Sunday, July 6, 2008


It was Dobermans in the Sixties, German shepherds in the Seventies, Rottweilers in the Eighties, now Pit Bulls. Due to a combination of bad legislation by ill-informed politicians, bad socializing by pathologically stupid owners and intentionally bad breeding by gangsta wannabees, Pit Bulls are the breed to fear for our enlightened times and as such, they are also the most abused, misunderstood and punished breed. Type "Pit Bull" into Google and you'll get millions of sites dedicated to promoting or exterminating the breed and like the majority of stuff on the internet, most of it is highly biased misinformation.

It's really hard to separate the diamonds from the foam-at-the-mouth babblegab but I've tried to gather a few of them together here.

I really like what this blogger ( has to say about pit bull ownership. She's an advocate but doesn't wear rose tinted glasses when it comes to her dogs. She recognizes their strengths but also understands the caution that is required when dealing with any powerful animal.

Just like in the creation of a bad person, creating a bad dog is due to any number of factors and to single out a particular breed as being bad is basically subjecting dogs to the wonderful, innate human tendency to be fanatically racist, unfairly judgmental and blindly self-righteous. Here are a couple of YouTube videos that try to illustrate this point:

Pit Bulls do kill and maim people. So do other breeds. So do cars and slippery bathtubs and wobbly ladders. So do people. Especially people, but never mind that. Let's get back to picking on Pit Bulls. Jurisdictions that have introduced breed specific legislation (ie. banning Pit Bulls) have noted a decrease in Pit Bull attacks. That's the good news. The bad news is that in some cases, dog attacks in general in those jurisdictions have gone up. Instead of Pit Bulls attacking, it's other breeds doing the deed. See KC Dog Blog . Still, some would argue, just because the numbers go up doesn't mean the legislation is no good. For example, if murder rates rise in a city that doesn't mean the laws on murder should be abandoned. But, that does indicate that legislation alone is not the answer.

The best way to reduce dog attacks from any breed is to promote responsible dog ownership (which, I admit, is kind of like saying, the best way to reduce the murder rate is to promote good parenting). Some have suggested that this idea be translated into laws requiring people who want to get a dog to first pass a test before being given a dog owner's license - similar to having to pass a driving test before being allowed to drive.

I suspect if serious debate ever comes up around this type of legislation, it'll be about as popular as forcing would-be parents to pass a test before being allowed to have kids.

I think the unfortunate truth is that the unfair stereotyping of Pit Bulls, or any other breed, (or race, sex or religion) and the creation of dogs with monstrous tendencies is not going to stop until we stop being so monstrously human.

No comments: