General Question

Bellatrix's avatar

What are your thoughts on banning the ownership of dogs such as pit bull terriers?

Asked by Bellatrix (21228points) August 18th, 2011

My question is inspired by this news story from Australia where a toddler has been killed Link

and by my personal knowledge of a guide dog that was recently attacked by a pit bull terrier and had had to have significant treatment is now quite traumatised. The guide dog was just out walking with its owner and the pit bull was in a vehicle with the window open and jumped out to attack the other dog.

Should the ownership and breeding of these dogs be banned?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

107 Answers

redfeather's avatar

It’s the owners. I’ve known good Pitt bulls. People just think they look tough and make them mean. Why let a breed die out?

cockswain's avatar

They have banned them in Denver, CO too. They can be dangerous. Any dog can be, but these have more of a history of violence. Probably not a bad idea to ban it so people don’t get hurt. By my logic though, anything potentially dangerous should be banned, which I don’t actually believe. Maybe if you can demonstrate they are controllable , or you don’t take them off your property it’s OK.

I suppose it’s really the same logic you can’t own a wolf and take it for a walk in public.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am really interested in people’s thoughts on this because I don’t really like the idea of government’s stepping in to prohibit things but in this case, even if it is an ownership problem, if we can’t trust owners should we allow these dogs, that obviously do have the potential to be dangerous, in our communities? I am a bit conflicted on this issue.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I disagree with BSL. Bully breeds get a bad reputation because they get all negative media coverage, they are raised, trained, and abused by the sort of people who should never own a pet, period, and their temperament, loyalty and strength are exploited. I’m all for laws requiring insurance coverage if you’re going to own a dog like this, but most of the bans lead to these dogs being euthanized for no good reason.
I’ve known plenty of pitbulls, and other bullies, in my life… and they are just like any other dog when raised in a healthy environment. I believe the focus should be on responsible ownership, proper socialization of your dog, and further cracking down on dog fighting.

Zaku's avatar

No. Clumsy laws that make way more illegal than is needed, are tyranny from reactionary fools.

A more appropriate legislative response would be to make the dog owners responsible for the damage done by their dogs, which they generally are already, and to educate people about the dangers of vicious animals, and how to train and handle them to avoid such incidents.

Otherwise, I’d say we need to outlaw all humans and then all commit ritual seppuku, because we’re the most dangerous things around (humans).

snowberry's avatar

You can’t control what type of people own pit bulls. The law won’t support that. That’s the problem. So because you can’t control the type of owner, you control the animal instead. Sort of like gun ownership in some parts of the country.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Zaku. What sort of compensation or insurance will cover the loss of another person’s child? I don’t think it is the fault of the dog. I think it is the fault of the owners but obviously, owners can’t be trusted to keep their dogs restrained? I also acknowledge, ANY DOG has the potential to be dangerous or to attack a child or another animal and we obviously aren’t going to ban ownership of all dogs.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@snowberry we don’t have a full on ban here, but this particular area of the state is impoverished and extremely high on gang activity and violent crime. Dog fighting is a huge problem here. An attempt to ban the dogs entirely failed, but a law passed requiring that owners of “vicious” breeds carry a $100,000 insurance policy per dog. I do think that has an effect on who owns the dogs.
And, just like guns, making them illegal doesn’t stop the wrong people from doing it anyhow. In my opinion, it does just the opposite. But, that’s a whole other discussion.

cockswain's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Your post made it occur to me that making them illegal could make them more prestigious. Gang members might want to have an illegal dog in particular just to be cool.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf So then why do pitbulls get all the bad press, and not other breeds doing vicious things? Like, I never hear about a golden retriever ripping a leg apart, so what’s up with that?

Bellatrix's avatar

There is apparently a lot of dog fighting in New Zealand where the guide dog was attacked. I do think having a hugely expensive insurance would help @ANef_is_Enuf. It might deter a lot of people from ownership.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If laws about minorities and different races are not valid in humans, I don’t see what would magically change that would let us apply it to dogs.

All you can really say against pitbulls is, all dogs bite from time to time, and when a pitbull does it it’s worse for whoever or whatever is attacked. If we ban pitbulls, not only will people still own them illegally, if we make it totally impossible to own one, the same jerk owners will just start buying the next most dangerous thing.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@cockswain I know just the type of people who get into that type of activity, and without a doubt it adds to the prestige. It’s a status thing.
@Aethelflaed when does the media not run with something that seems to get attention? Pitbulls have a bad reputation because they are the perfect breed to exploit. They are loyal, incredibly strong, have an insane prey drive, and in short, they are efficient killers. All dogs have the potential for violence, but these dogs are exploited for their traits. The more attention it gets, the worse it is. The media fuels this fire. Turning around and saying that “all dogs are evil and dangerous” wouldn’t exactly catch on, but the bullies already have the reputation. It’s easy to make them a scapegoat.

@Bellatrix I think it is more effective than an all out ban. The type of people who own pits for the wrong reasons are not exactly the type that will be concerned about carrying insurance policies to abide by the law. It’s the easiest way to control who can legally own these animals, and who can’t. IMHO.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@poisonedantidote hits on an important note, as well. Pitbulls have notoriously strong jaws and they lock on when they bite. That is what makes the attacks so devastating compared to other breeds.

Jude's avatar

I don’t know what to say this.

My partner’s family lives in an affluent neighborhood in N. Carolina. A few houses down lives a wonderful family with a pitbull. My partner’s Dad witnessed the neighbor’s pitbull rip apart a cat. Her Dad did his best to get the cat away from the pitbull, but, with the pitbull’s jaw clamped shut, no success. Everyone thought that he was a “good dog”.

josie's avatar

Good idea.
Here’s a good one too.
Why not ban people who have violent criminal records?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I like that that article cites German Shepherds. I, myself, have been bitten twice by German Shepherds, and my cousin had her face nearly bitten off as a child by one. But, they are a popular breed… popular law enforcement dogs, and all. The media is just skewed.
On the other hand, I personally don’t know anyone that has ever been attacked by a bully breed. I like to point out that Helen Keller owned a pitbull, when having this discussion. This fear of pitbulls and how evil and dangerous they are is a recent development in our society.

Zaku's avatar

@Bellatrix “What sort of compensation or insurance will cover the loss of another person’s child?”
– None, but the responsibility level could be manslaughter, and/or penalties/awards that are a very strong incentive for such owners to do the right thing, and if they don’t, will remove them from circulation.

@Bellatrix “I don’t think it is the fault of the dog.”
– Neither do I.

@Bellatrix “I think it is the fault of the owners but obviously, owners can’t be trusted to keep their dogs restrained? I also acknowledge, ANY DOG has the potential to be dangerous or to attack a child or another animal and we obviously aren’t going to ban ownership of all dogs.”
– Correct. But penalties that hold owners responsible can help. Parents also need to realize their children, if not physically escorted, could get hurt by the dangerous things in the world, so they can protect them and as they grow, tell them what to do, warn them about vicious dogs, etc.

As much as we’d all like everyone to be safe at all times and never get hurt or die, stuff tends to eventually get us. What we can do is be careful and smart, if we want to avoid danger. It doesn’t generally help to go making things illegal every time we notice something can be dangerous.

TexasDude's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I’ve been bitten by a Shepherd too, but my uncle also has one and she is one of the sweetest dogs ever (unless you are trying to hurt her family).

As for pitbulls, I love them. I blame the animosity towards them on fucking idiot ghetto thug culture bullshit.

Bellatrix's avatar

If people have their children in their own yards though, they should be able to feel safe. A dog suddenly coming into that yard, unexpectedly and attacking them, is something most parents would not expect. I know I rented a house a few years ago and the man next door had a pitbull. It dug under the fence and I looked out into my fenced backyard to see this dog there. I had to keep my children and pets in until the man came and got his dog. In this case in Victoria, the children were in their own garden. The guide dog I mentioned, was just walking along with its owner and it was on a lead. Owners of any dog, should be responsible for keeping that animal contained.

I do agree with charging owners for any harm their dog causes. In the same way that someone shooting another person with a gun would be held liable for the injury it causes. While as @ANef_is_Enuf has said, these dogs have specific traits that make them more dangerous, the problem is by and large, the owners.

Thank you everyone for all your comments so far, it is a complicated topic.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think all prospective pet owners should be required to complete training classes to prove they know how to take care of a pet before they are issued a license to own a pet.

Coloma's avatar

I hate to blacklist an entire breed of dog, but, Pit Bulls do have a reputation.
I have met some wonderful ones, but they would not be my dog of choice.
I do think the owners are responsible. I had an aggressive hound once, normally they are very even tempered dogs, if not a bit dingy, but this one was very aggressive, I had to have him euthanized for biting ME and my ex brother-in-law years ago.
It was a choice, as I felt I could no longer trust him with my family or anyone else.

It as heartbreaking but not as heartbreaking as him ripping off a childs face.

Any dog can bite unprovoked once in awhile, but I think a lot of owners, of all breeds, do not take their dogs aggressive potential seriously.

I was bitten by a Poodle, a Dachshund and a Doberman as a kid, I don’t care for those breeds either. haha

wundayatta's avatar

Pit Bulls, I’m told, are not a breed. Just a mix. This was told me by a person who ran a dog-walking service.

I think it’s pretty clear that these dogs can be cuddly little kitties, or vicious monsters. It all depends on how they’ve been raised.

It seems like half the dog people I see here have pit bulls. It’s like a city dog or something. But you don’t know how they’ve been raised, so you don’t know if you should pet them or stay away. Usually the owner will tell you.

Anyway, if it isn’t the pit bull, it’ll be the bulldog or some other breed or mutt that fits the bill. Defining a pit bull is probably a big hassle, too. I wonder if these laws are enforceable. Even if they are, they won’t do any good.

It’s a waste of valuable legislator time worrying about this. Then again, maybe it keeps them from doing even worse things.

syz's avatar

Any dog breed is capable of biting (6-week-old baby, killed by her family’s Pomeranian), but because of their conformation, pit bull bites tend to be more serious. Their size and strength makes them a formidable adversary.

Pitties are actually one of the nicest breeds that I work with. I would take a pit over a rottie or chow any day (most of my bites have been cockers, chihuahuas, and dachshunds). But as with any breed, there are bad ones mixed in with the good.

The weight of blame must lie with the humans that have, at best, bred the dogs without regard to temperament, and at worst have bred them (and trained them) to be killers. Somewhere in the middle are the irresponsible owners who do not socialize, train, and restrain their pet as they should.

lillycoyote's avatar

I really don’t know. There are dogs that are dangerous and can maul and kill that are not pit bulls and I don’t think simply banning pit bulls solves the problem of dangerous dogs or doesn’t just give people a false sense of security and a feeling that they are doing something to solve the problem of dangerous dogs. And there are pit bulls who wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s very complicated with no easy solution. People say it’s not the breed but the owner, but being attacked by an enraged Chihuahua or Yorkie is just not going to generally have the same end result as being attacked by an enraged pit bull; they’ve got those jaws of steel. I don’t know what the answer is.

