Re: “Pit bulls too unpredictable”, (Citizen, Jan. 11)
I have a few things to say. The “pit bulls are dangerous” argument is inaccurate and tired.
We need to start looking at the facts. The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that breed is a poor sole predictor of dog bites and that controlled studies reveal no increased risk from pit bulls. The SPCA has published multiple articles quoting countless veterinarians, researchers, dog trainers and specialists who have debunked pit bulls having locking jaws, harder bites, instability and aggressiveness. These are publicly available articles and studies.
Pit bulls were NOT bred to kill. Bulldogs were originally bred to bait bulls for people’s entertainment. As much as the dog was trained to rip apart the bull, the bull was trained to lift the dog up in the air by their horns and throw them, killing them instantly. It was horrible and disgusting and a symptom of the human culture at that time.
Which brings me to my next point. We are all, dogs included, products of our environment. There have been countless studies (one from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention that is very easy to find) that name neglect, abuse, or lack of socialization as the reason why some dogs become violent. Just like with a child, if you beat them, neglect them or keep them hidden from others, they will most likely become unstable in some way. We MUST always take these things into account.
Pit bulls became very popular in the ’80s when crack cocaine hit the mainstream drug market and gangs used these dogs as protection or intimidation devices. They used them not because they were “bred to kill”, but because of their physique — they have the agility of a terrier and the strength of a bull dog. As with anything, when bad people use a good thing, it becomes tainted. That was the beginning of the pit bull stigma.
They are now one of the most popular dogs, and we know that when things get really popular, they also become scrutinized. A few years ago, Rottweilers were thought to be the most dangerous, and before them, Dobermans, and before them, German Shepherds.
What is happening now is a classic case of sensationalized media using people’s fear to tell a compelling story. As always, there needs to be a villain. Many different kinds of breeds attack people, but what kind of story would that make? One that’s too realistic and too boring. I encourage people to Google “pitbull saves” and see the pages of results that tell a different story.
See what can happen when we educate ourselves, think critically and look at all sides of a story? We get to the truth.