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A couple weeks ago, an experienced volunteer who had dedicated her life to working with Pitbulls was tragically mauled to death. The attack occurred while walking one of these dogs at our local municipal shelter. Prior to this, another woman had been Campaigning on social media to get these dogs adopted. After the mauling, she posted that, in order to honor the victim, her favorite dogs, two Pitbulls should be adopted. She claimed that this was what the victim would have wanted, yet how could she know this?!. I was horrified to hear about this event, and started to research the breed. It turns out that Pitbulls account for a disproportionately high percentage of dog bite fatalities. Instead of considering this fact, the advocates insisted that it was not the dog's fault, and even went as far as to suggest that the victim, being a former addict must have done something to provoke the attack. They also elaborated about how and why these dogs are not to blame, because people mistreat them. Pitbull attack victims presented their data and statistics to no avow, only to be chastised as soulless and heartless monsters who wanted to slaughter innocent animals. Somehow, the fact that a woman was senselessly killed by a dog, turned into a defense of the breed, and pictures were posted of people's pets as proof of their lovable nature. Now the municipal shelter has been defunded and is packed with these dogs. People are so stuck on validating the death, that all they can do is rabidly defend saving the dogs, at the possible expense of public safety. By the way, the dog who killed the women had been up for Adoption. Of course there has been alot of superstitious nonsense about how the victim died doing what she loved, and is still advocating for these dogs from heaven. I find it sickening in a way.

friendlycatlady 5 May 25

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5

"rabidly defend saving the dogs" -- I see what you did there. πŸ™‚ But I totally agree with you. You have to keep in mind that people who are "all in" for any cause will overlook common sense if it butts up against their beliefs. Just another form of "faith".

Exactly! They will go to any lengths now, to prove that they are the righteous ones, and that anyone who raises any questions or doubt about their mission is deemed a hater. It's exactly like religion! In fact, they are incapable of confronting the issue and finding solutions instead of defending their cause.

So is insisting that an entire breed is violent and evil.

@Piratefish And nobody is doing that.

@friendlycatlady So I must be totally misunderstanding everyone who is blaming pit bulls.

@Piratefish It has nothing to do with blame. It's called acknowledgement of facts, data, research.

@Piratefish Nobody is insisting anything. We are sharing our opinions, experience s and statistics. If you feel that way it's because that's your own interpretation.

4

Over my lifetime, I have read many accounts about the pit bull. My brother owned one that was kept on a long running wire. There is no doubt in my mind that dog would have harmed me, if it was loose. I have known people who owned gentle pitbulls. And I am a dog lover, but I would not adopt a pitbull. My observation tells me, that there is something in the nature of some pitbulls, that lays dormant and comes out, under certain circumstances, and it is unknown. Then some people β€˜temper’ their pitbull to be aggressive. Even that owner could be in danger. If the pitbull is mixed, there is a better chance of a gentle nature, but there is no guarantee there. This is just what I have experienced. I am grieved to put a dog down, but in this case, I believe it best, for other dogs and humans.

I don't recommend putting all of the dogs down. I work with a TNR group in order to control the overpopulation of feral and unwanted cats. They are trapped, ear tipped, vaccinated, sterilized then returned to field. In time their numbers diminish due to attrition. I would recommend that the same be done with dogs who, otherwise are being destroyed in county shelters. I also think there should be a government funded incentive, education and training as well as fencing for those who love and want to own them. The County should also fund a separate sanctuary for dogs being warehoused indefinitely.

@friendlycatlady i don’t think dogs can be β€˜fixed,’ and returned anywhere! They would β€˜pact’ up and would still be dangerous. I know many people that are working with the cat population as they can survive in the wild, but a domesticated dog could not. What about the safety of workers with high risk dogs in separate shelters? And a much higher risk with the volume of dogs!

@Freedompath I am NOT recommending that the dogs be set loose! What I'm saying is that this overpopulation problem is a matter of proliferation vs. attrition. It should be mandatory to sterilize them as opposed to allowing the backyard proliferation. They must still be safely contained, in either responsible owners homes, rescues or Sanctuaries, of course. In time, their population would be manageable.

@friendlycatlady maybe if there was a specific law and the government controlled it. Because, there are people who will not β€˜fix’ their male dog...it’s like taking it’s manhood away! Now I have heard more than one person say, such an ignorant thing!

@Freedompath Yes, and an unaltered male dog is 4-5 times more likely to be aggressive! My opinion is that owners have a duty to protect their neighbors. If a mandatory ordinance was enacted Animal Control could enforce it.

