published Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

David Cook: Do not ban Cindy Lou

I wanted to see the monster up close. My jugular pulsing in my exposed neck, I slowly -- think like the Crocodile Hunter! -- lowered my face near the maneater's stormcloud-colored head of fur.

Only a few inches remained between me and the breed of dog the Etowah City Commission voted Monday night to ban from its city.

"This is a true pit (bull)," said Karen Walsh, executive director of the McKamey Animal Control and Adoption Center.

Then the beast lunged.

And I got licked. And licked. All over my face. Slobbered to death, by pit-bull kisses.

"This is Cindy Lou," said Walsh. (Like Cindy-Lou-Who. You know. Dr. Seuss.)

"I love to give hugs and kisses," said the sign above Cindy Lou's kennel.

What? Hugs and kisses? Dr. Seuss?

"The mere possession of pit bulls poses a significant threat to the health, welfare and safety of Etowah citizens," reads Ordinance 732, which also describes the pit bull in nightmarish ways: a tendency to attack, tear flesh and fight to the death.

It's another example of the demonization of the American pit bull, the canine version of our Salem witch. Thanks in part to dog-fighting mystique (great going, Michael Vick), redneck culture and the media's tendency to overhype certain dog attacks, the pit bull has become a cultural devil onto which we project fears, stereotypes and biases.

"There are other ways to address this problem than banning a breed," said Walsh.

Yes, pit bulls attack. But not because they are pit bulls, Walsh said, but because any aggressive tendency has been overencouraged and overbred by bone-headed owners, dog-fighters and dope dealers who surround their drug houses with chained-up pits.

"You could make any dog aggressive," said Walsh.

One national group that studies canine behavior found that the American pit bull tested better in temperament than, say, a bearded collie or Chinese shar-pei. A recent University of Pennsylvania study on canine aggression identified breeds most likely to bite humans.

Picturing a junkyard dog with Confederate mud flaps nearby? Think again, amigo.

"This is Lady Bird," Walsh said, holding up a brown dog about as big as a bowling pin (and ugly as a bowling shoe).

A Chihuahua.

"When a pit bull bites somebody, it is serious," she said. "Small dogs like Jack Russells and Chihuahuas bite people more, but most people don't report it."

Forty-two percent of all dogs at McKamey are pit bull breeds. So bad is the problem that Walsh is campaigning to neuter or spay 1,000 pit bulls in the Chattanooga area.

The folks in Etowah (who join Miami, Denver and other U.S. cities that have adopted anti-pit legislation) may have their hands full, as pretty much any dog with a squarelike head and stocky body can be considered a pit.

But pit bulls aren't the only animals with stigma. In East Ridge, a family who owned a pygmy goat -- first-graders can be bigger animals -- is moving to Georgia because the City Council won't allow pygmy goats as pets. In Chattanooga, citizens are working to overturn the ban on keeping urban chickens.

In the meantime, Cindy Lou sits in her kennel, slobbering all over her pink octopus squeaky toy. This Saturday is National Pit Bull Awareness Day. Somebody, go adopt that dog.

Just watch out for the Chihuahuas while you're there.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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librul said...

Ban them -- round them up -- humanely euthanize them. Every last one of them.

October 24, 2012 at 6:55 a.m.

We have 2 pitbulls and they are so sweet. Great article and thanks for writing it. The problem here is the owners who mistreat these dogs and fight them and make them mean. Once the Governement starts restricting what we can do and have as pets when will it stop. We need to go after the owners who are irresponsible and careless. They do not deserve to own these awesome dogs. BSL does not work. Spay neuter is the answer to our dog over population. @librul - ignorant comments!

October 24, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.
LetLogicRule said...

It is a shame when uninformed, uneducated and those unwilling to educate themselves are in charge of public policy. This is a waste of their time. Go after the irresponsible owners, the backyard breeders & those that harm the breed by overbreeding & chaining their dogs. Shows just how much people DON'T know.

I've always told people to "let the ignorant speak and they will show just how smart they are." Thank you LIBRUL for proving that statement.

October 24, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.
lacien78 said...

@librul "Ban them - round them up - humanely euthanize them. Every last one of them". I'm going to assume you mean the humans who abuse, neglect, and fight these animals for personal gain, greed, and "fun". The behavior should be banned; chaining, beating and fighting any animal should be banned. Not a particular dog that has the bad luck to be the breed these monsters decide to utilize for their vicious activities.

