Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pit bull behavior: 3 distinctions

This post from a couple years ago has been updated and bumped to the top, as it has become increasingly relevant in the current climate. We see a surreal contrast between, on one hand, the daily toll of disfigured, maimed and mutilated pit bull victims, and on the other hand, the swarms of sociopathic pit bull promoters angrily attacking any news site reporting any news of pit bull attacks, bullying and threatening any who say a word about the pit bull problem.

As pit bull fans like to say, pit bulls are not like other dogs, and we must agree, but not for the reasons they would like. As a natural result of a long, bloody heritage, pit bulls have a set of behaviors and motor patterns which differ from other canines.

Pit bull attacks A/C officer

Those differences emerge often in the following notable pit bull behaviors:
  • Performing a remarkable escape in order to attack a victim.
  • Entering a stranger's house to torture and kill the animals living inside.
  • Unexpectedly mauling an owner or other family member.

How can we explain this? Do we chalk it up, as the pit bull promoters would have us do, to a problem exclusively of "bad owners"? How then do we explain so many kindly, loving pit bull owners like Darla Napora who have been suddenly betrayed and mauled by their well-treated and well-behaved pit bulls? No, we have to look at the genetic characteristics of the breed - this should be patently obvious. Only someone with a very specific agenda could deny the reality of breed-specific characteristics. Why do pit bull fans refuse to accept or understand the role of genetics in pit bull behavior?

Certainly, we can all agree that pit bulls are canines, along with wolves, coyotes, jackals and domestic dogs, which cover an incredible range of size, shape, temperament and behavior profile. If humans varied in size as much as different breeds of domestic dogs, then adult humans would range in height from about 2 feet tall to 33 feet tall - a remarkable variation!

One marvels at the flexibility of canine DNA, expressed in the sheer variety of characteristics for which domestic dogs have been bred - quite apart from size and shape, a remarkable variety of behavior and temperament is on display. From common ancestors have emerged dogs bred to point at birds, or to retrieve downed birds with soft mouth.

Shepherd types were bred to herd livestock, while the livestock guardians were bred for the complementary role of guarding and protecting livestock. Livestock guardians are remarkable to see in action. For hundreds of years they have had the job of acting independently to protect herds of livestock, using gradually escalated measures - only as much force as is required - to deal with any threat to the flock. Over the past several centuries they have capably performed a difficult role.

 The bull dog, on the other hand, was created and bred to torture livestock - as far back as 1500, sadistic britons watched bull dogs torture doomed bulls, and bear cubs were raised in Bear Gardens specifically to be tortured by bull dogs. After these barbaric practices were outlawed in 1835, the dog men, needing a new target for their sadism, decided that watching dogs kill other dogs in the fighting pit would be a worthwhile new pastime, and the pit fighting bull dog or "pit bull" was born. The early pit fighters found that mixing terrier with the bull dog made for a more energetic bull dog, creating a more relentless attacker, the pit bull/terrier mix, known as the "Staffordshire Terrier".

Dog fighters who brought their Staffordshire "pit bull" terriers to the new world renamed them "American Staffordshire Terriers" and to this day, a registered AmStaff can also be dual registered as an "American pit bull terrier".

There are a lot of names and nicknames for these purpose bred canines, and their derivatives (e.g. the American Bulldog). Perhaps in an attempt to disassociate these breeds from their bloody past, several new names have been given - some of them, like the "New Yorkie" or the "St Francis Terrier", did not stick, but other deceptively cute and harmless names like "Staffie" or "AmStaff" are in current use. (The deceptive labeling of pit bulls as other breeds by shelters is a subject for another blog post.)

Regardless of what new names are given them, these canine IEDs continue to make headlines  with bloody, violent surprise attacks on innocent animals (though only a small fraction of such attacks are ever reported) and to a lesser degree, on unsuspecting people - people who thought they knew these animals well.

Pit bulls are indeed special - but not in any sense that should be celebrated.

References -
Partial list of pit bull home invasion attacks

Should pit bulls be called "life flight dogs"?