Brian1946's avatar


“I disagree with BSL.”

What does BSL stand for?

Berserker's avatar

I don’t know the reputation of the Irish Wolfhound, but as far as I know, those were used to hunt and fucking kill wolves.
Yet, there’s one dude round here who owns one, and he regularly takes it to play with physically handicapped children, since it’s the sweetest thing ever.

I’m dead scared of dogs, but I will defend them in this case. Even Pits, who seem to be owned in abundance in this town. (yet I’ve never been mauled, nor has anyone I know, but granted, many are owned by retards who think they’re all gangsta) As already mentioned, German Shepherds have a good history of attacking people, yet so many people own them, and for the most part, they’re fine. Them, and rotties.

Perhaps some breeds might be more predisposed to attacks and violence than others. I heard that Pit bulls are called as such because they were bred for pit fights. They may retain some of these traits. (however, that particular breed wasn’t the only breed to be used in pit fights, and many breeds that did/do, we own today) However that doesn’t mean that, if treated right, they’ll just randomly attack people. That could happen to any dog anyways…a Collie is supposed to be the nicest thing ever. But I bet if you raise it with kicks in its ass, you’ll eventually regret that shit. I’m sure it’s the same with Pit bulls. Treat it right, make sure it has all it needs, I’m sure you’re fine.
I think the main problem is that a dog like that causes way more damage than most others while attacking, so they get all the spotlight. But do more Pitts attack people than Shepherds? Prolly not.

I don’t think we should ban them. There’s some laws here in Canada. If you have a Pit Bull, when you bring it out in your yard, it must always be tied up, and you need a fence around the place. Otherwise, you’re not allowed one. I’ve also heard about being obligated to file down certain canines. (none of this applies to my region though)

I don’t know much about dogs, I hope I’m not giving out too much faulty information, but I have looked into it in the past, since my town is Pit town and I’m so scared of dogs lol. I’d love any correction in what I said, should it require as such.

I say the main problem is the owners. If it came to boil the pot, I’d accept the particular law…if only for the fact that you can’t do anything about how someone raises a dog, as already mentioned.

Dogs may be dogs, and there might be reasons why we can’t own wolves and bears, so that’s why people should really get informed better before getting something like a Pit or a Husky or any bad repped dog. I don’t think they should be banned though. Maybe like, we could have some obligatory classes on dog ownership, treatment and overall learn about dogs in general, before being allowed to own one. I guess that’s pretty stupid, but it could be a bit like needing a driver or hunter’s license, or how you need to pass tests and courses before you can own a firearm. At least for the more hardcore dogs like the ones we been speaking of.
If it was me, people would leave animals alone…but dogs can’t live without humans apparently, and that would suck to eliminate an entire breed, unless it was obviously a werewolf or something.

woken's avatar

No. An individual case should be judged individually. It’s not an excuse for generalizations.

If a person was killed by a gun, should all guns be outlawed? No.

If a person was killed by a baseball, should baseball be outlawed? No. Etc…

Bellatrix's avatar

Breed Specific Legislation @Brian1946 (I had to ask too and I hope I remembered correctly :D)

Brian1946's avatar

@Bellatrix According to the PM I just got, you did remember it correctly. ;-)

DominicX's avatar


But if baseballs were responsible for ⅔ of ball-related deaths, I’d bet people would start looking closely at them and maybe some people would come to the conclusion that people shouldn’t have them.

According to statistics that I have read, pit bulls and rottweilers are responsible for ⅔ of dog attacks in the United States.

YoBob's avatar

I think that painting a particular breed as vicious is as ridiculous as saying that all humans of a particular race are prone to <whatever>. The tendency towards viciousness has much more to do with upbringing that with genetics. Some of the sweetest (and goofiest) dogs I have ever known have been of breeds that are perceived to be vicious by those who really don’t know what the “F” they are talking about. This includes Dobermans, German Shepherds, and yes, Pit Bulls.

woken's avatar


Fine, but then by your rationale, all the minorities in this country should be deported, because statistically speaking, according to the studies conducted by the FBI, BJS, NCVS, UCR, and PEW, they have found Blacks & Hispanics responsible for 70% of the nations’s crimes while only making up 30% of the population, while whites, which make up 63% of the nation’s population, are only responsible for 26% of the nation’s crimes.

They even went as far as trying to label Hispanics as whites, to make the data less evident, but it was exposed.

So with such statistical data, this is evident enough to outlaw all minorities since it outweighs the scale in the amount of violence and various other forms of destruction caused by them.

Same rationale as your dog/baseball argument.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

This is a great question. I must admit I was once one of those people – the ‘anti pit peeps’ and since I’ve worked at this new property (where the neighbor has a pit and its 5 pups) I’ve really changed my mind. It’s the owner, how it’s treated and a number of other factors in my opinion. I don’t even like dogs (because I’m scared) and these are the best puppies ever and so sweet! She has two boys under 4 and these dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly. I think it’s hard to tell how any animal could behave and they get a bad name bc of the breed.

filmfann's avatar

I think bad training is common with pit bulls, but I also believe they can be trained in a loving way, and still turn on their owners. It is in their nature.

flo's avatar

All I know for sure is that babies and toddlers should not be left alone, or be in close proximity with any kind of dog. Pit Bulls I understand do much more damage.

quiddidyquestions's avatar

I don’t think it’s just the media running with a story that makes people think pit bulls are more fatal than other dogs.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It is a pity we can’t institute a ban on cruel, abusive and stupid people. Of course, we’d then wipe out the Klan, the Tea Party and 66% of the Republican party and 10% of the Democrats (just to be fair).

