Pit Bulls, Do We Need Them?

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Yesterday in Topeka, a 2 year old girl was killed by a pit bull. It was very tragic, but dogs do bite humans. My question is, why do we, as a society, allow people to own and breed such an animal.

I know I’m going to take a bunch of flak for this, but I think that we need to pass legislation making it illegal to breed pit bulls and the current ones need to all be spayed or neutered. We, humans, blew this one. We were the ones that bred the aggressive behavior into the dogs and there isn’t a group that is doing the opposite.

I talked to a lot of friends about this and a lot of them disagree with me. But, the facts speak for themselves-

Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days during this 3-year period.

The data also shows that pit bulls commit the vast majority of off-property attacks that result in death. Only 18% (16) of the attacks occurred off owner property, yet pit bulls were responsible for 81% (13).

And let me tell you, by percentage, pit bulls are not a large percentage of all dog ownership. The statistic that blows me away is that pit bulls were responsible for 81% of off property deaths.

I’m sorry, but we made the breed, and as a society, we can choose to un-make it. We allowed people to breed undesirable traits into the animals that make them a danger.

David Lee, co-founder of the Lehigh Valley Pitbull Awareness Club, said his heart goes out to victims of dog attacks, particularly young ones. But Lee said the problem is irresponsibility of owners, not dogs predisposed to hostility.

He is wrong. Many pit bulls in our society have a predisposed propensity for hostility. The majority of people currently breeding the dogs are breeding just that into them. It would be the same as saying that Bromont, an English Setter, is not predisposed to finding birds.

I have a good friend here in Topeka. Her sister worked at the Postal Service sorting letters. She worked from something like 7 pm to 3 am. Anyway, she got off work one night and went home. She had two pit bulls, maybe 5 or 6 years old, that she had raised from puppies. They were asleep, as always, on her bed. When she got undressed and got into bed, she must of scared one of the dogs and it attacked her. Then the other dog joined in. She was mauled terribly. This was in her home by her own dogs.

The jaw strength of these animals is unbelievable. And these dogs have been bred to have a hold and shake bite style causes severe bone and muscle damage, often inflicting permanent and disfiguring injury.

You can’t own these dogs in Australia and some European countries. I know having breed specific laws seem unfair. But, we blew this one. I wouldn’t let a pit bull anywhere near a child if I had my way. All dogs will bite humans. We as a society realize that. But, when the bite can kill, very quickly, we need to address it.

96 thoughts on “Pit Bulls, Do We Need Them?

  1. Jem White

    I don’t agree with you, but at least you make a calm and well-reasoned argument. It is certainly a more palatable solution than simply putting them to death as many others have proposed.

    1. ted

      Adrienne,

      Seriously. Pit Bulls have become another lame fashion accessory, like wicked scary tattoos, for a whole generation of faux-badasses who grew up on Barney and now need to prove to the world they’re gangsta. When I ride, I’m amazed at the number of 20-yr-old guys who need to display to the world via their dog – is it a federal law pit-bull owners have to wear wife-beaters?
      Problem is twofold. 1) The dogs are bred to be both strong and aggressive, and 2) many of the people who have them are so self-absorbed they have no idea how to train, care or otherwise manage them.
      Steve”s numbers don’t lie. I agree with him they need to (at least) get neutered, but that would calm them – exactly the opposite of why Mr. Badass Wannabe gets such a dog.
      Dogs are innately neutral. They do what they’re bred for. Back this way, a coyote just attacked a local college student. Coyotes are just doing what their instincts tell them to, but apparently some idiot has been feeding it!
      The humans are the problem. A child is “seriously” dead, Adrienne. Seriously dead. 2-f**king-years-old dead. Steve is clearly about as much as a dog-lover as one can be, and he sees the facts of it.
      There are probably some OK pit-bull owners, but 90 percent of them are douchebags. Seriously.

  2. JPrumm

    I had a Rottweiler that was the gentlest dogs I have ever had. But my wife and took months to find the right one. We also did a lot of research on the breed before brining into our home. We also took the time to properly train the dog. I think you are correct about breeding certain traits into the dogs and that’s a shame. Though I had a Rottweiler I wouldn’t have a Pitt Bull.

  3. Blerg

    We should arm everyone to defend against pit bull terriers. And arming elementary school kids would have stopped the Connecticut shooter in his tracks.

  4. Marty

    I hear this argument a lot.

    Here’s some other facts, though. All dogs – if mistreated – will bite. Dogs – if taken care of and treated with respect – will not. While Pitbulls and similar breeds (like Rottweillers, Malinois, German Shepards etc) are bred for a certain “role” – a role that we have bestowed upon them, I hasten to add – 90% of these attacks by Pits on people are due to owners who do not understand the breed and get them as a social status symbol. They also don’t put in the time to correctly train and discipline the dog; the dog then becomes the ‘alpha’ in the environment and all hell breaks loose.

    I have owned in the past a Pitbull/Rhodesian Ridgeback cross. A beautiful dog – all 70lbs of her. She had her moments – like any dog – but I spent countless hours training and working with her so she would be a responsible member of society.

    Chihuahuas are also very people aggressive dogs – if not trained properly. Granted, a 5lb Chihuahua isn’t anywhere as much of a threat as a 100lb Pitbull, but the principal is the same; take care of the dog and the dog will respond correctly.