Pit bulls allowed to abuse animals

Darwin attacks

Monday, May 11, 2015

An open letter to Tia Torres

Mothers of children attacked by "family pit bulls" continue to speak out.

"Dear Ms. Torres,

Recently I was invited to be involved in an educational awareness table which was set up in Manchester, Tennessee at an event you were scheduled to attend. As a mother of a child attacked by a family member’s pit-bull, I seize every opportunity to speak with the public about what one bite from a pit-bull looks like, and spread awareness that the breed was NOT bred to look after children while their owners were busy, and that shelter workers/rescue groups should NOT be misleading potential adopters to believe they are “Nanny Dogs”. This is reckless misinformation that is a contributing factor as to why so many people are dying at the jaws of these dogs."

Read the entire letter at Daxton's Friends

Friday, May 1, 2015

An open letter to Tia Torres

"On January 17th 2014 my daughter Kara was attacked and brutally mauled to death on her 4th birthday by the very dog we purchased for her at x-mas the year before."

 "I bought into your theory of poor misunderstood dog, gentle giant, loving family pet, great with children, loyal, snuggly. Our dogs were every one of those things—until the day something snapped in him and he wasn’t."

Read the full letter at Daxton's Friends

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dog attack report - 1Q 2015

We last presented the dog attack statistics on January 2nd of this year to wrap up 2014. In the 12 weeks since the previous report, there were 132 Americans injured, 95 maimed, and 6 mauled to death by pit bulls. The only other fatality so far this year was a single death from a Rottweiler, and no other breeds have committed a fatal or disfiguring attack to date. 

Gruesome pit bull attack caught on camera

There is one fact that stands out in stark clarity, when the data is examined: The breed of dog is, by far, the most significant determinant of risk in dog attacks. No other factor comes close to mattering on anywhere near the same scale.

Breakdown of fatal dog attacks over the past 34 years 

In all the serious dog attacks which have been reported since 1982 for which breed could be determined, pit bulls committed more than twice as many of the attacks as all other breeds combined.

The 5 most dangerous breeds

The list of the top 5 worst offending breeds has not changed since last report, except that pit bulls have increased their lead over all other types of dogs. 

Sadly, the record of pit bull violence against humans is just the tip of the iceberg. The real horror is the savagery with which pit bulls torture and kill pets and farm animals. Their lot is orders of magnitude worse. We pan to address that issue in more detail.

An innocent victim of everyday pit bull violence

The full report which tallies the North American dog attacks on humans since 1982, broken down by breed, can be read in full here:  Dog attack stats with breed - 2015 Q1

Discussion: Neighbor's pit bull attacked my dog!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The pit bull attack on my doodle

Reader Sonya writes about her harrowing pit bull experience. Her last name is not divulged here, out of the very real concern of stalking and retribution from the pit bull advocacy for her speaking openly about what happened. Pit bull attacks on animals take place many times every single day, and with the sheer volume of attacks, we can become numb to the problem. That is why we take the time to tell these individual stories when we can.

My boy, in happier times

Last September I was camping at a State Park with extended family. We were sitting around the fire pit around 10pm. My dog, Bryant, was tethered to my camp chair on a short walking leash. (LUCKILY - all the little kids were already in campers in bed.) A dog walked onto our site. I didn't think anything of it - I'm a dog lover and felt bad he was wandering around lost. The dog walked between our chairs and the fire pit. Passed me and my dog, paused, turned around and came back. Stood there, sniffed my dog, and then attacked him.

I shot up and my dog was dragging the chair trying to fight off the pit. I was SCREAMING for somebody, anybody to help. My dog rolled over in submission (as he ALWAYS DOES, he's a goldendoodle) and the pit starting biting him in the stomach!! My husband got the pit by the back legs and pull him back everytime he went for Bryant's neck. He ended up getting him on the top of the head and dragging him. The cries that came from my dog were horrifying! The worst sound I have ever heard....and I will NEVER forget them. I knew if the attack didn't stop, he was going to die. I got in there and tried to separate them. That's when he latched onto my fore arm.

