Pondering Pit Bulls

Nanny Dogs or Bullies?

Sunday, October 9, 2011
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My favorite line in one of my favorite novels, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (much better than the movie, by the way): “Life isn’t fair.” The example that comes to mind at the moment: the American pit bull dog. (Stay with me on this.)

Back in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina put most of Louisiana under water, I ended up in Baton Rouge, volunteering at an emergency shelter for the thousands of animals displaced by the storm. There I met a woman named Hilary, who had come to help however she could. For her, that meant greeting people at the front gates — because Hilary, despite her devotion to animals, was too terrified of pit bulls to go back to the kennels where she might actually encounter one.

Lee Heller

Hilary had never had a bad experience with a pit; she’d never had any experience with a pit. She is highly educated, an author, and an activist. Yet the zeitgeist had created in her an irrational fear. She’s not alone, either. I’ve had potential adopters of my foster puppies ask anxiously, “There isn’t any chance they might have some pit bull in them, is there?” It doesn’t matter that my own pit mix is sitting in their laps at the time, wearing his Therapy Dog tag. The Myth of the Vicious Pit Bull supersedes the evidence of their senses.

On the other side of this are the Father Flanagans of animal rescue, who believe that there is no such thing as a bad pit. These folks will point out that pits are very human-oriented and often known as “nanny dogs” for their submissive affection to children. True that. But by insisting on those traits only, they refuse to accept the complexity of the breed or the problem of their over-representation in our shelters. They will protest if it is pointed out that pit bulls are terriers, bred to burrow and kill — a trait requiring high drive and perseverance, to stay in that hole until you’ve nailed the badger. They ignore the fact that the very name “pit bull” refers to the pits used for dog fights, and to the “bully breed” characteristics of incredible strength and a willingness to stick it out to the death — theirs or the other dog’s.

Samantha, longtime resident of the shelter, highly adoptable yet repeatedly passed over because - well, because she's a pit bull.
Click to enlarge photo

Samantha, longtime resident of the shelter, highly adoptable yet repeatedly passed over because - well, because she’s a pit bull.

The truth is that pit bulls are victims of racial profiling and that many individuals of the breed are loving, friendly, trustworthy. But it’s also true that some pits, especially those that are bred for fierceness, or are mishandled and undersocialized, pose a threat to other animals and even to human beings. All of which leads to a painful, unfair fact: Our shelters are full of pit bulls. As of this writing, 34 of the 70 or so dogs at the Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelter in Goleta, where I am a volunteer, are pits or pit mixes. What do you do when you have so many dogs of a breed type that, justly or not, most people do not want?

Oh, you can try to educate people — tell them how great the breed is, how misinformed they are. It’s a pretty rare person who will then say, “Oh, of course, I’ve been a dupe of media hype — I’ll gladly adopt that large, strong dog that I’ve been conditioned to fear.” Instead, they walk around our kennels, see the predominance of a breed they don’t want, and leave, saying (not accurately, but nonetheless), “Oh, all you have are pits.” That’s a losing outcome for the shelter, and for the dogs who need to get out of our overcrowded cages and into homes.

Under the stress of an unnatural life in a cage, a few do develop aggression. Everytime our shelter euthanizes one of these dogs, there is an understandable outcry from volunteers who have come to know and love the dog. But when a pit bull repeatedly fights with other dogs or demonstrates signs of aggression to people — well, do you want that dog living next to you, or on your street? That’s the litmus test that most of us apply, as we try to walk the line between saving dogs and keeping the community safe.

Here’s the real bottom line, for pit bulls and for our community as a whole: Life is not fair. In a just world, the owners of neglected or abandoned dogs would be the ones forced to live in crowded cages. Pit bulls are disproportionately the victims of an unjust reality, no doubt. But until we have unlimited money for animal sanctuaries, or a cultural change in which pits become the golden retrievers of dog popularity, it’s the reality we have.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Comparing dog "breedism" to "racial profiling" is both offensive and inaccurate. The reason that we have different dog breeds is because dogs have been bred for different purposes, by groups of people who valued different traits. Indeed, dog books typically have "breed profiles" listing the typical temperament traits in order to educate dog owners when they are deciding what kind of dog to buy or adopt. Golden retriever breeders value gentleness, soft mouth and trainability. Pit bull breeders value "gameness," which is specifically the willingness to attack and the trait of never stopping the attack until the victim is dead.