@friendlycatlady most places have mandatory laws...people start out and follow the law and then the dog gets to be more work than they realized...time passes and they take their eye off their job and something unforeseen happens. It is work to have a dog of any kind and certainly one that has a questionable history.

@Freedompath Certainly true, and that is why the dogs end up being euthanized in kill shelters.

@friendlycatlady maybe if that fact was stressed to people before they decide to adopt a pet, that they require work as much as any family member (sometimes even need education)...there would be less careless adoptions that end up in a shelter.

4

If I were a wolf and knew that at a point 12000 years down the line one of my progeny would become a Pomeranian, I'd slink off into the forest and pass the word to resist domestication at all costs.

4

I have a former student who has a rescue pitbull that attacked his mother's caregiver and his mother! They both had severe bites, but survived. He made excuses for the dog and kept it.

If I had a chihuahua who attacked people, I would have it put down. While dog abuse abhors me, it is no excuse for keeping alive a dog that is dangerous.

"rescue" is the critical word here. Rescued from a horrible, violent owner, and possibly trained from birth to be violent and aggressive by asshole PEOPLE. Give that same dog to a normal person when it is a newborn puppy, and it would be a completely different dog. Stop blaming the breed when it is clearly asshole PEOPLE who are the problem.

@Piratefish I do not disagree. My point is that dogs who bite--especially those who bite twice--need to be put down. If the dog is large and capable of substantial damage, this is even more important.

As I said, if I had a chihuahua who was a biter, he would go. In fact, my ex-husband once took a golden cocker spaniel from a friend of his. The dog growled at our sons several times and one day, lunged at me. I put a leash on him and took him to the local animal shelter. The shelter said that the dog would not be put up for adoption but would be euthanized.

When my ex mentioned this to his friend, he said, "Oh, yeah, he bit my daughter a couple of times." And yet, he gave the dog to a family with two small children.

@Piratefish I am agreeing with you here, people are the problem, ok? That being said, what can our County Officials do to resolve this situation or at least minimize the risks of it continuing and reoccurring? Do you have any suggestions?

@friendlycatlady Yes--this.

@Gwendolyn2018

Go after the owners who raise ANY dog to be aggressive and fight. Make it a high-level felony that carries serious prison time and heavy fines. Also, anyone caught running dog fighting rings goes to prison for life. Period. Do not pass "Go", do not collect $200.

Also, I'll just leave this right here (big spoiler: ALL breeds are not only capable of killing people, they do - but in almost every single case, it was the OWNERS who made it possible). Pit bulls are no more a problem than Fords or VWs are the problem with drunk drivers.

[en.wikipedia.org]

@Piratefish You are beating a dead horse. I already said that I do not disagree with you. Preach your litany to someone else.

4

Pitbulls are a nice dog. The problem is idiots get them to look tough and train them to be aggressive.
Working rurally, once a dog gets a taste for live kill and blood, anydog, it will continue on that path so you put it down if you want to keep your chickens, lambs etc. Without knowing the story, I suspect at least one of the dogs may have been blooded.
I would hope the shelter does background checks and doesn't offer blooded dogs for adoption.

The reason I wrote this post was to gain a different perspective other than the same reiterations ; that it's not the breed, or it's how they are treated. Certain breeds have proved to have specific tendencies inherent to breeding. While dog BITES may be more equally distributed amongst various breeds, when you actually research FATALITIES you get graphics and statistics that prove otherwise. The reason for this is the tendency for the most dangerous breeds to fight to the death. You will also see various testimonials from owners how raised dogs since they were puppies, and they were fine, until one day they killed a child or even their owners. There are some people who love the breed and purposely put themselves into situations that may increase their odds of being mauled. But don't OTHER people, like the low income single mom have the same rights? In my opinion, people who are dead set on adopting these dangerous breed should at least be held to certain stipulations, such as industrial fencing. In the cities and rural neighborhoods these dogs get loose all the time. Then they either end up being warehoused in shelters or circulated back into our communities. There is no way to tell whether they could endanger innocent people or pets. The dog that killed had passed all the requirements for Adoption, and had never shown any aggression.

@friendlycatlady I think certain breeds should be treated as a wild animal...unpredictable...the people who want them can take a chance, but society should not have to worry about them...

Maybe my dog would never attack me, but I could not be sure he wouldn't attack others for some stupid thing...he wore a muzzle and chest control leash when in public no matter what...even at the vets or a 5 minute outing for a walk...

