Friday, November 2, 2012

Dog attack report by breed - November 2012

As a fitting conclusion to pit bull awareness month, it's time to publish another update to the running statistics on serious injuries and deaths from dog attack.


It comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the problem that pit bulls continue to widen their lead over all other breeds in the grisly race of mauling, maiming, and death.

These statistics, going back over 30 years, are compiled and updated on an ongoing basis by the the animal people . Ever since the CDC stopped tracking breed information in 1998, these reports provide the most thorough information available on the subject of serious injuries and deaths from dog attack.

Here are some highlights -


A quick summary of the top 5 breeds in terms of fatalities over the past 30 years shows that Pit bulls lead the second place Rottweilers by a huge margin; attacks from all other breeds are essentially statistical noise in comparison.

At the low end of the scale, statistically safe breeds - which accounted for 1 death or less over the 30 year period - include: Anatolian Shepherd, Pug, Greyhound, Great Pyrenees, and Weimaraner.

Since pit bulls are absolutely off the chart in the statistics, compared to any other breed, pit bull advocacy groups invariably attack these reports, as well as any other reports that mention breed, since they feel that such specific reports reflect badly on pit bulls, and they want the breed information suppressed. Unable to suppress the information, they instead seek to discredit any sources that mention it. They typically attack the credibility, the methodology or competence of the person or organization presenting the information, and often claim that the media is out to get pit bulls. Merritt Clifton answers for the animal people:

"There is a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that pit bulls are over-represented among reported dog attack deaths and maimings because of misidentifications or because 'pit bull' is, according to them, a generic term covering several similar types of dog. However, the frequency of pit bull attacks among these worst in 10,000 cases is so disproportionate that even if half of the attacks in the pit bull category were misattributed, or even if the pit bull category was split three ways, attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives would still outnumber attacks by any other breed.
There is also a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that the use of media accounts as a data source is somehow suspect. Reality is that media coverage incorporates information from police reports, animal control reports, witness accounts, victim accounts in many instances, and hospital reports. Media coverage is, in short, multi-sourced, unlike reports from any single source."

The animal people have been working to benefit animals and to bring the facts to people who care. Please consider sending them a donation.

You can download a copy of the full report here

42 comments:

  1. i just don't understand how the nutters can blame the high incidence of pit bull mayhem on their popularity and not work to decrease their popularity.

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    1. They haven't been dubbed NUTTERS for nothin'...

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    2. There is no understanding nutters.. that's why they were dubbed nutters
      There defense is lies, denial, and diminishing the worth of the victims.

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    3. I hope the pit bull advocates get to see this page... if they are still CRAZY enough to believe pit bulls should be kept in society then they are as psychopathic as their precious dogs. I am shocked, outraged and profoundly upset to see a child so horrifically traumatized / scarred for life and as a mother will FIGHT TO GET THESE DOGS AWAY FROM SOCIETY . HORRENDOUS !!!

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  2. Jake, thank you for this. Comparing the October 28, 2012 statistics to those published on March 10, 2012 is alarming. In those six months, pit bulls and their close mixes have killed twenty four people. That's one every week. If we add deaths inflicted by Presas, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos, Filas, the total is twenty eight dead -- one every 6.5 days these past six months.

    Last year, it was one dead approximately every other week. The rate of killing by pit bulls has doubled in a single year! We need to get this fact out there.

    With all the shelter give-aways, politicians objecting to even the simplest of measures, the ABA now pimping for pit bulls, and so on, I dread to think what 2013 is going to be like.

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  3. Excellent point, Dawn. And how can they blame pit bull maulings on the owner and not work to regulate or limit who can own them. Instead they hand them out for free in on-the-spot adoptions.

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  4. also this number is catagorizing several breeds of dogs to one breed of dog. pit bull isnt a breed there are several breeds that people deem pit bulls compared to rotweillers, german shepards so what type of pitbull do you people deem viscous?

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    1. hey sandra, glen bui grouped the huskies, malamutes, wolf hybrids and GSDs together to try to make a point. as you can see above, he failed.

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  5. @Sandra -

    As the report states, pit bull is not a breed but a type designation for the canines created in 1800s UK for the purpose of killing dogs in the pit. The first "pit bull" was the staffordshire terrier. When dog fighters brought the staffordshire terrier to the new world, the renamed them "american staffordshire terriers" and they can also be registered as "american pit bull terriers". So that's 3 names, all referred to as pit bulls. There are breeds related or similar to pit bulls e.g. pit mixes and american bulldogs. Those have not been counted in the pit bull totals.

    If you're implying that the reason pit bulls kill their owners in a surprise attack more often than all other dogs is simply that there are so many of them, it is pointed out that large retrievers exist in at least the same numbers as pit bulls - and there are absolutely zero large retrievers on record as having killed their owners.

