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Feb 27 2013

Loonie Pit Bull Enthusiasts Indistinguishable From AR15-Loving Gun Nuts

Over on the twitterz, DrugMonkey is sparring with some loonie pit bull enthusiasts. Sadly, their best argument seems to be “well, even yorkies maim people”. Hmm, now where have I heard this before? Oh, right.

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  1. 1
    Dr. Isis

    Why are you on twitter? Did those nails finally find their way into your dick?

  2. 2
    pittiesaresmoochunsdeathtobichons

    DISCRIMIHNASHUIN!!!!! Pitbulls are lovely creatures you fascist hack!

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    Raised well, any breed of dog is safe. Raised poorly or trained to violence, any breed of dog is dangerous.

  4. 4
    Chebag

    Especially those mutant Labradoodles Gregory.

  5. 5
    mithrandir

    Gregory: I’d argue that any dog you can pick up with one hand isn’t that dangerous, unless it’s rabid – though I suppose you could lose a finger if you weren’t careful.

    Otherwise, I’m inclined to agree. If you waved a wand and every pit bull on the planet vanished forever, pro-vicious-dog nuts would just go back to abusing Dobermans or Rottweilers or something, and I’m not at all convinced the rates of deadly or maiming dog attacks would materially change.

  6. 6
    Ace of Sevens

    This might be a good analogy if the gun-control lobby were in the habit of arguing that we should ban AR-15s, but thought AK-47s were fine.

  7. 7
    DrugMonkey

    Really Ace? What’s the AK47 in your scenario? I mean tigers are already illegal and all…

  8. 8
    Ace of Sevens

    Rottweilers, Akitas and other breeds about the same size as pit bulls, but not currently popular with the type of owner who wants a dog to make them look tough.

  9. 9
    Ace of Sevens

    To be fair, I should add there have been plenty of cases where there was a push to ban a certain model of gun that was used in a high-profile crime while equally dangerous models get ignored.

  10. 10
    DrugMonkey

    Okay so we wave mithrander’s wand (shouldn’t that be ‘staff’ homes?) at the whole pack of em. Not seeing where that’s some sort of problem. Lets not obsess over cosmetics but rather focus on potential for carnage (sound familiar gun control warriors?).

  11. 11
    Ace of Sevens

    Drug Monkey, so you want to ban large dogs in general and not just pit bulls? I don’t agree with that position, but I wouldn’t say it’s unreasonable per se. You would be the only person I’ve ever heard advocate it though.

  12. 12
    shockna

    Analogy fails due to an extreme discrepancy in magnitude. Next time a single pit bull kills 26 children in one rampage, then we’ll talk.

    I’m not much of a dog person, but anyone arguing that particular breeds of dogs should be banned, as DrugMonkey appears to be doing, is loonier than even the nuttiest of pit bull enthusiasts.

  13. 13
    Amy

    Pitbulls are lovely, kind dogs. The breed has been selected in recent history for high levels of dog aggression and low levels of human aggression for better sport in dog fights, the sort of people who breed and “train” dogs to fight to the death for entertainment are not going to be big fans of raising good canine citizens.

    Additionally, many types of dogs which were traditionally bred for human aggression have “pit bull” like features: mastiffs, chows, shar pei, rottweilers, etc all have powerful jaws like pits and are bred to protect a territory from intruders. Crossbreeds of these types of dogs are often virtually impossible to differentiate from pits and pit mixes, even for people who work with dogs all the time.

    Outlawing pits will not reduce the incidents of maulings. Outlawing dogs certainly would, but so would giving animal control officers more discretion to confiscate animals from irresponsible owners and a national database of animal abusers so breeders and rescues can do a background check on people seeking dogs.

    If a dog is going to bite someone, even a severe mauling, the most likely victim is the owner’s preteen son, preteen daughter, teenage son, or the owner. In that order. Before pits were the dogs of choice for “bad boys” were Dobermans, Rottweilers, or German Shepards (Those are scary dogs, ever try to give a physical to a police dog? I have; it took three people, two leashes, and a muzzle). These breeds are larger, faster, and just as likely to “bite and hold” as a pit bull.