    To answer the question posed in the header; “PitBulls; do we need them?”, I would honestly say that we probably don’t. If we didn’t, assholes like Michael Vick would put them to fight each other; if we didn’t then thousands of them wouldn’t have to be destroyed each year; if we didn’t then there would be one less breed for people to abuse.

    The world would be a lesser place for not having them. They truly are a very loving and gentle breed by nature – we have just corrupted that over time.

  5. The Cyclist

    Totally agree with you. Sometimes I feel the need to carry a hand gun when I ride off-road in order to protect myself from all the dogs and their moron owners out there. Complete ignorant idiots who let their “pets” off the leash for their own indulgence completely disregarding everyone else’s safety.

  6. Nick Hand

    I think you are right about pits being human’s faults. But I have seen all sorts of breeds behave badly. I had a slight fear of German shepards after a very large one bit me for no apparent reason to me. But since, have ment some amazingly nice Germans that have changed my mind. My brother in law had his eye torn out as a child by the family terrier one day out of the blue. While I have herd that story and others I have never met a mean terrier myself.
    I think that just like traits bread into dogs, this one can be bread out. I know there are some amazing pits, and pit owner breaders out there, and I bet they are working on just that.
    I have no explanation or reason for why some pits have injuered people other than they may have just been the bad apples, or had some of that “wild” in them. I don’t know, but I hate to think of punishing other animals for something they individually did not do.

  7. Marty

    If we exterminated all of one breed/race for something that a few of them did, there’d be nobody or nothing left on this rock.

    Oh – and that’s also called genocide…and frowned upon, I believe, in modern society.

      1. Penny

        wow? really?? For your sake I hope no one gets in charge of eliminating ignorance from humans b/c you’d be one of the first to go. but you know who care right? cause you’re dumb.

  8. bhall

    Ptt Bulls aren’t pets. My first experience in SW Mo. intrduced me to pit bulls one on one. Not nice, thanks goodness for remnants of my fast twitch muscles and pepper spray. Lots of spray. Put these dogs down, yep I said it because they are only dangerous dogs. Now if your a meth baker or into dog fighting ,kinda makes sense.

    1. Marty

      So, based on one experience YOU had with a Pitbull, they should all be put down?

      Even the show dogs – because they’re so obviously out of control?

      See my comment above re: genocide.

  9. Doug

    After reading your blog for some time, I finally have to leave a comment. I visit your blog for the foresight you have into cycling, as well as the life stories you share. Since we share the passion of cycling, I always found your blog to be insightful.

    However, you are spreading biased information and I can’t really stand that. Especially when I have been around Pitbull’s, Pit mixes, Rottie’s, and all other types of “Dangerous” dogs throughout my life. Please look into your data sources before you publish your thoughts.

    http://bslnews.org/2012/01/24/the-real-dog-bite-statistics-plus-media-myths-colleen-lynn-exposed/

    http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2010/03/the-truth-behind-dogsbiteorg.html

    It stands to reason that Pitbull’s were bred to fight other dogs, correct? Well in those dog fights the owner could give up at any point in time and pull his losing dog out of the fight, or request that the other person stop his dog from continuing. Dog fighting was a business, you never wanted to lose a dog that could win you money on another day,. Sick and twisted maybe, but a business none the less. Thus, any dogs that bit it’s owner, any other human, or wouldn’t stop fighting, was typically put down. Taking it right out of the gene pool. So really the concern people have with people is unfounded, true “pitbull’s” are one of the human friendly dogs around. The “none” human friendly/attentive dogs were put down.

    I agree that in modern times you have any mixes who are mistreated and can be dangerous, but so is a mistreated yellow lab. Anytime you categories a whole group of anything and suggest that it isn’t of value, you are bound to make yourself look like a fool.

    1. Meals on Wheels

      Looks like somebody is a bit obsessed with Colleen Lynn and dogsbite.org. The organization collects media reports and articles about dog attacks. Did you get that from National Canine Research Council? Oh yes, reputable source there (sarcastic). I just love the misuse and bastardization of Martin Luther King Junior quotes for the benefit of a dog….are you serious? I would be more suspect of your own breed advocates, all of their memes and “education” are not doing one thing to reduce attacks by pit bulls, and the best they can do is to try to discredit people who dare to share their bloody encounters with pit bulls and try to create scapegoats. People who have been attacked by pit bulls or were privy to see a beloved being in their jaws have received a kind of first hand education that you don’t ever want to experience. Karen Delise herself said that 90% of all of dog behavior is based on genetics. You can’t have it both ways. She also is published as stating that “Bloodhounds” were the maligned breed a century ago…she apparently didn’t realize that the breed then called “Bloodhounds” were Cuban Bloodhounds, gripping dogs, not scent hounds. She’s a laughable source.

      http://thetruthaboutpitbulls.blogspot.com/2010/08/scapegoats-part-1-bloodhound.html

      This is the best source for information about SERIOUS dog bite injuries and fatalities.

      http://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/dog-attack-deaths-maimings-merritt-clifton-2011.pdf

  10. charlie

    If someone telly you…”there are 100 marbles in the bag. 1/2 are back & 1/2 are white. Yet every time you and your Friends reach into the bad and pull out a marble…it has been black. obliviously there are more unseen statistics to make the black marble more likely to be pulled. In this light, one cannot argue with the statistics Steve has set forth. comparing the number of this breed of dog out there to the number of total dogs out there….OK, there simply has to be something present to explain the highly unproportional attracts by this breed. Yes, i am sure it is a lot fault of owners. But you have nim-nod owners of all breeds. Do believe (due to breeding or natural instinctive characteristics of the breed) this dog is more genetically and instinctively prone to be dangerously aggressive.

