Federal law leashes pit bull restrictions

Municipal governments from New York City to Miami, and from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Denver, have responded to fear of pit bulls and similar breeds of dogs, by severely restricting their ownership or banning them entirely from their jurisdictions.  Now, thanks to a rule issued recently by the U.S. Department of Justice, such actions are subject to being struck down.  Jurisdictions now considering such overreactions, such as Douglasville, Georgia, would be well-advised to review the Justice Department’s opinion before proceeding.

Dog owners and humane societies have long-opposed such arbitrary and overly broad laws that penalize thousands of pit bull owners who maintain their canine companions properly and without incident, because of a small number who fail to properly train and control the dogs.  Courts generally have permitted such ordinances to stand, based on deference to the so-called “police power” of local governments to protect the public “safety and welfare.” 

The 20-year old, federal Americans With Disabilities Act (”ADA”), however, may put a stop to such “breed-specific legislation.”  The ADA protects measures designed to help persons with disabilities, which includes dogs used by disabled persons for assistance.  Laws that outlaw ownership of entire breeds, including those that might be used for assistive purposes, would limit the ability of persons with disabilities to use such pets, and would therefore violate the ADA and be deemed by the Justice Department to be unlawful.

In what some might consider a rare example of the federal government recognizing that laws can be overly broad and therefore harmful to individual liberty, the Justice Department’s opinion on breed-specific legislation noted that such laws sweep too broadly; and that it is inappropriate to outlaw an entire breed of dogs because a small number cause problems.  Such problems are the result of owners not restraining their dogs properly or inadequately training them, rather than the result of a particular breed’s disposition, and can be addressed by more narrowly-crafted legislation.

Unfortunately, there are still those, like the mayor of Douglasville, Georgia, who favor overly restrictive measures.  The mayor recently noted in support of the city’s proposed pit bull ordinance, that he had no problem singling out pit bulls, because he sees them “on TV” causing “incidents.”    One would hope that local government officials might on their own possess some understanding of limited government and individual liberty; but if the Justice Department at least in this instance will ensure that they do so by way of a federal law, then the feds are serving as an important check on excessive government power.

402 comments Add your comment

NOLA

October 1st, 2010
1:57 pm

Pits are the second most owned dog in America ,however, pits are involved in more animal abuse cases then any other animal! Just saying! I have owned a few pits and shar-pei and a shih zsu. The only dogs I have owned that I would trust with kids are the pits and shar-pei. Infact, my present Pit belongs to my three year old. She is the most submissive dog ever! I trained her to be this way especially around children! We are also involved with the Sula foundation in New Orleans that promotes responsible pit bull ownership. I have been attacked by two dogs before while jogging and guess what folks… No pits! One was a lab, the other a husky. Bad owners make bad dogs! The media controls opinions as well! I love how if there is a pit attack, it makes national news. If it involves another breed… It is not reported to that degree! If a pit is heroic and saves a life, if its reported, no breed is specified. If another breed (say a lab) saves a life, the specific breed is read in the headline! People! Dog attacks happen involving all breeds where a neglectful owner is involved! Ignorance is not bliss!

NOLA

October 1st, 2010
2:06 pm

By the way, new orleans has many many many “upper-class” Pit bull owners! I see more pits being walked in Audubon park then any other breed! And actually, now that I think of it, many of these owners are women… College age through elderly. Hell! If our dogs keed idiots away from us then good! So please don’t stereo-type!

lyn

October 1st, 2010
2:12 pm

Boooo Bob, You can’t teach pit owners in my hood to train their pits/dogs. It’s the same o same o, blame it on the owner,it’s not the dog thing. Most Pits live out doors in a pen, because to most they are not pets.
You must not stay in touch with the news,, to not realised how many children and adults are hurt or killed. Is it really worth it? I can’t walk my dogs, because I fear running into a pit that’s escaped.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
2:25 pm

Nola,

I hope that we don’t read about your 3 year old in the news when your dog snaps and decides your child is lunch. Just try searching dog attacks on children and see how many horrific stories there are… even from the family pit. Here’s one:

Lynn child attacked by pit bull

By Robin Kaminski / The Daily Item

LYNN – A young child was attacked by a family pit bull Monday afternoon on Eutaw Avenue, according to Lynn police.

The incident happened around 1 p.m. at 11 Eutaw Ave., on the second floor, where police say the dog bit a 6-year-old girl several times on her arm.

Animal Control Officer Kevin Farnsworth reportedly removed the animal from the home.

The child was transported by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for treatment to several gouges and cuts. Police say she is expected to recover.

Cekker

October 1st, 2010
2:25 pm

See it all the time

Where have you been hiding the last 3 days?

I would hazard to guess that 90% of the population would answer ‘Yes’ if asked if they think that pit bulls are dangerous. So it is not up to me to ‘win’ that argument; rather, it’s the pit lovers task to convince all of us dumb schmucks that the opposite is true.

