June 20, 2022

"But DogsBite.org, a group dedicated to telling the stories of those hurt or killed by dogs, reports that from 2005 to 2020, dogs killed 568 Americans, and that 380 deaths, or 67 percent..."

"... were caused by pit bulls.... Many groups say numbers mean little without also knowing if a dog acted on impulse, was provoked, mistreated or protecting its owner from an assault.... Pit bulls, mastiffs, Rottweilers, King Corsos, Dobermans, German shepherds and Chow Chows are surrendered more frequently, and stay longer, than the poodles and retrievers, the shelter staff said. The breeds’ prevalence in low-income households is a factor, particularly as many dog owners lost jobs during the pandemic. Their reputation as dangerous fighting dogs also makes them less adoptable. 'Unfortunately, these bully mixes aren’t the dogs everyone is looking for because of this myth that they are aggressive. Then, when pet owners need to surrender an animal, we don’t have space,' said Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, chief executive of the shelter, which euthanizes animals only with debilitating and painful medical conditions. 'When people do want to open their homes to our dogs, insurance can be a reason not to.'"

From "Love Your Dog, but Beware of Your Homeowners’ Insurance/Many firms have long refused coverage or charge more for pit bulls and other dogs considered more dangerous, but New York and other states say policies shouldn’t be breed specific" (NYT).

Here's the top-rated comment over there: 

I am a veterinarian, and my first pit bull patient was in vet school. I was a senior on the neurology service and we had the sweetest, loviest pit bull come in to the service. Her lab work and radiographs were all normal, extensive neurological exams were normal, she was friendly to everyone and always happy to see us. The reason she was there was that she was to be euthanized after workup because the day before she had killed a 2 year old child. It left an impression. 

After 42 year in the business, I still don't completely understand the reason. I have seen what efficient fighters they are, they quickly disable their opponent by going first for the legs. It happens fast. Blaming the owner is unfair to many owners, but some may be culpable. Some dogs are wired a certain way. Breeding and genetics are powerful, just ask a Border Collie owner. I love all my pitbull patients, and most are loving and sweet. I rescued and treated one with heartworm using my own money. He was, as is often noted, a very sweet dog. A Bully rescuer in Maine adopted him, not an inexperienced owner. He was soon euthanized after he attacked the owner's daughter. 

There are no easy answers, but I agree with the post that likens this situation to an exploding car. How much risk are we willing to take with our lives and of those around us.

The "exploding car" analogy is in the article:
In 2014, Mia Johnson co-founded National Pit Bull Victim Awareness to track attacks in Canada and the United States, after a pit bull mutilated and killed her miniature Pinscher, Yuri, who was a service dog for her adult daughter who has Asperger’s syndrome and anxiety disorder.

“If there’s a make of car that tends to explode at high speeds, do you talk about educating the owners of those cars? Do you say the cars are misunderstood?” she asked. “It’s the car that’s the problem. It’s the type of dog that’s the problem. We hear from their victims every day.”


Mr Wibble said...

My observation is that the biggest pit bull apologists are middle class white women. They think that the dogs are misunderstood and that they can save them. Much like their dating lives, they are wrong but will never admit it.

Kevin said...

We need to get these animals of war off our streets.

Freeman Hunt said...

My father's dog was killed by pitbulls. My neighbor had to shoot a pitbull that was charging him. A relative had to climb on top of someone's car to escape two pitbulls.

Not a fan.

"Oh, they're the sweetest! It's the owners!" Gets tiresome.

How about own a regular dog that isn't such a danger to everyone if it has a bad day?

A general rule: Don't have a pet you couldn't take in a fight empty-handed.

Sebastian said...

"Breeding and genetics are powerful."

Only in dogs. In humans, that stops.

rhhardin said...

It's a revival of the 80s dangerous dog media play. Vicki Hearne has a whole book on it and the media, "Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog."

Hearne's law from it: whenever there's a stink about something in the media, it's because some politician or charity wants a stink about it in the media.

It gave way to child care sex abuse in the 90s.

Jamie said...

The percentage is sobering (especially since my son has a big - 65lb - young rescue pitty mix, a super sweet dog and well trained, but there you go, nature vs nurture cannot be ignored), but the raw numbers should help us keep the statistics in perspective. We're talking about a total of fewer than 40 Americans per year who are killed by dogs, and 25 killed by pit bulls.

Googling - cows kill an average of 22 Americans a year - with many fewer Americans actually in contact with cows than with dogs. More relevant to most Americans, swimming pools and hot tubs kill 390 Americans per year, almost all of them children under 5. Your insurance goes up when you have a pool because of this fact, but the NYT didn't agitate for people to avoid putting in a pool at their place in the Hamptons, as far as I've seen - and if they do, I'm willing to bet it's not on account of the danger to children, but rather something environmental.

So I'm going to keep encouraging my son to keep his dog in "continuing education" and never to do as my brother-in-law does and let his pit bull off-leash "unless somebody seems upset about it."

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

"this myth that they are aggressive"


I know two pit bull owners.
1) Neighbor keeps her 2 a tight leash, but it would be mayhem if they somehow got away from her. They are sweet dogs. 100% friendly. but they lose their sh*t when they walk by any other dog.