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  6. Interesting report!

    It's deliciously ironic to me that while pit bulls are of all canines the absolute most deadly to humans, and Great Pyrenees are among the safest, I've seen Great Pyrenees and other livestock guardian breeds kill pit bulls when attacked by them.

    Pit bulls were bred to torture and kill without mercy, while Livestock Guardians were bred to protect weaker creatures. But when the dumb ass pit bull goes after a livestock guardian, it gets killed.

    Epic fail for the pit bull.

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  7. My first reply didnt go through for some reason. I stated that I am a nutter as you people would say and I believe in decreasing the numbers of these dogs. I think that there should be laws and rules to get one and not every dummy in the street should be allowed to get one. I believe that they should be fixed and population should be monitered as well. Again as I say all the time I dont blame the victims that are attacked by these dogs but the owners that are caring for them. Plenty of people have pits that go their entire lives without an attack on someone so how do you people that hate them so much explain that. Oh and by the way my nephew was attacked by a chow and had his whole neck ripped off and I have some friends that were viciously attacked by rottweilers so should i be on some hate mission against them??

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    1. I agree. Any large breed is capable of inflicting more damage because of the physical strength they are born with. The way an animal is treated and raised makes all of the difference in the way they socialize with people. Period. I believe irresponsible owners result in more dog attacks than any breed.

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    2. @Jon Crans - at first glance your statement seems logical, and perhaps that is why pit bull social workers frequently toss that out as a talking point, to distract from the real problem.

      You may believe that "irresponsible owners" result in more dog attacks than any breed, but when you just begin to take a look at the data, the extreme over representation of pit bull type dogs in disfiguring and fatal attacks is apparent. What the data says is that breed is far and away the key factor.

      I know you don't want to hear it, but try to think about this: Not one of the mistreated, abused, untrained Irish Setters in North America have ever maimed or killed a single person.

      On the other hand. well-treated, loved, trusted "family pit bulls" are killing family members regularly.

      So which owners are the "irresponsible" ones?

      Here's a thought that will blow your mind: Responsible dog ownership begins with your choice of breed.

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  8. @Sandra -

    If you believe in decreasing the numbers of pit bulls you sound like a rational human being. Shelters all currently stuffed with pit bulls, lying to people to try to trick them into taking home pit bulls labelled as "lab mixes", 40 million pounds of pit bull carcasses in the landfills every year - yes, it's all a bit much. But most pit fans see no problem here and want only to ensure that there are no limits on breeding them or on who can own them.

    You mention that "plenty of people have pits" that don't attack anyone. (do they injure or kill other animals?) But that really doesn't prove anything. We already know pit bulls can and do act like normal dogs. Until they don't - and therein lines the problem - Sudden, random, unpredictable violence - a specific pit bull problem.

    If you keep up with the news, and read about the multiple pit bull attacks that occur every day, you'll come to recognize a recurring theme. After virtually every pit bull attack, friends and family invariably say "it never showed any sign of aggression before". They say "it always seemed friendly" - until it killed the poor poodle, or ripped the arm off the 94 year old neighbor who was just going to her mailbox, or tore the owners face off. There was a recent case where a pit bull had seemed fine for 8 years before killing its owner.

    Since virtually every one of the pit bulls in these attack cases was considered to be perfectly safe, and trusted right up until the moment of the attack, does it really mean anything at all when pibble owner swears that pibble is safe because "he's never shown any sign of aggression"?


    You complain "you people hate pit bulls" - how sad if you think that's what it's all about. It's not about hating pit bulls, it's about being sane and honest and not fooling ourselves. We don't hate rabid dogs either, but we are not going to perpetuate lies and misinformation, and claim that rabid dogs are "just dogs" and that all they need is love.

    Re: Chows. Yes, Chows can be aggressive and are not for everyone. In rare cases, Chow attacks have even been fatal. But the amount of damage done by chows over the past 30 years is a mere rounding error compared to the bloody record of injuries, maimings and deaths from pit bulls during the same period.

    Re: Rottweilers. Yes, Rottweilers can be dangerous also - in fact they are second only to pit bulls in terms of human injuries and deaths - a very, distant second - and all other breeds are far below either of them in the death toll.

    I guess I'm baffled as to how anyone could fail to see that a breed of canine developed over hundreds of years of selection specifically for violent blood sport is going to be dangerous.