As for name calling and insults, I have been called some pretty vile things on this OPINION blog, but I’m not crying about it.

And please point out where I criticized someone’s typos or grammar?

See it all the time

October 1st, 2010
2:45 pm

See, I never said I was swinging one way or another on this. I merely stated how you are clearly uniformed on the topic. You merely insult those of opposite opinion, but fail to provide anything intellectual to support your opinion. Everything I’ve seen you post is insults, or telling people to go look up things in the media (which we all can admit is not informational, as Ratings are more important than fact for the media).

Most people are not educated on this topic, these are the ones who will immediately say “yes” if asked if they think pits are dangerous, as the majority of people won’t take the time to research a topic before forming an opinion after watching a news program or reading a newspaper. You see it with a lot of things, not just with dogs.

People who listen solely to the media, without looking in to other sources of information, are usually the most least informed people I have ever met. When asked a question, if the answer doesn’t immediately fall into something they heard on the news, will resort to your type of argument, Cekker, which is to turn to sarcasm, insults, and name calling. It’s the fall back for the uniformed. You have shown by your complete lack of anything factual, constant insulting and name-calling, that you have taken this fall back. Please, before continuing an argument, do some research (from non-media based, non-biased (from either pro-pit or neg-pit), and find some facts to support your argument. “The media says so” just doesn’t cut it. It never does.

Cekker

October 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

‘See, I never said I was swinging one way or another on this.’ — I never said you did.

‘Everything I’ve seen you post is insults’ — You clearly have not read ‘everything’ I have posted on this subject.

‘do some research (from non-media based, non-biased (from either pro-pit or neg-pit), and find some facts to support your argument.’ — I’ll leave that to the pitbull defenders. I’ve read everything they have posted on this blog and am still not convinced that pit bulls are just lovable misunderstood sweetie pies who only need proper training and love.

BullyBob

October 1st, 2010
3:22 pm

Lyn, if the pit bulls live outside in pens because people do not consider them as pets… this sounds like an owner/people problem to me.
As far as not being to walk your dog because of loose pit bulls…DONT people have ACO officers ? I know where I live they do and the fine is pretty darn high.. not that I have ever paid a fine for having my dog loose.. Again if there is no ACO officer this sounds like another people problem rather than a dog/pit bull problem.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
3:23 pm

This article is really not about whether Pit bulls and other ‘like’ breeds are vicious or not, its about what should be done about it. The article seems in favor of the federal governments view that in this case, fewer restrictions are better. It states:

“One would hope that local government officials might on their own possess some understanding of limited government and individual liberty; but if the Justice Department at least in this instance will ensure that they do so by way of a federal law, then the feds are serving as an important check on excessive government power.”

I agree that the Breed Specific laws are wrong. However, I strongly feel that all dog owners need to understand the potential for problems in terms of damage that their dog can do to others. Owners need to acknowledge the need for caution especially with breeds that were bred to fight. As long as we all try to keep our dogs out of situations where they might cause problems, the people looking for BSL will have no leg to stand on. Denying the Pit bull was bred to fight does not help. It needs to be acknowledged and the owners need to deal with their dogs accordingly.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
3:26 pm

” its about what should be done about it. ” That should have read its about what we should do as far as legislation…

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
3:39 pm

I just found a really great list explaining how to be a responsible Pit Bull owner. It is on a Pit Bull Lovers website: http://www.pitbulllovers.com/responsible-pit-bull-owners.html

Mvktr2

October 1st, 2010
4:49 pm

Apparently common man is gearing up for a run at a senate seat with the sharp intellect he’s displaying. Sadly these laws continue to pass because it’s easier to fear than think. Thinking = the lost art of America!

Daschaunds and about a couple dozen other breeds were all bread for direct combat with another animal, just like bull breeds were bread for combat or more accurately originally to work cattle (many still do). By the logic of the breed banners all these daschunds should be illegal after all they were breed to face off with 40+lb badgers in their territory. Dang right that’s one tough spirited dog… it had to be!

By in large small breed dogs have been the worst behaved I’ve been around, but I blame the owners who don’t properly socialize the animals because of their ignorance and fear of their ’small’ dog getting hurt. Having said this I wouldn’t dream of banning any small breed and am quite happy that most of the irresponsible owners don’t also own something of size which they’ll treat the same way and create further problems. No there’s nothing wrong with small breeds but I’m amazed at the dozens if not hundreds of tiny dog owners who pick up their dog just because I’m passing by with my Boxer, same thing used to happen with my large mutt. Increasingly the beloved family dog and top 10 AKC registered breed Boxers are popping up on these stupid lists… watch out your dog is next!!!