    I think we (popular culture) object to pitbulls now for the same reason the NRA promoted gun control until the 1980s, because we associate them with the stereotypical “dangerous minority” thug.

  14. 14
    slc1

    Abbie Smith, who owns a pit bull, says that Drugmonkey and Physioproffe don’t know what they are talking about. Jerry Coyne says that her pit bull is quite tame.

  15. 15
    DrugMonkey

    People with the kind of self-esteem issues that lead them to “need” a threatening and dangerous pet to make up for it are a protected minority now are they?

  16. 16
    shockna

    People with the kind of self-esteem issues that lead them to “need” a threatening and dangerous pet to make up for it are a protected minority now are they?

    Ever consider that just maybe they don’t have self-esteem issues, and like pit bulls for reasons other than that they can be raised to be killing machines?

  17. 17
    Jacko Cleamons

    There’s nothing really to be learned in any factual or logical terms by tying the gun control and ‘pit bull’ issues together. People only do that as a cheap debating trick. Sometimes it’s anti-’pit bull’ people thinking they can recruit gun control advocates (who don’t really care about ‘pit bulls’) onto their side by doing it. Other times it’s pro-’pit bull’ people thinking they can recruit gun rights advocates (who don’t really care about ‘pit bulls’) onto their side by doing it. I’ve seen both, and find both entirely unconvincing. The two things are just not the same. The number of people killed in a given year by guns and dogs is orders of magnitude different. Then again gun rights are mentioned in the constitution (we can debate the exact meaning of the 2nd amendment, but courts have consistently found that it imposes some limits on gun control, and anyway there’s definitely no amendment mentioning dogs). Then, a dog to some degree acts on its own which a gun doesn’t. OTOH up to 90% of fatal dog attacks on people are by unaltered male dogs and there’s no comparable decision by an owner of a gun as that of a dog owner whether to neuter the dog. Likewise with chaining up dogs outside (2/3′s of fatal attacks), and all kinds of other training and socialization over a long period of time which might predispose a dog to attack someone on its own, whereas the danger of a gun is strictly a function of its owner’s state of mind at the moment he uses it. Guns and dogs are different issues, period.

  18. 18
    DrugMonkey

    like pit bulls for reasons other than that they can be raised to be killing machines?

    Like what? What marginal value is conferred by the pitbull over much safer breeds of dogs? In the array of dog benefits to which owners are generally willing to admit I see no marginal benefit of the pitbull, rottweiller, german shepard, etc crowd of dangerous breed over a nice Yorkie or Lab. or Cockapoo. maybe a beagle…like Snoopy

  19. 19
    erinmcc

    DrugMonkey @#15 “People with the kind of self-esteem issues that lead them to “need” a threatening and dangerous pet to make up for it are a protected minority now are they?”

    i dont have self esteem issues, but i do have a pittie mix. she is far, far from threatening and dangerous. i do have to crate her when company comes over, otherwise she spends the entire visit licking hands, trying to crawl into laps, and piddling on the floor in excitement. we got her from someone giving away puppies before they were taken to the pound, and were told she was a lab/boxer mix. as she got older, it became more obvious that she was part pit. i dont blame the guy we got her from, its harder to get rid of pit puppies, and where i live, harder to get pit puppies good homes. i didnt seek out a pit, due to the ridiculous fears some people have of them, and breed specific legislation in my city, but i am not going to kill her for something that isnt even her fault (her breed). giving her up is no good either, the pounds already have a hugely disproportionate number of pitties. she is the sweetest dog i have ever known and has never shown an ounce of aggression.

    pit bull is also not a single breed, its made up of multiple breeds. so when you compare pit bulls to say, collies, you are comparing the stats for up to 5 breeds to 1 breed. pitties were originally bred to do what so many people are afraid of them for now. that was taken even farther by people trying to create the ultimate illegal fighting dog. banning them because of what we humans did to them isnt the answer. responsible breeding and ownership is the answer.

    i spent several years raising and training dogs, and am pretty comfortable with them. ive only been bitten once in my life, by a chihuahua. the most vicious dog i ever had? a chihuahua/pomeranian mix, she once went after a great dane who dared to sniff my knee.

  20. 20
    DrugMonkey

    How much damage did your Pomehuahua do?

