Fri
Nov 23 2007
12:52 pm

The recent killing of a young Knox County woman by pit bulls brings up again an issue I have addressed in the past.

The Young-Williams Knoxville-Knox County City-County Animal Shelter continues to adopt out pit bulls, and the time has come for this to stop.

There are at least two reasons why pit bulls should not be adopted out. One is inherent to the animals. The other is purely human.

Statistically, pit bulls do not necessarily attack humans more than all other breeds of dogs. But when pit bulls attack, they attack particularly viciously. There is no way to determine that an animal will turn vicious. A young child was recently killed in Arizona by a loved family pet that had been adopted from a humane society there. Prior to adopting out the animal, the humane society had subjected it to behavioral testing to determine whether it was likely to become violent. The animal did not show violent tendencies, yet a child is now dead.

In addition, however, humans have selected pit bulls for cruel, illegal, and vile use. As we all know from the Michael Vick case, pit bulls are central to the horrific dog fighting culture. Pit bulls have also become the dogs of choice for drug dealers. Shelters who adopt out pit bulls are an easy source of animals for people who want to use the animals for such cruel purposes.

In continuing to adopt out pit bulls, the shelter is not necessarily doing a favor to either the adopters or to the animals.

A frequent argument in favor of pit bulls is: it's not the animal, it's the owner. This may be true. I'm not sure, however, how it helps -- either the abused animal or the attacked victim.

On one recent trip to the city-county shelter, more than half the dogs held at the shelter were pit bulls. When the shelter is forced to kill over 12,000 animals per year, other animals are dying so that cages can be occupied by pit bulls. Why kill other, more adoptable animals, in favor of animals which may not be adoptable at all, and, if they are adopted, could maim or kill their owners and others, or may well be subjected to unthinkable cruelty?

The time has come to stop adopting out pit bulls.

Carole Borges's picture

Mandatory spaying and neuter would help..

You're right there are way too many pit bull babies that can't find homes. They aren't the only biting breeds causing problems though. AS you mentioned cruel people create mean dogs and unfortunately mean people seem to find some sort of revolting satisfaction in owning a threatening dog. The horrific incidents we've all read in the paper are enough to make me turned off. I would never own a pit bull or a doberman, but I know many people who have raised very sweet pit bulls and dobies gentle as kittens. They liked the looks and personality of those breed and choose puppies from strains they know have a gentle tempermant.

Because of worry about the latest fatal dog attack, I did some reading and found this well-researched summation about the problem of the dog biting epidemic in America. It says, " Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, has conducted an unusually detailed study of dog bites from 1982 to the present. (Clifton, Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006...The Clifton study show the number of serious canine-inflicted injuries by breed. The author's observations about the breeds and generally how to deal with the dangerous dog problem are enlightening." (link...)

Mark N. Foster's picture

Watch Your Source's Stats

Carole,

The "well-researched summation about the problem of the dog biting epidemic" you cite is misleading about the scope of the problem. I don't know if it is intentionally misleading or not, and I am going to notify the author, Kenneth Phillips, who is a dog-bite attorney, of this post so that he can respond if he chooses.

The Phillips source is misleading because it implies that dogbiting is the second most "common causes of emergency-room injuries." Phillips's actual quote is "[d]og bites rank second among other common causes of emergency-room visits." However, the source Phillips relies upon indicates that the list is instead only of "Injuries Associated With Selected Activities and Products."

The actual underlying statistics, which are from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, show that there are other more common causes for ER visits than dogbites and baseball (which Phillips implies are the top two). See sports numbers here, at page 5:

(link...)

So, bottom line, it is important to make sure that your source has cited all of the data.

Obviously, dog bites are serious and deserve attention, and I commend Mark Siegel for taking the time to form a well-articulated opinion on what can be done locally to help this problem. However, like baseball, this is not one of the top two health problems in our nation.

Carole Borges's picture

Thanks for pointing that out...

The information on the Dog Law page which cited that source was not inclusive. I should have gone right to the source as you did, but I do feel the link was helpful and accurate in many ways. It included information gleaned from a number of sources and Mr. Phillips credentials are certainly praise worthy. He also did not seem to have any bias regarding the problem of dog biting. Many people exploring this subject seem more interested in taking sides than in present verifiable facts and case law. I found Dog Law to be the best source of information I could find. That's why I posted the link. You're right though, I should have checked the primary source of the citation. Thanks for pointing out the error on the page.

Emilia's picture

pit bulls

Hello ,My name is Emilia ,and I have owned Pitt Bulls raising them from babies ,I have bottle feed each and every one .I have always spayed or neutered my dogs due to the over population and that people only raise them to fight ,Which is really a sad and a horrible thing ,for anyone to do . I love my dogs they are like my babies ,and are a part of my family .I have raised my dogs with my children and grandbabies .I teach them to love them, be tender with them and not to mishandle and to always be careful around any dog.I know that they have a tendency to be very agressive and a very stubborn breed ,though all dogs can be . So I understand why people are scared of the breed but it really is about raising and be cautious ,and responsible I am really glad that. I have a chance to make a difference in these dogs life because they can be as loving and as wonderful as anydog, yet can also be very aggressive ,thank you for a chance to speak out on these inoccent animals that have a hoorible reputation ,Just because some people are ignorant and very abusive to these animals , I have neighbors who have seen my baby and know about them, its not the animal it is the person ,,,
Sincerly yours
The Proud Owner Of a Beautiful Dog named
Chino ,who gives me lots of love and
Understanding when no one else does,They
Feel your hurt ,They know your love and
feel your fear....Emilia

Erin Lonas's picture

My story

Emilia,

I can only speak from my own perspective. My daughter is a fan of the breed. She bred her pitt and kept one of the female puppies and raised it. She often would bring that pup over to play with my dogs. I always worried that her dogs could be dangerous and she was convinced that it is all in the way are raised and treated. She told me many times that she had total control over her dogs and that she had trained them well to release. She would take them to the dog park and they were well socialized very sweet dogs.

