To Any Dog That Bites: Bite the Dust

Friendly Pet Or Public Menace?

American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier

It's a rare bird indeed who doesn't like, or love, domesticated animals, especially pets.

Not all of us own pets, but, often, that's because of the great amount of care they require; for some, it's the expense involved.

I haven't done any research on the subject, but I'd guess that dogs, cats and tropical fish are among the most popular pets. But I know people who enjoy having less popular animals in their homes, such as snakes and raccoons -- even pigs.

Who wouldn't like one of those cute, frail little toy terriers, or a happy-go-lucky collie or German shepherd. And, those frisky, independent little kittens may not be everyone's favorite, but there are those who couldn't live without them.

Naturally, sometimes, some animals behave like animals.

Reports of Vicious Attacks

Over the last several months, there have been a flurry of stories about such dogs as Pit Bulls, Akitas and doberman pinschers viciously attacking people, both adults and children.

Most recently, in West Haven, a 5-year-old boy was attacked for no apparent reason by a Pit Bull who "practically ate this boy's cheek off his face." The woman who owned the dog was credited with saving the boy's life by shielding the child with her body. Doctors reattached part of the boy's cheek. The dog was euthanized.

The boy's father wants the city to ban the aggressive dogs for good. "Pit Bulls," he pointed out, "are not neighborhood dogs."

Mauling Shakes Up Dog Owner

The dog's owner was shaken by the mauling. She said she always tried to be responsible with her Pit Bulls, walking them at night on a leash and keeping them in the house.

In many cases, the owners of potentially dangerous "pets" have behaved irresponsibly; but, in this case, the owner was responsible. Nevertheless, a child was severely injured.

The issue of what to do with potentially dangerous animals, particularly Pit Bulls and other aggressive breeds of dogs, is growing into a controversy approaching the one now raging about gun control. In some ways, the issues are similar.

To me, having a guard dog look -- or leap -- at you is little different from having a handgun or rifle pointing at you. It's intimidating to say the least and potentially dangerous. A guard dog once leaped at me when I entered a gasoline station office to pay my tab. I was saved only by the fact that I stopped short of the chain that pulled the attacking dog up short.

The truth is, you can't blame an animal for behaving like an animal. But you can hold human beings responsible when they put you, or me, in harm's way because of these animals.

New Laws Needed

We need laws that will protect unsuspecting children, and adults, from unknowingly walking into a booby trap in the form of a crazed animal -- whatever its kind or breed.

Our system of government doesn't provide a logical way for citizens to solve such problems. And this one won't be addressed until the public becomes sufficiently aroused to bring the issue to the attention of our lawmakers.

When are we, as a community and as a nation, going to find a better way to address problems before they smack us in the face. We can't wait for some legislator to become interested and offer an unstudied solution that often results in poor legislation.

Can't we create some kind of community body that looks into questions before they become problems, study them, look at the options and then offer them to the legislature for appropriate action?

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on April 20, 1996. Some time earlier a fellow worker had been viciously attacked by a neighbor's Akita, injuring him seriously and permanently. -- To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

Patti Page sings ''(How Much is) that Doggie in the Window''

'Don't Believe the Bull About Pit Bulls'

More by this Author


Comments 79 comments

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

I would like to respond to this hub on several levels.

First of all, you have not capitalized "pit bull" in your article, which indicates to me that you are generally ignorant on this subject. I take your usage of the term to be referring to several of the bully breeds, including AmStaffs, ABPTs, and possibly even bull dogs. In fact, that first picture you have on this hub is not of a Pit Bull, I regret to inform you. It is a Presa Canario, which hardly shares any relation to the American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier because it originated in the Canary Islands.

This brings me to my next point, which is that most people cannot identify a "pit bull" against many other breeds. More than 60% of the time, when a dog bites someone, that dog is called a "pit bull" by the media but is not related to that breed at all. Can you find the American Pit Bull Terrier in this quiz? http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.ht... I highly, highly doubt it.

I'm sorry, but this hub is riddled with ignorance. It perpetuates what the media has been perpetuating for years, and this is causing Breed Specific Legislation across the country, which takes away perfectly behaving animals from their loving families and leaves millions of other dogs homeless.

I'm sorry for the harsh comment, but this is one of my buttons. I can't imagine publishing a hub when being so ignorant about a topic. I hope that this hub does not convince anyone that these breeds are inherently vicious, because that is a complex topic that you have not covered at all.


Bob 8 years ago

Boy Bill . Looks like you pushed the wrong button with Helen, but I have to agree with you. People keep all breeds of dogs for various reasons and some train these dogs very well. HOwever. I can put my hand in my son's dog's mouth ( Part Shepard and part Sheepdog), and I'm not worried about being bitten , but darn if I would put it in his mouth if the dog had part Wolf in him regardless how well it was trained. I wouldn't pet a pet rattlesnake either.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Bob is right that many "hybrid" dogs (mixed with wolves, not talking the "designer" breeds here) can never have the wild animal tamed out of them. Dogs have been domesticated over many, many years.

A well-trained, well-socialized dog is a happy and well-adjusted dog. Bar none, no matter what the breed.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thank you, helenathegreat, for your comments, and for the correct breed of dog in the picture. I shall make that correction.  I shall also capitalize "Pit Bull." While I do not pretend to be an expert on dog breeding, my hub is not about dog breeding. If you read my hub carefully, you would know that I never said Pit Bulls are "inherently vicious." The hub is about people being injured and killed by dogs -- whatever the breed! Your comments are not so much "harsh" as intemperate. But I forgive you. Perhaps you would care to tell me, and those who have been severely injured by dogs, exactly how you would want to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future -- because that's what this hub is all about! It's nice that you are very knowledgeable about breeds, but there's a problem here that you, and dog owners around the world, need to face. Changing the subject from people being injured to the breeding of dogs doesn't solve anything.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Helena you beat me to it!! I definately caught "pit bull" being capitalized. As the statistics that were used in this hub does not refer to a breed, so one should never capitalize the two words together... The statistics refer to any mix of the APBT, Amstaff, bull terrier, etc, any mongrel and mutt that is broad chested and muscular, and any reported mauling by the media that says a "pit bull" did it.

 William- you may not have said that the pit bull is inhererntly vicious, but you grouped them as "Pit Bulls and other aggressive breeds of dog" The American Pit Bull Terrier, is human NON aggressive. This is a trait that has been frowed upon since the beginning of the breed. Even true breeders of "game" APBT's (not fighting dogs but game) have to have other breeds to guard the APBT, as they may be dog aggressive, they are not human aggressive and result in being stolen with ease. Oh and the APBT is the least likely breed to bite.

I bid you to include the other statistics such as labs and terriers versus just those that you have listed. As, yes, the beloved lab and even golden retriever are in the statistics for attacking and killing.

Definately agree ignorance... Sorry William.. Maybe one should do better research... If you want to state that you're posing a question related to how to prevent bites and attacks, you should better define that in the hub, versus the "pit bull" bites and attacks this and that... Sorry, but i agree with Helena 100%...

BSL has been in place to supposidly prevent these attacks. But if it continues we will loose privileges of having a dog period, as not all bites and attacks are from "pit bulls," german shepherds, rotts, chows, akitas, and huskies, just a small listing of dogs in the legislation. Other "friendly" dogs bite and attack, but you never hear about them as it would ruin their reputation, meaning they too would be added to the list.. Believe it our not any preventative measures would hurt the good people of any dog of any breed.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

But you repeatedly say that "pit bull" dogs and other breeds who get a bad rap (Doberman Pinscher, etc) are the culprits for dog attacks, when in fact I know many more nasty small breed dogs than large ones. Writing articles that mention "pit bulls" as being likely to attack makes people's fear of them worse. It also makes people want to get them for the purpose of being attack or guard dogs, which perpetuates the entire problem.

I'm glad to discuss how to solve the problem of dog attacks, which I agree is a problem. I believe that the pet overpopulation problem is the same as the dog attack problem because they are both a result of irresponsible dog owners.

My dogs would not attack anyone ever, and one of them is a German Shepherd mix (which is a breed that many people are afraid of, for some reason). This is because they are fixed and have gotten a lot of obedience training. We have never hit or disciplined them in a negative way, so they do not see violence as a viable way to solve anything, and they know that they are not allowed to bite or "mouth" people. I would love to have an American Staffordshire Terrier when I can get another dog, and that dog will have the same standards held to it.

