The Real Problem with Pit Bulls
Should they be illegal?
I love dogs.
My first one was a Jack Russell mix named Patton. My roommate at the time had parents that bred them and one of them got loose and bred with a mutt. They didn’t want Patton, but my roomie’s sister loved the dog, so she convinced him to take it in. Unfortunately, Patton was only house-trained with a doggie door, which we didn’t have. He also had severe separation anxiety. He literally chewed a massive hole in our couch. After a few weeks, my roommate decided he didn’t want him… but it was too late. The dog had charmed me and if he didn’t want him, I did.
The problem was that I was a first-time dog owner who really didn’t know how to take care of a high-energy breed like a Jack Russell. I did manage to house-train him, and I broke him of his separation anxiety, well mostly, but my roommate and I both had day jobs. That meant that for way too long in his early life, Patton spent 8+ hours a day in a cage. We played a little, but he didn’t get long walks, doggie daycare, or get to go to the dog park. I also didn’t put enough work into socializing him and it created problems. Some people, like my parents, he adored. Others, like brown-haired women for whatever reason, he was aggressive towards despite my best efforts. A few years later, after I had moved to the beach, a girl who was staying with me for the weekend got bitten right through her jeans. He drew blood. She handled it well, was extremely patient, kind to him, and… he still feared and hated her. She took to calling him, “Demon Doggy.” Over time, I took him to obedience class, became more skilled at training him, and his behavior improved considerably. Despite the fact that early in his life he got aggressive if ANYONE, me included, who got near his food, this happened when a feral kitten I was raising started eating his food later in life (Note: feeding him people food was yet another mistake. It’s why he looks a little pudgy here).
Patton was a fantastic, loyal dog and the areas where he fell short were a direct result of my inexperience with dogs. If I knew then what I know now, most of my sweet little pal’s flaws would have never existed.
My next dog after Patton was a Terrier/Welsh Corgi mix named Jackson that I got from the pound. All the mistakes I made with Patton, I corrected with Jackson, and he had a fantastic personality. In his mind, nothing could hurt him (Thunder? Vacuum cleaners? Firecrackers? Nothing phased him. He even walked towards moving cars, I am assuming because he believed the people inside would want to stop and pet him). Every person and dog he met was his good friend. People LOVED him. No wonder. He was super friendly and adorable.
I only saw that good-natured dog do anything that could fairly be considered aggressive TWICE in his ENTIRE LIFE. The first time, a woman who was cleaning my house brought her 4-year-old daughter with her. The little girl was scared of dogs, but I told her there was nothing to worry about. So, she stuck her hand directly towards Jackson’s face and he took a little warning nip at her. I chastised him. Then, I explained to her that if she acted scared of Jackson that he would think she didn’t like him, and it would hurt his feelings. As a four-year-old girl, she found the idea of hurting a dog’s feelings intolerable and so, I was able to quickly help them get acquainted. From that point on, they were best pals. She spent the next two hours leading him around the house on a leash, “cuddling” and napping with him in the guest bedroom.
The other time Jackson had an issue was when a different cleaning lady brought her new puppy over. The puppy was a biter and, I kid you not, he walked right up to Jackson and bit him ON THE PENIS. Jackson did not like that. From there on, when the puppy got near him, he growled. He even picked up a toy, dropped it in front of the puppy, and basically dared him to touch it. He was not a FAN and might have hurt him if I had left them unsupervised. So, the puppy had to go into her car until she was done.
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I’m on my third dog, Boudica, right now. She’s a Catahoula Leopard Dog that was a stray before I got her from a local shelter and once again, like Jackson, she loves every person and dog she meets.
She’s also a wild thing who hypes up every dog she comes in contact with at doggie daycare. There may be 20 dogs napping when she arrives, but 5 minutes later, there will be at least a half dozen of them chasing her before she picks one friend to playfully chase/wrestle/roughhouse with until that dog is exhausted, then she moves to the next one until that dog is exhausted and so on and so on.
Now, you may be thinking, “This article is about Pit Bulls, but none of your dogs are Pits. When do we get to the part about Pit Bulls?”
That would be now.
