Do Pit Bull Bans Make Sense?

Being bitten by a dog is a primal experience in fear. As a member of homo sapiens I fully expect to be at the top food chain. So I have never forgotten what it felt like to have dog fangs rip through the back of my leg when I was a kid. Recent data suggests that that people in the United States suffer about 5 million dog bites annually and that emergency rooms treat about 370,000 people for such bites. The pro-dog group, National Canine Research Council, notes that dogs have killed about 30 people annually in each of the last three years. This out of a population of 310 million people and 70 million dogs.

In my case, I don't recall the breed; it was some kind of small dog that certainly could not have killed me, neverthelss it was a shock. Being assured that the dog had had its shots, my parents treated my wound with mecurochrome and that was it. In recent years, one breed has been singled out as especially dangerous, pit bulls. In fact, something like 600 cities and localities have outlawed pit bulls.

Over at RealClearScience, Ross Pomeroy tells the story of baseball player Mark Buehrle and his family's pit bull Slater. The problem is that Buehrle has been traded to the Toronto team and the province of Ontario has banned pit bulls. So Buehrle's family has decided to move to pit bull accepting St. Louis, Missouri, while he commutes to play ball. So are pit bulls especially dangerous? Pomeroy argues:

Discrimination against pit bulls stems primarily from media sensationalism. Over the past decades, thousands of articles and reports have depicted the dogs as powerful monsters that will attack children unprovoked, locking their jaws down upon unsuspecting victims and not letting go. All of this is simply untrue.

It is true, sadly, that pit bulls have been widely exploited for use in illegal dog fighting, potentially due to their strength and athleticism. This has promulgated the dogs' vicious stereotype. Additionally, three different studies have found that dogs commonly perceived as "vicious" -- pit bulls, among them -- were more likely to have owners who committed crimes and scored higher in psychopathy. It follows that these owners may be more likely to mistreat their pets, which can adversely affect the pooches' demeanor.

The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) is an organization that scores different dog breeds for their ability to interact with humans and their environment. ATTS's signature temperament test, which the organization has conducted on over 30,000 dogs, measures "stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog's instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat." How well did the pit bull score? It was found to be the second most tolerant breed, losing out only to golden retrievers.

Moreover, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) contends that, "controlled studies have not identified [pit bulls] as disproportionately dangerous." The AVMA also insists that "it has not been demonstrated that breed-specific bans affect the rate or severity of bite injuries occurring in the community."

Basically, banning pit bulls is another exercise in moral panics in which officials want to be seen as doing "something" even if that "something" does essentially nothing about the alleged problem it's supposed to solve.

As my former Reason colleague Radley Balko noted in a blogpost, "A Canine Innocence Project?" back in 2010:

Bad owners create bad dogs, regardless of the dog's lineage.

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

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

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

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

Holding dog owners to a strict liability* standard is clearly the way to go.

*Having only finished three semesters of law school, I evidently abused the legal term "strict liability" which means "liability incurred for causing damage to life, limb, or property by a hazardous activity or a defective product, without having to prove that the defendant was negligent or directly at fault. It arises not from any wrongdoing but from the fact of the activity or product being inherently hazardous or defective." A negligence standard is more appropriate. And by negligence, I mean things like not properly taking care or training his or her dog. Thanks to commenter RC Dean for calling me down.

Hat tip to Alex Berezow.

Disclosure: I much prefer cats to dogs.

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  • Sudden||

    As a member of homo sapiens I fully expect to be at the top food chain

    OT: But having recently discovered through genetic testing that my father is 2.8% Neanderthal, I realized that I am a part of the human race's most original victim group. My ancestors weren't merely enslaved, repressed, etc: they were made extinct.

    Therefore, I am demanding reparations from all you purebred homo sapiens for the crimes committed against my heritage.

  • John||

    You are more Neanderthal than Elizabeth Warren is Cherokee. I think you need to start applying for tenured professorships. What university doesn't want to have America's first Neanderthal professor?

  • Libertymike||

    Ah, I think they have plenty of those already.

  • ||

    Fuck off, you subhuman son of a bitch. Get your hairy knuckles and sloping brow out of my 100% Cro-Magnon country.

  • John||

    How long before they become jazz musicians and start corrupting our human woman with the devil weed?

  • ||

    No slopeheads are gonna play their bone-flutes around here if I have anything to do with it.

  • BarryD||

    "But having recently discovered through genetic testing that my father is 2.8% Neanderthal"

    Our fathers are all at least 2.8% Neanderthal. Don't think you're so special.

  • Sudden||

    According to 23andme, 2.8% Neanderthal puts him in the 87th percentile of Neanderthal ancestry.

    And about the only ethnic group that will have significant neanderthal blood will be people of primarily European descent.

  • ||

    So...me.

