The Pit Bull Debate, Part 2

Should Pit Bulls face breed specific regulations and legislation? In our first report we heard two very different viewpoints on Pit bulls from those who love them and those who hate them. Some communities have taken action against Pit Bulls.

Following the fatal attack by a Pit Bull on a three-year-old boy at Camp Lejeune in 2008, the base enacted a ban on Pit Bulls and other dogs that may be considered dangerous.

Pit Bull bans have been proposed in Kinston and Roanoke Rapids, but never passed.

The town of Edenton in Chowan County did put a ban in place in 2004, but recently amended that to allow what it terms any potentially vicious dog as long as the owner registers it with the town. The city manager says the change was made based on concerns that the ordinance was potentially unconstitutional.

Pit bull advocates like Southern Belle Pit Bull Rescue founder Amanda Boykin couldn't agree more. Boykin says, "You can't ban a breed for something one dog does."

Pitt County Animal Control director Michele Whaley does not support banning breeds, saying all dogs bite, not just Pit Bulls. Whaley says, "We have everything from your Labs to your German Shepherds to your Chows to mixes to puppies. Really it's all sorts of dogs."

But the question is do Pit Bulls bite more? The Centers for Disease Control and Humane Society say there's no central agency compiling that information and they don't collect it. But local animal control offices and health departments do, so WITN dug into the local numbers to see what they show.

In 2011 in Pitt County there were around 250 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 41. In Onslow County there were 334 dog bites. Pit Bulls lead the way with with 55. Craven County had 211 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 37. Lenoir County reported 69 dog bites involving people. Leading the way was Pit Bulls with 14. And Beaufort County had 85 dog bites. Pit Bulls accounted for 22, right behind Labs and Lab mixes with 24.

While Pit Bulls were at or near the top in all of the counties we checked, Pit Bull advocates, and even those who collect the data, say it doesn't provide an accurate picture because the population of any of the breeds is unknown. But they say they do believe there is a very large Pit Bull population.

Pitt County has chosen to enact a dangerous dog ordinance addressing all dogs, not any particular breed. Whaley says, "I think no matter what the breed dog it goes down to how that dog is raised, how it's being kept."

Even so, Beaufort County Animal Control director Sandy Woolard says she gets plenty of complaints about Pit Bulls. Woolard says, "We see a lot of people say we don't want em in our neighborhood. If someone sees them roaming the neighborhood they're automatically afraid because it is a pit bull."

While Woolard doesn't see Beaufort County proposing a Pit Bull ban, changes are coming to the county dog ordinance. Woolard says, "We do have an ordinance committee together right now and we're redrafting and making a new ordinance and it may put something in there for Pit Bulls."

Ultimately, Woolard says their goal is to keep the public, and all dogs safe. One way they do that with Pit Bulls now is by not allowing same day adoptions and to temperament test them before allowing them to be adopted so they can find a good home for them.

Whaley believes part of the solution is to not allow chaining of dogs. She says research shows it makes them more aggressive.