A dog attack is a result of an irresponsible dog owner, plain and simple. Unfortunately, certain breeds have attracted certain types of people, and then the media has taken hold of this image and used it (in movies, etc).

I don't know what the answer is, but I know that when I lived in Germany I saw the most incredibly behaved dogs constantly. Leash laws are different there, and some dogs (after being behaviorally tested) are not required to be on a leash in public at all. They walk around the streets of Berlin with their owners like they're children or something. It's amazing, and it's because the standards of pet ownership there are that much greater.

I don't have a problem with you personally, of course, so please don't mistake my comments. I just think that it is inappropriate to further target a breed type when you don't even know what that breed type is.

You say at the end of your article that your friend was later attacked by a pit bull. Well, what breed was that dog? Was it an American Pit Bull Terrier? Was it a Presa Canario? They're nowhere near the same thing, though many people couldn't tell the difference to save their lives. Can you tell the difference between a Newfoundland and a Great Pyrenees? So if one of them attacked you, you probably wouldn't know the difference. The same goes for all the bully breeds, which then just get called "pit bull."

It's a more complex issue than you write here, and that was my issue with it.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Helena- you must remember that in many cases "pit bull" also includes badly bred American Pit Bull Terriers. But I do agree with you, once again. Training, socializing, and spay/neutering, is the key!

You can't blame a dog that has been beaten and abused to attack one with a hotdog or cookie. There is ALWAYS a reason behind an attack, even behind a dog that was never abused or starved. There's always a reason...

There is a very small percentage of dogs that are truly vicious...


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

You're right, Whitney, that many APBTs and similar breeds are horribly bred. But with proper socialization and everything, I think that can probably be overcome. When bred normally, these dogs are completely non-human-aggressive, though many of them may be prone to being dog aggressive. But that's another issue altogether.

I also totally agree with your first post, and I'm glad I'm not the only one that had this reaction. :)


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I appreciate your comments, helenathegreat and Whitney05. As you might observe from the title of this hub, it isn't about breeds of dogs. It's about "any" dog "that bites." Again, this hub is not about breeds; it's about dogs that "bite." You can blame "the press" and "ignorant" people for referring to various breeds of dogs as Pit Bulls, but when a dog threatens or attacks someone it's that behavior that causes the problem. I don't know what breed the dog was that jumped at me in that gasoline station, and I really don't care much, but people should be more interested in preventing these incidents instead of identifying the breed of dog. If someone shots me with a gun, do you think I care what make or caliber of gun it is?


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

You didn't respond to my solution that I saw in Germany, though. Believe me, I give a lot of thought to all of this, and it's truly the owner's fault. If someone shoots you with a gun, you'd want to know about that person, wouldn't you? Then if someone's dog attacks you, you want to know about the person more than the dog.

Pit Bull does not mean "dog that bites," which is what the wording in your article often feels like. And the title of your hub makes it sound like it's the dog's fault. Is it the gun's fault that it is misused and fired?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I think it's wonderful that dogs are well behaved in Germany. You accuse me of blaming dogs for injuring and killing people, but you keep talking about breeds and forget the bottom line: children and adults are being hurt -- by dogs! You must belong to the NRA. If I'm threatened by a dog on street, should I try to find out who the owner is to complain? Or should I try to protect myself from the threat at hand? Or maybe I should consult an expert to see whether or not the dog is a Pit Bull? If a dog is mistreated by its owner, sure the owner is at fault, but the dog may still be dangerous. Perhaps you've never been threatened by a dog. It's very disconcerting!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

Ladies the end of round one , 1 min break.

Being non specific as to dog. Last Tuesday there was a report on TV that said dog (Large)had climbed in new baby's cot and killed the baby.

The owners of the dog and parent of the child, made the comment they had had the said dog for five years.

We had a Tall Doberman for three years and he would shake hands with burglars.

He was a beautiful dog. When I took him to dog training school, I learnt and "Rex told me he did not need to know all that rubbish."

I have had my two pennies worth. Back to the healthy discussion


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Now I feel personally offended, which indicates to me that you feel threatened or offended by my comments. For that I apologize, because I'm actually just trying to show another side of what you've written, not to attack you personally.

I am not a member of the NRA. Guns actually terrify me, and I think that most states need much heavier legislation regarding them.

I have a great deal of experience with dogs and have been attacked by one. I am offended that you would think me incapable of putting myself in someone else's shoes regardless of whether or not I'd been in a similar situation.

My Germany comment was not just that dogs are well-behaved there, it was WHY dogs are well-behaved there (that is, higher standard of ownership that includes temperament testing and training), which is what you insisted your hub was about. I was offering my solution, as you had asked me to do.

If you are threatened by a dog on the street, you should defend yourself, but you should not blame the dog. That is my only point. If you don't want to talk about breeds, then DON'T.

You name several breeds (ignorantly) in your hub, and then say that it's not about breeds. Do some research about BSL and the bad rap that certain breeds get and you will understand why I became defensive.


jormins profile image

jormins 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

I feel your pain William. I was at a party around the time of the Vick trial and got into a discussion about his right to a fair trial and before I knew it one of the girls at the table treated me as though I had just poisoned her dog. I think they make good points and I myself love dogs but I also know certain areas of my city where a certain breed that people call pit bull here (I don't know if I should capitalize it or not as I am no dog expert) are born and bred to fight and sometimes people do get hurt. The responsibility truly lies with the bogus owners as I have seen examples of how from a pup they train them to become mean and vicious fighters. Its a big problem in our society in the inner cities and despite the common populace thinking we have done something with the Vick imprisonment, really nothing has been accomplished besides making sure the Atlanta Falcons will be horrible for the next 2+ years minimum.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

I agree with jormins that it's a huge, complex problem. Of course Michael Vick deserved a fair trial, and I don't hate him (though I personally could never harm a dog in the way he has). Imprisoning him was not a "victory" for anyone but the prosecution and the 50-some-odd dogs who were rescued from his ring (the ones that didn't have to be euthanized, that is).

Part of why amateur people fight these dogs is the media continuing to tell them that the dogs are "vicious," which is why it's a cycle. That's what I was trying to say about that.

Some people should not be allowed to own dogs, and some be educated before they own dogs. That would solve a lot of the dog issues we have in this country, including attacks and overpopulation, more than breed legislation would.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

I'm with Bill on pit bulls, capitalized or lower case. Also, Doberman Pinschners, Presa Canarios, Rottweilers and any other breeds known for attacking children, adults and other dogs. Any owner whose dog bites anyone should be held criminally and civilly responsible. In my experience many owners of such breeds are just as aggressive and obnoxious as many of the dogs are.

My adult quite athletic daughter was attacked and severely bitten by her neighbor's Rottweiler as she was going up the back steps to her apartment. Luckily, she was able to get in the door and escape after being bitten on her back. The dog had somehow escaped from the neighbor's fenced yard. She called the police who called EMS and she was stuck with a bill for the ambulance although she could have driven herself to a hospital emergency room. The dog was euthanized. She didn't accept my adivce to sue because her neighbor was apparently unemployed. Within a couple of weeks after the incident he bought another quite aggressive Rottweiler which barks and jumps up and down on the neighbor's second floor porch anytime anyone from my daughter's house goes into the back yard. Some people never learn. There are plenty of breeds that make good watchdogs but which aren't a danger to babies, children and unwary adults.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Here's how a breeder describes the Presa Canario:

"It's an extraordinarily powerful dog with a severe gaze. Especially suited to guarding and defense. It is of firm temperament with a grave and deep bark. The Presa Canario is affectionate and docile and well-behaved with owner and family, but fierce with strangers. Independent and aggressive with other dogs both of his own breed and other breeds. It has been used in the past as an excellent fighting dog."

Sounds like trouble to me.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Here's a link to the California law on vicious dogs:

http://www.doganswers.com/Dangerous.htm


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Ralph -- I'm sorry that your daughter was attacked, though I'm glad to hear that she's okay.

You say that breeds who are "known for attacking" adults and children should be watched. What you my not realize is that many Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Chow Chow Dogs are also responsible for LOTS of bites, as well as pretty much every other breed.

You are right that certain types of breeds attract certain types of people, and that is my point. The person whose dog it is has much more to do with the dog's behavior than its breed.

Additionally, regarding the Presa Canario, yes they are a fighting breed of dog. I would not recommend them for most dog owners because they are tough to handle, but a good dog owner who teaches the dog that he must be submissive to humans will have a good, gentle dog. The problem I had with the original hub was that the photograph was of a Presa Canario but was labelled ignorantly as simply "pit bull".


barranca profile image

barranca 8 years ago

Maybe there are dog experts who are capable of training the fierce breeds well but most of us are not expert. I can't help but be more than a bit afraid of dogs that are capable of crunching bowling balls with their massively muscled jaws. Such dogs are trendy in the inner city as status symbols. So are guns and Hummers. The analogy with guns is apt. Pit Bulls= automatic weapons Wired Hair Terrier= pellet guns. Both can do damage and even kill but the likelihood is far greater with one than the other. Clearly some breeds are tempermentally, that is genetically predisposed to be much more dangerous.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

There is no such thing as a "fierce breed" these dogs, although fighting dogs, were bred to be human non aggressive. I still think that throughout the article the "pit bull" was forced upon as a dog prone to bite, although you claim that the hub is not breed specific.

barranca- the american pit bull terrier is a human non aggressive dog. those dogs that attack have a reason.

William- I am sorry for the attack on you and you friend, but if you really did post this hub as a non breed hub, then why is "pit bull" thrown everywhere throughout it?

Ralph- I am sorry about your daughter's attack, but the rottweiler is actually not considered a bully breed.

I do think that helena has a point, what about the other "friendly" breeds? Why weren't they mentioned?

I never recommend certain breeds for certain people, but one cannot say that everyone of the dogs within certain breeds are bad and will turn one day. As previously mentioned. "pit bull" does not mean "dog that bites" so why would you take it that direction? Again, a non breed specific hub, right? then I ask... why did you portray it as such?

It is usually never the dog's fault, but the one holding the leash, or rather not holding the leash.


Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

I once knew the sweetest, smartest, well-tempered German Shepherd. Near the end of her life, she was hit by a car. She survived, but had a badly injured hip. She found it difficult to walk. She was sleeping, in her home, one day when a couple of visitors came over. Those visitors had a young daughter--they did not keep an eye on their young daughter. This girl went over to the sweetly sleeping dog and stomped on the dog's hip. The dog woke up and bit the girl. I guess the dog's owners should be penalized, right?

My point is that there is no black and white, bad dog, bad owner situation. Of course, I wish the girl hadn't been bit. I also wish her parents had paid attention to her.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Stacie, you are so right. I completely forgot about situations like this, and thank you for bringing that up. Obviously in that situation, it is not the dog's fault OR the owner's fault. Really, it's the parents' fault. I hope the girl was okay! I guess really what we were talking about was unprovoked attacks are the owner's fault. Provoked attacks are something else entirely!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

I don't agree. Some breeds are much more aggressive and inclined to bite strangers and children who approach them innocently. And with Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios the consequences tend to be so much worse than when a smaller dog nips a child or adult. These dogs which epitomize dangerous pets are not the only ones who bite people. I know a German Short Haired Pointer who is very high strung and inclined to bite people and other dogs upon the slightest provocation. The Labradors and Springer Spaniels and German Shepherds, Greyhonunds and Whippets I have know were much less inclined to attack than Rotweillers, Dobermans and Pit Bulls. Of course it's not the dog's fault when an attack occurs--the blame is with the owner who didn't train and control the dog properly. In my opionion, it's a mistake to claim that a Pit Bull or Rottweiler is no more dangerous or inclined to attack than a Cocker Spaniel. That's simply not true. I've seen adds for Pit Bulls and Presa Canarios which contained the phrase "VERY protective." To me that means, this dog will attack any stranger who comes onto your property unless you keep him under strict control. And, as I pointed out above, the consequences of being attacked by one of these dogs is brutal and sometimes fatal. Does anybody disagree that owners fo these dogs should be civilly and criminally liable for injuries caused by their dogs?


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Ralph, I completely agree that owners of dogs who attack should be civilly AND criminally liable for injuries caused by their dogs. That's what I've been saying the whole time, that it is the owner's responsibility!

But I find it weird that even though you've just learned what a Presa Canario is, you're suddenly using it in examples. Maybe you've done some internet research, but have you known one? It seems like you're judging it on its appearance and one thing you read, and that's precisely what I'm asking you not to do. I notice that you're only bringing up breeds that have been previously mentioned in this discussion and not bringing any new names to the table, when there are PLENTY of other breeds out there that people would consider "dangerous".

While I respect your opinion, of course, this just indicates more ignorance to me.


Iðunn 8 years ago

In with William Torpey, Ralph and Barranca.  When a person says they care more about the rights of a dog to attack than a 4 yr old's chewed up face, I don't define that as compassion, love, loyalty or anything remotely rational in relation to caring about others.

Some breeds aren't appropriate around children and I can look up internet news any week and find 10 plus pit bull attacks on children or other vulnerable people, unprovoked.  The owners of such animals should be required to pay insurance to cover the medical expenses their beloved pets bestow on others in their 'playfulness' and 'good character'.

And I'm not coming back to fight about this.  I've had this running argument in Great Debates forever, already.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

I have to weigh in on this discussion. In my years working at Veterinary Hospitals I have witnessed aggressive dogs first hand. We were the hospital that was responsible for euthanizing dangerous dogs brought in by the local authorities and owners. These were the dogs that had bitten and shown aggression towards people.

To let everyone know there was no particular breed that we saw more than others. To be honest they were all different. I saw Labs, Huskies, Malamutes, Retrievers, Mutts etc. I also worked for years as a Professional Dog Groomer. Groomers and Vets are bitten all the time because of the stress animals feel in those environments and again, I will tell you that no particular breed stands out as a clear front runner for aggression, aside from Maltese. Yes, that's right, the cute little white dogs had a much higher percentage of bites than any other breed in that setting.

What I did see however, was that the same irresponsible owners seemed to continually have uncontrollable and aggressive dogs. The breed didn't matter, it was the environment and the fact these owners sought out those particular behaviors.

Let's say you ban all 'pit-bull's' then these owners will seek out another breed to train to be aggressive. I have seen it first hand. I have seen Labradors (traditionally the great family pet) who would take your hand off for no reason!

ANY DOG BREED CAN BE MADE TO BE AGGRESSIVE.

We don't need to ban breeds to curb this problem what we need to do is regulate breeding and dog ownership. I have thought a lot about this problem. Good breeders breed dogs with stable temperaments and investigate thoroughly the people applying to take their dogs. If you had to be certified to breed dogs then a lot of this issue would be resolved. It would also force people to spay and neuter non-breeding dogs. I think anyone who wishes to breed has to apply for a permit. This will also stop puppy mills and give law enforcement more power in these cases.

Irresponsible owners will breed the most aggressive dogs together to continue those traits in the line. They also provide environments which cause more damage to the dogs in their care.

Logistically this would be difficult in the beginning but any solution to this problem is a logistical nightmare. So why not do something right for a change.

If only registered breeders were responsible for breeding then good genetic behavior temperaments would be a priority along with screening for responsible owners. Now I don't believe you have to be part of the AKC or CKC etc to be a breeder or that only pure breds should be bred. What I am saying is that to have a permit one must apply and be investigated and take manditory animal health and training courses.

It all comes back to the overall breeding situation not the particular breed. And of course who ends up taking the puppies home and whether they are responsible owners.

That's my two cents!

Cheers.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

Oh and just one more thing.

Ralph Deeds stated: "it's a mistake to claim that a Pit Bull or Rottweiler is no more dangerous or inclined to attack than a Cocker Spaniel. That's simply not true."

I hate to break it to you but Cocker Spaniel's are an aggressive breed. In fact they suffer the most from a condition called idiopathic aggression. Which is severe aggression without provocation.

One minute they're the loving sweet as can be pet and the next they're trying to rip your face off. So many incidents were reported that the term "Cocker Rage" was invented. Just google that term and you'll find a lot of information about it. Now any breed can suffer from idiopathic aggression. Cocker's just seem to have some sort of genetic marker that makes them more susceptible.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

Bill:

I can certainly see why you are so popular, but I do have a comment to make regarding the owner of the "pit bull." She was not responsible. Merely walking the dog and keeping it leashed is not total responsiblity. These animals, the "pit bull" analogs cause so much unfounded fear that I can well imagine that the one responsible act that s/he neglected was because of all the negative press.

The responsiblity I'm speaking of is socialization. Any animal in close social proximity to humans MUST go through some socialization process. I doubt this dog was or it would have known not to attack.

And it's not the owners fault particulary either. Any dog owner with a breed that has a reputation for violence (though the reputation is undeserved) will be uneasy about socializing the animal.

No, all the hoopla must stop. It's unfair to the people and unfair to the dog. And most of all we must remember that what we read in the press is sensationalized to sell more papers; not to inform us against immenent danger.


barranca profile image

barranca 8 years ago

As I understand the evolution of the dog, they came from wolves that were selected for the tameness gene. Therefore all dogs will have been selected for with this propensity. However, what can be bred in can be bred out. If I am selecting for aggression and big jaws, haven't I effectively created a dangerous breed?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I am very thankful to everyone who participated in this discussion. That's exactly why I wrote this piece -- to have the problem discussed so that society can come to some conclusions, and, hopefully, a solution. Thank you for your contributions Bob, Whitney05, MrMarmalade, jarmins, Ralph Deed, barranca, Stacie Naczelnik, Iðunn, RFox and LiamBean.

I am sorry you feel personally offended, helenathegreat. How could I offend you personally? I don't even know you personally. My comments were simply responsive to your off-topic, intemperate, accusatory tone. The use of the Pit Bull breed in my piece (other breeds were mentioned) was generic in nature. Frankly, I was somewhat offended by the red herring you brought up about the gun. You repeatedly blame newspapers for misidentifying Pit Bulls, but newspapers print "news" for the general population, not for breeders. My piece was not an encyclopedic discussion of dog breeding. It was a "column." This means I had one column of newspaper type to write about this subject. It was not a hub that could be written without restrictions. The length of the column was predetermined, which is common newspaper practice. The picture of the dog was simply to illustrate the topic of the hub, not to pick on any one dog breed.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

For Barranca: You can certainly breed for aggression, many unscrupulous people do. But it's not one entire classification of dog that is dangerous (big jaws or not) it is specific lines within those breeds that are corrupted.

If you see American Pit Bulls from AKC breeders they have extremely placid temperaments. They make wonderful family pets because they have a high tolerance for children. If, however, you were to see an Amercian Pit Bull bred by people involved in dog fighting rings you would see the 'dangerous animal' everyone talks about. But again, ANY breed can have this happen.

People are warned not to purchase St. Bernard's from pet shops as their breeding history is unknown and while usually this breed has a good reputation, poor quality breeding resulted in aggressive, hard to handle dogs. It's the same with German Shepherds. Another breed when bred improperly can be snappy and high strung and not good with children.

Each dog breed has their particular issues which is why I stand by my earlier statement. We would not see aggressive Pit Bull's or any other dog (barring medical issues) if only properly registered breeders were producing pups.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

William- "You repeatedly blame newspapers for misidentifying Pit Bulls, but newspapers print "news" for the general population, not for breeders." This is simply not true.. The media gets wind of a dog attack, and ssumes it to be the attack of a "pit bull" so that's what's reported. Then when it turns out to be a lab mix, there is nevre a retraction. You must realize that this media hurts statistics and reputation. It helps to further the assumption that the "pit bull" is going to attack, but in realizty, it's the least likely to attack a human, statistically.

Before bringing home my APBT pup, my parents were weary. Scared it would attack my handicapped brother. Now, even though both my parents have been in contact with well behavired APBT's, the reputation and media was in the back of their head. But, this dog has been the best thing for my brother. He is now more friendly with out other dogs, in general, and she absolutely adores him. Anyway, the point of the story is that media publicizing an attack that wasn't "pit bull" furthers the fear of the true APBTs, AmStaffs, etc.

Media- newspapers and the news is just not always correct. You are telling a story to the world, not to me or you, not excluding dog breeders. But to everyone, so their facts should be accurate and should accurately protray what really happened.

If they said constantly that it was a lab attack or a terrier attack, what would you think? The "Pit Bull" that you speak about in your hub would then be "lab" or "terrier," not "Pit Bull."

RFOX- you don't breed for aggression in general. There are several difference forms- animal, human, food, toy, etc. One does not breed for aggression in general, they breed for a specific type. Usually animal aggression, as why would one breed a dog that is human aggressive? It's just stupid. That's why more dog aggressive dogs, bred t o be as such, are human FRIENDLY. Even in the height of dog fighting, any dog that showed even the slightly form of human aggression, was not allowed to fight or breed ever again. These dogs were euthanized as to not further this trait in further pups. They tested every dog right before a fight, letting the appoinent bath your dog- testing for human aggression and to rid any poisons and deterrants from the dog's fur.

Oh and APBTs are not bred under the AKC, but UKC and ADBA.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

William, I wrapped up my argument into a hub and published it. I wanted to give you the link to make sure you see it because I want you to understand what I was trying to say.

Sorry I monopolized your comments section, but link titles like "Scared of Pit Bulls? You Better Be!" make me incredibly angry.

Here's the link, and feel free to deny this comment; I'm not trying to self-promote, I just want you to have the link. http://hubpages.com/animals/BadDog


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

RFox meets himself coming back when he claims at first that all breeds are equally aggressive and then says that "cocker spaniels are an aggressive breed." Maybe, maybe not. When I was a kid a had a Cocker-Springer mixed breed. He never bit anybody. Moreover, I don't recall reading in the newspaper about any attacks by cocker spaniels. However, several months ago two people were killed by Pit Bulls in Detroit.

Here's a question for you people who speak as experts--I don't recall seeing, Pit Bulls, Presa Canarios in AKC dog shows. If they are not shown in AKC shows, why?

RFox says he saw only a few Pit Bulls brought in for euthanization and leaps to the conclusion that because he also saw a lot of other breeds that Pit Bulls are no more dangerous. To that I say that the number of Pit Bulls is relatively small compared to Labs, Irish Setters, Spaniels, Beagles, etc. This observation applies to Whitney05' comment that a Pit Bull "is the least likely to attack a human statistically." I would like to see the statistics. Until somebody shows me otherwise, I conclude that the only reason that there are few attacks by Pit Bulls is that there are not a lot of pet Pit Bulls.

While it's true that any untrained breed or mongrel dog may bite, the consequences of a bite or attack by a Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Rottweiler or Doberman is usually much worse than that of most other breeds.

Helenathegreat jumped to the conclusion that I had never seen or heard of a Presa Canario until today. That's only partially true. I have never been around a Presa Canario. But my knowledge of them did not start with an Internet search today. It dates to several years ago when a woman in San Francisco was killed in the hallway of her apartment building by a Presa Canario. I believe the owners, a man and woman, were charged with a felony. I don't recall the result of their trial. This was around the time my daughter was attacked by a neighbor's Rottweiler. Since then I have been more attuned to dog attacks.

When I was growing up there was no legal requirement that dogs be fenced in or leashed. They ran in packs all over the neighborhood. Occasionally someone was bitten and had to undergo the unpleasant experience of a series of Rabies shots unless the dog could be captured and tested. I don't recall a single instance of serious injury, let alone a death, from a dog attack. However, I don't recall ever seeing a Rottweiler, Pit Bull, Presa Canario or Doberman. This was before these breeds became fashionable. People who had German Shepherds mostly kept them in their houses or fenced yards. Most ordinary dogs can be discouraged from attacking adults. My impression is that this is not true of the breeds we have been talking about in this Hub. Now, for some reason severe dog attacks appear to have become more common.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

Ralph,

Many, MANY breeds are not in AKC dog shows. The American Kennel Club is NOT the be-all end-all of dog clubs. Many would argue that it is more detrimental to dog breeding than anything else. Do some more research. Seriously.