When that pup was about 2 years old, she and her mother got out of the fence and attacked the next door neighbors dog. My daughter could not get them to stop and was forced to shoot and kill both of her beloved dogs. The entire event broke my heart. It hurts just writing this. I can't even imagine what it took for my daughter to do that.
Take whatever lesson you will from my story. My daughter replaced those 2 dogs within 2 weeks with 2 more pitts. She is an advocate for the breed and promotes the breed.

It is absolutely beyond me.

CBT's picture

I have no doubt that there

I have no doubt that there are well-bred, good tempered pit bulldogs. The problem is you're not likely to find them in a shelter. Just an observation, but I also don't think the dog owners I've seen in the news are searching out these well-bred dogs.

I can adopt a lab, lab-mix, hound and dozens of other breeds which are not as likely to be aggressive or attack humans or other animals. One of my labs came from a local shelter about 10 years ago. The other (who turns 2 this Sunday) came from a fine labrador breeder in New York. Both are wonderful dogs.

Mark makes a valid point. Shelters need to be responsible as to the dogs they adopt and not just the homes they put them in.

Carole Borges's picture

I think the problem is really hard to solve

All my dogs have come from shelters except the one I have now. I think mixed breeds have unique qualities. I've always like mutts. The problem for the shelters is complicated. Should they not accept any pit bulls? Should they euthanize them all? If they did owners with too many pups might just turn them loose or pass them off to the wrong people.

I'd like to see mandatory free spaying and neutering for any pit bull. Eventually, there would be far fewer pit bulls. Landlords can also help by not renting to anyone who intends to keep a dog chained in the yard. I personally feel no dog should be chained up or kept outside all the time, and I'm disappointed that Animal Control doesn't find this practice to be animal cruelty. Just because people have been doing that to dogs for eons doesn't make it right. Dogs are pack animals. They need loving companionship in order to be gentle loving animals.

Everywhere I go I see these poor dogs lying listlessly in front of a doghouse. They're usually fat as they never get to run. If they are spirited and haven't resigned themselves to their fate, they bark wildly when anyone comes by. If they get loose they skeedaddle away like prionsers in a jail break. While I can sort of sympathize with people who want to use dogs as watch dogs, it seems unfair to use an animal like this. They ought to get burglar alarms instead.

Dogs in rural area are fine ranging around by themselves, even living most of their lives outdoors because they can burrow a nest for themselves, hunt for food, and get plenty of exercise. It's the urban dog chained to a pole or left outside night and day no matter how lousy the weather is that breaks my heart.

Dogs might be man's best friend, but sometimes I'm not sure what kind of friend man has really been to dogs.

WhitesCreek's picture

My dogs live outside

I personally feel no dog should be ... kept outside all the time, and I'm disappointed that Animal Control doesn't find this practice to be animal cruelty.

Come meet them and see if you think I'm being cruel. They aren't on any sort of chain, except in special circumstances, but I've had dogs on runs and think that's just fine when thoughtfully done.

Frankly, the main reason a dog wants to be inside is because that's where his pack of people seem to stay. This odd practice seems to be deleterious to the people so my solution is for dogs to live outside and people to go outside and play with the dogs as much as they can.

Carole Borges's picture

I'm not talking about dogs people care about..

I'm talking about the ones that are never allowed inside the house or who have no one to interact with. It sounds like you really care about your dogs.

Dogs were actually meant to live outside, but they were never meant to live in cruel isolation. Chained dogs tend to be a bit crazy and dogs who never get to run and play with others get hyper, so a lot of people blame the dogs. They never take them off the chain because the dog (being smart) will just run away.

There's nothing odd about letting a dog live with your human pack. If a person has a genuine bond with their dog and spends time interacting with it, that's a different story. I'm talking about the poor animals that are deprived of any warmth or interaction with humans. An active medium size dog needs about 2 miles of exercise twice a day. How can they ever get healthy at the end of a chain or in a small yard with no stimulation?

Our farm dogs pretty much lived outside, but they were included in everything we did. They definitely felt part of our pack. And they had other dogs to hang out with and plenty of space to run. I think this common practice in the county just hasn't translated well to urban areas, to tiny back yards and people who are seldom home because they work away from home.

And why not let your dogs be in the house anyway? It doesn't take much to train them and the rewards to me are what it is all about. That closeness between human and animal has taught me a lot, and it has made having a dog a constant pleasure.

Maybe I just can't see any other reason for having a dog. It's very personal with me. My diogs have always been part of my family. I wouldn't make them stay outside.