  • SugarFree||

    My ancestors weren't merely enslaved, repressed, etc: they were made extinct.

    Or, as is much more likely, you have a sapiens (lots o' great) grandmother that got stevesmithed back in the day.

    You are a genetic fractional-rapist and should be locked up.

  • Brandon||

    If they were made extinct, what the fuck are you still doing here?

  • John||

    No they are not dangerous. They were the national dog in the 1920s. Then in the 1980s journalists decided that "pit bulls" were being trained into vicious monsters by drug dealers. It was a great story that touched on pretty much every journalist's ignorance and prejudices. Of course it wasn't true. But the myth stuck and in fact became self fulfilling since criminals watched these reports and thought "hey that is a good idea". And thus the pit bull scare was born.

    And for the record, there is no such thing as a pit bull. There are American Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

  • tarran||

    What makes this especially outrageous is that every Bull Terrier I have ever encountered have been very good natured dogs. It's not like it's hard to find a counterfactual - the dogs are everywhere - there are, I'm sure, several hundred living in the suburbs within a mile of my house.

  • John||

    They are sweet dogs. They can be aggressive with other dogs sometimes. But that is about it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I gave up on taking my pug for walks because everywhere I go some pit bull or three comes running out into the road to attack my dog. Now if I was a cop I could just shoot the damn things, but I'm not.

  • Brandon||

    If I saw a dude walking a pug, I'd run out in the road to attack him too.

  • sarcasmic||

    It wasn't my idea. I'm a cat person. The wife is the one that keeps coming home with dogs, rats, snakes, salamanders, toads, frogs...

  • Libertymike||

    Pugs are awesome.

  • John||

    What neighborhood do you live in?

  • sarcasmic||

    I live in out in the country. You'd think I could walk down a street in East Bumfuck without being attacked by loose dogs, but it just isn't the case.

  • sarcasmic||

    in

  • John||

    I hate people who let their dogs run. You will not find a bigger animal lover than me. But if your dog is out and is aggressive to someone on the street, that person has a right to shoot said dog.

  • sarcasmic||

    But if your dog is out and is aggressive to someone on the street, that person has a right to shoot said dog.

    I agree. But like I said, I'm out in the country. If I shoot someone's dog for attacking my dog in the street, I'll be dodging bullets myself within ten seconds. It just isn't worth it to get into a gunfight over walking a damn dog.

  • John||

    My father lives in the country and had the same problem. That is until he started walking his two very large German Shepherds. Then dogs suddenly stopped running in his area. The only solution is to get a big ass mean dog, walk it on a leash, and just let it eat whatever dog comes up. And if there are more of them, get more of your big mean dogs. That is the only thing hillbillies, and it sounds like that is who you are dealing with, understand.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Back in the day, when I walked with my dog I carried about a two foot long section of the wire-reinforced air hose used to run jackhammers and the like. It didn't really have the risk of caving in a dog's skull like a baseball bat would, but it was more than enough to convince them to leave my dog alone.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Carry a spray bottle with some ammonia in it. No need to waste ammo with chemicals around.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Record the sound of a vacuum cleaner and play it when the dogs come near.

  • John||

    Yup. Unless that person is a cop.

    No one has a right to shoot a dog if they are trespassing.

  • sarcasmic||

    No one has a right to shoot a dog if they are trespassing.

    What if you're accosted on a public way?

  • John||

    Then shoot the dog. On the street, it is the dog's/ owner's fault. But if you are on someone's property without asking, you deserve to get bit.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    My 11 year old daughter has pug stuff all over her room. Do you have any pictures online you'd be willing to link?

  • sarcasmic||

    That has to be one of the oddest things I have ever read.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    She has printed out, almost literally, every pug image Google has to offer. She's damn near wallpapered her room with the stuff and she has a lot more in a couple of binders.

    I told her I'd let her buy a purebreed if she paid for it herself and she's about 2/3 of the way there.

    It's better than Justin Bieber bullshit.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you ever do get one, allow me to give you a piece of advice: Don't overfeed it.
    Ours eats a cup a day along with a few treats here and there, but that's it. Whenever we take her to the vet they always remark on how her weight is perfect (18lbs IIRC), unlike most of the poor obese pugs they usually see. A pug at a healthy weight is a fun pet. An obese pug is nothing but a hairy slug.

  • SugarFree||

    Random pug story, not to be taken as a knock on the breed...

    I met my friend's pug and she was a delightful dog, immediately wanting to cuddle you and and follow you around. He was never a big dog person, so I asked him why he had a dog all of the sudden. He goes "Because she's a murderer."

