Media articles about about the pit bull crisis (2019 and earlier)

Resource articles from the media 2019 and earlier documenting awareness of the growing onslaught of severe maulings by pit bulls.

(See also: Specific pit bull attacks documented in mainstream media )

Jump to articles from 2020 onwards 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 earlier.


CA Hits Record High in Fatal Dog Attacks in 2019 — Are Animal Control Policies Protecting Us?

Animal rescues have been caught hiding paperwork and history on aggressive pit bulls that they are trying to sell, and drugging them to make them appear more docile at the shelters to prospective new owners. “Mike Kaviani, then-director of the shelter said it is not necessary to disclose all information about the pet at first and also admitted that some dogs are drugged. CBS2 had obtained internal records which show that 23 out of 32 dogs with bite histories at the shelter had no warnings or any information about biting previous owners on their kennel cards. CBS2 also found the OC shelter drugged dozens of dogs, supposedly to calm them.”
Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). December 30, 2019

Mother to dog owners: ‘Don’t take any chances’

“She will never forget the horror her family lived through on the evening before Independence Day. “To anybody that has a pit bull, don’t take chances,” Janet said.”
Kevin Mertz, The Standard-Journal (Pennsylvania). December 26, 2019

Mia Johnson Joins Ari Goldkind: Should Ontario Lift Its Ban on Pit Bulls?

Short, concise interview with co-founder of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness on why pit bulls are not safe animals to have in our communities, regardless of what animal rescue workers are inviting us to believe.

Ari Goldkind Show. SiriusXM 167. 13 December 2019

Victims’ group decries proposed lifting of pit bull ban

“It’s like listening to the tobacco industry about the safety of smoking,” the NPBVA said about animal rights groups lobbying the province for change. “Studies in medical journals on the dangers of pit bulls are rapidly piling up.”

Paul Pedro, Blackburn News (Ontario). November 25, 2019

Pit bulls: An active 40+ year shelter director speaks out

“There is no way to predict when, and if one day, one action will change them from a sweet dog to a raging, unstoppable force that cannot be controlled. How do we even think of making that choice, of taking that chance with the life of a human or an innocent animal? How can some people be so smart, yet so stupid as not to understand basic genetics known to every dog breeder for generations?”

Debra Boswell. In: Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7. November 9, 2019

Pit bulls: A retired humane professional speaks out at last

“When a dog type is bred for fighting, or for aggressive guarding, that becomes part of their genetics… Big organizations want us to ignore the science… How can a responsible animal welfare association promote these dogs?”

Deborah Turner. In: Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7. November 8, 2019

Pit Bull Attacks We Can’t Forget, Shaquille O’Neal Helps a Victim

“Pit bull attacks have reached an epidemic level but are still treated as “normal” events by Animal Services departments and politicians across the country.”

Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). November 4, 2019

Pit bulls are bred to kill and don’t belong in a civilized society

“We can’t afford to be sentimental about this. One more pit bull attack is one too many. People don’t bite people, dogs bite people. If we are focusing on the owners, I think we are barking up the wrong tree.”
Letters to the Editor, Toronto Star, Toronto (Ontario). November 1, 2019

Rally held for pit bull victim awareness

“Pit Bulls are the number one canine killer of people, pets, and livestock every year. The trend in animal shelters and rescue groups to promote fighting breed dogs as ‘safe family pets’ is resulting in an epidemic of serious injury and death.”
WILX News 10 (Michigan). October 24, 2019

Declare a National Pit Bull VICTIM Awareness Day

“To date, 582 Americans have been fatally mauled by pit bull type dogs. Thousands more have been severely disfigured, dismembered and completely disabled by this fighting breed. Pit bulls kill thousands of beloved pets and livestock every year as well. This growing number of victims is largely ignored by the media and society in general. Victims, if they survive, suffer physical trauma, years of reconstructive surgeries, PTSD, emotional trauma, and ruinous medical bills. Medical doctors have called the increasing number of pit bull attacks a “public health and safety crisis”. It is time to raise awareness about the escalating number of pit bull attacks in an effort to save lives. We the People propose that Congress declare a National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day!”
Created October 22, 2019 on

Special Event at the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing Honoring National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day

“In recognition of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day (October 26), members of the Responsible Citizens for Public Safety ( will congregate on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing to hold a special tribute to the victims who have suffered or died in attacks by pit bulls. The event will include survivor and expert testimony, a live musical tribute, and a presentation about the need for robust Breed Safety Laws.”, October 21, 2019

No good reason exists to reopen divisive pit bull debate

“If I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of safety and welfare for people — adults, children, alike,” Groetken said at last Monday’s council meeting. “My concern, being a police officer, was the exposure of the city to any potential liability issues. I want to reduce those and I want it to be safe for everybody. There’s no guarantees. I’ll be heartbroken if the ban goes away and something serious happens in a week.”
Mike Gors, Sioux City Journal (Iowa). Oct 20, 2019

If you can only love a pit bull, you’re not a dog lover

The battle over Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is lopsided. Pro-BSL are: attack survivors, epidemiologists, medical professionals and a tiny cadre of engaged media people like me, who see demonstrably high-risk dogs as a public health issue that can be easily and humanely addressed. Anti-BSL: advocacy groups and industry stakeholders philosophically averse to breed discrimination. Their spokespeople are well-financed, seasoned lobbyists, marketing the pit bull as a victim of baseless prejudice… Pit bull advocates are motivated by love of the breed for their intelligence, enthusiasm and work ethic, and/or a misguided understanding of canine “rights,” and/or the erroneous belief that “bad owners” and a lack of “training” are the primary drivers behind overwhelmingly skewed dog attack figures, rather than pit bull-type dog genes.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). October 10, 2019

Should Pit bulls and other dangerous dogs be banned?

“While the owner of the pit bulls has been charged with 2nd degree murder, some residents say it’s time for a city ban on the breed. Others say it’s on the owners to control their pets. The attack also has some residents questioning if the city is doing enough to control dangerous animals. We’ll debate if vicious dogs should be banned and how to prevent deadly attacks in the future.”
Fox 2 Detroit (Michigan). August 27, 2019

The day my beloved pit bull became a killer

“But one day, his pit, as sweet and loving a dog as Jim has known, just turned — she went after his other pets with the ferocity of a killer. “If you ever saw it, it’s scary. It’s terrifying. I would probably never be comfortable around her again,” Jim says.
Jim Gearhart, 101.5 Radio (New Jersey). July 12, 2019

Hey pit bull owners, grow up and be more responsible (Opinion)

For all the times we hear of these tragedies involving pit bull attacks, it’s shocking how often they could have been prevented… Any dog can bite, but a pit bull is a particularly formidable breed that can do more damage than most. They are, after all, responsible for the most fatal attacks, according to the CDC. The same idiot who either lets them run loose or doesn’t make certain their property is escape proof is likely the same dope who doesn’t train their dog, doesn’t properly socialize their dog, and is the worst person to own a pit bull. It’s likely not much will happen to this woman. Which is a shame. When a pit bull kills it’s usually the owner’s fault and it’s usually preventable. Such a dangerous breed requires a diligent owner. Too often they get just the opposite.
Jeff Deminski, 101.5 Radio (New Jersey). July 11, 2019

Pit bull attack victims: who speaks for them?

“Pit bull attacks continue to ravage the lives of animal and human victims across the U.S. and Canada at an epidemic level, as officials directly responsible for public safety manipulate policies and release unsafe animals to reach a nebulous goal set by Best Friends Animal Society to “save them all” and achieve “no kill.” Best Friends openly admits its political lobbying efforts to assure that no breed-specific legislation (BSL) interferes with or restricts pit bull ownership, and even those dogs confiscated during dog-fighting raids are adopted into homes.
Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). June 17, 2019

Study identifies dog breeds, physical traits that pose highest risk of biting children

“Researchers performed an extensive literature search from 1970 to current for dog bite papers that reported breed to determine relative risk of biting from a certain breed. This was combined with hospital data to determine relative risk of biting and average tissue damage of bite. Researchers found pit bulls and mixed breed dogs have the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage per bite. The same goes for dogs with wide and short heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds. Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine said, “This research highlights a significant public health issue and provides a new decision-making framework for families considering dog ownership.”

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, May 22, 2019

Letter: Reinstate the pit bull ban

“The media and pit bull owners have run stories of pit bulls being sweet dogs that are the victims of bad owners. What about the hundreds and hundreds of articles about pit bulls raised in loving homes as a family member who suddenly attack? Perhaps if the media didn’t portray pit bulls as victims, but just like any other breed, that woman wouldn’t have rescued up that dog.”

Geraldean Rodriguez, Yakima Herald (Washington). April 14, 2019

For victims both human and pet, the real concern begins after a dog-bite attack

“Dogs can suffer ‘pretty severe mental trauma’ as a result of a dog-on-dog attack, and those who don’t can still be on a long road to recovery due to a variety of bacteria transferred during a bite.”

Joseph Ostapiuk, Staten Island Advance (New York). April 12, 2019

Who’s afraid of pit bulls? Everybody but Lise Vadnais

“Pit bull is a term many only dare utter with extreme caution. Mere mention is likely to cause the ears of a powerful and determined lobby to perk up. If associated with anything negative, it is certain to raise hackles or elicit a snarling backlash. And all too often, it forces critics to beat a hasty retreat. For those who defend pit bulls can be as ferocious as their beloved breed is reputed to be. “We live in a world where the pit bull is master, where it matters more than human life, where it matters more than children’s lives and public safety,” said the soft-spoken Vadnais in a recent interview. “People should be revolted by that.”
Alison Haines. Montreal Gazette, Montreal (Quebec). March 22, 2019

When loose dogs on public trails become dangerous

“People shared some hair-raising stories about being bitten when visiting a friend’s house, on the trails, on their neighborhood roads while walking and riding a bike. At least one friend spent the day in the hospital as a result… The issue of dogs off leash continues to be a huge hot button for our community. It is perhaps at its core a discussion about the rights of individuals to do as they please with their dog versus the rights of other people to have a safe and peaceful experience on the trails and their neighborhood roads.”

Cindy Brown, The Taos News (New Mexico). March 19, 2019,55830

KIRO 7 Investigates: Why it’s so hard to track dangerous dogs in Washington

“Boman says all jurisdictions have different rules when it comes to dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs. “Some of the agencies don’t have county codes. If it’s potentially dangerous, they don’t regulate potentially dangerous animals. The state requires that it’s on the municipality or jurisdiction to govern those, so it’s all dependent on their codes,” Boman explained.”
Alison Grande, KIRO 7 (Washington). February 1, 2019

Editorial: Pit bull bans are still justified

“The problem with pit bulls — the generic term that most often refers to the three dog breeds of American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier — is that when they are aggressive and do attack, the strength of the dog’s bite and its propensity to continue to attack after the fight has begun result in more traumatic outcomes, particularly for children… identifying aggressive dogs before their first bite or attack isn’t easy, and for pit bulls that first incident is often too late.”
The Denver Post Editorial Board, Denver (Colorado). January 28, 2019

TATUM: Readers react to pit bull attack column

“Her impromptu anatomy lesson provided me with chilling new insights into what the catastrophic consequences of my canine confrontation might have been. “It looks like the bite just missed your arm’s brachial artery,” she said. “If that artery had been severed you would have bled out right there in your friend’s living room. If you hadn’t thrown your arm up and the dog had mauled your neck and pierced the carotid artery there, you likely would not have lived to tell or write about it.”
Tom Tatum, Daily Local News (Delaware). January 23, 2019



Pit Bull Attacks – Can We Afford the Risk?

“State Farm reports that it handed over a record $132 million to settle dog attack claims in 2017, and claims nationwide increased to a total of 18,522. State Farm’s own statement indicates that, since 2008, it has paid over $1 billion for dog-related injury claims. The company admits that the premiums paid by the owners of other breeds subsidize this cost.”
Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). September 17, 2018

Re-balance worth of humans against dangerous dogs

“[The pit bull] Blue, despite biting a child in New York, was routed through five rescue programs before landing in Virginia Beach at Forever Home Rescue and Rehabilitation. The rescuers described Blue as “passing his final evaluation with flying colors,” ignoring the fact that Blue was immediately returned by the first potential adopter in Virginia Beach due to the dog’s aggression. Undaunted, these rehabbers adopted Blue out to the family of Margaret Colvin, where the dog killed her within five hours. The punishment for Forever Home Rescue and Rehabilitation was $750 on misdemeanor charges.”
Bonny Lee, The Roanoke Times (Virginia). September 13, 2018

South African SPCA Cautions Public about Pit Bull Terriers

“The public needs to be educated about this power breed,” said senior SPCA inspector Salomé Bruyns. “For everyone’s safety, we are forced to humanely euthanise any pit bull that wounds a person seriously”… Bruyns said it has been proved worldwide that rehabilitation or re-homing of such a dog is impossible and compassionate euthanasia is needed.”
Wendy Jones, George Herald (South Africa). August 30th, 2018

Pediatrician: Pit bulls do not belong in homes with children

“For parents who are looking for advice about choosing a safe family pet, and are wondering about the safety of pit bulls, I recommend listening to pediatric medical experts, not a dog trainer or animal welfare organizations. Would you listen to the tobacco industry about the safety of smoking? Claiming that pit bulls are just like any other dogs and pose no increased risk to children is completely wrong. This unsupported claim is part of what is getting so many innocent children mauled or even killed by a these dogs. In my professional opinion, pit bulls do not belong in homes with children. The medical data is clear. Pit bulls cause about half of the severe injuries to children, and very often the worst of the injuries. The majority of other dog breeds don’t pose remotely this risk.”
Laura E. Marusinec, M.D Guest Columnist. The Herald-Tribune (Florida). August 22, 2018

Pit bulls: mean or misunderstood? Oceanside community reacts after dog attacks

“People need to wake up… these are not family-oriented dogs,” said resident Jamie Stern, the Manns’ neighbor who drove Kathy and Chloe — who was “covered in blood” — to the hospital. He added that Sasha is known in the neighborhood as “the killer pit.”
Matthew D’Onofrio, The Nassau Herald, Garden City (New York State). July 26, 2018,105549

Dogs of war: Pit bull breeds and crosses are by nature dangerous. Why are animal charities refusing to acknowledge this?