I would treat certain breeds just like a lion or tiger...

@friendlycatlady they are an aggressive dog bred for hunting. I agree if you must have one proper fencing etc If enforced, would stop the idiots getting one.
Dogs are both territorial and a pack animal. Pack animals have leaders so a situation like a shelter, I dare say the animals are confused and on edge.
A think a solution would be to register both owners and dogs of identified dangerous breeds. Then only dedicated pitbull lovers will get one.

@thinktwice My late wife and I had a Golden/Shepherd mix, would scream and try to bite who every was going to trim her nails,even with a muzzle,the groomers refused to do anything with the Dog,so we did the bathing and nail trims at our home.

@Mike1947 Sounds like there are a lot of responsible pet lovers here...there are solutions and many require work and money, but so worth it...I loved my dog even though he was dangerous to others and a lot of work was needed to keep him and others safe...would I do it again with another similar dog...no...

@powder I think the reason the shelters don't address and confront these issues is because these dogs are so hard to place, so they just want to get them adopted. This doesn't sit well with me. If they push them on people they should also be required to educate and provide free training, plus inspection of the owner's home. This would also help to prevent the abuse that contributes to the problem. Dogs have been found dead on the ends of chains. Unsupervised tethering is another cruelty issue.

@friendlycatlady I think a big problem with aggressive breeds is people get them as a status symbol rather than a companion animal. Wrong reason.
Must add the most aggressive snappy dogs I've encounter are miniature poodles and other bitsa terrior types. It's like they have pissed off little man syndrome.

@friendlycatlady as a conservationist and realist, I have no problem enthusing unwanted and unplaceable animals. Then the resources can be better used caring for the rest. Cruel to be kind.
I justify taking life by humans caused the problem so up to us to deal with it. So I swallow my conscious and do the unpleasant job that needs to be done. As I said, by removing life it may cause other lives to improve.
You are obviously a cat lover. They are a beautiful animal and make great pets. But they are also apex predators, efficient killing machines. In Australia they kill a lot of native species so in order to increase their survival, I have no problem ridding them from the landscape, even though I also love the species. Irony.

@powder That's another contentious issue. But bare in mind, TNR is a proven method of decreasing the cat population. It was just allowed here, and, has been more successful in achieving a zero population growth then catch and kill. Another example of proliferation vs. attrition. I believe these methods are more successful because the public supports them.

@friendlycatlady cats in Australia are introduced. I hope TNR does not affect your native wild cats (bobcats?).
I'm a bit wary introducing something to control a population. A story about where this went disastrously wrong is cane toads in Australia.

3

The breed should, in my opinion, be phased out through interbreeding them with a more notoriously gentle and docile breed. The world doesn't need canine cage fighters. However, that being said, I don't think the breed should be slaughtered either. But, if the individual dog has bitten or attacked anyone or another animal unwarrantably, it would be best if it were put down for future safety's sake, no matter what breed it is.

3

I've always had large rescued Shepherd mixes. Because, to me, one bite means getting uthanized, I go to great lengths to socialize them and to make sure they are never put in a situation where they would bite someone.
Typically I get,"oh my, what a nice dog. Does he bite?" My answer is always, "never, so far. Why, do dogs bite you?"

3

Dogs that bite should be put down. Period. Breeds of dogs are not the issue. Some dogs are more dangerous than others when they bite. When a small dog bites it's not life threatening but big dogs can and do kill.

Pits are not the only ones with history. When I was growing up Dobies were the bad boys of dog bites and kills. There was a movie in the 70's, "They Only Kill Their Masters", a murder mystery that started a huge fad to own Dobies. This also started a rash of attacks. Inexperience and incompetence with the breed, over breeding and not sorting out aggressive dogs were the issues as was poor training.

Now the same has been going on with Pits. Big/strong dogs are high risk. Period. When you rescue dogs you don't always know their history. That is doubling down on risk.

I actually don't agree with you that all dogs who have bitten should be put down. I think it is dependent on the severity of the bite and the dog's potential to inflict serious injury. If a dog just nipped someone, other things, such as a muzzle might be acceptable.

I'm with @friendlycatlady - I think consideration should be given to the circumstances. Did the dog bite because it was being abused or teased? Was it defending its people? Was it defending its puppies or home? Unless it was just plain being mean and is clearly dangerous, it should be forgiven.

My dog bit two people...the original owner who thought he would teach him to be a fight dog by beating him with a tire iron one inch from death...the second was a person who wore a black leather coat and raised his arm just like the original owner and approached the dog quickly...

Knowing my dog would be put down after a third bite, I never let him near anybody except me without a muzzle and even put him in a family room with a locked door so he would never have the opportunity...

It is often the actions of people that cause the bite...people who don't like dogs or who have them, need to know that the best thing is to stay away or ask...I took extra care and made it my responsibility just because of this

3

They are naturally gentile and loving dogs Assholes turn them violent

3

The "most bites" breed over the past several decades has been Cocker Spaniels, in fact.
Pit bulls like every other breed are a product of their upbringing. It is quite difficult to overcome early learned aggression, and they are Powerful dogs! I was lucky enough to own Peach, the silliest, smartest dog I have ever owned, without a bad attitude in her, just wriggles of delight all day, every day. But any dog who has experienced ugliness can become reactive & you will never know why.....
Having said this, my mantra is, "dogs that bite, say goodnight" and I have followed it in my 40+ years of dog ownership. Millions of dogs are being put to sleep simply because they are "superfluous"....why pretend you can be vigilant 24/7/365 with an aggressive animal?!

Thanks for your response. However, I am not trying to lead a discussion on dog bites. That argument is circular. Let's talk fatalities.

2

The frenzy on both sides of this issue is counterproductive in deciding the fate of a specific animal following a fatal attack. That said, I am very wary of pitbulls from experiences with them. Some truly are delightful. The others can be frightening!
One family pet pit that lived next door on a similar 3acre parcel attacked and killed a sheep on the land, for no apparent reason. Another time, a roaming pit chased my two dogs, one into the house! Then fought with Animal Control when they came to extract him.

2

I don't have past experience with pit bulls. I am wary of them given their reputation, but I am also wary of German shepherds, Dobermans, and Rottweilers. It isn't bc I think there's something inherently wrong with any of those breeds - I've had very positive experiences with the handful of German shepherds I've known - but bc the sort of people who want a fierce dog prefer those breeds and encourage those fierce behaviors. So if I don't know the dog, I am wary. I also know to be cautious around unfamiliar dogs generally.

All that being said, I am skeptical of both sides of the debate about pit bulls. I periodically look for insight on the subject. I recently found this article, which I found somewhat helpful. I imagine that the book discussed in the article would be even more helpful since its author emphasizes that it is foolish to either idealize or to demonize the pit bulls.

One point in the article says that studies in 8 countries have found that pit bulls are no more likely to bite, nor to inflict serious injuries than other dogs. This stands in contrast to a study the OP mentions on this thread where fatalities from pit bull attacks exceed those from other breeds even if bite rates are comparable. I don't know what's true. I would be interested to see all the relevant studies and to note their various methodologies. [thecut.com]

Very true. Some of the statements I made come from Dogbite.org. Their statistics are thought to be accurate. However, there are also pitbull hate groups which obviously post propaganda. It is interesting to compare all the information though I haven't gone so far as to confirm their validity. Something you have to consider is what is the intent of the original person disseminating the data, and are they somehow biased ?

I believe the percentage of pitbull fatalities as opposed to all other breeds is somewhere between 62-72%, according to dogbite.com.

The fact that, at least in my community pitbulls are an unmanageable problem is self evident. They are constantly being picked up roaming the streets by animal control and dumped into kill shelters. They are difficult to get adopted and are being euthanized at alarming rates. The fact that an experienced trainer was mauled to death in our municipal shelter is also evidence that there is a problem. Whether or not it's the dog's fault doesn't effect the fact that this is a problem that our city and county officials must address.

See the difference?

@friendlycatlady The absolute numbers are indeed disturbing. However, it would be helpful if such statistics were offered per 100,000 dogs of that breed in the country. So far the only table I've seen that does that is on this site: [pitbullinfo.org]

It is based on a 20-year study that ended in 1998 (so not the most current information). There are two such tables. The first is based on the second, so scroll down a bit for more data. The second table uses 2 different population estimates for pitbull-type dogs as of 1998 (6% or 12% of dogs in the US), but either way pitbulls didn't have the highest dog-bite related fatality rates. They ranked 4th if 6% was used and 9th if 12%. The breeds with the 3 worst DBRF rates aren't even notorious (malamutes, chow chows, St. Bernards).

The current estimate I saw of the pitbull population in the US is about 20% of all dogs. If that's true, it would drive up the fatalities without its meaning that the breed was extra dangerous.

