Social Question

filmfann's avatar

What would it take to change your mind about whether pit bulls were safe?

Asked by filmfann (46116points) July 23rd, 2010

There have been several pro or anti-pit bull questions, and many have stated their positions. What would it take to change yours?
Yesterday, in my town, 3 pit bulls killed a 2 year old that wandered into the garage. Do we still blame the owner? Can the breed be redeemed? How committed are you to your position?
If you would like to share your pit bull story, please do.

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31 Answers

jazmina88's avatar

My dog, not a pit bull doesnt like kids.

I have met a pit bull who was like a big kitten who farts alot.

Was the child in his garage…or wandered into the neighbors??
Both the owners and the parents have neglected responsibility.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I know three pit bulls that are sweet,gentle animals.I am inclined to think that it is the owners that don’t properly train the dog.

Cruiser's avatar

I have seen little kids get pretty rough with doggies…they grab tails and climb on dogs not really knowing or aware they are being rough with the possible consequences of their actions. Who knows she may have done something unintentionally to set them off. I taught my kids from the first moment they were around animals to respect the animal. Also as @lucillelucillelucille points out the dogs were not trained or maybe were even trained to be guard dogs. Tragic story and those dogs will probably be destroyed because of what happened.

CMaz's avatar

You can have a WONDERFUL pit bull. But the bread is wired to hunt, fight and kill.
If the disposition gets triggered somehow, that is the risk you take.

It is a buyer beware thing.

Chrissi85's avatar

The animal is not at fault, the owner is. A pit bull, staffy, Doberman etc can be loving and sweet, and a chihuahua can be savage. Unless the animal has some kind of imbalance then the owner is to blame for not training it right. There MAY be some dogs with a ‘trigger’ in which case those dogs should be kept accordingly. You wouldn’t take a scrapyard dog to a kids birthday party… I have worked with animals all my life, and I have also been attacked by a Doberman in the back of a car. I didn’t once blame the dog, it was the owners fault for not treating her right, and mine for not seeing the signs.

syz's avatar

What happened is tragic and unfortunate. But those dogs could have been of any breed – they all have the potential to be killers. Pit bulls are worthy of extra precautions, but they are not, in of themselves, evil or bad.

CMaz's avatar

“Pit bulls are worthy of extra precautions”

Pretty much says it all.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree with @syz. Unfortunately many people get breeds like Bull Terriers, Rotties, Doberman etc for the wrong reasons. They train (or at least don’t discourage) aggressive behavior and that is when tragedies like this happen so yes, I still believe that, in the case of these three dogs, humans were probably still to blame somewhere along the way. All the Bully breeds that I have come across (and goodness knows there’s a lot) that have been raised well by their owners are all very lovable dogs. Of course I still wouldn’t leave a child alone with any dog for reasons that @Cruiser mentioned. I still have reason to believe that naturally human agressive Pits are in the minority and there must have been a reason why these dogs attacked. If it was a case of guarding their territory from strangers, which, this child was (can we expect a trained guard dog to know the difference between a burgular and a child innocently straying onto their territory?) I don’t believe we should be blaming the dogs.

TwigNBerries's avatar

when you get a dog it is always your responsibility to train that dog in what is wrong and right… matter what breed of dog…it plain and simple, but the thing is some dogs require a little more training and some only require a little,
here are some dogs that require a little more training than usual
1. rottweilers
2. fox terriers
3. pit bulls

but of course this a general thing not all dogs are created equal ..some are a little more smart and some are…...well dumb they require a little more training than usual lol
hope this helped

Chrissi85's avatar

If my ferrets bit someone, it would be my fault.. but also theirs for touching them. When asked ‘do they bite’ I reply ‘not usually, but they ARE ferrets’ ... surely it’s the same with dogs. Fair enough, they are wonderful companions, but they still have a mouth full of teeth and plenty of natural instinct. I also agree with @Leanne1986 it’s not like the dogs were targeting a child! The question is, why were guard dogs allowed the freedom to get to the child, and why was the child unsupervised around them? It all comes down to human error and ignorance. An animal is never to blame for behaving like an animal, that’s like expecting it to have a moral compass.

Ron_C's avatar

It would take a 20 year program of supervising pit bull (and other dangerous dog) owners without a fight breaking out between dogs or the attacks by the dogs on humans. Every time there is an incident, the clock gets reset. If after 40 years there is a 20 year period without damage from the breed they should be declared safe, otherwise, all existing dogs of that breed will be sterilized. Then I would feel they are safe.