Also - one of her dogs - (and this was an accident) killed a neighbor's cat when the cat got into her yard.

2) some friends of mine who live in a suburb of Denver rescued a pit bull. The story of the rescue is crazy. They didn't adopt the dog, per say, it was an impulse/opportunity situation. They could not say no because the alternative was heart-breaking. Anyway - they now have this powerful pit-bull living with them and while the dog is super sweet, the aggressive side of the dog is terrifying. They spend a great deal of time managing the dog's power.

Aggie said...

I've had one myself, not a pure bred but an adopted cross that clearly had a lot of pit in her. She was the smartest dog I ever had, eerily smart at time, at replicating human behavior and showing interest in things that were clearly aligned to human behavior. Never a hostile moment around other animals (humans, children, dogs, cats, peacocks, ducks, chickens, etc). James Thurber wrote a little bit about these types of dogs. If I recall correctly, Thurber even pointed out that the progenitor of the Pit Bull, the Staffordshire, was a very common breed for American families to own in the early part of the 1900s, and the stories abounded of their protective nature with children, pulling them heroically out of rivers and burning houses and so on. Today's Pit Bull problem is the hallmark of the modern dog-breeding industry, where animals are bred for physical traits to render them competitive for sale as breed examples, which in turn is tied back to dog shows. Beauty pageants in other words.

Get a mutt. You can hardly go wrong, and you can even be selective about the breeds involved. And you avoid most of the problems that come from feeding the breeding industry, which has a lot of bad actors involved.

retail lawyer said...

Have you ever been at a dog park when a pit bull arrives and everybody else leaves within minutes? If you want a sweet and trouble-free dog there are many less risky breeds you can get. Having a pit bull is anti social. Observe the other characteristics of the owner.

Joe Smith said...

Most dogs are better than most people...

Kevin said...

I definitely understand, and it breaks my heart to go to a shelter and see that 90-95 percent of the dogs there are pit bulls or pit bull mixes

However, I don't want them to go away entirely. Civilization is rapidly declining to the point where we're soon going to need dogs capable of going toe to toe with bears and wolves


Ice Nine said...

At a trauma conference I attended years ago, Don Trunkey, the head of trauma surgery at UCSF gave a talk on dog bites. His stats on breed vs bite incidence corroborated exactly what I observed in 35yrs practice in the ER. The graph he presented looked like an Olympic ski jump slope, with pit bulls at the top and every other breed down at the landing.

But of course every pit bull owner will - count on it - tell you how nice and gentle *his* pit bull is. Yeah, until he tries to eat someone -- and then it is "I can't believe it; he *was* such a nice and gentle dog."

Humperdink said...

As a German Shepherd owner, I am very careful when my grandkids are present. I generally keep the dog in the pen when they are around. They are never, repeat never, alone with the dog.

Tip(s) for new dog owners: If some stranger wants to approach your dog to pet him, stop them. Let your dog approach them. It puts your dog in a more docile, subservient position. Also never look a strange dog in the eye, it's a threat to them. (Courtesy of our dog trainer.)

Humperdink said...

Pennsylvania has a dangerous dog registry by county. It has the usual suspects on it.

MadisonMan said...

Our homeowners' insurance went up $20/year when we got a dog. Worth it.
I think this dog is part pit -- because her shoulders are so broad. But a mix of many other breeds too.

Ann Althouse said...

People talk about how sweet the pit bulls they know are, and it reminds me of how people say about murderers, he was a fine neighbor, quiet and well-behaved.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's a revival of the 80s dangerous dog media play."

I've cherry picked the parts about danger. The actual article is sympathetic to pit bull owners who face "discrimination" from insurance companies. There's even the idea that there's race discrimination because black people have pit bulls.

jnseward said...

My friend's pit bull was a dog I knew. I had petted him many times. We always got along. One day I entered my friend's house before he got home, with his permission. There was nobody home except the pit bull. I leaned down to pet him and he attacked. He ripped off my lower lip. Bleeding profusely with my lower lip hanging down from my face, I managed to call my friend on my cell. He came quickly and took me to the emergency room. The doctor on call happened to be a plastic surgeon and she did a nice job. You can hardly tell. I don't trust pit bulls.

Joe Smith said...

Are pit bulls 'Super Predators'?

Scotty, beam me up... said...

Most every news story that I have read, heard on the radio, or seen on TV which covered a story of a pitbull viciously attacking and mauling and sometimes killing a human being, usually a child, involved a “sweet, loving, never harmed a fly” pitbull. There is something in the genetic makeup of their brains that causes an immediate switch from going from kindly Dr. Jekyll to murderous Mr. Hyde for no apparent reason. I suspect the dog wrongly senses a threat to its owner or itself, but that is only a guess on my part. Heck, the veterinarian with 42 years of experience in Ann’s top rated comment above has no clue why pitbulls suddenly do a 180 on their disposition. And these are cases where you have (allegedly) responsible dog owners - there’s a reason why gang bangers favor “pitties” and it’s not because they make great lap dogs…

Mr Wibble said...