NOLA

October 1st, 2010
5:01 pm

My dog is the most submissive dog I have ever met! Actually! My pit has a few deep wounds on her head because some ignorant person decided to walk their little yappy dog off the leash! The little dog ran up to my pit. My dog laid down and rolled over when this little s*** dog bit her face. My pit got up and ran behind me. I’m sure you are assuming things too. Most of you extremest do. I have noticed that in the area I live in, most dogs being walked are actually pits! Most of the owners of these pits are actually well
-off females college aged to elderly. I’m happy to se that many more loving families are taking pits into their homes and proving to you closed minded extremest that these dogs make good pets for the right people. What this really comes down to is ignorant people! Ignorant pit owners who should not own any animals or even for that matter have children. And then there are the ignorant people who are afraid of the world around them and take what the media feeds them to fear and runs with it disagreeing with with anyone who opposes their view.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
5:21 pm

Hi Nola,

If you take the time to read all of these many posts, you will see that there have been a lot of people here sharing their own personal experience. Please take the time to read.

The article being discussed is about legislation and I think that most people have been agreeing that we don’t need the BSL. Although my personal experiences are very different from yours, it doesn’t mean that my experiences are from the media and yours are not and it also doesn’t mean that my views are extreme because my views differ somewhat from yours. The fact is, we probably have a lot of views that are in common. This isn’t all black and white. The idea is to share our experience to learn from each others experience not blast everyone who has a different point of view.

Cekker

October 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
3:39 pm
I just found a really great list explaining how to be a responsible Pit Bull owner. It is on a Pit Bull Lovers website: http://www.pitbulllovers.com/responsible-pit-bull-owners.html

Wow, did you check out #2:

2. Never leave pit bulls alone with other dogs (or any animal). Even if you’re dog gets along great 99.9% of the time with other animals the Pit Bull is known for animal aggression and it is possible something will happen. A good piece of advice I received a long time ago was, Never trust your Pit Bull not to fight.

Even pitbulllovers.com says not to trust your dog!

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
5:39 pm

Cekker,

I know, I saw that. My friend who had an otherwise wonderful pit bull (very sweet dog) was left with his buddy from puppy hood (GSD) in his house. When my friend came back, he found his German Shepard literally torn apart in a pool of blood and his Pit Bull laying with his head up covered in blood acting as nothing had happened.

The breed was bred originally to fight. That is why people who own them need to be vigilant about managing their dogs. My friend has owned many dogs but this was his first Pit Bull. He has had this dog for 5 years and the dog never showed any signs of aggression up until now. It was a horrible situation and his GSD is in really rough shape but he should pull through. There wasn’t a scratch on the pit Bull.

Owners of dogs who were bred to fight should take responsibility. My friend clearly should have crated his dogs but felt that his dogs were so laid back and such good friends that he never considered a fight in the realm of possibilities. It is easy to forget the history until it is too late.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
5:51 pm

I posted earlier an article where a man who owned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that attacked two people. Here is an excerpt:

Mr Edwards said he was “devastated”.

“I don’t know what happened. It’s quite out of (Chopper’s) character,” he said.

“They must have done something wrong and the dog rebelled.”

He said Chopper belonged to his son, who was working interstate.

Mr Edwards believed the other man, his wife’s dancing partner, provoked the attack.

“The dog doesn’t like strangers. Anyone who’s friendly with the dog doesn’t have any problems. But it’s strangers he doesn’t like,” he said.

There were two other dogs on the property but they were not involved.

A neighbour who witnessed the attack said they had never had any problems with dogs on their street.

But since the attack, she said other neighbours were worried about the Edwards’ other dogs.

Mrs Edwards and the unidentified man were taken to Nepean Hospital with bite wounds on their arms and legs.

Dog owner

October 1st, 2010
6:26 pm

Any dog can bite and kill you however all the people that are being maimed and killed could have most likely been prevented if the owners were responsible and I don’t know maybe fenced in their yard and kept the animal on say a leash. Pit bulls are not inherently dangerous nor are they as bloodthirsty and vicious as they are portrayed in the media. Think about that what sells more newspapers than tragedies and controversies. Would you buy the paper if the frontpage headline was always about what the girlscouts were doing. How about we ban more important things like gangs that beat the 91 year old man within an inch of his life or any cell phone use while driving.

ShockingButTrue

October 1st, 2010
6:42 pm

The Pit bull incidents that affected me the most were real life. They were not in the media. It’s not a big hoax that these dogs were bred to kill… Look at the history of the breed.

You are right that owners need to leash, watch, train, exercise, and keep control of their Pit Bulls.

BullyBob

October 1st, 2010
8:45 pm

ShokingButTrue thanks for the link on how to be a responsible pit bull owner. I follow every one of these things expect I do leave my dogs together when I am at work… I know its a risk … and over the years certain dogs I have seperated… the present two get along,,, if I would adopt another .. I would seperate that dog for a couple of months.. there are a lot of things people can do to establish dominance and be leader of the pack…. when Jack came home he was on a leash in my house for 3 weeks.. he never got up on my bed for that time…I just was letting him know this was my house and I was in charge…
Sorry for the rambling.. read the 10 rules shockingbuttrue.. has above and you wont go wrong…
follow the rules and you will get to keep your beautiful pitty.. dont… well I vol at a shelter and I know what goes on.

