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Pitbulls-Beyond the Myth

There has been a lot of discussion as of late about some recent Pittbull attacks locally.  I have to wonder how many other dog bite stories did not make the news simply because the animal involved was not a Pitbull or similar breed.  The recent discussions on The Patch seem to involve two types, the "Ban happy" uninformed Pitbull "Haters" and the informed defenders of the breed.  As I promised before on a prior post, here is the title of a movie off Netflix that should be required reading for all commenters on this subject.  If this movie does not, at the very least, change some peoples perceptions of the Pitbull breed, nothing will.

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southernbelle February 17, 2014 at 11:39 PM
And that, Pauly, is probably why she's "nice." Because you're a constant presence with her. I'd love to see some sort of study on owner presence with the Pits who attack. The Pits who get loose and maul a person. I'd wager that these are dogs who are put in a backyard alone for hours and hours--if not days, and the only contact it gets with the owner is feeding time. Frustrated animals react in different ways.
Alek J Hidell February 17, 2014 at 11:52 PM
say whatever you want; the instant I see an unleashed pit it will be in GRAVE danger. If you love these killer dogs better tie it up real good. keep it in a sturdy cage, or keep it in your filthy house.... Is it really worth having a hated dog?
Robert Milner February 18, 2014 at 02:17 AM
I have a neighbor and she is Terrified by Pit Bulls that glare at her as she walks around the lake. They lunge at other dogs.
Local Guy February 18, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Many on-point and well thought out comments for once on the Patch:)..........Another good indicator of the reality of Pit Bulls is the way insurance companies rate them. There are a handful of breeds that are excluded from commercial policies, and the Pitbull, Rottweiler, Akita, and Chow are consistently included due to claims costs. I am a dog owner and certainly know that the level of work required to be responsible with a Pit Bull is greater than managing a Labrador Retriever. Unfortunately many dog owners can not or will not make up the difference.
Deborah February 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM
The author of this article is clearly ineffective. If you want to effectively get your point across, you should probably refrain from the name calling, people shut down immediately when attacked. Pit bulls are dangerous dogs, plain and simple. You may have the nicest dog in the world (I too had a beautiful and sweet pit bull at one point as well.) But the fact of the matter is they are prone to aggressive behavior and when they attack the damage they do is severe and often fatal. Perhaps you don't have children but some of us would prefer to not take the risk, however small it might be, that our children will be mauled to death or scarred for life by the lock jaw of your dog. They are animals, they are unpredictable just like any other animal. When they are angry you can't talk to them, soothe them. Perhaps when you admit that their is some risk people will start to listen to you. When you have an audience perhaps you can fight for rules that would make people more comfortable.
Pauly February 18, 2014 at 12:16 PM
You are right Deborah that I started the article with an attack, I am seeing now that was a big mistake to stereotype people into haters and lovers. It is too late to edit (tried) so I will apologize to anyone who may have been offended. Yes Pittbulls are a very strong and powerfull breed and like many dogs, can be aggressive. I just wish that the stories of Pittbull maulings would be more specific about the conditions of the dogs environment, treatment by owners, ect... I don't own a large unaltered male just a small female full grown and only 40 pounds. Loves all people and other dogs but with almost any dog, needs to be fully supervised when around children especially.
jillmann February 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM
I have a working border collie. She herds and does it very well. She was bred for it. I have friends with pointers. They point. And do it well. They were also selectively bred for it. And anybody will notice the behavior of a herding dog... sometimes the really high strung ones will herd the family around and it becomes a problem. What blows my mind is that the sad but true fact is many of those pit mixes in shelters have fighting dog in their lineage. Pits found roaming loose and unaltered are often not owned by a sweet middle class family with young children. Who owns most of them? Be honest. The strays or throwaway pit types are often cast offs from the worst kind of owners and breeders. Why is that obvious fact not accepted and acknowledged? I studied cognitive ethology in college. A branch of animal behavior. This is an unbiased and obvious truth about the over abundance of stray pit mixes in shelters. It's not the breed or the owner that make me queasy. Its the blind and often militant defense of what is really just a breed tendency. Aggressive behavior with the ability to back it up in the very nature of the beast. The tenacity that goes into fighting for a fact to just not be true boggles my mind and makes me want to pull my hair out. I am apologetic when my collies ocd gets in the way of others. Its a fact about the type of dog she is. Why is it so hotly debated over pits and oit crosses?