Hence the FACT that the UKC American Pit Bull Terrier standard admits that most pit bulls have the huge temperament flaw of dog aggression , And pit bulls also kill human beings (primarily children and old people, but two adult women have been killed by their own pit bulls in the past two months) with regularity while golden retrievers virtually never do.

People who pass up the adolescent pit bulls that glut your shelter (and virtually every other shelter in the country) are perhaps doing so because they have educated themselves and know that even if a one or two year old pit bull is not yet showing signs of dog aggression, he may well "turn on" as he matures and decide he wants to kill other dogs. This trait makes a dog extremely stressful and unfun to own, at least if the owner is trying to be responsible.

It would be funny (if it weren't the cause of so much dog suffering and death) how often pit pushers like this author blame the public for the glut of pit bulls in shelters while never even mentioning the real cause of pit bull suffering--grossly irresponsible pit bull breeders. The author asks "what do you do when you have so many dogs in shelters that most people don't want?" Her solution seems to be to try to guilt people into taking dogs that are probably not suitable for them. My solution is breed specific legislation mandating the spay/neuter of all pit bulls and pit bull mixes except AKC and UKC-PR registered show dogs. Do you support the passage of laws like that, Ms. Heller?



dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 7:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

sounds like dogcentric has succumbed to the pit bull myth.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Careful, your ignorance is showing!

Do you think that Dobermans, Shepherds, Labs, and Rottweilers should also be forcibly sterilized and put under breed specific legislation? Each of these breeds was either bred to be a "game dog" -- to hunt and/or kill -- or to be guard attacks that can potentially kill a human being. And these are just a few examples of dog breeds that have such traits.

It is not offensive to compare the discrimination of pit bulls to other types of discrimination. All discrimination is born of ignorance, stereotype, and prejudice. To single out traits in a pit bull that exist in other dogs, and state that because these traits exist in a pit bull they are inherently more dangerous or harmful, fits this definition.

ALL respected animal rights groups and veterinarian associations are against BSL, speak out in favor of pit bulls, and try to educate people about these wonderful animals. I would like to know what academic credentials you hold that makes you more of an expert.

CAC (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And as to the "golden retriever" comment, the reason you never hear about a golden retriever attacking a human is because the minute a golden retriever attacked a human, it would instantly and magically morph into a pit bull when the story was reported by the media.

The media prejudice against pit bulls has been studied and documented. Google it. Dogs involved in unfortunate violence are identified as a "pit bull" even when it is obvious that the dog is another breed. The media is quite responsible for creating public hysteria because of outright irresponsible reporting. Intelligent people don't fall for it.

Here is an ASPCA article about it:

CAC (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think the author is trying to "guilt" the readers - interesting how nouns become verbs. It truly isn't fair, for those dogs who are gentle but unwanted - or for those dogs who are not so gentle through no faults of their own and understandably not wanted. However, it's so and since there is no open space for sanctuary (for domestic as well as injured, unreleasable wild animals), then euthanasia has to be the answer.

A couple of months ago, I was thinking about getting a dog. I wanted one that was gentle for my other pet (and for me); I checked the listings and saw that the great majority of shelter animals were pit bulls — and I have had experience with two belonging to family members and as a result I am (irrationally, probably) afraid of them or chihuahuas which I don't care for, generally. ...I went to LA, to the Baldwin Park shelter where I adopted my dog.

Thank you for the sensitive and thoughtful column.

at_large (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 10:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So why are there so many pit bulls in the shelters?