It’s not the ________ stupid, it’s the stupid people.
(Insert: gun, dog, identifiable group in the blank)

plethora's avatar

I go with banning them. May not solve the problem, but would surely make a dent. For that matter, I’d go with banning chimps as pets too knowing of only one which ripped off the hands and face of a woman (who recently got a new face).

@Dr_Lawrence If you are as far left as the Klan is far right, you are both at about the same ideological point, both having gone so far you’ve circled back and met each other. Your credentials would indicate you are smarter than this.

DominicX's avatar


A human isn’t the same as a dog. And I’m sorry, but that’s where we diverge…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds like a knee-jerk reaction, like many others we see or read about, be it related to an an animal or human incident. As unemphatic as this may sound, there comes a time where people need to be held accountable or accept the circumstances instead of pointing fingers at a particular individual and blaming all that may be remotely related.

In this case, yes, it is a horrific tragedy, as are any attacks that result in a death. Is there an easy solution? I think not. Laws can be passed, but it doesn’t mean that all people will adhere to them. Nor do any countries have the funding to enforce such potentially one-off laws, much less what is already on the books. Even if there was the funding, where do we draw the line when it becomes a ‘Big Brother’ scenario?

woken's avatar


The science would argue humans are animals, no? A mammal?

And it doesn’t matter, the point was it’s simply unfair for the minority, whether human or inhumane.

It’s sooner justified and easier if you just judge people and invents on an individual bases rather then looking for excuses to ban something generally while the individual minority suffers the most out of this.

Where do you draw the line?
Who decides where do you draw the line?
What about the minority?

This is a recipe for disaster.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Pit bulls and pit bull terriers, etc are an easy target. When I was a kid it was the Doberman pinchers. Bull terriers have been around since Our Gang link was romping around on TV. in the 20s. Spuds McKenzie was a pull terrier. The media feed on every story it can with a bull terrier, pit bull attack etc in it. It reminds me of the mid 70s when the media got on to the child molestation kick. Everyone was a molester, teacher, coaches, ballet instructors.

If it is anything like around here across the US is a bunch of young butt nuggets walking around with their pitts trying to look tough. They figure if they raise their dogs mean, or meaner than the next guy, they will have “street cred”. I do not believe the dog is inherently evil or vicious. I believe it is solely on how the animals are raised. Raised by a butt nugget, it becomes a butt nugget dog. They are not tigers and lions that have some innate coding to hunt and kill. If that was the case why just them and not those stupid little “ratdogs” people want to cart around in their purse?

I may not ever choose the breed if I got a dog but not because of the hype. I like larger breeds, Great Danes, bull mastiffs, Rottweiler, etc. Just because they are pitt bull breeds I would not pass them up anymore than I would pass up a beagle.

It is just a shame people cannot separate the logic from the hype.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I rarely think that banning anything is an appropriate answer. Certain animals can be dangerous, yes. Perhaps due to bad breeding and even worse training, certain breeds are more likely to be dangerous. But I think that laws like this are just keeping in place the negative associations around dogs like pit bulls, making them even more likely to be used and abused by certain members of the public. It is not the breed that is at fault, but humans for insisting upon making everything bad or good.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
woodcutter's avatar

@snowberry _ you control the animal instead. Sort of like gun ownership in some parts of the country._ That’s the reason why I keep a choke collar on my Kalashnikov, so it doesn’t “go off” on innocent people. Don’t laugh it works.
A dog is an animal with a mind of it’s own ,subject to conditioning by their trainer. They can’t be compared to inanimate objects that do nothing when left alone. A pit bull if left to their own devises can, and have killed. We all know that. And also their owners are punished for the actions of their dog which by proxy are their own actions. They are one in the same. But that doesn’t bring that baby with a bitten off face back in one piece. The damage is done. If I was approached by a loose pit bull while walking outside I would be sweating bullets which of course the animal would sense. If a golden retriever came up to me I wouldn’t think twice about visiting with him. It would be hard for me to associate with people who own these animals, sorry if I offend anyone but the dogs are dangerous. You get chomped on by a dog other than a PB it will hurt but you will probably be ok. If a PB latches on to you, you’re going to be permanently maimed assuming you survive. Killing the animal after the fact won’t do much for me now…killing their owner…that would give me closure, oh yes.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m fine with banning them.

snowberry's avatar

@woodcutter Oh, I agree with you. I was just stating the rationale behind banning pit bulls. It sorta works, but just like with the gun ownership laws, the people who flaunt the law are also (often) the scary ones we need to worry about.

I have known more than a few well trained and socialized pit bulls, so I know it’s possible. It’s some of the owners that are the problem. I also get that guns are inanimate objects, and that obviously there are differences. The point I was trying to make was that sometimes the law flaunting owners of pit bulls create a toxic society of their own that makes it unsafe for everyone else.

On a related topic, I remember watching an episode of “It’s Me or the Dog” where a man purchased a presa canario puppy to “protect” his family. Victoria told him to get rid of the dog, that it needed to be constantly watched, trained and socialized as a puppy and as an adult, that it had a high prey drive, that it was absolutely unsuitable for a family with small children, etc. She also had him talk to experts who told him the same thing. I forget now if he kept the dog or gave it up. I think the episode ended with him planning to keep it. Sorry, I couldn’t find the link to the episode.