southernbelle February 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Pauly-I appreciate your humility. getting the full spectrum of both sides, facts, evidence, history, etc. will help you become a better, more educated advocate for the breed. best wishes.
andy fischer February 18, 2014 at 12:35 PM
How many parents would be comfortable letting their little kids go over to a friend's home who has "loving, friendly, great with kids, wouldn't ever hurt anybody, trusting" pit bulls?
Dee Schumacher February 18, 2014 at 01:10 PM
My mother was 70 years old, and raising and showing her wonderful Staffordshire Terriers. She even wrote an article in the book "How to Raise and Train the breed. They won many ribbons and trophies, champion and best of breed. It's not the breed, it's mosty the owner. You can find " bad" in all breeds
Deborah February 18, 2014 at 01:16 PM
Pauly, the lover and hater label is not as bad as the informed and uninformed labels. And your 40 pound female pit bull has the same ability to maul a human or other animal as a 80 pound male. As a young woman without children I owned a sweet 40 pound female myself. Raised her from 8 weeks old and she was super sweet, never bit a human. But that same dog used to play fight with my shepherd mix (that the pit was raised with) and nearly killed her on several occasions when she went for the neck. It is just the way those dogs are. Are there other vicious breeds? Of course there are, but there are fewer of those breeds and they are not often bred for fighting. Recently I rescued a kitten for my mother. She was probably a week or less old and abandoned in the street. That cat is a spaz who (playfully) attacks everything in the house. We took her to the vet to get her shots and have her examined. The vet told us she would probably always be that type of cat because she was born to a feral street cat. So despite the fact that we have raised her in a calm loving home from the time she was a week old, the spaz is just bred into her. Who would have known....it's a fact. There are plenty of great pitbull owners and I have been around plenty of super sweet pitbulls but I would still never leave my children in a room alone with them. A few years ago some girls pit mauled and killed a sleeping infant in a car seat right here in Murrieta while the mom was in the next room taking a shower. That pit had never attacked before and was someone's pet. You just never know. What happens when your sweet dog accidentally gets off her leash, runs over to try to play with my kids who get scared and run screaming....chances are your dog will pounce. We are humans, they are property. It is not worth the risk. And before you all tell me how your dogs are your family, I too have a big giant lab who is part of my family but if I had to choose her over the safety of a human being, I will always choose the human.
Sam Adams February 18, 2014 at 01:48 PM
Proud owner of a female blue pit bull for almost 8 years. She is the most gentle and sweetest dog I've ever owned (German Shepard's, routweilers, and Labs). I have three children. Two of them small (4 yes and 11 mos). She is a huge part of our family and is included in almost everything we do. She doesn't bark unless it is for real or she's being social, and has never shown A SINGLE INCIDENT of aggression towards anything or anyone. Point??? ITS ALL ABOUT THEIR UPBRINGING. Its how they are raised. Lived at the beach for her first 5 years which meant she went to a dog beach almost everyday. Socialized with hundreds of dogs. We love her a great deal. It would crush me if she ever crossed that line. With all that being said, I would never trust her, OR ANY DOG, 100%.
Laurent Urich February 18, 2014 at 03:58 PM
The problem is not the pitbulls as much as it is the owners who have them. The question must be asked, why pitbulls? Is it because pitbulls are prettier? Is it because pitbulls are smarter? Is it because they are kinder? The answer to all these questions are No! It's because they are stronger and more vicious than other breeds. Then why do most people who have pitbulls have them? I believe that the answer is very simple and straight forward......because they are stronger then other dog breeds and if a fight were to break out, the pitbull would win! It maybe an oversimplified conclusion, but nevertheless, one which I believe has some merit. It has to boil down to ego! My dog is stronger than yours! I love all dog breeds, including pitbulls, but being a family man, I would never buy a pitbull for the safety of my family! I would put my family's safety in front of my own ego!