WhitesCreek's picture

My dogs have their own lives

And so do I. We get together and play alot, but they do things I can't keep up with and I do things they can't participate in.(they are not good tree or rock climbers. I think it scares them but they won't admit it.)

And just between you and me...they smell like dogs and my house doesn't.

Folks who don't have dogs or cats in the house can tell with the first breath upon entering another home whether the visited house does. There's no judgement implied, it's just that I've chosen a particuar scenario, and accept that others may choose differently.

AS for the Pit bull discussion, I like big dogs, but I don't appreciate specialty breeds outside of their intended purpose. A dog bred to attack bears for blood sport probably shouldn't be kept unmuzzled as a pet.

Pam Strickland's picture

To continue this off topic discussion

I just got through telling my cat that he stinks. He had walked through the house and somehow still had litter on his paws.

It is indeed a full-time job to make sure the smells are the ones that you want, and not the more base animal smells. It's really and truly worth it to me, but sometimes it gets a bit old having to clean the litter box daily and making sure that Mister Weird Eater hasn't spread his food all through the kitchen.

pgs

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Carole Borges's picture

Well you're right about the smells...

I do try to conteract that with freeuent brushing, occasional bathing and a lot of baking soda carpet freshner. The dog smell isn't particularly offense of to me. I guess I built up a tolerance working around horses and living on a farm.

I can tell how much you like your dogs, I guess I should have used the words "abandoned" and "neglected" instead of just outside dogs. I know they fare well outside. Our farm dog used to dig herself an igloo and always insisted having her pups in some brush-filled den.

Chained dogs sometimes don't even have decent dog houses though. I've even known one to die because people "forgot" to feed it regularly. First it had a terroible mange and then it got skinny, then it got quiet. When my neighbor said she had died, I almost cried. As a dog lover this always hits me in the gut.

I tend to believe what other people do is their business, but when you have to witness something like this it's pretty hard. After that incident I vowed to try to encourage people to be more humane to their animals. I don't think you're a bad dog owner, but there are lots of them out there.

Pit bulls seem to attract the worst kinds of owners. I wish they'd make spaying and nuetering mandatory so the breed would diminish. For some reason these bad owners want to keep their dogs intact and don't care if they have puppies. That's why the rescue places are full of them.

Kenneth Phillips's picture

More Stringent Procedures Required For All Dog Adoptions

I have two comments, the first about dog bite statistics and the second about the procedures that should be required for dog adoptions.

First, about the statistics. I don't understand why the post by Mr. Foster mentions my name in connection with Merritt Clifton's study. I was not involved in it in any way. I am the author of Dog Bite Law, (link...). I report various studies, of which Clifton's is one.

In a private email, Mr. Foster pointed out that I have erroneously stated that, where children are concerned, "[d]og bites rank second among other common causes of emergency-room visits." In fact, they rank fifth according to the most recent studies that I can find. Many thanks to Mr. Foster for that correction.

But let's get to the point. If anyone believes that dog bites are not such a serious problem because instead of ranking second they rank fifth, then you are entitled to your opinion but I believe you are wrong. The ranking doesn't matter. What matters is that there are too many dog bites. I am sure that Mr. Foster would agree with that, and I don't mean to imply otherwise.

Second, regarding the adopting-out of pit bulls.

His email also asked me to comment about the adopting out of pit bulls. This is a big problem for shelters and adoption organizations. I do not believe that there should be one rule for pits and another rule for other dogs. The shelters and adoption organizations need to follow the same rigorous procedures before adopting out ANY AND ALL dogs.

These procedures include adequate gathering of information about the history of the dog, adequate veterinary medical evaluation of the dog, adequate observations of the dog at the shelter, adequate record keeping about the history and the observations, adequate temperament testing, and adequate disclosures to the potential adopting person or family. I have lectured around the country about this, and the specifics are on "Avoiding Liability When You Train, Shelter or Adopt-Out a Dog," which is a DVD of my seminar.

The recent death in Arizona is possibly one example of inadequate procedures by such an organization or agency. Unfortunately, there have been many examples. In the past few years, agency workers have been under suspicion of manslaughter (a crime) for deaths of people who adopted dogs. I have cases involving people who were seriously injured by adopted dogs.

Not just pit bulls. Dogs of various breeds. Therefore I believe that changes are necessary but that they should not be applied only to one or two breeds.

Mark Siegel's picture

Breed Specific Measures

I do not believe that there should be one rule for pits and another rule for other dogs.

It has long been an article of faith in the animal advocacy movement to oppose breed specific measures. Breed specific measures are actions affecting only one breed, such as pit bulls or rottweillers. Even requiring spay-neuter of pit bulls, for instance, would be a breed specific measure.

Recently, primarily due to the situation surrounding pit bulls, this resistance to breed specific measures has begun to erode.

In the last week, I was forwarded through Merritt Clifton's Animal People a blog entry by the head of the Humane Society of the United States, which advocated a breed specific measure (spay-neuter) for pit bulls, although the call was hidden in the middle of a lengthy essay. Animal People hailed this as a monumental (although buried) change of policy by HSUS.

(If you're getting the impression that Merritt Clifton and Animal People are considered major authorities in these areas, you are correct.)

I agree that no dangerous animal should be adopted out by a shelter, particularly in Knox County when thousands of adoptable animals have to be put down annually purely due to overpopulation.