YARNLADY's avatar

The only safe dog is a supervised dog. The list of people killed by pit bulls is way too long.

meagan's avatar

Its just in their nature to be protective.
When I was small, a bull mastiff got a hold of my arm and left a huge bruise. Its in their nature to protect.
Thats like asking Greyhounds not to run, or small dogs not to bark and be a pain in the ass. Its basically what they were made to do.

They’ll never be “safe”. If you want a safe dog, get something like a sheepdog. I don’t know. Look into the breed. They’ll always resort back to their natural instincts.
Dogs aren’t like people. They can’t be taught how to ignore their natural instincts. These animals were selectively bred for years to do what they do now.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@meagan I’ve come across more Collies (AKA “Sheepdogs”) with aggression issues towards humans than Bull Terriers!

meagan's avatar

@Leanne1986 Oh, I’m talking about old english sheepdogs. The big cute fluffy ones? But I haven’t looked into their history. I’m only assuming they would be nice tempered. I bet that the herding collies could be aggressive, though.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@meagan I see, Old English’s do tend to be a sweet breed in my experience. All the ones I know just seem to want an easy life!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I still feel fine about pit bulls despite these new deaths – it’s the owners.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I believe these dogs can be triggered into a natural “put down” mode if they feel threatened or if they feel they need to act out to protect. I agree they shouldn’t go unsupervised.

We’ve got a beautiful female pit who is gentle, loving, polite and calm but when she has done normal dog things like snap at the little ones when they try to bully into her food or pester her by humping then by default her powerful jaws have done damage. I’ve also seen her go to the defense of the little dog she’s used to living with when he and my little dog wrestle and growl between each other. She thinks she’s protecting but her trigger is to snatch my dog and bite him until he’s no longer a threat which means to kill him so I watch carefully. She doesn’t care which of the little dogs is the instigator, she only knows to protect the one she’s most familiar with.

downtide's avatar

Pit bulls are illegal in the uk now but I’ve known them in the past to be incredibly friendly and loyal dogs. I don’t think they should be illegal, but I think that dog training classes for owners (of all dogs, not just pit bulls) should be compulsory. Most of the problem with aggressive dogs is people who don’t know how to control them.

downtide's avatar

The breed with the most problems with aggression and attacking people is the cocker spaniel.

There’s a congenital issue with the breed where they sometimes go into a sort of seizure and attack anything nearby. I’d rather have a pit bull in my house than a cocker.

rooeytoo's avatar

It is almost impossible to train the beagleness out of a beagle, they ALMOST always have their nose on the ground and are ready to howl.

The same is true of most breeds whether it be hunting, retrieving, herding or guarding. Guard dogs just happen to have the greatest potential to do harm to humans.

I always try to protect my dogs, by which I mean I would not let them alone with any child. My dogs have never shown aggression but why take the chance because they are first last and always dogs.

So yes the owner was at fault for not protecting his dogs. The parents of the child were at fault for not teaching the kid not to go near strange dogs. And the dogs were at fault because they followed a basic instinct which is not socially acceptable.

Incidents such as this always make me sad. The dogs will have to be put down, even if it weren’t the law, it must be done because you will never be able to trust them again.

knitfroggy's avatar

I am afraid of Pit Bulls. I don’t want my kids around them at all. A girl I work with has 3 Pit Bulls and I had to listen to her cry for 3 days when those dogs killed her son’s cat. I mean really. I felt bad for her son, he loved that cat. But what did she expect from notoriously aggressive dogs? I just hope those dogs never hurt one of her kids.

I know a lot of people say that any dog can snap and hurt you, and I’m sure that’s true except for my mom’s 4lb. chihuahua, but I think the chances a Pit may hurt or kill you is far greater.

filmfann's avatar

I want to post a few comments here from friends on Facebook:

“My neighbor just had to have his pitbull down because he first went after his granddaughter growlling at her, then the next day I heard something outside and the same dog was shaking another dog to death..My husband and I went outside to tell the family what happened and to put the dog on his chain..The dog started to come after me and then darted after my husband and started to attach him!!! This dog never had been abused and was with this family for four years…As a child I watched a child being attached by one, I still dream about it..If someone owns a large dog of any breed they need to take it to trained on hand comands, and voice. The trainer needs to train the owner to train the dog!! I have had a dog bite through my foot as teenager..
Now you know why I have cats!!!!P.S. My neighbor just brought home another Pit Bull Pup, and it is untrained and running loose!!”

“Some owners get lulled into a sense of security because the dogs often don’t exhibit any tendencies towards aggression until they’re older. I’ve had two friends with very sweet Pit bull-mix puppies. They had to get the dogs into boot camp – nearly facing a choice to put the dogs down – because of late aggression.