Civilization is rapidly declining to the point where we're soon going to need dogs capable of going toe to toe with bears and wolves

You're better off breeding newfoundlands and other large dog breeds in that case. Newfies will kill wolves and coyotes.

Pitbulls were bred for dog fighting.

Lurker21 said...

Finally, a group I could join.

mtp said...

Not a big Pit Bull guy, but moral panics are irritating. So, chew on this. Adult male humans are 5.5 x more dangerous than Pit Bulls.

Tina Trent said...

I did some work for my vet on his building and filled in for his assistant. He had a full-time practice elsewhere and did this place much as a charity. It was around the corner from Ebenezer Church.

He couldn't convince the gang bangers to fix their pits. They thought it was macho to have a violent pit with big balls. One idiot had gotten a pit that was fixed, and though he never paid his bills, he wanted the doctor to insert prosthetic balls, free of charge of course. Dog fighting was huge in Atlanta at the time. Now rooster fighting is a problem too. We were always getting mutilated pits, missing eyes and ears, snouts. They were uncivilized. The owners, of course.

Chows are spookier, feral and attached to only one person. But they're smaller in the mouth and more defensive than aggressive. Pits kill little kids every few months here.

Breezy said...

When we went searching for a rescue dog, many pit bulls were listed labs or lab mixes, which was surprising. If you can’t be honest about the breed, that says something. We bypassed all pit bulls and pit mixes due to the fear factor. I didn’t want to be afraid of my dog even in the slightest, and didn’t want my family or neighbors to be so either. We finally found an awesome chocolate labrador retriever. We DNA tested him - 100% lab.

Tom T. said...

The danger is not just temperament but build. Pit bulls are immensely strong.

Ryan said...

We have a chow chow, a supposedly dangerous breed. He is sweetheart teddy bear at 1 year old. But he is very protective and will let us know if anyone prowls around at night, which is why we got him. For protection and companionship when I am away traveling. Our home insurance did not go up at all when we got him.

And, he is stubborn as hell. Fortunately, my wife is a very patient dog whisperer type and even more stubborn than him, and is training him to be obedient. No way I could do it.

gspencer said...

"Unfortunately, these bully mixes aren’t the dogs everyone is looking for because of this myth that they are aggressive . . ."

You really wanna go with that "myth" thing?

I cross the street when I see one of them.

mtp said...

Sorry. Math was wrong.

US Murder rate is 5 / 100k
Men commit 90% of murders and are half the population. S men's rate is 8.9 / 100 k = .0089%.

Pit Bull rate is 380/year / /15years /18M dogs = .00014%

Men are 63.44 x more dangerous than Pit Bulls.

But moral panic away.

mtp said...

Also, it follows from the math above that women are 6x more dangerous than Pit Bulls.

Sorry, again. Back to your moral panic.

Beasts of England said...

My only encounters with a pit bull were with a single animal; a female named Sassy. I was often afraid of her - afraid that she’d lick or snuggle me to death.

walter said...

"she was to be euthanized after workup because the day before she had killed a 2 year old"

The topper story I saw was a man who lost his pregnant wife to an inexplicable attack by their pit. The couple were supposedly experienced dog owners/trainers. Maybe that's why the guy seemed oddly forgiving of the attack.

tim maguire said...

568 people / 15 years / 330 million people = I need a bigger calculator (how small a number is 10 to the -7 power?)

And, of course, how many of those were attack dogs killing intruders? Police dogs killing violent criminals? Let's get honest, how many were actual mad dog killings of innocent people?

Achilles said...

Cats kill millions of birds every year.

And you notice how cats can't even kill the small animals they kill quickly. They have to torture it first. They usually torment whatever small animal it is they caught until it stops moving and they lose interest.

What were we talking about again? 568 deaths over 15 years? Less than 40 per year? Some people have turned this into a living creating a "Non-profit?"

How many people do bees kill every year?

It seems like we need a special little area for people who don't want to be scared of anything ever that is monitored by a powerful central government that keeps them safe.

mtp said...

Dang it. Men aren't 1/2the population, men are 1/3.
So men are 100x more dangerous than pit bulls. Women are 10x more dangerous.

tim maguire said...

Mr Wibble said...My observation is that the biggest pit bull apologists are middle class white women. They think that the dogs are misunderstood and that they can save them. Much like their dating lives, they are wrong but will never admit it.

Owning a pit bull is a big responsibility, but not because they are dangerous to humans. They are much less dangerous to people than most other breeds. That's no accident. They were bred to be fighting dogs, and to be useful as fighting dogs, handlers have to be able to enter the ring during fights without getting attacked themselves--not just by their own dog, but by the other dog too.

A pit bull that is a threat to humans is useless for the purpose for which it was bred. Pit bulls that are vicious towards humans were abused themselves, usually by drug dealers who want to use them as watch dogs. That is, they weren't born into aggression, they were beaten into it.

Temujin said...

In the end, there's the 'you' test. What would you do when you pass or come into contact with a pit bull? How do you react, handle yourself? What Retail Lawyer said at 8:50am rings true for me. When I've taken my dog (a Lucas Terrier) to a dog park over the years, there inevitably comes the Pit Bull owner and just as inevitably, I and many other people remove our dogs from that fenced in area. I don't even play around with the idea of letting them be. Because...

