Published in the Michigan Herald…and… the Vancouver Province among others

xavier stricklandFour year old Xavier Strickland was walking down a residential street in Detroit, Michigan with his mom on December 2 when he was suddenly attacked by a neighbor’s four pit bulls. As his mother screamed and tried to shield her child from their powerful jaws, he was snatched from her arms and dragged under the rod iron gate of the property where they lived. The ferocious dogs disemboweled him and tore him apart. Neighbours frantically threw rocks and bricks at the vicious animals trying to get them to stop, but they kept biting off pieces of flesh from the little boy’s body until the police arrived and shot them multiple times. The precious young child was rushed to the hospital where he tragically succumbed to his catastrophic injures.

The very next day 22 year old Rebecca Hardy was savaged by her neighbor’s pit bull and pit bull/husky mix in Port Huron, Michigan. The pit bull latched on to her neck and her face ripping, most of it off in an attack so barbaric her mother described it as murderous, criminal and evil. The beautiful young woman was rushed to the hospital with shocking injuries that could not be fixed.

rebecca hardyRebecca’s 18 month old daughter, Molly will now have to grow up without her beloved mother, and Xavier’s mother will now have to live on without her cherished son. She will also have to endure memories too horrifying to fathom.

Xavier and Rebecca are number 25 and 26 on the list of Americans killed by pit bull type dogs so far in 2015. That makes 194 human fatalities since 2007, the year NFL player Michael Vick was convicted on dogfighting charges and the year pit bull propaganda kicked into high gear because of corrupt organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, Animal Farm Foundation, ASPCA and the Humane Society of the U.S., among others. Pit bull attacks increased 773 per cent from 2007 to 2014, with the number of pit bulls involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on people rising from 78 to 603.

After these two gruesome stories were published online, the pit bull fanatics did what they always do: they defended the killer dogs, blamed the owners and the victims, posted pictures of their own “adorable” pit bulls all over social media, and called public safety advocates haters and dog racists. They also repeated their usual rhetoric such as “It’s all how you raise them” and “Blame the deed not the breed.” This is pure fiction.

Pit bulls were bred over hundreds of years for blood sport — for bull and bear baiting, and then for dogfighting. This isn’t an opinion, it’s historical fact. Pit bulls were created to have a killing instinct and a killer bite, to clamp down and to shake, holding onto their victim while being inflicted with physical pain themselves. Their primary purpose is now a felony in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada, but their heritage isn’t something we can erase. About half the human victims of pit bulls were attacked by family pets raised in loving homes, having shown no prior signs of aggression.

Not enough about Rebecca’s case has been reported on yet, but the 41 year old owner of the pit bulls that killed Xavier was an opportunistic backyard breeder who wasn’t physically present for the slaughter. The sole survivor among his murderous dogs was the pregnant mother pit bull, and even though she was merely acting on her inherent inclination, she should have been humanely shot to death as well.

More than 3,000 unwanted pit bulls are euthanized daily in shelters across the U.S. and Canada due to rampant overbreeding, and that is the fault of the unscrupulous pit bull lobby promoting them as safe family pets when they are not. One in 107 fatally attack an animal and one in 6,000 attack a human. How dare anyone champion a type of dog that puts the public at such a high risk when there are hundreds of safer breeds that do not.

Canada and the U.S. are the only countries in the world that legally import pit bulls. The majority of our SPCAs and rescue groups recklessly adopt them out, never informing the adopters of the genetic heritage of pit bulls, their unpredictability or the shocking statistics that would alarm anyone who cares about the lives of themselves or others.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is desperately needed for the protection of all, including the pit bulls, who are victims as well. They are the most exploited, abused, neglected, abandoned, tortured, raped, overbred and euthanized dogs in North America. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been pushing for mandatory sterilization for pit bulls for many years to protect them from being born into these horrors in the first place.

The only ones who won’t benefit from BSL are dogfighters, breeders, anyone else profiting from their existence and pit bull owners who don’t want to comply with reasonable regulations to keep the public safe. People, pets, livestock, taxpayers, first responders, animal control and rescue workers would all be better off without the existence of pit bulls in our society. Shelters would no longer be overflowing, so safer breeds of dogs would have a better chance of being rescued, and euthanasia rates would plummet.

Less than three per cent of the population owns pit bulls, yet these are the dogs responsible for killing, mutilating and severely injuring more humans and animals than all other breeds combined. It’s time we stop being intimidated by this vocal minority and the multimillion-dollar funded pit bull lobby group and start demanding public safety.

The U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force ban pit bulls from all their bases as well as privatized housing. It’s a travesty the rest of us aren’t offered the same protection.

At least 476 people have been killed by pit bulls so far, and thousands more disgfigured. Hundreds of thousands of animals have also been fatally attacked. How many more pit bull assaults resulting in life flights, surgeries, psychological counselling and burials are we going to tolerate? The answer should be zero.

When dogfighting was outlawed, the breeding of pit bulls should have been outlawed, too. They were never meant to be household pets.


GoFundMe Account to help with Xavier’s funeral expenses.

GoFundMe Account to help with Rebecca Hardy’s funeral expenses.

For more information: NationalPitBullVictimAwareness.org, DogsBite.org, DaxtonsFriends.com, Animals24-7.org, BanPitBulls.org