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Posted on October 9 at 5:23 p.m.
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.
On Pondering Pit Bulls
Posted on October 9 at 3:56 p.m.
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.
Posted on October 9 at 3:47 p.m.
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.
Posted on October 9 at 3:28 p.m.
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.
Posted on October 9 at 3:06 p.m.
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 movie...you 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.
Posted on October 9 at 2:43 p.m.
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
Posted on October 9 at 2:26 p.m.
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?
Posted on October 9 at 7:40 a.m.
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?