    Finally, why do you think that stating factual information is somehow a "hate mission". If we state that it's dangerous to swim with crocodiles, does that mean we are on a "hate mission" against crocodiles?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

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    1. Thank you Jake!! Finally, some rational statements backed up with REAL statistics. I have been in the animal control field for many, many years and I am sick to death of people defending these dogs. Including co-workers who see the same damage I see weekly done by these dogs. The dogs are dangerous and should be treated as such by their owners. If the owners contained them properly(and by contained I mean a leash attached to someone strong enough and smart enough to hold on to the dog) there would be very few incidents. I interview owners after attacks several times a month and EVERY single owner says "he/she never did anything like this before". But somewhere along the way someone warned them and they failed to listen. The attacks I see aren't from "gangbanger" types or "trashy types" they are typical suburban families who have never abused the dogs. And the problem has gotten worse over the years, I believe in part to the DENIAL of most "rescue" people who insist they have a "bad rap". B@#$S*&^!! You want to own one and change peoples minds? THEN DON'T DENY THE DAMAGE THE DOG CAN DO AND TREAT IT AS SUCH!!! Keep it under control and don't deny that it can and may cause horrific damage. Don't leave it outside unattended, I have seen dogs scale a six foot fence like it was nothing, don't let it play with your kids friends(pits have a high prey drive and screaming children seem to be able to kick that drive into gear), don't take it to dog parks(pits are notoriously bad at reading other dogs body language), and DON'T trust it with your sleeping baby(no baby should be left with any dog in the room without supervision). IF those owners were honest with themseleves then they would prevent these attacks from occuring and they would have to resort to throwing chihuahuas under the bus and the "nanny dog" myth. I would rather be mauled by a pack of chihuahuas then one pit bull. The ignorance lies in the denial of genetic predisposition. These dogs were chosen by people for dog fighting because they were predisposed to aggressive tendencies. Not unlike the border collie who will herd anything in sight whether it has been trained or not. The denial in the owners of this breed is unlike that of any other breed. I like shepherds but I readily admit that I can not train the protective instinct out of them. Huskies run, beagles howl, chows are just not nice.....but you don't see chow owners pretending their dogs are friendly mush balls. You don't see akita owners saying its the way you raise them. KNOW WHAT YOU OWN and be cognizant of the genetics at all times and you likely won't have a problem or if you do, the dog will just maul you inside your home, if you have kept it properly contained. THANKS AGAIN JAKE!!!

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    2. I hear your frustration, I worked as an impounding ranger for 18mths. Dealt with all types of dogs, Pitties and their crosses were very low percentage wise, maybe 5%. However, when it came to the serious dog attacks I had to deal with Pitties were 80% of the cases.

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  9. MOst people hate them. We arent oblivious that they can be dangerous. A horse can be dangerous, any large animal can kill. I have owned pits and had them as a child since I was a baby and never been bitten and neither have my children so I must be doing something right. As with pit bull and rotweiler bites. First they are more popular dogs so there are more of them around leaving room for this kind of stuff. Pits are the most abused and neglected breeds leaving ample room for error. I wish instead of banning a breed of dog that people would work towards banning negligence to animals causing things to go wrong. Also there are 25 breeds of dogs that fit into the catagory as "pit bull" so of course the rates would be higher.

    ”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It's a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as "pit bulls." When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes of those breeds.

    Pit bulls are wonderful, loving animals that deserve the chance to have a good life.

    Pit bulls have physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active and caring owners. These same outstanding qualities can, however, be challenging for people who don't have a lot of experience with dog ownership or have limited understanding of the breed. Luckily, pit bulls are intelligent, very responsive to training, and, above all, eager to please. Therefore, pit bulls should be enrolled in obedience classes as soon as they are up-to-date on their shots. (Pit bulls are susceptible to parvovirus, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations before coming into contact with other dogs or entering areas of high canine traffic.) A well-behaved pit bull is the best way to fight breed prejudice and misconceptions.

    Pit bulls can do well in an urban environment, provided they have enough exercise and other positive outlets for their energy. Many pit bulls are easygoing couch potatoes, but like all terriers, they can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come relatively late with this breed (two to three years old in some cases). Pit bulls remain playful throughout their lives and have a great sense of humor. True clowns at heart, these dogs will make you laugh like no other.

    Pit bulls are energetic, agile, and strong. They are also very resourceful and driven. Determination is one of their most notable traits: They put their heart and soul into whatever they set out to do, whether it is escaping an inadequately fenced yard to explore the neighborhood, destroying your new couch if left home alone without a proper outlet to combat boredom, or climbing into your lap to shower you with kisses!

    As Stahlkuppe (1995) writes: "The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), or the AmStaff, is certainly not the right pet for everyone. Being a powerful dog, it will require sufficient and adequate control. Some prospective elderly owners or children will not be able to supply that control...


    “An insecure person who wants only an aggressive dog to bolster some personal human inadequacy should never become an owner of one of these dogs. An uncaring or negligent person should not buy an AmStaff or an APBT (or any other dog for that matter)".