    His girlfriend's dad had the pug had married a women with four or five Pomeranians. The dogs all got along fine, until the pug had a litter. One of the pommies kept licking her puppies and the pug can warning her off. The family leaves for the grocery store one day and the pug systemically goes through the house and kills every one of the pommies and doesn't take so much as a scratch. The new wife was so freaked out, they got rid of the pug after the litter was weaned.

    Don't fuck with mah puppies.

  • Libertymike||

    Another random story:

    A pot dealer friend of my friend in Florida owns a male pug, a female dobie and a female pit bull.

    Guess who rules the roost?

    As ole' #74 said, "its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog."

  • BarryD||

    It "drug dealers with pit bulls" were a stand-in for racist epithets that were no longer acceptable by the '80s. A lot of innocent dogs have suffered and died because they became living effigies for minorities that people feared and loathed.

  • BarryD||

    Whoa! Fucked-up editing! Forget the word "It" there. :)

  • KPres||

    Ban drugs and the drug-dealers become hardened criminals. They shoot people in the streets so we have to ban guns. They breed pit-bulls as mean as possible so we have to ban those. How about just get rid of the first fucking ban and all the other problems go away.

  • Libertymike||

    Not buying the counter-myth that these dogs are so lovable and that the dangerouness attached to them is ALL the media's fault or that a vicious dog must have some socipathic owner. That is not life.

  • John||

    The problem with these dogs is that their jaws are so powerful that one of them biting someone is much more traumatic than most other breeds. It is not that they are more likely to be dangerous. It is that the consequences of them being dangerous are greater.

    And yes, every vicious dog was made that way by an owner. Dogs are pack animals. They learn via social cues. If they are vicious, it is because someone has taught them to be that way. Some dogs are more aggressive and easier to make vicious. But there is nothing about a dog that means it should be vicious.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Some dogs are more aggressive and easier to make vicious. But there is nothing about a dog that means it should be vicious."

    I once had a pit try to bite the friggin tires on my car as I drove away. Most dogs aren't a problem until you invade their turf or threaten their "pack", and at that point I see little difference between a Dane, Shepherd, or a "Pit Bull".

  • John||

    That dog that did that, was made that way by his owner.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "That dog that did that, was made that way by his owner."

    Having grown up with a Shepherd that would rip your back off if you touched my sister, I disagree.

  • John||

    I grew up with Shepherds too. And they were very protective. But they were also trained to at least come and stay. They wouldn't ever have bitten someone who didn't ask for it.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "But they were also trained to at least come and stay."

    I think it's a little much to ask an animal to obey an unnatural command when it's instincts tell them that they or their pack is threatened. There is no guarantee even the most well trained police dog isn't going to take a bite out of someone in the heat of the moment if it isn't leashed.

  • ||

    Aren't you the guy who posted that yokel screed about pit bulls being ghetto thug dogs?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Maybe it's the vodka I just butt chugged talking, but you make a lot of sense. I remember the SUMMER OF THE SHARK, and if there is anything more deadly than a pit bull it has to be a shark. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my pharm party.

  • Brandon||

    "Counter-myth?" Wow. You don't buy the "myth" of evolution either, but that doesn't make it any less true.

  • ||

    There are also American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. All three of them are noted (via Wikipedia) as being friendly toward people and ill suited for guard dog or attack dog work.

  • WTF||

    Actually, that's wrong. The AKC registers American Staffs, which are bred for looks, not function. They used to be the same breed as pit bulls, but years of AKC breeding has differentiated them from American Pit Bull Terriers, which are registered by the United Kennel Club.

  • Drake||

    The AKC registers Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Bull Terriers. All would fit the average cop / journalist description of "Pit Bull".

    American Bulldogs and various types of Olde English Bulldogs would also pass for pits.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    As a member of homo sapiens I fully expect to be at the top food chain.

    Step 1: Get a gun.

  • Jordan||

    Ban assault dogs! Nobody needs to own a dog over 7 lbs!

  • ||

    I know you're kidding, but seriously, nNobody should own a dog LESS than 7 lbs unless they were just born in which case, the bitch should be over 7 lbs.

    Gator bait (FL)
    Eagle bait (AK)
    Ankle Biters or Kick Me dogs (everywhere in between)

  • R C Dean||

    Holding dog owners to a strict liability standard is clearly the way to go.

    Why? Strict liability is what you do for activities that are inherently dangerous. After an article about how pits are not, in fact, inherently dangerous, you reverse course and say they should be treated as such.

    Under strict liability, if somebody trespasses in my yard and my pit puts a whipping on them, I would be liable. Is that the right outcome? What if somebody unlocks my gate and lets my dogs out? What if they provoke my dogs into doing damage? Why should I be liable for any of this?

  • BarryD||

    My pit bull would lick them to death.

    That said, say I had an attack-trained Malinois, which truly IS a formidable beast, and someone trespasses (assuming of course that I have a fence). I figure, all bets are off at that point. I should be liable for nothing.