Hibernate's avatar

I wouldn’t ban them. I’d make the owners responsible more for the dogs. If their dog kill someone accuse them of murder and the dog to be considered the weapon. It’s not the dog fault he became so aggressive, it’s just the way he was raised.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

My grandchildren live with their responsible parent. The other responsible parent died unexpectedly last year. They have two wonderful, well socialized pit bulls. When I met these dogs as a complete stranger they were initially cautious of me (first 30 seconds) and then because of my behaviour, they adopted me as one of the family. On subsequent visits, they greeted me like an old friend. Six of my grandchildren play with these dogs regularly. The other two have met these dogs and had only good experiences.

The older of the two dogs was rescued from an abusive owner as a young dog. The younger one was luckier and has lived with my step-daughter since he was a young puppy.

Before I knew these dogs, I had preconceived notions about the breed. I was wrong.

woodcutter's avatar

They should be certified safe by an authority that would know what a safe dog is. And have papers to prove it. It won’t stop people from owning them under the table though. I have heard of accounts where a good dog surprised everyone and attacked anyway without provocation. They can’t even be compared to a loaded gun. They are more dangerous because they can think without a trigger to set them off. When a victim has one of these animals clamped onto a body part I really doubt they will be thinking it’s not the animal’s fault. They are definitely not a dog for dumb people.

rooeytoo's avatar

Here is my thinking, it is virtually impossible to break a beagle of sniffing because that is what it was bred to do. Dogs that are bred to be guardians or fighters or whatever are very hard to break of those habits. It is hardwired into the DNA. I also think they are not the dog for everyone up and down the street, they need to be handled and trained by people who are capable of dealing with that kind of dog. And therein lie the first two parts of the problem, everyone up and down the street want one for assorted reasons, but most are not the type needed to handle the dog.

The third part of the problem is that the dog owners nor many parents and others realize the capability of all dogs to be killers. It is my responsibility as a dog owner to protect my dog from itself at all times. I NEVER allow kids to run up to my dogs, I always step in front and I give the parents and the kid a lecture on how to approach a strange dog. I don’t care if it is chihuahua or a pit bull, it can maim. I have an electric fence and collar on my dog so she cannot escape and that is in addition to a secure fence (but not high enough to satisfy me). Invisible fencing is expensive but again if I can’t afford to protect my dog then I shouldn’t have it.

I think you should have to pass a course of some sort to own a dog that weighs more than 40 pounds. You must have a license to breed dogs, no more back yard breeders or pure bred breeders unless they are willing to pay a large licensing fee. All dogs must be mircrochipped at birth so their ownership can be traced. You could make a lot of laws that would solve the problem, but they must be policed. And that is the next part of the problem. There are not enough animal enforcement officers to keep up with the dog population.

BSL is a waste of time in my mind. Dog fighting is illegal and it goes on everywhere so who is naieve enough to believe that banning a breed is going to eliminate them.

Ivan's avatar

@redfeather got it right in the very first comment.

desiree333's avatar

There is no such thing as a bad dog. Poor owners train dogs to behave badly, intentionally or not. Maybe powerful/high energy breeds such as pit bulls and rottweilers have the potential to cause more harm because of their structure. However, they can be trained just as easily as a golden retriever or beagle to be a gentle, loving companion.

JLeslie's avatar

@desiree333 I disagree. I think some are bred to be meaner and angrier. I think it is more than just the environment of the home, it is genetic. Even in humans they believe they have found a warrior gene and these people typically have real anger issues. Once that switch is flipped, and something pisses them off they are relentless. I am sure the dogs, even if they are bred to be angry, have a very sweet loving side, I don’t doubt it, and I am sure not every dog in those breeds are angry or aggressive, but many more in those breeds than a lab or golden retriever if I had to bet.

syz's avatar

@desiree333 Untrue. There are bad dogs. I’ve met dogs that have been raised in loving,knowledgeable homes that are psychotically aggressive or dangerously fearful. In most cases of bad dogs it’s the owners, but not always. Sometimes it happens despite the best intentions of owners.

The worst I’ve ever seen was when I counseled the appalled (and oblivious) owners of an 8 week old cocker spaniel that that was so vicious you couldn’t touch him – I recommended that they return him to the breeder.

bags's avatar

I have issues with breed specific legislation. Most of my life I have had dogs that are on that list, GSD’s, Rotties, Wolf hybrids, and now a Malamute – and I have never, ever had an issue with one of my animals being inappropriately aggressive. Yes, some breeds are by nature more aggressive than others, but that doesn’t mean that every single dog is going to be that aggressive and a lot depends not only on the breeding of the animal, but on how they are raised. Kids that act badly usually get lousy parenting, dogs are much the same. Not all dogs are for all people.

filmfann's avatar

Welcome to Fluther @bags

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am against Breed Specific Legislation. It is one of my biggest hates. I think banning a breed doesn’t help the problem at all as people are still able to breed and sell/own these dogs, they just go underground with it. I’m a huge fan of Bully breeds in general (I have a Staffy of my own who is the sweetest dog I have ever met) and believe we should be educating people about animal ownership rather than banning breeds altogether. There are a small group of people that will always use dogs as status symbols and train them to be dangerous and these are the ones who should be punished. My motto is “blame the deed not the breed”. I would happily pay a licence fee to keep my dogs if it meant that certain (irresponsible) people would be put off dog ownership themselves but I understand that this would be difficult to moniter.