  21. 21
    Ace of Sevens

    DrugMonkey, there are several problems with your question about the marginal value of pitbulls over safer breeds. One is that you haven’t established that pitbulls are more sangerous than the breeds you don’t want to ban. Yes, they are reported to cause more attacks, but without a rigorous definition of pit bull, that could just be a case fo dogs being mroe likely to be identified as pit bulls if they attack someone.

    More importantly, you haven’t even attempted to deal with the idea that pit bulls aren’t inherently more dangerous than any number of other similarly-sized breeds, but are more liekly to have dangerous owners.

    As for marginal value, take a look at any pet rescue page on Facebook. Lots of pit bulls turn up, including ones used as bait dogs to train fighting dogs. Pit bulls have a more difficult time than other breeds finding good homes, which means good homers are confering a greater marginal benefit by accepting such a dog.

    To em it seems the relevant question is whether pit bulls are inherently mroe likely to attack people or attack people worse than other dogs of a similar size. To determine this, you would need to take statistics about attacks, find a way to ID breeds that isn’t affect by reporting bias, control for owner behavior and the number of dogs in the population. Here’s a good article on the topic.

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4288

    The main thing that makes me wary of the anti-pit lobby is they never want to talk abotu how many pit bulls there are compared to other breeds of dog, whether the definition of pit bull used in attack statistics is consistent with the definition used in breed-ban legislation and possibel external explanations for differences in pit bull behavior. They just want to talk raw attack numbers and not analyze the data any deeper. (Also keep in mind the most pit bull fatalities in the US in any year was 22 and the average is much less. We’re talking very small numbers here. Pit bulls are far less dangerous than, for instance, motorcycles, yet we still let people ride those instead of taking the bus.) This leads me to suspect that pit bull bans are an emotional reaction based on a shallow reading of the facts. After all, if someone argued that poodles are more likely to wear bows in their fur than Shelties, so it must be because poodles are genetically predisposed to wear bows, we’d know it’s ridiculous, yet these explanatiosn go right by if the issue is scary.

  22. 22
    DrugMonkey

    I didn’t see even the remotest stab at an answer to that very simple question Ace. I assume because your honest answer is “none”?

  23. 23
    DrugMonkey

    Oh and sure you people don’t have self-esteem issues. Just like those dudes strutting around open-carrying their guns are totally normal.

  24. 24
    erinmcc

    DrugMonkey @#20

    to the great dane? none, because i had her leashed. but to the cat population? she had a thing for kittens, hated them with a passion. she killed probably half a dozen in her lifetime. she lived on a farm with barn cats.

    and your issue is the perceived damage that can be done by a pit versus other breeds. well then, lets just ban all draft horses as they are large and powerful and can do more damage when they kick, even tho its selective breeding that created their size and power. and longhorns, have you seen those monstrosities? ban them all!

    at least with a pit, you see the teeth coming. unlike those jack russels and dachshunds who have been known to gnaw off your toes while you sleep!

    that toe eating, btw, comes from one of the most recent dog bite reports that came out covering 30 years (http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics.php), and pit bulls, when you compare fatalities to percentage of the dog population, had a lower kill rate than boxers, a breed thats known to be a good family dog. pits killed fewer people, per dog capita, than chows, malamutes, huskies, akitas, great danes.

    hell, if we are looking at the statistics in that report, jack russel terriers and chihuahuas each killed more people percentage wise than the german shepherds you call dangerous. (jack russels 2 deaths @ 0.05% of dog population, chihuahuas 1 @ .07%, and german shepherds 14 @ 2.3%) jack russels killed almost as many as pit bulls comparatively (pit bulls 233 @ 4.4%).

    maybe we need to ban those damn toe-eating jack russels and murderous chihuahuas!

  25. 25
    Ace of Sevens

    My answer is that your question is based on false premise because your evidence that pit bulls actually more dangerous than other breeds is weak. It’s a big jump jump from the idea that more fatal attacks are reported to be caused by pit bulls than other breeds to the idea that pit bulls are actually more dangerous, but you seem determined to declare any attempt to make the connection a derail. Also, even assuming that pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds, it’s well within the limits of dangers we tolerate from other aspects of life.

