I’ve been around animals all of my life especially dogs and many of the dogs I have had were quite large especially considering what passes for a dog these days. I had a short-haired St. Bernard that was about as big as a Volkswagen. As big as Zeus was I never had to worry about his disposition as it is not in the nature of St. Bernard’s to attack people.
Before we go blaming all of the pit bull owners for being lousy dog owners or making their Pit Bulls aggressive, it is important to remember what the dog was bred for. All dogs are bred for one purpose or another. Some dogs like the Beagle are bred for rapid hole digging because they are tasked with helping the hunter secure his kill and some hunting dogs just point. There are dogs bred to look pretty in a ladies handbag, hunt rodents, protect, herd livestock, race and for companionship.
Pit Bulls were bred with characteristics conducive to fighting each other to the death for gambling purposes. Many Pit Bulls look like they are on steroids literally with the kind of defined muscles you’d see on a flexing bodybuilder. This defined musculature is prevalent throughout the body extending even to the face to its well-known vice grip jaw. When they bite their jaw locks into place and their chest heavy extreme stature shakes the object doing extreme damage in the process. Much worse than say the bite of a German Shepard police dog. Several years ago my neighbor had a Pit Bull and a tire swing. The dog would jump up and bite down on the tire and just swing there for hours. Some of them aren’t very bright.
To be fair there are a lot of somewhat harmless Pit Bulls out there. Generally, the female of any dog breed tends to be much less aggressive than their male counterparts and there is a distinct difference between the size and musculature of a male Pit Bull to a female. So much so that it is usually easy to tell the female Pit Bull without looking at the dog’s junk.
That being said, a Pit Bull is an unacceptable risk and it is so unacceptable that Pit Bull owners have gotten into the habit of calling their dogs by other names like Terrier mix or some other mix combination, Boxer, Staffordshire Terrier, etc. to try to disguise their dogs and confuse people who are not familiar with dog breeds and also to dodge insurance requirements. Whatever they call them half of the unwanted dogs in shelters and in PetFinder (among others) are dogs that look strikingly similar to Pit Bulls.
An Iowa father was recently killed protecting his 5-year-old daughter from an attack from an (ahem) boxer.
A full grown man was killed by a Boxer eh. When was the last time that happened? I can show you pictures of Pit Bulls being called Boxers on pet adoption web sites all day long. If the dog is so harmless why the deception?
Look most Pit Bulls will never bite anyone even though they were bred to bite and to devastate when they do. Any dog can snap and for reasons, most of us can’t contemplate. When a normal dog snaps it is a bite or two in most cases and generally the harm done is very minor. A puncture wound at worst. When a Pit Bull snaps it doesn’t know when to stop and its goal is to maul very quickly something the breed is unequaled at. A Pit Bull has the capability to kill a child in mere seconds.
Let’s be clear. Children, women and old people have no business being around such dogs as they are defenseless against them. Even most men shouldn’t be around Pit Bulls for the same reason. These are very dangerous animals that can instantly go from loving family dog to murder. What is worst of all is those who own a Pit Bull because of their own personal insecurities. As if somehow owning any dog will make you a badass.
In my state to keep a Pit Bull, you are required to hold a one million dollar insurance policy because of the potential damage the breed is capable of doing to people. This law, however, is not enforced as so many are in shelters and so many shelters, even state-run shelters “rehome” the dogs as mixed breeds or just identify them as another breed.
What is the answer here? It certainly isn’t right that so many of these dogs are crowding shelters. It isn’t right that dogs with murderous reputations be exposed to the public and especially not around people and children who cannot put up a defense against an attack by the breed. Laws specifically designed to curb the breeding of these animals only affect the registered AKC Pit Bulls which can’t hide under the “mixed breed” or mislabeling techniques used by sellers and owners of the breed.
You can’t solve this issue by trying to identify the dog’s subspecies name which is why the insurance laws are so difficult to enforce. These people should have to buy insurance but most will go to any means to avoid it. I believe what we need are some kind of guidelines that don’t necessarily focus on a breed name but instead focus on muscle mass and other proportions like head to body size etc. to identify dogs that should be insured against catastrophic damage these dogs are capable of doing to people.
This is still America and you can own any dam dog you want, as long as you’re willing to be responsible for that dog. You shouldn’t get to own a dog and then if it mauls someone, walk away and leave the victim with the bill because you don’t have a million dollars in assets.