For the reasons stated in the post originating this thread, however, a variety of circumstances relating to pit bulls justify breed specific measures relating to pit bulls at this moment in history.

Young-Williams (the Knoxville-Knox County shelter) is the only major shelter in this area which continues to adopt out pit bulls, and it is time for this to end.

Carole Borges's picture

I do think it's reasonable to ask why?

Why is Young-Williams continuing this policy if others have already instituted it? I think someone should ask them why? I understand the debate over breed specifity, but if it's clear pit bull puppies are taking up more than their share at the shelter it kind of tells you something about how irresponsibilty some pit bull owners can be. This whole subject has gotten me wondering how they decide about which dogs to euthanize and when. Who makes the decisions and what are the priorities?

R. Neal's picture

I tend to agree. The problem

I tend to agree. The problem is, creeps who breed and adopt dogs to make them vicious will just move on to another breed. It used to be Dobermans. Then Rottweilers. Now it's Pit Bulls.

Mark Siegel's picture

Spay-neuter and other measures

Several people have said spay-neuter of pit bulls should be required.

Although I am focusing on the fact that the shelter should not adopt out pit bulls, I certainly think other community-wide action related to pit bulls is warranted.

Spay-neuter -- certainly.

Liability insurance requirements -- yes.

Ban of pit bulls by the city or county -- maybe, although this would be enormously controversial.

I also think that teeth needs to be put in the community's enforcement efforts against dangerous animals generally. When animals kill, and an animal control officer says she knew exactly which animals it was when she heard the news before the animals were identified, the animal control laws and system needs to be looked at.

Sam's picture

I also think that teeth

I also think that teeth needs to be put in the community's enforcement efforts against dangerous animals generally. When animals kill, and an animal control officer says she knew exactly which animals it was when she heard the news before the animals were identified, the animal control laws and system needs to be looked at.

I agree with the above from Mark! Also more should be done to make sure what laws we do have is enforced. It's my opinion if irresponsible owners of dangerous dog did not have it so easy we would not have so many irresponsible owners with their dangerous dogs in Knox County.

bill young's picture

Do not adopt out Pit Bulls

I do not disregard others opinion in this matter.

However,I would not adopt out a pit bull because I do not trust the breeds behavior.

Jennifer's picture

Then you have never owned a

Then you have never owned a pitbull. They are a wonderful breed and I have adopted 2 from animal shelters and they are the most loveable dogs. I also have 2 pitbulls are are adba registered and I have never had problems with them before either. So when you say you don't trust the breeds behavior it makes me wonder. Have you ever owned a pitbull to say you don't trust their behavior? Or are you just going by RUMORS that you hear about the breed?..

James2's picture

The reason for the many pits..

In your blog you mention..."On one recent trip to the city-county shelter, more than half the dogs held at the shelter were pit bulls. When the shelter is forced to kill over 12,000 animals per year, other animals are dying so that cages can be occupied by pit bulls. Why kill other, more adoptable animals, in favor of animals which may not be adoptable at all, and, if they are adopted, could maim or kill their owners and others, or may well be subjected to unthinkable cruelty?"

The shelter has pitbulls along with other dogs in the back of the shelter because they have to hold these dogs and other strays for a certain time. Unfortunately I think a large amount of pitbulls live in Knoxville/Knox County so I would think a high percentage of them are held back there because of this.
When I lost my dog a couple of months ago, which I thankfully found, I saw a lot of lab mixes too. I looked at their website today I saw their adoptable dogs and the majority of the dogs available as of today were not pitbulls. (link...)

Nikki's picture

Wow, all you pit bull

Wow, all you pit bull profilers are so ignorant, and it make me sick. I own pits and rescue them and they are the best dogs, when not raised by irresponsible monsterous people. Statistically they are 3rd from last to bite, they make loyal pets and are great with children. Sorry but you are wrong and will never understand your ignorance till you own one...Nikki

Billy Hill's picture

The truth about pit bulls

Nikki, let me first just say thank you because as i stroll down this lengthy page of how we should have our "pit bulls" neutered or spayed/ have stronger laws to fight against the savage attacks by these veracious animals/ and how they should be banned all together, i see that you are the only voice that has spoke for the dogs themselves other than bashing them or explaining to the rest of the bloggerverse how afraid of them you are. I also own an American Staffordshire Terrior( thats correct boys and girls i used the correct name for the breed in question). actually a little history lesson if you will, the term pit bull is very general term! anyone who owns an amstaff, gator, mastiff, or another large locking jaw breed of dog knows this. PITS as they have been so named were first used in spain and other european countries as family protectors and also as we all know blood dogs. The towns people once a year would take a full grown male Bull(big one horns hoves killer)tie him to the fountain in the middle of town and then let loose the PITS to attack and take down the animal. now i know what you are thinking why would someone that is trying to praise the very existance of this breed tell that story. well here is my point. DOGS ATTACK it is what they do and it is what they are designed to do when where and what they attack is usually up to the dogs owner. my dauchsaund( who were breed to go after badgers in their leirs in germany) is more vicious than my "PIT" and they live together with my wife and i in our home everyday and we have no fear that they are going to attack us or anyone who live near or around us. the truth about my dog is that the only thing he wants to kill is a cheeseburger and his monkeyfist rope that i bought for him. All dogs can be made to be Bad or to BITE. it is all in the way the animal is raised and cared for as it grows and matures. are there some dogs that are naurally more aggressive than others? sure there are just like some people are more than others. I think that "PITS" have become an easy target by the media and therefor we have this gigantic up roar that we have now. i saw that on this particular page that some of my fellow bloggers have said the shelters should stop adopting out "PITS" and with this i would have to agree.(shocking i know) but to an extent. as i was reading i saw that one person had said the pitbull puppies have taken up most of the space in the shelters today and are making it so that other ADOPTABLE breeds are getting put to sleep. my problem with this is puppies are just like babies some are cute some are not some are fat some are skinny some are big and some are small but they are all babies and i guarantee that there is some one out thee that loves them. i believe that adopting out fully grown "pits" is a danger to the dog and other people fully due to the loyal temperment of the dog. "PITS" are very loyal breeds and become attached to their owners very quickly and for life. it is hard on a "PIT" to go from having one owner for it entire life to have a new one. But a puppie is a puppie and has lots of love to give and recieve by an owner that is ready to take on the task of having one of these incredible animals in their lives. Now that my small thank you has blossomed in to a full on letter of praise i will be going. but i want to leave with everyone this little bit of info. if you teach a poodle to attack a stuffed animal you hold in your hand and he bites your hand did he really mean to attack you?