    Your idea that people only like pit bulls to feel tough, as opposed to the same reasons people like any other dog, is evidenceless and absurd. Here’s a good example. Do you think these people just wanted to feel like badasses?

    http://www.vrcpitbull.net/dog/volunteer/

  26. 26
    DrugMonkey

    So the only “good” pitbull owners are rescuing them from “bad” pitbull owners Ace?

  27. 27
    zenbo

    In 2012, of 38 fatal attacks, 61% were Pit Bull attacks despite being 5% of the total dog population. (statistic from dogsbite.org) This isn’t about whether your particular Pit is a nice doggie, it’s about breeding. Terriers want to dig, Collies want to herd, and Pit Bulls, however latent the tendency, were bred for aggression. If you have a Pit Bull, and you allow it to interact with children, you are a fool.

  28. 28
    DrugMonkey

    erinmcc-

    Wait….. So it’s just totally okay with you that someone’s lifestyle choice goes around killing other pets? *Kittens* ffs? Imagine the friggin outraged calls for bans if there was a whole class of “pet” that joy killed (cause you do feed your dogs, right?) dogs. My god you people are whacked.

  29. 29
    Lady Day

    I like cats (and dogs, of course, especially my pet pit bull, who also has cat friends), but do you guys realize that the domesticated cat is a serious threat to wildlife in the U.S.?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/science/that-cuddly-kitty-of-yours-is-a-killer.html

    I have an ecologist friend who actively campaigns against free-roaming domesticated cats.

  30. 30
    Lady Day

    In fact, maybe dogs that kill free-ranging cats are doing a service to wildlife….

  31. 31
    erinmcc

    DrugMonkey @#38

    i made it perfectly clear it was not my pit but my chihuahua/pomeranian that killed kittens. but apparently, a chi/pom is a “lifestyle choice” to you? what lifestyle is that, the “i like soft fluffy doggies” lifestyle? is that better or worse in your eyes than your described “i like dogs other people are afraid of” lifestyle? if my pet says something about my lifestyle, then its “i like dogs, regardless of their breed”.

    no comment on the fact that jack russels and chihuahuas killed more people statistically than the “dangerous” german shepherd? btw, the “nice yorkie” breed you referenced, as well as dachshunds, have also caused human fatalities. personally, i find the 5 lb killer dog to be more terrifying than the 100 lb killer dog.

    i will also go ahead and declare that, contrary to the OP title, i am for strict gun control laws, but against BSL. in both cases, i would advocate a reduction of our modification to either to increase their potential for harm. ie, stop increasing mags and making more dangerous bullets, and stop breeding for more aggression. *for the general public*

    while the dogsbite website has some interesting statistics, its not exactly unbiased but rather extremely anti-pit. the cdc put out a report in 2000 covering 20 years of dog statistics that concludes that BSL is problematic and not the best course of action, and may even create constitutional violations. “Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites.” mmmm science.

  32. 32
    Amy

    I can’t find any stats, but I can assure you that when a dog bites your face, it doesn’t much matter how big it is, especially if you are a child. These bites are very dangerous and often disfiguring. They might not be fatal but they are far more common than lethal maulings.

    I see people arguing that small dogs are less dangerous because they can only get at your ankles and fingers; this is patently untrue. Many dog bits from small breeds occur on faces because: 1) small children are allowed to play with them (because they are “safer” than a larger breed) and 2) these dogs often bite when “defending” their owners while being carried.

    Personally, I believe that any dog that bites any person for any reason should be euthanized, as well as any dog whose behavior indicates that they are dangerous. I would fully support legislation which allowed law enforcement to confiscate and destroy dogs which met these criteria. But there is no reason to kill or ban an entire population of kind, gentle, biddable dogs which happen to belong to one of the most common groups of breeds in the US.

  33. 33
    DrugMonkey

    erinmcc-

    What is the rate of various gun types autonomously going off and killing someone? How does that compare to your psychofluffbox examples?

  34. 34
    erinmcc

    you cant have a debate with someone who refuses to support their argument, or refute yours, with facts, and who instead chooses with nearly every single comment to just ask more ridiculous questions and try to denigrate their opponent by name calling and slurs.

    if you cant provide evidence for your argument, its because you have none. try again when you do.