“When I was a child in the 1950s it was unheard of for someone to be killed by a dog. Dogs were rarely killed by other dogs. By the early 1990s, things were different… Kindly ‘blame the deed’ people say it is unfair to discriminate against a type of dog, and that any breed can be dangerous if you treat it badly. In their view, what is important is training and being a good owner; genetics count for little… Yet it’s not setters or retrievers that are killing and mauling… It’s absurd to conflate the ‘bites’ of ordinary dogs with the life-threatening attacks and maulings of fighting-bred dogs.”
Julia Lewis. The Spectator (London, England). July 14, 2018

Pit bulls deserve their bad reputation

“Pit bulls aren’t the misunderstood animal that some dog lovers claim. They are a dangerous breed, and blaming owners alone for vicious attacks by pit bulls does a disservice to public safety. Pit bulls account for the vast majority of fatal dog attacks. Some pit bull advocates allege a conspiracy against this breed and say many of these dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly. They argue it’s nearly impossible to distinguish pit bulls from other breeds and say dog-attack statistics have been manipulated. In their minds, the pit bull is the real victim.”
Editorial. The Gazette, Janesville (Wisconsin). June 19, 2018.

Why have a pit bull?

“Why would you desire the one breed of dog that has killed more people in the United States than any other, often unprovoked, often after years of showing no aggression.”
Jeff Deminski. 101.5 Radio (New Jersey). June 13, 2018

Renters, don’t falsify your pit bull as a ‘service animal’ in Oklahoma

Tenants have been saying their pit bulls are service animals by buying bogus certification over the internet.
Richard Mize. The Oklahoman (Oklahoma). May 26, 2018

When Pets Attack: Are Pit Bulls More Dangerous Than Other Dogs?

“After being horribly attacked by a pit bull, Lisa McEwen, 42, of Chicago, can’t help but believe there’s something about this kind of dog. “I used to be one of those people who said it’s all about how they are raised,” McEwen said. “it’s not.”
Gina Tron, Oxygen. May 17, 2018

Why do pit bulls attack? The answer is complicated

“[Pit bulls] tend not to make threatening gestures, such as snarling or baring of teeth, prior to attacking and so there may be no warning of impending aggressive behavior,” the study said. “Pit bulls also take multiple bites and have greater jaw pressures than most other dogs, reaching 1,800 pounds per square inch.” They also attack continuously, as compared to other breeds that may just bite once. Combining all of those features with aggressive personalities and large sizes makes them “highly dangerous to children,” the study said. “We accept that we don’t have to train a pointing dog to point,” Lynn said. “We accept that we don’t have to train a retrieving dog to retrieve. “Why do we refuse to accept that we don’t have to train a fighting dog to fight?”
Wesley Muller, John Fitzhugh, and Anita Lee. Sun Herald (Mississippi). May 16, 2018

Likeville — Punditry and Prophecy (E14). Barbara Kay talks with us about the pit bull controversy

“I wrote this piece on pit bulls and I have never received such hate mail. I have written on lots of controversial issues, and people have disagreed with me, sometimes quite strenuously, but I have never received anything quite like that. I was almost ready to contact law enforcement.”
John Faithful Hamer. April 19, 2018

KOLR10 Insider: Do We Only Report on Pit Bull Attacks?

In response to complaints from some viewers that pit bulls are mentioned in attack stories: “We don’t only name pit bulls in dog attack coverage. We also don’t control which types of dogs attack and we rely on authorities to give us accurate information on the types of dogs involved. And we accurately report that information to you.”
Wes Perry, KOZL-TV, Springfield (Missouri). April 11, 2018

Opinion: Pit Bull Bans are Good Policy

“Public education about responsible dog ownership is not the best answer to the problem of dangerous dogs. There are 300 breeds of dogs that even when neglected and abused do not turn on people or kill other animals as a result. While certainly bad owners can be part of the problem, it is wrong to focus only on the owner, and not also on the breed. If animal organizations cannot or will not solve the issue, it is obvious why laws are needed.”
Mia Johnson, Montreal Gazette, Montreal (Quebec). April 10, 2018

Maintaining pit bull ban wise; expanding dangerous dog ordinance even smarter

Editorial argues that a more comprehensive dangerous dog ordinance should be applied on top of pit bull ban, not replace it.
Editorial Board, Yakima Herald-Republic (Washington State). April 7, 2018

Legal system not always a remedy for dog bite victims

Owners of pit bulls rarely have insurance, so victims of their animals often end up being doubly victimized by having to cover all the medical bills as a result of that pit bull’s attack upon them. “This scenario — when victims of dog bites and even maulings are left holding the bag for costs associated with medical treatment and lost wages — is all too common.”
Cynthia McCormick, Cape Cod Times (Massachusetts). March 4, 2018

Dangerous dog owners will face criminal penalty in Alabama

Alabama dog owners will now face harsh fines or prison time if their animal injures or kills another person. The bill is named “Emily’s Law” after 24-year-old Emily Colvin who was mauled to death by pack of pit bulls in front of her home in December 2017. Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, a Republican, said he met a family who didn’t open the casket at their daughter’s funeral because she was so mutilated by pit bulls.
Associated Press. Montgomery (Alabama). February 28, 2018

Animal bite bill makes its way to Virginia Governor’s desk

The bill would require animal rescue agencies to ask if an animal has a bite history and disclose its findings to future adopters. The bill would make it a class three misdemeanor if an adoption agency fails to disclose an animal’s bite history to a future adopter — but the fine will only be $500.
Jacyln Lee, 13 News Now. Norfolk (Virginia). February 26, 2018

Are pit bulls dangerous? Attorney Kenneth Phillips answers

Interview with dog bite lawyer Kenneth Phillips
Rover’s Morning Glory. Interview February 16, 2018

‘Do Not Adopt a Pit Bull’ Super Bowl Commercial Pays Off!

“There are two possible futures. If the public will speak out, there will be support for animal control departments, obedience to animal control laws, and restrictions on pit bulls and other dangerous breeds. If the public is silent, our lawmakers will continue to kowtow to those who push these violent breeds on us and force harm on the innocent.”
Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). February 12, 2018

New bill could require animal facilities to disclose dog bite history

“A new bill working its way through the General Assembly is aiming to regulate animal training centers after a 90-year-old woman was mauled by a pit bull. The woman’s family adopted the dog from Forever Home Rehabilitation Center, however, the center allegedly never disclosed the dog’s bite history.”
Taylor Johnson, ABC 13 News (Virginia). January 29th, 2018

The Pit Bull Controversy

The Director of Education and Advocacy for the HugABull Advocacy & Rescue Society complained that the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s (CBC) “Pit Bulls unleashed: Should they be banned?” fell short in many ways, and violated CBC Journalistic policies of balance and fairness. The complainant also disputed Dr. Golinko’s interpretation of his own medical data. The CBC Ombudsman weighed the complaints and rejected them, responding that “overall this documentary conformed to CBC journalistic policy.”
CBC Radio Canada, Toronto (Ontario). January 23, 2018



New study raising awareness on dog attacks

“Dr. Golinko’s studied examined over 1,500 bites. His new report shows that pit bulls were implicated in half of surgeries performed, and pit bulls are 2.5 times as likely to bite in multiple anatomic locations as compared to other breeds… That’s what happened to Wisconsin resident Jeff Borchardt’s son Dax… Jeff says their family had two pet pit bulls that snapped — attacking the 14-month-old. “These dogs never showed any signs of aggression before. They were great dogs up until the day they weren’t.”
Elisabeth Armstrong, ABC 7 News (Arkansas). November 22nd, 2017.

Pit bull attacks: Is it the breed or the owner?

“Pit bull attacks are happening everywhere in America. Alicia discusses some of the attacks, the reactions of the communities, what the towns and cities are doing to prevent them, and what’s involved in breed specific legislation.”
Alicia Preston, Newscycle, Nov 8, 2017

I’m a Pit Bull! I’m Not a Pit Bull! LA Animal Services Playing Games with
Breed ID Labels!

Los Angeles Animal Services’ Commission to remove all dog-breed ID information in an effort to get more pit bulls adopted out. “Jeffrey Zinder, Senior Partner at the Mission Hills law firm of Zinder, Koch & McBratney, opined, “This is one of the most absurd steps being proposed in an effort to empty the shelters regardless of impact on public safety.”
Phyllis M. Daugherty, City Watch, Los Angeles (California). October 30, 2017

National Pit Bull Awareness Month competes with National Pit Bull Victim
Awareness Day for attention

“With millions of dollars at their disposal, the wealthy pit bull lobby has wreaked havoc in Canada and the United States—denying the danger of pit bulls in families, encouraging No Kill shelters, allowing inter-state and cross-border transportation of pit bulls on death row, pressuring council members to drop breed restrictions, and lobbying for anti-BSL [breed-specific legislation] bills in Congress.”
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver (British Columbia). October 27, 2017

Pitbull ban would have prevented dog attack

“Set your Google alerts to dog attacks and you’ll see the never-ending reports of gruesome assaults on people and pets each and every day — almost always by pit bull type dogs. Not because that’s what the media chooses to report on, but because these attacks are far more catastrophic than the bites from regular non-fighting breed dogs It’s hard to argue with so many dead and mutilated bodies, but the fanatics do exactly that. One of their most common statements is “it’s all how you raise them.” That is entirely untrue, with countless cases of well raised, much loved pit bull type dogs suddenly attacking without provocation, often on their owners. But even if it were true, why should anyone’s life depend on how well someone else raises their inherently dangerous dog?”
Lori Welbourne, Kelowna Daily Courier (British Columbia). October 27, 2017

Pit bull attack spurs call for provincewide dangerous dog registry

Following a recent dog attack in Chilliwack, the provincial association that backs animal control officers is calling once again for a provincewide dangerous dog registry… the [attacking pit bull’s] owner hid the dog, even altering its colour, but with the help of the RCMP, animal control tracked down the dog…”
Paul Henderson, Surrey Now (British Columbia). October 25, 2017

Time for a BC ban on pit bulls

“I believe the children’s hospital plastic surgeon and other doctors who have seen firsthand the extreme violence and injuries very young kids and even infants have suffered, over the claims of pit bull advocates… Some of those owners tend to be rather vicious themselves when it comes to attacking anyone who writes negatively about pit bulls or supports a breed ban… Pit bull owners are often their own worst enemies. But I refuse to be intimidated by either them or their pets, as dangerous as at least the latter are. So if you worry about the danger of pit bulls to yourself, children or pets, tell your MLA to ban pit bulls in B.C. It’s time our safety came first over the right to own a potentially deadly animal.”
Bill Tieleman, The Tyee (British Columbia). October 24, 2017

Is “Pit Bull Awareness” becoming mandatory?

“What is alarming to folks on my side of the argument is that the vast majority of residents in the nation’s shelters are pit bull type dogs. In fact, it is estimated that at least a third and up to 70% of the shelter dog inventory in the U.S. are pit bulls… One of the reasons conscientious people go to pet stores to buy dogs is that shelters are full of pit bulls, and many conscientious people do not want to own a pit bull.”
J. Thomas Beasley, Animals 24/7, October 18, 2017

Pit bull lobby put on its heels by Quebec’s dangerous dog bill

Mild-mannered Fifth Estate host Mark Kelley found his [telling interview moment] in conversation with Ledy VanKavage, hired lobbyist for the pit bull advocacy group, Best Friends Animal Society. Kelley asks VanKavage: “Why do [pit bulls] need a lobby?” Back flows a silky stream of advocacy mantras: “misunderstood,” “hysteria,” “media hype,” “fake news.”… Kelley gently asks if reports of a lethal attack on 14-month-old Daxton Borchardt by two pit bulls are also fake news. … VanKavage [said] “Y’know, I can’t, I can’t — I don’t know the history of the dogs. I don’t know if the child was crying.” Kelley (incredulous but calm), “But if the child was crying?” VanKavage — you can see the light dawning — realizes she has inadvertently given her lobby’s game away. She has (wickedly!) shifted the blame for his death to a 14-month-old baby rather than admit that pit bull type dogs are inherently unpredictable and, once aroused, exceptionally vicious. To these activists (and trust me, such blame-shifting is commonplace amongst them), the victims are nothing; the dogs’ image is everything.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). October 11, 2017

Pit bull advocacy exposed by the CBC Fifth Estate with host Mark Kelley

“Pit bull advocates have been screaming bloody murder since the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last night, September 22, 2017, aired Pit Bulls Unleashed: Should They Be Banned? The hour-long documentary, produced by the investigative news magazine program The Fifth Estate, the Canadian counterpart of the CBS news series 60 Minutes, amounts to the first major mass media exposé ever of what host Mark Kelley sums up as “a multi-million-dollar lobbying effort to rebrand the pit bull as a family-friendly dog so that more will be adopted out.”
Merritt Clifton, Animals 24/7, September 23, 2017

Pit Bulls Unleashed: Should They Be Banned?