    People put so much heart into banning something they know little about.

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    1. Thank you!!!!! Someone with some sense here!

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    2. You sound ridiculous. By your logic, why aren't other abused dogs responsible for fatal attacks and maulings? I've seen thousands of abused dogs firsthand in India that are beaten daily and are starving but no one has EVER heard of them mauling anyone. Why is that? Because they aren't pitbulls. Pitbulls were kept because they're unpredictable and aggressive: FACT. Why don't drug dealers and dog fighters keep other breeds like retrievers? Because they naturally aggressive ! You cannot argue against statistics from all over the country and you certainly CANNOT argue the fact that where pits have been banned, those cities have seen a dramatic drop in maulings by any dogs.
      Pits make up a tiny percent of the dog population here but lead in all fatalities and maulings. Why is that? Other breeds are getting abused more often than this just because they exist in greater numbers. They don't maul their owners or jump off balconies to attack passing by people and kids across the street. It is a breed specific problem. PERIOD. Your lack of logic puts the rest of us in danger. Why the HELL should we be subject to your crap logic to buy this breed? Why don't you buy another one?! Why do you people insist on this breed?
      You people are so full of yourselves and you will defend your stupid choices until you die while other people are mauled by your precious breed. Wow. You're pathetic. Live with rabid dogs then. They can be cured with your awesome love too. It's all about how you raise them right? Get out of our society of sane people.

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  10. Now go to the bottom of this page and use common sense http://www.dontbullymybreed.org/

    There are over 5 million pit bulls in the world so there are more attacks BUT only a 0.00125% chance of getting attacked by one. There are 900,000 rottweilers yet there is a 0.00433% chance of being attacked by them. This being said, you are more likely to get attacked by a rotty than a pit. We are not ignorant to the problem. But we also know the hands that these dogs are being placed in and that is what we need to prevent. even ASPCA and AKC say that BSL wont work. 97% of attacks were by unnuetered or unspayed pits. THAT IS THE ISSUE! Careless owners not spaying or nuetering their pets or negligence. Our shelters here wont let anyone own a pit. there are strict rules here to be able to adopt a pit and I think that should be worldwide.

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  11. Sandra, your comments are cut-and-paste. You use the breed specific advocacy website "don't bully my breed" as back up. This is laughable. Do you really think that unbiased information is available there?

    Best Friends Animal Society, which is as hard core as you get in promotion of pit bulls gives us the figure of 7.2% as the current percentage of dogs in America that are pit bulls. In 2011 there were thirty one Americans killed by dogs, of those thirty one dead, twenty four were killed by pit bulls. That works out to one American killed by a pit bull every two weeks, but feel free to check my math.

    There are lots of Beagles, and Poodles, and Yorkies that have not been neutered or spayed but there is no yearly total of folks killed by these dogs.

    The ASPCA is a PAC, they bring in millions of dollars a year from the dog lobby, the AKC is in the business of dogs, it is in their best financial interest to keep dogs completely unregulated. Their opinions on this issue are tainted by self interest.

    You have said "Most people hate them. We aren't oblivious that they can be dangerous." If pit bull advocates admit that the dogs are dangerous in "the wrong hands" then pit bull advocates need to stop breeding so many pit bulls.

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  12. @Sandra -

    Some of your comments are merely repeating what I said, while other comments you made are questionable at best.

    You claim that pit bulls are the most abused and neglected type of dog, but I've seen absolutely no evidence for that. I know for a fact that beagles and greyhounds suffer far worse abuse and neglect than pit bulls, but where are the beagle attacks? When was the last time a greyhound killed or even injured someone?

    I'm not sure what you were hoping to prove with the Rottweiler statistics, but if you're somehow trying to say that pit bulls kill and maim so many people simply because there are so many of them, that is demonstrably false. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America. Large retrievers exist in at least similar numbers as pit bull type dogs, and yet the difference in the violence of the two types of dogs is astounding. But again, this should not come as a surprise to anyone. On the one hand, you have a type of dog bred to retrieve waterfowl, with a soft mouth. On the other hand, you have a type of canine bred specifically for violence, torture and death, through several hundred years of violent blood sport in the UK where the "bull and terrier" - i.e. the pit fighting bulldog aka the "staffordshire terrier" was created. Of course such a creature is going to be wired differently from a normal dog.

    BTW you mentioned 25 breeds of dogs that were called pit bulls - please enumerate them. The staffordshire terrier was dubbed the "american staffordshire terrier" by pit fighters in the USA. The american staffordshire terrier can also be registered as an american pit bull terrier. So that's 3 "breeds", but actually just 3 instances of the same basic animal, created by the sadist animal torturers of the UK. So, what exactly are the other 22 types of dog that you consider pit bulls?