I've also heard for years about how sweet and smart they are and I do believe all of those comments. Still...they have this propensity...

When there is this known factor, this possibility, the owners of this breed have to be aware of what they have. And I'm sorry to say many don't seem to understand what they're holding on the other end of the leash. Or, in the case of some nutbags I've passed, without a leash. (I've picked up my 21 lb dog and moved on quickly in those cases).

And yes...how many times have we read the comment from a mother or friend or neighbor of a kid who just murdered another person. "He was such a sweet boy. A good boy.". Yes. I'm sure he was.

Knowing what this breed is capable of, I don't understand any reason to have one, unless you are looking for dog to help with security.

Though I do have to say I agree with Kevin @ 9:01am. He makes a great point.

Bill said...

We adopted an "American Foxhound" from our local shelter. He was a sweet-tempered dog they used to see if other dogs were dog-friendly. However, he would ambush visitors to our house, nipping at them. DNA analysis showed he is 58% Staffordshire/Pit, 31% German Shepherd.

Through a lot of training, we have taught him to be visitor-friendly, and he does great now. Still watch him like a hawk. He'll never be alone with small child. He's a great pet, and I know he'll protect my wife if I'm away. All dogs have certain instincts, and we need to be aware of those. He hasn't bitten anyone "yet" is a concept I've really taken to heart.

Levi Starks said...

Waiting for the headline “young child mauled by vicious beagle”

Skeptical Voter said...

I got interested in what dog breeds are "dangerous" after an incident that occurred on my block a dozen years ago. Two Rottweilers (a "mother" and her "son") attacked a miniature poodle being walked by a 12 year old girl. A neighbor drove the dogs off by banging a shovel on the sidewalk. The police arrived and captured the dogs. They'd gotten out of their owner's yard (about 1/2 a mile away). Had I owned the dogs, I would have put them down--at least the young male. But their owners said they "were really sweet dogs". Okay. A year later the owners were on vacation. Their daughter came by to take care of the dogs. She had her two year old child with her. The dogs attacked and killed the two year old. Karma in this case was a Rottweiler bitch and her son.

But in looking at dog breeds and attacks, I discovered that Chihuahuas also are involved in fatal attacks. Those attacks occurred when an older person fell down, and couldn't get up.

I've got a rescue mutt. She looks like a cross between a soringer spaniel and a basset hound (has a serious case of "short legs'). She loves people--but she goes bonkers and wants to attack every other dog she sees. For that reason, I don't take her for walks. But we've got a fenced backyard and she's happy there--other than barking at the deer and the occasional coyotes that travel across our hillside (and just on the other side of the back fence). Not likely that she'd attack a human (and at 30 pounds or so, she's controllable) but we are careful. But then I've owned dogs since I was a kid, and this is the 6th dog that my wife and I have owned in our 50 plus years of marriage.

Critter said...

Here's a pernicious piece of propaganda trying to normalize Pitbull behavior by claiming breeds don't exist. It's insane. And you know how you know it's a lie no one ever says this about a golden retriever. They never say a golden retriever acts that way because of how they are raised everyone knows it's their nature


Ann Althouse said...

Dog breeds are openly discussed as having a particular nature. They're bred to a purpose and often it's not to be a gentle sweet companion but to perform some other function such as guarding or hunting. It's not prejudiced to have opinions about dog breeds. That's what dog breeding is all about.

Gracelea said...

I cross the street and make as much space as possible when I see a 110 lb. giggling 20-something being pulled down the street by her pittie/mix. It might be on a leash, but I know that my 112 lbs. couldn't control our 30 lb. mutt when he really, really wanted to get away from a (often imaginary) threat.
I do feel sorry for the scorpion in the fable ('it's my nature'), but much more so for the frog.

Ralph L said...


Perhaps they wanted to see if it was diseased.

I had my step-monster's Samoyed for several years. Very sweet dog, but if she saw a squirrel, she lost her mind. Run in front of cars and pull your arm out of its socket.

The second question when I applied for different homeowner's insurance in April was if I had an animal that had bitten or attacked someone.

At least pit bulls are distinctively ugly, so you can identify them at a distance.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...

It's not prejudiced to have opinions about dog breeds. That's what dog breeding is all about.

Actually, that is the definition of prejudice.

Everyone is prejudiced about everything.

What you are discussing is whether that is good or bad.

You are saying it is good to be prejudiced against pit bulls because they kill 25 people a year and other dog breeds on kill 15 people a year.

Amy said...

I personally know 3 horrific pit bull attack stories. That is 3 too many for me.
1 - our former realtor's daughter's arm was severed by family pet - girl will never be the same. Mom told me medical costs were approaching $8mm, and that was several years ago. https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/09/29/family-dog-attack-victim-responds-treatment/16461525/
2 - early 20's girl we know dated boyfriend for 3 years - knew the dog the entire time. Came in to feed him one day when bf was away. Vicious attack, severe injuries, long recovery.
3 - sat on a train next to a young woman, chatted on the trip. She had been on a first date, went back to the guy's apt to watch tv (or that is what she told an older woman like me). Roommate had 2 pits, they attacked the girl and severely injured her. Guy carried her to the hosp, which was fortunately right down the street. Extensive surgery to repair her ankle which was almost severed.

