In Defense Of American Pit Bull Terriers

By: Mary Catherine - A WITN.Com reader
By: Mary Catherine - A WITN.Com reader

Mary Catherine weighs in on the tragic story of the dog that chewed the baby's toes off in Jacksonville. Read her thoughts and then let us know what you think.

I am an avid reader of articles posted on the website and I am usually very impressed with the unbiased way in which the articles are written.  Today, I realized that this is not always the case. I am incredibly disappointed and sickened at how this article was written due to the biased way that "pit bulls" are portrayed.

 

Unless you can show, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this puppy was, in fact, of the breed "pit bull" then I think it is inappropriate that this breed is demonized even more than it already has been by the media. The specific name of the breed is American Pit Bull Terrier and the offical breed (as recognized by many kennel clubs) to which you are probably referring is the American Staffordshire Terrier. Most of these days, a "pit bull" is considered any stocky, muscular dog with a sqaure head and because of so much inbreeding and the excessive breeding of pet dogs and stray dogs, there is absolutely no way to tell if that puppy was a purebred "pit bull", as you call it, unless there is DNA testing or AKC registered papers identifying the specific breed. Most dogs that get adopted are a mix of many different breeds and demonizing a breed of dog spreads unncessary panic and prejudice against these animals. I personally own an American Pit Bull mix (according to the shelter I adopted her from) and she was abused by her previous owners, and I can attest to the fact that she is a loving and gentle dog.

 

Any breed of dog is capable of harming a human. When I was 9 years old I was attacked by a Collie and had to have plastic surgery on my face to correct what that dog did to me and no one says that Collie's are an evil breed (Lassie was a Collie). I think it is unwise and negligent to leave ANY child or person of any age around any type of animal unattended because of the risk of being hurt unintentionally, but to add even more hostility towards this breed makes me sick. I think that the only reason this breed has such a negative reputation is because of the people that have owned them and used their physique to their own financial advantage or for their entertainment.

 

