It is understood that most people have come in contact with a pit bull at some point in their lifetime and, in some cases, they were positive experiences. Many people argue that the pit bulls in which they have met were always very sweet dogs. This may be true, however, pit bulls have displayed their ability to viciously snap without warning. Warning signs were culled out of their genes to make them the most effective at fighting other dogs. Pit bull owners who had witnessed their beloved pet lash out in violent ways often say the dog had no history of violence and the attack seemed completely out of the blue.
A man by the name of Randall Lockwood who is an expert in dog behavior says the fighting dogs lie. “Fighting dogs lie all the time. I experienced it first hand when I was investigating three pit bulls that killed a little boy in Georgia. When I went up to do an initial evaluation of the dog’s behavior, the dog came up to the front of the fence, gave me a nice little tail wag and a “play bow” — a little solicitation, a little greeting. As I got closer, he lunged for my face” (Lynn 1). There are videos of pit bulls violently attacking while wagging their tail. Many pit bull attacks are to the owner.
Considering what has happened to countless owners, it would seem owning a pit bull is not worth the risk of people or other animals becoming seriously injured. There are many factors that play a role in making pit bulls more dangerous than any other breed of dog. They account for more dog related fatalities than all other breeds combined. They were bred by mixing different breeds together to make the most aggressive breed in order fulfill a purpose. The word “pit” is actually derived from the pits they would be put in for violent games such as dog fighting and ratting.
Ratting is when they put a dog into a pit to see how many rats it can kill in a set time. All of their traits are to complement their purpose, such as their “locking jaw,” unpredictability, muscular build, and short temperament. These violent games are their sole purpose, not hunting, not herding, but to kill for fun. One would not advise a friend to buy a pet tiger, chimp, or a bear. At least most rational adults would not. People without specialized training should not be caring for pit bulls.
Because of their temperament, strength, and physical capabilities, pit bulls need specialized care in which the average untrained adult, without the specialized knowledge, have not acquired. Quite frequently, pit bulls escape from their homes or pull completely off of their leash. Because of their immense strength, not everyone can walk them without them breaking away. If their caregiver cannot keep them contained, then they are unfit to take care of them. Many people do not know the extent of their strength before they buy one because pit bull advocacy is so highly publicized.
In the 1990’s, a woman by the name of Charla Nash was attacked by her friend’s chimpanzee named Travis. Travis was sweet, yet protective of his owner. Travis even slept with his owner. One afternoon, however, Nash and her friend were trying to get the chimp into his cage and Nash picked up one of his toys. When she did, the chimpanzee attacked her and started ripping her apart. The owner of the chimpanzee thought Nash was dead when she called the 911 operator, however, once she was airlifted to the hospital, they realised she was still alive.
She had to receive facial reconstructive surgery and hand transplants because they had been ripped off. After the attack, the federal government was able to enforce legislation on the buying of primates. This is after a single attack. With the immense number of pit bull maulings and death, breed specific legislation should be nation-wide without hesitation. Many pit bull advocates argue all dogs bite. And while it is true that small dogs tend to bite more, all other dogs give warnings like growling or a nip, and do not have the same bite power.
Pit bulls were bred to conceal warning signs for dog fighting. This makes them even more dangerous because the victim is usually caught off guard. This breed in particular does not let go very easily: it is referred to as a “locking jaw” because of how difficult it is to get them to let go of whatever they have. There are many recorded instances of pit bulls actually being shot and still not letting go. When attacking, pit bulls usually use what is called a “hold and shake” method in order to cause as much damage as possible. They usually do not stop until their victim is deceased.
It is already painful to be mauled by a pit bull, but what a pit bull attack victim has to go through afterwards is just as awful. Many pit bull advocates push the blame onto the victim after an attack. In today’s culture, there are movements to help support rape victims, because like pit bull attacks, the victim often ends up getting backlash for taking legal action or telling their story. After someone is raped, many people ask the victim what they were wearing, or if they were acting flirtatious as a way to push blame onto the victim.