Pit bulls are not prevalent in my circle. So that is a lot of stories for me. Too many. I don't trust or like them. I don't care if some are nice.

PM said...

Lots of people like fighting breeds. It reflects on them.
In Nigeria, the badasses walk hyenas on a leash.

Lincolntf said...

I have a Cane Corso, never heard of a King Corso. My Jane is about 120 pounds and extremely strong/athletic. I treat her like a loaded weapon when out in public. She's very sweet-natured, but all it would take is some perceived threat and she'd be all but impossible to stop.

Old and slow said...

I adopted a cute rescue dog that turned out to have a very aggressive streak. I got the genetic test done on him, and it turns out he is a Chihuahua Pit Bull mix. Oh, lucky me... If he weighed more than 20 pounds he would be terrifying. Sweet as can be to family, utterly untrustworthy with strangers and other dogs.

Michael K said...

I currently have my sixth basset hound. He sleeps 23 hours a day which is fine. We adopted him from a basset shelter as a senior hound since I am also old.

About 6 years ago, we had a sweet basset we were walking on a leash and she was attacked and mauled by a lab/rotteweiler mix, which the owner of course said was a lab. Our basset was totally passive on her back and I could not get the other dog off her. Finally, the owner showed up and pulled it away. Fortunately, the owner paid the substantial vet bill. After that I carried a walking stick with a sharp point.

Critter said...

Similar article in the Atlantic in the same week. I'm sure that's just a coincidence


Howard said...

People who own killer dogs are exactly like you people who own a bunch of overpowered guns and tons of ammo and have to conceal carry to go to the grocery store. It's cowardly overcompensation for weakness of mind, body and spirit.

Original Mike said...

Lately I've witnessed a lot of aggressive dog-to-dog interactions by dogs being walked by their owners down our street in the evening. Seems like there's been a big increase in people having poorly behaved, big dogs, and frequently more than one. It's unpleasant to witness and a bit scary. When/why did everyone decide it was a good idea to have multiple, big dogs that they can't handle?

Achilles said...

Temujin said...

When there is this known factor, this possibility, the owners of this breed have to be aware of what they have. And I'm sorry to say many don't seem to understand what they're holding on the other end of the leash. Or, in the case of some nutbags I've passed, without a leash. (I've picked up my 21 lb dog and moved on quickly in those cases).

Once again the problem is not the dog. It is the person controlling them that has the responsibility in the situation.

The problem I see is that a lot of urban dog owners want to have dogs that do not belong in urban areas. Another issue is that some breeds are used for protection and protective dogs are necessarily violent.

These are two issues that we have in society that have more to do with the individual people in the situation than with a dog breed as a whole. The problem isn't pit bulls. The problem is the factors we allow in our society:

1. We are allowing high crime areas with rampant property crime.
2. We have urban city dwellers that have pets they don't understand.
3. People are rarely held responsible for the damage their pets cause.

If you get rid of pit bulls then people will find another dog breed to do the same thing and that breed will do the same thing.

Tina Trent said...

Wouldn't it be weird if humans were as diverse in size and appearance as are dogs?

I think about that way too much.

I only keep professionally trained cattledogs now. They're hard to find because no matter what breed you look for, the shelters and rescuses are lying, and they're all pitbulls. Also, farms actually use cattledogs as herders here. I finally got a pair of twin blue brothers because they weren't pure -- mom in heat had a night on the town. The one that is pure cattledog, Rocco, tears down good-sized trees, branch by branch. He's bored. He eats baby turtles and delicately grazes wild blackberries and tromboncino and cherry tomatoes -- no garden time for him. The other one is likely the night on the town, part terrier and lives only for tennis balls. They're scary smart. Rocco can jump in the air and catch a bird. He can track rabbits above ground as they are running in their underground lairs, then dig them up. It's creepy to watch.

We made a mistake and crated them together too long. They began attacking each other -- crate syndrome. It took years of professional training to get them to stop. Oddly, they like other dogs and cats and the coyotes and goats and cows and apparently very sexy pig next door. To each their own. Every morning there's ten minutes of howling, from the chiuwawas to the coyotes to the dogs, a few times around, a perfect circle of sounds, a check-in, and another at dusk (and every fire engine) (and every traffic helicopter). If I yell "thank you," they all stop at once. Nothing else works.

Sorry about your loss, Ann, and glad to hear it was at home. I insist my vet puts down my dogs at home. More and more do now, but make it non-negotiable on the first visit. I'd do it myself if I had to.

I've had dogs ever since a man crawled through my bedroom window in 1986. I've had a blind, elderly, lifelong completely docile weimerainer go airborn on an invader. The guy was gone, sans part of his pants, before the cops got there. The dog was already back asleep. The know us better than we know ourselves.

walter said...