Wouldn't a breed which is feared by so many prospective owners (rightly or wrongly) be declining in numbers?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Exterminate Pit Bulls. Period.
The fallacy about dog bite numbers is that of course there are more bites from other breeds of dogs, but of course getting bit by a Lab or a Terrier does not kill you are put you in the hospital. Humans created Pit Bulls by selectively breeding the worst and most aggressive dogs and now humans have to take care of it.
East Beach-One reason they might be increasing in our area is due to the increase in gang bangers that have this breed as the dog of choice. You will not find Pit Bulls in areas without lowlifes...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 12:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To EastBeach, who wondered about overpopulation/demand statistics. There are lots of rats and flies too; it doesn't mean that this surplus benefits anyone. It simply shows that many are reproducing.

Forget the empirical evidence that pit bulls are the best at doing great damage when attacking a pedestrian (Shashi Bali or Margaret Salcedo) or an unsuspecting child climbing on a jungle gym (Javon Roberson). Even if only other dogs were the victims of pit bull attacks, why would anyone who truly cares about dog welfare want dog-aggression to be a continuing breed trait? Every pit bull website states that dog aggression, even with early socialization, is a common pit bull instinct. Instinct means no training required. Some websites recommend that responsible pit owners acquire and practice using a break stick, with which to pry open their pit's mouth, to free the other dog.

I can't find any purebred pit bull breeder (APBT, AmStaff, SBT) website that states "we only breed dog-friendly dogs" or "None of our dogs are dog aggressive." The exact opposite is true: Some pit bull promoters state proudly: "Dog aggression is what makes a pit a pit" and "pit bulls are the gladiator and the warrior" of the dog world.

I work with animal rescue. The only puppies that we placed that grew up and killed their housemate dogs were pit bulls. The dogs' couldn't help themselves; they simply did what they were created to do: kill a dog.

Spend some time visiting pit chat rooms and read between the lines on pro-pit websites. When a pit promoter suggests that pit bulls need a strong/dominant owner, you need to ask, "what happens when the pit escapes and doesn't have that strong owner nearby to stop an attack?"

It is never the dogs' fault. Dogs do not understand human laws and don't have "morals". Dogs have no control over their breeding/heritage (purpose of breed: fighting), no control over their management/training (getting loose), no control over their sexual status (intact dogs are more likely to attack).

But that means it is up to society to take steps to prevent these attacks that we all know will happen again. Many pit promoters will continue to suffer from denial; others (neighbor humans and dogs) suffer from the terror and attacks that pits can inflict.

Free mandatory spay/neuter microchipping for all pits/pit mixes, all dog aggressive dogs. Let the "masters of mauling" gradually become extinct. If a non-pit is misidentified, no problem, she gets a free spay.

DebbieBell (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 12:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dog aggression kills dogs

Directly, when one dog kills another dog
Indirectly, when dogs on bite quarantine in the pound displace other dogs
Indirectly, when dog-aggressive dogs prevent their home from saving another dog, though fostering or adopting a homeless dog
Indirectly, when funds that could be used to help more adoptable dogs are squandered on much less adoptable dogs.
Indirectly, because first responders are increasingly more likely to kill a loose dog, since some have learned the hard way that pit bull behavior is not predictable. Since it has been shown that an adult human can be killed by a single pit bull, the "shoot first, ask question later" style is becoming more and more common.

No one, including the pit bull themselves, benefits from these abilities and instincts. Now that dog fighting is illegal, let these become extinct.

DebbieBell (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Where are there shelters where half the dogs are dobermans or shepherds? Ms. Heller notes that half the dogs in the shelter she volunteers at are pit bulls (this is typical of many shelters, although lots have higher percentages) and is bemoaning the fact that there are TOO MANY PIT BULLS suffering and dying in shelters. This is a fact that anybody who has visited virtually any shelter in this country can attest to. In NYC, 80% of the dogs euthanized are pit bulls. In Baltimore, Maryland, the BARCs shelter ONLY has pit bulls (rows and rows and rows of them) , since everything that is not a pit bull is quickly adopted or transferred to rescue. In Los Angeles area shelters, 120 pit bulls per DAY are killed.