“Pit bulls, with their jaws of steel, can kill and maim. Traumatized families and public safety advocates support a ban, but a powerful group of lobbyists say pit bulls are the most misunderstood breed of dogs. Mark Kelley investigates.”
Mark Kelley, The Fifth Estate, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 22, 2017

Shelter that adopted out pit bull involved in fatal Virginia Beach attack changes its name

“The dog rescue that adopted out a pit bull terrier that mauled a 91-year-old woman to death in Virginia Beach is reopening under a different name. Forever Home Rehabilitation Center will now be known as Back to Balance: Doggy Daycare, Training and Boarding. A private Facebook group called Back to Balance: Doggy Daycare, Training and Boarding had 53 members around noon on Friday. The administrators of that group were Lydia Enright and Toni Enright, two of the three women who ran Forever Home. When approached outside the group’s Virginia Beach location, Lydia Enright ran inside the building and locked the doors behind her. A few minutes later, Toni Enright emerged and told a reporter, “We have nothing to say to you. We’re still Forever Home,” before locking the doors again. The Back to Balance Facebook group was no longer publicly viewable by 3:30 p.m. Friday, after the Enrights had been contacted by The Pilot.”
Ryan Murphy, The Virginian Pilot (Virginia). September 15, 2017

Pit Bulls — Five Part Series

Investigative report on the Montreal pit bull ban and the influence of the pit bull lobby. “Drafted to advise the province on the subject of its dangerous dog laws, the
Association of Veterinary Doctors of Québec relayed to government “scientihic and
objective information.” But its report withholds large portions of crucial medical
studies on the ravages of pit bulls, and puts forward studies funded by the powerful
pit bull lobby. Which side does the science support?”
Marie-Claude Malboeuf, Montreal (Quebec). August 13, 2017
English translation from
Also see:

Promoting “Nanny Dogs” is a threat to public health

“According to the pit bull advocacy narrative – narrative being so much less rebarbative than hard facts – the pit bull’s menacing looks are misleading. Yes, they fight well and often to the death, but they are forced into it by bad people who exploit their willingness to please, we are told. Why according to the narrative, the fighting dog is by nature a very good dog, a gentle dog, so gentle that he…he…he is, and always has been, the “nanny dog” of the canine world. Which is why, on pit bull advocacy websites, one so often sees photos of pit bulls with infants or young children draped over them in trusting sleep. In reality, no amount of historical sleuthing has ever produced any evidence that the pit bull was known as the “nanny dog.” It is a fiction cut from whole ideological cloth,  specifically by Lilian Rant,  then president of the Staffordshire Club of America,  in a 1971 newspaper interview.”
Barbara Kay, Animals 24/7, August 6, 2017

Pit bulls are not our friends

“Pit-bull advocates present dogs as victims that need championing. They know the names of the dogs they believe deserve a second chance, but they usually don’t mention the names of the human victims. Often, incidents involve a dog that had never before showed signs of aggression… I had a conversation with a former president of the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association, which came out strongly in favour of repealing Ontario’s pit-bull ban in 2012. He conceded that he was an expert in neither dog genetics nor behavior—subjects that are only cursorily covered in veterinary schools. He also admitted that veterinarians have a conflict of interest on this issue, since they benefit financially from treating dogs and risk losing business if they take a stand against any breed. He told me he wished his clients would simply adopt “Heinz 57” mutts—dogs that evolution produces. But he did pay lip service to several widespread mantras (“bad owners, not bad dogs,” “all dogs bite,” “don’t judge a book by its cover,” etc.). The last question I asked him was whether he would recommend adopting a pit bull to a family with young children. Before he had a chance to think of the correct response, the words were out of his mouth: “No, of course not.””
Barbara Kay, The Walrus, Toronto (Ontario). May 1, 2017



Pit bull bylaws make sense

“Marie-Claude Malboeuf blew the lid off rampant conflict of interest amongst such stakeholders. In particular she revealed that the anti-ban Ordre des Médecins Vétérinaire du Québec (OMVQ) had promoted bogus pit bull lobby “studies” as scientifically credible, for which they were forced to publicly apologize. But even when invoking credible studies, the OMVQ cherry-picked data, omitting, for example, unequivocal statements in them indicting pit bulls as an elevated risk to public safety, especially children. Emeritus McGill University professor Barry Pless, an expert in Pediatric Trauma and Epidemiology, as well as founder of the journal Injury Prevention, looked into the file for La Presse, and was scandalized at the abuse of epidemiological norms he found being used to launder pit bulls: “To conduct studies, which aim first of all to prevent laws from being adopted and not declare their conflict of interest, is the strategy employed by the weapons lobby and the tobacco lobby.” 
Barbara kay, The Suburban, Montreal (Quebec). November 16, 2016

Canada is importing pit bulls by the hundreds from the U.S., worrying dog advocates

“The number of bites in Ontario has actually climbed since it banned pit bulls in 2005. But critics say the issue is not simple bites, it is sustained attacks that cause serious injury and even death. “I see pits deemed aggressive in the [California] shelters being taken out by rescuers and transported to Canada and other places,” says Pat Dunaway, a dog-rescue veteran who is following the phenomenon from her home in Rialto, Calif. “It is disturbing.”
Tom Blackwell, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). July 7, 2016

Pit bulls are different — they can maim and kill

“After Ontario banned the breeding of pit bulls in 2005, the number of pit bull attacks dropped dramatically. Critics are right to point out that the number of dog bites overall went up, but not all dog bites are equal, and to claim otherwise is not only categorically false but also morally indefensible. Yet aside from spewing the age-old cliché of there being no bad dogs, only bad owners, the people defending pit bulls emphatically refuse to acknowledge that pit bulls and other similar breeds carry with them a great responsibility and should not be in the care of a novice dog owner. Owning a dog, especially a dog that has the ability and the genetic make-up to maim, maul and kill, is not an unalienable right. It is nothing other than a privilege, one which the state has the full authority to restrict.”
Supriya Dwivedi, Toronto Sun, Toronto (Ontario). June 23, 2016—they-can-maim-and-kill

Don’t wait on public opinion to ban pit bulls

“A powerful lobby is intent on misleading the public and verbally mauling anyone who would dare raise the prospect of [a pit bull ban]. It’s a loose coalition of official organizations and pit bull lovers intent on harassing people out of their opinions on social media… It’s a lobby that misleads people with cute photos of friendly pit bulls and tall tales of the dogs serving as nannies to children. Of course, such images stand in stark contrast to pictures of savage wounds from pit bull bites — and to statistics that clearly show the danger these dogs can pose. Pit bulls don’t just bite. They maul.”
Jesse Ferreras, Huffington Post, June 13, 2016

There’s no argument pit bulls kill

“Most pit bull attacks are entirely unprovoked, and about half of the children killed are the victims of pit bulls raised with love in their own households.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). June 11, 2016

Dog attacks surge 76% in England in 10 years

Dog attacks in England increased by 76% in 10 years and appear to be still rising rapidly in frequency and severity, largely owing to Staffordshires, a pit bull line that was exempted from the ban in 1997.
Merritt Clifton, May 31, 2016

Dog Bites Insurer

“Insurers are attempting to underwrite the dog exposure by identifying the breed of the dog in question and assessing the extent to which the exposure is increased by that breed. From an underwriting perspective, statistics are more powerful evidence than how gentle and loving the owner claims his pit bull or Rottweiler is.”
Christopher J. Boggs. Insurance Journal. May 16, 2016

An open letter from Beth Clifton to Best Friends, the ASPCA and HUSUS

“As a person who cares deeply for all animals and humans,  I am publicly requesting that you review and reverse your present policies of promoting pit bull acquisition and proliferation, and that you,  as leaders of the humane movement,  cease turning a blind eye to the suffering of the thousands of innocent men,  women and children,  and many tens of thousands of pets and farmed animals who continue to be victimized by pit bulls.  I am further requesting that you support any legislation to prevent more births of pit bull-type dogs,  and to acknowledge the necessity of stopping pit bull proliferation,  which eventually and ultimately causes the suffering of the dogs themselves. The facts scream aloud.  To ignore the facts is a dereliction of duty to your supporters and the animals for whom you advocate and seek to protect.”
March 25, 2016

How the Americans with Disabilities Act has become the “Pit Bull Pushers Act”

The Americans with Disabilities Act is increasingly being used as a way for pit bull owners to circumvent laws, as they lie and claim that their pit bulls are “service dogs.”
Merritt Clifton February 19, 2016

Pit bulls killed 24,000 other other dogs and 13,000 cats in 2015

“When pit bulls kill or disfigure other animals, increasingly often it isn’t news, because such mayhem is more and more just what is expected of pit bulls, seen by many reporters and editors as no more remarkable than roadkills, no matter how many petkeepers are left to grieve and pay for the havoc.”
Merritt Clifton, January 31, 2016

Elected leaders must protect against pit bulls

“Outlawing the breeding of [pit bulls] would be a sensible start. The “jobs” pit bulls were created to do are a felony in every province across Canada and every state across the U.S. Unless we plan to legalize dogfighting again, there is no reason to keep producing these gripper/fighter canines.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). January 29, 2016

Stronger dog laws help protect the community

“Owners of pit bull type dogs only make up one per cent of the population, yet this vocal minority has effectively bullied the majority of lawmakers, members of the media and the general public into allowing their desire to own bred-to-kill dogs take precedence over public safety. It’s not just victims that are negatively affected, it’s everyone. The extensive number of attacks takes a significant toll on taxpayers, the health-care system, animal control services, police staff, fire departments and emergency responders.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). January 21, 2016

Should it take a mauling to keep us safe from dogs?

“Neighbors say these “crazy” dogs have been terrorizing them for weeks, causing them to stop walking their own dogs in the neighborhood or start carrying weapons whenever they ventured outside. Authorities have been called but nothing has been done. It shouldn’t take a mauling to enable authorities to take action and protect a neighborhood.”
Daily Times Editorial Board (Maryland). January 15, 2016

Attacks Keep Coming, Ban Dangerous Dogs in BC Now

“So does a child have to be killed by a dangerous dog and the public totally outraged before politicians finally find the courage to act? I deeply fear that is likely, because elected officials appear to be more afraid of dog owners and their fearsome lobbying organizations that fight proposed laws restricting pit bulls and other dangerous breeds than they are of a fatal dog attack.”
Bill Tieleman, Vancouver (British Columbia). January 5, 2016



Port Huron Official Blames the Victim

“Decades ago we learned to not blame victims of rape for being victims of rape. Victims of domestic abuse are often still blamed for being victimized. Now Dr Dragovic has added a new class of victims to those who are held accountable: victims of fatal pit bull attacks.”
Sudden, Random, Unprovoked and Violent, December 13, 2015

Pit Bulls — just like any other dog?

“My understanding of dog behaviour (through many years of study) and my experience dealing with the breed in training classes, consultations and work at a local shelter has convinced me that pit bulls are at far higher risk for abnormally aggressive behaviour towards other dogs…. It is time that dog lovers took off their blinkers, put aside political correctness (it is almost as though the breed has become a symbol of the oppressed, misunderstood underdog and the fight against prejudice)and faced up to reality. Pit Bulls are not “bad” dogs, but they are what WE have designed them to be.”
Taryn Blyth. (South Africa). December 12, 2015

Pit bull-type dogs have no place in civil society

“The pit bull lobby has been effective at convincing people that pit bulls are dogs like any other dogs. With the help of pit bull enthusiasts, social media, websites, news stories, celebrities and TV reality shows, pit bulls have been presented as safe family pets when they are not. Pit bull victims and public-safety advocates have been belittled and threatened… Innocent people should not be ripped apart by an animal while simply walking to the mailbox, going for a jog, playing outside or walking on the street. A complete ban on the breeding of pit bull-type dogs to eliminate the vast majority of barbaric dog attacks and avoid the euthanization of a million unwanted pit bulls every year isn’t just logical, it’s doable. And it should be implemented nationwide.”
Lori Welbourne, Detroit News, Detroit (Michigan). December 11, 2015

Pit bulls were never meant to be household pets

After these two gruesome stories were published, pit bull fanatics did what they always do: they defended the killer dogs, blamed the owners and the victims, posted pictures of their own “adorable” pit bulls, and called public-safety advocates haters and dog racists. They also repeated their usual rhetoric — “It’s all how you raise them” and “Blame the deed not the breed.” This is pure fiction… Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is desperately needed for the protection of all, including the pit bulls, who are victims as well. They are the most exploited, abused, neglected, abandoned, tortured, raped, overbred and euthanized dogs in North America. The only ones who won’t benefit from BSL are dogfighters, breeders, anyone else profiting from their existence and pit bull owners who don’t want to comply with reasonable regulations to keep the public safe. People, pets, livestock, taxpayers, first responders, animal control and rescue workers would all be better off without the existence of pit bulls in our society.”
Lori Welbourne, The Times Herald (Michigan). December 8, 2015

Should Pit Bulls Be Trained As Police K9s?

“The prey drive associated with pit bulls, otherwise known to aficionados of the breed as gameness, is erratic. Prey drive in pit bulls is meant to be directed toward killing other dogs in a fighting pit, but is too often misdirected toward our More Vulnerable Animal Companions, or worse, toward a human. There is no evidence that the pit bull’s prey drive, i.e. gameness, is a trait that can be put to use in a positive way. It is impossible to understand how a dog with this kind of prey drive would be a suitable candidate for police work.”
Sudden, Random, Unprovoked and Violent, December 6, 2015

Detroit should adopt pit bull ban it didn’t 9 years ago

“Unfortunately, until we get an ordinance that can stop this kind of thing, I don’t know what we can do,” Beckham said. “[Pit bulls] are almost like lethal weapons on the loose, and we have too many incidents like this. We have a lot of pit bulls running around the city… The state Senate approved a bill in October that would prohibit local governments from banning specific breeds of dog. It was described by the Free Press as part of a nationwide animal rights push to end laws that discriminate against pit bulls. What the what??! On one hand, dead children. On the other hand, pit bulls with a discrimination complaint? Yeah, that makes sense.”
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, Detroit (Michigan). December 5, 2015

Let local laws determine how to reduce dog attacks, restrict breeds

“Americans value individual freedoms that allow us to choose what house to buy, what pet to own and what car to drive. However, there are many situations when individual freedom is not the best choice for society. Drinking and driving, or texting while driving the cars of our choice, both come to mind. Similarly, enabling the proliferation of dogs well known to be dangerous and even fatal to people and other animals should not be in the best interest of any community.”
Mia Johnson and Joan Kowal, Michigan Live (Michigan). December 4, 2015

Pit Bulls in Cleveland

“Most of the dogs we adopt out are pit bull or pit bull type dogs,” says Cleveland’s Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison… As the pit bull population grows in Cleveland, so do reports of pit bull attacks. Cleveland [did] away with breed specific laws in 2011. Still, the city’s Chief Animal Control Officer, Ed Jamison, insists that pit bulls pose no particular danger to the public. “I do not believe that the City of Cleveland has a pit bull problem,” Jamison said. Shaker Heights Law Director William Gruber is considering a new law that would tighten restrictions on current pit bull owners, and ban any future pit bull ownership in Shaker Heights. “We just can’t allow that kind of danger to exist in the city without doing something about it. By the time we find a dog is vicious, that means it already killed a domestic animal, cat or dog, or has severely injured a human.”
Carl Monday Investigation, Cleveland 19 News, Cleveland (Ohio). November 2, 2015.

Pit bulls, Trooper & “The personal is political”

“I am often asked, for example, with withering condescension, “Do you even own a pit bull?” as if owning a pit bull were a prerequisite to forming an opinion about the level of risk inherent in this type of dog. This question is often accompanied by a paean to the writer’s own excellent pit bull, who has never hurt a fly… One comes to a policy position through exposure to epidemiological trends, not personal anecdotes. Public policy is not about “you” or “me” or anyone in particular. It is about risk assessment. There are many people who smoke all their lives and never get lung cancer. That does not mean that smoking is safe. Pit bulls present an elevated risk to other animals and to humans. That is settled fact. What to do about it is the question you should be considering instead of limiting your focus to your particular pet.”
Barbara Kay, November 6, 2015

How many more children must die?

“The majority don’t pay much attention to this issue. They won’t even voice their desire for BSL (breed-specific legislation) for fear of a backlash from aggressive pit bull fanatics — a bullyish vocal minority who care nothing about public safety or the pain and suffering of others and only care about the reputation of the pit bull and retaining the right to own a pet from the most murderous dog breed on the planet… Prior to that horrifying attack, Thomas had believed “it’s all how you raise them,” not realizing that is just one of the many myths promoted and perpetuated by the well-funded pit bull advocacy camp that are currently fooling too many people.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). November 3, 2015

Pit Bulls Pose in Support of Breed-Specific Protective Legislation

“PETA supports breed-specific legislative protection for pit bulls—to prevent even more of these beleaguered dogs from being born into communities bursting at the seams with unwanted ones. This protection must include a requirement that pit bulls be spayed or neutered.”
Michelle Kretzer, November 1, 2015

Parallels between the messages sent by advocates for aggressive dogs, and the messages internalized by victims of domestic violence

“Pit bull rescuers/supporters and the perpetrators of violence against women and children seem to share the same techniques for convincing victims that they are to blame for the injuries they suffer at the hands of a violent partner… promoters of dangerous dogs tell victims of dog attacks that they are the ones responsible for the dog’s violent actions. If only they were better owners, if only they hadn’t provoked the dog by not recognizing his discomfort, if only they had understood the dog’s triggers,  the attack or bite would not have happened. The dog just needs more love, more understanding, more training. Sound familiar?”
Branwyn Finch, October 31, 2015

Protection for People, Pets and Pit Bulls

“[Lawn darts] were taken off the market decades ago when a bereaved father went on a crusade to make them illegal after his daughter died from one accidentally penetrating her skull… It turned out this game had caused the death of three children in total. Kids have been killed by pit bulls 54 times that amount since the late ’80s, yet so far, defying all logic, there are few cities that have any bans or other restrictions on pit bulls whatsoever. 163 children have died and for most of these youngsters, the deaths have been torturous and gruesome, often with body parts being torn off during savage maulings that are sometimes described by first responders and medical staff as “feeding frenzies.” Far more common than the tragic fatalities are the countless vicious attacks that result in disfigurements and life-altering injuries that can leave victims and their families with ever-lasting emotional trauma and financial ruin. Despite all this death and destruction on children, these dogs aren’t just still on the market as one pet to consider, they are actively being pushed onto the public and deceitfully promoted as safe family pets by many shelters, rescues, dog experts and pit bull fanatics. I can’t tell you how many online images I’ve seen of babies and kids hugging, riding and kissing pit bulls with the utterly false message that “it’s all how you raise them.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). October 22, 2015

Do you want to adopt a dog? Reconsider the pit bull

“The Internet is awash in pit bull-friendly sites featuring pit bulls in tutus, pit bulls with flower wreaths around their heads, pit bulls curled up asleep with infants draped over them, adorable pit bull puppies, and of course endless heartrending streams of sad-eyed abused, starved, chained, scarred and burned pit bulls. Nowhere on any of these sites do you see the damning statistics or the names and faces of the human victims… If you are yourself, or know someone who is considering rescuing a dog from a shelter, please proceed with extreme caution. Because pit bulls occupy about two thirds of the space in shelters, staff are very eager to “push” them for adoption.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). October 22, 2015

Pit bulls deserve breed-specific protection

“Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to “Animal Advocates” or sometimes “Experts.” In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds. Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as “dog lovers” or “canine advocates” and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.”
Ingrid Newkirk, October 20, 2015

Pit Bull Awareness Month

“On October 1st, timed to coincide with “National Pit Bull Awareness Month”, the [New York] Times published the first of several articles promoting pit bulls. The Times subsequently published pit positive articles on October 7th, 9th, and 10th, and there may be more to come. Many of these articles are published as a result of outreach from advocacy groups, and could have been ghostwritten by them… The Times, like other major newspapers, appears indifferent to the toll of devastating economic hardship, grief, and suffering caused by pit bull attacks on their own turf. The Times did not cover the September 6th attack on 15- year old Briana Neira. Briana was attacked by a pit bull the family had rescued from a city operated shelter that very day. Nor did the Times cover the September 8th attack on a homeless man in Brooklyn, which was stopped only when the dog was shot by an off-duty corrections officer.

The Times failed to report on the eruption of attacks in the East Village in August and September. Nor did the Times cover the September 11th attack on Francesco Bove, an attack so violent that a priest at Mount Carmel gave Bove last rites. Farther afield, the October 5th attack on an Appleton couple, by their recently rescued pit bull, went unreported. The Times has devoted many column inches to the plight of pit bulls, but certainly the human victims of pit bull attacks are more deserving of our consideration. It is because the media, including the New York Times, has failed to report the victims’ stories that the victims, those who are able, have been forced to tell the story themselves.”
Sudden, Random, Unprovoked and Violent, October 18, 2015

Selfies & Sharks… and Pit Bulls

— commentary on Pit Bull Awareness Week
“Outside of one or two local newspapers, there is usually very little media coverage of pit bull related deaths. Besides the shocking number of fatalities caused by Pit Bull dogs every year, literally hundreds of people suffer life-threatening, disfiguring injuries at the jaws of Pit Bulls. And again, the news media is practically silent concerning these attacks, save for a few local stations. The result is that most Americans are ignorant of the mass violence caused by these dogs.”
J. Thomas Beasley, October 12, 2015

Time to neuter all pit bulls, jail pit bull owners for attacks

“Another vicious attack by not one, but four pit bulls. Dare we say anything lest we raise the ire of the breed’s apologists? I have been in veterinary practice for 43 years and never have seen anything like the infusion of this breed. Having worked with more than 100,000 dogs of all breeds, I defy any apologist to offer up such experience. Sure, there are sweet pits, but telling one from the bad ones, the Jekyll and Hyde ones that can be incited to violence by some catalyst, is near impossible… I’ve had it with pit bulls and their mixes trying to bite me during exams or scaring other pet owners. Six weeks old, three months old, you can’t trust them; you can only make excuses for them.”
Douglas Skinner, DVM, October 6, 2015

“Pit Bull Awareness” Day & Month Mark 33 years of Exponentially Accelerating Pit Bull Mayhem

“Among the most grievous casualties of engaging in pit bull advocacy, for animal care-and-control agencies, animal rescuers, and the humane movement as a whole, is a rapidly accelerating and thoroughly deserved loss of credibility, in consequence of pit bull promotional tactics…”
Merritt Clifton, October 3, 2015

Censored by pit bull bullies

“Any media that’s dared to publish facts about the inherent dangers of pit bulls has had to deal with mob campaigns conducted by pit bull fanatics from all over North America threatening to harass advertisers or whatever else they can think of in order to convince editors and publishers to shy away from this topic in the future. “Don’t bully my breed” is a common message from the pit bull advocacy camp. Ironically, they have no problem bullying anyone who speaks the horrifying truth, and that includes the bereaved parents of dead children who were killed by pit bulls. The multimillion-dollar-funded pit bull advocacy camp is very efficient. As soon as an article or interview perceived to be maligning the reputation of the pit bull has been posted to the internet, the troops are gathered to launch their assault. Nancy Grace, Judge Judy, Dr. Laura and many radio hosts, journalists and TV personalities have experienced it first hand. This menacing group may be able to intimidate some into silence, and they may be able to trick some into believing pit bulls are just like any other dog, but they can’t seem to stop the ongoing daily attacks reported in the news. They also can’t change the fact that pit bulls only make up 6% of the dog population in the U.S., yet maim, disfigure and kill more children, adults, pets and livestock than all other breeds combined. None of the other 160+ breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club even come close. Censoring this message isn’t just disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of human and animal victims, it’s highly irresponsible to the public at large.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). September 23, 2015

Won’t Back Down in Advocating Against Pit Bulls

“In my last column, “Pit bull propaganda is deadly,” I described how canines bred for hundreds of years to be champion dog killers are not a safe family pet. Within moments of the article being published… I was inundated with the usual rhetoric: pit bulls get a bad rap; it’s all how you raise them; blame the deed not the breed; pit bulls are harmless wiggle butts; they were bred to be nanny dogs; it’s impossible to identify a pit bull; the media only reports pit bull attacks; poodles (or insert any other breed) bite more; you’re a dog racist; you’re a dog hater; all dogs bite; all dogs kill; cars kill more people; people kill more people; coconuts kill more people; and the list went on. The familiar myths were often written in the most aggressive language and tone imaginable.. ”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). September 10, 2015

Pit Bull Propaganda is Deadly

“The popular online news site Huffington Post just published an irresponsible series of articles and images promoting pit bulls as safe family dogs for their second annual “Pit Bull Week.” During those seven days a 25-year-old woman was killed by her own beloved pit bull of 10 years, a 48-year-old woman was mauled to death by her neighbour’s pit bull on her way to the mailbox, an 18-month-old boy was rushed to hospital in critical condition because of his family pit bull, and at least 10 other people were savagely attacked in the U.S. by pit bulls. None of these horrifying tragedies were covered by Huffington Post.”
Lori Welbourne, The Province, Vancouver (British Columbia). September 3, 2015

Pit bulls are disproportionally dangerous. Why is Calgary importing more of them?

“Of his 2006 Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, Bill Bruce [Calgary’s former director of animal and bylaw services] stated, “Our philosophy is that aggression is a human problem with respect to managing their dog more than it is a canine issue, and if we address the human side, the canine problem will take care of itself.” But in spite of assiduous attention to the “human side,” which did produce high licencing statistics, Bruce’s predictions of diminished canine ravages were trumped by fighting-dog genetics. There were 58 dog attacks in 2009, 102 in 2010, 127 in 2011 and 201 last year, a disproportional number of them by pit bulls… Calgary was ill-served by the bias Bill Bruce brought to his job. Even during his tenure in Calgary he was (still is) an advisor to the National Canine Research Council, a leading U.S. pit bull advocacy organization, and a propaganda mill for the breed relativism Bruce embraces… Years ago, any dog that attacked a human being was instantly euthanized. Today, thanks to the relentless efforts of “no-kill” activism, it is common for rescue operations to promote dogs for adoption they claim to have “rehabilitated,” but that are in fact at elevated risk for further depredations.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). August 11, 2015

Vancouver needs to get a grip on pit bulls

“In only four months, pit bulls kill as many people as Dobermans killed in the past 60 years. Pit bulls killed as many American people in the last 30 months as black bears killed in the past 115 years, yet no one would allow a black bear to sleep with their child. Pit bulls, well known to be aggressive to other animals, were responsible for 95 per cent of the 15,000 dogs killed by other dogs in the U.S. last year…But few movements are as vociferous as pit bull advocacy, and it is well funded. Best Friends Animal Society, promoters of pit bull-type dogs in the U.S., generated $66.6 million US in 2014. Animal Farm Foundation Inc., an advocacy group larger than the average American charitable organization, made enough money in 2014 to keep 80 per cent of it for themselves. The political arrogance of powerful groups like these has distorted reason and deceived pit bull enthusiasts to the point at which potentially vicious dogs are relentlessly promoted as companion animals to children and even babies.”
Mia Johnson, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver (British Columbia). July 10, 2015

We’re not the answer to U.S.’s pit bull problem

“When a chihuahua from a U.S. shelter finds a home in Calgary, chances are good that chihuahua is not going to cause someone to end up in hospital, requiring plastic surgery to fix the horrific wounds resulting from its bite. With pit bulls, this can indeed be the case. The United States has a serious pit bull overpopulation problem that municipalities need to deal with, but the problem should not become Calgary’s to fix.”
Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald, Calgary (Alberta). July 3, 2015

Love your pit bull. but pay the price

“Claiming [pit bulls] are no different than poodles is daft and an insult to those killed or maimed in attacks. So, if pit bull owners are willing to pay the million-dollar-plus liability insurance premiums that should be mandatory, and accept jail time if their pet kills or maims, then fair enough. Because to accept the argument that there are no inherently bad dogs means such tragedies must fall resoundingly at the feet of the owner.”
Chris Nelson, Calgary Herald, Calgary (Alberta). June 26, 2015

Pit Bull Bans Work

“The battle is extremely heated and can become vicious – to the point that survivors of pit bull attacks or the loved ones of those killed by pit bulls are subjected to harassment campaigns when they speak out about the dangers this cluster of fighting dogs poses to public safety. The epidemiological and medical facts favour one side, emotion and the cultural popularity of identity victimhood the other. Pit bull advocates are particularly incensed when towns and cities impose bans on their beloved breed, so they go to extraordinary lengths to prevent them, or to repeal them.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). June 19, 2015

As family mourns, propaganda hides danger of pit bull attacks

“People buy into this idea that it’s all in how you raise [pit bulls]. That’s the bottom-line propaganda,” she said. “But it’s just not honest. It denies all the heritage of the breed. For centuries, these dogs were bred to attack and to kill… there’s this big cover-up about pit bulls. Yes, all dogs bite. That’s a big part of the propaganda. But the real issue is the severity of the attacks…  It’s like holding a firecracker in one hand and a hand grenade in the other. Yes, either one of them can explode. But one of them is going to do a whole lot more damage than the other.”
Steve Blow, The Dallas Morning News (Texas). April 22, 2015

Start protecting us from dangerous pit bulls

“Should we have the right to protect ourselves from vicious dogs? Or do we just roll over, play dead and refuse to speak up because the misguided pit bull lobby makes a lot of noise? Olsen admits pit bull owners are vocal. And often being vocal is enough to scare off good laws. You don’t have the right to own a lion, bobcats or leopards. The same is true for gorillas, crocodiles, alligators, cobras, mambas and sharks… So why is it that local jurisdictions can outlaw all of the above as pets, but can’t outlaw the deadliest of them all?”
Editorial. The Modesto Bee (California). March 21, 2015

Famous Dog, infamous owners

“What’s going on at Dark Dynasty should not be permitted and it certainly should not be celebrated and endorsed by mainstream media. Their unnecessary breed of intimidators is about to make an already bad situation so much worse. Perhaps if dog owners were to be prosecuted for the deeds of their pet as if they themselves were the culprit, fewer people would be buying animals they have no business owning.”
Lori Welbourne, Kelowna (British Columbia). March 10, 2015

Denying a Dog’s Danger — Pit Bull Advocates In Denial But Ban On Breed Has Wide Support

“Pit bull advocates are as fierce as the dog breed that has killed and maimed more people than any other by a wide margin. But worse, many pit bull owners and supporters… go into denial when faced with grim stories, blaming “bad” owners — even the parents of attacked children and babies — and saying their pit bull is sweet and loving.”
Bill Tieleman (British Columbia). January 21, 2015

Enough with Attacks, BC Must Ban Pit Bulls Like Ontario and Winnipeg do

“Defending pit bulls is a major industry. Yes, irresponsible owners help create monstrous dogs intended solely to fight and maim, but family “pets” have also killed at home. Yes, other dogs sometimes fatally bite, but not anywhere near as often as pit bulls. And breed bans actually do work.”
Bill Tieleman (British Columbia). January 10, 2015

What pit bull activism says about our culture

“The novel and most disturbing aspect of this issue is the army of advocates who literally devote their lives (and some their considerable fortunes) to laundering the pit bull’s image. This is the first time in the history of human-animal relations that a movement has formed, not to promote the well-known virtues of a beloved breed, but to promote denial of a beloved breed’s well-known vices. Alas, the movement produces extraordinarily effective “Big Lie” propaganda… These fanatic activists are far more numerous and well-organized than the small corps of ban proponents I support. Bans on fighting dogs have eliminated dogbite-related fatalities in many jurisdictions, but thanks to the pit bull advocacy movement’s relentlessly-bruited mantras (“blame bad owners,” “all in how you raise ‘em”), some of those bans have been repealed on “discrimination” grounds… The consequence of pit bull advocacy’s willed denialism of this genetic reality can be measured, first in the capitulation of municipal and provincial governments to activist intimidation, and then in the blood that flows in a steadily widening pool from the growing mass of innocent animals and people who weekly, daily, hourly fall victim to the canine killers in our midst.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). January 2, 2015



Pit bulls, Ann Landers & Dr. Laura

“It is important for the organized victims’ advocacy groups to realize that while victim advocacy is in its infancy in terms of a “movement,” pit bull activism has had the advantage of decades of “community” training, with the added advantage of cultural memes relating to humans — “discrimination,” “rights,” “guilt by association,” and all the rest — to blow confident wind into their sails. Even though beating against the cultural current, victims’ advocacy groups should not be intimidated or discouraged. The silent majority of people do not want dangerous animals in their neighborhoods, as surveys demonstrate, and they are under no illusions about what constitutes a dangerous dog.”
Barbara Kay, December 24, 2014

Victims of Canine Attack Issue Open Letter to Pit-Bull Apologist Arianna Huffington During Inaugural Canine Victims Awareness Week

“The Open Letter to Arianna Huffington outlines the devastation experienced by canine attack victims which can be overwhelming to body and mind, as well as financial status, as bills accumulate for emergency care, reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. Families of the deceased struggle with profound loss and survivors often suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.”
PR Web Press Release. November 13, 2014

Pit bulls can be deadly; hold owners accountable

“That two citizens of this county can be killed in their own yard by a neighbor’s uncontrolled animals is an outrage. A rolling car, an exploding gas can, a random gunshot all would likely result in charges. Why not death by dogs? Where is the justice if a death is insufficient for charging the owner of four pit bulls — a breed known for its violent attacks on humans and other animals?… Sheriff Adam Christianson says he’s not sure the owners can be successfully prosecuted. Unless the homeowner was negligent in letting the dogs escape; unless the dogs were documented nuisances or dangerous; unless they were intentionally made vicious, Christianson says it will be hard to bring charges.”
Editorial. The Modesto Bee (California). October 31, 2014

Pit bull attack suggests that dog owner isn’t always the problem

“Lovers of pit bulls have been known to blame people whenever one of these animals maims another dog or child. It’s a message articulated by the American Pit Bull Foundation. Bad dogs are the result of bad owners.

Today at Trout Lake in Vancouver, I witnessed an out-of-control pit bull that appeared ready to tear up a tiny dog. Only the intervention of a brave woman nearby prevented the little mutt from being chomped down within about 30 yards from me. The pit bull’s owner apologized profusely as she slapped a leash on her dog. She seemed genuinely mortified that her canine appeared ready to kill another dog. To me, she seemed like a responsible dog owner with a very irresponsible and dangerous pet.

In Burnaby last year, a city staff report noted that reported dog bites on other dogs and humans went from 69 to 81 between 2007 and 2012. Pit bulls only accounted for two percent of licensed dogs in the city, but the breed was blamed for 24.7 percent of the bites over that five-year period.

Burnaby has jacked up fees for vicious dogs, much to the consternation of pit bull owners. However, my guess is that none of the candidates for Vancouver park board is going to make an issue of pit bulls roaming free at Trout Lake. That’s because the HugABull Advocacy and Rescue Society will condemn anyone who suggests any breed-specific regulations in Vancouver.

We’re often told dogs don’t cause the problem; irresponsible owners are the real culprits. It reminds me of the National Rifle Association’s oft-stated claim that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. That leads to political inaction, regardless of the amount of evidence anyone accumulates to suggest otherwise.”

Charlie Smith, Vancouver, BC: The Georgia Straight. September 20, 2014.

Open letter to Arianna Huffington criticizing her pit bull support

“We urge you, Ms Huffington, as a professional journalist, as well as a mother and an animal lover, to reconsider your editorial decision to promote and encourage pit bulls as desirable companion animals. At the very least, we urge you to withdraw your overt support for the pit bull advocacy movement, and adopt a position of neutrality. From those to whom much influence has been given, greater responsibility is expected”
Bereaved Families, Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack — AVOCA, August 2014

Dog Bites Man — Again And Again

“For some time now, I’ve seen the Pitbull Advocacy Movement privileging the rights of dogs over the rights of human beings and their own pets. by accusing people who are skeptical about the aggression of fighting breeds of being “racists,” ”bigots,” and “breed bullies.”… The mandate of these evangelists has been to persuade the public that pit-bull phenotypes are just like any other dog and any problems with temperament can be laid squarely at the feet of the owner. In order to push pit bulls into private homes, these evangelists rely on the average person’s general unfamiliarity with the heritability of dog behaviour.”
Heather Clemenceau, Ontario. July 27, 2014

There is no need for pit bulls

“When I started my career, the most common dog-bite injuries were from German shepherds and occasionally retrievers. These injuries were almost always provoked, such as food-related or stepping on the dog, and in almost every instance, the dog reacted with a single snap and release – essentially a warning shot… Starting about 25 years ago, my colleagues and I started to see disturbingly different types of injuries. Instead of a warning bite, we saw wounds where the flesh was torn from the victim. There were multiple bite wounds covering many different anatomical sites. The attacks were generally unprovoked, persistent and often involved more than one dog. In every instance the dog involved was a pit bull or a pit bull mix.
Dr. David Billmire, Cincinnati (Ohio). June 29, 2014

Attack of the pit bull advocates

“Pit bull lovers spring to their Twitter posts, denouncing the alleged media conspiracy that keeps demonizing pit bulls, and indignantly demanding that newspapers also report the daily severe attacks on children by Golden Retrievers, dachshunds and Cocker Spaniels that they willfully ignore. There is no point in patiently explaining to them that all severe attacks are reported, that when other breeds bite children, it is usually a “bite” rather than a mauling requiring hospitalization, and that this and other pit bull attacks could not have been prevented by love, socializing, training or “responsible” ownership, since pit bull type dogs are genetically programmed for unpredictable impulsive aggression. The pit bull advocacy movement… passionately resists all evidence that casts their beloved breed in a negative light.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). May 13, 2014



Pit bulls really are the problem, not their owners

“The catchphrase that comes up whenever people talk about banning dangerous dog breeds is wearing a little thin: “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.” So, in the wake of a Leger Marketing survey that showed seniors are likeliest to favour banning pit bulls and other scary breeds, what are we supposed to do about bad owners? The answer is nothing. Nothing can be done about bad owners, because bad owners do not recognize themselves as such, nor do they appear to be aware that their dogs are dangerous and out of control. Why, Poopsie wouldn’t hurt a fly!

Round and round it goes, as it always has. Unlike Winnipeg, which banned pit bulls more than 20 years ago after a little girl had her face horribly scarred during an unprovoked attack, Calgary emphasizes fines, education and responsible pet ownership. The responsible pet owners are already doing all the right things. But name me one person who would ever admit to being an irresponsible dog owner. Ain’t gonna happen.

A couple of years ago, I was out walking with my border collie when pit bull tore the leash from its owner’s hand, dashed across the street and attacked my dog. Its owner just stood there and watched, as I did my best to separate the dogs. The woman said nothing; she didn’t even offer an apology. Does anyone think she has admitted to this day that she’s an irresponsible pet owner? Of course not. But what she left in the wake of her irresponsibility, and her failure to train and control her dog, was a once-friendly border collie who now shows aggression to every dog he meets, out of the fear engendered in him by that one attack.

When pit bulls maul humans, the damage they do is horrific. Yet, people just keep mouthing the platitude of “no bad dogs, only bad owners.” Platitudes are not solving the problem.” — Lakritz, Naomi. Pit bulls really are the problem, not their owners. Calgary, AB: Calgary Herald. 24 Apr 2013. Page A12, col. 3.

Are Pit Bulls Really Dangerous?

“Do pit bulls deserve their reputation as vicious “attack” dogs? An overwhelming amount of evidence suggests, in some instances, they do… It’s worth noting that no matter how these data are arranged — mixed breeds versus pure breeds, injuries versus fatalities — pit bulls consistently rank at the top of the list for attacks, and by a wide margin. (Rottweilers generally rank a distant second.)”
Marc Lallanilla, February 14, 2013

Woman loses half her face in assault; judge rules it’s her fault

“Here you have the three pillars of straw on which the pit bull advocacy movement rests. Frequency of bites in dogs is a red herring in this context. In terms of maulings, maimings, dismemberments, and fatalities, pit bulls are not only “worse” than other breeds, they leave all other breeds combined in the dust. Pit bulls and other fighting breeds are indeed genetically different, are indeed genetically programmed for impulsive aggression, and insurance company rates — or refusals of coverage — testify to that now proven fact. And the absurd canard that line-bred dogs — the epitome of eugenics stereotyping — are comparable to randomly bred people, or that epithets such as “racism” and “discrimination” may be applied to dog breeds with a straight face — is the height of irrationality.”
Barbara Kay, Prince Arthur Herald (British Columbia). May 10, 2013

Dogs that bite and people that don’t listen

“On the basis of these [severe attack] statistics alone one would expect that Labrador Retrievers would have the highest bite rate yet they are virtually invisible in this data set. Instead we find that pit bulls are responsible for more than 50 times the rate of bite injuries than what we would expect given their population numbers. This is from information taken as part of medical intake of dog bite victims who are being treated for trauma. It is not based on press reports, nor does it represent some kind of inherent bias against square-headed dogs. No matter how much one may love the bully breeds, these are facts that, like a surveillance video of a robbery which identifies a perpetrator, cannot simply be explained away under the cloak of bias or misrepresentation.”
Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Psychology Today. April 3, 2013


2012 and earlier

Pit-bull owners are right. They are the problem

“The pit bull advocacy movement never sleeps in its campaign to portray pit bulls and their close genetic kin as normal dogs unjustly maligned through media bias. In challenging breed bans, their spokespeople are well-versed in the discourse of civil and human rights (“racism,” “discrimination,” “profiling,” “genocide”). The result is widespread acceptance of the seductive dogma of “multicaninism”: There are no intrinsically dangerous breeds, just “bad owners… Malcolm Gladwell’s pit bull defence in The New Yorker, later incorporated into his book, What the Dog Saw, argued that profiling dogs indirectly sanctions racial profiling. But to conflate line-bred dogs — the epitome of the eugenically constructed stereotype — with naturally evolved humans is intellectually untenable and insulting to African-Americans.”
Barbara Kay, National Post, Toronto (Ontario). October 24, 2012

Certain dogs and owners combine for violence

“Yes, you can be bitten by a Yorkie or a Siamese cat. You can be wounded with a BB gun, too. But a BB gun in the hands of an irresponsible fool doesn’t pose the same public threat as one wandering around with a loaded rocket-propelled grenade launcher, which is why we severely restrict one and not the other. Pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf crosses are the bazookas of the dog world. Perfectly safe as long as they don’t go off; devastatingly lethal when they do. And nobody, least of all their owners, seems to be able to predict when they will go off. So please, no more dismay from attack breed owners expressing surprise that their lovable doggie-woggie suddenly went berserk and tore the scalp off some infant or disembowelled a passing Chihuahua. I have as much sympathy for them as I have for people who leave loaded guns around the house and profess horror when a curious child is shot.

And spare me the duplicitous argument that it’s not the dog, it’s the dog owner. No, it’s the dog AND the owner. To be more precise, it’s pit bulls, the genetic traits that their breeding amplifies and the folks who think such animals make appropriate pets. Pit bulls were bred for dog fights and thus for sudden attacks 94 per cent of attacks on children are unprovoked aggressive tenacity, powerful jaws and a “hold and shake” bite that causes horrific injuries similar to those inflicted by shark bites… A 2011 study published by the medical journal Annals of Surgery analyzed 15 years of dog bite hospital admissions. It reported that in the U.S., one person is now killed by a pit bull every 14 days and one body part is now severed and lost in a pit bull attack every 5.4 days.

Yet in the bizarre rhetoric of the attack dog lobby… it’s not the attack dog culture that’s held to blame. It’s the rest of us….

Perhaps we should have a serious public discussion about whether to make the licensing of attack dog owners and the registration of such breeds mandatory, with liability insurance of the kind we deem appropriate for automobile owners, big fines for owners of such dogs if they are found out of their direct control and criminal liability when those dogs attack people or animals. If dog enthusiasts have other proposals for addressing this problem, let’s by all means hear them. But no more conspiracy theories and heaping blame on the victims, the increasingly fearful public and the media as a way of evading what poses the biggest public threat: a dangerous and inappropriate combination of dogs and owners of a particular kind.”

— Hume, Stephen. Certain dogs and owners combine for violence. Vancouver, BC: The Vancouver Sun. 13 Sep 2012. Page A8, col. 1.

Mother of Two Responds to “Pit Bull Awareness Day” in Massachusetts

“The Massachusetts SPCA (MSPCA) is caught in a conundrum; despite all their efforts at educating owners regarding responsible dog ownership, despite the easy availability of low cost and free spay/neuter programs, low cost training programs, owner support, and all kinds of pit bull specific benefits, these dogs keep making headlines with their attacks, and keep flooding the shelter system. And because they have aligned themselves politically with the dog breeder lobby, and officially oppose breed-specific laws (BSL), they cannot address the problem at the source. As more and more unwanted pit bulls fill the shelter, the SPCA certainly cannot be honest with potential adopters about the typical traits of pit bull dogs. Educating potential owners about the fact that pit bulls can become dangerously dog aggressive as they get older, even with dogs they have lived with for years, or that pit bulls should never be taken to dog parks, would only serve to reduce adoptions. So they have decided to anthropomorphize the dogs and make this a civil rights issue.”
Branwyne Finch, October 22, 2011

Stricter dog laws needed

“My friend’s eight-year-old son was recently attacked by a pit bull who bit his beautiful face so severely that he was rushed to the hospital. After receiving approximately 40 stitches that ranged from just under his left eye, cheek and under his chin, it was immediately obvious to his family that they had narrowly escaped a parents’ worst nightmare. “You’re lucky he never got his jugular,” I said to my friend when I saw her son two days after the attack. With tears in her eyes she nodded, beyond grateful he was alive.

When her family found out that this wasn’t the dog’s first attack and that its fate now rested with its owners rather than the authorities, they took the story to the press. “We want stricter dog laws in the Okanagan,” she said. “If we had known that family had a dangerous animal, we never would have allowed our child to be in their house. We should have been informed.”

Not wanting to see another family go through the same difficult situation, she’s written her first letter to the regional district and started up a Facebook page called “Stricter Dog Laws in the Okanagan” where she has posted the facts about the terrifying attack on her son. Many people offered their sympathy for the traumatic experience and encouraged their efforts to make the community safer.

Then the unexpected happened: they started getting blamed for the attack. After their emotional trauma the last thing they needed was to be blamed and she dismantled the page after its first few days. But blaming the victim is par for the course, I’ve now learned since reading a slew of recent dog attack stories on the Internet. Sadly, it’s probably what keeps many victims from going public. Word seems to fly whenever a pit bull or a dog that is on a dangerous breed list is in the news again and fanatical animal protectors come out of the woodwork to do their dirty work. And if you don’t think blaming the victim of an unprovoked and vicious dog attack is dirty work, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

“Pit bulls get a bad rap,” another friend of mine said when I told her the story I was working on. Poodles and Chihuahuas bite way more often and we never hear about them in the news.”

“Because they’re not maiming and killing people,” I responded.

“Oh yeah, there’s been deaths,” she said. “But the media keeps those stories hush hush.”

Huh? Was this a joke? “Any animal that kills any person is going to be reported in the news,” I said. “If anything, that would be more of a story because it would be so rare.”

But there seems to be a perception that it’s the fault of the media that pit bulls, rottweilers and other potentially dangerous dogs have received a bad rap. I’m no reporter, but I’m guessing that the poodle who bit my son’s hand (and even managed to draw blood) wouldn’t make the headlines like the story of a pit bull’s deathly attack on his pregnant owner did last week in California.

We need stricter dog laws, and it shouldn’t take an attack resulting in death to make this happen.”

— Welbourne, Lori. Stricter dog laws needed. Quesnel, BC: Quesnel Cariboo Observer. 19 Aug 2011. Page A8, col. 2.

Pit bull stereotypes rooted in fact

“I did some extensive research a few years back for a cover feature in this magazine on dog bites, breeds, and lax bylaw enforcement in Vancouver. One thing that was confirmed for me by several politicians in jurisdictions where breed bans (pit bulls and some other more exotic breeds) were being considered was the speed and thoroughness with which pit-bull owners, fanciers, breeders, and people in the pet business would deluge them with e-mails, phone calls, faxes, and letters. Campaigns are mounted on several popular Web sites devoted to pit bulls, and the word soon spreads around the world. Even though Doogie claims not to have a pit bull, you can comfortably be assured that he is among this bunch. The e-mails are always the same, utilize the same facts (specious, misleading, or factual), are usually of the length seen above, have the same tone of outrage and the same slogans, and are full of links.

These crusaders always point to other breeds that bite that they claim are not reported on, and they talk about media conspiracies. The simple truths are these, and no amount of misleading talk about pounds-per-square-inch bite power or slight differences between breeds that are lumped together as ”pit bulls” for good reasons will change these facts.

Yes, chihuahuas and toy poodles may bite more frequently, but that’s because their numbers are so vastly higher that those of what are considered to be pit bulls. Those small dogs are lucky if they break the skin. Also, most bites from other dogs–the vast majority–are defensive (correctly perceived or not) and usually just a nip. When a pit bull attacks, it doesn’t need a reason. It doesn’t have to feel in danger. And it usually doesn’t bite and back away. It hangs on and chews, often causes massive injuries, and many times death. That’s what it was bred for, and that’s how some idiots train them.

Pit bull owners like to paint themselves as responsible, caring, loving people, and many of them undoubtedly are. But in my experience with pit bulls and their owners, I have almost universally been greeted with expletives and threats if I ask them to leash their dog or move out of a schoolyard or playground (both against the law in Vancouver and most other jurisdictions). As well, in most reported Vancouver cases of injury to a person or their dog from an unprovoked, unpredictable attack by a pit bull, the owners either flee, attempt to flee, give false names, or try to blame the victims.

There’s usually a good reason for assumptions and stereotypes concerning almost anything, and with the pit bull most are generally true. There’s a reason many insurance companies in North America won’t offer home insurance to pit bull owners. They don’t deal in stereotypes–they deal in hard facts. One of the most common things you hear if an owner has been tracked down is, “He never did anything like that before.” No kidding. If they are known for one thing more than anything else, it is their unpredictability. Pit bulls as family pets who have been fine with children before have suddenly turned on them. And no, it doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does it can mean death or permanent disfigurement.

I personally feel that anyone who would leave a young child alone in a room or backyard with one of these dogs should be reported to the local children’s authority.

You might think I hate dogs because of this post. No, I don’t. They’re not to blame for traits we bred into them. It’s often the owner I hate, though.

And a breed ban is the only way to get them out of circulation for good. None put down, just allowed to grow old and die, along with a strict enforcement of leash and muzzle laws.

Then we won’t have to see the horrible pictures we’ve seen locally here the past few days of two vicious pit-bull attacks.”

Martin Dunphy, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver (British Columbia). April 16, 2009

If 5% per cent of the dog population accounts for 50 per cent of the attacks, something is going on here: this is not something random.

Interview with Alan Beck, director of the Human-Animal Bond Center at Purdue University in Indiana

“An animal expert who spent five years at the helm of New York’s Bureau of Animal Affairs says Windsor should move forward with a proposed ban on pit bulls a breed he says is behind a disproportionate number of fatal attacks on humans in the U.S. “Pit bull attacks seem to take off against vulnerable targets without provocation,” said Alan Beck, the director of the Human-Animal Bond Center at Purdue University in Indiana. Beck, who is in town today to deliver a lecture at the University of Windsor, is currently researching the emotional and physical benefits pet owners derive from their furry companions.

But when he served as director of the New York Health Department’s Bureau of Animal Affairs from 1975 to 1980 he tracked and investigated fatal dog bites. He’s conducted sporadic research on the subject ever since.

