to mistake a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but yet I’ve seen a news article that did just that. So I’m sorry if I don’t buy the above claim. Further, after noting that breed is a “catch all” the author goes on to make breed specific claims. Lame in the extreme.

    When did I say anything about any of that? Again, your own insecurities surface.

    When you write shit like this its often a good idea to scroll back upstream:

    So I take it you don’t see any fundamental difference between the ownership of an inanimate object with lethal potentiality and one that runs around with free will next to my three-year-old at the city park?–June 10th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve taken my dog to the city park many times and seen people like you. They grab their kids, and look worried when they see my dog.

    I’m guessing you’re just pulling my leg now. Hard to read sarcasm, but of course you know I’ve never suggested they’ll “kill anything” when they’re off leash. It was Steve Verdon (see above) who TOLD us his pit will in fact kill another dog off leash.

    Again good idea to scroll back upstream…. you wrote earlier,

    Pit bulls were BRED for aggression somewhere along the way and they seem particularly good at it.

    You were clearly unware of the fact that dogs can have different levels of aggression such as some dogs being only animal/dog aggressive. Now after being disabused of this knowledge you act as if it was your position all along.

    My only argument is that (drum roll please): Pit bulls are involved in a disproportionate number of human fatalities.

    Yes, in absolute numbers using a catch all non-breed specific definition. However, the real statistic of interest is the relative ratio in regards to attacks and DBRFs.

    Do what you want with that information. If it makes you feel better as a pit bull owner to call me a douche bag, ignore statistics, and to think I’m a troll or have some axe to grind (besides making this one point) then believe what you want and enjoy the weather in your little snow globe world.

    1. You are a douchebag.
    2. I’m not ignoring statistics; statistics is my day job and you have the wrong one.

    It’s amusing that people resort to invoking Godwin’s Law and quoting stats from a bull-lover’s website. What’s next, using MADD as supporting evidence during a discussion on supporting a new prohibition?

    What “bull lovers” site? The ATT website? That site tests dogs of all breeds.

  76. #76 |  Ignatz | 

    Is it just conceivable that while certain dogs (the bull terrier group) pose little or no threat to humans as long as they remain upright? That is – recognisably human? Looking at the dog fatality stats, such as they are, there seems to be a huge bias towards fatalities among young people and the elderly.

    Are these dogs bright enough to know that the running, squealing infant that just fell on top of it is not a dog attacking it, at which point an innate anti-dog aggression kicks in?

    Meanwhile I’ll agree with a basic point made by several posters. Bully breeds might not be any more aggressive than others, but the nature of a bully attack is very different.

Leave a Reply