PitBullDadAZ

October 2nd, 2010
2:38 am

More rehashing of OLD BS.
I’ll be the first to admit there are bad Pits out there, the result of BAD HUMANS and BAD TRAINING. Nothing more.

Any quotes from DOGLAW are suspect. They want people to come forward to SUE dog owners and to create hysterical attitudes (CHEKKER). I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subsidized by PETa (those pet killing swine).

My mom had cancer, she was in Chemo 2x. Her support system included a Pit Bull that would EVERY night crawl onto her bed to monitor her breathing. If her breathing became irregular, the dog would wake my dad then come for me. No training, no instructions but He instinctively new like OTHER Nanny dogs (the19th Century nickname for PITS) that Mom needed his attention. More than once he alerted us to breathing difficulties and probably saved my mother’s life.

Its all about environment. A thug can teach any dog to be an attack/ killer dog given enough abuse, deprivation and lack of Love.

I know a group of dedicated, motivated and exacting group of Instructors that can take a young male (or woman) and in 12 wks turn them into a stone killer. We call that Marine Corps Boot camp. The recruits enlist from homes all across America and from EVERY aspect of this Great Nation. They are sequestered, berated, trained, broken down and rebuilt into Marines. (By the way, no one espouses KILLING Marines when they are done with their service).

This same breakdown and rebuilding can be done with dogs as well – not just by JACK-BITES that want to create Pit Fighters, Junk Yard Dogs and other unsavory canines. Variations on the technique are used to deprogram PIT FIGHTERS or reinforce positive training.

Using these techniques, I have one retrained pit fighter that at 6 yrs old is an exemplary community member. He rough and tumbles with my grand nephew, he plays with 3 other dogs (1 Pit and 2 German Shepherds) in the residency and has NO inclination to fight or be aggressive, the KEY was love and a consistency in environment.

People like CHEKKER are like the rabid dogs that they THINK they are railing against.
You JUST can’t retrain that negative attitude.

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
8:35 am

Mvktr2

I had missed your post. I agree with your observation of people with small dogs. Many seem to feel that since they are so small, they don’t need to be trained. However, I have observed the same with people with large dogs. Many people seem to think that they just need to feed and water their dog and provide them shelter and that’s it. People forget about exercise, training, and consistent quality attention. So many dogs are treated like an object to own.

I have owned a number of different types of dogs and each breed seems to have a slightly different emphasis as far as their needs but pretty much all dogs need: love, food, water, shelter, training, and exercise. Some breeds have a higher need for exercise and also training. Different breeds require different types of training. A high power breed such as a Pit Bull would need a lot of exercise and assertive training. I don’t feel just anybody is capable of training a Pit Bull without any experience. They are really for experienced dog owners. They need someone who knows what they are doing.

4BoyzNow

October 2nd, 2010
8:44 am

My dog never bothered you or anyone else for that matter. So I shouldn’t be subjected to the unintended consequences of a bad law. There are laws that deal with dangerous dogs no matter the breed. It has been proven over and over again that breed specific laws, of themselves, do not reduce dog bites (because it targets family behaving benignly), it is extremely expensive to enforce (over $500K in PG County, MD even after over a decade of enforcement), and bite statistics in the county reveal a reduction in reported bites ACROSS all dog breeds, not just banned breeds (which indicates it’s NOT the ban that caused the reduction), . PG animal control still spends around two hours per day per animal control officer dealing with “pit bull” neighbor complaints…again, usually calls about dogs not doing anything wrong, just “being. Wasting all that money while we have had to furlough county employees. As a taxpayer, my county just cannot justify the waste. We are LESS safe as a county because animal control (often with police assistance because our ban is written as a CRIME, not an animal control violation) is rounding up benign dogs when more dangerous dog cases are not well followed up upon.

It never ceases to amaze me how this topic seems to bring out the meanest, dog hating-est people on the planet. But it’s really simple. The vast majority of dogs, “pit bulls” or any other dog, live out their lives loved by their families and providing all the good things to people that dogs provide. Laws should be written to reduce unintended consequences, not guarantee them.

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
8:57 am

4BoyzNow

I totally agree that these laws hurt us all. They cost us big bucks and they put control in the wrong hands. I think we should channel resources into educating the general public as far as being better dog owners. I really think that would help much more than these restrictive and unfair laws.

If we educate people as far as the care and training of their dogs and responsibility as far as not letting their dogs roam (which seems to be a huge factor in many of these attacks) then we would see a great reduction in these dog attack cases.

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
9:09 am

Fewer dog attack cases means less ammunition for people supporting BSL.

Give no reason for the laws.