    If you intend to say that pit bulls injure, maim and kill so many people, innocent pets and livestock simply because they are physically capable of doing so, that demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of dogs.

    There are dogs which are larger and stronger than pit bulls, with higher bite force (I'm thinking of the livestock guardian breeds here, and certain Spitz breeds) that can and do kill pit bulls when attacked by them - but generally speaking they do not attack innocent 3rd parties, and they never kill their owners - as we know, killing the owner in a surprise attack is a pit bull specialty.

    You made a lot of statements about how wonderful pit bulls are, but the only thing wonderful about them is that they are dogs. All the things you celebrate in pit bulls are the things they have in common with all dogs. But you deny the very real negative traits that make them so different from normal dogs, and this is obvious to a lot more people than you think.

    Pit bulls have killed more american children than all other breed combined - and yet you think this makes them "great with children"? Sorry, I just don't see the logic there.

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  13. How sad that this data is already obsolete by THREE more deaths since its publication just 14 days ago.

    Record carnage, and that is with UNDERREPORTING!

    A energy drink supposedly linked to a few human deaths out of millions upon millions sold is being investigated. Meanwhile hundreds of people dead. thousands maimed, and thousands upon thousands of pets
    dead or maimed by pit bulls and yet they are being touted as a family pet...

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  14. @ Sandra

    "Pit bulls are wonderful, loving animals that deserve the chance to have a good life."

    I stopped reading your post when I reached the above quoted text. Its clear that you are still in dreamland. They are not wonderful and they are not loving. They are dangerous, unstable, & unpredictable animals that on impulse will attack people and other animals. If there is one animal that should be driven to extinction, its the pit bull terrier.

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  15. Haven't you guys noticed if the media cant tell what kind of dog attacked they just call it a Pitbull.Pitbulls arent a breed.They are American Pitbull terriers,American Bulldog,Staffordshire terriers,Pitbull Terrier.And other breeds.So stop blaming a breed that doesn't exsist

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  16. Breeds that are in the "pit bull" family/bully breeds that were unlisted. Boxer, alapaha blue blood, American bull dog, cane corso, bull terrier, bull mastiff, olde English bulldoge, Renascence Bulldogge, victorion bulldog Ambullneo mastiff ,Argentine Mastiff, ca due boy, valley bulldog (aka boxer bulldog) there's a few more but I'll stop there. @ stinger if we're going to take the time to read your post please read ours. If you look at some of these dogs you can't tell a difference between apbt and specific breeds I just listed. I think both sides of the arguments facts are skewed to make them look better. Everybody has an agenda. If we just started using common sense in ths country instead of pointing the finger we wouldn't have whiney b@#$%&! on this subject.

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  17. I wish everyone could see how much a pit can actually be a good dog if it is trained by the right people. The only way a pit bull would ever hurt anything would be because of its owner. They are the sweetest dogs i have come to know.

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    1. The facts say otherwise. I understand that you may be convinced that it's all in how you raise them, but I know a number of people who used to say exactly what you're saying . But one by one they've all come to understand their error. In each case, a much loved, well-treated, well-behaved "family pit bull" suddenly turned on, with zero warning, and tore their child apart.

      The old "owner must have abused them" scam gets old after awhile. If that were true, why is it that dog fighters are never killed by pit bulls? It's only the naive fur moms who end up being shocked when their "baby" suddenly kills the cat, the little dogs next door, or the baby.

      And here's something else to think about. Why is it that you believe only pit bulls have bad owners? But in contrast, Irish setters have never had a bad owner? In the 32 years that serious dog attacks on humans have been tracked, there has not been a single disfiguring or fatal attack by an Irish Setter. And yet, there are disfiguring or fatal pit bull attacks on humans every single say - and many vicious pit bull attacks on helpless animals.

      But after every single pit bull attack, you folks storm the news sites who dared to report it, attacking and blaming the victims and insisting that pit bulls are gentle, misunderstood creatures. It's surreal.

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  18. Not sure how I found this site; I was researching the Cane Corso a neighbor has which is big as a pony, strong as an Ox, and sweet as a bunny. I agree with the commenter who said that the problem with pit bulls is a spay/neuter one. Any true dog lover should further vet the stars to explore correlation b/w PB fix status & attacks. I also agee that as a fairly popular dog - especially among thugs more interested in them as weapons than companions - they're likelier to be mistreated, under socialized & abandoned than other breeds. Their numbers & rates of poor socialization, couples with powerful jaws & cultural aversions to neutering male dogs, a perfect storm ensues.