He dragged me by my arm a while. I was screaming for help, somehow, my husband pulled his back legs at just the right moment and wrapped Bryant's tie lease around his neck and pulled tight. It was over. I pulled my coat off and put my hand over my wounds, and went looking for my dog. Everyone was screaming at me to take care of myself but I didn't know the pit was secured and I needed to get my dog in SOMEONE'S camper! That's how blood got all over my in laws trailer.

During this WHOLE ORDEAL, the owner was 2 streets over. In a campground in the middle of nowhere, she HAD to hear my screams. When they finally came, I was already in the car on the way to the hospital. My sister in law said they didn't ask what happened, if anyone was okay...nothing. Just wanted their dog.

The aftermath

Since then, I am paralyzed by a dog barking. I look for stray dogs every time I step outside my house. Even in my own garage. I buckle in my kids constantly glancing at my driveway. I haven't been on a walk. I run into stores. If I SEE a pit bull, my heart races and I go into an almost panic mode. I make a quick plan of action in case it attacks my kids. I am SO PARANOID when I have my kids outside. I now carry around a spring loaded knife. Always. My dog will never, EVER go camping again....and I don't know if I'll ever be at ease if we do. I'll be afraid for my kids...HAVE TO PROTECT MY KIDS. There is a pit 50 yards from my house and I am ALWAYS on alert. Even when my dog is in our fenced in back yard. There is life before the attack and after. It will never be the same. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kind-hearted Rhona

Her name was Rhona Greve; she was 64 years old, and she will forever be 64 years old. She was a Welsh woman with a good heart, who had brought up her errant grandson, Craig Greve, 24, as though he was her very own son. 

He was to become the deadly instigator of her death.

Banned 3 years ago from EVER keeping another dog again, he decided the law did not apply to him, and he became the owner of an American Bulldog called Solo. On Friday, he paid a visit to his loving grandmother and he took Solo with him. Solo savaged the woman that loved Craig and who had cared for him all of his miserable life, inflicting 16 horrific 'bite injuries' that culminated in her ghastly death.

Since 1999, 4,263 Welsh people have been admitted to hospital suffering from dog attacks. Rhona Greve did not survive her injuries to become one of them.

She is dead. Forever. Her family are said to be distraught, but did any one of them step up and report her grandson who was clearly breaking the law?

A 17 year old youth was also arrested after the killing; is it possible that this sweet woman had yet another errant grandson?

At the scene, Solo the American Bulldog was covered in blood and continuing to be ferocious.

The case has now prompted those in positions of power to be asked to impose more breed specific bans on certain breeds of dogs, and to make ownership of those dogs more difficult, alongside restrictions on who can own them. American Bulldogs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers AND their deadly crossbreeds are LONG overdue for these regulations.

Rhona is dead. And soon, if not already, Solo will also be gone.

But there are other Rhonas, other Craigs, other Solos. A grandmother, a grandson and a dangerous breed of dog. When stars collide and the universe offers up a preventable canine tragedy, we see again and again THE USUAL BREED CULPRITS; the Fighting breed dogs posing as PETS.

Rest in peace, kind-hearted Rhona.

Welsh woman mauled to death

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Rocky

On July 21, my mini schnauzer named Rocky and I were going for our evening walk. Rocky was very happy when I put on his leash. When I opened my patio gate, we were immediately attacked by an off leash pit bull. It happened so fast I couldn't believe it. I beat on the pit bull with my cane, but the dog bit me and continued to attack my Rocky. It was the most horrible thing I ever witnessed. Finally, 2 neighbors were able to get the pit bull off of Rocky. I knew in my heart that Rocky was not going to survive, but I rushed him to the nearest animal hospital. Rocky was in extreme pain for 2 days. He died on July 23. The attack on Rocky broke my heart, and it changed me forever. I cannot believe that my best friend was killed while he was doing the thing he loved the most - taking a walk with me.

I remember you playing with your toys,
I remember you watching cartoons with me,
I remember taking you on walks,
I remember the children calling you Rock Star,
I remember brushing your beautiful fur,
I remember giving you treats,
I remember you sitting on my lap,
I remember how happy you always were,
I remember how much you loved me.

I remember...