CBT's picture

Nikki, What are the two

Nikki,

What are the two other breeds more likely to bite? Please also cite the estimated numbers of these breeds kept as pets and adopted out of shelters.

Many posters are profiling the 'problem owners', not just the breed. For some reason it appears irresponsible owners seem to want pit bulls not pomeranians.

As I mentioned in a prior post, there are no doubt responsible breeders who raise pit bulls who make good pets. All pit bulls aren't bad. The problem seems to be that these well-bred pit bulls aren't the ones coming out of the shelters (the point of this thread) or puppy mills.

Of the dogs adopted out of shelters (only shelters, not breeders or rescue groups) which breeds have a history of aggression, attacking other animals and biting humans? Seems to me that many dogs which end up in shelters have not been well treated and could be more susceptible to bad behavior, particularly if these dogs are not well cared for once they get to a home. Dogs which are by nature more protective and prone to aggression (which I believe would include dobermans, shepherds, rotweillers, pit bulls, among others) would particularly suffer from poor breeding, a bad home life, abandonment, being kept in a shelter and then being placed in a new home. It's just my opinion (based on years of dog ownership), but dogs such as retreivers, hounds and some other breeds more easily adapt to these changes and challenges.

These are just things shelters (and prospective owners) ought to consider in adopting pets. Shelters must evaluate each dog on their own merit and err on the side of caution with breeds which have posed problems. Maybe those who want to adopt certain breeds have to demostrate the ability to provide this extra care.

Sam's picture

This appears to be a step in the right direction!

Carole Borges's picture

These do seem like good rulings...

but why only spay and nueter dangerous dogs? I think dogs deemed dangerous by a judge ought to be euthanized. I assume of course a dog would have to really be aggressive and attacked people or other animals to be brought before a judge. I feel bad for the people who own sweet gentle pits, and there are many of them. Spaying really can help. Weeding out the dangerous and aggressive dogs in all breeds makes sense. I can't even imagine the horror of being attacked by an aggressive dog. It must be terrifying.

Pam Strickland's picture

I'm with Carole -- why just

I'm with Carole -- why just spay and nueter a certain breed or certain dogs. If folks let their dogs -- or cats or whatever -- run around willynilly then they should be altered, as the lingo goes, if Animal Control picks them up or if law enforcement is involved in any way.

And, what about any anti-chain law. It's chaining dogs and never interacting with them that greatly contributes to the problems with bad dogs. If you're going to have a dog in town, you need to have a fence or keep the dog inside. Big dogs don't do well if always kept inside (at least most don't) they need more exercise than they can get indoors. A mop dog -- little, on-the-ground, bouncy dogs -- gets plenty of exercise just doing it's routine bouncy scamper thing.

And, Chad is right, many on this thread are talking about the bad owners and the dogs as one, which there is a certain truth to it since bad owners are the greatest contributors to the problem. It's like kids who are raised in a bad home -- they don't know any better, and the dogs don't know any better if they've always been treated poorly.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

StaceyDiamond's picture

pits

I heard Rockwood is going to try and ban pits. I wonder how such a ban is enforced and are current dogs grandfathered in or what.

Carole Borges's picture

I can't imagine not having a grandfathering clause

So many of these pets are dearly beloved by owners who have chosen the gentlest of the breed and worked hard to be sure any aggressive tendencies are curbed early. They probably never imagined a total ban would ever come into effect. It seems like it would be wrong to yank these pets from their owners' home, yet a few years ago this happened in Denver CO. I'm not sure what TN state laws say, but many states have laws against any discrimination based solely on breeds. That would also be a consideration if a city wanted a total ban in place.

