I live just outside Boston, MA and the mayor there (Mayor Thomas Menino) has called, once again, for a ban / crackdown on the breed. I heard today that he signed a bill to require Pit Bulls to be muzzled when in public, and it has created a bit of a furor with those who do not agree with breed specific laws.
I agree that it has connotations of racism, treating some differently than others… BUT THEY ARE PETS AND DOGS AND ANIMALS BRED TO BE DIFFERENT. They are not people who should all be treated equally with the same rights. THEY ARE, BY THEIR VERY NATURE, DIFFERENT physically and in temperament. Are we really so PC that we have to deny that now?
It isn’t a question of Pitt Bulls being the only breed that barks or bites. Nor are Pitts the breed that bites the most. But Pitts, as a breed, do bite more than others, are less predictable than other breeds, and inflict FAR worse damage. Poodles my bark and bite more, but they usually bite and release and the bites are not typically dangerous.
Pitts bite, lock their jaws, shake, tear, and tug. They zone out, disregard personal pain, and don’t give up until broken from their ‘trance’… they inflict horrific and many times life threatening wounds.
I don’t even blame the breed as that is what they were bred to do. It is in their nature. I had a friend that spent almost ten years working with a local Pitt rescue and finally gave up as the dogs were too far damaged or were uncontrollable and unpredictable even when initially well cared for so could not be safely placed in a home. I have close friends that love the breed and are great owners, knows the breed’s quirks and tendencies, and deal with it. They have a great dog but even they have had to pull back from dog play groups, saw unpredictably aggressive behavior near a school and can’t bring the dog to pick up their kids, etc.
All breeds are descendants of initially wild dogs and have bred for certain traits. Dogs to work in the field, protect a home, ferret out vermin, retrieve birds in hunting, etc. Physical traits have been bred out or in to help, but also behavioral tendencies such as the tenacity of breeds used to hunt or the stubbornness of bulldogs. While the individual dog may have more or less of a tendency compared to others in the breed, those breeds will always have certain traits comparatively to other breeds. If you take generations of time to breed a dog that us good with family, learns quickly, and is obedient, you end up with Retrievers. If you breed one that is large, unfettered by weather, is mellow, and lives to be challenged with work then you get a Burmese Mountain dog. If you breed one to be aggressive, athletic, quick tempered, lock jawed, protective, and pain tolerant then you get a Pit.
Do some Retrievers snap or bite? Yup. Do some Pits make good pets with the right owners? Yup. But you are always going against what generations have bred in and bred out.
No one questions it if someone says that bulldogs are typically lazy and stubborn. Or that poodles are smart but often high strung. We acknowledge breed tendencies and generalities. So why are we denying that some breeds bred to fight and inflict damage need to be treated differently as they are prone to be aggressive and can inflict terrible damage?