I think there should be an article about Cesar Millan's (the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Channel) heroic efforts to rehabilitate dogs that have been exploited for the sadistic gain of humans. Cesar Millan has a rehabilitation center where dogs of many different breeds are taken to be socialized and placed in appropriate homes. Millan has a "balanced and healthy" dog that he takes to almost every house call and uses as an example and good role model. The breed of this dog is a red-nosed "pit bull" named Daddy, and when Daddy retires, his replacement is a blue "pit bull" named Junior. He emphasizes that this breed as a whole cannot be judged by how humans trained them to be and that dogs are animals and act in instictive ways, not out of malice like their human owners. These dogs set good examples from the tiniest Chihuahuas to the largest breeds who are incredibly aggressive and therefore considered by their owners to be lost causes. His tagline is that he "rehabilitates dogs" and "trains humans" and I encourage you to help rehabilitate the way that this breed is portayed. I hope that someone took the time to read this email because I, and many others, are outraged by the negative light in which this breed is portrayed.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Colleen Location: Ohio on Oct 4, 2010 at 06:03 PM
    I was mauled by a cocker spaniel. I was informed by an insurance rep that they won't even underwrite for any cocker because they bite more children then any other breed. never hear about them do you? I have an american pit bull terrier and true to her breed she wants every small animal that walks by and is insanely jealous but in a needy way. A wonderful dog but high maintenance (I mean she is the queen in her mind) I agree people demonize this breed wholesale not understanding how great they are.
  • by Leah Location: Bristol on Mar 10, 2010 at 05:19 AM
    I couldn't agree more - pits are banned in England and even though I agree with the ban, this is only for the sake of the dogs themselves because until we get control of the feral gangs that roam the cities using these innocent animals as weapons, none of the so-called power breeds are safe. Staffordshire bull terriers get a bad rap in this country because the English government are too inept to deal with the problem - their answer is to destroy the dog and let the owner go free. I am fed up with the media hyping up dog attacks when statistically, for example, a child is more likely to be killed by a relative than a pet dog. Mass hysteria rules, where people (usually non-dog owners who have no clue about dogs) are convinced that every rottweiler, staffie, pit bull, doberman etc. is out to attack them. By the way, everyone should watch Cesar Millan - he is truly amazing and his critics (who proclaim themselves to be dog lovers) are doing a great disservice to dogs and dog owners.
  • by Jean Location: Mississippi on Feb 12, 2010 at 05:59 PM
    In the news we hear of a 'pit bull' attack on a human. If the history of the 'attackers' was researched, I feel sure it would be found that the dog has been abused by a human, often used by those humans seeking to profit from the barbaric use of the dog. No! I do not believe this breed, called Pit, be banned. I owned one as a child and he protected me if he thought I was threatened by snake, animal or anything he considered harmful to me. He was the most gentle creature ever. Since then, I have worked with many 'Pits' at various shelters and have NEVER felt threatened. Any dog, be it small or large, can be taught to do what man choses to teach them.
  • by Wayne Location: Fayetteville NC on Oct 7, 2009 at 05:31 AM
    Very good article. It is sad that ignorance is rampant in the media
  • by saroya Location: usa on Oct 4, 2009 at 01:45 PM
    This makes me cry, the only reason a pitbull attacks is in fear or in defense of itself OR ITS OWNER, most pit bulls are loyal and will defend there owner. If they are fighting dogs its because a selfish owner trained him to fight for money, the dog only wants to please its owner so if the owner is cheering the dog on, the dog thinks " master is proud of me " it thinks its getting approval from the owner.Blame the owner not the dog.
  • by Berkley Location: Williamston on Sep 1, 2009 at 07:56 PM
    I agree completely with this. I also own a pit bull and he is one of the biggest lap dogs I have ever had. To demonize a breed of dog is just wrong.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Sep 1, 2009 at 03:59 PM
    It's a shame some people are allowed to add to the gene pool and they are the one's most likely to produce more children at taxpayer expense.they deserve a Darwin award.
  • by PitLover on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:41 AM
    I quote: Pits have been bred to kill like retrievers were bred to retrieve and hounds were bred to hunt. Are you denying what they have been bred to do - kill. Because if you do then you are denying what each breed of dog was bred to do.... Are you bloody joking me? Pits were NOT bred to KILL EVER!!!! They were bred to fight and show "gameness" the trait of never giving up no matter what odds they were faced with. Maybe some Human Beings could take a page out of their books! And for the record....Jack Russells, and other terriers WERE bred to KILL!!! They were used to hunt rats and kill them! Learn your history before you condemn!
  • by Cyntthia Location: St. Louis on Sep 1, 2009 at 09:00 AM
    Thumbs up to your article. I am a "new" pit bull owner. I have had my baby for 2 years. She is a lover and not a fighter. Her behavior is much different of other dog breeds I have had, but not in a bad way. She has unique traits which are apart of her breed and what make her unique. She is gentle and my cats can keep her in line. She is definitely not dangerous with people. I think animal behavior is misunderstood and rather than having BLS's there should instead be breed specific education or education on canine/canid behavior, so that people truly understand why animals do what they do and how to avoid it.
  • by Bully Bob Location: I own a lot pit bulls on Sep 1, 2009 at 06:11 AM
    read "The Working Pit Bull" by Diane Jessup. A expert on the breed and an animal control officer. Orginally they were used for bull baiting where they would grap the bull by the nose and hold on until a buthcer could kill the bull. Later peasants kept the dog and started to fight the dog who has incrediable jaw strength and ability to with stand pain. Most human aggessive pits were culled since in a pit bull ring the actuall handler are in the ring and must be able to seperate the dogs during a fight without being bitten. The other thing the pit bull comes from the mastiff breed .. actually very little terrier in the breed. As for me I love pit bulls and will never own anything but a pit bull until I am to old to walk.. then I will probably get a wagon and have them pull me around !! Pit bulls excell at weight pulling also.. just about anything to please their master they will put their heart into.
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