I could talk for hours on this subject.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I should have read the responses before commenting because I agree with everything @rooeytoo has said about dog ownership (regardless of breed) and responsibility. Her opinion was put into much better words than mine (I tend to go off on a tangent with this subject because I am so dead-set against banning Bull breeds) but she said everything I wish I had said and more.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

As an owner of a Pitt, I can’t really think of a reason why we owners need to have this type of dog. Ours is a sweet girl, 99% of the time but she’s incredibly powerful and when she decides to give a warning nip to one of the other dogs not to mess with her, the sheer force of her giant teeth have left injuries.

Dogs often protect others, our girl protects her “brother” if she thinks my little doggie is a threat. This can be as simple as the two little one wrestling and playing- she’s twice attacked my dog thinking he was a threat and she’s tried to kill him. She doesn’t know her strength, she doesn’t know her jaws lock, she doesn’t probably know her purposely bred ferocity and heightened prey instinct isn’t what we want. It’s not her fault she’s was born a sweet and adorable puppy my stepkids picked out of a litter.

Having had her now in a joined household for two years, I understand why our HOA forbids them; we lied to keep her. The children understand why we don’t walk her outside with other neighbors walking their dogs (she can drag my 200lb fiancee) to get to what she wants to attack.

I’m for banning this breed, sweet as they can be because that 1% that things have gone wrong, they’ve been serious. Asking into the history of this dog of ours, she was not abused, she was trained alongside a litter mate, she lived with a family that had 3 children. By “accidents” one of the kids nearly lost a thumb that was torn away in the dog’s mouth. No one knew what triggered the bite. We’ve witnessed our dog attack the others several times and still don’t know for sure what her trigger was. It’s sad but I’ll never allow another Pitt into our home.

Coloma's avatar

I’d add that some dogs, just like some people, ARE just born bad seeds. lol
My hound was a mix of Walker Hound ( Foxhound) and Plott Hound ( Big cat and Bear hounds ). His mother was the Plott hound and she was very docile, I did not meet the father.
I did everything RIGHT with this dog. Took him all over as a puppy to learn socializing skills in many different situations, put him in obedience classes for 6 months, neutered him at 4 months, gave him plenty of love, attention, exercise, treats, he slept in the house.

He started showing aggressive behaviors at a young age, maybe 4–6 months old.
By the age of 5 he was becoming increasingly dominant, aggressive, and then, the ‘incidents.’
I have joked for years that I felt like the mother of a serial killer ” I did EVERYTHING for you! How could you!” haha
A good pasrt of sociopathic behavior is genetic, why not the same in animals?
I believe he was, simply, born rather ‘off’ for whatever reasons.

woodcutter's avatar

So, ownership of a new pit bull becomes a game of Russian roulette. Nice.

cheebdragon's avatar

Let’s ban people from having children also, because they might take a gun to school and start shooting everyone…

cheebdragon's avatar

Car accidents cause more deaths each year, but no ones trying to ban owning cars….it’s unfortunate that you were bitten, but seriously? Banning people from owning certain dog breeds? Sounds like some hitler shit to me.

cockswain's avatar

@cheebdragon So on the flip side, should people be allowed to own mountain lions as pets?

DominicX's avatar

@cheebdragon Having children is not the same as owning a dog. Everybody is making such ridiculous exaggerated comparisons; how is that a valid argument? Sounds more like a slippery slope fallacy to me…it’s not that far from saying something like “if we allow gay marriage, then we have to allow people to marry their cell phone”. Yet everybody laughs at that stupid argument. I’m just disappointed that seems to be one of the primary “arguments” against banning certain breeds and it’s not a very good one :\

cheebdragon's avatar

@cockswain Did you know there are around 5000 tigers in the U.S.? 95% belong to private citizens, most states don’t even have laws prohibiting someone from owning a tiger. don’t care what other people own so why would I care if anyone owned a mountain lion? Though, to be honest with you, I’m not sure I understand the point you are trying to make by compairing a wild animal to a domesticated dog breed that’s been around since the 1600’s…..?

@Dominicx so banning children is illogical, but banning people from owning certain dogs due to an irrational fear, seems like a good idea to you? Murderer’s, rapists, sociopath’s….they all started out as children, did they not? Do you believe that they are a product of their enviroment? Or they were just born that way?

cockswain's avatar

@cheebdragon I’m just wondering how you view it, not really taking a position to defend. I’m sort of torn on the whole thing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

How about this then? For all the people who don’t have irrational fears of Pitt behaviors, how about they adopt/rescue all the homeless Pitts first and then decide if more should be bred for the common person or average family.

Me, that our Pitt acts out maybe 2–3 times a year trying to kill my little 15lb dog and injuring anyone who gets in her way? I don’t need my family to be her experimental behavior group.


Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you everyone for your comments and thoughts. Like @Cockswain. I am very torn on this issue. I think there have been some good suggestions here in terms of how to manage ownership of dogs of this type and information from people who own these dogs or similar. Thanks again.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

I’ve actually been attacked by a Pitt myself and I’m pretty sure no animals need to be bread for anything at all. I’m more scared of Husky dogs. This is a great Q & A I’ve gathered a bunch of info myself and it’s nice to see people’s views.

desiree333's avatar

@JLeslie Okay, so even if a dog has those warrior genes people shouldn’t assume the whole breed is as bad. Sure pitt bulls have the potential to be aggressive. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be trained and monitored. I also agree that there are probably more aggressive pitt bulls than there are golden retrievers. Families with children typically own golden retrievers, whereas rough/bad people will more often choose a pitt bull because they look tough. These people then train the pitt bull to be protective, possessive, and aggressive. The nice little family with children will obviously raise a gentle dog. I bet if retrievers looked just as tough/strong they would end up being stereotyped and then raised to be bad. If this was the case then people would be saying the same thing about how retrievers have this warrior gene. It think the gene is an individual thing, all pitt bulls don’t have it and some retrievers do. No wonder why retrievers are percieved as a family dog, they usually aren’t raised and abused to be bad.