@vertrauen That's a pretty impressive study. The CDC and AVMA are credible sources. Will definitely have to focus on this in the morning! However, from what I have read, the number of fatal pitbull attacks escalated drastically from the year 2007 to currently. The drastic upswing was connected to the arrest of that Vic guy who was involved in dog fighting. I think a more current study would be more relevant.

@friendlycatlady On the other side, I found this site. [banpitbulls.org]
Near the very bottom the estimates of the pitbull population were/are 3% in 1999 and 5% currently. If these much lower numbers are accurate, then the DBRF rate would be much worse.

@vertrauen Those are closer to what I read. My research says the ratio is 6% population to 72% currently. Yes, that graph is the same one I saw. Notice the steady escalation of attacks from 2007-2013?!

2

It's hard not to be weary of pitbulls. Owner's responsibility or not. The tales have been around for decades. Haven't heard similar stories about many other types of dogs.

2

I believe,any Dog can attack,if the conditions are there,a situation,a perfume that the Dogs previous owner wore,perhaps the Dog has behaviour problems?

But if that is true, do you also feel that an animal that is easily provoked enough to actually kill an experienced volunteer belongs in a home, possibly with children? Should the shelter be held culpable if a dog they adopt out kills that child?

@friendlycatlady I don't think he's talking about the two dogs from the story, specifically. He's referring to breeds. A rottweiler, german shepherd, collie, you name it, can be conditioned to be very aggressive and violent by shitty human beings. It's just that, because of certain purely physical traits, pit bulls have been the choice of assholes everywhere to breed for fighting.

What is so difficult to understand about the owners and upbringing being the issue? Every pit bull I have ever met (and there have been many dozens over 48 years) have all been gentle and loving. But then again, they weren't trained from birth to attack and kill. @#$!%& amazing how that seems to work.

@friendlycatlady Any dog that is "provoked enough" will attack, no matter of the breed.

@Piratefish It's not that it's too difficult to understand, it's that it is counter to the testimonials I have heard and read about, where the dogs were raised from puppies and NOT abused, but to the surprise and horror of their owners they suddenly seemed to snap, and kill. Saying it is all dependant on how the dogs were raised inadvertently places the blame on the victim. This is what I find most disturbing.

@friendlycatlady Where are these verified stories of all these dangerous, violent pitbulls that suddenly rise up and attack their owners without provocation? Maybe one out of a million dogs will do that, kind of like people. But there is zero scientific evidence that supports the notion that an entire breed of dog is bad or dangerous. Zero. But, please, be my guest and prove me wrong. Share just one scientifically conducted, valid, peer-reviewed, replicated study that shows a statistically significant difference between pit bulls and any other breed when it comes to natural aggression and propensity for violence. I'll be waiting .... and will most likely die from old age before such a study can be found (because they don't exist - it's nonsense).

@Piratefish Just to clarify, the two dogs being touted for Adoption were NOT the ones who killed her. That was a separate pitbull, who was euthanized. But what disturbed some people was the fact that the other woman used the death as a way to advocate for the other dogs, within days, and they were the same breed as the one who killed her. To me, a more fitting tribute to the victim and her family would be to enact some type of legislation to prevent another fatal dog attack!

@Jolanta That's assuming that the volunteer "provoked the dog enough" for it to kill her. I find that assumption to be very disturbing. If whatever she might have done was enough to be mauled to death, what guarantee is there that a small child might not meet the same fate?

@Piratefish The live testimonials I saw were on line. I can't prove their validity, but there are dozens of them. You can also access photos of mauling victims, including small children and elderly people. I can not prove that none of these dogs were provoked. But the accounts, and photos to me are self evident that regardless of the circumstances, these fatalities are happening and that is enough for me to be alarmed and consider it a problem.

2

Pitbulls were bred for fighting other dogs. If you take away that evolutionary imperative then you lose the better parts of their breed like courage. Aggression without courage leaves only a bully. Of course, I am not advocating dog fighting but without that selective. Then all the litter gets to breed too.
My brother had a Staffordshire bull terrier. It was a lovely dog and very safe but he maintained that the breed should be neutered to die out, for the aforementioned reasons

2

"Pittbulls" - that kind of tells you what they were bred for . . . . . . kind of a no-brainer.

THHA Level 7 May 25, 2019
2

How tragic. Not a fan of pitbulls. They seem to only have been bred for one reason, and not even a good reason. I have seem some lovable dogs, but those jaws are made to kill, and if they are provoked or frightened the damage they can do is terrible. I would never wish to see an animal put down purely for what breed it is, but it would sure make me happy if people would stop breeding them.