Laurent Urich February 18, 2014 at 04:03 PM
In all fairness, my above comment i believe is true for many pitbull owners. However, that being said...I am confident that there are some good hearted and kind folks who have a pitbulls out of true love for them and raise them properly without any aggression.
southernbelle February 18, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Sam brings up a great point I'd like to mention- Pits have a nature to dominate with a pack mentality. One thing I will just give you friendly warning about-- An owner who has small children needs to make sure the Pit understand it is low man! Otherwise, when you discipline your child, the Pit--as is pack behavior- will also attempt to discipline. Not really intending harm, but will snap at the child sometimes causing harm. If you watch a Pit with another dog-they "discipline" as the dominator. Your family is your dogs' "pack," so unless the Pit clearly understands it's place, it 'can be' dangerous. Anyone who owns a Pit needs to understand the breed if they are going to be responsible owners! hell--anyone who is going to own ANY breed should understand the temperament, history, profile of that breed---we'd have a heck of a lot less dogs in the shelters.
Deborah February 18, 2014 at 04:20 PM
My point is that it isn't always about the way you raise them. Of course your dog hasn't shown any aggression or mauled anyone....it doesn't happen until it happens, and then it's over. Pitbulls with good owners who do harm often do it by accident. You know the old saying...doesn't know it's own strength. Certain breeds have certain traits...pitbulls are known aggressors whose jaws can inflict deadly force. Not at all sure why anyone who has children would put them in that kind of danger....even if you think the likelihood is small. One mistake and your kids is scarred for life, or worse, dead. And all of us dog owners at one time or another has had their dog escape the leash. Think of my scenario above, what happens when some kids start yelling and running. The likelihood of a dog attack is high. Then we all get to listen to how your dog never hurt anyone before and i the kids hadn't run/scream/stared at the dog, this never would have happened.
Antonio February 18, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Pauly, you deleted my comments. Your entitled to your opinion defending pit bulls, but it is narcissistic and not how government makes public policy. I implore the Lake Elsinore City Council to enact the Ordinance adopted by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors for unincorporated areas that requires pit bulls to be neutered/spayed.
Judy M Manning February 18, 2014 at 06:09 PM
Common sense!!! You wouldnt take a Pomeranian hunting nor should you pretent pit bulls were breed to be a lap dogs. All dogs can be sweet and loving.Just hate when people will not admit the obvious. I would never under any circumstances leave a child alone with any powerful dog....period! They are animals not your "other child".....
Pauly February 18, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Lyn, there was a couple of threatening posts that were deleted (guess?) but yours must have been deleted by accident, sorry have at it. I thought the mandatory spay/neuter was already adopted in Lake Elsinore. Not sure what you meant about government policy or how that pertains to this or your deleted post.
Judy M Manning February 18, 2014 at 06:26 PM
For the record my brothers had pit bulls while growing up and were the sweetest dogs ever! But would never have children or strangers around them unsupervised because they knew what "could" happen. NEVER take the chance!
Deborah February 18, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Really, the question comes down to why would someone own a dog that they wouldn't feel comfortable leaving around their children or friends. What is it about this breed of do that makes you want to own one over say...a lab or some other less aggressive dog? Give me a good reason why you need or want to own a pitbull?
Antonio February 18, 2014 at 09:05 PM
I think people, consciously or unconsciously, pick a dog (or a car), that projects their perceived (desired) self image. People pick pit bulls because they want to confirm that they are tough, just like their dog. I will be so glad when the tough/bad-ass image as cool goes out of style. It's a facade to being "real."