@syz I don’t believe that a dog is born vicious. Even if a puppy was showing signs of aggression it is the responsibility of the owners to train it before it can get out of hand. If they can’t keep their pet under control they shouldn’t have any.

Coloma's avatar


I disagree, as has been mentioned. ‘Vicious’ may be the wrong choice of words, but, it IS absolutely, entirely possible, that an animal is genetically programmed to be more sensitive, fearful, anxiety ridden, anti-social, just like many people.

It has been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a solid 50% of sociopathic behavior is genetically induced by an ‘off’ brain that does not process or feel emotion in the same way a normal persons does.

If mental illness can be inherited in humans I believe it is the same for some animals.

I was one who did take every precaution, exhausted training and behavioral options and nothing worked with my aggressive hound dog.

The only safe and sane option was to euthanize, and that is a decision that sadly, some dog owners must come to make, as well as the pinnacle of ‘responsibility.’

YARNLADY's avatar

@Coloma I had a dog like that, also. She would obey me and my family, but we kept her under strict control, by leash or shut in the enclosed patio. We installed a double fence with two gates, one self closing, to protect her and other people.

When my son and his wife had a baby while they were living with us, I finally had to make the sad choice. The elderly dog had developed tumors, and was in poor health, and the vet who had cared for her since she was a pup agreed with us.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have known killer golden retrievers, that is why I am hesitant to completely favor BSL. It definitely depends on the dog. And you live in a dream world if you think every dog can be trained to live in society. There are dogs who would be serial killers if they were human. And let’s face it, a lot of folks don’t even monitor their children’s activities and movements so to expect them to do so with a dog is not realistic.

It is a difficult problem. There are no simple answers. But restrictions on breeding dogs and huge licensing fees for those who wish to breed would be a good start. And it would help the problem of unwanted dogs ending up being euthanized by the millions each year.

JLeslie's avatar

@desiree333 I think @Neizvestnaya pretty much made my case. I agree with you that aggressive men are more likely to want and keep pitbulls, it might be another reason not to promote the breeding of that dog. Who knows how that dog is treated by some asshole, jacked up, violent man. Being taught to be angry, jumpy, and aggressive is not a peaceful happy existence, not for people or for dogs, no matter whether it is genetic or environmental. The dogs are bred. If there is less of a need, less will be born. I see nothing wrong with that. I am not trying to rid the breed off the earth, but it would be nice if the most aggressive ones were not allowed to reproduce. They are bred to continue the aggressive behaviors. People help make that happen, it is not just left to nature.

lillycoyote's avatar

And, just to add the the devil’s advocacy, men are responsible for 96% of all violent crime in the U.S. Should we just ban men?

JLeslie's avatar

@lillycoyote Sometimes I do wonder why Wonder Woman left Amazon Island.

Brian1946's avatar


“Should we just ban men?”

Robbie Robertson and I are already members of The Banned. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@lillycoyote I think your stat does not work. We would need to know what percentage of men commit violent crimes, not that most violent crimes are committed by men.

lillycoyote's avatar

@JLeslie My stats do work. I didn’t say what percentage of men commit violent crimes, I stated what percentage of violent crimes are committed by men.

DominicX's avatar


It only works if you consider banning an entire gender of humans the same as banning a breed of dog.

lillycoyote's avatar

@DominicX That was exactly my point, yes?

JLeslie's avatar

@lillycoyote No, I mean I think we need to know what percentage of men commit violent crimes, if we are to decide to completely ban them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Coloma It has been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a solid 50% of sociopathic behavior is genetically induced by an ‘off’ brain that does not process or feel emotion in the same way a normal persons does. Injecting an idea of logic. Maybe the smart minds need to do more research to see if pit bull, or bully breed dogs, are indeed inclined from their metabolic make up to be mean psychopathic dogs, or training. Even if a person had the tendency to be a sociopath I don’t think it means there is no hope for them, and we might as well wait to see when they snap and get the orange jumpsuit ready. I think until there is a scientific link, a gene sequence etc, that says gene at location bla bla is the pit bull aggressive gene and all of them have it, slamming every pit bull is little remiss.

lillycoyote's avatar

@JLeslie That was kind of my point too, 96% of violent crimes are committed by men. That doesn’t mean that 96% of men are violent criminals. Far from it.

JLeslie's avatar

@lillycoyote I know what your statistic meant. I am just curious what percentage of the male population commits violent crimes. 1%? 10%?

Coloma's avatar


I agree, I do not advocate slamming every Pit Bull, just injecting another potential reason for possible aggressive behaviors. Fighting and hunting breeds of dogs are genetically programmed to do what they have been bred for. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but, just like horses, you won’t win a race on a Clydesdale and you can’t pull a 2 ton wagon with a Thoroughbred. lol

LadyWinter's avatar

Good question ! As some one who has raised a Pitt Bull and had an animal grooming buisness for 6 years I don’t feel that it is right to ban any breed based on my expierience with many breeds. You don’t get more up close and personal with an animal than grooming it. Your a complete stranger touching all areas when bathing, trimming, shaving with a buzzing electric object and cutting nails. It was rare when ever I had to use a muzzle so as not to get bit and I used one more often on the smaller breeds who tend to be a bit more spoiled because their so darn cute when they get upset. Look to the owners, not the animal. Like a child the animal only knows what and how you teach them and safety should always come first.