  • Generic Stranger||


    My pit bull would lick them to death.\

    My sister's pit bull/lab mix would run and hide.

  • Ron Bailey||

    RCD: Hmmm. On reflection you are right. A negligence standard would be fairer.

  • BarryD||

    A negligence standard is ALWAYS fairer.

  • Ron Bailey||

    RCD: Have done a negligence update. Thanks.

  • R C Dean||

    My pleasure.

  • Libertymike||

    There's that good legal mind at work.

  • ||

    Coming to Thursdays this Fall on America's Most Watched Network: The Shakespeare Exception starring RC Dean.

  • Mencken Sense||

    A negligence standard allows the "one free bite" defense: "Gee, I had no idea this big, strong dog could hurt someone."

    Most states that have strict liability for dog bites have exceptions for trespassers and people committing crimes.

  • Libertymike||

    "for trespassers and people committing crimes"

    You mean the no-knock cops?

  • Mencken Sense||

    Strict liability can be modified by state legislatures to account for situations like that.

    I don't really care about the breed, but a large animal with strong jaws IS inherently dangerous. Unlike a gun, it can get up and attack someone all by itself.

    Bans are stupid and punish all owners. Strict liability only matters if you are a bad owner who allows your dog to hurt someone.

  • Drake||

    Who can possibly navigate the maze of local and state laws your examples entail? I would obviously side with your pit bull in both examples.

    Strict liability should apply when you can't be bothered to lease your golden-doodle - so it runs down the street and bites a kid.

    I have owned boxers, bullmastiffs, and mastiffs. I'm against the dog breed bans because they will be next.

  • BarryD||

    What do you have against people who simply borrow golden-doodles?

    BTW I've seen some of these bullshit "designer breeds" that are bred with little regard to temperament, that were very apt to bite.

    A dog is a wolf, selectively bred. The danger in one depends on various factors. Jaw size is only a minor one.

  • Drake||

    Take a Golden Retriever that can't hunt or win in the ring and breed it with a similar poodle - what could go wrong?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Mens rea. How quaint. That went out with backed currency.

  • Moderate L||

    Bullshit. we hold gun owners to strict liability standards. I feel that you should be able to own any gun you can afford. But if you murder someone with it you should be killed or locked up for life. Same with any property and dogs are property.
    What there shouldn't be is separate liabilitly.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Even if you don't want to ban pit bulls for sporting purposes, it's only common sense to ask bull owners to accept a limitation on dental capacity. You don't need 10 teeth to chew Purina.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Who needs to have a spiked collar?

  • Libertymike||

    Ever check out the ingredients?

  • ||

    What gets a shitty journalist's dick harder than dogs that are supposedly used in dog fighting and by mythical drug dealers? Uh, not much. Welcome to pit bull panic.

  • BarryD||

    Banning guns gives them a slightly bigger boner. But of course, with guns, they don't have a living thing to take out their frustrations on.

  • Counterfly Guard||

    It's harder to conceal a pit bull.

  • BarryD||

    Not necessarily.

    http://mabbr.org/portfolio/min.....ny-dancer/

    They do tend to squirm more than guns, though, and they typically want to get attention from everyone who goes by.

  • Brandon||

    Great, Barry. Now my entire office is wondering why I suddenly said "AAAWWWWWW."

  • Counterfly Guard||

    Pit Bull Panic

    Band name of the day.

  • T||

    I think there was a band called Pit Bull Daycare for a while.

  • sarcasmic||

    If statistics mean anything, if you're going to die at the teeth of a dog, there's a good chance that it will be a pit bull.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ted_States

  • BarryD||

    They don't mean much.

    "Pit bull" is what cops write on their forms by default (or if they shoot a Yorkie). How many of the dogs' breeds in these reports are actually verified? Purebred dogs have paper trails much more precise than anything other than real estate titles.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well if the statistics are based upon police reports, and every police report of something I have witnessed was a work of fiction, then I suppose you could have a point.

  • KPres||

    I have three dogs, an american bulldog, a boston terrier-ish mutt, and a lab. I get asked at least twice a week if the bulldog or the terrier is a pit-bull. People think if it has a stubby nose it's a pit-bull.

  • R C Dean||

    Cops and journalists both will call just about any damn dog a pit bull. It fits the narrative.

  • Generic Stranger||

  • Scooby||

    Are they using this reference in compiling their stats?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Three different studies have found that dogs commonly perceived as "vicious" -- pit bulls, among them -- were more likely to have owners who committed crimes and scored higher in psychopathy."

    Bingo bango!

    Certainly, the solution to gun violence isn't to ban guns so that responsible people can't own them. But then we hold people responsible for misusing guns in a crime, too. The solution to people being irresponsible with their dogs, likewise, isn't to ban responsible people from owning some dog breed in the first place--the solution is holding irresponsible people criminally responsible when their behavior results in someone else being bitten by their dog.

