Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lessons from the school of hard knocks

Here are a few accounts from readers who have chosen to remain anonymous for their own safety. 

The sweet pit bull

My coworker owned a pit bull. She described her as very sweet, wouldn't hurt a fly. She often dog sat for a friends large akita, and the pit and akita were always best friends. One night they were out in their yard together and they noticed that their play had escalated to a full on dog fight. The pit was no match for the akita, who had size and a protective coat on its side. But despite the fact that the pit bull was losing badly, it continued to fight. Her husband had to beat her with a shovel to get her to stop. Once the pit stopped, the akita stopped.

Some years later this same coworker decided to adopt a small, elderly chihuahua mix that someone found wandering in the road. I warned her not to trust her pit bull, but she was not concerned. For a year the dogs lived together happily, often sharing a bed and seeming to enjoy each other. Then one night the pit walked over to the sleeping chi mix and grabbed it around the neck and began shaking it with the clear intent to kill it. The chi was screaming but the pit was silent. Again her husband and to stop the pit bulls attack, but there was no shovel handy. He had to punch the pit bull repeatedly in the head to get it to stop, and he had to do it so hard he broke his hand. The little chi survived only because he was wearing a thick collar. The next day my coworker came to work and was clearly still shaken up by the whole thing. She kept saying "you were right, you were right..."  She will never own another pit bull. Wise woman.

The Vet

She was connected to the company I worked for, she was not my vet. Because she knew I had  knowledge of dogs, she called me one day and told me that she adopted a pit bull and wanted advice on how to integrate this male dog into her household of three other dogs, a male and two females. I told her to return the pit bull and not even bother trying. She did not take my advice, but she did call frequently to keep me posted. Big surprise, the pit decided that her male dog needed to die, and would attack him whenever he saw his chance. She had to separate them, and enlist the services of a trainer. Of course it did no good. It got to the point where if the pit bull even heard the male dog in another room he would go ballistic and try to get to him, through the door or wall if necessary. He could not be distracted when he was in such a state. Eventually, of course, management fails and he had a fight with the male and the vet and her husband realized that it was not going to work out and that someone was going to be seriously injured. They returned the pit to rescue where it was placed in home with no other animals. I hope their neighbors have no other animals either... That vet did call me and say that she would NEVER own another pit bull again.

The Dog Walker

Several years ago I helped out a local dog walker with her overflow clients. One of her clients owned a young male dog, Ralphie. The dog walker mentioned she had a "bull pit" and when I asked her what that was, she said it was a pit bull that didn't realize it was a pit bull. I know. Nauseating. In any case, her bull pit figured it out pretty fast. When Ralphie was taken to the dog sitters house for the evening, he was attacked by the shit bull and his throat torn open. He survived, but the dog walker didn't even have the decency to tell his owners. She returned Ralphie while they were at work the next morning and went off on vacation. I got the phone call asking what the hell happened! I could not believe that not only would she endanger a clients dog's life by bringing it near that fucking thing, she didn't even tell them what happened! She just took the dog to the vet where she worked and had it treated!


  1. Common things pit owners say: "you were right, you were right, I was a fool, I will never have another pit again".

    There are LOTS of people that have experienced the bad side of pit ownership- there aren't that many in shelters because they make great pets. They don't say much about it because
    1) Its just not something people talk about, unless it specifically comes up
    2) They probably believe in rescue, and have criticized people that take their pets to shelters in the past, so they aren't gonna admit it.
    3) The dog and rescue/animal community is full of true believers, that think its always the owner. These people don't want to be that bad owner.
    They ALL need to speak up!!!