Beware of anyone who breeds animals and do an extensive background check. The same goes for your groomer. There are too many groomers out there who are only in it for the money and can harm your 4 legged child when your not looking. Best to sit and watch if you care to and if it’s not allowed than go to someone else who has nothing to hide ;-)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wanted to add that we’ve been told many times but chose to try and reason around it that a dog’s temperament is part of good and careful breeding. We thought our dog just needed more attention, more this, more that when in fact it’s probably as simple as she was from a little of backyard haphazard breeding for who knows how many generations and owners.

Our pool guy think our Pitt is the sweetest girl and never flinch to see her bounding around. Our yard guy thinks she’s swell too. Only my little dog and the kids knows she’s a killer. Sometimes we feel like we’re harboring a fugitive or in-denial-parents of a serial killer.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I must say that, whilst I am 100% against BSL I do think that breeding of any dog breed needs to be monitered and restricted. As @Coloma said, genetics can play a part in an animals mental state and can easily be the cause for aggression. For this reason I would like to see harsher punishments on backyard breeders who do not care whether the dogs they are mating will produce healthy off-spring.

I beg of anyone who is thinking about getting a puppy from a breeder (regardless of breed and reason for wanting one) to research the breeds they are interested in and only get a dog from a responsible, trustworthy breeder (this in itself can take a lot of reserach to make sure the breeder is trustworthy).

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In an age of pet overpopulation, is it too far fetched for a pet purchase/adoption to also require a spay or neuter, leaving breeding to licensed breeders?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Neizvestnaya When I got my Staffy from Battersea dogs home they would only let me have her if I signed to say that I would get herspayed. They even gave me a 10% discount voucher so that the op would be cheaper for me. I think this is a great idea especially with bully breeds that are often bred for the wrong reasons. The only problem is, Battersea took my word for it that I had her done (I did btw) and never did any kind of check.

Coloma's avatar

I let go of a friend about 5 months ago, for many reasons, but, even though it was not the issue, I also could not abide by her wanting to breed her pair of Boxers that she had purchased on a whim and then, with no real interest or education or compassion for animals in general, decided she wanted to breed them to make her money back on the $450 purchase price. Gah!

As I said, this was not the ultimate reason I decided to drop her as a ‘friend’, but, I tried to encourage her to NOT breed those dogs, gave her the stats on how many pure bred dogs end up in the shelter, tried to appeal to a sense of compassion and ethics, let her know I did not agree with backyard breeding. It was just another thorn in my paw and along with everything else, time to part ways.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Coloma: It never crossed my mind as way to make money but since moving to where I live now, it seems commonplace. It’s embarrassing that our largest city was often featured on that Animal Planet show about pet police and the abuses they find. Episodes about Pit dogs were seemingly the most plentiful.

Coloma's avatar


Yeah, backyard breeding is right up there with drug dealing, turn a quick buck with no regard to the harm being done. This is really another good definition of ‘evil’, exploiting anything or anyone for profit. Given a choice I’d sell drugs over animals, at least the buyers know the choices they are making, animals are powerless.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Coloma I can understand your frustration with your ex friend for wanting to breed from her two pet Boxers. I know a number of people that keep talking about breeding from one (or more) of their pets because they want to make a quick buck. They justify this by saying “look how pretty my dog is, she’d make beautiful puppies”. This makes me want to scream in their face. They have absolutely no intention of paying for health checks, researching lines or even vetting the people that want to buy the puppies from them. It makes me so mad.

Coloma's avatar


Yep, and, in my friends case, they make close to 200k a year!

WTF!!!!??? Given their income and the fact that she still wanted to make money off these dogs that she basically ignored anyway…it just comprimised my core values too much to look away.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Coloma I’m glad you’re not her friend anymore even though it is not my place to be glad (or feel any other emotion towards it for that matter)

Coloma's avatar


Haha, well, thanks for the support anyway, yes, it’s been a blissful 5 months of no manipulation and not having to hear her drama every day, let alone the poor dogs.

I was at a local feed store the other day and saw boxer puppies on the bulletin board and thought..” Oh, I hope it’s not her” wasn’t, but, I am pretty damn sure she has or is expecting puppies anytime now.

rooeytoo's avatar

This is also something I think about when folks claim mixed breeds from rescue are always the best bet. That is definitely not always true. When you have no idea of the background or origin of a dog, you don’t have a clue what you are getting. I am not saying do not adopt a mixed breed, I would say however, adopt from a rescue organization who temperament tests dogs before placing them. That of course would apply to adult dogs, with a pup it is a more difficult assessment.

Of course there are exceptions to all rules, as I said above I have known pure bred golden retrievers, labs, springer spaniels, all of which had to be put down because of aggression or rage issues. Maybe it is safest to have a hampster, or a goose, hehehehe!!!

Coloma's avatar


Yep, my goose Marwyn is the best ‘dog’ I have ever had. Not too many people killed by geese. Goosed a little maybe. haha

OpryLeigh's avatar

This is also something I think about when folks claim mixed breeds from rescue are always the best bet. That is definitely not always true. When you have no idea of the background or origin of a dog, you don’t have a clue what you are getting @rooeytoo I salute you!

mpippin's avatar

I dont agree with the banning of any breed. I own 2 wonderful pitbulls (or should I say, they own me, ha!) Wonderful dogs.. Just like my bumper sticker states ” I was bitten by a pomeranian, can we ban them too?” Stop BSL. Its not the governments place to tell me what dog i can love.. or allow to guard my home..

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther