I get frustrated when people suggest that all Pit bulls are a danger to society. I work with someone, in fact, who is so prejudiced against these beautiful dogs, that she will leave a dog park with her dogs if a pit bull arrives. While Pit bulls are incredibly strong and can therefore inflict a dangerous wound if they do attack, they are by no means the only breed that bites. My dog was once bitten by a Golden Retriever at a dog park. My father was badly bitten on the leg by a Springer Spaniel once and needed several stitches and hospital visits. Not that I want to give Golden Retrievers or Springers a bad name – I’m just pointing out that any breed of dog can bite.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document that a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Additionally, if you look at the breeds of dogs that are most often obtained to be “guard dogs”, you’ll find Pit bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers – usually the same dogs we hear about in dog bite or dog attack stories. Is it any wonder that a dog who is kept chained, or treated as a security system instead of as a part of the family might act out or become aggressive? When these kinds of dogs are kept indoors, are well-trained, and treated as part of the family, they are excellent companions, and rarely aggressive. I mean, do these Pit bulls look like cold-blooded killers to you?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
A recent article out of the Victoria Advocate sums up this issue nicely, I think:
Pit bulls are no more dangerous than any other dog. They are loving and loyal animals.
Don’t ban pit bulls. Ban abusive owners.
“There’s a chance for any dog, even a good dog, to bite someone,” said Larry Green, a chaplain for Hospice of South Texas. “The aggression comes from how people raise them.”
Owners should properly care for pit bulls – love, train and keep them humanely enclosed. Besides, banning a breed is ineffective.
“It’s the deed and not the breed,” said David Kirkpatrick, spokesman for the American Veterinarian Medical Association. “There’s quite a bit of science that says banning a particular breed of dog has not proven to reduce dog bites. Breed-specific legislation is stereotyping certain breeds as being vicious. We oppose this.”
A dog’s tendency to bite depends on several factors. Chain any dog to a tree for lengthy periods and the dog will become angry and aggressive, Kirkpatrick said.
“If the dog is trained, socialized, kept in an environment that doesn’t increase its aggressiveness, than you will have a happy, healthy dog. Dog bites are preventable,” he said.