The popular online news site Huffington Post just published an irresponsible series of articles and images promoting pit bulls as safe family dogs for their second annual “Pit Bull Week.” During those seven days a 25-year-old woman was killed by her own beloved pit bull of 10 years, a 48-year-old woman was mauled to death by her neighbour’s pit bull on her way to the mailbox, an 18-month-old boy was rushed to hospital in critical condition because of his family pit bull, and at least 10 other people were savagely attacked in the U.S. by pit bulls. None of these horrifying tragedies were covered by Huffington Post.
To be fair, many media outlets didn’t publish these gruesome accounts — perhaps in part because of the ferocious backlash from a vocal minority every time a news item presents pit bulls as anything but a harmless dog full of waggles and licks.
The reason pit bulls get a bad rap is because they’ve earned it. Contrary to what the well-funded pit bull advocacy camp likes to declare, the press is not to blame. They don’t make these wretched stories up.
There are more than 300 dog breeds worldwide and the American Kennel Club recognizes 167 of them, but the ones we hear about most in the media are by far the pit bulls, referring to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and their mixes with predominant pit bull characteristics.
The articles come from opposite ends of the spectrum: propaganda, such as what’s seen on Huffington Post regularly, and factual, such as the severe and deadly mauling incidents that have become so disturbingly common you rarely see them circulating on social media.
To clarify, I am a huge animal lover and I don’t blame these dogs for the problem they’ve become. They are also victims and this was entirely human caused.
Pit bulls were developed to be the gladiator canine of the dog-fighting pit with no peer or rival. They were bred to bite down, clamp and shake, and to hold onto their victim while being inflicted with physical pain themselves. They were never bred to be nanny dogs — that is an absolute myth that was debunked even by the pit bull advocacy group “BADRAP,” which admitted promoting this belief was dangerous to children. That retraction has been highly publicized, yet it is still repeated by pit bull advocates constantly.
Another alarming myth is that it’s all in how you raise them. The most commonly adopted pit bull is a rescue about which there is no knowledge of its past, yet advocates continue to recite the mantra that it’s all in how they’re raised. If nobody knows, how can it be safe?
Even pit bulls that were reared from puppyhood by good, responsible people who trained them to be gentle have still suddenly attacked, unprovoked and without warning, after showing no prior signs of aggression. It is genetics. Border collies were bred to herd, retrievers to fetch, bloodhounds to be master smellers and pit bulls to be supreme killers.
This is why despicable lowlifes use these powerful animals for their horrendous dog-fighting rings. They don’t have to train them. Hundreds of years of inbred dog aggression gives them that instinct, and with their powerful jaws and muscular bodies they’re a force to be reckoned with.
I am not saying all pit bulls are going to attack; most won’t. And I am not saying they are the only dangerous dog breeds; they aren’t. But the fact is, they only make up 6 per cent of the dog population in the U.S., yet they are responsible for more fatal and disfiguring dog attacks on both humans and animals than all other breeds combined.
In the last seven years these pit bull attacks on people rose 773 per cent, with the number of child victims increasing from 30 to 264 and the number of adult victims increasing from 23 to 279. And those numbers don’t come close to the tens of thousands of fatal attacks on other dogs and cats every single year.
I have written on this subject before, so I know what’s coming: an onslaught of hostility over my ignorance, and demands that I do my research. Believe me, I have. I’ve been reading up on this daily for the last four years and the more I learn, the more I support breed-specific legislation (BSL). Anyone who truly loves pit bulls should support it as well.
Currently a million of them are euthanized every year in the U.S. If spaying and neutering is made mandatory and backyard breeding is outlawed, far less pit bulls would be born in the first place, leading to far less of them dying as a result. And despite the condemnation that BSL’s intent is to kill pit bulls and remove them from their homes to be euthanized, that is simply not true. These pets are grandfathered and can live out the rest of their natural lives as long as they don’t prove themselves to be a menace and their owners abide by the restrictions that protect the public.
The intention of BSL for pit bulls is to eliminate mauling injuries and deaths by the breeds that inflicted the majority of severe and deadly attacks. It will require responsible ownership and holding these people criminally accountable if they don’t abide by the law and their dog attacks. They should also be required to have liability insurance so victims don’t go uncompensated, which is too often the case.
More than 40 countries restrict pit bulls and even the U.S. military has deemed them too dangerous, banning them from bases and housing. Yet Canada and the U.S. continue to allow their importation. They are the only countries that do.
At least 468 people have been tragically killed by pit bull-type dogs in the U.S. over the decades, and 19 already this year. How brutal must the bloodbath get, and how high must the death toll rise before we stop this insanity? Enforced BSL works, so let’s stop it now before we’re as bad off as our national neighbour.