    I got bit by a dog the other week while jogging. Damn owner had it on a leash, too! Stupid dogs don't know the difference between a jogger passing them on a sidewalk and an attacker running up behind to attack their owner...and if you know that, and you have the damn thing on a leash? Why not restrain your fucking mutt, Lady?

    When I started yelling at her--SHE threatened to call the police! I should have had her arrested for battery--she did nothing to restrain her dog while it was biting me. Absolutely nothing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, and just for the record...

    Golden Retrievers are some of the sweetest dogs in the world, and there is no dog in the world, probably, that can go from sweet as honey to mean as hell--faster than a Golden Retriever.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's because they're dumber than fuck.

  • Brandon||

    This. I've never met a smart Golden.

  • KPres||

    Yep, I love pit-bulls but hate their owners. 90% of them are owned by some ghetto or white trash dipshit trying to compensate for his small penis.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, it's their owners!

    You put the responsibility where it belongs!

    You are responsible for what your dog does. You willingly accepted that responsibility the moment you willingly bought a dog.

    The criminal justice system should absolutely be enforcing that responsibility.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Good owners have nothing to fear from strict liability. It's the bad owners who are affected.

  • Libertymike||

    What about the mediocre owners?

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, actually they do, when some dipshit breaks into their house and gets mauled and sues their ass off.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Again, look at states that have strict liability for dog bites. Their laws usually contain exceptions for trespassing, commission of crimes, etc.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Their laws usually contain exceptions for trespassing, commission of crimes, etc."

    And if they don't, they should.

    Beware of Dog

    This means you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "When I started yelling at her--SHE threatened to call the police! I should have had her arrested for battery--she did nothing to restrain her dog while it was biting me. Absolutely nothing."

    Let me Obama clear, she was holding onto the leash while her damn dog was tearing into me.

    She did nothing to restrain the dog. As far as I'm concerned, that's battery.

    What's the point of having a dog on a leash and holding the leash if you're not going to use it to restrain the freaking dog? This is why leash laws are stupid. The law can make a stupid woman put a leash on her dog, but it make her actually use the leash!

    The criminal justice system should punish the hell out of people like that. The law's just enabling people in that situation to go out and be irresponsible. I had him on a leash! What more could I do?!

  • Ken Shultz||

    The law can make a stupid woman put a leash on her dog, but it [can't] make her actually use the leash!

    You knew what I meant.

  • Rich||

    I should have had her arrested for battery--she did nothing to restrain her dog while it was biting me.

    This is one of the few times calling in the authorities seems worthwhile -- make the fucking owner prove the dog is up to date on its shots.

  • kinnath||

    If I recall, Chihauhaus send more people to emergency rooms for stitches that any other breed of dog.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They have nasty dispositions and really big teeth.

    I used to work dog rescue a lot, and we were having a spay and neuter drive one time? And I was manning the post surgery station, where you try to warm the dogs up as they're waking up...'cause that anesthesia can do bad things to 'em.

    Anyway, I had a freakin' Chihuahua bite me--in its sleep! It was like in that twilight zone where they're still asleep but sort of semi-conscious, and it just tore into my arm, the damn thing. If you don't socialize and discipline a Chihuahua properly, they're worse than poodles.

  • ||

    Dachshunds are the most aggressive breed: http://fortheloveofthedogblog......achshund-1

  • Ken Shultz||

    My friend had a dachshund, and if you ignored it while it was trying to get your attention. It was run between your ankles while you were walking, and then contort itself in such a way that it would make you trip. At which point the dog would jump on your face and start licking you.

    After a few spills, you learn not to ignore a dog like that. Oh, and a dog like that's a blast at parties with a lot of drunk people.

  • kinnath||

    I believe the Chihauhau stat was derived from ER data. It's been a while since I saw the article.

    Chihauhaus don't do nip-to-warn. They go straight to bite-to-injure.

  • Brandon||

    Chihauhau

    Is that like a German Chihuahua?

  • WTF||

    As the owner of both a very large German Shepherd and a miniature Dachshund (as well as a Boston Terrier), I can confirm that Dachshunds are psychopaths. The little fucker rules the house.

  • ||

    Bred to find and kill weasles, they better be.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I used to work for an in-home repair service. I went to literally thousands of houses with dogs in them. Pits, Rots, Shepherds, and all the other "bully" breeds never once gave me a problem. Hell, I had a pack of Rotweilers that were all rescues from a fighting ring laying at my feet for most of the visit. Never once even felt nervous.

    That being said. I have been bitten by a dog 5 times at strangers houses. 3 chihuahuas, a poodle, and a pomeranian. The Pom gave me a permanent scar on my right hand.