Elizabeth

October 2nd, 2010
11:04 am

yea i have read the majority of the comment on here and personally am on my third am staff. I feel as though they are a wonderful breed and very awesome family dogs. Given you take the right precautions. I agree they can be prone to aggression but with the proper training owner and pet included are very productive family members and a good addition to a community. It pisses me off that on occasion my dog may get out and my neighbors have such a prejudice against her. She has not so much as even attacked another animal let alone another human being. she only get out due to following my jack russell, seeing as the the jack likes to dig which we are working on a cure. she love being around all kinds of people. Everyone has a right to their opinions, but all out bans on the breed are ludicris.

Charles

October 2nd, 2010
11:08 am

The reason you hear about the “pitbull” attacks is because the hype has made them where they sell adspace and commercials. Lab attacks don’t have the same selling power because they have not been hyped. Also there is no way to get accurate statistics which mean anything because there is no way to know the population of each breed and mix of breeds. The reason there are more pit bull bites is simply because there are more pitbulls. More people are killed by cars and slipping in the bathtub. Shall we ban these things too?

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
12:33 pm

The statistics from shelters is unbelievable:

…Shelters in large cities across the U.S. typically find themselves with a “Pit Bull” population of anywhere from 40% to 60% of the total shelter population and a national average of 33%. Many shelters needing more space will opt to euthanize “Pit Bulls” before any other type of dog due to this overwhelming number. 75% of shelters nationwide will euthanize all “Pit Bulls” entering the facility without ever giving them a chance to be adopted…some more lenient organizations may give the dogs a mere 24 hour grace period before administering the lethal injection. A study done by Animal People reports that the “Pit Bull” euthanasia rate in shelters is at approximately 93% on average which means that ultimately only 7% of all homeless “Pit Bulls” in America will find a “forever” home….

It is a fact that “Pit Bull” breeders are directly responsible for a significant percentage of the estimated 1 million “Pit Bulls” killed by euthanasia each year nationwide. Now I ask, why breed or buy while so many homeless dogs die?….

The “Pit Bull” breeding trend will continue to impact this growing issue of overpopulation in America as long as Americans continue to buy “Pit Bulls”. Start making a difference by adopting…

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

That was a quote from an anti BSL website… oops can’t find a link for it now. will post when I find it…

ShockingButTrue

October 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Bullygirl

October 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

For Pet Lover. Your wrong.. They register the American Pitbull Terrier. Read the list..

Next for Cekker;
Did you know Boston Terriers are very tenacious and will attack other dogs. My step Father raised them. Maybe you should educate yourself more.

and it goes to show how ignorant you are. You still cannot face the facts the what is available on the web is what has been REPORTED. geesh. you really are an idiot.. Sorry if I am getting mad but can you be serious??

You get what you look for and all of our points are this, other fatal dog attacks do not get the attention that a pitbull attack does. Hence the reason you cannot find it easily. Now I have come to the conclussion your a hateful ignorant (willfully) and just plain horrible person. Maybe one day something you hold dear to you will be forcibly taken and it will be because someone else deemed it inappropriate for ownership or possession.

Now I am done with you. argueing valid points with you is like beating up on a handicap child. There is no point and I get nothing out of it. Your to ignorant to address any of the valid points and can only quote tid bits of everyone’s collective comments and make fun of them. Wow, you must be a great person. I bet you live alone and are probably a liberal lovin baby killing atheist. Good bye now since I have better things to do such as educate people who want to learn. your a lost cause.

tnteaton

October 2nd, 2010
3:45 pm

where the hell did my very informative comment go?!?

Hinton

October 2nd, 2010
9:25 pm

Does anyone ever come up with their own views anymore? Seems like everyone that states these dogs are dangerous are just repeating things they hear and have no real hard evidence behind anything. It amazes me that people get so scared of a dog attack when dogs and man have lived together for thousands of years, and now its a problem because we have a .0000001% of walking out a front door and getting mauled by a dog. I believe I have the same chance of getting struck by lightening then attacked by a pit bull, so… do we abolish lightening. Or hell, we need to eradicate sharks from the ocean because they impose a threat to humans. People are the enemy here, not dog. Its wrong to stereotype anything.

Cody

October 2nd, 2010
11:51 pm

My sister owns a red-nosed pit. This dog is a scaredy cat. If she gets in trouble and you raise your voice she will run and hide. She also cowers and runs away from the cat if the cat so much as hisses at her. Her 3 years old son grabbed her tail and pulled it when he was only 2 and she just stood there and did nothing. All these supposed “bad dogs”, it’s “bad owners” not the dog.

