Local Pit Bull Owners Speak Out About The Breed

By: Natalie Kaplan Email
By: Natalie Kaplan Email

It's a topic that's caused a heated debate in one local county and on our web site, witn.com.

We ran a story in January about a deadly Pit Bull attack in Kitty Hawk, we've gotten more then 500 comments on the issue, some viewers want the Pit Bull breed banned from Dare County all together, others disagree and claim the media are bias on the issue.

So, Natalie Kaplan sat down with a group of Pit Bull owners to get their side of the story.

Tami Willis emailed Natalie shortly after her story aired about Mark Kent's Labrador Jazz attacked and killed by two Pit Bulls. She was upset by some of the comments on our website saying the dog's aren't to blame but instead their owner. So Natalie sat down with Willis and a group of other Pit Bull owners to talk to them about their dogs and hear what they had to say about how the attack in Kitty Hawk was handled.

Willis says, "It was done to pacify the general public. There was an outcry, the general public was upset and it was a knee jerk reaction to it."

Willis thinks Dare County Officials should not have put down the two Pit Bulls as quickly as they did. They are accused of attacking and killing a Labrador back in January; the Pits were seized and put to sleep one week later.

Willis told WITN, "I don't disagree with the dogs being seized, I disagree they had to be euthanized that soon, they were never evaluated."

Willis like the rest of the Pit Bull owners Natalie met with on Hatteras Island agree, Dare County needs to change the way dangerous dogs are dealt with but the laws should not be breed specific. Pet Resort owner Andrea Brothers has had her fair share of experience with animals and says all breeds can be troublesome.

"Statistically, I have had more labs here and by that have had more aggressive labs, that I need to be careful with."

Instead of punishing the Pit Bull breed many think laws need to focus on owners.

Willis says, "It's understanding what this breed is about and taking responsibility for that, if you're not willing to take responsibility for that then in my opinion, you shouldn't be an owner of the breed."

But Willis says many of us don't get to know the breed out of fear. Instead of spending some time with the animals we just condemn them.

Sharon Carignan says her Pit Petey is as sweet as can be even though she found him stray and a vet told her he most likely had a difficult past.

"It looked like little electrodes, perfectly round, burn spots, where someone may have been trying to make him mean."

The Pit Bull owners we spoke with agree, it's usually the owner who is at fault when a dog goes bad.