This is quite similar to the response a pit bull attack victim receives. Advocates often pry at the victim with questions and statements such as: You must have done something to provoke the animal. There was a case of a woman who was epileptic who had a seizure in front of a pit bull, and the pit bull fatally mauled her. The pit bull advocacy groups tried to say that her seizing had provoked the dog and therefore, it was her fault. They use this tactic to make it appear that the breed merely has a bad rap, and try to make the breed more adoptable.
A number of people believe the pit bull propaganda and unknowingly buy a dog of the breed. And when someone gets hurt, they say that they thought it was just a “bad rap” because it so publicized. So, many people are ill informed by the advocates and shelters such as ASPCA. Often shelters will label pit bulls as labrador mixes or boxer mixes in an effort to get them adopted.. Often they do not disclose a known bite history of a pit bull to convince an unsuspecting family into adopting a dangerous dog.
There are a couple possible routes BSL laws could take to help people and animals. Not all of them result in taking people’s dogs away. One option would be a mandatory spay and neuter. Not only will this prevent more victims, but also keep pit bulls from being euthanized at shelters. When people do not spay or neuter their pit bulls, and they get pregnant, that can cause a slew of issues. When peoples have all of these puppies, they have to push them off on other people and when they can not find someone to take them, they have to take the puppies to a shelter.
Most shelters have to euthanise animals, and those that do not euthanise often have a fee. Therefore,these laws benefit pit bulls as well. Another possible BSL law would be to ban the breed. Banning the breed would give pit bull owners a certain amount of time to find a new home for their pit bull(s). This has shown to be very effective in decreasing maulings by dogs, and has almost eliminated reported pit bull bites. Simply banning them, however, has problems. Banning them would cause a great number of euthanizations of the breed, which seems cruel, because it is not their ault they are as aggressive as they are.
It is not a bear’s fault it is aggressive towards humans. The best option would be to use a combination of both types of BSL laws in order to decrease, and hopefully eliminate, pit bull maulings while having as little pit bull euthanizations as possible. First, there should be a nationwide mandatory sterilization of all pitbulls and pitbull mixes. This would stop pit bulls from being able to reproduce. Ten years later, a nation-wide ban could then be legislated on the breed.
Because the breed had been dying out within the past ten years, there would not be a massive amount of pit bulls being taken to shelters, and less pit bulls are being euthanized. Many people write off this issue as if it had nothing to do with them. Only now have people even considered this issue in Ste. Genevieve, when this should have been thought of the entire time. “A study published in 2010 showed there were 4 times as many dog bite-related visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas” (Holquist 1).
Recently, however, an attack occurred this past summer in Ste. Genevieve, which only now awakened precaution. The town has been having problems with all dog owners, but especially pit bull owners, in regards to keeping them contained. While it is common knowledge that keeping one’s dog contained whether it be on a leash or on the owner’s property is the law, many do not abide by this law because they believe that their dog would never harm anyone. While the town considered adopting a sort of BSL law, they decided to keep the laws as they are even though it has been prove to be ineffective.
People forget that when dealing with legislation regarding dogs or animals that it is a very sensitive subject and people have immense emotional attachments with their pets. THis makes it more difficult for these laws to be passed. While it is at no fault of the dogs themselves, because of their instinctive, and biological traits, they are a danger to people and other animals. Pit bulls themselves are no more at fault for mauling someone as a bear is at fault for eating someone; it is simply in their nature and therefore should be regulated in such a manner.
The general public has as much business owning a jaguar in their home as they do a pit bull. The general public is not equipped to care for an animal with the probability and capability that pit bulls possess, and therefore should be regulated to decrease the flood of pit bull puppies into the hands of unprepared American citizens, in which they are not given the proper care. The use of breed specific legislation would prevent people from being attacked and killed by the pit bull breed, while saving pit bulls from being euthanized in shelters.