Deb57 Level 8 May 25, 2019

Exactly! I suggested breed specific sterilization, and was condemned for it! Is makes perfect sense to me, since, I too sympathize with the ones who are born into a world where they will most likely end up in a kill shelter. Right now both of our municipal shelters are innidated with Pitbulls, and they are being euthanized by the hundreds!

Any dog's jaws are made to kill. They are natural predators descended from wolves. If a collie was raised from birth to be violent and aggressive, it would be just as dangerous as a pit bull. Any similar size dog would be. But pit bulls have this misfortune of being chosen by violent assholes everywhere to raise as fighting dogs, and those are the pit bulls who are dangerous. All the other ones I have ever met were raised by decent human beings and are among the most loving, gentle animals I have ever seen.

@Piratefish Good. I'm happy to hear that 😊

@Piratefish I beg to differ. Pitbulls are bred for jaw strength. They are far more dangerous than other breeds for that reason alone, not to mention temperament and other bred-in aspects of the animal. If what you said were true, we would also have "pit-collies," and we don't.

@Deb57 A collie can kill someone just as dead if it decides to. All dogs of the same size have enough bite force to kill a person. Anything pit bulls have is overkill. A flyswatter kills a fly just as dead as a hammer. Fortunately, assholes don't rear collies from pups to be vicious killers. So beg to differ all you would like, it doesn't change simple facts. If a collie decides it is going to kill you, it will. Unless you get help or get lucky.

Do a quick Google search. The news is littered with stories of dogs of EVERY breed killing people. It's not the breed! The ignorance is absolutely staggering. But believe whatever you want to believe. Who cares about data and facts?

[buzzfeednews.com]

[en.wikipedia.org]

@Piratefish What's up with the snark? What I begged to differ about is what is bred in to the animal. Genetics matters. Collies, are not traditionally bred to be killers, they are not bred with the inclination to kill. Pitbulls are. While you may be acquainted with some cuddly, lovey pitbulls (I am too) they have been bred for generations for a certain temperament, as well as physical traits, that most dogs have not. I don't doubt that a collie or even a swarm of peek-a-poos could kill me under the right circumstances, but the odds of damage to me increase dramatically when a pitbull is the dog in my vicinity.

@Piratefish The big picture here is that, regardless of who's at fault, or whether or not there are exceptions, the breed in question is the one which for whatever reasons has the most troubling impact on our Animal shelters and communities. This is self evident in the fact that just in this month alone, in the state of Florida there has been one fatality, and at least another severe mauling involving the breed. Florida has a serious problem, and it's not a Collie problem. If it were we would be discussing Collies.

1

One reason why they are a banned breed in the UK

1

I have had 2 pit mixes. one was a pit/chow and she (Cholla) was a very loving dog. She would lay for hours with a friends' infant daughter. The other was a pit/Datamation/heeler. Crackers, she loved people but did not like any other animals on the planet. Was gored 5 times by javelina, hit 5 times by porcupines. She just would not leave wild animals alone. Finally went after a bear and the bear killed her. Vet stated the dalmatian made her a bit crazy.

We have a dalmatian in my neighborhood that is known to act aggressively. It also escapes about twice a month from it's yard, and even attacked the other neighbor's tiny dog. I noticed that the dog is not neutered, which makes it even more likely to hurt someone. I think cracking down on owners like that is more than justifiable.

1

If a dog attacks or bites there is always a reason - and I have plenty of scars from bites. The commonest reasons are dominance and fear.
Dominance: everything a dog does is about pack hierarchy - dogs never play fight - they test each others strength and fitness the more dominant showing it is still stronger. In a dogs eyes, humans are part of their pack and usually the human takes the role of pack leader - some people do not easily adopt that role and the dog feels it has to take charge to 'look after you because you are weak' simple indicators are pushing through doors first, taking control of a chair, etc.
It could easily be that lady had a drink, or took drugs, maybe hours earlier .. but enough effect for that dog to decide it had the chance to gain dominance .. Pit bulls are not toy dogs, they need careful control by someone who knows what they are doing and can read the signs.... getting it wrong can and does prove fatal.... but any dog over 40kg (90lb) will always easily kill a human if it so desires...few do
Fear; unlikely in this case. A fearful dog - tail tucked under, hind quarters lowered, looking away, are all signs of fear - leave the dog alone. If you want to gain its confidence, get a magazine, sit on the floor a few feet away and read aloud. The dog will eventually decide you are not a hreat, will relax and eventually come to you - give it time - then don't be stupid and grab its neck, rub its head or anyhing more than put your hand on the floor to be sniffed. Win confidence you have a friend.....approach too quickly, particularly if you force it into a corner, it may bite...a fearful dog will move away from you if it can..

