The Marlyland Court of Appeals has deemed pit bulls to be “inherently dangerous”, which means that in a civil case for damages, if the plaintiff can prove that the damages were caused by a pit bull, then she does not need to show–unlike in an ordinary negligence claim–a failure on the part of the dog owner to exercise due care:
Upon a plaintiff’s sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bull cross, and that the owner, or other person(s) who has the right to control the pit bull’s presence on the subject premises (including a landlord who has a right to prohibit such dogs on leased premises) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s or lessor’s premises. In that case a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of negligence. When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.
There is a discussion about this already going on at DrugMonkey’s blogge, with the usual apologetics of the pit bull enthusiasts.
I’m pretty convinced that this commenter has it exactly right, that pit bulls have been bred to be vicious and uncontrollable:
Genetics play a huge part in a dog’s behavior and temperament. The Belyaev experiment has been going on since the 1959, and has proven that selective breeding, in even a few generations, can produce an animal that is genetically friendly toward humans; it can also produce an animal that is genetically aggressive. If this can be easily accomplished in wild canids (foxes), it can be easily done in domestic dogs.
Pit bulls were bred by the dogmen to be “game”, which means that once they are engaged in a fight, they do not stop, despite pain and mortal wounds. They were selected through generations to be highly dog aggressive, and to not respond normally to canine body language. They ignore signals of submission. They have a high threshold for pain. They have an active defence reflex, and will chose fight over flight when challenged. They were bred to attack without the typical warning signals, since signaling intent to your opponent is a liability in the fighting pit.
While normal dogs use mostly ritualistic displays of aggression…. posturing, hackling, growling, pinning and air snapping; or use just enough force to open up a flight path, such as when a fearful dog bites and releases….pit bulls have been bred to grab, hold, and shake their opponent until it stops moving.
This behavior in pit bulls is a self rewarding behavior, just as the exagerated eye-stalk behavior of the border collie is. It is not the result of abuse or training. Current breeding practices for pit bulls continue to select for these traits…the vast majority of people breeding pit bulls todays are at best grossly irresponsible back yard breeders, who are ingoring temperament and just looking to make a quick buck, or are criminals, drug dealers, gang members and dog fighters, breeding aggressive pits as guard dogs for drug ops, or for the fighting pit.
It’s time to stop the fairy tales about “nanny dogs”, and the mental gymnastics of looking for triggers and excuses as to “why” pit bull attacks occur. The dogs are simply doing what they were bred to do. Dogs aren’t people, they are a eugenics experiment. Pit bulls were created for an activity that is now a felony in all 50 states. Its time to take a hard look at regulating them as a public safety measure.