Chrissy's picture

Pit Bulls

I have worked in the animal industry for 3 years as a vet assistant. I can say of all the dogs that we have coming into the clinic daily for surgeries or vaccines, the pit bulls are the ones who are always wagging thier tails and licking your face. I love all breeds of dogs but until you are around the breed and get to know them personally you shouldn't judge the breed. I now own a Pit Bull and I don't think I will ever get anoither breed. They are the most loyal companions a family can have. Thier personalities are like no other. Everyone I talk to always has the wrong perseption of the breed, some of which who have never been around the breed just heard stories on the news. As long as the Pit Bull owners are resposible for thier dogs and don't leave them chained and never socialize them with people they are very loyal compaions. There are breed statistics that show other breeds of dogs are higher on the bite statistic percentage. I have heard of so many dog attacks in the past few years where people are seriously injured when attacked, the dogs were not Pit Bulls....and it was never on the news. It upsets me that they always flow the news full of the Pit Bull attacks but when other dogs attack nothing is said. There are definatly people that should read literature and get to know the breed before judging. Please don't just go by what you hear and read. The breed is a good one and I hope people do reasearch and talk to people who know the breed and get the facts. Thanks for listening.

redmondkr's picture

I came across this report of

I came across this report of one aspect of the aftermath of the Michael Vick saga.

It would have been so easy for the court to consider all those pit bulls as expendable and just slaughter them, but many have been given another chance.

They were certainly owed that.


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Lydia's picture

Anyone who thinks you cannot

Anyone who thinks you cannot get a great Pit Bull at the shelter is sorely misinformed and should come meet mine. What a silly, and stupid comment. As for Pit Bulls disproportionately being at the top of any aggressiveness statistic, that is merely because they are the breed of choice for thugs. It is NOT because of their temperament. Pit Bulls temperment test on par with Golden Retrievers (check the results of the American Test Society ((link...)). These are the facts! (thus, this proves that is it nature vs. nuture). While you caan say, we should stop adopting them out because people will abuse them, how does that help??? DUH! Do you really think the Michael Vick's of the world are going to shelters? In the main, they breed and go to backyard breeders. The answer is to require spaying/neutering before leaving the shelter and mandatory spaying/neutering laws. Dogfighters are much less interested in these types of dogs. If you look at the statistics, most attacks have a formula: male, unneutered or chained up all day/ pattern of abuse. I urge you to read something truly insightful on the subject: (link...)

rocketsquirrel's picture

hey Lydia, I've personally

hey Lydia, I've personally seen aggressive pit bulls running loose in various neighborhoods. Here's hoping you'll adopt them. I'm sure they need a good home.

you're living in fantasyland if you think certain owners will abide by a spay/neuter policy. They are breeding them in the 'hood for purposes of fighting and protecting drug stashes.

Stick your head in the sand if you want and pretend it is not happening. It is there.

What policy would you suggest for that?

Anonymous's picture

They are aggressive?

They are aggressive? Really? Did they attack or maul something? I find that very hard to believe. Does your city have a leash law? If not, one should be instituted immediately, and the owners should be fined for allowing their animals to roam free. If it happens more than once, their animals should be seized. This was exactly my point, irresponsibility is the key, not the animals. And, once agin, if owners do not abide by the law, there must be severe consequences. Period. Fine the owner, let them do jail time, and seize the animal.

Anonymous's picture

so what your saying is we

so what your saying is we should be in the same category as drug dealers??!! They are scum and should be punished for what they bring to our society and how they treat their animals. The fact is law breakers will always break the law. We are talking about responsible pit bull owners. We can not be, and should not be, put in the same group as those scum.
I saw on the news that some white guy killed this old lady. Should all white people be killed and banned for that. Thats what they did with minorities back in the day right??? One did something wrong so lets hand them all! Get your head out of the sand at look at the facts. Good people raise good pets and kids, bad people raise bad pets and kids. Bad pets and people should be put away, good pets and people should be able to do what they want as long as they do not bring harm to anything or anyone. I feel sorry for your small mindedness. God help us as a country. I can't believe there are still people who think like you. I can only hope that you don't have kids that you are spreading this narrow mindedness to.
If you've seen "several" aggressive dogs running loose... well what did you do about it? I live in a subdivision with 57 houses out of the city limits. Most have land and most dogs run free. As men, we do not allow any threats in our neighborhood. We handle ours.

Paul Keller's picture

Me too personally

Nobody is saying there is no such thing as an aggressive pit bull. Nor is anyone saying there is no such thing as an aggressive dog. It is also true that a few people raise pit bulls to be aggressive.

When I was growing up, the scary dogs were supposed to be German Shepards and Doberman Pinschers. I do not see a lot of Doberman's these days, but web sources say they are good intelligent companion animals. Everyone knows German Shepard are smart and make great police dogs, companion animals, and lead dogs for the blind.

The fact is most dogs can be made mean and any dog of decent size can hurt someone. I'm not prepared to outlaw dogs over 30lbs, are you?

We just need laws that allow the police to take action when a dog acts vicious. We have those laws. Maybe what we need mis ore severe penalties for anyone who trains a dog to be vicious. It is illegal to place a gun trap in your home and the same should go for training a dog to act like one.

Singling out pit bulls is just going with the fashion. My brother has had two pit bulls, which are about the sweetest, gentlest dogs I ever met. My personal experience is that these dogs will not bite even if bitten by other dogs or confronted by a raging lunatic on the street.

Cheryl Lynne's picture

I've seen loose dogs, most

I've seen loose dogs, most unneutered & some territorially aggressive, in my own neighborhood. I've also seen cases of people breeding fighting dogs in some of the nicer, family-oriented neighborhoods in our city while authorities are repeatedly called & repeatedly do nothing. I've worked with dogs in rescue, in a free-range daycare environment, & as a trainer & pet sitter. I've spent time researching & studying canine behavior & rehabilitative methods for aggressive dogs. Most of the responsible literature on bully breeds documents that they were originally bred for fighting other animals. However, such dogs were also eliminated if they became aggressive toward their human handlers. The result of all this "selective" breeding is that most pits behave admirably toward humans but a few remain aggressive toward dogs & other prey. While I've encountered a fair number of pits who have had the calming signals bred out of them in the process of more recent breeding efforts to create fighting dogs (backyard breeders proliferate this problem), the vast majority of these dogs can be taught to function well around other dogs & even cats using cooperative training methods (dominant methods don't always work & can even backfire). I've accomplished exactly this with one of my own dogs, who was dog aggressive when we got her but now attends canine daycare on a regular basis & is the star student in her very large play group! While I have encountered a slim handful of pits who seemed to be hardwired wrong & all attempts to socialize them to other dogs failed, only one of them showed aggression toward humans. Pits & any other dogs that bite humans have most likely been taught to do so. (Dogs used for fighting are repeatedly subjected to violent abuse & either eventually begin fighting back from fear or become totally submissive & are killed.) Aggression breeds aggression. Even a kid who hits a dog for stealing his toy can eventually cause the dog to bite, yet the parent will likely get rid of the dog for biting rather than discipline the kid. Topics such as dog aggression, resource guarding, and fear biting should be studied & determinations made based on the individual dog, regardless of breed. A five-pound Yorkie can show exactly the same behavioral issues or worse, enough to include actually biting handlers, but no one, including the owner, thinks much of it. People need to step back, take a look at possibly providing a much more comprehensive education for dog owners with regard to behavior, training, nutrition, health care, etc. & hold humans to a much higher standard of responsibility, rather than simply blaming the dogs.

Kickie's picture

We need to educate the

We need to educate the ignorant about what they should and need to do with their pets, I have found (working at a low cost non profit spay and neuter clinc ) that the majority of owners dont get their animals spayed and neutered due to lack of education. There are backyard breeders, put me in a room with them and in 15 min I can have them on the fence if not dedicated to spay and neuter.

There are aggressive pitbulls in the world and that is an unfortunate event cause this breed is awesome.
Educate the owners and a mass amount of the problem will go away.
As for the homies in the hood your right, some things will never change but ignoring the problem and saying that it will never get better wont make it that way.

These are the owners that we need to approach with tact, a turn around can be done.
There is a gentlemen that grew up with parents and he too became/ was a pitbull breeder and fighter.
During a hard time in his life he fell in with the law and was ordered to do community service at town lake.
As he tells the story, he was working there and saw the most beautiful pitbull that was being put to sleep, he attempted to stop the techs saying that he would adopt her but they paid him no mind and she was put down right in front of him. Something snapped in this mans brain because he could not comprehend what he had just seen, I am happy to say that he and his family no longer breed or fight because of that situation.
He has also taken to the streets, approaching the homies in the hood and convincing them to spay and neuter but also to stop fighting.

We need to get the message and the education out... so maybe rocket squirrel can see that

rocketsquirrel's picture

the homies are driving down

the homies are driving down to breeders in such places as Tellico Village to purchase their dogs... chew on that.

Louis Baker's picture

The banning of a breed

The answer is not to ban an entire breed like some sort of Animal Nazi, Raising the question are we now asking to push a species to extinction only because an "owner" does not take the proper actions in the caring and raising of their pet. The simple answer is to hold owners purely responsible for any actions of there pets.

Anonymous's picture

Just scary that back in the

Just scary that back in the day people were killing black and Hispanics just because. When asked how many do you personally know the answer would be none. This is no different. Get to know them. They are great animals. We, as a Nation, should stop with this type of narrow mindedness. The fact is, we are humans, they are domestic animals. We are responsible, not them.

Kat's picture

I adopted a pit bull from a

I adopted a pit bull from a shelter and in the 8.5 short years I was privileged to have her in my life, she never hurt anyone or anything. I now have another that is sweeter than the last. I believe most the people judging this breed have not been around one brought up in a loving home with a responsible owner and blindly believe what the media feeds them. You don't see footage on the news on all the wonderful pits and good things they have contributed to society because it doesn't sell so to speak. Banning is not the answer.

JoDee's picture

We get out of them what we put into them!

I have three children, and have been a volunteer for the Roundrock School system for about 14 years now. i am the mother of 4 pit bulls or pit mixes. I have found them to be just like children. if you work hard raising them to be secure confident and well mannered you will never have to be anything but proudof their behavior. They are loving loyal and hard working. They share my laughter and tears, and my life would not be complete with out them in it. Children or dogs? You decide......Don't ban the breed, Ban the Deed! Make everyone responsible for what they have created.

Anonymous's picture

I'm glad your brought up

I'm glad your brought up that point "I have found them to be just like children. if you work hard raising them to be secure confident and well mannered you will never have to be anything but proud of their behavior." There are too many dog owner and parents alike who are not being responsible. Some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids, some people shouldn't be allowed to have pets.

Bbeanster's picture

I have three children, and

I have three children, and have been a volunteer for the Roundrock School system for about 14 years now.

Where the hell is the Roundrock School system?