    I'm a cat person & never "guardianed" a dog in my life. Yet all the neutered pitts & staffys of friends raised well from puppyhood I've known to be as gentle & predictable as any retriever I've known. Yeah, everyone has an anecdote, but that's been my experience.

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    1. Another "family pit bull" turns on after 10 years of normal behavior: toddler mauled by family pit bull

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  19. There is certainly a problem with pit bull overpopulation - a million unwanted pit bulls a year are put down at taxpayer expense after taking up most of the space in local animal shelters. But to suggest that the only problem with pit bulls is oversimplification is demonstrably false, as shown by the rivers of blood shed by these unpredictable torturers. Yes, I'm including animal victims when I say that, since the human victims are merely the tip of the iceberg, the 1%.

    It's ironic to hear you speak of "any true dog person" since dogs are being mauled to death by pit bulls every day, and "any true dog person" would do anything they could to help stop the slaughter. Don't you find it ironic that those who promote the breed designed to torture and kill dogs call themselves "dog lovers"?

    The old "mistreated pit bulls" argument has long been a favorite talking point of the pit bull advocacy, as well as the "thug owner" idea. While it may sound logical at first to the proverbial "man in the street", it's flatly contradicted by the facts. If you do just a wee bit of fact checking, you find that the most horrendous pit bull attacks are not coming from mistreated or thug-owned pit bulls. The majority of these fatal and disfiguring attacks are coming from well treated "family pit bulls" which had not previously shown any sign of aggression. So the whole mistreatment, poor socialization excuse goes out the window.

    As far as being "more likely to be mistreated" - what form does this mistreatment take? Where can I find some evidence of this? I know for a fact that greyhounds and beagles are horribly mistreated, and they have not been responsible for a single death. While mistreatment of any animal is a serious matter, I hope you can realize that it's a completely separate issue from that of pit bull violence.

    So, all the pits you've met have been "gentle and predictable" - and the tens of thousands of helpless animals tortured to death by pit bulls last year? does that count for anything? The funny thing about your "gentle and predictable" remark is that it's based on a moment in time which by definition is impossible to draw a conclusion about predictability. I know of people whose pit bulls were wonderful and docile for years, and then the pit bull turned on, and did what pit bulls were designed to do. In each of these cases, people were shocked, and people continue to be shocked every day as pit bulls turn on and the blood flows

    It's interesting that you can accept that a type of dog bred to point, will point, purely from instinct, with no training required, a shepherd will herd, from instinct, with no training required, a retriever will retrieve, from instinct, with no training required, a guardian will guard, from instinct, with no training required.

    But somehow, when it comes to the type of dog which was developed to torture animals for sport, a result of centuries of work to create an animal which would happily tear apart a weaker creature for no particular reason, science goes out the window, and you don't believe in genetics anymore?

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    1. My experience with pitt bull mistreatment comes from years of volunteering at DC shelter (cat side). By far more pit bulls came in battered, abused & poorly socialized than any other dog breed. And we euthanized them all, known history or not.

      No one here disputes the stats that far more Pitts are involved in mailings & deaths than any other breed. Up for dispute are the REASONS. A prevalent argument on this site is that Pitts are by NATURE cold blooded killing machines. Nothing short of controlled experiments can establish that, and they simply don't exist. So at best, anyone's conjecture is yet hypothesis. I do know that no other dog breed combines quite the same population numbers, physiology & sub-cultural status as Pitts. My opinion is that any breed that did would rival the Pitts maul/death stats.

      Since controlled experiments have established a clear causal link between neutering & tempered aggression, this becomes an obvious additional variable. And I think it's common sense that those who don't value or mistreat their animals are less likely to neuter them, compounding the breed's issues.

      I don't know the answer. I just know that I'm far more comfortable having my kids around Pitts I know to be fixed & well raised from puppyhood than I am having them around chows.

      And yes, I stand by the opinion that in the absence of clear answers, true dog lovers would be more suspicious of humans' contribution to the problem - and ways of fixing it - over mass extermination of all dogs that look like them (since appearance is only defining feature of what we call Pitts).

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    2. Your anecdote that more pit bulls came in battered and abused is likely due to the fact that far more pit bulls came in, period.

      As to the rest of your claims:

      You said "up for dispute are the reasons" that pit bulls claim so many victims.

      The reasons are clear enough to anyone with a passing acquaintance with the history of the breed. developed specifically to commit atrocities against helpless animals for fun, and the result of this directed breeding/torture cycle was a type of dog which would happily tear apart a weaker creature for no particular reason.

      You said: "...no other dog breed combines quite the same population numbers, physiology & sub-cultural status as Pitts"

      Fact: Large retrievers are more numerous than pit bull type dogs; the Labrador Retriever is in fact the most popular dog in America.
      So where are the large retrievers in the dog attack stats? It's as if they don't even exist.