Noah

October 3rd, 2010
11:01 am

To comment number 3 by “The Common Man”. The Breed is American Pit Bull Terrier. It was not created in ancient Greece, The breed started as huge farm dogs called Bull Baiting dogs, they were used to take down unruly bulls and lived in farm houses as loved pets. Bull Baiting was outlawed and people started fighting the dogs for fun… do to their size they were crossed with terriers to make them smaller and more manageable…. still living in homes as loved pets. When they were brought to America the blood lines were more controlled in breeding making them American Pit Bull Terriers. So they have always lived in homes as loved pets, and have only ever been breed to kill bulls and each other (BY HUMANS!) They were never breed to go after people, as they would turn on their owners. Small breeds are much much more prone to biting people then Pit Bulls, and in fact the score higher then most breeds on temperaments tests. Also the Pit Bull is actually one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world because they are actually great pets.

Do some F’ing research and stop spewing lies you scum bag.

Big Dawgs Rescue

October 3rd, 2010
11:11 am

Starting a Non-Profit in NorCal May 0f 2009 we have rescued and placed over 500 large breed dogs, many of which were American Staffordshire Terriers mixes and placed them in loving homes (Disclaimer: I personally own a 5y/o Rottie and 11y/o Red Nose AmStaff).

When local laws attempt to limit the Liberties for which I fought for for 10 Years in the US Marines before being injured during Dessert Storm, I take exception, not only to the laws but those who attempt to impose their personal will upon me.

I read other postings and how they draw similarities between the bully breed and Guns, Warfare, Breed for Fighting etc… I truly believe these people are much like the law makers or law makers themselves, as they are clueless. So here are some historical facts:

Many of you may not realize that from about 1900 – 1930’s the American Staffordshire Terrier was the De Facto dog in the US, Helen Keller owned two of them, Peety of the Little Rascals was a bully. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a people-oriented dog who thrives when he is part of a family. They are intelligent, graceful, loyal, feisty, courageous, and very, very strong. Amstaffs are an active breed, always ready for fun, and they love to play outdoors. They are high energy and need regular exercise. They can be rowdy and overly exuberant, especially when they are young. They do best when they have a job to do. A bored Amstaff will destroy your house. They do well in obedience, agility, tracking, and conformation. Obedience training is very important with this breed (Responsibility).

They really need an interactive owner who will spend time with them, training them and playing with them and just being their best friend. Amstaffs are protective and they look imposing so they can make an effective deterrent, but they are really too friendly to be guard dogs. Amstaffs love their children and are patient, gentle, and tolerant (Of course, very young children should always be supervised around any dog, again Responsibility.) This is an animal who will strive to please you and take great pride in making you laugh.

As well, living in NorCal and I am personally aware of another rescue group who took in many of Mike Vicks “Fighting Dogs”. All of these dogs have been placed with “responsible” owners (this is key to any breed) and one of his dogs is a therapy dog which travels to many of the local Children Hospitals.

Bottom line: Responsibility is a must in society. I does not matter if it for guns, driving, raising a child or owning an AmStaff, when one fails to be responsible in life, one fails society as a whole.

Dr. Pangloss

October 3rd, 2010
12:03 pm

From Dogsbite.org:

Seattle, Washington (April 22, 2009) — DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, releases its first multi-year report on U.S. dog bite fatalities. The report covers a 3-year period — from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008 — and analyzes data gathered from 88 dog bite incidences that caused death to a U.S. citizen.
The report documents dog breed information, property information (where the attack occurred) as well as dog bite victim age information.
Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days during this 3-year period. The data also shows that pit bulls commit the vast majority of off-property attacks that result in death. Only 18% (16) of the attacks occurred off owner property, yet pit bulls were responsible for 81% (13).
Pit bulls are also more likely to kill an adult than a child. In the 3-year period, pit bulls killed more adults (ages 21 and over), 54%, than they did children (ages 11 and younger), 46%. In the 21-54 age group, pit bulls were responsible for 82% (14) of the deaths. The data indicates that pit bulls do not only kill children and senior citizens; they kill men and women in their prime years as well.
The report also shows that of the six victim age groups documented, the 55 and older group suffered the most fatalities 26% (23), followed by the 2-4 age group 22% (19). Between the ages of 0-4, the study reveals that 14% (12) of the fatal attacks involved a “watcher,” a person such as a grandparent or babysitter watching the child. Of these attacks, 75% (9) involved a grandparent type.
The founder of DogsBite.org, Colleen Lynn, adds, “The off-property statistical data about pit bulls shows just how dangerous they are.” She noted that six senior citizens were killed under these circumstances: “Two were killed while standing in their own backyard,” she said. “Four others were killed while taking a morning walk or getting the mail.”

ShockingButTrue

October 3rd, 2010
3:40 pm

Those are very impressive statistics.