Ms. Heller proposes three different "solutions" to this crisis, which are really non-solutions. First "unlimited money for sanctuaries." Apparently she concedes that there won't be adoptive homes for the pit bulls being bred, and she wants them to be warehoused in "sanctuaries." Second, she proposes "a cultural change" in which "pit bulls become golden retrievers" in the mind of the public. But pit bulls are NOT golden retrievers. Just as one example, the UKC pit bull standard admits that most pit bulls have the temperament flaw of dog aggression. . Pit bull experts caution never to leave a pit bull unsupervised with any other animal, lest you come home to a bloodbath. What dog expert says anything remotely LIKE that about the typical golden retriever? Finally Ms. Heller advised that we all just say "life isn't fair" and (I guess) close our eyes and hearts to the slaughter and carnage that irresponsible pit bull breeders cause, both in terms of dead toddlers and old people and in terms of suffering and dead pit bulls.

Pardon me, but the solution to the pit bull crisis isn't to pretend that there aren't differences between pit bulls and golden retrievers. The solution is to BREED FEWER PIT BULLS and since the vast majority of pit bull breeders are grossly, grossly irresponsible and won't stop breeding them on their own just because it is the right thing to do, the only way to protect both communities and pit bulls themselves is to pass laws regulating pit bull breeding.

Or, alternatively, you can just whine and say "life is unfair" but that doesn't really help either pit bulls or their victims much, does it?

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 2:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, today was "learn about pit bulls" day. I was motivated because there's a pit bull mix behind a front-yard fence near the County Bowl that always goes nuts when I walk by with my neighbor's dog.

An interesting overview here from a newspaper in a state (Ohio) where a breed-specific law was passed:

A two-part article about backyard breeders in Las Vegas:

This was the most curious of all ... a website selling "muscle building vitamins" specifically for pit bulls:

The pitbulls in these photos look like the canine equivalents of Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids!

As I perused the site, there seemed to be mixed messages about how safe the pit bull breeds are along with info on how to raise a kick-A war dog.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Re how "fair" it is for dogs "who are gentle but unwanted" to suffer and die in shelters, as Debbie Bell notes it isn't "fair" for even dogs who are flat out dangerous to die in shelters. Dogs don't choose either their nature or their nurture, so they aren't ultimately responsible for their behavior. The people who chose to breed them and who raised them are.

When pit pushers aren't making the ridiculous argument that golden retrievers are killing people at the same rate as pit bulls are (but, for some reason that isn't clear, the media is covering up all the golden retriever fatalities) they are whining that pit bulls only kill people because of all the irresponsible, lowlife, pondscum pit bull owners. And, of course, it is impossible to see the numbers of pit bulls who end up in and die in shelters and not agree that there ARE disproportionate numbers of irresponsible, lowlife, pondscum pit bull owners compared to any other breed. But who, exactly, do these pit pushers think is BREEDING pit bulls? In fact, it is overwhelmingly these same lowlifes, and they are often breeding for dangerousness, since they want a dog as a weapon, not as a companion.

Hence the fact that pit bull genetic temperament is going further and further into the toilet, as pit pushers fight against the kind of breed specific legislation necessary to protect pit bulls

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 2:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of the things that is unique about pit pushers is that they think that the solution to the problems facing the breed is to market pit bulls more aggressively and to deny the problems inherent in pit bull ownership. The fanciers of other breeds take exactly the opposite approach. For example, when the live action version of "101 Dalmatians" was being made, dalmatian fanciers put enormous pressure on Disney studios to make them include NEGATIVE information about dalmantian ownership in the film's publicity. In fact, when the stars appeared to promote the film, they were instructed to say some version of "but don't get a dalmatian because you see this probably don't want one." When I went to see the movie, the local dalmatian club had a booth in the movie theater with information about all the reasons you DON'T want a dalmatian.

It worked. Following the release of the live action film, dalmatian registration numbers actually went DOWN, because so many people had gotten the message that even though 101 dalmatians together look pretty cute, they are not a good breed for many people to own.

Compare that to the obsessive denial of the pit pushers. When pregnant Darla Napora was killed last month by her beloved pit bull, the pit pusher community immediately went into gear and started disseminating the lie that she died because she fell off a ladder. They also said the dog couldn't have been pit bull (No matter that he was). BadRap published a column comparing Gunner the pit bull mauling his pregnant owner to death with a husky mix who growled at his owner once and said it just goes to show you, they are all dogs. (Uh...yeah, but one owner is quite dead, and the other isn't). Variations of this kind of denial happen every single time a pit bull kills somebody.