  35. 35
    DrugMonkey

    It is really quite a simple question erinmcc, why are you afraid to answer it? Do, or do not, guns spontaneously injure toddlers and kill grannies?

    I think you need to revisit what “statistically” means too. You are quite wrong that jack Russels kill as many people as do pitbulls.

  36. 36
    DrugMonkey

    Amy-

    All dogs that exhibit dangerous behavior to be euthanized immediately with extreme prejudice? Okay…I’m on board but that’s like 80-90% of all dogs. You are way harsher than my position.

  37. 37
    Jacko Cleamons

    The ‘marginal utility’ argument is irrelevant to practical every day life. We have a ‘pit bull’ for a simple reason. We wanted to give a break to a dog in a shelter, not encourage pet stores or breeder to make more dogs when so many are already unwanted, nor to pay them $100′s or $1000′s to do it. And the dogs in the local shelters are predominantly pit bulls, especially the prettier and nicer ones, since there’s a lot of ignorant hysteria about ‘pit bulls’, so even terrific ones can languish when lesser dogs which don’t ‘look scary’ are adopted. Case in point our dog. Somebody completely cut off her ears, didn’t just crop them. To make her less vulnerable in a fight or just to make her look bad ass? But the shelter people thought it was a reason she was there for 5 months. But I was convinced (by my grown daughter) to give her a chance and she is a *TERRIFIC* dog. When you get used to the ear thing it begins to look kind of cool and otherwise she’s incredibly beautiful, 60lbs lean all white, tall for a pittie girl, like a marble statue, bluish-grey eyes, pink skin and interesting freckle pattern showing in places through her short coat.. And her personality is so sweet, it instantly melts anyone’s heart unless they are a hardcore *dog* hater. She loves us, makes our lives a little brighter, is no threat to anyone…what do the vast majority of ‘useful’ dogs do besides that? Only a tiny % of dogs nowadays are real working dogs. Now, if I was totalitarian dictator of the world telling everyone exactly how to live their lives including what sizes and kinds of dogs would be bred, I don’t know, but I don’t waste my time thinking that way, it’s not the real world. IMHO statements like ‘that kind of dog isn’t useful’ tend to come from people who subconsciously think they *should* be dictating everything that goes on the world… IOW they have their own ‘issues’!

  38. 38
    DrugMonkey

    JC-
    So you are saying nobody (“good”) actually wants a pitbull and all of the good owners only have them because they rescued them from bad owners.

  39. 39
    Lady Day

    Oddly, I know a few cat owners who vocally oppose gun legislation and a few pit bull owners who are all for it. Hm.

    The comparison between gun nutters and pit bull owners doesn’t hold. A single automatic weapon is capable of killing a lot more people than a single pit bull. How many incidences of people storming into schools with pit bulls and sic’ing them on people inside have there been? None that I know of. Perhaps that is because those people think that guns (or knives or weapons used for archery) are more efficient at killing, that a dog may not follow orders or respond in the way that they hope, etc.

    What irritates me the most about your online posts about pit bulls is that you seem to realize that there’s a strong *human* component to ownership (just look at the title of this blog post) and, yet, you seem to advocate that the dogs only be the ones punished (mostly euthanized). Pit bulls are actually one of the most abused types of dog in the U.S. (http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Police_say_people_are_abusing_dumping_one_dog_breed_162539546.html ), and this kind of FWAOTI that you perpetuate does nothing more than encourage more *people* to hate the dogs and may encourage more human abuse of these dogs.

    In fact, I believe that DM and CPP started posting about pit bulls because they really wanted to irritate another blogger who owned a pit bull – which is a form of online bullying. I see nothing funny or entertaining about these discussions.

  40. 40
    Lady Day

    Also: re: the dog that kills cats:

    If the cats are outside and the dog kills them, then the dog is just doing exactly what the cat does to other animals. In fact, one way to look at it is: dogs are just the next animal up on the food chain. That’s how nature works. I wouldn’t like it if my dog killed a cat, but you can’t blame the animal for its instincts, now can you? I’ve *trained* my dog to socialize well with cats and other creatures, including humans, but that’s human interference in the natural order, isn’t it?