    Better yet- Be responsible, be a true steward to animals, have them PTS.
    DO NOT rehome them, or take the dog back to a rescue, or to a "No Kill" facility. They will just send it right back out into another home where it will hurt and kill again. (Open admission shelters are fine, they PTS pits)

  2. Well here's a clue for people thinking of getting one: the breed name is bull-terrier. There's the American (Pit) Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull-Terrier, the Irish Bull Terrier and all those bulldog derivatives. If the words bull, bulldog or pit is in the breed name it was bred to attack and kill other animals. Select a pet dog from pet breeds, herding dogs from herding breeds and bird dogs of which ever type from dogs bred for the work. Pit Bull-Terriers are working dogs who's only job is to kill, they are not and have never been pets.

  3. The American Staffordshire Terrier?
    They don't kill apparently because they don't have a "bull" in their name. That's real scientific. It's name dictates its behavior. How can that be? I've always had these "killer" dogs - along with many other types of dogs - Iike a puggle. Why have my "bulls" lived long happy lives and died as old dogs the ages of 13, 14, & 15 with never so much as an encounter? Because your all-inclusive science is "bull" shit.

    Have you ever read "The Bell Curve"? Read it. Think about it. Apply it to this.

    1. The American Staffordshire Terrier is in fact the same dog as an American Pit Bull Terrier, but registered by a different kennel club. At the turn of the 20th century, the pit bull breeders wanted the respectability of AKC recognition, but the AKC was reluctant to register fighting dogs. The AKC finally recognized the American Pit Bull Terrier in 1936 after decades of lobbying by pit bull breeders. John P. Colby’s champion fighter, American Pit Bull Terrier ‘Primo’, formed the basis for the breed standard of the ‘new‘ AKC breed – but the AKC wasn’t willing to have the word ‘pit bull’ in the ‘ new’ breed’s name. The ‘new’ pit bull breed was dubbed ‘the Staffordshire Terrier’ in order to hide its relation to the pit bull and its origins and history in the fighting pit. The breed’s name was changed again to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972, to distinguish the larger American version from the smaller English version (which kept the name ‘Staffordshire Bull Terrier’)1,2. In 1972, the breed register was also re-opened for a time to allow people to register their UKC registered pit bull as an American Staffordshire Terrier if they regretted not having done so earlier.

    2. @crrwites - ah, I love it when the indignant fur mommies come to "educate" someone as experienced as Tropical Storms.

      You are apparently new here, or you'd know the amstaff is just another name for a pit bull type dog. You may or may not know that an AKC registered amstaff can be registered as an apbt with the UKC. What that means is that there's no real difference. Where did the amstaff come from, you wonder. Well, when dog fighters brought the staffordshire terrier to America, they dubbed it the "american staffordshire terrier" (amstaff). They're all descendants of the livestock torturers of the old UK.

      You may or may not know that there are several names for them that don't have the word "bull" in them. (as if removing the livestock torturer reference somehow magically changes the bulldog into something else) - for instance, they have been called "new yorkies", "st francis terrier" (what a scream, naming a torturer for a lover of animals) and the "american terrier".

      But regardless of the name du jour by which you wish to reference them, they are working dogs, descended from a long line of working torturers. The distinctive head and jaw, the reptilian stare and the compact body all reveal a pit bulls bloody heritage.

      As to why your pit bulls failed to do what they were bred for, one can only guess. Perhaps you are being less than forthcoming - that happens an awful lot with pit bull owners. (we won't mention the murder of the widow's blind old poodle next door, will we? after all capone was "just playing", and anyway, the poodle started it) Maybe you have been fortunate to have "cold" pit bulls - it happens, but you absolutely can't count on it, and you can't be sure until the day they die. Maybe you properly contained them, who knows?

      What we do know is that pit bulls come from centuries of breeding a type of dog that will happily torture and kill another creature that poses no threat, for no particular reason other than the fact that it feels right for it to carry out its genetic programming. And the tens of thousand of innocent, helpless animals torn apart by "family pit bulls" that somehow get loose bear mute testament to this genetic heritage.

      Speaking of science, I think it's hilarious that you mention the bell curve, while making the claim that your limited experience somehow proves that pit bulls don't attack.

      You say pit bulls are just like any other dog. The mountain of tortured animal corpses says otherwise.


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