Beck said American studies have revealed that while pit bulls make up somewhere between 0.2 and two per cent of the canine population in the Us., they commit about half the country’s deadly attacks on humans. “If five per cent of a population accounts for 50 per cent of the attacks, something is going on here,” he said. “This is not a random act.” Beck said pit bulls were bred to fight, first against bears, then other dogs, in show pits in 19th century England. That breeding, often exacerbated by “unsocialized” owners, has t made pit bulls poor house pets, he said.

While working in New York, Beck attended the autopsies of people killed by pit bulls. He said the damage the muscular, square-jawed canines inflict on their victims is like “the difference between me hitting you and me throttling you.” When other breeds bite, they leave punctures behind, he explained. But pit bulls tend to sink their teeth into the flesh and lock on until their victims pull away. He likened the damage they can cause to a “chainsaw accident.” “Most dogs will bite and run, but the pit bull holds. It doesn’t let go,” he said. “That means you usually get rips (in the skin).” Beck said he recognizes that enacting a breed-specific bylaw will demand compromise from pit bull owners, many of whom are fiercely attached to the breed. “But if you want a dog, there’s at least 118 to 120 pure breeds, an infinite number of crosses, do you really need a pit bull?”

Patrick, Kelly. Pit bulls cited in deadly attacks: Windsor should ban breed, pet expert says. Windsor, Ontario: The Windsor Star. 23 August 2004. Page A1, col. 4.

Some dogs bred to attack

“While it’s commendable that the head of Canada’s public safety watchdog group recently lashed out at owners of violent dogs, calling for criminal charges to be laid against them, he, like so many others, is missing the point when addressing the subject. Emile Therein, president of the Canada Safely Council, said enough is enough, when commenting on an incident involving a young Calgary family out for a pleasant Sunday stroll with their collie when a pit bull terrier burst upon the scene and latched its jaws on the family pet. The husband was bitten while trying to break up the vicious attack. Some witnesses attempted to break up the fight with a plastic baseball bat, to no avail. It was an attack that should never have happened, said Therien. We should have the right to walk down the sidewalk without fear of being mauled by somebody’s dog.

We should indeed have that right. And yes, it’s high time that dog owners be held criminally responsible. A slap on the wrist by some lame bylaw is not the answer. It’s high time to apply the Criminal Code of Canada. Charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm are not out of the question. Therien knocked those current, wimpy bylaws. But he was way off the mark when he said: Vicious dogs are products of irresponsible owners and it’s about time they are held accountable for their actions.

When will the public understand that certain breeds in the doggie chain are bred to be vicious, no matter if the owners go to church every Sunday, and heap loads of love on their pup. Therien, and others, should do their homework, study the lines of these dogs and the reason for which they are bred before casting the blame solely on the owner. Yes, the upbringing of a dog plays a large part in its character development. Owners can trigger violence in their pets through abuse. But, historically, there are certain breeds raised with one thing in mind: aggressive attack. It doesn’t matter how much love you heap upon certain breeds, if that pup comes from lines established for the sole purpose of aggression, one must realize that pet possesses the trait of unpredictability. A puppy can be loving and harmlessly playful around the family. But how do you explain when a gentle, loving puppy bites a stranger in the face? Or rips a neighbour’s dog apart? Or rips a child apart? In a vast number of dog attacks, including some children mauled to death, the handlers claimed they were responsible owners and can’t explain what triggered the dogs violence. All animals possess a natural instinct, whether they are wild or domesticated. That instinct is bred into them to perform certain tasks.

The inbred, overwhelming instinct of some breeds to attack is sadly ignored when addressing dog attacks. Owners of such pets can argue until they are blue in the face that their pups pose no danger. But personal encounters experienced by some people from outside that family circle tell a different story. Don’t look into his eyes. Let him sniff you (even if it means your crotch). Don’t make sudden moves. Don’t go near the children. And whatever you do, when you pet him, don’t stoop down to the level of his face, he can interpret that as a challenge. That’s a sample of the education some people go through when visiting a family in possession of a violence-related breed. Some visitors are in-laws or friends who were around during that pup’s formative years. Yet, the dog. for unexplained reasons can display an unpredictable stand. It’s not a pleasant thing having one’s face bitten by a familiar dog or being growled at, while the pup gets aggressive with the fur on its neck standing on end.

Then there’s the question: how many young families owning such a breed get rid of the dog when a baby is born into the household out of fear that the pup might attack the child out of jealousy? The irresponsible-owner scenario is old hat. Groups like the Canada Safety Council need to understand the breeds before commenting on tougher measures.” — Red Deer Advocate Editorial. Reproduced in Alberni Valley Times, 21 May 2004, Page 4A.

Brutal attacks by dogs must mean harsh penalties for their humans

“It’s time irresponsible dog owners faced real consequences. A person whose “pet” attacks someone is ordinarily subject to only trivial sanctions, perhaps a fine or an order that the dogs be destroyed. The mutilation of children, however, warrants greater penalties. If a careless or drunk driver maimed an innocent pedestrian, he would go to jail.

Indeed, the charge that is often used against drunk drivers – criminal negligence is only rarely invoked against pet owners in cases of dog mauling. Police should make greater use of it. To be criminally negligent is to show reckless disregard for the safety of others. Owning a powerful attack dog that is not properly confined, while living in a dense urban environment, surely constitutes reckless disregard.

Owning vicious dogs is like keeping explosives or volatile chemicals around the house. The state has a right to be interested in things that could pose a public danger, even those of a four-legged nature. Put differently, a private fetish for savage animals stops being private when 14-year-old girls get mauled on their way to slumber parties.” — Ottawa Citizen Editorial. Ottawa, Canada. 30 December 2002. Page A16, col. 1

It is a baseless and selfish argument to suggest that all canine breeds should be treated as equally dangerous

“Some pit bull owners are howling over proposed new regulations, which target this dog breed (and its crosses) for special fees, fines and controls … Those owners trot out the argument that it’s unfair to subject them to tougher, more expensive regulations, because their pooches are wonderful pets, which haven’t and wouldn’t dream of biting anyone. Perhaps so. However, why should the rest of the public trust them?

The reality of the matter is that pit bulls have a reputation for the stunning brutality of their attacks. And we refuse to accept this as being the result of media coverage. The media does not conjure up the numerous stories and images of the horrific injuries caused in pit bull attacks. The images don’t lie, either. Victims with their ears and eyes shredded. Puncture wounds and lacerations requiring hundreds of stitches. And in the most extreme cases, often involving children, the final result is a human fatality.

Yes, there are many other incidents of dogs biting people, and when they are of a serious nature, the media reports them too. However, we’re not talking about biting here. We are talking about mauling, and no other breed is so tenacious and savage in its attacks as the pit bull and its cross-breeds. It is ridiculous to suggest, as some pit bull owners have that all canine breeds should be regarded as equally dangerous. It is a baseless and selfish argument. When a manufactured product poses a serious risk to someone in its vicinity, it is withdrawn from the market or redesigned. If strong evidence exists that a drug or medical procedure is dangerous, it is banned or altered. In either example, not all of the individual products or procedures may be equally dangerous. How they are used or handled may have a bearing on the level of risk they pose. Nonetheless, citizens expect government authorities to take appropriate action in these cases, and hence, there is general public acceptance when blanket controls are applied because it is understood that it is simply not practical or possible to predict the threat in each individual instance. So it should be with dog breeds that threaten public safety…

“Fairness” is not the priority issue here. Public safety is. And if that means placing strict controls on pit bulls, so be it.”

Editorial. Surrey, BC: Surrey Leader. 9 Apr 1999. Page A10, col. 1.

Pit bulls can be killing machines

“Most pit bull owners object to [] restrictions. They feel it unfairly singles out their animals above all others. Because all dogs of the breed are blanketed by this by-law, the good and the bad are lumped together. There are pit bulls and pit bulls of mixed ancestry-which are gentle animals. A certain number reside within the city limits. But, from our experience, they are a minority. On the whole, the pit bulls we deal with are not animals which can be accidentally let loose on our streets. We have contact with this breed all the time. It is rare that we don’t have a pit bull type locked up in our kennels. There are several hundred of the animals in and around Nanaimo. When we get a call regarding one of them, we give it the highest priority. We know from experience the damage they can cause. A pit bull in a dog fight is light years removed from a German shepherd. A pit bull intent on attacking a human is a potential killer.

There are plenty of other breeds that bite people. It’s not just pit bulls. The difference, though, lies in the severity of the bite inflicted by these dogs.

Few folks have seen a pit bull in an attack mode. We have. Get bitten by one of these creatures, and it normally won’t be one or two simple punctures of the flesh. In the heat of battle, those ancestral fighting urges come to the fore with terrible results. It doesn’t let go like other dogs. İnstead, the dog is conditioned by heredity to hang on. The jaws are powerful, exerting crushing pressure, and there may be 60 lbs. or more dog behind that grip.

That awful, demoralizing bite is bad, but it is what the animal does in conjunction that inflicts the most terrible damage. As the pit bull closes its jaws into the flesh of another animal or human, it will commence to thrash its head-from side to side, throwing its entire body into the movement. The pit bull becomes a ripping machine. Literally, a grip into the soft flesh of an adversary can tear chunks of meat away. I’ve seen it done.

That’s terrible when it happens to an animal. Imagine the same inflicted on a child. It is the main reason we have that tougher pit bull by-law in Nanaimo.”  — Dan Hughes, Manager, Nanaimo Animal Control Services. In: Nanaimo, BC: Harbour City Star. 19 Jan 1999. Page A8, col. 1.

The pit bull ban has been effective, says Humane Society Manager

“But pit bull attacks do stand out for their severity. “Pit bulls have been bred over the years to be a fighting dog,” said Gerhard Hess, general manager of the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society. “If a German shepherd bites it goes in and out. You can call it off. A pit bull attacks and won’t give up. It bites until it tears off a piece of flesh.”

The municipality has had only one pit bull attack since the ban, Hess said. “It’s definitely been very effective.” A practising veterinarian, Hess provided information to the municipality when it was drawing up its bylaw. He once did an autopsy of pit bull that took eight police bullets before dying. Two shots had simply bounced off the dog’s tough, sloping forehead. “Studies have proved that pit bulls can withstand much more pain than other breeds,” Hess said. The bylaw drew resistance from “a vociferous minority” and some veterinarians, but has proved its effectiveness, he said.” — Cited in: Crawford, Blair. Under Attack. Windsor, Ontario: The Windsor Star. 25 Apr 1998. Page A1, col. 1.

Success of pit bull ban in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

Quoting Gerhard Hass, manager of local Humane Society:

“A two-year-old pit bull ban in the Kitchener-Waterloo region has contributed to a drastic decline in such attacks. The bylaw bans new pit bulls from entering the region, except to pass through. Ownership of existing pit bulls was grandfathered, but the owners must abide by stringent conditions, including muzzling the dogs whenever they’re in public. And dog involved in an attack is automatically destroyed. The offspring of the grandfathered dogs be must euthanized. Gerhard Hass, manager of the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society, said the number of vicious attacks by pit bulls has plunged since the ban. There were 18 in 1996, before the bylaw. There has been only one attack since. “The number of animals-dogs and cats that have been saved, we can’t begin to count,” Hass said.” — Cited in: Editorial. Pit bulls: Put bite on ownership. Windsor, Ontario: The Windsor Star. 30 Mar 1998. Page A10, col. 1.

Breed registration is easily justified: Veterinarian

“German Shepherds do bite and in general many of the bites are so called “fear biters.” They bite out of fear rather than aggression. So if they perceive themselves to be in an anxious situation and they are approached, then they may snap and bite. This kind of attack tends to be sort of a single hit and run and the dog may even turn his tail and run away.

This is opposed to an attack by an aggressive dog who repeatedly bites and mauls the victim and causes a lot of damage. Pit bull attacks may [ ] be under recorded because owners of this breed may disguise the fact that they have a pit bull to investigators by calling it something else such as part boxer, part mastiff, part whatever, even a curb setter…

Personally speaking, I [ ] can’t agree with some of the letter writers who exclusively blame the owners for not having properly trained and disciplined their dogs.” — McMullen, Murray. Veterinarian. Breed registration is easily justified. Windsor, Ontario: The Windsor Star. 5 Nov 1994. Page F6, col. 5.

It’s time to ban pit bulls

“I’d call for the public execution of the pit bull that attacked the eight-year-old Ottawa boy the other day, but that may raise questions about who is rabid — me or the dog. Instead, I’ll settle for euthanasia, lifetime imprisonment, or — more realistically — a ban on pit bulls in all local municipalities. I can already hear the howls of protest from dog lovers and, specifically, apologists for the friendly pit bull. They can save their breath. There have been too many attacks by pit bulls, followed by the same excuse: don’t blame the breed, blame the animal. I don’t buy it. When is the last time you heard about a golden retriever attacking a child? The truth is that some breeds are more aggressive and, like some firearms, need to be banned.

And the pit bull, because of its strength and tenacity, can do horrendous damage when aroused. The boy, Sébastien Daigle, was lucky to escape with a punctured arm and side. The dog was trying to get at his face; had it succeeded, the results could have been tragic. The dog was examined by the humane society, declared healthy, and returned to its owner. Humane society spokesman John Hamilton said his staff knows the animal “and they know it isn’t a vicious dog.” (Right.) The next day a Citizen reporter visited and found the dog frisking innocently with some young nieces of its owner.