Mishka

October 3rd, 2010
4:15 pm

A study released in 2008 in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, taking into account some 6000 bite & bite-attempt cases, provided statistical data on what breeds actually ARE the most aggressive: #1- Dachsunds, #2- Chihuahuas, #3- Jack Russells. Bully breeds and Rottweilers scored average or below average in the aggression study. One of the researchers, Dr. James Serpell, believes that SMALLER BREEDS may be more GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED to aggressive behavior than their larger counterparts. Regarding these smaller breeds, he states, “Reported levels of aggression in some cases are concerning, with rates of bites or bite attempts rising as high as 20 per cent toward strangers and 30 per cent toward unfamiliar dogs.”
Additionally, insurers like State Farm regularly offer dog-liability insurance on individual bully-breed dogs, but balk at offering it on many small dog breeds- even if the individual dog has no previous aggression incidents. What does that tell you?
Btw, I’m a Vet Tech at a high-volume small-animal clinic since 2002. Most of our clients would be forced to give up their dogs if BSL were in place here. Yet I’ve been bitten by a large breed dog exactly twice in the past 12 years- both were border collies injured in road accidents reacting out of pain & fear. However, the clinic had to institute new policy on muzzling small breed dogs on premises due to the high number of bites to staff by chihuahuas, poodles, dachsunds and schnauzers. One client insisted her intact 10-mo. old chi was “too fragile” to walk on his own. While in their home, her 9-yr old son leaned in to hug her while she was holding the dog, and the chi tore open her son’s cheek resulting in 9 stitches & scarring the child for life. The client actually “fired” a vet at our clinic for insisting on muzzling the dog while on premises & for recommending professional training for the dog. We haven’t seen her since. Another client (whose hands and wrists were covered in scars & healing bite wounds) objected to us muzzling his chi for exam & physically removed the dog from us with the chi biting his hands & drawing blood the entire time while he berated us for scaring “his little boy.”
My point is that dogs are dogs, regardless of size, but the humans who take ownership of any dog should also take ownership of the consequences when they are irresponsible with those dogs. Not one single owner of a small breed dog took fiscal or ethical responsibility when their “baby” bit a staffer at our clinic.

Kristie C

October 3rd, 2010
8:09 pm

Scott K – you are my hero, and took the words right as I was typing them:

“Common Man, your analogy to gun control is more right than you know. Guns are not inherently dangerous, and pit bulls are not inherently dangerous; people misuse guns (and other weapons), and people mistreat pit bulls (and other dogs). Criminal control laws that targets specific guns make no more sense than breed-related laws.”

It is 100% true – pencils, tooth brushes, hammers, lots of every day items – cars, alcohol… lots of things can be dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible and careless person. ANY dog can be turned into a fear biter, or aggressive attack dog, if they are mishandled, mistreated and abused. Just like any of the above items can become a dangerous weapon in the hands of someone will ill will. (Just ask any police officer or c.o.!)

Cekker

October 3rd, 2010
10:56 pm

‘Pit bulls are not inherently dangerous nor are they as bloodthirsty and vicious as they are portrayed in the media.’ — Uh huh, sure. Neither are mountain lions and hyenas.

‘Also there is no way to get accurate statistics which mean anything because there is no way to know the population of each breed and mix of breeds.’ — If that’s true, then you cannot disprove that pit bulls are not responsible for the majority of maulings.

‘It pisses me off that on occasion my dog may get out and my neighbors have such a prejudice against her. ‘ — I’m sure it pisses your neighbors off too.

‘You get what you look for and all of our points are this, other fatal dog attacks do not get the attention that a pitbull attack does.’ — That’s because they happen so infrequently. Examples of fatal poodle or pekingese attacks are as rare as examples of honest politicians.

‘(By the way, no one espouses KILLING Marines when they are done with their service).’ — Yet another absurd example equating humans with animals.

‘Now I am done with you. argueing valid points with you is like beating up on a handicap child.’ — How tasteful; pat yourself on the back for that one.

‘This dog is a scaredy cat. If she gets in trouble and you raise your voice she will run and hide. She also cowers and runs away from the cat if the cat so much as hisses at her. Her 3 years old son grabbed her tail and pulled it when he was only 2 and she just stood there and did nothing.’ — This dog obviously has issues and you let a child taunt it?

‘To comment number 3 by “The Common Man”. The Breed is American Pit Bull Terrier. It was not created in ancient Greece…’ — Can we please knock off the history lessons that we’ve heard about a dozen times now? Pit bulls really don’t care about their ancestral and historical background.

‘Additionally, insurers like State Farm regularly offer dog-liability insurance on individual bully-breed dogs, but balk at offering it on many small dog breeds- even if the individual dog has no previous aggression incidents. What does that tell you?’ — It tells me that the insurance companies know that bully-breed dogs are inherently dangerous; I suppose they have been tricked by the media as well?

‘It is 100% true – pencils, tooth brushes, hammers, lots of every day items – cars, alcohol… lots of things can be dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible and careless person.’ — True, but a pit bull does not require a human being to pick it up, open it’s jaws, place the jaws and teeth on someone’s knock, clamp them down hard and repeat 10 or 12 times until submission and eventual death is obtained. Last time I checked, a pencil could not stab an eye out without some type of human intervention.