  11. Bernd Faust

    No Pitbulls!
    Isn’t there something wrong with them from the get out? I know only a handful of owners and the owner is more nutty than the dog+ only negative experience for me.

  12. Paul

    Anyone that would disagree with you Steve probably did not do well in their Probability and Statistics class and was never in 4H and, was not real comfortable in some science classes either. You are absolutely right in your argument with the spay and neuter idea. Check out the Nova documentary ‘Dogs Decoded’ if you haven’t already.

    1. kevin

      Spot ON! Paul, your reply is perfect. Pretty much echoed what I was about to write. Thanks Steve, for yet another great post. I too have an English setter – wonderful pet that happens to be bird crazy.

  13. Alyssa

    The highest percentage of incarcerated people is a certain race of a certain age and socioeconomic demographic. This, as is the problem with pitbulls, is an ill of our society, not a problem with the breed.

    To make sweeping statements, like, we need to get rid of all of them is not fixing anything. The people who have created this problem will simply move on to other breeds. Not long ago it was German Shepherds, Dobermans and Akitas. I have two pitbulls of sound temperament, and to lump them in with every dog who has aggressive tendencies is to do them a disservice. As well as all of the other dogs who are solid famliy pets.

    You are arrogant, but certainly not educated on this matter and have no reason to be writing about it. It’s blog posts like this that only perpetuate the myth. Consider this, over half of the alleged pit bull attacks turn out to be dog breeds other than pitbulls. Wanna blame a breed? Pin it on pitbulls.

    I have followed you as a cyclist for years, being a cyclist and racer myself. But this sort of ignorant spewing will certainly make me speak out against you and what you do. How disappointing. I only wish I could be as forgiving as my two pitbulls.

    1. ted

      A totally weak argument. Steve and Trudi are great dog owners, but even if they were awful, Bromont is not going to go out and kill a child. German Shepherds really have no such record, and Dobermans are rare compared to pt bulls. Add to that the fact pit bulls are often extraordinarily poorly bred, because the “type” who wants so badly to own one they’ll pay low money for a badly bred dog with innate aggression and strength. The owner of the pit bull who killed the child probably said his/her pit bull was “a great dog.”
      “I only wish I could be as forgiving as my two pitbulls.” Ugh. Spare me.

    2. Aaron

      Humans are not dogs. Relating the higher rates of incarceration for certain segments of society to a breed of dog that has been selected for certain traits is absolutely asinine, not to mention insulting to anyone of that certain segment of society.

  14. Jack-John

    All,
    As a veterinarian I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. I see many dogs of all breeds and I agree different breeds do tend to have different traits and propensities. I certainly have seen many pit bulls that are perfectly nice dogs, but I agree that when they aren’t nice, they are a real danger. I have seen many very well intentioned owners that truly try their best to raise a well behaved dog, and unfortunately, often nature wins out.

    It’s important to note that usually these dogs are in fact well behaved and not a danger to their owners. Often these owners can’t comprehend that their dog could be a danger to others. Over the years I have become very good at figuring out which patients might try to bite me, and I’m rarely wrong. When I mention to the owner that I’m going to need to use a muzzle to safely exam their dog they are usually shocked because the dog is always nice to them. Frankly I’m amazed at how many dogs let me do what I do without trying to bite me. Bottom line is, I’m a lot more likely to need to use a muzzle on a Pit than a Golden Retriever. Wanna have some fun, try walking up to a strange dog and giving him a rectal exam, you’ll learn pretty quick who you can trust.

  15. Blerg

    A buddy of mine, some time ago, saved up over a long, long time, and built an AC Cobra kit car, with the whatever monster engine. It took months.

    The day it was finished, he called me over to his place. He got in, drove down the street, not a quarter mile. Turned around, parked, and immediately listed the car in the newspaper. Said he had no interest in killing himself. He never drove the car again.

    People are really militant some times. Some stuff is such common sense, it’s hard to see it.

  16. Larry B

    They are weapons. Period. I’ve had many many run ins with this breed. None positive. Even those raised in loving and caring homes. On several occasions, after repeatedly trying to involve animal control and sheriff’s dept’s, I’ve had to take matters into my own hands. A bit of ground beef and a cake of Borax in a ziplock bag does the trick with permanent results.

    Feel free to rant and flame at me. I consider the safety of my children and my family to be paramount. When threatened, and when law enforcement won’t oblige………….One less Pit Bull makes for a safer environment

    1. Cody

      If I ever met you I’d shove a piece of borax cake down your throat. The world would be a better place without you.

      1. Bernd Faust

        Cody you are either funny or crazy. Larry is right. he had the bad experience , etc. You had no bad experience with Larry. I would cut the Pit in pieces if he attacks one of my kids or grandkid or for that matter me.