      Fact: pit bulls are nowhere near the largest or strongest of dogs, and they have nowhere near the bite force of large guardian breeds e.g. kangals. It's not size, strength or bite force that makes pit bulls dangerous, it's the unpredictability, insensitivity to pain, the relentless attack mode. Once a pit bull begins torturing a victim, it does not willingly stop.

      The correlation of hgher chance attack by intact vs neutered males is well known, but neutered pit bulls commit horrific attacks every day. Consider this: most pit bulls are not neutered, and most attacks are by pit bulls. So it is the breed, or the neuter status that we're looking at? Don't confuse correlation with causation.

      I have to admit to becoming nauseated when You said: "I'm far more comfortable having my kids around Pitts I know to be fixed & well raised from puppyhood than I am having them around chows."

      I'm sorry, but only a sociopath would put their children in that kind of danger. Truly, pit bulls that not only were "fixed and well raised" but also well behaved have killed more children than all other types of non-pit bull type dogs combined - by a huge margin. And you're talking about chows?

      You said: "And yes, I stand by the opinion that in the absence of clear answers, true dog lovers would be more suspicious of humans' contribution to the problem"
      But there are clear answers. You just don't want people to find out.

      Finally, you said: "over mass extermination of all dogs that look like them (since appearance is only defining feature of what we call Pitts)."

      Why exactly are you talking about mass extermination? It's interesting that when we begin to talk about the issues with having pit bulls in our neighborhoods, you people immediately go into hysterics about "mass extermination".

      I've got a better idea: How about we don't breed them in the first place? Or do you really not mind the status quo, with pits being bred in such excess that they fill the shelters and a million of them a year are put down?

      I see what appears to be a profound misunderstanding, on your part, of what defines a pit bull type dog. The definition is not "the random collection of all dogs that happen to look a certain way". No, the definition is much more precise than that. pit bull type dogs are those descended from the animal torturer breeds of the old UK. Simple as. The fact that pit bulls look like pit bulls is merely a useful consequence of the same genetic laws that cause a tomato to look like a tomato, a whale to look like a whale, and a snake to look like a snake. Did you really suppose that it's all so random as that? That if a chihuahua and a beagle were to mate, the offspring might grow up to look just like a German Shepherd?

      You may or may not have heard about this, but there was a recent study showing that shelter workers were able to identify pit bull genetics 96% of the time in both mixes and full pits.

      Delete
    3. I understand it's your blog & that you prefer only publishing posts sympathetic to your view. Just be aware that it betrays an intellectually dishonest debate & weakly defensible view on your part.

      Delete
    4. @Captain Brainstem -

      We are truly sorry if you don't feel your wishes are being attended to quickly enough.

      We are all strictly volunteers, with full time jobs and many other commitments and obligations, and thus, checking for comments on long dormant articles is not a high priority. In fact, even if you had something interesting to say, if you read the notice at the end of each article, you will see that we make no guarantees that we will post comments on dormant articles, as we prefer readers comment on current articles instead.

      Note that this blog does not exist primarily to provide a soapbox for pit bull propaganda, accusations, or passive aggressive drama; but if you feel your views are not getting enough attention, we encourage you to write your own blog.

      And yet here we are, bending over backwards, as it were, to publish your propaganda. I take your statements about "intellectual dishonesty" and a "weakly defensible view" as nothing more than the tedious drama that they are.

      Good luck on your blogging career!

      Delete
  20. I can't respond in full right now, but several posters above referred to Pitt stats justifying extermination of their "breed." I'm encouraged to hear you agree that such declarations are indeed "hysterical" and not at all consistent with dog-loving!

    Otherwise, I see that you don't dispute my basic reasoning. Yes, retrievers are more numerous than Pitts (though weaker physiologically & not exactly a subcultures favorite). Yes, many breeds have much bigger, stronger bodies & some even have jaws almost as powerful (yet they're not nearly as numerous as Pitts). Finally, for decades now, no breed approaches the subcultural status of Pitts. So while some dog breeds are bigger/stronger, and yet other breeds are more common than Pitts, again the forces of population size, physiology, and subcultural socialization are unique to Pitts, and you never even countered as much. It's for these reasons I believe that ANY breed so afflicted by the same forces would rival Pitts' stats.

    Regarding the disproportionate number of Pitts that came to our shelter abused & mistreated, you're absolutely right that popularity helped explain it, which is largely my point. The shelter kept stats, and their popularity was fairly consistent with attack disparity rates.

    I know you'd really like me to have an agenda, but I simply don't. I'm not a Pitt owner, breeder, enthusiast, or even a dog person. I'm actually just a statistician & interpret studies and meta-analysis for a living.