  • SugarFree||

    All the pitties I've ever met were sweethearts. Of course, I'm in the "no bad dogs, only bad owners" camp.

    I haven't had a dog since I was a kid, so I didn't know who bad it had gotten. We were at a street fair with my sister-in-law's dog, an adorable and sweet-natured mutt who was minding her own business while we waited in a line for a food truck. The woman in front of us turns around, liftsher 8-year-old up into her arms and demands in a loud voice "IS THAT A ROTTWEILER?!?" The dog is black with brown eyebrows, weighs about a hundred pounds less than rottie and has the lanky body of a hound or pointer. All the people around us took a couple of steps back. I say, no, she's just a mutt hound and super-friendly. The woman shoots me an insane look, harrumphs and stalks off.

    At least half the crowd rolled their eyes and this other guy with a dog started laughing, so they weren't all crazy.

  • ||

    She was referring to you and not the dog, wasn't she. TELL THE TRUTH.

  • SugarFree||

    She didn't yell "PENIS ANACONDA", moron.

  • ||

    I don't know what this has to do with your mom, NutraSweet.

  • SugarFree||

    Why don't you run along and play while the adults talk? I sure there are some of your Transformers you haven't fit up your ass yet. Go work on it.

  • R C Dean||

    "IS THAT A ROTTWEILER?!?"

    "Why, yes, this is my award-winning Rott, Champion Childsnacker McLimbcrusher. The Fourth. Good thing you got your kid off the ground, I can barely control his bloodlust, as you can plainly see."

  • SugarFree||

    I'm not sure you can manage the strength of will it takes for me not to do something like this.

    My first thought, once I got over the shock of her stupidity, was to drop the leash a scream "OH FUCK! THAT IS A ROTTWEILER! RUN, BITCH, BEFORE IT EATS YOU!"

  • ||

    When I was a kid, I had a mutt that was part sheepdog. So whenever the kids would get unruly, Ladydog would bite our ankles to keep us in line like sheepdogs do to sheep. It would make for fun scenes when she did it to little neighborhood shitheel children who weren't expecting it.

    I don't know how bad things have gotten in the last 15 years, but I can easily imagine lawsuits if that happened now.

  • nipplemancer||

    My cousin breeds them in PA. He started in NJ but the nimbys in Bergen county chased him out with repeated unfounded complaints and general harassment from the local government.

  • Sudden||

    If you raise a Pit from pup to adult and raise it well, you can certainly have a tame and loving dog.

    The one thing I would say is that while any dog can be trained towards aggression, Pits can be trained moreso in that direction and have greater destructive power when done so. I would never rescue a pit.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I agree with your first point, but the second paragraph is pure ignorance. I currently own a pit bull that was rescued from a ghetto fighting ring. Training him properly and socializing him has made him an amazing companion.

    When my nephew was first learning to crawl, he scootched over to the pitty and took a beef bone that still had meat and marrow on it DIRECTLY out of the dogs mouth. Rescue dogs have been the best, most loving, most loyal dogs I've ever owned.

  • CatoTheElder||

    We adopted a male pit bull cur that showed up on our doorstep a few years back. He's nice enough with people once he's convinced that they are no threat to family, but embarrassingly atrocious when he encounters other dogs. So much so that we cross the street when we see another dog approaching. There's no way we'd let him out of the house without a leash, and he's too strong for my wife to comfortably walk him.

    He's a great watchdog, barking at about 100 dB whenever a mammal gets within about 25 feet of the house. UPS guys are happy to wait while we leash him, and we don't get very many solicitors. If anybody were to lay a hand on my wife, they'd get a ferocious response. But he's as gregarious as any other dog when he's at home with the family. All in all, we're happy to have adopted the beast, but he's not optimal.

  • Brandon||

    I have an American Staffordshire and English Pointer mix, and he is 60 pounds of death. He is the most freakishly athletic dog I have ever seen. He is as fast as a pointer, he can clear a 6 foot fence, and he has the head, shoulder and jaw muscles of a pit bull. When I first got him he got out of the house and literally took a Canada Goose out of the air and tore it to pieces. And he lives with two cats and a chihuahua who all beat him up on a regular basis. He also regularly goes to Denver, which has a Pit Bull ban, and as soon as he crosses the city limit he becomes an English Pointer/Unknown mix, and nobody seems bothered by it. So, according to my anecdotal research, unless you are a goose or a squirrel, breed bans are neither effective nor useful. The point is, tread carefully, Bailey, because some of our city councils have been co-opted by the gooose lobby, and they don't appreciate dissent.