    2. Marty

      Based on this, if you have a neighbor that acts violently towards you and-or your family, I guess they can expect you to poison them too if the Police can’t help you?

      You’re taking the position of Judge, Jury and Executioner and – by killing that dog – have placed yourself above the Law.

      1. Bernd Faust

        I can reason with a neighbor but not with a pitbull. for that matter I can’t reason with any dog who bites. As we all know they will do it again. Dog loving owners I know of , put their dog to sleep after they bit one..they will do it again. Bites with harm in these cases..etc…

      2. JPrumm

        Marty, read my post a little closer. It is the only route to get home. If I had another route I would take it.

    3. JPrumm

      There is a dog that runs after me aggressively every time I ride by. The dog has almost bit me a few times but I was able to defend myself. The dog runs out onto the highway thus making cars swerve towards me. There is no way to avoid the dog because it is on my route home. After calls to animal control and police the dog was still chasing me. After a big rock to the side of the dog he has stopped. I would have killed the dog if I didn’t think the owner would sue.

      I have tried pepper spray on a dog once but it is way too windy where I live and sprayed more on myself than the dog. I see it no different than some pulling a gun on me and I have a right to protect myself.

      1. Marty

        Considered another route?

        Seems that the issue is THIS dog on THIS route, yet you seem to persist in riding the same route?

        Sounds like you WANT to engage the dog in the hopes that something will happen, which appears to be counter-productive to what you want; namely a peaceful ride.

        You have the solution to your problem and you have the ability to ride somewhere else. It’s the easiest solution.

  17. Mark

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Steve. You don’t have to teach a Pointer to point, a Collie to herd, or a Pitbull to rip your throat out – the instinct is there. Even if the owner is the best trainer in the world, I don’t want my children anywhere near a Pitbull.

  18. tim

    Alyssa, sounds like you’ve had you’re talking point ready for some time. But your point is not valid. We don’t OWN humans. And this statement…
    “You are arrogant, but certainly not educated on this matter and have no reason to be writing about it.” … will you let us know the topics we have reason to write about?

  19. Gary

    Wow, what a disappointing post. I really thought you were more well-reasoned than this. You’ve never had a ‘run in’ with a nice Pit Bull? I call BS on that. I’ve met so many nice Pit bulls. I’ve been chased on my bike by far more labs and lab mixes than Pit Bulls. Properly trained and treated, Pit Bulls are the same as all other breeds. Should additional care in training be taken with Pit Bulls? Of course, but I’d say the same about any strong, powerful breed.

    Do you also condone Larry B’s idiotic bragging above about poisoning dogs to “protect his family”? Wow.

    I can only imagine the knee-jerk gun control reaction you’ll be posting about the horrible CT shooting.

    1. ted

      Yeah, God forbid someone has the “knee jerk reaction” that messed-up 20-year-olds should possibly not be able to easily get their hands on assault rifles with 100-round magazines. 22 dead children at last count.

    2. Christopher

      Wow. Any control control comment is CERTAINLY not knee-jerk. I suppose Gary you’re coming with: “If only the teachers were armed…” Weak sauce.

    3. Meals on Wheels

      The pit bull type of dog that rammed through my wrought iron gate to savagely attack my dog was a “sweet family pet”. My dog died. That “sweet dog” lives, and I was told by animal control that he gets two more chances to kill other family pets before there will be a hearing to determine whether or not he is “dangerous”…what do you think, a dog that can escape from its enclosure and ram through perfectly good wrought iron? Oh, and animal control told me that they have more of a problem with Chihuahuas.

      By the way, the majority of dogs that attack, maim and kill are family pets, regardless of the breed. Pit bull types of dogs (several breeds, they all look like dump trucks) dismember an American every 5 days, and kill an American every 14 days. They are poorly misunderstood…by their advocates and their owners. They are also 6 times more likely to kill their owner than any other breed, whether or not they are a thug with lots of scary tattoos and fragile masculinity issues or a college educated vegan animal rights rescue angel.

      Oh, and pepper spray won’t work. You need Grizzly repellant.

      If you are as outraged as I am about the loss of your freedom to just walk down the street, or ride your bike, your horse, walk your dog, be in your back garden, consider signing this and passing it around to your friends.

      https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/acknowledge-certain-breeds-dogs-can-be-lethal-and-require-owners-be-licensed-trained-and-regulated/Ktr1CLy5?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

      And to find some humor in the lunacy of being chased by pit bulls, and encountering their even more frightening owners , join me at…

      http://thefirstchurchofpitbullscd.blogspot.com/
      http://pitbullpoetlaureate.blogspot.com/

      Enjoyed your post very much, and the comments as well.
      Be safe!