Bites, bans and deaths by state – USA

Pit bull are more likely to bite people than any other breed of dog.
Reports from cities across the U.S. show that pit bulls have consistently bitten people at least twice as much as the next highest type of dog, and as much as 5 times more in Pinellas County, Florida; 8 times more in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon; and 10 times more in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Pit bulls not only have the highest bite numbers on their own, but compared with the total numbers of dogs registered for each breed, they have disproportionately higher percentages of attacks. With an increase in pit bull attacks of 830% in the past 7 years, pit bulls are one of the biggest public safety issues in America today."

Lars Porsena said...

Put the owner down with the dog, end of problem.

Achilles said...

Lincolntf said...

I have a Cane Corso, never heard of a King Corso. My Jane is about 120 pounds and extremely strong/athletic. I treat her like a loaded weapon when out in public. She's very sweet-natured, but all it would take is some perceived threat and she'd be all but impossible to stop.

That is precisely what these dogs are for.

Humans and Dogs have been providing each other companionship and service for thousands of years.

It is only recently that the human half of the pair has embraced a more complex society with much denser populations.

You can't blame the dogs for this and if you direct your solutions at a specific breed you will not deal with the actual problem and it will not solve the problem.

Dude1394 said...

ANY DOG not under control or on their own property for any reason should be put down and their owners liable for multiple orders of grief.

Period. Dogs should never be out of someone’s control for any reason. Same with cats in my opinion.

Mr Wibble said...

Men are 63.44 x more dangerous than Pit Bulls.

The vast majority of those murders come from a small subset of men, and most normal, intelligent people actively avoid being around that subset whenever possible, and are extra alert when they cannot avoid it.

In other words, they behave exactly the same way as when dealing with pitfalls, and for perfectly logical reasons.

Tina Trent said...

Tim: police dog bites are also recorded separately. The dogs are counted as actual officers and receive police funerals. Officer Down Foundation records their deaths -- of course many, many more are killed by criminals. Many die trying to rescue people in fires, or taking a bullet for their person, and several died climbing through the carnage of 9/11 looking for survivors. I believe the last time a K9 officer killed a criminal in pursuit was in the early 80s. I admit I could be wrong.

Every year, fallen K-9s are memorialized just like officers at Police Memorial week. At memorial road races around the country, human officers run wearing their deceased colleagues' badge numbers, and K-9s run in formation wearing the badge numbers of their deceased canine colleagues.

It's hard to run and cry. The dogs are stoic.

Officer Down is a great foundation. They accept donations to pay for college educations for murdered officers' children and the training of K-9s. Looking for a good charity? This is one of the best.

n.n said...

Anatolian shepherd. Great temperament. Weighs in at over 130 lbs. Stands nearly six feet on his hinds legs. Take him home to the wife and kids. Great dog.

jim said...

Wow, never saw such consistent agreement.

Here in middle pennsylvania pit bulls are the default dog. Why? They're cheap or free and they make the owners feel like tough guys or gals. To them they are just another ornament, like that hole in their muffler, to enhance their image.

I keep telling people: these dogs are bred for fighting and not a dog you should own.

Jason said...

My dad has adopted two pit bulls... The latest of many pits/mixes he's had.

Love them.

Leo is a fecking OX. He walks around the house like a rhinoceros. I house/dog sat for my folks for a month last year and called him "the f***ing RHINO.

Katie is female and smaller. An absolute cuddle bumpkin.

But she's JUUUUUSSST a little twitchy.

Leo is a good calming influence, and redirects her when she's getting inappropriately anxious. But it wouldn't surprise me if she took out a neighbor's pet, and I wouldn't have small children around her.

Also, if the dogs don't know you, you don't want to be creeping into the house unannounced.

This is in a community (rural Hawaii) where pig hunting with dogs is common. In fact, two hunter's dogs took out a wild boar in the back yard while I was there. They just followed the pig in from the public land up the mountain. The hunter apologized profusely to my stepmom because she watched it happen. But it's not a problem... we know where food comes from.

I love pit bulls myself. Grew up with them.

But you have to respect their strength. They are hunters and fighters. No way would I have them in an apartment or urban or even suburban environment.

Jason said...

Someone mentioned a Weimaraner above.

My parents had a Weimeraner, inherited from my stepmother's late mother.

Between the pits and the Weimeraner, the Weimeraner was much, much more dangerous.

And much dumber.

Fortunately, she barked at every living thing that came within 200 feet of the front porch. And you have to walk up the World's Steepest Driveway to get to the porch. So we didn't get visiting missionaries.

KellyM said...

Some of the more aggressive dogs I've come across were so-called ankle biters, i.e. pugs, or mutty dogs like Benji. They seemed spastic. Whether anti-social by nature or perhaps from poor treatment, I don't know, but they would turn themselves inside out, straining their leashes and barking furiously at me.

When I was a kid, my parents took in a shepherd/husky mix who, despite his size, was the biggest muffin ever. My sister was a small child at the time and she climbed all over him and he was very patient and long suffering. He loved playing with us in the snow, and often slept outside in a snowdrift near the back door.

But, when cars approached the house he would trot out to see who it was. Regular visitors were greeted warmly; strangers were not. His size alone was a deterrence.

Randomizer said...

My sister is a level-headed nurse who married a strapping fireman. Both sensible people. When they bought a house, they soon wanted a dog. No idea how they ended up with a pit bull. My sister always wanted kids and is currently pregnant with number 3. I have no horror stories to tell. They maintain the usual business about proper training, and I haven't had any bad experiences with the dog.