First, we’re going to briefly recount the latest heartbreaking story about Pit Bulls, which seems in one variety or another, to be repeated every few months in our country:
A Tennessee mother-of-two is now in stable condition with “stitches and bite marks over her entire body” after attempting to intervene when her two pit bulls mauled her toddlers to death Wednesday.
Kirstie Jane Bennard, 30, was severely injured by the dogs when she tried to pull them off of her 5-month-old boy, Hollace Dean, and 2-year-old girl, Lilly Jane, just outside of their home in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Both of the children were pronounced dead at the scene, according to a Twitter post made by Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Bennard’s condition is reportedly stable, but the mother has an “uncountable amount of stitches and bite marks over her entire body, including her face,” Jeff Gibson — the uncle of husband Colby Bennard — wrote on Facebook.
While details of how the attack unfolded and why the pets became aggressive remain unclear, the tragic incident reportedly lasted about 10 minutes, according to Gibson.
...The pets, Cheech and Mia, were a part of the family for more than eight years without a violent incident, Kelsey Canfield — best friend of Bennard — told Fox News Digital.
Debates about Pit Bulls always end up being extremely contentious because things inevitably break down into two camps.
The first camp is people who are understandably frightened of Pit Bulls because they regularly see stories like this. Incidentally, there are more Pit Bull attacks reported, and deaths caused by Pit Bulls than any other breed. There is absolutely no question that the most dangerous breed of dog in the United States is a Pit Bull.
The counterargument almost always made by Pit Bull Owners, is that “Pit Bull attacks are still very rare percentage-wise, and have you ever met my Pit Bull? She’s the sweetest, most lovable, most adorable dog I have ever met.”
Incidentally, both of these arguments have some merit.
On a personal note, almost every Pit Bull I have ever been around has been a really sweet dog. Of course, in part, that’s because if I don’t like their body language and they don’t come across as sweet and friendly, I’m not going around them or taking my dogs around them. That’s because they're still an animal, and yes, even really sweet, good-natured dogs can have a bad day under the right circumstances. For most dogs, that bad day is small potatoes. For a Pit Bull, it can mean stitches or bloody corpses.
What that means is that if you have a Pit Bull, you are taking a much bigger risk than almost any other dog owner – and quite frankly, the vast majority of dog owners are not up to the challenge. In my experience, most dog owners have about the same knowledge level I did early on with my first dog, if not less. They don’t know how to train their dogs. They don’t exercise their dogs enough. They don’t socialize their dogs enough. They really don’t understand how dogs behave and can’t read their body language. They don’t know how to lead their dog. They pass on their insecure emotional state to their dog. Once you start paying attention to it, it’s amazing how often dogs take on the personalities of their owners, whether that’s anxious, scared, or confident. This is why shelters all across America are full of Pit Bulls. People who don’t know to handle animals get them, the dog behaves badly because its owner did a poor job, and the dog spends the rest of his life in a cage until he dies of old age or gets the needle.
Having a Pit Bull? It really shouldn’t be something for a casual dog owner. You need someone who knows what they’re doing and is willing to put the time and resources into making sure that the dog is properly trained. Even then, you have a never-ending level of responsibility that other dog owners don’t have. You need to pay more attention, engage in more training, take fewer risks and be far less tolerant of bad behavior than other dog owners. My dog? Having a Catahoula Leopard Dog is almost like having a two-year-old. Having a Pit-Bull? That’s like having a four-year-old who deliberately tried to drown his sister in the pool last year and you had to explain to him why that was wrong. You THINK he understands that he shouldn’t do that again, but you’re not 100% sure. Could I handle a Pit Bull? Yes, but, it’s not a responsibility I’d want to take on.
Still, it’s a free country and yes, people should be able to own Pit Bulls if they choose. That being said, for your sake, for your children’s sake, and for the dog’s sake, make sure you are ready to take on a level of responsibility that is higher than it would be for any other dog. The world doesn’t need any more heartbroken parents, dead kids, or Pit Bulls living out the rest of their lives in a shelter.
I hope any one who is contemplating becoming a dog owner, especially for the breeds that are known for protective, assertive or aggressive behavior, read this and and heed your advice. I absolutely cannot imagine being the mother whose two babies were killed by the family pet, much less the owner whose pet hurt or killed someone.
Fear porn …typical click bait 😁