Nobody is surprised if the border collie you adopt from the shelter tries to herd the neighborhood kids, without any training whatsoever. Herding is what border collies are bred to do. Nobody is surprised if the labrador you adopt from the shelter loves to swim and fetch tennis balls without any training whatsoever. Swimming and retrieving is what labradors are bred to do. But when pit bulls do what pit bulls are bred to do (attack and kill) pit pushers claim it must be because they were trained to do that. Sorry, folks, but pit bulls are not immune to the influence of genetics, any more than border collies and labradors are.

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Debbie Bell asks good questions, but don't expect the pit pushers to answer any of them. And don't expect pit pushers to give any concrete answers about what to do about the pit bull crisis because doing that would require doing what they refuse to do--stand up to irresponsible pit bull breeders and pass laws restricting pit bull breeding.

It is really no wonder that pit bulls are in such a mess and are suffering and dying in such horrific numbers. The pit pusher community rejects the concrete measures that would be necessary to protect pit bulls (and communities) and instead just says "life is unfair."

Sorry, but saying "life is unfair" really doesn't count as a solution.

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Re the ASPCA link to a supposed "study" that "proves" that pit bull attacks generate more media attention than do those of other breeds, that is baloney. Karen Delise (the author of that "study") simply took ONE incident of a particularly horrific but non-fatal pit bull attack that generated a lot of media attention and compared it to the media attention given three other attacks. The pit bull attack in question involved a dog who chased another dog into a woman's home through the dog door. The pit bull then killed the other dog and proceeded to maul the woman severely in her own home. This "home invasion" scenario would have generated huge publicity no matter what breed was involved.

Interestingly, the dog attack that generated the most media attention BY FAR in the history of this country was the fatal mauling of Diane Whipple by presa canarios, not pit bulls. The media covered that story obsessively and continuously. Delise didn't use that story in "study" because it would have proven the opposite of what she wanted to prove.

Probably the second most widely covered dog attack in this country was a pomeranian mix who killed an infant over ten years ago. Again, this attack still often referenced in the media precisely because the breed involved was so unusual. What pit bull attack from ten years (or even ten months) ago is still getting media attention?

For the ASPCA to link to Delise's bogus "study" to "prove" that there is a media bias against pit bulls is just grossly irresponsible.

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 3:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thankfully, the ASPCA isn't always irresponsible when it comes to talking about pit bulls. The "ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs" (accurately) cautions prospective pit bull owners and describes pit bulls this way:

"The American Pit Bull Terrier is not suitable for inexperienced dog owners. It can be especially aggressive with other dogs. Prospective owners should avoid selecting puppies from fighting stock. It is especially important to obtain an American Pit Bull terrier from a reputable breeder as there are unfortunately some who choose to breed the most aggressive animals and then train them to maim or kill."

Sadly of course, this means that very few shelter pit bulls (most of whom come from irresponsible breeders and unknown bloodlines) would meet ASPCAs criteria for being adopted. Potential shelter adopters CAN'T KNOW whether the adorable pit bull puppy they fall in love with at the shelter came from one of the breeders ASPCA acknowledges are choosing to breed the most aggressive dogs they can find.

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 3:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@ DebbieBell and dogcentric.

I am a shelter attendant and a foster mom and work with animal rescue just like u do DebbieBell. To date we have not gotten one of the Pit bulls we adopted out back, nor have we received any bite reports or dog attack incidents on them. Why? Because the dogs we adopt out have all been tested for temperament. There reactions to other dogs to humans etc. We have gotten poodles and Dachshunds, shepherds and even Goldens back because they were rough on the children.

By the way Golden retrievers are themselves very high on the bite list, just thought I would throw that in for good measurement.