Tami Willis told Natalie she agrees dog laws in Dare County need to be changed but she's not confident officials will accomplish that goal with an objective eye so she's thinking about opening up some sort of training facility for dogs with an emphasis on rehabilitation for Pit Bulls. However, it's just an idea, no plans have been set yet.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Heather Location: Nags Head on Apr 30, 2009 at 09:23 AM
    WOW!Have you people actually read all these comments? You people are attacking each other left and right. You're doing the one thing you claim to hate in the Pit Bull. We are getting off case and point here. You can claim this is all about the Pit Bull, but it's not. It's about Breed Specific Legislation. What happened to Jazz was a horrific tragedy. However, if you allow any county in North Carolina to ban the Pit Bull, you are opening the door for any breed to be banned. That would include all you lab owners who think your breed is superior to all others. You might want to do some research and check the statistics on dog attacks. You will be very surprised at what you find. Also realize if the Pit Bull is banned, people who train dogs to attack and fight will just find another breed. Yes, your dog could fall into that category. Do you really want to allow the government to come to your house and seize your dog because the County deems that breed "dangerous?" Let's think about this.
  • by Clifton Location: Washington on Mar 28, 2009 at 03:36 PM
    All you dog owners should read this. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4829489/
  • by MaxxRocks Location: Connecticut on Mar 26, 2009 at 02:53 PM
    Andy your points are right on target. Maxx was attacked by a rescue dog who lived in our neighborhood for one week. We have lived here for 9 years, and Maxx is going to be 13 years old in November. The agency placed this dog multiple times, knowing he, as they stated "made poor choices". Again it is humans making poor choices to place dogs at any cost. Let's all work together to place the dogs who have the best chance at living in society, and the other dogs can live in an animal sanctuary. Dogs with questionable behavior do not belong in family neighborhoods.
  • by Andy Location: North Carolina on Mar 26, 2009 at 06:54 AM
    Hey A-nony: I would have to agree with you that it's not fair to pass your problems on. Some folks are willing to accept human aggressive dogs but alot are not. I can't say I blame them. I think it would be very hard decision to put one of my dogs down but would rather do that then shovel my dog problems on someone else who might not know about it or is unable to deal with it. I suppose that's what's in the fine print of the "responsible" dog owner contract. I have another question for the pit rescue groups: What do you do with the pits that you can't place due to aggression or risk issues? Do you put them down or pass them on with a light warning that the dog might be unstable? Or do you just give them back to the shelter you pulled them out of?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2009 at 05:07 AM
    Brittney you wrote: " Don't get me wrong, I would feel the same way if that happened to my kids, but send the dog to the animal shelter.." Please explain how this will prevent the dog from biting or attacking someone else? You have a dog displaying aggressive tendancies toward humans and you dump it at a shelter thus making it someone else's problem? It's your dog, why are you not dealing with it? By placing an aggressive dog in a shelter, you are gambling with an unsuspecting person who might adopt this dog and then end up seriously injured? Where is your conscious? Or do you skirt the moral issue saying "dog turned in for attacking humans" knowing that the shelter - being unable to accept that risk will put the dog down. So your conscious is clear, you "gave the dog another chance" but deep down know that the shelter will do what you as a *responsible owner* was unable to do - which is euthanize the dog.
  • by Andy Location: North Carolina on Mar 26, 2009 at 04:54 AM
    My understanding is that the 2 attacking dogs in question were 'rescued' dogs. I would like to know what steps were taken to insure that something in their past did not surface in their future. Military working dogs are 'deprogrammed' prior to placing into a pet home at the end of their working lives. If they cannot be deprogrammed then they are euthanized or placed with a MWD handler who can control the dog. The public is not put at risk just to give the dog "another chance". An open question to the PB owners: what would your dog have to do or the level at which it would do it before you would say "this dog is a danger" and put it down? And would it make a difference if it occurred to a stranger versus you or your family.
  • by Britney Location: GreenvilleNC on Mar 25, 2009 at 06:56 PM
    the comment posted at 8:41 was for "T"...the IN HUMANE, so called "dog owner"
  • by Britney Location: GreenvilleNC on Mar 25, 2009 at 06:51 PM
    "CLIFTON"....you made your point, YOU DON'T OWN A DOG, let alone a pit bull. Don't blame others for YOU not being able to control your dog, or the dangers it encounters. My two pits (before we got the third one) were both on leashes and a dog (from an open fence) ran up to both of our pits trying to bite them. I had our male, my boyfriend had a female. The female was trying her best to get at the dog...I was yelling at the dog; our male (which I was holding) did NOTHING because he heard what I was saying and thought I was yelling at him. I swung and the GERMAN SHEPARD three times, on the third time he ran back to his house. so who's the "bad dog" now?!? NOT MINE. And I can't help that YOUR that scared of other dogs, and what THEY will do. My dogs are FAMILY and I will do ANYTHING to protect them, just like they will do for me. '
  • by Britney Location: GreenvilleNC on Mar 25, 2009 at 06:42 PM
    just to clarify...my previous comment for the "anonymous" was NOT for the "anonymous" posted on 3/25/09 at 2:39. I agree..come into my house, and my 3 pits will do NOTHING unless you try to harm me!
  • by Britney Location: GreenvilleNC on Mar 25, 2009 at 06:38 PM
    MAXX...I also agree, the OWNERS should be held accountable "to the maximum degree" of that their dogs do. What good is it going to do to punish the dog, for an OWNER'S mistake?!? NOTHING. the owner can still get another dog (ANY breed)that does the same thing.
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