  • Westy||

    I'd say the same for our 60lb Dogo Argentino/APBT or AmStaff mix. I've never seen her run full speed because we're in an urban area and she'd attack other dogs if released in the dog run, but her strength, quickness and jumping ability are almost unbelievable. She doesn't go in our small backyard either (except if there's a distraction like a barbecue) because there's no way the 6 foot fence would contain her if she wanted out. The couple of times other big dogs (illegally) off their leashes have attacked her, I couldn't even see her react, first image to register on my brain was the other dog's snout firmly in her jaws, neutralized, and then she starts to tear at it, but fortunately they could be separated without life threatening injuries to the other dogs. But no hint of human aggression: laid back, pleasant personality, and always polite with strangers though silly and playful with us. She's Super Dog. Though I know, it's not so unusual with this type: it's why their owners flip out over them and those who haven't had one have trouble understanding.

  • R C Dean||

    He is the most freakishly athletic dog I have ever seen.

    The various pits of all sorts are pretty freakishly athletic. Strong, sure, but they are a lot quicker and faster than most people expect. Probably not the greatest endurance runners, and terrible swimmers, but they are nature's middle linebackers.

  • KPres||

    I'd put them at strong-safety.

  • Libertymike||

    If you analogize pit bulls to strong-safety, aren't you really calling them assasins?

  • Drake||

    Bullmastiffs are middle linebackers. Great Danes and Wolfhounds are tight-ends. St. Bernards and other Mastiff breeds are linemen.

  • T||

    I never thought breeding a dog with the disposition of a terrier and the strength of a bull terrier was the brightest idea anybody ever had. But what's done is done, and every pit I've ever known has been an absolute sweetheart. My old roommate had one who would head butt your knee in an attempt to get you to fall over so he could lick you. It worked if you weren't paying attention, too.

  • Proprietist||

    We dogsat our friend's pit bull-labrador mutt for a week. Was a sweet dog in general, but she did not play well at all with our 8 lb mini schnauzer (could have easily killed him several times and I had to punch her to get her of off him several times, something I would never, ever do to an animal unless desperate) and then she aggressively scratched up the room we locked her in to keep them separate. Needless to say, that was the last pit bull experience I will ever hopefully have.

  • ||

    In recent years, one breed has been singled out as especially dangerous, pit bulls.

    FIFY.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'll stick with my black lab. It's a sporting dog that I can pretty much guarantee won't bite anyone, which is important since he's left loose 24/7 and I'm rarely home.

    The narrative of "pit bulls" being dangerous has created a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy in that every wannabe thug asshole has to have one and make it as aggressive as possible. Hence, you can never be sure if the bull you're encountering is a gentle dog or one that's been beaten to be tough.

  • Ken Shultz||

    As a dog rescue guy, I'm not supposed to care about breeds much, but I'm what you might call a beagle supremacist.

    And I'm prejudiced against poodles and German Shepherds.

    German Shepherds are like the story of the scorpion and the frog, where the scorpion wants to get across the river, so he talks the frog into taking him across on his back?

    Never trust a German Shepherd. It's their nature.

  • WTF||

    Nonsense. I have an unusually large German Shepherd with a great disposition. He is very well socialized, and not dangerous to anyone, unless they are breaking into my house or threatening my wife. A couple years ago I had him at a craft fair in one of the local parks, and while I was looking at some items, I felt the leash gradually twisting and pulling my arm behind my back. I wondered what the hell he was doing, and I turned around to see four little kids hanging all over him and loving him up, while his tongue lolled out in pleasure with his tail wagging away. I asked the parents if they could please pull their kids off the dog because we needed be on our way.

    Bottom line, you need to judge a dog by its behavior, not its breed.

  • Brandon||

    Nonsense. Proprietrist dogsat a partial pitbull one time and it didn't immediately roll over for his asshole schnauzer. Therefore, all Pits are evil and should be destroyed immediately.

  • Brandon||

    BTW, I think Ken just has something against Germans in general. Probably because so many of their words sound sort of like "Cunt."

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, Ken Shultz has a big problem with Germans.

    Haben Sie ein bierfahrten?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm just sayin'...

    Comin' in to rescue, there are a couple of breeds that are just way more trustworthy than others.

    I can tell if a pit bull is about to bite me. I can tell if a rottweiler is about to bite me.

    With German Shepherds, you never know. They're like one-person dogs. If you're that one person, I'm sure it's great. But that German Shepherd is not the same dog when you're not around.

    Also, it's ridiculous to say that certain dogs don't have certain tendencies--whey they were bred specifically for some of those tendencies. Not all dogs are suitable for every person out there, and that isn't just about physical characteristics. Giving a Jack Russel to a couch potato, for instance...

    Some are more aggressive. And I always watch out for the German Shepherds. Doesn't mean people shouldn't be allowed to have one, but just 'cause I think people should be free to own whatever dog they want doesn't mean I have to pretend they all have the same temperament regardless of breed.