    Furthermore, dogs that attack other animals do not necessarily show aggression toward humans and vice versa.

  41. 41
    DrugMonkey

    I believe that DM and CPP started posting about pit bulls because they really wanted to irritate another blogger who owned a pit bull

    you are delusional. as is that delusionally narcissistic blogger who can’t imagine she’s not the center of the entire world’s thought.

    a form of online bullying

    that’s rich.

    If the cats are outside and the dog kills them, then the dog is just doing exactly what the cat does to other animals.

    if large brained and technologically sophisticated species succeed in getting pitbulls banned and /or euthanized to protect its young (and grannies) then the large brained and technological animals are simply doing exactly what the pitbulls do to the harmless and lovable feline pest-controllers.

  42. 42
    DrugMonkey

    dogs that attack other animals do not necessarily show aggression toward humans and vice versa.

    the pitbulls that pulled down the friggin *horse* sure did.

    (course, maybe they were just confused about which part of the centaur to attack once it had fallen apart…)

  43. 43
    Lady Day

    @DM: If my memory serves me right, I *am* paraphrasing one of your previous comments or another commenter’s comments correctly. So, no, *I’m* not the one who is being delusional here. It has been alleged that this *whole* deal about pit bulls supposedly started because of some other blogger’s or commenter’s pit bull ownership. I don’t know that person, nor do I necessarily care about his/her opinions, but to take your aggression toward that person out on pit bulls, in general? And, this just adds to an implication that that person feels, on the other side of his/her screen.

    And, yes, to go on and on about it like you guys do and to get your online friends to gang up on a certain individual, thusly and indirectly (as happened with all of the snarky Care Bears comments, a while back – and I *do* know the backstory to that because I have actually followed *that* blogger for much longer than I’ve followed any of these Sciblogs offshoots) *is* a form of online bullying. In fact, that’s part of the reason why I *never* intend to reveal my IRL identity to any of you, start a science blog, or to twitter, either – I’ve seen what goes on around here, and I *know* exactly how it feels to have someone or a group of people harass me online. This is middle school clique-ishness to the nth degree, dude.

  44. 44
    Lady Day

    And, with that, I think that I will heretoforth no longer comment on or read any of these blogs.

  45. 45
    ildi

    I’ve been waiting for the pitbull controversy to raise its ugly head again (heh, heh, get it?) after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book containing a compilation of articles he wrote for the New Yorker. Original article is TROUBLEMAKERS What pit bulls can teach us about profiling. published February 6, 2006.

    Alternet also published a post by Joshua Holland this past January 30, 2013: Pitbulls Used to Be Considered the Perfect “Nanny Dogs” for Children — Until the Media Turned Them Into Monsters: Despite their reputation, the United Kennel Club doesn’t recommended using pitbulls as guard dogs because they’re too friendly with strangers

    Both articles cite data collected by The American Temperance Testing Society. Gladwell from 2006:

    A Georgia-based group called the American Temperament Test Society has put twenty-five thousand dogs through a ten-part standardized drill designed to assess a dog’s stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness in the company of people. A handler takes a dog on a six-foot lead and judges its reaction to stimuli such as gunshots, an umbrella opening, and a weirdly dressed stranger approaching in a threatening way. Eighty-four per cent of the pit bulls that have been given the test have passed, which ranks pit bulls ahead of beagles, Airedales, bearded collies, and all but one variety of dachshund. “We have tested somewhere around a thousand pit-bull-type dogs,” Carl Herkstroeter, the president of the A.T.T.S., says. “I’ve tested half of them. And of the number I’ve tested I have disqualified one pit bull because of aggressive tendencies. They have done extremely well. They have a good temperament. They are very good with children.” It can even be argued that the same traits that make the pit bull so aggressive toward other dogs are what make it so nice to humans. “There are a lot of pit bulls these days who are licensed therapy dogs,” the writer Vicki Hearne points out. “Their stability and resoluteness make them excellent for work with people who might not like a more bouncy, flibbertigibbet sort of dog. When pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle. And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”

    More recent data cited by Holland:

    The [(ATTS)] puts thousands of dogs – purebreds and spayed and neutered mixed-breeds – through their paces each year. The dogs are tested for skittishness, aggression and their ability to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening humans. Among all of the breeds ATTS tested – over 30,000 dogs through May 2011 — 83 percent passed the test. How did pitbulls do? They showed an above average temperament, with 86 percent making the grade. Pitbulls are the second most tolerant breed tested by ATTS, after only golden retreivers.

