Why Are Pit Bulls Banned? How Media Hysteria Created Stupid Laws


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"This idea that aggression can be traced back to specific breeds is the folklore of a criminal subculture. This is not an idea that exists in science."

That's Janis Bradley, one of the country's premier experts on canine cognition, dismantling the idea at the heart of laws banning pit bulls, a dog breed that has become synonymous with violence, mayhem, and attacks on humans.

Hundreds of counties, cities, and towns single out pit bulls for special attention and treatment, from outright bans on owning them to empowering law enforcement to extract dogs from non-compliant homes. But when we look past media scare stories and focus on how dogs are raised and handled, it turns out that pit bulls are not uniquely aggressive and dangerous, even as governments across the country are codifying scientifically illiterate prejudice into law.

About 5 minutes.

Produced by Rob Montz, who also hosts. Camera by Joshua Swain and Alexis Garcia. Graphics by Jason Keisling.