Thank you for that information 😊. However, I don't think it's fair to malign the victim of the attack by using her past addiction as a reason to question her professionalism. These are reformed addicts who no longer use, so I doubt that was the case. I think assuming things about the victim, as opposed to accepting the fact that a dog who is capable of mauling someone to death requires strick regulation is a part of the problem.

@friendlycatlady I said it could be. There is some logical reason, in that dogs mind, to attack. Simply that as humans we generally don't see it ... dog language is highly complex and very subtle and to see what is being said often requires deep knowledge of the signs and careful attention to the dog. With a lhasa apso or other small dog the downside of getting it wrong are not too bad .. with a pit bull, the downside is really bad.
Pit bulls have a place .. trained to work they will defend an airfield or any other place you want secured better than a GSD, but they are highly focused dogs, not suitable for most people to handle.
As an aside, the worst bite I ever had was from a miniature poodle which clamped its jaws on my hand - I could see daylight through the wound - because I took the dog for granted and was not paying enough attention to its fear,

@ShadowAmicus I understand. My take on this is that most of us can not be expected to read a dog's mind. I also read that some dogs do not signal before an attack. My main concern is with small children who can't be expected to know better than tease or somehow provoke a dog capable of killing them. That's why I think it is more important to safeguard their lives. If we must coexist with potentially dangerous animals, the emphasis should be on how to minimize the risk.

@ShadowAmicus This is my 3 year old neighbor, Pumpkin. Pumpkin doesn't know how to read a dog's mind. He went over to my other neighbor's fence, which is not secure and yelled at their dogs. This is why I feel all fences should be inspected and not have holes or cracks in them.

@friendlycatlady old song by crosby stills nash and young ; teach your children well'
If a child verbally or physically 'attacks' a strange dog it is open to retribution - in a dogs mind it is a subserviant non-pack member seeking dominance - same may apply to a child the dog knows well, but there will be familial inhibitors mitigating the childs actions in the dogs eyes.
If anyone has a dog, they have a duty to keep their property secure, particularly with some breeds.
Equally, parents have a responsibility to teach their children how to behave.
I have seen many children kick, hit, bite and scream at a dog - but if the dog retaliates, it is the dog takes the blame ... my opinion, you will not like; there is a surplus of stupid people in the world and there is no excuse to allow them to propogate.

@ShadowAmicus You're right. I did not like this comment. An adorable child should never lose his life for doing what is intrinsic to them, regardless on where the blame is placed.

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I feel terrified of pitbulls. All of my hiking partners feel the same way.

Pitbulls attacked their dogs.

All military bases in the United State ban pitbulls. Many cities, including the largest US public housing authority in New York City, ban pit bulls through Housing Authorities.

Where pit bulls are banned:

[huffpost.com]

Some people are questioning the validity of that data. Either that, or they keep yelling that it's not the dog's fault, it's people who turn them viscous, thereby unwittingly admitting that there is a problem. What they refuse to see is that defending the dogs doesn't change the facts. What needs to be done is to find SOLUTIONS to minimize the risk to the public. I have also seen graphs that clearly show that the frequency of dog maulings has been steadily rising. I'm with you. My worst nightmare is being mauled by a dog, and then having people say, " It's not the dog's fault. She must have provoked it." What a senseless way to die!

@friendlycatlady

I have been attacked by eight unleashed dogs while hiking and snowshoeing. It took six months for my knee to heal after one attack. Now I feel understandably terrified of strange dogs.

None of the dog owners apologized. None of them controlled their dogs when I asked them to. They blamed me: "He never did that before."

"He's friendly!" they said lamely when I asked them to control their aggressive dog.

Now when dogs rush at me, barking and growling, I vigorously whisk my sharp hiking poles at my feet, criss-crossing the poles in front of me. An effective barrier.

"Stop waving your poles!" dog owners say. "You'll hurt my dog."

That's my plan. "Then control your dog!"