  20. Mark

    As a pit-bull owner, I disagree 100%. Dogs are products of the environment they live in and whatever their asshole owners want them to be. Everybody that has ever met mine thinks its the most lovable dog they’ve ever seen. I’m actively involved in pit-bull rescue organizations, including those that now have some of the Michael Vick dogs. Once those dogs got out of that environment and into loving homes, they were loving happy dogs. Pit bulls are used for fighing for 2 reasons: They are very strong dogs with high pain tolerance, and they are very loyal to their owners. Unfortunately, most pit-bulls you see running around KC Mo are, or were, owned by thug assholes and were fought at one point or still are. They’re left chained outside, in the cold, beat, starved, and pissed off because thug assholes need pissed off dogs as guard dogs. Thug assholes create dangerous dogs. Reasponsible dogs owners create happy loving dogs. That applies to any dog breed. Period. More people get attacked by chihuahuas every year but that isn’t news worthy. The only reports you see make the news are pit-bull attacks. I’m at off-leash dogs parks every day. Every dog breed running around happy, playing with each other. There are several bully-breed rescue organizations in the KC area. You should go to one and spend time with the dogs and get educated first-hand on the dogs before passing on something you read about or one persons bad experience. Pit bulls account for less then 10% of all dog bits in the U.S. If you need contact information at any of the rescue organizations in the KC area, I would be more than happy to get that to you. Otherwise stick to bike racing. That’s what you know.

    1. Tommasini53

      Very odd logic in your response. …”More people get attacked by chihuahuas every year but that isn’t news worthy.” It is not the “bite” that matters…it is the amount of damage done when the animal bites. Chihuahuas do not do much damage when they bite so it is not in the news.

    2. ted

      “Otherwise stick to bike racing. That’s what you know.”
      That’s just a jerk comment.
      Dog bites and dog fatalities are different statistics. If a chihuahua bites my child, my child will survive. That’s why the wanna-be badasses don’t walk around with chihuahuas. And no matter how badly someone treats a beagle, a beagle will not become a menace to society. And someone mentioned labradors earlier – the only real danger labs pose is to tennis balls.
      Read back to Jack-John’s comment. He’s a veterinarian. “That’s what he knows.” He says:
      “When I mention to the owner that I’m going to need to use a muzzle to safely exam their dog they are usually shocked because the dog is always nice to them. ”
      That may be you. Your intentions sound like they’re definitely in the right place, but you’re off base deciding to tell anyone to “stick to bike racing” because they suggest these dogs be neutered or their breeding controlled. But please don’t tell someone to “stick to bike racing” when a child in their community is dead at the jaws of a pit bull. It’s a responsible community reaction to seek solutions.

      1. mark

        Ted, I agree that was a jerk comment. In light of other comments regarding intentionally killing dogs with poison, I’m sure Steve will take mine with a grain of salt. Notice that it was the “Otherwise” to by initial suggestion. I volunteered to put Steve in touch with people and organizations in the area that can educate him on the breed and possibly change his overall opinion of them. He does that and still has the same opinion, then I will have 100% respect for the effort. NOBODY is discounting that the girls death is anything short of tragic and NOBODY is saying dogs come before people. That is rediculous. We’re not talking about manditory spay and neutering here. That should be mandatory. The discussion taking place here is about banning the entire breed. Killing dogs in shelters solely because of their breed. Pulling family dogs out of good homes and euthanizing them solely because of their breed. That’s how breed-specific legislation works and there are several cities in KC that still have it. Fortunately, it was overturned in Topeka last year. “Responsible community reaction to seek solutions. “? That is the politically correct way that most people will say “just ban the entire breed, euthanize all pit bulls currently in shelters, and make owning them illegal” but they don’t want to be the one to actually say it. Are you saying that now, or are you honestly willing to actively participate in the community’s discussion of that incident and take a public role in seeking out other solutions? Takes big balls to stand up at a city council meeting.

    3. mike

      I have a friend that got a Pit when it was a pup and the dog grew into a docile non violent dog that was good around the kids and even the cats,and I believe its the environment they are raised in.I’m a letter carrier and I’ve seen the pits and Rotts that are nothing more than status symbols, makes the owners feel like they’re tough badasses instead of the little mommas boys they are.I always carried 15 inches of 3/8ths rebar just in case:)

    4. Paul

      You are correct, there are many nice pit bulls. Most people with kids become nervous when they see a pit bull and that alone can set a dog off. What good reason is there to not spay or neuter them so there are fewer and fewer of them?

  21. Cody

    This is asinine, uninformed, misleading, and barbaric. Some black guys commit murders. Should we try to get rid of black guys? Dogs aren’t bred to be aggressive, they’re raised to be aggressive. You can spout out singular occurences or spin the stats however you want but it doesn’t make you right. If crack head ghetto Michael Vick wannabes used Golden Retrievers instead we’d be talking about them. Come to my town and you will only meet sweet pits. And if somebody tried to take mine away because they are informed or paranoid they would get put down, and not by my dog.

    1. Rad Renner

      Wow, Cody, great argument, comparing “black guys” to dogs. You totally have me convinced now: Pit Bulls aren’t dangerous at all and there’s no reason to be afraid of them. I know that because you told me and I completely believe people who make such convincing arguments as yours. Providing biased, anecdotal evidence really made your argument seem well considered and totally not stupid at all.

      1. Rad Renner

        Bernd:
        Bin ich Deutscher? Neh, leider nicht; trotzt wurde ich in Duetschland wohnen. Meiner Frau ist Deutscherin, vom Rheinland Pfalz, Neustadt a.d.W. Bestimmt, Amis lieben Hunde, Waffen, und Porn mehr als Menschen.

  22. Marc

    A very important point keeps getting lost. Yes all dogs can be taught to fight or be aggressive, but not all of them have the strength to be deadly.

    1. educated

      that’s true…in part. lots of dogs have the strength to be deadly – labs have killed kids, collies have killed kids, even a dachshund has killed. Calling out one breed does nothing to ensure safety. Educating kids and people of all ages about dogs, their signals (ie. how they communicate), as well as holding ALL dog owners accountable to have well-socialized dogs…THAT is what we should be discussing. But, again, isn’t this a cycling blog????

  23. tilford97 Post author

    Larry B – You’ve lost your mind. That isn’t how the world works in today’s society. You are nuts.

    What some of you might be missing, or seem to have ignored here, is that we, us humans, created all breeds of dogs. We “made” them. They were/are bred to possess certain traits that we value. Somewhere along the line, many more people started breeding pit bulls for their aggressive behaviors, for fighting and protection. I’m sure an American Bull Terrier of 120 years ago had many different characteristics than the “average” pit bull today.

    Behaviors can, and are bred into domestic animals. That is a fact. I find it hard to deny that many, the majority, of breeders of these dogs are breeding them for characteristics that isn’t conducive for pet ownership.

    Maybe you should look up the statistics of how many pit bulls are euthanized by society. I doubt it’s a very accurate number, but it would be staggering if it could be verified. It is a true tragedy. Breeding animals just to euthanize them. We should be all be ashamed as humans.

    1. Marty

      I’m ashamed of breeders in general.

      As someone who fosters shelter dogs and gets them back into society, I (along with many others) get to see the very worst of what people do to their dogs; how they treat them as disposable and how breeding has put way too many dogs on the streets and into society in general.

      To think that there are cyclists like Larry B who ride around with a prepared bag of poison to kill the dog that is on his cycle route is truly disgusting. Thought about riding a different route?

      I happen to know that the 2 highest numbers of euthenized dogs in shelters round here are 1, Owner Surrenders and 2, Pitbulls; overpopulation and an unwanted breed.
      Remember that German Shepherds and Rottweilers were on the “most dangerous” list a few years ago. We’ve managed to come “so far” in a short time…I wonder how long it’ll be before we finally accept PitBulls or – if as I suspect – we will take the simpler and less involved route and just kill them all.

      And we will. Because dogs are disposable in modern society. I have seen it all too often.

      1. ATimeToKill

        Ride a different route??? That is your solution? We all have a right to ride our bicycles on the road without being terrorized by someones aggressive dog. Say the rider does avoid the route, what happens when some kid comes along and gets mauled by the same aggressive dog. Sorry kid your permanently disfigured…..should have taken a different route. To me riding a different route is same thing as being a COWARD which is something you seem to be promoting. I say stand up for your rights and help protect others. I have no qualms about killing any aggressive animal that attempts to harm me or could harm anyone else.

  24. educated

    Steve, Steve, Steve…Keep your blog to what you know. And that is cycling. This post is so wrong and flawed in so many ways. I have studied dog bites for MANY years. You are more likely to be KILLED by falling off your bike than you are being INJURED by a dog. Hell, statistics prove you’re more likely to die from a balloon than you are to be killed by a dog. (http://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Bite-Balloons-Slippers-Dangerous/dp/1888047186). If you want to start discussing stereotypes on your blog, let’s start with white trash, red neck home owners in Topeka KS…assuming you’ve exhausted the stereotype of ‘all cyclists are dopers’?

  25. educated

    I wrote this above, but it begs to be called out again on it’s own. Labs have killed kids, collies have killed kids, even a dachshund has killed. Most all dog breeds have killed and severely injured. Calling out one breed does nothing to ensure safety. Educating kids and people of all ages about dogs, their signals (ie. how they communicate), as well as holding ALL dog owners accountable to have well-socialized dogs…THAT is what we should be discussing. That is, if we have to discuss on a cycling blog…

  26. Chris

    I cannot believe some of the ignorant and uneducated comments on here. When do we start placing a dogs life above human life. This is about a child’s life that was taken unnecessarily by an animal that in my opinion should be eradicated. The bottom line is all dogs have the potential to be dangerous no matter what environment they were brought up in. Also, when it comes to statistics, does it really matter to the family that lost their child. One child death from a dog attack is one too many in my opinion. I agree with Steve, something needs to be done before more lives are lost.

    1. Marty

      And behold – the stupidest comment of the day has arrived!

      “The bottom line is all dogs have the potential to be dangerous no matter what environment they were brought up in. Also, when it comes to statistics, does it really matter to the family that lost their child. One child death from a dog attack is one too many in my opinion. I agree with Steve, something needs to be done before more lives are lost.”

      Newsflash. Kids also have the potential to be dangerous no matter what environment they were brought up in.

      Now do you see how ridiculous your comment is?

      1. Chris

        Marty, first of all, we are talking about a 2 year old child…I’m not aware of too many toddlers that are a danger to society. Since the average life span of a dog is 12 years old you cannot really compare them to humans. We are talking apples and oranges when it comes to raising children and training a dog.

        Secondly, you validated my point when I stated that some of the comments indicated that a dogs life is more important than a human being. When I look back at the comments most of this thinking comes from you.

        Finally, as you stated “I have owned in the past a Pitbull/Rhodesian Ridgeback cross. A beautiful dog – all 70lbs of her. She had her moments – like any dog – but I spent countless hours training and working with her so she would be a responsible member of society.” A pathetic statement! Marty…if you spent more time doing your research instead of training your dogs you might actually have an argument instead of speaking in hearsay and absolutes.

  27. Leo Smith

    There’s a reason the term “Pit Bull Attack” has become a common American phrase.

    I don’t care how they were raised, when they snap, they snap. It’s been seen over and over again. I’ve seen the evidence more than I care to mention.

    I am a bona-fide dog lover, but if one of those comes in my yard (stray) and near my kid, it’s quickly going to become a rug.

  28. Melissa

    I like the lively conversation. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion. However in telling Steve what he should and shouldn’t comment on…it is HIS blog so he can say whatever he likes!

    My opinion is that all animals are unreliable, especially around the unpredictable movements of little kids. I am certainly no fan of pits and don’t want our 4 yr old near one. But we watch our little guy carefully around every dog, including our two dogs. Dogs have bad days or get frightened and thats when the unexpected occurs, even from well-behaved dogs.

  29. 44mag

    I was almost bitten by 3 dogs this week. A Doberman, a lab, and some tiny muppet dog.
    Any dog could bite at any time.

  30. Zach

    Steve clearly laid out this is a combo of things, a breed that is inclined and poor human behavior in increasing the concentration of that trait in the population. Thats not the animals fault in any way, but its an issue if true, and needs to be addressed.
    As a plastic surgeon, dog bites of all kinds have plagued my nights as im called to sew up faces and bodies of mostly children (who startled dogs while they ate usually, bad time for all breeds i guess). However, I have never had to take anyone to the operating room or even entertain the idea that someone was in dire condition except for patients bitten by pit bulls, its a totally different level.
    Dogs are great, but from my experience (obviously jaded), I wont have one while i have children in the house. Ive even seen toddler’s nose tip bitten off by a chihuahua sized dog. No animal is safe, but their are certainly more dangerous ones (say pet lion vs. parakeet). Its ridiculous to act like there is not some innate and bred differences and blame only owners or society.

  31. Lone Ranger

    I agree with Melissa..telling Steve to “stick to what he knows” is missing the point. Cycling is the common denominator that brings most of us to this site,but neither Steve nor his site is one- dimensional,and that is the beauty of it. Sometimes it’s a race report,or a good story,Or an observation of everyday life..or sometimes a thought- provoking,but controversial, post like this. He obviously cares enough about the subject to write about it and state his opinion. He doesn’t need to be an expert,and he doesn’t need to be slammed for that.

  32. carlos flanders

    The owners are definitely worse than the dog, but the dogs are bad.. My dog was mauled by a pit bull. After 6 months of evasion I got my day in court. 4th offence for the owners. He lost the dog. A month later he had another pit. Complete deadbeat.

    That said, the nature of the dog is what it is. They are affectionate and dangerous. I’m with Steve.

  33. chuck martel

    OK, the issue isn’t that pit bulls are more prone to bite than other breeds, it’s that they have the capability of doing much more serious damage, which is a fact. But there’s another aspect to the whole dog thing that bothers some people a lot and others never think about. That’s dogs in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Nobody can predict what a dog will do. People are driving around all over the place with dogs on their laps, looking out the window, running around on the front seat, barking at pedestrians, etc. Why is this acceptable? If you entered an airliner and you saw a German shepherd on the pilot’s lap would you feel comfortable about your flight? Interestingly, whenever there’s a serious car accident we’re automatically advised whether or not alcohol was involved but no mention is ever made or statistics kept of dogs in cars involved in accidents, even though it’s a statistical certainty that it’s a common occurrence. Operating a motor vehicle with a dog on the front seat should be a felony, if one subscribes to what passes for normal thinking in this day and age.

  34. Bernd Faust

    It seems to me that dogs are more important than humans to many……..how about putting that Pit who killed the 2 year old girl on “dogtrial” with 12 dogs as jury. Put the pit into prison for 2 month and release him because of good behavior after 2 weeks……

    I think we all know far more about dogs than cycling, including Steve!

  35. end of days kennels

    Currently what I have read is crazy to me in all theories!! In fact some of us need to do a bit more reading on this breed pass the part ” they attacked someone”. Read the history of this breed that started long before any of us was even born, thought about, or probably even had a family name! They are a very important dog that I was just like many of you and against them, feared them, and wanted them dead as well. But as fate would have it I know own and operate a successful Kennel where these wonderful animals are bred. I have seen more small dogs bite than a pit bull. But when a pit bull bites it gets publicized and when the small dog bites its never talked about or when a cat kills a baby which does happen you don’t here that. It used to be Rotties that got this kinda stuff and Dobermans now its the Pit bulls turn. Sucks but they aren’t that bad, a lot is from people that fight them, mistreat them, or breed mistake there are several breeds that look just like one. I have not in 5 years seen an aggressive Pit unless it was made that way in one way or another. Plus the police report says this was a pit mix, and the reason why it statistically is so high is because of the numbers of pit bulls and their look a likes. It is very sad when things like this happens and there is no excuse for having a dog that acts that way and there must have been a sign that this dog was aggressive. The people to blame for these things are not the breed itself but the owners, I can say with honesty that if any of mine showed any aggression it would be taken to the vet and put down. All I can tell all the haters for this breed is to read get educated on this subject. And again very sorry for the attack on the child very sad.

    1. Meals on Wheels

      Some of those of us who “hate” the breed had an education…called watching one attack a person or a beloved pet. I say unless you have seen a pit bull in action, doing what it has been purposely bred to do, you are not educated. What sucks more, if one is to be bitten by a dog at all, to be bitten by a pit bull is far worse. I was bitten by a Chihuahua a month ago, and it didn’t even break the skin.

      http://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Abstract/2011/04000/Mortality,_Mauling,_and_Maiming_by_Vicious_Dogs.23.aspx

      By the way, you may want to check on the facts of the “First it was the dobermans”…meme. With a little research you will find out that pit bulls were over represented then too. They were scorned by polite society a hundred years ago. The earliest mention of the “nanny dog” myth was started in 1971, and that was by a breeder. And a couple of thousand years ago, in the Talmud, it is written “Breed not a savage dog”….well, there is wisdom there.

      And WHY oh WHY are you breeding more of these dogs when they are already killed by the millions in shelters? Oh, I checked out the pics of your kennels…are those game bred? Colby lines perhaps? Nice big chains you got there. I used to hate those until one “somehow” escaped from its home and plowed through my wrought iron gate to attack my dog, he died. Now I see the wisdom of those chains big enough to hold the anchor of a sizable yacht. Thanks.

      Oh, and this should be sobering for all of you apologists.

      http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/20-children-murdered-not-connecticut-pit-bulls-year

  36. Bernd Faust

    Little dogs a foot high I kick and they fly..most likely impossible to do with a pit…..
    What about their braindamage from birth..something I heard, so not sure….
    why did I never had a good experience with pits?. have a neighbor now , his pits are like guns, attack mood when they see you 50 yards away stretching out on my side of the common ground we share. had another neighbor with a pit..well kid was gangster so explains the pit…. My son got bit in his fingers playing with a pitmix his uncle bought. My son played with other dogs before , bid dogs german shepards etc..nothing happened. i love dogs if they are trained well and behave well. My youngestr son likes all kind of dogs. I don’t like little noisemakers and i don’t like pits.. that’s me. My oldest son was scared by a dog (not bit ) when he was 2 years old, never recoverd, he does not like dogs , also does not like cats. i love cats! had 2 , 1 died. I love kids more than animals. Lots of you try do defend the pit, what about the dead girl. God bless her soul! I wouldn’t say that about a dog, not my own.
    Mit freundlichen Gruessen Bernd

  37. Formerly Jim

    This is spot on. I didn’t read the comments…

    Let’s see…my friend, his 5 year old daughter and their terrier mix were attacked by a pit a few weeks ago. Police came, shot the dog.

    My next door neighbor starved two Pits to death.

    My dog-crazy friend took in a sweet Pittie. She is a good dog.

    German Shepherds are in a similarly suspect category, though inscrutable because of their hair.

    I carry a metal rod when walking my mini dachshund. It’s wrapped in bar tape with a tennis ball on the end. The rod, not the dachshund.

  38. Kevin Lyons

    I raised and trained bird dogs for 35 years. The only two times I have been attacked by a dog were once by a German Shepard and recently by a pit cross while riding my bike. The only time I have had my dogs attacked were two times by pit bulls. Unprovoked both times. It is a breed that should not exist .

  39. John O'Donnell

    Steve,

    Your blog is normally pretty well-reasoned, which is why in this case I have to say that yes, you do deserve some flack–because your argument is based on emotion, not data.

    First, regarding the tragedy in Topeka, you really don’t know much about what actually happened, since details haven’t been released. All we know a news report claims “pit bull kills toddler” with no other information. This headline is all-too-common, and yet when you actually look at the factors that go into fatal dog bites, it becomes quite obvious that breed is one factor that has little to no relevance. Yet, it doesn’t stop you from perpetuating myths such as the “incredible jaw strength”, which of course isn’t actually true. Bite strength scales to size, and chances are your dog has a stronger bike than my 40 lb pit bull terrier.

    The analysis of dog bites and dog aggression is to lengthy for a single blog post, though this guy does a pretty good job: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/

    It you’re really interested in learning some information vs. spreading an ill-conceived opinion based on misinformation, I’d suggest reading this in its entirety:
    http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/publications/230603563_Pit%20Bull%20Placebo.pdf

    The complete lack of critical thinking skills demonstrated by those so quick to agree with your blog post should be enough to make you give pause, but if not give the above links a read.

    John

  40. Formerly Jim

    John is right — the bite marks on my friend his kid and missing patch of skin on their dog can easily be explained away by a study. Our cops did the right thing when it charged them: shot it dead.

  41. Shane

    Agree completely. Don’t need them and I wouldn’t want them around my kids, or anybody else’s . I just don’t buy all of the “loving breed , it’s how you raise them” talk.

  42. Richard

    I’m sorry but obviously your emotions and ignorance over dog behavior took the best of you. You’re easily carried away by what you read and what others told you without any first hand look of any of the events. No argument here, try to own one then care and train it with devotion and see the opposite of your current insights otherwise your just another hater that can’t be helped.

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