And yes I am the very proud mom of 3 amazing Pit Bulls among 13 other dogs. All 3 of them can be with each other and any or all of the other dogs with the exception of my husbands chow. That chow is the only dog aggressive dog we have in our household. As a responsible Pit owner I do have a break stick. Because in any multiple dog household you will have fights and a Pit, like the majority of my other dogs, is a terrier and a terrier grabs a hold to what it attacks and don't let go. That is where the break stick comes in. It is needed to separate our own dogs in the rare event they get in to a fight, which they never have. It is used to make them grab a hold to instead of the other dog.

Not every Pit in this world is dog aggressive nor human aggressive in fact the majority of them are really great dogs, as loving as any golden or lab.

keydemoore (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)


You make reference to some "bite list" that you claim golden retrievers are "high on." To what "bite list" are you referring? Please be specific. Pit pushers are constantly telling us that some breed other than pit bulls is high on (or leads) "the bite list" but since there are no reliable nationwide statistics kept anywhere on dog bites by breed this is all more pit pusher denial. In short, no credible "bite list" exists.

What we do know is that pit bulls lead, by a huge margin, in terms of fatal attacks on human beings. Even pit bull advocate Brent Toeliner (the only pit bull advocate I know of who doesn't just pretend that it is impossible to know what kinds of dog are killing people) admits this, listing 13 pit bull related fatalities last year.

But another stat may be even more interesting. While Toeliner and DogsBite can quibble about whether a particular dog involved in a fatality was really enough pit bull to fall into the pit category (with Toeliner spinning the questionable cases toward "not pit bull" and DogsBite spinning them into the pit bull ranks) , nobody who keeps track of dog bite related fatalities will argue that even a single purebred lab or golden has killed any human being in this country in the past three years. If (as pit pushers argue) breed and breeding doesn't matter in terms of dog dangerousness, why aren't goldens and labs killing people fairly frequently?

The answer, of course, is that breeding (and breed) does matter in terms of serious dog dangerousness just like it matters in terms of other dog proclivities, such as herding ability and retrieving drive. And, sadly for pit bulls, they are losing out when it comes to having responsible breeders who breed for stable temperaments. Instead they frequently have breeders who LIKE dangerousness in the dogs they own and breed.

dogcentric (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

please google "dog bites by breed" and be prepared to contact the authors and tell them they are all wrong. give me a break, why do people need mean dogs? what are they afraid of? do they also have tattoos on their necks, shaved heads? let the numbers, facts, speak for themselves and if you must have a pit bull, be sure to have a good lawyer .

richardsinclair (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2011 at 6:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks, Dogcentric. Hang in there. It is not a myth.

Carlos666 (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think there is a certain profile of person who owns a pit bull.
Obviously I'm speaking of a percentage of owners, not all the owners. They own this dog for reasons other than it's sweetness or companionability. My guess is that this type of owner has no problem abandoning the dog when they want to.
Chihuahuas filled the other half of the binder with pics of dogs needing homes when I was last at the vet.
What I'm saying is that society is having to clean up the mess of an irresponsible group of people whose profile includes owning these dogs.

JHL (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 7:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

in the past, first german shepherds, then dobermans had the reputation that pit bulls now have. It was deserved neither then nor now. Hint to dogcentric: keep your posts short - people are more likely to read them.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 9:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No matter how much PR the pit pushers put out there, the dogs will keep mauling and killing people and that will always make most families leery of them. (due to rampant unfettered breeding by irresponsible breeders - as discussed above)

Pit pushers manipulate the meaning of data by implying that being bitten by a Chihuahua counts in bite statistics as equal to being mauled or killed by a pit bull, and do nothing about trying to help the dogs by reducing their numbers.

Even if you are dopey enough to not care about the people, it makes no sense to not care about the suffering and death of these dogs. Yet pit pushers don't. San Francisco's breed regulations have dramatically reduced problems with pits, abandonment of pits, and death in shelters of pits. Still - to these loonies proven solutions cannot be considered - only their fantasy counts. They will continue to pretend that there is no problem with pits - no matter who dies.

I rescue and rehome a lot of dogs and I used to include pits. I just can't any more. The risk of being responsible for a horrible ending is just too high. It is playing Russian Roulette with the lives of all concerned.