People who refuse to control their dogs are disrespectful and selfish.

edited

@LiterateHiker I feed all the stray cats in my neighborhood. One guy let's his large breed dog loose all the time. He claims that the dog is harmless and just wants to play with the cats. It's difficult enough for me to get all of the cats fed without someone letting their dog chase them all away. Besides, I am rightfully afraid for the cats and myself. This morning I finally left a note on his car, polietly asking him to control his dog. Everyone in my neighborhood used to left their dogs run loose, and I have been lunged at and nearly attacked on my own property. You're right it's disrespectful and ignorant as hell 😑

@LiterateHiker Have you ever considered carrying a can of Mase or even a gun while you are hiking?

@friendlycatlady

I refuse to buy a gun. Mace is illegal in Washington State.

Years ago, I had a small pepper spray canister on a wristband. Sprayed it in the face of an attacking, large dog. The dog yelped, turned tail and ran.

With pepper spray, be careful with the wind. If it blows into your face, it temporarily blinds you.

The pepper spray canister dried out in my car. And the black Velcro wristband was itchy and hot. Didn't replace it.

Quickly criss-crossing hiking poles at my feet makes dogs back off. Perfect. I don't stop when dog owners protest. To hell with them. Yes, I will poke out a dog's eyes if it attacks me.

People need to control their dogs.

@LiterateHiker Thanks for the info. I think I will try to get the Mase. Wasn't sure if it would be effective against a dog attack or not. A friend of mine also advised that if it comes down to life or death, gauging your finger into an attacker's eye socket will kill it ! Unbelievable that we have to have a discussion like this in order to insure our own safety! I am planning to write a letter to the editor and will be considering all viewpoints. Once the letter is sent, I will post it to this group.

@friendlycatlady

Karen carries a large canister of cougar spray. It's pepper spray.

Although Karen hikes every day, she has never used it.

@LiterateHiker right, on it is the owners responsibility to know/control their dog. Some dogs due to breeding just should not be. Some people also.

1

Some of you should take a moment to watch this video:

[facebook.com]

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Ever been around pit bull puppies? They're the kindest, gentlest dogs, just as loving and peaceful as any other breed. Then violent, stupid assholes get a hold of them and train them to become aggressive killers through months and even years of conditioning. They don't often do this with any other breed of dog. Hence the reason why pit bull bites account for more attacks than other breeds.

It truly is the height of ignorance to blame the breed when it is clearly the owners who determine how almost all dogs turn out. I would encourage you to do real research (scientifically conducted, peer-reviewed, replicated studies), talk to veterinarians and dog specialists, get around as many pit bulls as you can, especially as puppies. To claim it's the breed is absurd.

The dogs that did this are rescues, almost certainly from a fighting ring. They were trained and conditioned since birth to be aggressive and violent BY PEOPLE. Because, to the individual, every other pit bull is as loving as you can want when raised by decent human beings. Pretty @#$%! obvious what is going on.

Sadly, these two dogs are probably unfit for adoption by anyone, and may need to be euthanized. But it is hardly because of their breed.

Whether or not the breed is inherently violent is not the point of this post. Many claim, as you do that people are always to blame. My point is that since people have proved to be irresponsible and incapable of handling this breed, what safety and other measures can we take to minimize the chances of this tragedy happening in our communities?

totally agree

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In doing research on taking my pup to Canada for a visit I discovered that while they only require the dogs to have all the major vaccinations, they have regulations against bringing Pitbulls and their mix breeds into the country. There are many cities in the US where they are forbidden as well. While that’s a shame for people who own well behaved ones, and I understand that they are fiercely loyal dogs and very protective, as you point out, when they go rogue they are ferocious killers of whatever they target.

It is a sad situation. This is such a contentious issue, that I chose not to discuss it on Facebook. I am "friends" with most of the rescue people due to my volunteer work with Community cats. I don't know what the solution is, and don't want to add any fuel to the fire. I just hope that our County Commissioners and Animal Control can reach an agreement with the Animal Welfare organizations and come up with a solution based on facts, and not just beliefs and emotions.

0

Since I compiled my list, 4 more pitbull attacks occurred, still in the month of May;
May, 29th, SE, DC; 2 pitbulls mauled a woman taking out her trash. She suffered wounds to her face and hands. Earlier, the same dogs attacked a teenager walking a 6mo. old puppy. Dogs rushed police, who shot them.
May, 29th, Wyoming; A boy is in the hospital after a Pitbull-Rottweiler attack. The boy's arm was broken in two places, and he suffered severe muscle and nerve damage.
May, 28th, Indiana; Shelbyville; Pitbull attacked a dog and it's owner.
May, 28th, Jacksonville, FL; A teen was attacked by a pitbull. She suffered cardiac arrest ( heart attack) and is in ICU.

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