Boykin favors mandatory spay and neuter for all dogs and a breeder's license for people who want to breed dogs as a way to reduce all dog bites.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by mandy Location: jacksonville on Feb 23, 2012 at 01:43 AM
    when i was pregnant we picked out a puppy for our son and she was a reverse brindle pitbull. the whole time i was pregnant she slept with her head on my belly. when my son was born she slept at the edge of our bed every time the baby slept and she would look in his crib at every sound. we made her into a beautiful dog that loves us all and her loyalty is outstanding. the other day a man came into my house and pulled a gun out on my fiance wanting his money in his pocket. my pitbull (angel) attacked this man when he put his hands on my fiance while my son and i stood there trying to get the guy out of our house. she is nothing but loving to us pitbulls are made to love and protect. i beleive they should put breeding regulations out there so people are not abusing the rights of dog ownership. dog fighting is more common with pitbulls then any other breed and its easy for fighters to breed cause puppies are not spayed often enough. as much as i love my dog i will never breed her because of fighting and over population of dogs
  • by Darlene Location: Jacksonville on Feb 21, 2012 at 07:44 AM
    I believe pitbulls are not bad dogs, pitbulls have irresponsible owners. I have two pitbulls and they are members of my family. I would fight for like I would my children. I have had this particular breed of dog since I was 20 years old and I am now 47. My mother in law is 75 years old and she also had one until he passed. So the issue should be about keeping your animal in your house or yard and there is a leash law in every town. Every time I turn around someone or some group is trying to take away our freedom to live life to the pursuit of happiness. My animals have never attacked anyone in 27 years of raising pitbulls. Wake up animal owners be responsible!!!
  • by scott Location: jacksonville nc on Feb 21, 2012 at 07:02 AM
    I have been raised by pitbulls since I was 11 years old,I am 43 today. I would like to really know why all these people get bit by any dog,what was that person doing at that time? Were the abusing the dog,were they fighting the dog were ,they trespassing?Not one of these reports list what or who provoked the dog.Now as for the pitbull involved was it really a pitbull? was it a mastiff mix was it a lab mix, was it a boxer mix? Get a grip on yourself people stop living in fear and educate and socialize yourself!autos kill thousands every year men women and children but Some of you still pack your kids in the car with no car seats no seat belts,should autos be banned.I am an American I stand behind our constition I stand for other Americans,and I am Tired of our rights being infrigened upon!Come out of your shells and hold your head high and fight for what is right!BSL is BS!
  • by anonymous Location: beafort on Feb 14, 2012 at 06:54 AM
    pittbulls are not bad dogs it depends on how yu raise them if yu raise them to be mean the will be mean i have two and they are the sweet loving dog a person can ever have so please
    • reply
      by c-had on Feb 15, 2012 at 02:19 PM in reply to anonymous
      Agreed.Anyone who says otherwise is buying into the hype.It never ceases to amaze me how folks jump on a bandwagon and do not have any idea about the things they oppose.It is asinine to think an entire breed should be banned.Nazi's go home.
  • by Grab a book people!!! on Feb 12, 2012 at 08:56 PM
    I see allot of knowledge here in the comments, but I see more ignorance! Don't get me wrong, there's some educated people posting comments. But even the majority of the smart ones are clearly misguided! You people see a dog that is a mutt, yet call them American Pit Bull Terriers when they clearly are not. All these "bite statistics" are garbage!!! Why? Because the dogs labeled as "Pit Bull attacks" are not all in fact true APBT! Do they have people qualified to label a dog an APBT? I think not, and would not know one if they tripped and fell over one either
  • by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
    Fot those people who think all pit bulls are mean... have you ever owned one?! I have three dogs, all are sweet as can be, but there's something about the pit bull that is just amazing. I have never heard a bad thing about him and people ask if we can clone him (joking, of course) or ask if they can take him home with them. It is sad that people are talking about banning this breed, due to a stereotype. My sister was in the emergency room from being attacked from a dog who was NOT a pit bull. Some dogs are just mean, regardless of the bread... some people are just mean too! As far as getting a license to own a breed of dog, are you kidding me?! I have to get a license to own my do who LOVES people? That's ridiculous. For those of you who think EVERY pit bull is mean, please watch this video, maybe it will change some minds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUV1oTciznE&feature=related
  • by OutlawEverything Location: eastern nc on Feb 12, 2012 at 01:20 AM
    It's not just pit bulls! Any large breed will be in this witch hunt . Forget about the dog beware of the owner. People should act more responsibly . Before getting any dog you should understand what the breed requires. DO your homework the dog should be socialized with other animals and humans. They have to be exercised . Some people will never except that all dogs have individual personalities and being pack animals they follow the leader " human owner" . I own a so called dangerous breed and he's mannered and socialized. But I took the responsibility to teach the dog . And if you do your home work one of the most decorated war dogs in history was a pittbull.
    • reply
      by Brandy on Feb 12, 2012 at 05:45 AM in reply to OutlawEverything
      Wrong. Most decorated war dog in history was Chips - Collie, German Shepherd and Husky mix. Do your homework. Chips after performed. He wasn't just a mascot like Sgt. Stubby.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM in reply to Brandy
        Actually Chips was the most decorated dog of WWII. The most decorated war dog in history is Sgt Stubby, who was not a mascot but the only dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought for 18 months in the trenches for France during WW1 for 17 battles. Stubby warned his fellow soldiers of gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. He was also responsible for the capture of a German spy at Argonne.
  • by OutlawEverything Location: eastern nc on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM
    It's not just pit bulls! Any large breed will be in this witch hunt . Forget about the dog beware of the owner. People should act more responsibly . Before getting any dog you should understand what the breed requires. DO your homework the dog should be socialized with other animals and humans. They have to be exercised . Some people will never except that all dogs have individual personalities and being pack animals they follow the leader " human owner" . I own a so called dangerous breed and he's mannered and socialized. But I took the responsibility to teach the dog . And if you do your home work one of the most decorated war dogs in history was a pittbull.
    • reply
      by OutlawEverything on Feb 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM in reply to OutlawEverything
      Brandy read my comment "one of the most " NOT THE MOST !! And Anonymous Yes Most human aggressive are put down . But most poddles will bite with out warning even thought they are small do we kill them also ? It all comes down to responsible ownership no matter what breed the dog is !
  • by Anonymous Location: Jacksonville on Feb 11, 2012 at 07:37 PM
    I don't care what kind of animal anyone wants to own but once it has attacked something viscously, it no longer needs to live in a residential area with small children. PERIOD!!!! I love dogs, all breeds, but after a viscous and unprovoked attack, that animal needs to leave family oriented neighborhoods and rarely does the attack dog owner acknowledge that.
  • by Terri Location: Washington on Feb 11, 2012 at 06:59 AM
    I too have 2 amazing Pit Bulls and am really tired of the Media reporting only on this breed when something happens. All Dogs have teeth and without the proper training and care, all Dogs can Bite! Don't single out one specific Breed, if you are going to report on Dog attacks and bites, report them on all Breeds!!! Here is an example of owners needing to held accountable. I took my Male Pit in for a Check up this morning, we are sitting the vets office my dog, 2 other Pit Bull Puppies and a Black Lab Puppy in a carrier, everyone behaving fine. In comes a Adult Black Lab, of course everyone gets up with tails wagging and wining to see who just came in the door. The Black Lab immediately starts to growl and show teeth at everyone and did his owner correct him NO! So now he has got everyone in the waiting room on edge, I used the training with my dog to break his concentration of what was going on and he laid down at my feet! When we were called for our turn to see the doctor the Lab was still growling at whoever walked by! I understand that all dogs are nervous in the Vets office, but this is a perfect example of Owners needing to be held accountable for their dogs, no matter what the breed is. Proper Training, which by the way is never ending, Discipline and Love. Are there bad Pit Bulls out there, yes, are there Bad Dogs of All Breeds out there, yes and these dogs unfortunately are the victims of Abuse, Torture, no Discipline or the Wrong Training! Don't blame many for the actions of a few!
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