I hate that these dogs suffer so, but it will take good ideas implemented through breed specific laws to help them. The longer pit pushers fight off solutions, the more dogs (and people) will suffer and die. The blood of all is on their hands.

glebec (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent article by a caring individual.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pit bulls should be eradicated as a breed. Just as many of their owners should.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was in SF when the Dianna Whipple case happened..if fact..I would see the dogs at the park with my young son. The dogs - Presa Canarios were HUGE. I quickly left the park when the owners would walk those dogs. The Presa's were big, and immensely scary. As far as pits, just had an encounter with one, walking my beagle. It was at night, and the pit was hiding in its driveway. It silently came around the back of me and separated "Sophie" and I. I growled..I let out a very high, girlie scream. The owner called the dog back in the house. It wasn't going after the never took its eyes off me. I wouldn't stood a chance..nor would Sophie..against the pit.

qmagoo (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2011 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think I see a lot of dog owners that want their dog off leash here, but don't want to bear the responsibility of their dogs actions ie: running up to strange dogs that are on leash, letting their dog get so far ahead, that I have had them run into my garage.
In my Goleta neighborhood 75% of dogs are off leash, go to Los Carneros lake/Stowe House any day of the week and see all the off leash dogs getting into conflicts, knocking people down then come back and talk about which breeds are causing the problem (its not Pits)
I am a pit mix adopter (Thank you Bonnie at Dawg) 13 happy years ago, 100% of my dog conflicts have been from loose dogs

dadof3 (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2011 at 9:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am a Californian. In my childhood all the dogs ran around off leash. No one fenced their yards and I could ride my horse through the back of peoples property to access the NF trails, with dog in tow.

Children were raised with a strong sense of Animal Husbandry, 4H Club was a major player.

Our dogs were working dogs. The were highly trained and got the exercise that canines need.

Then 25-30 million Yankee City Dwellers showed up like locusts turning rural into suburb.

We now have barking rats, small dogs, that the coyotes would have eaten and other breeds brought in by the City People.

Most of these dogs get 1/4 to 1/3 the exercise they actually need and slowly go nuts kept in too small yards or worse, apartments.

We did not have canine problems in the old days.

Go to a dog show. All you see is middle aged morbidly obese women strutting around with fu-fu getting their Barbie Doll fix, very sad. Modern Dogs and Horses have become the carnival amusement of women and children.

My dog a Blue Aussie was born on a working ranch, very calm smart and behaved. We did weeklong trail rides in the summer.

Today I see the same dog overbred, hyper and half nuts. Bred to stupidity, instead of the working dog they were designed to be. A dog like that needs 12-15 miles a day, not a walk around the block.

Most of the problem comes from forcing canines into a StepFord Environment. Dogs don't belong in Cities, they are a rural animal.

The problem is City People. They are animal husbandry ignorant and thus their dogs are poorly trained and under exercised.

The Pit Bull is a city dog. Really has no working dog use to my knowledge and is just another creation of city people.

I guess another pair went off yesterday.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2011 at 1:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I had a fat black cat named Shelley that would attack people at random, musta been a pitty.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2011 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Pit bull kills pregnant Calif. woman (Aug 2011)

This woman was a member of a Pit Bull Advocacy Group.

What they don't show in this article was that the house was really small as well as the yard.

The male dog, age two, you cannot take a high octane young animal and put them in a confined area and not expect the dog to go insane.

I have seen very happy Pits running wide open for miles on the beach, they have massive energy.

Dogs need space and they need to run. You get this kind of result when you put them in the equivalent of a cage.

They are not Barbie Dolls. City Dwellers are ill equipped meet the needs of high octane animals.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2011 at 8:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, one of those cute, misunderstood victims of a racial profiling murdered my dog in a public park yesterday.

Maybe it was one of your dear puppies, one that happily found his home, adopted by someone convinced that pit bulls are sweet, loving and oh so very misunderstood little cuties.

Pausha (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2012 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have been dealing with the pitbull breed my whole life. I run a pitbull kennel and a pitbull store. I have sold pit puppies all over the world and have never had any get hurt by them so please don't condemn ones mans actions and blame all of society for it

clark23 (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2014 at 1:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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