Pitbulls - Threat or Menace? Our blind spot when it comes to this breed

Hardly a month goes by without some story about a child or elderly person being mauled by a pitbull. If it were alligators or ostriches, there's be laws passed banning them and everything would be done to exclude them from contact with people.

It wouldn't be "It's not the alligator (or ostrich) that's the problem, it's the owner."

But when a pitbull kills someone's toddler, dog lovers will say "It's not the pitbull, it's the owner that is the problem."

Well gee, that mental bumpersticker sounds great but it's something you say after a dog has done something horrific.

The dog owners who say that never really follow the platitude up with a proposed solution. Why? Because none of the obvious solutions are possible as long as people will blindly defend a breed that has the instincts and hair trigger reactions this breed has.

What would be the negative consequence of this breed disappearing from the face of the earth? And, please, let's remember it's only a breed—a very recent and artificial one—not a species. If every pitbull were replaced with an Irish Setter or Yorkie, even if they bit, a lot less damage would be done.

Another problem is that all too often, the worst elements of society seem attracted to this and some of the other large, aggressive breeds.

If you're willing to admit that we have a problem here, what is your solution?

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Suppose there were no more "breeds." Who would benefit? Well, the dogs for one thing. All of this breeding involves a whole lotta inbreeding. And so, in order to get a desired ear or nose or coat color, in exchange dogs get hip dysplasia, deafness, blindness, hips too narrow to birth (necessitating caesarean births). Yes, breeds are wonderful, aren't they. For US, NOT for the dogs.

If we were to turn all dogs loose and allow them to interbreed on their own, gradually—but quicker than you might imagine—you'd have a generation of dogs resembling in many ways the Australian dingo.

And you know what? On the whole it would have a far healthier physique, suited more to the life of an actual dog rather than a being designed to be pleasing to human eyes and adapted to human ways.

Dog breeders don't really care about dogs. They care about MAKING dogs.

Sorry. It is the owners that are the problem.. Just like sometimes bad parenting causes bad children.

Oh yeah By the way... http://historylist.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/human-deaths-in-the-us-...

From the above link..


Pet attacks

Pet dogs account for 31 deaths per year in the U.S. The Pit Bull is not a recognized breed of dog. There are many mutts that resemble the pit bull that kill people, so classification is difficult.The Pit bull variety is by far the largest killer of humans, followed by Rottweiler’s and Husky’s. Dozens of different breeds can kill people. Basset Hounds, Beagle’s, Dauschund’s, Labradors, and even Golden retrievers have killed humans.


As well..


The most dangerous mammal in North America is...Bambi. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that white-tailed deer kill around 130 Americans each year simply by causing car accidents. In 1994, these predator deer had a banner year, causing 211 human deaths in car wrecks.


Hi Unseen,

There is certainly a problem here....children are dying! I understand what the dog owners are talking about when they say "it's not the dog, it's the owner". You said yourself that "the worst elements of society seem attracted to this...", so maybe it really is the owner and not the dog.


My view is that if you own a dog, it MUST be under your control at all times, whether that is via a leash or a fence or anything else. With that in mind, if a dog attacks a human, it is really like the owner attacking a human.... or at least allowing harm to come to a human through some level of negligence. This is apparently how the city of Melbourne, Australia feel about the issue too. As part of a legal crackdown on various "dangerous" breeds, dog owners will now be charged with manslaughter if their dog kills someone (and lesser, negligence based, charges for bites, maiming, whatever else).


OK, I'm going to go read some of the other comments now...

If Manslaughter charges could be brought against negligent owners, I think the dog related death numbers would dry up very quickly.
It's not enough for owners to be "Nice" to their dogs. Dogs need to feel they are part of the pack. They need to feel they have responsibilities, or they will think the pack is mismanaged, and try to take over the alpha spot. That's why teaching dogs tricks, and working with them, and rewarding them for obedience is so crucial. I can understand why Unseen thinks that "It's the ownder, not the Dog" is an unproved maxim. Irresponsible dog owners are often nice people. They just don't know what they are doing.

Let's be completely honest. Any breed ban results in dogs being put down. Unseen simply wants to kill dogs, because he thinks they can't be trained. He's wrong. 

I would be more for phasing big aggressive breeds out of existence through not breeding any more of them. Breeding to type is generally not good for the dog's health anyway. Mutts tend, on the whole, to be healthier animals.

Requiring bonds on the one hand and creating huge penalties for the owners of dogs that attack, even if the attack is by a dog with a "perfect record" beforehand, will discourage the responsible owners from owning big aggressive dogs, although for the worst owners, who don't give a sh*t, even that probably won't work. It may also work like "When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will own guns." The Law of Unintended Consequences.

"The truth is that when treated like any other dog, they are as harmless as any other dog."

There are ample examples of previously well-behaved pitbulls (as well as other types of dog) reacting for reasons known or unknown to something, resulting in a disastrous and/or tragic attack. Often on children, who tend to be very trusting and unwary and naive in their behavior with dogs. The question is, what is the cost/benefit ratio when it comes to the benefits of dogs vs the fact that they are responsible for more large animal attacks than any other species (other than man himself)? Here is a typical list of animal-caused deaths in a recent year (note that while horse-related deaths seem high, many of those deaths are riding-related accidents, not a horse attacking a human):

Bee/Wasp 53
Dogs 31
Spider 6.5
Rattlesnake 5.5
Mountain lion 1
Shark 1
Alligator 0.3
Bear 0.5
Scorpion 0.5
Centipede 0.5
Elephant 0.25
Wolf 0.1
Horse 20


@Michael Appleman   "You need to prove that the dogs are the problem,a nd not the owners. If you get rid of pitbulls and the owners get different dogs, and the fatalities do not decrease, you have killed millions of animals for nothing."

Actually, I'm not suggesting a pogrom against dogs. Just phasing them out. And if it were me, I'd apply it to all large aggressive breeds. Will that put an absolute end to all dog attacks? Of course not, but it'll cut way back on the killing and maiming.

What's so important about having big, aggressive dogs that it's worth the death and injury anyway?

As I've pointed out, the maxim that "It's not the dog that's the problem; it's the owner" is just something people SAY after the damage is done. How about some PREVENTION?

Will people STOP please with the old "It's not the dog, it's the owner" saw and instead offer a plan for ending the attacks. The fact is, people have legal rights, dogs don't, so attacking the problem by controlling the owners (rather than controlling the dogs) is a rather lame approach offering little hope of success.

Uh Require owners to be licensed or certified to own these dogs as pets? Just because you want to ignore that people are the problem in this doesn't mean it isn't true get a grip..

well atleast you seem to got it out of your head that dogs are parasites.


But let me ask you the same question i am asking the other guy. What is your view on swimming pools. swimming pools kill orders of magnitude more people than pitbulls do. banning them wont cause any harm as they are only used for fun. so then should we ban private swimming pool ownership?


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