    Holland goes on to say:

    Pitbulls do not have special “locking jaws” – that’s pure mythology. They don’t demonstrate some sort of special shaking action when they bite – all dogs display similar biting behavior. Pitbulls do not exert an unusual amount of bite-force for their size. Multiple studies have found that bite force correlates to body-weight, and tests of three breeds conducted by National Geographic found that the American pitbull terrier exerted less bite-force than German shepherds or Rottweilers.

    Further down:

    As Karen Delise [research director for the National Canine Research Council and author of The Pitbull Placebo] details in her book, in the 19th century, bloodhounds were believed to be inherently vicious, having a taste for human blood. “Eventually,” she writes, “these bloodhounds fell from view, and we pushed other dogs into the spotlight, including the German Shepherd dog and the Doberman Pinscher.” (Dobermans were widely believed to have abnormally small brains, turning them into mindless killers, but this, like the pitbull’s “locking jaws,” was simply a myth.) Other breeds that have haunted the popular imagination in the past include mastiffs and Newfoundlands. In Canada, Siberian huskies have often played the role of killer-hound.

    Gladwell again:

    The strongest connection of all, though, is between the trait of dog viciousness and certain kinds of dog owners. In about a quarter of fatal dog-bite cases, the dog owners were previously involved in illegal fighting. The dogs that bite people are, in many cases, socially isolated because their owners are socially isolated, and they are vicious because they have owners who want a vicious dog. The junk-yard German shepherd—which looks as if it would rip your throat out—and the German-shepherd guide dog are the same breed. But they are not the same dog, because they have owners with different intentions.

    I could quote reams more, but instead I recommend reading both articles.

  46. 46
    shockna

    So you are saying nobody (“good”) actually wants a pitbull and all of the good owners only have them because they rescued them from bad owners.

    Do you ever just read what you write before posting it? Or are you just being purposely disingenuous? This thread certainly points toward the latter.

  47. 47
    skeptifem

    Abbie Smith, who owns a pit bull, says that Drugmonkey and Physioproffe don’t know what they are talking about. Jerry Coyne says that her pit bull is quite tame.

    they always are, until they aren’t. If you have ever actually seen a pit maul someone (like I have, and there are videos all across the net) they typically aren’t acting that aggressive when they do it. They are usually quiet and wagging their tails, not posturing at all. They look like they are having a blast, just like when a herding dog circles around you or a retriever swims around. Thats what they were bred for, it is an inherently satisfying behavior for them. I am pretty sure if you google ‘phlebotomy dog’ you will find a video of a playful pit mauling its owner south of the border. That is so not a normal dog attack, but its typical of what I’ve seen from pits. Virtually any other kind of dog will avoid a fight whenever possible and give plenty of warning before attacking to make the possibility of an all-out fight remote. It took a lot of selective breeding to override such a useful instinct- also, getting a dog to go for such gutsy bites (generally the face, even on large animals like cattle and horses).

    People who have looked into pedigrees and the history for fighting dogs know that is has fuckall to do with training. These things kill each other as puppies all the time.

    What is funny to me is how no one can identify a pit except a nutter. Its a pit when its been abused or about to die at a shelter or wearing a tutu but the second it mauls someone its misidentified.

  48. 48
    StephB

    I never even knew what Pitbulls looked like or that people thought these dogs were dangerous until I got mine. I chose he because I wanted a small do and she was the smallest dog they had and because she was the only one that didnt bark. When she came home with me she was so happy and the most well behaved dog around. She loves every person and dog she meets and they love her. I love my dog because of who she is not because of her breed. I wouldn’t give her up for anything in the world

  1. 49
    On the apparent impossibility of having dispassionate arguments about dogs or guns. | Adventures in Ethics and Science

    [...] have been following the discussions at DrugMonkey's and PhysioProf's blogs (here, here, here, here, and here) about apparent parallels between arguments offered to defend gun-ownership and arguments [...]

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