K9 APBT

October 4th, 2010
12:36 am

People please, please quit responding to anything that idiot Cekker has to say. Obviously that person is to ignorant to educate themselves about the breed they spout their ignorance about. We all know better and people like that will never understand the breed because they refuse to educate themselves! Their loss! Peace.

BullyBob

October 4th, 2010
7:22 am

Dogsbite.org is not an “expert” organization when it comes to canine behavior. There, I’ve said it.

While it seems that lately, several media outlets have been treating them like they have a particular knowledge on the subject of dog bites and attacks (I’ll get to a possible “why” on that later in the post), it doesn’t erase the reality that dogsbite.org is simply a website run almost entirely by an individual person who has an expertise in web design, access to google, and a desire to seek revenge on an attack that happened to her several years. Those are the qualifications behind the website. And it runs no deeper than that. And treating the website as anything more than that is a recipe bad information that will lead to less safe circumstances for people and dogs. Let me explain.

******

Dogsbite.org is a website run by Colleen Lynn. In June of 2007, Lynn was an unfortunate victim of a dog bite while she was out jogging. Because of the dog bite, by a dog that is said to be a ‘pit bull’, Lynn decided to create the website dogsbite.org. According to the original “about us” section of the website, the intent of the website was three-fold:

– Distinguish which breeds of dogs are dangerous to have in neighborhoods

– Help enact laws to regulate the ownership of these breeds

– Help enact laws that hold dog owners criminally liable if their dog attacks a person or causes serious injury or death

While I actually agree with her original third mission statement, the original purpose of the website is very clearin the first two statements — she intended to target particular breeds of dogs and ban ownership of those breeds. The goal was not public education or anything that she claims it to be about now — it was about enacting breed specific legislation…even though she has no credentials to propose legislation like that with any basis of expertise.

And make no mistake, all of the experts organizations disagree with her idea on breed-specific legislation.

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
7:43 am

The statistics that were posted by dogbites and the statistics posted by Mishka are two different sets of statistics. One is regarding dog bites and fatalities and the other is regarding dog bites. The dog bites with fatalities is much easier to prove since there are hard cold facts such as a death certificate. Howeber, with the dog bites, many dog bites from many different breeds go unreported since many people do not want to loose their dog.

This is not a judgmental statement, just a factual one.

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
7:46 am

Mishka is comparing oranges to dogbites apples…

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
7:50 am

With statistics like that about pit bulls and dog fatalities, Pit Bull breeders should be held responsible. Why should us tax payers pay for all of those dogs being euthanized and why should so many poor dogs be brought into this world only to receive a lethal injection?

Its deplorable. Pit Bull breeders are out of control.

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
8:11 am

If the facts about dog bites and dog fatalities are being disputed by Pit Bull owners, then the Pit Bull community should make an effort to analyze the data that the government has regarding dog bites and fatalities. There should be death certificates with information on cause of death.

I know that I personally would prefer to have my neighbors dachsund try to come over and attack me than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier that is walked regularly down my street.

All of this press on dog bites and fatalities is bad for all of us dog owners. First its you with dogs that were bred to fight and guard, then it will be those of us with large dogs of any breed, and then it will be all dog breeds who have bitten.

We are all in this together. As a large breed owner of a passive breed, I implore you fighting dog breeds to put a muzzle on it and put a chain on it and STOP BREEDING SO MANY DOGS!

BullyBob

October 4th, 2010
8:11 am

Very difficult to hold pit breeders responsible when most of them are back yard breeders selling to other people in their neighborhood.. I am not saying it is not a good idea and there are enough laws already to stop the problem with pit bull attacks.. but they are not enforced.

On a more positive note our shelter has had 12 pit bull adoptions this month. I talked to a gentleman yesterday that took one home. Glad I stuck around to see Petey off.. the man had big dogs before but not a pit bull..so I let him know about dog parks, keeping the dog inside as opposed to outside when he was gone..

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
12:01 pm

BullyBob

There are so many pit bull breeders to be found on the Internet. They don’t mention health certifications and they are constantly parading children with the Pit Bulls.

A woman posting above freely admits that she loves watching her toddler pull her dog’s tail and the dog does not attack. This person obviously is unaware that many times a dog that doesn’t react to that type of behavior can be the deadliest as one day they snap and try to eat the animal that is torturing them. She also talks about how much a scaredy cat her dogs is. Does she know that a dog that shows fear is more likely to attack? That is common knowledge in the dog community.

People need to be educated.

The MANY unscrupulous breeders of Pit Bulls need to be accountable. People are the reason we have this overpopulation problem. Not the Pit Bull.

It’s out of control.

ShockingButTrue

October 4th, 2010
12:19 pm

I want to add that I think that breeders of other breeds are wrong when they parade toddlers and their dogs around too. It is wrong!