TheLionessRampant February 19, 2014 at 12:54 AM
Sadly, the pit bull has acquired a reputation as an unpredictable and dangerous menace. His appearance has made him attractive to people looking for a macho status symbol, and this popularity has encouraged unscrupulous breeders to produce puppies without maintaining the pit bull’s typical good nature with people. To make matters worse, irresponsible owners interested in presenting a tough image often encourage their pit bulls to behave aggressively. A pit bull bite is also far more likely to draw media attention. Many dogs of other breeds bite people, but these incidents almost always go unreported. They’re just not exciting enough fodder for television and print. Despite this bad rap, a well-bred, well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable. It is truly a shame that the media continues to portray such a warped image of this beautiful, loyal and affectionate breed. Pit bulls once enjoyed a wonderful reputation. Some of the most famous dogs in American history were pit bulls. A pit bull named Stubby, a decorated hero during World War One, earned several medals and was even honored at the White House. During duty, he warned soldiers of gas attacks, found wounded men in need of help and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. Pit bulls have been featured in well-known advertising campaigns for companies such as Levis, Buster Brown Shoes and Wells Fargo. The image of a pit bull, which was considered a symbol of unflagging bravery and reliability, represented the United States on recruiting and propaganda posters during World War One. Many famous figures, including Helen Keller, President Theodore Roosevelt, General George Patton, President Woodrow Wilson, Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart, shared their lives and homes with pit bulls. Remember - There are no bad breeds, just bad (and uninformed) owners. http://www.cesarsway.com/dogbehavior/basics/How-Did-Pit-Bulls-Get-a-Bad-Rap http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/truth-about-pit-bulls
Allen G February 19, 2014 at 03:15 AM
Did you read your own aspca citation TheLionessRampant? "Should You Keep a Pit Bull Away from Other Dogs? Pit bulls were genetically selected for their fighting ability. What does this mean? It doesn’t mean that they can’t be around other dogs, that they’re unpredictably aggressive or that they will always fight to the death. These are all common myths about pit bulls. It does mean that they may be easily encouraged to fight with other dogs." (aspca.com). I will agree with you that the owners take the greatest responsibility in raising their dogs to have good manners, but your post clearly points out why the the fear in these animals is well founded. This breed of dog was genetically bred to fight in bloodsport games called "bull-baiting", and later bred to dogfight. There are so many breeds of dog. If you're going to buy a fighting dog keep it in your backyard or on a short leash in public please. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_baiting
Allen G February 19, 2014 at 03:27 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olde_English_Bulldogge nice looking dogs, just gotta breed the fight outta em ;)
TheLionessRampant February 19, 2014 at 03:50 AM
Can you identify THE true pitbull breed in this photo? https://scontent-a-lax.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1/1948253_495791800529536_1607701391_n.jpg
Crystal February 19, 2014 at 11:05 AM
lazy agressive people shouldnt own high strung agressive breeds. period. dogs are no different then kids. you have to raise them with love boundaries and discipline. then the dog becomes the protective companion wanted. if u tied an 8 lb chain on my neck attached to an old tire and just left me outside in the sun all day id bite your ass too
southernbelle February 19, 2014 at 01:46 PM
@Allen G--you said, "If you're going to buy a fighting dog keep it in your back yard or on a tight leash.." here's let me correct this for you: "If you're going to buy a fighting dog, punch yourself hard in the face until you come back to your senses."
Pauly February 19, 2014 at 05:01 PM
I think it should be a FELONY to train Pitbulls for fighting as it is one of the worst types of abuse you could do to a Pitbull or any other breed. It is basically a death sentence for the dog I feel, since the dog will be ruined for good and I don't believe it is possible to reform a fighting dog successfully therefore it would be euthanized if taken from its (moronic) owner.
Pauly February 19, 2014 at 07:36 PM
It looks like the comments are coming to a close, thanks everyone for your comments and for further information on Breed Specific Legislation (Pittbulls) look no further than PETA.ORG and you will discover the political part of this issue. That is if you can stomach any more politics! Thanks , Pauly (Author)

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