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    1. @ captain brainstem -

      What we have here is a failure to communicate. While I'd rather see the problem solved as peacefully as possible, I fully understand the motivation of those who simply want to end the slaughter of the helpless. And since you brought up "dog-loving", what is the point of an animal for which the sole purpose is to kill dogs? Tens of thousand of innocent dogs are tortured to death every year by pit bulls, doing what pit bulls were bred to do. Any true dog lover would defend the helpless, not promote the maulers.

      You misquoted me above, so just to set the record straight, I said that there are other breeds with much higher bite force (not "almost as much) For instance, a kangal has 3 times the bite force of a pit bull. I've seen more than one kangal forced to fight a game pit bull, and even though the kangal was far less interested in fighting than the pit bull was, the pit bull kept attacking until the kangal was forced to kill it to end the attack.

      So yes, sadly, livestock guardians have to deal with pit bulls nowadays, and yet with all that power, you don't see livestock guardians running around on killing sprees. It comes down to the difference between an animal bred to protect weaker creatures, and an animal bred to torture weaker creatures.

      And I'm not sure what to say about your "perfect storm" theory about why pit bulls are so violent. What matters to me is that you acknowledge that there is a problem - but you've offered no solution whatsoever. No relief, no mercy for the victims - just excuses and rationalizations for the maulings, and an implied demand to accept the rivers of blood as the new normal.

      You're free to believe whatever you want about whether another breed, not bred for sport torture, could somehow start acting like pit bulls. It seems to me to be nothing more than wishful thinking on your part, and what drives that, if not an agenda?

      Your claim of being neutral are patently dishonest, given the amount of attention you've been giving this blog, and the incessant pit bull propaganda.

      My only question is this: What solution can you offer, what help for the victims? All I see in your manifesto is a recipe for business as usual, and more maulings.

      Delete
    2. Captain Brainstem - wow...

      You mentioning being a statistician, but I'm not hearing anything that suggests you have any knowledge of statistics. You claim to be unbiased, with no agenda (sure, spending hours trolling and commenting on pit bull blogs is what disinterested parties always do, right?), but you show up spouting talking points straight from pit bull propaganda central.

      So, your theory is that labs can't commit fatal or disfiguring attacks as pit bulls do, because they don't have the physical capability... rubbish - a 60 or 80 pound Lab is quite capable of killing another dog, or a human, if he were so inclined. But a Lab is what we call a normal dog. Normal dogs are highly social creatures, who use signals to resolve conflict without serious harm, and inhibit their bite force.

      In other words, any fairly large dog has the physical capability to be lethal. It's just that normal dogs avoid violence, while pit bulls were bred to seek out conflict, initiate violence, and not to stop.

      I'll have to admit I'm disappointed, as I'd have hoped to read something of significance. But there's just nothing there; your stated views indicate that you have never taken a look at the data, but are merely regurgitating pit bull propaganda.

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    3. Captain brain stem:

      While any and all animal abuse is unacceptable, your attempt to blame the epidemic of pit bull attacks on abuse falls flat on its face. While pit bulls may well be abused, this is quite a separate matter from the problem of pit bull violence. Old time dog fighters knew that a confident, well fed pit bull was the most likely to attack.

      Giancarla Churchman documented that evidence thoroughly in her document "my pit bull experience" in which she adopted a pit bull and was diligent and consistent, doing everything by the book to raise it right, but later came to heartily regret the harm she caused her sweet Lab by bringing the pit bull into the home.

      If you'd bothered to take a peek at these attack cases you feel so qualified to explain, you'd see that the vast majority of horrific pit bull attacks on humans are from well treated, well raised, well behaved "family pit bulls" that displayed that pit bull propensity for sudden, random, unpredictable violence. In most cases, the fateful attack was the first ever sign of aggression from the pit bull.

      So because not every pit bull is guaranteed to attack, you folks think everything is fine. The problem is that there is absolutely no way to know if a given pit bull is going to attack. There are no warning signs. It nearly always comes as a complete shock to the owners and the victims.

      Most serial killers acted like normal, decent human beings 99% of the time. You folks may like those odds, but to me the payoff just isn't there.

      But to animal lovers everywhere, the real problem with pit bulls is that their violence against animals is orders of magnitude worse than their violence against humans. Responsible pit bull owners know that you never, ever trust a pit bull not to attack another animal. It's pretty much guaranteed. For the things that pit bulls do to many animals every day, a human would be jailed for felony animal cruelty.

      As the old dog fighter said, a pit bull that hasn't killed another dog is a pit bull that hasn't been let outside.

      How can you argue for the continued proliferation of pit bulls? It defies common sense, it defies compassion, it defies common decency.

      Signed, someone who's been there

      Delete

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