Pam Strickland's picture

Austin, Texas Let's just

Austin, Texas

Let's just ignore them.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

meandmydog's picture

Pit Bulls

I know many will not like the way I word this but here it goes...

This is so typical of todays Americans. Trying to blame someone or something else when the fault lyes with them. The fact is its the owners responsibility to raise these types of dogs, or any dogs for that matter, properly. I have had a pit for 8 years now that I took in off the street. She had cuts on her face and neck, I can only assume how she got them, and have busted my rear to fix whatever past she may have had. She sleeps in bed with me, goes almost everywhere with me, is spoiled rotten, and was raised/trained to be around kids. If she showed the slightest hint of bad behavior I was there to instantly correct it. She was never given a chance to be bad even if she wanted to(which she never was). She is now a near perfect princess. Her only problem is whacking you with her tail cause she so happy to meet new people and pets. A cat is now even her friend! All my neighbors know her and the kids and other pets are her friends. Dogs are not meant to be left in crates or on chains. They need constant attention and proper supervision. I treat her like my child. Would you leave your kid outside or locked in a box for 8 hours? We treat them like a prisoner and wonder why they come out like monsters. Animals are not like jewelry. You don't take them out when its convenient to you. They are not an accessory to your life. They are living being and like most humans when not raised properly will end up a burden to society.
Another point, as a meter reader for the city, and a UPS driver, I encountered many dogs of all breeds. I've been bitten 6 times. All by "foo foo" types of dogs. I do agree when a pit bites its different but the fact still remains I was never bitten by one.
As a young man, brought up the old American way, I was raised to also learn how to protect myself from all shapes of evil or wrongdoers. There are simple ways to keep a bitting dog off you. Dogs will not attack an aggressive human. I have proven that over and over in the real world. Simple aggressive hand waving and yelling will many time ward off an attack. For male dogs, well grab them and squeeze them where all males hurt. Keep a level head and know that we humans are at the top of the food chain. To me its like a getting beat up by a kid. I don't know about you but staying in shape my whole life is something I'm proud of. For those that bring up the eldery, well I can introduce you to plenty of older men and women that no human, much less a dog, would want to mess with. Again going back to being responsible for your life and your health. Keep your body and mind strong and confident. For those that bring up the sick look at Lance Armstrong. Nut, lung, and brain cancer all at the same time and as strong as ever. Survival of the fittest.
We must not forget Cesar Milan. His pits are a living testament to how great pits can be. On most of his shows it's the lack of leadership by the "pack leader". I don't know about you, but my beautiful pit know I'm the boss and acts accordingly. She has never needed to be hit or beaten.
I am truly sorry for those that have lost love ones. I just don't understand how any type of dog can hurt a child. Where were the parents?? Where is the blame on them?
My dog was recently attacked, all documented, by and aggressive golden retriever. One good poke in the dogs eye and she let go and ran away crying. I take care of mine. Another thing that helps, a bit more ballsey, is when a dog has a lock on something their mouth is open. Stick your hand in their mouth and grab their tongue. They will let go and be scared of you from then on. I am in no way promoting these techniques. These are a last resort but all proven to work in the real world.

R. Neal's picture

Where are all you people

Where are all you people coming from to this three month old thread? And why can't you learn to make paragraphs?

And why don't you read the original post? The author says many of the same things -- it's not the breed, it's the owner, etc.

And the author did not advocate banning pit bulls. All he said was if they end up in the shelter it should be the end of the line, because too many irresponsible people are adopting dogs they shouldn't have.

A controversial position perhaps, worthy of discussion for sure. This other new stuff is just noise we've all heard a thousand time a thousand times.

Dave's picture

My life would never be the same

I share a life with 2 of the most amazing AMSTAF's that you could possibly ever come across in your life, I urge those that have been writing in this blog to re evaluate your stance on banning adoption of the breed. I could not imagine ever adopting another dog from the shelter other than an AMSTAF, the love, loyalty and happiness that they have brought to our entire family is simply incredible.

Justin's picture

Let me guess...someone

Let me guess...someone googled Pit Bull + adoption and then decided to Freep it with some Pit Bull adoption/rescue group fetishists.

Lydia's picture

Do you have a point Justin?

Do you have a point Justin?

R. Neal's picture

Heh. Maybe they've got a lot

Heh. Maybe they've got a lot of time on their hands since Ron Paul Ron Paul Ron Paul dropped out.

Jennifer's picture

I'm sorry but I have to say

I'm sorry but I have to say your wrong. I just do not understand why pitbulls have such a bad reputaion. Any dog can and will attack. I hate when people like you have to put down a dog that you have probably never even owned before. I have had 3 pitbulls and have been around many. They are one of the best breeds out there. What does it take for you people to quit the hating on these breed? I can send hundreds of copies of footage and newspaper clippings of other breeds that have attacked that are not pitbulls. To be honest with you the most aggresive dog is a chihuahua. Are you going to stop having them adopted? Let me guess....no, why? Because of there height and weight. What about the boxers, or let me see rottwrellers....I don't think so. Have a heart and stop hating on a breed just because you've heard RUMORS about how pit bulls react..

Justin's picture

the thread that wont die...

the thread that wont die...

Bbeanster's picture

Put some lipstick on

Put some lipstick on them!!

(and you won't be able to tell them from Sarah Sixpack)

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