I just don't get it. If you have options, why go with a pit? To me, it would be like buying a Ford Pinto, and justifying the decision with the logic that it only explodes in rear-end collisions. If you use your turn signals and allow plenty of time to stop, it may never explode.

Old and slow said...

"Blogger Howard said...
People who own killer dogs are exactly like you people who own a bunch of overpowered guns and tons of ammo and have to conceal carry to go to the grocery store. It's cowardly overcompensation for weakness of mind, body and spirit."

Howard, of course, chooses to express himself like an asshole, but he is largely correct in this assessment.

Mr. Majestyk said...

As I recounted in a open thread maybe two weeks ago. I was recently bit by a border collie mix who was on a leash. He lunged at me after I had left the sidewalk and walked around on the lawn. Got me from behind. I didn't see it coming. One bite and he wad done. I guess he was thinking he was protecting the toddler his owner was pushing in a stroller. Thank God it wasn't a pit bull.

Lem the misspeller said...

Pitbull Attacks a Little Girl in a Parking Lot - Reddit

Little girl tucks in pitbull before bed - Reddit

both sides...

RigelDog said...

Howard said: "People who own killer dogs are exactly like you people who own a bunch of overpowered guns and tons of ammo and have to conceal carry to go to the grocery store."

Well, IF you are a lawful concealed-carry gun owner, then carrying when you go to the grocery store is an excellent idea. Grocery stores get robbed all the time. A mass-murderer just shot a bunch of people in a grocery store in Buffalo. Remember the terrorist shootings that happened in Paris in 2015 at the Hypercasher Kosher grocery store?

Grocery stores also have all kinds of people pass though their doors, including the violent and the unstable mentally ill. Finally, people are criminally ambushed in parking lots all the time, including grocery store parking lots.

Not Sure said...

My takeaway from mtp's data is that adult humans make lousy pets. That's probably why middle-class parents are willing to pay so much to send their kids to college. The wealthy take no chances and opt for boarding school as soon as puberty sets in.

BG said...

Some years ago my husband's cousin's wife was attacked by their neighbor's two pit bulls. All she was doing was standing in her yard. I don't recall all the injuries she sustained but I do remember some were facial. They were serious enough she had to stay in the hospital. One pit was put down by government order but the other was allowed to go back home. So my husband's cousin and his wife moved. She was too afraid to go outside anymore while living there.

My husband's sister used to have a toy poodle. One time my husband was petting it, and just like that he lifted up his hand with the poodle attached to his thumb. (No broken skin.) We had a good laugh, and were just thankful for the small size. At least with little dogs they don't do as much damage.

Humperdink said...

Howard said: "People who own killer dogs are exactly like you people who own a bunch of overpowered guns and tons of ammo and have to conceal carry to go to the grocery store. It's cowardly overcompensation for weakness of mind, body and spirit."

Howard with his now famous you people phrase. Might I suggest you go ride a subway into the Bronx at midnight. I heard the grocery store produce goes on sale at that time of night.

Humperdink said...

BTW The Westminster Dog Show is this week.

dwshelf said...

Adult male humans are 5.5 x more dangerous than Pit Bulls.

You've posted a fraction here. Can you explain what the numerator and the denominator measure?

I'm saying in advance that whatever they might measure to get this result, it's not much like daily life experienced by most people.

Michael K said...

Blogger Howard said...

People who own killer dogs are exactly like you people who own a bunch of overpowered guns and tons of ammo and have to conceal carry to go to the grocery store. It's cowardly overcompensation for weakness of mind, body and spirit.

Howard explaining why he is a cat person. Do you hide under the covers in thunderstorms?

Mason G said...

"Grocery stores also have all kinds of people pass though their doors, including the violent and the unstable mentally ill."

You left out "progressives".

Spiros said...

Exterminate the breed.

mtp said...

Mr Wibble,

I updated the math, and now Pits are 100x safer than men and 10x safer than women.

The obvious point, to anyone not gripped by emotion, is that, in absolute terms, pitbulls are extremely unlikely to be dangerous.

Any given pitbull is 10x less likely to commit a murder than any given woman. You can look at subsets of people, but you can also look at subsets of dogs. I'd be willing to lay good money that near 100% of fatal dog attacks are intact males--this is also true of fatal human attacks.

Pitbulls are several times more dangerous than other breeds--even other dangerous breeds. And also, not very dangerous at all.

Meade said...

“A general rule: Don't have a pet you couldn't take in a fight empty-handed.“

A good general rule. Here’s another: Never turn your back on any dog around young children—especially babies and toddlers. Not even for 3 seconds. It doesn’t matter the size, breed or sweetness of the dog. Did I say 3 seconds? I meant 1 second.

Bemac said...

"King Corso"?

The NYT used to have a famously fastidious copy desk, where the editors would all recognize the breed name "cane corso" ("Corsican dog"). The editors working the desk weren't perfect, but judging by more recent articles, they prevented a lot of dumb errors. Oddly, they never seemed to figure out whether the first name of Bernie Goetz was Bernard or Bernhard.