“I do believe Pit Bulls are a victims to poor handling and training by some their owners… I also believe that said owners are abundantly aware of the distruction Pit Bulls are capable of… Let’s not fool ourselfs… Owners of Pit Bulls do tend to find themselves in the news more so than owners of other breeds… To deny this would be naive… ”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If I had the option to choose a dog all over again, a pitt bull would never be my choice and I’d not mix one with smaller breed dogs or other kinds of animals like cats and certainly not around small kids. That our pit came with my bf and is 99% loving, gentle and polite is something I chose because of the man but I do hold my breath each time she snaps at his little chi-pin or my pom. We are fulltime+ working people, we aren’t trainers or learned rehabilitators. I feel we take chances every day she will harm our small dogs.

YARNLADY's avatar

@tinyfaery Awww, that’s cute.

kamcna02's avatar

I have owned my pit bull since she was a puppy. I rescued her after she had been dumped on the side of the road and she has been a joy to me ever since (hence my profile picture). I understand peoples belief that this dog is more prone to aggression than other dogs, but that is merely the case because so much negative has been focused on their breed. My dog is aggressive towards other dogs when they come into my house. She does not like other animals anywhere near her food, my bed, things she considers her territory. Outside of my apartment and at others homes she is an angel. In fact, at my parents house my mother’s Jack Russell bosses her around and dominates her the entire visit.
I am shocked to read so many people believing that this dog is merely prone to aggressive behavior and “turning” on its human owners. This is just not the case. This dog has been used in the military, was in “Little Rascals,” and even has been used as police dogs. My dog is definitely strong and has the capabilities to hurt me, but I trust this dog more so than any small dog I have ever owned (I have personally owned 2 chihuahuas, 2 Jack Russels, and 1 Basenji). At one point in time I even accidentally slammed her long tail in my car door. It was almost completely severed and she was crying. Instead of being protective and preventing me from viewing it and bandaging it, she was the opposite. Even after hurting her and causing her detrimental pain, this animal still had full trust in me.
People should make opinions after actually having experienced knowing one of these animals, especially after the dog has received proper training. I understand seeing a breed as this an avoiding the dog. My dog barks at strangers on walks, and I know it is intimidating, but as soon as the person gets close enough for her to see them her tail (newly amputated numb) starts wagging so fast her whole body wags. Some people might take her bark as intimidating and I completely understand that and respect peoples decisions to keep their distance. If people weren’t so completely consumed by what they are influenced by on television, however, they may come to realize that this breed of dog could be the most loyal and family oriented dog they have owned.
I was bit in the face by an Australian Shepard and the hand by a shitzu. Does that mean they are all horrible? No. My best friend had her lower lip bit off by her dalmation. It’s endless, the majority of animals have a tendency to snap on occasion because they are still animals and are unpredictable. Nothing about a pit bull makes them any different towards people though than other breeds. It’s just media hype. Maybe if people formed their own opinions instead of relying on what is consistently preached to them then this wouldn’t even be an issue right now.
It is all the trainer.
Maybe this will open everyone’s eyes a bit.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Our pit who is a gem 99% of them time acted out again last week and nearly killed my Pom. The whole family was in the backyard with our 3 dogs and no one can figure what set her off to attack my dog but it took a lot to get her to let him loose and he only survived because she has no canines (previous fighting with her sister dog) and my dog has a thick double coat. As much as we love her, we can no longer let her eat, sleep or mingle with my dog in the house or outside. This is our solution to not putting her to sleep. It’s horrible but these dogs’ jaws are just so power that gums alone crush with their bite force.

rooeytoo's avatar

You cannot train the beagle not to sniff, it is in the dna and I believe the same is true of other breeds as well. As @Neizvestnaya says, the only safe way to deal with it is eternal vigilance. I am the same with my dingo mix who has extremely high prey drive so I do not trust her with anything small and fast. It is my responsibility to keep her safe from her primal instincts since I took her out of the bush and put her into a situation where she could be punished for exercising those instincts. It was true with my akita as well.

I am not saying don’t have one, I am simply saying do not deny the potential and inclinations of the breed. Be responsible, acknowledge what your dog is and keep it safe from itself and thus keep others safe as well.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@rooeytoo: You echo my sentiments- acknowledge what pit bulls are capable of and don’t invite trouble. Personally I think my partner’s ex wife was an idiot to bring a rescue pit than had been fought into her household of 3 children and two other dogs- that my partner chose to let her was a mistake too, my opinion. Now I feel I bear the damages of their mistakes and am torn by my love for the better nature of this dog. I wish I’d never laid eyes on her.

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