Just because Cocker Rage exists does not mean that your MIXED BREED dog will have it, or that every Cocker Spaniel will have it. A breed prone to danger is NOT a breed whose every member is dangerous.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks, RFox, for your contribution to this discussion. And thank you, Whitney05, as well. Everyone, including the media, makes mistakes, but when you read the kind of "news" stories you refer to here the newspaper is doing its job covering "news" about dogs biting people. It's not the newspaper's responsibility to further the interests of dog breeders. The "victim" is the news, not the "dog." News stories are limited in time and space to cover "the news," not to offer an encyclopedic discussion of breeds.

Your link did not work for me, helenathegreat, but I got to your hub through your profile page. Your Bad Dog hub contains a lot of good information, and your suggestions for action are admirable. But, until the solutions you recommend are enacted I will continue to be on guard whenever I come face to face with a dog that appears threatening to me -- regardless of its breed. How would I know whether its owner did all the things you suggest in your hub? How would a child know? Discretion is the better part of valor.

And thanks, Ralph, for your pithy comment.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

William, you should definitely always be on guard when seeing a new dog, especially if it seems vicious, regardless of its breed. Everyone should teach their children never to approach a strange animal without asking its owner if that's okay AND without their parents' supervision.

I still insist that the dog IS the news, especiallly with people like Michael Vick. The more people hear about "pit bulls" attacking children, the more they will be afraid of that "breed" because they will know nothing about it. The reported breed IS important because of this reason. And why would you want to perpetuate ignorance, anyway?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Here's a link to an article about the woman killed by a Presa Canario on the sidewalk in front of her apartment (not in the hall as I said above). the Ex-cons who owned the dog may be typical owners of this breed!http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/30/MN107150.DTL


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Here's an article about a woman killed by her own pet Presa Canario.

http://www.coralsprings.com/frontpage2/dogattack.h...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Her friend and mother told the victim they thought the dogs were getting out of hand. By BRADY DENNIS Published August 21, 2006

[Special to the Times] Shawna Willey, best known by friends as "Ty," 30, shown with her daughter Tyra, 9, was killed when her dog Xeno attacked her as she tried to give him a bath. NEW PORT RICHEY — Mary Johnson spent Monday trying to gain custody of her two grandchildren and enrolling them in Pasco County schools.

She prepared to decorate her guest bedroom in a horse motif — 9-year-old Tyra loves horses — and to convert her workout room into a bedroom for 14-year-old Trey.

All that, and still she has to bury her daughter.

Shawna Willey, Johnson’s 30-year-old daughter and the children’s mother, died Friday after a family dog mauled her outside her home in Coral Springs.

“I never liked the idea of her having the dogs,” Johnson said.

But Willey, who lived in Tampa until moving to South Florida several years ago, adored her canines.

She had a pit bull named China for about eight years. And last year, she spent thousands of dollars on two Presa Canarios, which she had shipped from a breeder in the Canary Islands.

She named them Clara and Xeno.

Willey’s best friend, Dianne Greenhalgh , said Willey showered the dogs with affection and felt more secure with them around.

“They were like an extension of her family,” Greenhalgh said.

The dogs had their own bedroom, their own crates, their own toys. Willey cooked them separate meals and bathed them weekly.

But while Willey and her children loved the pets, the dogs terrified others.

“They were just getting too big, too fast,” Greenhalgh said. She told her friend, “You need to get them on a plane and send them back to Spain.”

Willey just laughed.

But recently, Xeno grew more aggressive. The dog growled at Willey’s longtime boyfriend, Lazaro Rivero, and he suggested they find another home for it.

Willey said no. That decision proved fatal.

Authorities said she was giving Xeno a bath Friday in the backyard of the upscale Coral Springs home she shared with Rivero, when the 120-pound dog attacked the 120-pound woman.

It ripped open Willey’s jugular, punctured her trachea and tore into her arms, back and side. One law enforcement official called it a “surreal scene.”

Willey’s 9-year-old daughter, Tyra, witnessed the attack and ran to a nearby home for help. But help came too late.

Officers arrived to find the dog standing over Willey’s body. They said the dog became “aggressive” toward officers, and they shot and killed it.

Presa Canarios can cost as much as $4,000. Friends and family said Willey planned to breed the dogs.

The breed gained notoriety in a 2001 incident in which a pair of Presa Canarios mauled a San Francisco woman to death in the hallway of her apartment building. The owner later was sentenced to prison.

Hillsborough County records show Willey’s affection for dogs had landed her in trouble in the past.

In 2000, she was charged with having a dog-at-large, court records show. In 2002, she was charged with having a vicious animal without current rabies vaccination and an animal registration, records show. The next year, she was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Greenhalgh said Willey simply had too many dogs at the time, and they often would escape from her home and intimidate neighbors.

Those who knew her well said Willey built her life around her friends and family. In fact, Greenhalgh said, Willey and her children had planned to spend the weekend in Tampa and visit Busch Gardens. Even at 30, she still loved the roller coasters.

Willey had studied to become a crime scene investigator. She rarely missed an episode of CSI and loved anything that dealt with criminology.

She and Greenhalgh met during their years as dancers at Mons Venus men’s club in Tampa. Even after those days, people still knew Willey as Ty — a stage name that stuck.

Johnson says the family remains in shock over the vicious way her daughter died. She prefers instead to think about their last conversation on Thursday, when they laughed and joked about one of their favorite TV shows, Big Brother.

“I’m just lucky that we said 'I love you’ every single time we hung that phone up,” she said.

Now, Johnson just wants to give her grandchildren “some semblance of normalcy in their lives.”

“It’s all about them now,” she said. “I can’t be their mother, but I can be the next best thing.”

She said her daughter had no medical or life insurance and that the children will need psychological counseling. So instead of flowers, Johnson asked that well-wishers donate to the Shawna Willey Family Trust, c/o Invest Financial Services, 8745 Henderson Road, Suite 300, Tampa, FL, 33634.

A funeral for Willey is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Timothy Catholic Church, 17512 Lakeshore Road in Lutz.

Information from The Miami Herald was used in this report.

DEEDS COMMENT: Anybody read anything like this about a Cocker Spaniel? Or even a Collie or an Irish Setter? If so get it out there! RFox, the dog expert, where are you. How about helenatheGREAT? Aggressive dogs, aggressive people and Hummers!


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

I am sorry for any loss caused by a dog, but ignoring a warning sign from a potentially dangerous dog is potentially a death sentence.

Some Presa Canarios are dangerous. Some Golden Retrievers are dangerous. Some Cane Corsos and Pulis and Tolling Duck Retrievers and Rat Terriers and some of EVERY breed are dangerous.

When you Google the breed, you will get the most popular results.

In my hub, I acknowledge that certain types of dogs attract certain types of owners and that all dogs have the potential of being poorly bred.

Your links neither impress me nor prove that you know what you're talking about.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

If you have any, give us a citation showing a severe injury or death caused by one of the "some of every breed that are dangerous." I've never seen any. Dogs of most any breed bite when mistreated or teased or startled or rough-housed, but people aren't killed by them. Plenty have been killed by Pit Bulls and similar large, powerful and apparently aggressive breeds. If you have an examples, let's see 'em.

You would do better presenting more facts and fewer put-downs and insults.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Ralph I would suggest you read: "Fatal Dog Attacks: The Stories Behind the Statistics" by Karen Delise. It's packed with information about ALL breeds that have attacked and killed someone, whether an infant or adult. It's an unbiased book towards any breed. You don't hear about other breeds attacking and killing because the media does not want to tell you about your precious lab killing a kid. It's possible. And it's happened.

If I still had my copy, I'd give you better statistics, pages, etc.

Here's a link that will show you all the breeds that have fataly killed or mauled someone within Canada and the US between September 1982- November 13, 2006:

http://www.dogbitelaw.com/Dog%20Attacks%201982%20t...


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Ralph why are you repeated running it to the groud that "pit bulls" and other larger muscular breeds have killed and attacked? THis has already been stated... Over and over again.. The point is that other breeds have done it, so it's not fair to single any breed out, much less a group a wonderful breed such as the APBT into assuming they're horrible dogs, as their not... the "pit bull" was bred for dog aggression not human... Believe it or not. I know you don't want to take that but it's true. You're dog has a job of attacking other dogs, why would you want it to attack you too?

This can be deleted, but I think it helps the dog fighting myths about these dogs. More or less meaning, don't be ignorant, when you can be knowledgeable.

http://hubpages.com/animals/Dog-Fighting


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Pit bulls were and are bred for dog fights. The same dogs that are kept for dog fights also attack people. When they do the results aren't pretty. Where do you get the information that whatever they were bred for means that they don't attack people? Two factors affect this--1. breeding and 2. training and treatment by owner and others who care for the dog. As in the case of other species including humans, it's impossible to separate the two factors. Psychologists argue interminably over whether "nature or nurture" is a more important factor in human behavior. The same is true for animals, including dogs, including pit bulls. I am not "ignorant" of animal behavior as helenatheGREAT keeps saying. I have spent lots of time around a variety of small and large dogs, horses, cats and other animals.

I have not "singled one breed out." I have mentioned several breeds of large, aggressive dogs including Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Presa Canarios, German Shepherds all of which are reported with a fair amount of frequency being involved in attacking babies, children, adults and other dogs. My father had a German Short Haired Pointer which got outside his fence and brought home a neighbor's small dog, a Chihuahua perhaps, dead as a doornail and proudly presented it to my dad. Very embarrassing to say the least. My son made the mistake of adopting a Short Haired Pointer which is a very high, energy breed which has nipped him and several other people. They have to muzzle the dog when they take him for a walk, and cross the street when another dog being walked comes toward them on the side walk. A very poor choice for a pet when you're living in an urban apartment. Efforts to train the dog which was mature when adopted to behave have been unsuccessful. They have come to love the dog, but owning him is like having a teen age kid who is continually getting into trouble.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

Ralph Deeds asked where I was: I was at work earning a living. And I did contradict myself earlier when I said Cocker Spaniel's were an aggressive breed. I was tired and it didn't come out right. What I was trying to demonstrate was that Cocker Spaniel's do attack people yet no-one would consider them a dangerous breed. So why do we label other dog breeds that way? Shouldn't it be on a case by case basis?

As for other breeds involved in fatal attacks. There was a Pomeranian who killed a baby (just to make a point that any dog can cause fatal injuries.) Along with a number of other large breed dogs such as German Shepherds, Malamutes, Huskies and 238 deaths where the breed was not recognized.

And it is interesting to me the example Ralph Deeds uses for the death of the woman caused by her dogs. The article actually states:

"In 2000, she was charged with having a dog-at-large, court records show. In 2002, she was charged with having a vicious animal without current rabies vaccination and an animal registration, records show. The next year, she was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine."

This woman has a history of irresponsible dog ownership! How can you cite this case as an example of dangerous dog breeds when this owner obviously was a terrible keeper of animals and had problems with all her dogs.

OWNERS ARE THE PROBLEM! We need to deal with them.

And when I talked about people breeding for aggression I was talking about people who breed for human aggression. They want 'guard dogs' or dogs to protect their property. I've unfortunately seen it too many times. They encourage barking, growling and lunging at strangers and even laugh about it when the dog scares the heck out of someone. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT OWN DOGS AND SHOULD BE STOPPED.

And I actually saw a lot of Pit Bull's in the places I worked because they were a popular breed. And when you work in Animal Hospitals you are always reading the latest reports and dealing with dog catchers and the like.

To be honest in Vet rooms (where I worked and off the top of my head) the breeds which were muzzled most often were Rottweilers, Malamutes, Border Collies, Chihuahuas, Maltese and Wheatons.

None of these breeds should be considered 'dangerous'. Each case is individual. While it may be true that Rotties have been involved in attacks they are also a very popular breed. And I have seen so many instances where the Rottweiler is the family pet and adores and gets along wonderfully well with the young children.

All dogs need to be bred well, trained, socialized and supervised. The reason for the higher attack stats for the larger breeds are not because of an inherent flaw in those breeds but because of the type of owner these dogs attract. If you actually read the articles about the owners of the dogs that are involved in fatal attacks a number of them already have criminal records or a history of irresponsible dog ownership. Ban the owners not the breed!

And Whitney05 is correct that Pit Bulls were traditionally bred for dog-on-dog aggression. Not aggression directed towards humans.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Ralph- yes bred for DOG fighting. They were also FAMILY pets. Some of the fighting dogs, were actually kept as pets once their career had ended. They were rewarded for their hard work and money earned. Dog aggression and human aggression are completely different.

It is all in how their raised. Have you taken the time to look into any of the accusations that you are claiming? You cannot possibly say that EVERY dog fighter beats and abuses the fighting dogs. Now, in NO way am I saying it's right, but I think that you must try to understand the opposing side. I did when I researched dog fighting.

I have an American Pit Bull Terrier. Do you think that I should move out of my neighborhood? I used to live in a neighborhood with nothing but older people. I had an American Pit Bull Terrier. He never bit anyone. Never tried to attack. Everyone loved him. Should I have left because of older people and a vicious APBT? No. I think that's utter B/S and ignorance.

I'm trying to be nice here, but I think that if you're going to fight a battle, know both sides of the fight. Opinion. Maybe you do not feel this way.

Thank you RFox.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

However I must agree with Ralph Deeds post regarding aggression. While a great many dogs will only be aggressive in specific circumstances, animals who have been constantly trained to fight and be aggressive are loose cannons and can turn that aggression towards people. The reason is because at times dogs will suffer from what is called re-directed aggression. Instead of attacking what they are supposed to attack or want to attack they turn and get whatever happens to be in their way at the time. It's actually well documented, unfortunately. Once you flip that switch and say biting and attacking is a good thing it hightens the chances of that dog turning on its owners and others.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

I'm sorry but I disagree. THere are different types of aggression. And yes in certain situations, depending on the dogs background, training, socialization, and health, anything can happen. A dog beat and starved will attack and kill of a cookie. But, with the background of these dogs, they were rewarded to be housepets around family and children after their career ended, they were lavished and loved as though they never fought. They were kept away from other dogs, though.

I don't see it as 'once you flip the switch' kind of deal. As, aggression can be worked through. Viciousness cannot. There is actually a slim number of truly vicious dogs. A true dog behaviorist can work with an aggressive dog. Although, not any willing person would be able to have it as a pet, it can become a pet again.


RFox profile image

RFox 8 years ago

It is true that aggression can be worked through. However there is never a cure. What the Behaviorist tries to do is give the dog a higher tolerance level so it will be calm in more situations but once a dog has shown to be aggressive you can never truly trust that it won't bite again. What responsible owers do is to document situations where they are most likely to bite, desentize them through training and then try to be vigilant about not allowing their dog to be in situations that might trigger the attacks.

And there are different forms of aggression. Redirected aggression is one of them. I have trained dogs including my own pet therapy dog and I was studying to become a certified animal behaviorist when my photography took me down a different career path.

The problem is when you reward a dog for biting and not letting go it becomes integrated into their behavior pattern. Now while a lot of dogs will only use this behavior when they are commanded to a number of them will break training because of stress or a number of other factors. The people involved in dog fighting are not highly skilled trainers and the methods they employ are questionable. Given these circumstances the behaviors they are rewarding are unstable.

Police and Army dogs who are trained to subdue people never truly 'retire'. Even though they are taken off active duty they are still run through rigorous drills everyday to ensure that the behaviors which were trained and reinforced for active duty remain under proper control by the handler. This is because there is a real danger that if the training is not continued the dog may integrate these behaviors into its normal everyday existence.

This is why behaviorists tell people again and again that you have to deal with any forms of aggression immediately and properly.

Dogs involved in dog fighting are trained to rip apart and sometimes fight to the death another living animal. This does affect their resoning and behavior. This doesn't mean that they can't be rehabilitated as pets. But they do have a hightened response to stimuli. That's just a fact.

And while I agree with all your other points Whitney05, and I feel for any responsible owner of an APBT because of the horrible misrepresentations out there, I cannot agree with your statements about 'dog fighting and aggression'.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

My only advice to Whitney05 is to make sure you have good liability insurance coverage just in case you need it.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

RFox- you are correct, but human and dog aggression are completely different. In any fighting dog, the owners had to be able to handle them. Why would they want a dog that would waiver at the choice to attack him? Human aggression was not bred for; it was frowned upon. Why is it that breeders of game APBT's have to have other breeds such as Rottweilers in the yard to protect the game APBTs? Because they're still people friendly, just dog aggressive. I aggree that with serious, true training, these dogs can be pets, but they must be the only pet in the house and yard. They cannot go to any person, but an experienced one.

Ralph- I'm offended by that... Honestly, I am... I would like to share that I have 5 dogs. A mix breed, dalmatian, yorkie, st bernard/collie mix, and my APBT. The most people friendly and dog friendly of them all is the APBT.

(Outside) The mutt is old and senile as well aggressive towards people. If I would need liability it would be bc of him. The dalmatian is a typical dalmatian- hyper and jealous; he is slightly aggressive towards strangers at a distance, but fine if they're close up.

(Inside)  The yorkie bites at least once a week, and has drawn blood several times. I have scars from the 10 lb dog. He is jealous, possessive, slightly toy aggressive, and semi dog aggressive. The st bernard/collie mix is food aggressive, toy aggressive, and slightly dog aggressive (and she lives in the house with the yorkie and APBT); she starts fights at least once a week, which usually end in the yorkie in her mouth, not hurt but in her mouth none-the-less. The APBT is a friend to them all; although she can be a little bully and instigator, she never starts a fight truly. She may pick on the yorkie, but it is usually him that gets an attitude first and lunges with his teeth drawn.

All situations with my indoor dogs are always controled and watched. None of the dogs have been seriously injured unless from some other source. The most aggressive thing the APBT does is pull the tail of the st bernard/collie mix trying to get her to play... She's a puppy with a gerat temperament. She'll be CGC trained in no time... Oh ,and none step further and she can go into nursing homes.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

In my experience, very few dog owners do a very good job of training their dogs. More often than not when I visit dog owner friends I'm greeted by a big (friendly) dog's paws on my chest while the owner tries vainly to order the dog to desist.

My suggestion about insurance was intended as good advice, nothing more. I didn't suggest you euthanize your dogs for Christ's sake!

Your opinions about dogs are very different from mine. Why don't we let it go at that?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thank you, everyone for an interesting debate. Maybe it's time now to let sleeping dogs lie.


Hoodala profile image

Hoodala 8 years ago from Mesa

You say the reason people fight these dogs is because the media calls them vicious but the real reason people fight these dogs is that fighting is was what they were initially bred to do. I guarantee that if the people who breed these dogs to fight found that the poodles were better in the pit than pit bulls they would be breeding them instead. You cannot continually blame the media for skewing statistics when you know the realities of how poorly the people who own these dogs do with their training and care.

You’re offended that someone would think you are a member of the NRA and say that guns should be more heavily legislated, but you defend pit bulls as though they are not intentionally bred by many people to be aggressive. A pit bull in the wrong hands is just as deadly as any gun but you don’t want to legislate against them because your focus is too narrow to see the big problem. Your rational that they were initially bred to be human non-aggressive is a moot point and shows that you will defend pit bulls to the ends of the earth when you truly have no clue what people are breeding into these dogs in every corner of the country. You are gravely mistaken when you assume to know what every breeder has bred into their dogs. You do very carefully use the word “was” when talking about breeding non-human aggression into these dogs because you both know that backyard breeders are breeding some very bad characteristics into these dogs and most being bred today are not fit to be family pets.

No reputable breeder would choose to put their livelihood on the line to breed APBT’s as the risks far out way the rewards, so that leaves unqualified backyard breeders to do the bidding for the entire breed. But worse you know that these dogs are being bred poorly and that you can’t truly know the problems that the individual dogs have until it’s too late.

Ralphdeeds makes the perfect point 8,000,000 poodles equaling 100 bites is not the same equation as 50,000 pit bulls equaling 50 bites. (Statistics made up and not real) (But probably not far from the real truth) And it certainly isn’t the same as those 100 bites needing a Band Aid versus the pit bull bites needing extensive surgery if the person is lucky enough to survive.

I won’t call you ignorant because that would be a personal attack, instead I would characterize your comments as narrow minded.

There is a real problem with pit bulls ATTACKING and killing humans whether you choose to believe it or not. Mistaking one breed for the next is just your cover up of a true and deep problem that is facing our society that needs an answer. “Punish the deed not the breed” is a bunch of propaganda meant to deflect people’s attention from an ever increasing problem. Just as you calling someone ignorant is just a guise to keep from addressing the real problem of deadly pit bull attacks. They are real!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Wow, I have scanned through most of whats been said and done and i love your final words William "Let sleeping dogs lie" ....... Brilliant!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Ralph- yes. let's let it go...

And, Hoodala you know my opinions about the subject.

Punish the Deed not the Breed is not propaganda to deflect attention from the subject. It's to defend those GOOD owners and GOOD dogs from suffering the consequences from others who use the dogs for bad. Why would you suggest that good dog be put down bc it happened to be born a certain breed. It's descrimination.

I find that you are close minded and need to open your eyes. Spend some time with the bully breeds. See their true disposition.

People like you are those people who endorse BSL, which will eventually ban ALL dog breeds.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Fine with me. Please note, I've not suggested that ownership of Pit Bulls, Presa Canarios, et al be made illegal, only that owners be held responsible for the actions of their dogs. Moreover, in my opinion, they don't make good house pets, especially if they are around babies or children. Further, you and helenathegreat are the ones who have personalized the discussion, using terms like "ignorant," "close minded (sic) and made suggestions as to what "like you are those people" and that I need to "open my eyes," while I have not used those terms about you, nor have I suggested what you should do other than make sure you have insurance to cover any incidents with your menagerie of dogs. That was intended only as a bit of advice which you apparently you took as an insult to you or your dogs. Since making that suggestion I've read that some insurance companies won't insure Pit Bulls, Canarios, etc. I wonder why? Because they are ignorant, no doubt, about these cuddly canines.


Panic 39 profile image

Panic 39 8 years ago

Wow This Hub has been made great by the comments it contains.

Well I think they should have a certain type of permit program for certain breeds and that the owner should have to take the dog through some sort of certified training program in order to get that permit.

On a Personal note I have known Pits that will run from you and Chiuahuas that would try to attack.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Ralph- actually that's not the case. It is true that some insurance companies will not give you FULL coverage because of certain breeds, but some will. I'm not aware of any insurance companies that will refuse any coverage; I'm not saying that it's not possible.

My APBT is an indoor dog, and I wouldn't have hear any other way. Also, I have a handicapped brother that is both mentally or physically handicapped. The APBT loves him and is great with him.

By the way... To me ignorant describes those who ignore facts because of opinion and prior notations. Yes. It is true these attacks occur, and I do not hide them. I do not ignore them. I accept them. But I also accept the other facts about these breeds, as well. I just wish the people like this spent quality time with any of these bully breeds, whether it be an AmStaff, APBT, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, etc.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Here's an article from my morning paper today: MAULED BY PIT BULLS Horse owner haunted by animal's awful death Dogs are shot dead after attacking mare

January 30, 2008

By AMBER HUNT

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Inside the barn on the Red Rock Arabians Farm, the evidence remains: blood-soaked wood chips on the floor and dried blood smatterings on the walls.

The stall had been home to Helvezia, the matriarch of the 12-acre Arabian horse farm. But on Tuesday, the day after two pit bulls viciously ripped the 1,000-pound mare apart, the stall was a crime scene.

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OAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1'); "I can't even look at it," said Kara Sepulveda, 41, co-owner with her husband, David, of the farm in Handy Township. Her eyes puffy from crying, she has ventured into the barn to care for her five other horses only with someone by her side.

The attack, which happened about 6:15 a.m. Monday, is the second vicious dog mauling in recent months in the same stretch of rural Livingston County. Four American bulldogs -- generally known as a dangerous breed -- fatally mauled Edward Gierlack, 90, at his cottage in Iosco Township in September.

That pack also killed 56-year-old Cheryl Harper of Iosco Township.

In that case, the dogs' owner, Diane Cockrell, faces two counts of keeping dangerous animals, causing death, and a misdemeanor count of allowing the dogs to stray.

Around the same time, a baby in Warren was mauled to death by a dog. That dog's owners also were charged, and the high-profile dog killings brought to the forefront a debate over whether jurisdictions should outlaw dog breeds traditionally known to be aggressive.

Sepulveda doesn't like to speak of what she saw -- the bloody-mouthed pit bull ripping the flesh from her 26-year-old mare -- or of what happened next: a Livingston County sheriff's deputy shooting the two pit bulls dead.