Icepilot said...

Hitler was very nice to Aryan children. Some others, not so much.
The idea that nice in one situation proves nice in other situations is just wrong.

Zev said...


Critter said...

That's weird what Howard said because he's completely wrong. Pitbulls are adopted by two groups liberal white women and hood rats of all colors. that's who loves them. it's absolutely crazy intersection.
People that legally own firearms and have all the permits and everything tend to go for labs and golden retrievers.

tim in vermont said...

My neighbor had two fingers ripped off by a pit bull when he was trying to pull it off of another dog it was in the process of killing. This happened while he was on a walk in the neighborhood and he came upon the fight. I don't see the point, but apparently there is a race element to this that makes politicians reluctant to act.

But that's just my personal experience, which I guess is a lie because pit bulls "aren't dangerous at all."

Tina Trent said...

I've had more than one Weimerainer. Intellectually, they're God's goofballs. They were both very gentle. More gentle than labs. Yet Bud saved me from something bad, maybe even death.

Then he totally forgot about it. He was very old and had been sleeping for years. But he knew. He knew I was in danger before I did. Then he went back to sleep. Never saw him violent before or after that.

He had the best death ever. Woke up unable to move from the back down. As if I didn't have enough type 1 diabetics in my family, he had been type I for ten years. And dogs take four times the insulin daily.

Our neighbor came over crying with a grasshopper pie filled with liquor. His last meal. He rocked in his rocking chair mouthing his favorite toy. The vet came and put him down. He cried. The Catholic monks next door said a rosary, tears streaming their faces. I dug the hole. I didn't cry for some reason.

Maybe because that's how I want to die. It was great. Happy and not very bright to the very end. I imagine his body drifting through the Intercoastal coastway. We lived on St. Simons at that time. My husband clerked for a 94 year old federal judge.

He sent a sympathy card. Old people get it. Work until you die.

Tina Trent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mtp said...


I updated with corrected and explicated math.

mtp said...

ME: Your risk from any individual Pit Bull is extremely remote.

EVERYBODY: Nuh Uh! This one time, this guy, got bit by a pit bull, and he almost died!

ME: Yes pit bulls bite people, they are, on average, more dangerous than other dogs, but here are independently verifiable statistics that show that an individual pit bulls is vanishingly unlikely to hurt you, or anyone else.

EVERYBODY: Your stupid! I knew this guy, and he got bit by a pit bull, and he almost died!

ME: Yes. Pit bulls bite people. They are dangerous relative to other dogs, in aggerate. But is easy to demonstrate that the pit bulls who hurt people are a vanishing minority of the breed. Here is my math. Check it.

EVERYBODY: Nuh uh! This one time, I read about this guy, who got bit by a pit bull, and he almost died!

Me: Well, you've convinced me.

Michael K said...

I had weimerainers when my kids were little. Two of them. When my daughter was 2 (she is now 55) the dogs would race around the back yard playing but never touched her. We have an avocado tree in the back yard and they would eat the avocados and poop the stones. Never any sign of obstruction. They were great dogs.

Readering said...

I have only had small dogs. Very cute. Whenever parents with children have asked if they can pet them, I say no. I've only had to grab one up, away from a lunging bigger dog once. Fortunately in SoCal the number of jerks who walk their dogs off leash is minimal.

Freeman Hunt said...

"A good general rule. Here’s another: Never turn your back on any dog around young children—especially babies and toddlers. Not even for 3 seconds. It doesn’t matter the size, breed or sweetness of the dog. Did I say 3 seconds? I meant 1 second."

Agreed. Don't trust animals. They are not predictable.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

"Me: Well, you've convinced me."

It's funny how you insist on talking past any of the objections to your point. You're clearly unpersuadable, much more like your interlocutor in the fake conversation you posted than anyone else who is involved in this discussion.

The odds of being killed by any given pitty is negligible, that is true. But the result of that highly unusual risk is generally catastrophic. That changes the risk assessment substantially. Very much in the same way that massive amounts of system redundancy and processes are implemented to keep airliners from falling from the sky. And yet they do, despite the miniscule (possibly even smaller than dog attack, I haven't done the math) risk of it actually happening while you are on board. When they do fall from sky, the result is not negligible even though the risk was.

greg said...

Well, here's more dog stories:
Dixie my wonderfully obedient blue heeler bit at least 2 dozen people in her lifetime. Bit a kid across the bridge of his nose, several hand bites, mostly leg bites. Never once did any of them even required so much as a bandage.
That dog knew exactly how hard to bite.

Maggie was my very large doberman. If anyone came near the car or the house she would snap like she was The Slasher. But never once did she ever bite anyone or any other dog.

My sister's pit bull Joey hardly ever bit any one. But when that dog decided to bite you on the hand it was bad. One person to the ER that I knew about.

My Lab Marco jumped up in neighbors truck couple days ago and began licking blood off of front seat. The guy had 3 pits, who bit each other up requiring a vet visit. One dog bit the other one so hard that he broke off both of his front fangs.

Dogs are a lot of work and can be unpredictable. Why get dogs that when they do get someone it's going to be extremely bad real quick?