I don’t find this reassuring. It only underlines the unpredictability of the breed. Ottawa Coun. Richard Cannings says, correctly, that a pit bull is like “a 50-calibre machine gun that can go off at any time.” There is also the unproven and infamous suggestion that the dog — which wriggled out of its collar and leapt the backyard fence on Springfield Road in Ottawa — may have been “teased” by Daigle, who was on his way home from the store. Young children do sometimes tease animals, or treat them too roughly. Most dogs will snarl, bark or yelp in warning — but normal animals won’t try to rip off the child’s face. Some argue against legislation that singles out pit bulls, making the point that vicious dogs in general are the problem. That is true, and there are other suspect breeds like Rottweilers, Dobermans and German shepherds.

But why not start with a dog that has earned its reputation for savagery, and, at the same time toughen bylaws relating to vicious dogs? As it is now, the complaints system works slowly and court orders to destroy dangerous animals are relatively rare.

Some will see this as an infringement of their personal liberty. Tough. There are an infinite number of alternate breeds of dog available. The right to own a pit bull, like the right to own a semi-automatic weapon or a crossbow, must be measured against the community’s right to safety. Indeed, you could ask — as Daigle’s mother did — why anyone would own a pit bull given its reputation. Some are regular family dogs, but they are also the breed-of-choice among drug dealers and other puny thugs. It’s time other municipalities followed Vanier’s lead and told pit bull owners to take their dangerous pets somewhere else. Unlike gun control, which is a federal responsibility, dogs are something city councils can control.

I hope Cannings can persuade his Ottawa Council colleagues – and responsible dog owners — to come down hard on vicious dogs, starting with pit bulls. Let’s put the rights of people – and the safety of children – ahead of the rights of animals.” — Riley, Susan. It’s time to ban pit bulls. Ottawa, Ontario: The Ottawa Citizen. 16 May 1994. Page B1, col 6.

Pit bull fans are barking up the wrong tree

“The Pit Bull Association likes to blame “the media” for creating the bad reputation of their dogs. In an issue of the magazine published by the Federation of Individuals and Dog Owners (FIDO) last year, the pit bull group said their dogs were victims of a media plot. “Some dogs of all breeds are biting and even killing people, but the media refuses to report incidents unless they concern pit bulls,” the association said. The diarist offered a $100 donation to FIDO to be paid when any pit bull owner could demonstrate a case of the media covering up, or refusing to report known attacks by dogs other than pit bulls. The $100 has never been claimed. The offer still stands.” — Sagi, Douglas. Pit bull fans are barking up the wrong tree. Vancouver, BC: The Vancouver Sun. 29 May 1992. Page A2, col. 2.

A Real Danger

“Dog fads come in waves, and are normally harmless in their promotion of certain breeds. A type of dog will suddenly become`popular, usually due to some mass advertising, and within a couple of years will be seen everywhere. An example of this was the mania for Lassie-type collies 30 years back, a direct offshoot of the television program beamed into everyone’s living room. In a similar vein, German shepherds once hit a peak solely because of the adventures or Rin Tin Tin, the marvellously presented dog of the old movie houses.

All these fads were no trouble in the main, for, in general, one dog is very much like another. A few people such as myself might have grumbled about the old onslaught of Irish setters, a breed which enjoys wandering if the opportunity presents itself, but, other than a nuisance factor, no harm was done.

The pit bull craze is something else entirely. Eventually, it will pass, but there will be dire effects before it does so. Today, the impact of these dogs is being felt in all North American communities. I am no stranger to dogs of this sort. Many years back, I kept several English bull terriers, a dog which is very similar in characteristic to the American animal now being pushed on all sides. Like the pit bull, bull terriers were originally bred for fighting other dogs in bloody contests. It takes an extremely conscientious and careful person to administer the control these dogs require, I was always able to achieve that result, but it took constant vigilance in making sure the dogs were never able to escape my supervision.

Proponents of pit bulls constantly make the point that the dogs are great pets, and that they are docile and loyal to their human families. There is no argument with this point. Like any other dog residing with people, pit bulls show the same affinity and love for their immediate social group. The problems begin when the dogs escape human control, a situation which will occur with every dog, no matter how well guarded. When a lab jumps the fence, or a shepherd slips his chain, there’s usually no trouble other than the nuisance factor of getting the dog back.

When pit bulls break loose, it’s another matter. The dogs are natural fighters, and will usually often battle any other dog they see. Because they are conditioned to fight by heritage, much as a retriever lives to investigate birds of any sort, they will look for an opponent with which to commit mayhem. If this involves pursuing some. innocent dog to the very steps of his owner’s house, and there killing the screaming dog before the eyes of his people, they will do so. A dog walking leashed down the block is also fair game for these dogs, and singly, or in pairs, pit bulls will attack such an animal without provocation.

It is important to understand why pit bulls do this, and it is also very simple. Every breed of dog we keep has been developed for a specific purpose, whether it be as a guard animal, a herder, a hunting animal, or any of a myriad of designations. The pit bull was created for fighting other dogs and nothing else. Consequently, it is impossible to prevent this from happening. Thus, the rule of thumb is not complicated. If a pit bull gets loose, it will fight other dogs. When that happens, the other dog will normally die. Obviously, the owner of a pit bull has to be an individual of extreme foresight and diligence. He or she must take extraordinary steps to keep a dog controlled every minute of the day.

There’s the problem. A good proportion of these people are not that responsible type. If they were, the newspapers would not be constantly filled with horror stories concerning pit bulls that manage to get loose. Many pit bull owners see only the supposed glamor of owning a tough dog. At the same time, some of these people have trouble looking after themselves, let alone a dog which can be likened to a time bomb, Many of these dogs are in the wrong hands completely, and that means trouble.” — Hughes, Dan. Manager, Nanaimo Animal Shelter. Pit bulls are bred for just one purpose. Nanaimo, BC: Nanaimo Daily News. 4 Dec 1990. Page 8, col. 2.

Ban Vicious Pit Bulls

“City streets are for people, not vicious dogs and especially not pit bulls. They must be banned and let the bleating supporters of some spurious right to terrify the neighbors wail away. After an arbitrary date, suitably chosen by city council, no more pit bulls should be allowed in Calgary. Grandfathered current owners of the dogs should be saddled with stiff licensing and liability requirements and severe penalties for rogue dogs. Any pit bulls outdoors at any time — even in a backyard — must be leashed and muzzled. Dogs that attack must be put down immediately. The horror of pit bull attacks has raised ample concern in recent years, yet some owners seem indifferent to community concern and continue to let their dogs run amok. There are no excuses. Whether a gate was left open, a neighbor accidentally let the dog out, the dog jumped the fence, it got away from the leash, it’s usually friendly but somehow snapped — it’s absolutely no consolation to anyone terrorized by a dog and left bleeding and shaken. Responsible owners of pit bulls will bear the brunt of harsh measures, but whose rights are more important — owners of a demonstrably vicious breed or innocent bystanders? … City council has to come down on the right of Calgarians to walk the streets without fear.” — Editorial. Calgary, Alberta: Calgary Herald. 17 Oct 1990. Page A4, col. 1.

We debase the concept of human rights if we extend it to the right to own an organic maiming and killing machine

“Do you know how they create a killing dog? Do you think they just pick the aggressive dogs out of the litter, or something natural like that? They find the most aggressive and mean-spirited male and female, and breed them. Then they weed out the weak ones from the litter: the ones that might hesitate before attacking, the ones that may need a reason to attack, or the ones that would rather rip open a leg than a jugular vein. The truly vicious ones are kept for further breeding, in litter after litter, until the sadistic streak is distilled and purified into the essence of mindless violence. Then, having created an exquisite killing machine, they try to tell us “Well, you know, they can be trained to be gentle.” Sure. You can get any animal to defy its nature, if you try hard enough. For a while, anyway. But just wait until some circumstance comes along that draws out its real instincts. Then, watch out. Your jugular may be next. Selective breeding is no game. It’s a scientific technique, employed to produce a strain of animal with stable and reliable characteristics. You can suppress them, but you can’t change them.

You see, we’re not talking about lions or tigers, which are banned from the streets because of their natural hunting instincts. We’re talking about a breed of dog that is a deliberate aberration, designed specifically to be mean and vicious without having to be hungry or even provoked. They were originally bred that way to be efficient killers, to make money in dog fights. But they were never bred to distinguish the flesh of a human from the flesh of a dog. Well, enough polemic. Let’s get down to social issues. There are individual rights to respect. We can’t have Big Brother telling people what kinds of dogs they can raise, can we Peter? But Peter, I ask: Whose rights? The rights of a bunch of mean-spirited dogs? And you’re going to balance that against my right to walk down the street in safety? Not in my city, you don’t. Or do you mean the rights of the individual to create a public menace whenever he or she feels like it? Where’s that in the Charter of Rights? Human rights are meant for important things. We debase the whole concept if we extend it to the right to own an organic maiming and killing machine.

Let me concede that there are some people who have short-circuited their pit bull’s violent nature, and turned it into a gentle family dog. Is that an argument for condoning the breed? For every nice pit bull, there are a dozen others true to their breeding, just waiting for you to make their day. We still end up with a public menace. We elect governments to keep the streets safe. But the attention shouldn’t be exclusively focused on the dogs. What about the creeps who get their kicks from breeding vicious dogs, playing bookie for dog fights, and terrorizing people on the streets? We can’t ban creeps, but we can take their dangerous toys away from them. That kind of anti-social behavior should not be protected.

I’m not going to argue that all pit bull owners are a bunch of macho freaks. There are some who are sincerely trying to make decent pets out of them. But the pit bull is not a decent animal. It is — I repeat — an artificially created aberration, deliberately designed to be vicious. The creeps and the terrorists are their natural masters. And they should be brought under control. But how? Shoot all pit bulls? Or put them to sleep? No, I wouldn’t go quite that far. But I would support compulsory sterilization. That way, the breed will die out in a generation, except for imports and the black market – but that would be a problem even if we shot them all. And maybe, if they were all sterilized, they might be a little less macho.” — Russell, Gary. Should pit bulls be banned? Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Winnipeg Sun. 26 Nov 1989. Page 53, col. 1.

Pit bull viciousness in their genes

“A highly respected veterinarian who asked that his name not be used told me that the viciousness of the pit bull is in the genes. Although some breeders insist that the dogs are gentle unless provoked, most are not.” — Ann Landers,  January 21, 1989

Pit bulls a national menace

“Several months ago I opened the floodgates by printing a pit bull story and nearly died. I was swamped with letters from readers who recounted hair-raising stories about relatives and friends who were similarly attacked. I printed those letters. I subsequently heard from hundreds of pit bull owners and breeders saying I was misinformed and “crazy.” There was a menacing tone to many of those letters.

Amid the hysterical rantings was a voice of reason by columnist Neal Pierce, who writes for the Washington Post ‘Writers Group’. Here are some excerpts from his column:

Pit bulls have inflicted 21 of the nation’s 29 fatal canine attacks since 1983. Fourteen of the victims have been children under six years of age. Each story of a mutilated youngster’s body, torn by the vice-like jaws that close with 1,800 pounds of pressure, ripping off flesh with sure intent to kill, is more appalling than the last.

In Philadelphia, the pit bull count has soared from 25 to 4,000 in five years. Time magazine reports the animals are often fed gunpowder or hot sauces to make them mean, and live kittens to sharpen their taste for blood.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that many pit bulls involved in attacks on humans had been bred and trained for dogfights. Dogfighting is a felony in 36 states. Pit bulls have become the weapon of choice — legal but more terrorizing than guns. They are ideal for holding police at bay while an illegal stash disappears down a toilet.

Baltimore police officer Bert Ricasa relates how a pit bull attacked and bit him four times as he tried to arrest a suspected narcotics dealer. Officer Ricasa was able to draw his service revolver and pump several shots into the dog as it dug its teeth into his thigh. But a colleague had to club the dying dog on the head and then use a night stick to pry its jaws loose. Rushed to the emergency room, Officer Ricasa required 400 stitches.

Dog-owner groups and kennel clubs argue that pit bulls aren’t the problem. They say it is humans who breed and raise the animals improperly. This argument is fallacious. Bull terriers, however amiable they appear, have a mark of Cain in their genetic history. They were first bred, not to retrieve game or herd sheep, but to kill in fierce combat. Dogs aren’t entitled to constitutional protection. The owner’s right to have a dangerous dog must stop short of his neighbor’s throat.

There is a real question whether “dangerous-dog” ordinances will deter many of the back-alley types now breeding pit bulls for ill purposes. Or that the law will stop rural thugs like the bunch in Grants Pass, Ore., recently found to have 25 pit bulls chained around their 2,345-plant marijuana farm.

U.S. animal-control laws are a neglected mess. The pit bull attacks fit a pattern of laxness. The message to local governments is to clamp down not later but now.

I (Ann Landers) say amen to Neal Pierce’s recommendation. There will be no more about pit bulls in this space but, if my early columns were instrumental in calling attention to this continuing nightmare, I’m delighted.” — Ann Landers. October 26, 1987