She knows that Helvezia's ear was bitten off and her face was mutilated, but she didn't ask the vet exactly what injuries made it necessary to put the creature down.

"I don't want to know," she said.

Livingston County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Klein said the county prosecutor is weighing whether to criminally charge the pit bulls' owner. "We passed that information along," he said. "Now it's up to them."

The dog owner's name wasn't released. He was identified as a 44-year-old Handy Township resident. Sepulveda said she understands it's one of her neighbors, though homes in her rural chunk of the county are sometimes miles apart.

Monday began as a typical day, Sepulveda said. She got up and fed the horses about 5:30 a.m. As she got ready to leave for work, she heard Helvezia "screaming," she said.

She walked into her barn, which houses six horses and stores farming equipment, and saw just five heads poking out of their stalls. Helvezia was down; Sepulveda thought maybe the grandmother horse had suffered a seizure.

But when Sepulveda walked up to the stall, she saw something far worse. The walls were covered in blood, spots reaching 5 feet high. The worst of it has been power-washed away. She screamed for the dog -- she only saw one -- to stop. It looked at her, she said, but didn't pause.

"I didn't even faze it," she said of the dog that had to scale a 4-foot gate to get to the horse. "I said, 'Stop it! Stop it!' Its eyes -- they were crazy."

Sepulveda called 911, then ran back out to the barn. In hindsight, she said that wasn't a wise choice.

The dogs, she said, could easily have turned on her: "That was a 1,000-pound horse. Think about a 60-pound child or a 120-pound woman. That'd be nothing."

Contact AMBER HUNT at 586-469-4682 or alhunt@freepress.com.

.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Yes. You don't have to post every mauling by any bully breed dog... It's a fact, they do it. But, it's a fact they can be GREAT dogs with proper breeding, training, and sociliazing. That's the point I'm trying to get across to you.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks, Hoodala, for your comments. I hope you don't mind, but I have linked this hub to your "pit bull" hub, which I very much enjoyed reading.

Your comment, compu-smart, is very much appreciated.

Thnak you, Panic 39, for contributing to discussion. It's just such ideas that I had hoped would be discussed by those who read this column.

Ralph Deeds, your contributions to this hub have been invaluable and are very very much appreciated. The intent of the column I wrote in 1996 and published here on hubpages was, as you so well recognized, was to instigate this kind of discussion that would, I hoped, lead to appropriate action to prevent future injuries and deaths resulting from attacks by "any" dog.

I do appreciate your comments, as well, Whitney05, and I understand the points you make. I'm sure "any" dog can be a "great" dog -- I just don't want anyone getting hurt or killed -- whatever the breeding, socializing or other facts or circumstances.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

In my disclaimer at the bottom of this hub I had identified the attack on a fellow employee as having been by a Pit Bull. I am informed by another fellow worker that it was actually an Akita, so I have made that correction. I regret the error. It was not part of the original column written in 1996, but was added when this hub was published. It does not, however, affect the point of my column: "We need laws that will protect unsuspecting children, and adults, from unknowingly walking into a booby trap in the form of a crazed animal -- whatever its kind or breed."


Rik Ravado profile image

Rik Ravado 8 years ago from England

William - Thanks for facilitating such a worthwhile debate - HubPages at their best.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I appreciate your comment, Rik Ravado. And I appreciate HubPages for giving me the opportunity.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

I just came across this hub and I wanted to say thank you for sharing this with us. As a child I was deathly afraid of several neighbors that had dogs running around the streets, which often resulted in my being chased by these creatures. I love dogs and my parents owned dogs when I was growing up, but I never appreciated the fact that so many people felt they could break the leash laws and allow their dogs to roam free. Once I was walking with my friend and this man was working on his car and his doberman pincher was barking at us incessantly. We pleaded with him to restrain his dog, but he just ignored us and pretended not to hear a word we said. Of course my parents did not believe I was afraid to walk in certain parts of our neighborhood until a lady down the street told her a child was bitten by a dog. I love dogs, but I also believe dog owners should properly restrain their pets and never make people feel as if they cannot walk down a street safely.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I share your love for dogs, SweetiePie, and I agree that people should never be put in the position of being threatened by them. Dog owners naturally love their dogs and commonly say that we need not fear their dog because it "doesn't bite." But that doesn't absolve them from being certain no one is threatened or bitten. Children are especially susceptible to such threatening situations. Thank you for your interesting comment.


Jaclyn 7 years ago

First off i would just like to say thank you...its about time someone does some research...did you know that the pit bull is claimed to be one a the most kindess dogs?? I just got a pit bull myself,but i have had one before and let me just say they are wonderful creatures...if you teach a dog to be bad its gonna be bad(duh) so ppl blame the owners NOT the dog!!!but anywyas thanx again for doing this..its needed to be said for along time=D take care...


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I appreciate your comment, Jaclyn. I'm sure that dogs are fundamentally good. But when a dog has the potential to do harm -- especially to those who cannot defend themselves (children in particular,) then it is prudent for owners to make sure their dog does no harm. The bottom line is that no dog, for whatever reason, should ever do harm to any person.


Sonja L. Marshall 7 years ago

If and when they ban APBT, then Cane Corsos, Presa Canarios, Rottweillers (currently Rottweillers are already on the list of dangerous aggressive dogs), will just be bred even moreso to fight in the pit and will, in most cases, begin attacking people and other innocent animals.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for commenting, Sonja.


Memories1932 5 years ago

Humans can be the most nasty of all beings. Perhaps violent people should be put to sleep.Don't go after the dogs instead go after the people.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I'm not "going after" dogs, Memories1932, I'm only concerned about "dogs that bite." I don't like people who bite, either.


Meter Reader Joe 4 years ago

I read gas meters for 4 years and went into the yards with all kinds of dogs. I got bit 4 times. I never blamed the dog. I'm with Helena. Small dogs are the worst. I realized something when meter reading: I could tell almost exactly what the owner was like just by meeting the dog! A dog is only as well or poorly behaved as the owner. Stupid owner-poorly behaved dog. Knowledgable , responsible owner- well behaved dog. I NEVER got bit by a Doberman , APBT ,Rottweiler , Mastiff and there were lots of them out there- and heck yes - I went into the yards WITH most of them-some I did not know were even there! My routes were quite varied also-it wasn't like the dogs were getting to know me. Europe is WAY ahead of the US in regards to dog legislation. Stupid people are not encouraged to own dogs over there. American people are largely stupid and irresponsible NOT dogs. I have owned an APBT , GSD and currently a Boston Terrier-none of them ever bit anyone. Read "Cesar's Way" and "How to become the pack leader" - both by Cesar Milan before writing a bunch of nonsense about dogbites. The USA is one of the most stupid and irresponsible countries when it comes to dog ownership requirements-any idiot can get one! How dangerous is that!? Ignorant Americans. Do not blame the dog. Do not blame the dog. It is one of the noblest creatures ever. If anything -maybe the owner should get put down (wow - that sounds extreme) strike that from the record! Also , people are ignorant when it comes to dogs. No look , no touch , no talk are great rule that I learned when reading meters. I am certain that I met a whole lot more dogs than the average dog lover/hater and totally endorse Cesar Milan's mantra-no look/touch/talk. I hate when people try to "pet" my dogs. GET AWAY ignoramus. It is by and large RUDE to the dog to touch/stare/talk when meeting! Get a cat!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 4 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I love dogs, too, Meter Reader Joe. Nevertheless "dogs that bite" are dangerous whether it's their fault or their owner's fault.


EC 15 months ago

Dogs reflect the attitude of their owners. Pit Bulls are particularly dangerous because unlike most other breeds they are all muscle and could lock their jaw when they bite.

They are beautiful majestic creatures who need lots care, attention, training and LOVE. Unfortunately the majority of people who own these don't care, don't pay attention, don't train or don't LOVE themselves or any other human being.

The dog is either encouraged or picks up on his master's lack of sympathy, aggressiveness and sometimes hate towards others and naturally follows the same.

I owned 20 Pitbulls through out my life. When I bought a house in the suburbs I got a Germsn Shepherd. The risk and intimidation of owning a Pitbull is to high. Not worth it.

They shouldn't live in neighborhoods where children run and play.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 15 months ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I appreciate your experience and your well reasoned comment, EC.

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