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
I only agree with the third.
Are Pit Bulls dangerous?
In a word: no. Many people THINK they are, and if you ask them for proof, they send you lists of bite statistics and news reports of Pit Bull attacks.
But that doesn't prove anything.
Rarely do the writers perform actual research. One obvious question they could investigate: Was the dog actually a Pit Bull? It's impossible to determine breed by appearance alone. And given that the CDC non-fatal bite statistics come from counting newspaper reports of attacks claiming it was a "pit-bull type" dog, there are bound to be gross inaccuracies.
No DNA tests were ever done, which are required to determine breed.
This is highly related to the reason why breed specific legislation doesn't work. And it never will. Even the CDC agrees:
“Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites. An alternative to breed-specific legislation is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior” (JAVMA, Vol 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000 Vet Med Today: Special Report 839-840).
For these reasons, and many others, both the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not recommend discriminating based on breed.
The frenzy against Pit Bulls is nothing but blind fear fueled by the human need to find a scapegoat. There is not a single shred of proof that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a vicious, dangerous breed.
What are the facts?
The American Temperament Test Societ (http://www.atts.org) perform their temperment tests regularly on popular breeds. You can visit their web site to view upcoming testing dates and location and actually get your own dog tested. The most recent aggregation of all test results was in 2008. Description of the test:
The test simulates a casual walk through a park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog's ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.
The dog fails the test if it shows:
Panic without recovery
American Pit Bull Terriers passed the test at a rate of 85.3%.
This is higher than Collies, Golden Retrievers, and other dogs generally considered "family friendly". The average dog population is around 77%.
As most dog behaviorists and trainers will tell you, a dog is almost 100% a product of it's owner and the training it recieves.
And if the APBT is so inherently dangerous, how come they are so successful as therapy dogs? As search and rescue animals?
Honestly, more people die drowning in their backyard swimming pool every year than die from dog attacks. That doesn't make it any less tragic, but to call it an "epidemic" is a little far fetched.
Pit Bulls are not the first breed to be unfarily labeled dangerous, and they won't be the last. Politicians love to act important and pretend like they're doing something, and media outlets love to sensationalize. Don't let them get away with nonsense. Learn the history of the breed and educate yourself.
The only thing that can be said about them is that sometimes, they tend to be dog aggressive. But almost every breed of dog is aggressive toward some other animal. Where did foxhounds and wolfhounds get their names from?
Sampled from PitBulls.org
When anyone says the word "Pit Bull" most people tend to picture this big, vicious, growling attack dog. That couldn't be any further from the truth about these animals. Don't get me wrong, there are people out there who have taken these beautiful dogs and trained them to lust for blood just so they can profit, but that is the fault of the owner, not the breed or the individual animal. A pit bull is simply a mix breed of a English Bulldog and an English Terrier. They were bred to be more intelligent and aggressive to fight but also to remain neutral towards their owners. Most often, if a pit bull did attack it's handler or any other person, it would be put to death. Because of the bad rap that these animal have acquired, many cities and even countries have banned pit bulls, you may have to pay a fine for simply owning one. Also some home insurance companies will not insure your home if you own a pit bull.
A common myth about pit bulls is that they have a locking jaw and once they bite down they are unable to let go. That is completely false. A pit bulls jaw structure and functionality is no different than any other canine. They are very strong, muscular animals and perhaps this is why people think they can't let go.
Not everyone believes that these animals are monsters, though. Pit bulls are used for sniffing out drugs at customs and for search and rescue missions. As I said before, they are very intelligent. Most pit bulls are very tolerant of children. They can sense aggression and that is when they choose to fight. A small child doesn't give off any sign of aggressiveness and therefore the dog does not feel threatened.
With alot of love and affection these dogs can be great for families. They will protect their owners and are very loyal. So, the next time someone mentions "pit bull", don't freak out.
A lover of ALL animals.
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