  • Westy||

    "I can tell if a pit bull is about to bite me."

    Funny you say that as many people firmly believe the opposite. But IME you're right. My Dogo/pit mix can be read like a book. She has a very visible and repeatable set of cues as she gets more agitated, brow furrows, line appears on her neck, tuft stands up on her tail, more and more hair stands up on her upper back. Once she's got a lot of hair up on the upper back, then vocalizing in a couple of stages. The sounds she makes v threatening dogs are really blood curdling, even before she tries to lunge at them. But I've never seen her get past the first couple of steps in response to any human, and she only has any antsy response to humans whatsoever in case of kids or briefcases or bags too far away for her to be sure they aren't a dog, and when people walk up behind me at night. I don't know if she'd ever reach her higher states of agitation v a person though, even if they were beating me up. That's never happened, though doesn't seem a wise thing for somebody to risk.

    She and my previous Beagle happened to especially hate German Shepherds for some reason, but I've no strong feelings against them myself. I much prefer Dogo/pit type though based on experience with our current dog.

  • R C Dean||

    I can pretty much guarantee won't bite anyone.

    I can say the same thing about my rescued (from an actual crack house) Am Staff and my pedigreed and spoiled rotten English Staffs. They are hell on cats, but they're biggest flaw around people is that they whip themselves into a frenzy of friendliness, and forget all their manners and just pushy they can be.

  • WTF||

    That has invariably been my experience with pit bulls. I read that in the past guys who bred pits to fight had to put Dobies and Shepherds around the kennel runs so their pits wouldn't get stolen, since they were too friendly and would just go off with anybody.

  • Brandon||

    You're worse than Hitler.

  • ||

    She is, actually. Ignore her.

  • Libertymike||

    Well now, there was an actual, earlier "you know who" whom I have no problem asserting was worse - at least with respect to dogs.

    How about Ivan Grozni, i.e., Ivan the Terrible? There are accounts of young Ivan, at age 8, throwing dogs from the Kremlin tower for sport.

    Did the Vagabond from Vienna ever do that?

  • Brandon||

    I was serious too. Die.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    slowly, and painfully

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I don't ecen like dogs, but I know enough about them to know there are a lot more bad owners than bad dogs.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    typing is hsrd

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck restrictive laws.

    But on another note, fuck people whose interest in nasty animals is that they see them as some kind of symbol for manliness or dumb ignorant shit like that.

  • Drake||

    It is those people who make the dogs nasty.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I think it is their stupid tongue and their balls dangling around.

    "Look how big my dog's balls are! I'm such a man!"

  • Drake||

    I've been through several training classes and many dog shows. It always made me laugh when some nice suburban lady's Great Dane or Mastiff hits puberty and develops a giant cock and massive swinging balls.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Anyone ever had or know someone with a Fila Brasileiro?

  • ||

    No, but I once met a Presa Canario, which looked kind of similar and was almost as enormous. He got a boner every time he looked at me.

  • T||

    The elusive Brazilian Wax Hound? No.

  • Drake||

    I've seen them - impressive dogs. They have a fearsome reputation but I don't know how much to believe.

  • SIV||

    They were taught to chase down jaguars, cattle, and other animals, as well as runaway slaves. The dogs would grab the slave or animals by the neck and hold them until the farmer arrived.

    Catch dogs

  • ||

    My dad is a veterinarian. He insists Cocker Spaniels are the worst dogs you can get and Dalmatians are mean as shit. Pits just need a Disney movie.

  • Westy||

    Good summary. Proponents of Breed Specific Legislation haven't a leg to stand on once hysteria about dogs and disguised racism and social prejudice again people (ie. against the races and social classes of people thought of as 'typical pit bull owners') is put aside. 'Pit bulls' (a broad catch all) are disproportionately, among strong dogs, kept as unaltered males and treated and socialized in ways that make human aggression more likely. Unaltered male dogs are involved in up to 90% of serious attacks on people. It's could as easily be another strong breed, assuming BSL's could really be enforced against the bad actors. But more commonly under BSL bad actors continue the same practices using 'pit bulls' while animal control and the police chase their tails responding to calls against dog owners who neighbors aren't afraid to dime out, often as outgrowths of neighborhood feuds, often involving non-threat dogs, and making arbitrary decisions about what's a 'pit bull'.

    BSL support comes from a small group of people personally traumatized by dog bites, who want to be 'activists', to 'take back control of their lives' (as perhaps suggested by their shrinks, read a lot of their posts on the web and you'll see: they *need* shrinks); and the usual larger audience whose buttons are easy to push on issues related to race and social class.

  • S.Luedtahan||

    Pit Bull looks good sometimes, but sometimes it's a cute dog as well. by : http://umidog.com/top-10-guard-dogs

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