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Pit Bulls: Objectivity Or Prejudice?

Updated on January 28, 2010

Here's The Defendant In The Case

Let's See If You Are Really An Objective And Fair Minded Person

Stories of pit bull maulings are all over the Internet. If you live in a community of any size and you follow your local news, you've probably encountered at least one pit bull attack story in your own hometown. However, have you ever asked yourself, how did the journalist or the Website author identify the pit bull that mauled the human being? Let's see how good you are at identifying pit bulls.

Tell The Truth!

How many dogs did you misidentify as the pit bull until you finally got the right one? I have owned two pit bulls in my life and I misidentified quite a few until I finally got it right. If you're anything like me, and I suspect you are, how then are dog attack victims, witnesses, journalists, and Website authors so much better than we are at identifying pit bulls? The answer is clear. They aren't. Pit bulls are misidentified very frequently as the culprits in attacks against humans and it is they that are the victims of prejudice and discrimination.

Let's Look At Reliable Data

How much is one and one? If you ask your accountant, and he's good at what he does, he'll ask you "what do you want it to be?" So, there's good reason not to trust data unless you're sure it comes from a reliable source. Frankly, I know of no reliable sources of data when it comes to dog attacks in America since the vast majority of attacks go unreported and since the identification of the culprit breeds is so incredibly inaccurate. That being said, what data can be trusted? Well, here's the answer in a nutshell. The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. is a national not-for-profit organization that conducts objective dog temperament testing, which focuses on stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness. In a study of 28,955 dogs, they found that the average percentage passing the test for good temperament was 81.9. At 85.3%, the American Pit Bull Terrier's percentage passing was higher than average. Keeping in mind the pit bull's score of 85.3%, check the statistics on the following dogs that are held in high esteem by Americans:

Beagle                                             81.0

Chihuahua                                       71.1

Cocker Spaniel                                81.9

Dalmatian                                         81.9

German Shepherd                           83.7

Jack Russell Terrier                         83.1

Miniature Poodle                              77.3

Shih Tzu                                          77.5

Toy Poodle                                      82.4

Yorkshire Terrier                             82.1

While the temperament scores for a handful of dogs exceeded that of the pit bull, it should be clear that pit bulls are simply not the aggressive breed they are made out to be by a prejudiced public.

Additional Objective Data

The Center For Disease Control supports the position that irresponsible owners, NOT BREEDS, are the chief cause of dog bites. They have done studies and have concluded that the most dangerous breed of dog changes with popularity and reputation. In short, objective data shows that pit bulls and other large breeds are NOT the aggressive killers the public has been led to believe they are. Are you ready to be objective or will you hang onto your prejudice despite the facts?

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    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR

      ElGringoSalsero 

      8 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      Ronda. I don't know the laws in your area but suggest that you check them out. Because hiring a lawyer may be an expensive proposition, I would suggest that you search the Internet for a support group. I would think that a group such as this would have at least one or more members that can advise you.

    • profile image

      Ronda 

      8 years ago

      We have a "blue" pit bull, Coby. This sweet, loving, devoted pet is hated by several of our neighbors. They are constantly looking for any little problem (my three year old niece holding Coby's leash while I get the mail from the mailbox) to photograph and call the authorities to file complaints. We are on the verge of losing our darling dog who has never attacked or injured any human or animal. Is there anyone that can help us? There is a hearing coming up and we need to know our rights and the rights of our pit bull. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Valerious 

      8 years ago

      Your point about misidentification is great! It took me 4 guesses to identify the pitbull.

      As for temperament, I wonder what, exactly, constitutes good temperament, and if some characteristics associated with bad temperament (such as tendency to bite) are more highly factored into their grading system than other, less-concerning characteristics. If not, temperament grades may not be a good gauge for how a breeds' likelihood of violence should be viewed. Being bad with children, selfish, loud, or a picky eater (as some smaller breeds are) may not be at all indicative of violent tendencies, yet very indicative of bad temperament. In addition, it is more of a concern when a large breed, such as the German Shepherd or Dalmatian, scores low on temperament than when a smaller breed does. After all, not many people need fear being mauled by a Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, or Chihuahua.

      Nevertheless, there is little reason to fear pit bulls any more so than you'd fear their owners. Besides, why fear a dog that most of us can't even identify?

      Good article! A much-needed defense of our cuddly friends!

    • Sexy Momma0901 profile image

      Sexy Momma0901 

      8 years ago

      I agree with your post 100% there is no reason for the public to make pits out to be a bad breed. They are what they are just as a human is what they are. There are good and bad in all dogs its us as people that make them that way.

    • angela46725 profile image

      angela46725 

      8 years ago from Northern Indiana

      I agree! Equality for all. I just don't understand why people are brainwashed into being so judgemental. I have never had a better dog. Sexy Momma0901 has a hub on pits

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR

      ElGringoSalsero 

      8 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      Angela. "Just a simple apology" will do for the dogs that have a positive reputation in the eyes of the prejudiced public. Maybe there ought to be a 14th amendment to the Doggie Constitution that requires equal rights for all dogs.

    • profile image

      rick 

      8 years ago

      i have a pittbull and she just had 10 puppies 2 days ago and there is still 1 left do u no any vets that have a payment plan if she needs a ceaser as i dont have the money upfront and i dont want to loose her

    • angela46725 profile image

      angela46725 

      8 years ago from Northern Indiana

      As the owner of 2 pits I see 1st hand where you are coming from.

      My neighbors wouldn't let their child play in our yard because of our dogs,even though the dogs were inside. 2 weeks later my step daughter was playing in THEIR yard and was bite in the face by a very small terrier breed dog.

      I could go on and on about the misconceptions over pit bulls. Where I live, pits have to be registered with the city,photos of all angles of the dog,proof of vaccines....the works. They aren't even allowed outside just to go potty without a chain and muzzle.

      And what about the little dog across the street? Just a simple apology from the owners.....

    • profile image

      Bose In-ear Headphones 

      8 years ago

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR

      ElGringoSalsero 

      8 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      You are sooooooooooooooooo right! I love your logic. Too bad logic doesn't play a role in changing the minds of some. We'll just have to settle for changing the minds of the open-minded. Thank you for your warmth and compassion for animals.

    • lizistanton profile image

      lizistanton 

      8 years ago

      Pit Bulls are like any other dog: they are what people make them. They can be devoted, loyal, friendly, courageous pets; they can be courageous battlers. The first category is prized; the second is not. But it is the training and treatment that determines outlook on life -- for dog or man.

      Should we ostracize the breed because its handlers often are brutes? If that is the case, then children from brutal homes (who make up a large percentage of the people in prison) also should be ostracized. Hmmmm. Maybe let each individual prove his or her own worth instead? Dog or man.

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