Thank you to David Cook for writing this column. I suggest people volunteer their time at a shelter and meet some of these dogs before they form their opinion.

October 24, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.
SeekingGilead said...

Thank you, David Cook, for your article.

Before I worked in a local shelter, I knew very little about pit bulls and honestly just thought of them as the breed thugs owned and paid little attention to any news of them. After working with so many of them (shelters are chock full of these dogs), I fell in love with the breed and became an advocate. Most are human friendly (truthfully, quite desperate for human attention) and want to please their people so much so that I believe people have been taking advantage of this wonderful personality trait.

I'm extremely saddened to think the broad sweeping ineffective brush of BSL is touching so many areas close to home. This is a waste of time, all it does is punish pibble owners and results in the unnecessarily killing of dogs - we do that enough already. It's time to stop this madness.

I eventually adopted an abused young male pitty mix and he's been such a joy in my life ever since. I hope people will take the time to educate themselves on the breed and to meet a few before making such ill-informed judgments.

October 24, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.
tipper said...

Most of the time I can agree with librul but not on this issue. As a dog owner and a father of a pre-vet student and a rescue shelter volunteer, I can positively say that the American Staffordshire Terrior--the true name of what many call a pit bull--has been the most misunderstood, maligned breed in America. There is so much sensational press given to this breed and any biting incident, it has created a virtual phobia. Truth is, any dog--and I repeat--any dog that is abused, neglected, starved, poorly trained, or bred and trained to be aggressive will bite. It is interesting to note that more people, young and old, are bitten by chihuahuas and daschunds than pit bulls. And in some cases, dog attacks are the result of children being unsupervised or people antagonizing a dog in its own yard or territory.

I have seen many pit bulls around Chattanooga and at shelters that have been properly socialized as all dogs should be and are excellent companion dogs and pets. As is with most animals, domestic and wild, problems usually occur because of people, not the animal. The bully breeds are no exception. And if you care at all about dogs or pets, you need to spend some time with a knowledgeable pit bull owner and his or her dog. Blanket banning ordinances are short-sighted and place the blame of irresponsible dog owners on the breed.

October 24, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.

Wonderful article David Cook! I have to agree with everyone else on this, with the exception to the ignorant comments made by librul, that these dogs are very misunderstood by the majority of the public, which is very sad!! People are too quick to believe everything they hear instead of doing actual research. There are several different ways in which a person could knowledge themselves on these dogs, like several before me stated, like volunteering at your local animal shelter, get involved do your part before passing judgement. BSL is NOT the way to go!! This not only hurts the very dog in question, but any other breed that looks remotely similar, and there are many, many that are out there. Each dog is an individual, just like every human is an individual. Just because there are several bad people in this world, does that mean that we all should pay the price for what that person has done? If someone commits murder, does that mean we should all be put to death? All these dogs want is to be loved and they should never have to pay the price for the actions of their irresponsible owners!!

October 24, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
jenniewen said...

Great Article! We went to McKamey last month with the intention of buying a fluffy friend. Well, we ended up adopting a pit bull. He wasnt what I had pre decided in my mind to adopt. He caught our eye out of every dog there with his beautiful coat and loving personality. It was the best decision we could make! Not only is our dog (Slater) the most friendly little guy you could meet, he loves other people and animals too. I will never regret my decision, and hopefully in the future will be able to adopt another.

October 24, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
Maverick said...

Pitbulls hurt fewer humans than humans, but we don't ban humans. Breed discrimination is unfair and unwarranted, period. This is a great article, David - thanks for writing.

October 24, 2012 at 3:41 p.m.
zoyie_hobbs said...

I love how we blame the animal and never the people. Do we ever ask these so called attacked people what they did to the animal or anything no we dont because we dont care. That sucks, as a human if someone scares me or hits me Im going to attack. We are no diff than the animals. Drunk Drivers kill and injury more people than "Pit Bulls" do. We havent tried to ban that have we? This worries me that my town could pass this same law. I will not get rid of my Pits for anyone. As for librul maybe we should do the same to you I freaking hate DUMB people.

October 24, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
raven85 said...

Like PitBullsAreLovers said,a BSL does NOT work because they never solve the problem! I belong to a wonderful group of people that help to educate the public about dogs & ownership & many of them are Pitt Bull owners and I also believe that we as the public dog owners really need to try to educate & offer information to others as well as the non dog owners out there as to how loving the Pitts are as well as the other breeds that have been "picked" out for a BSL.I think that ANY breed is capable of snapping or biting anyone if prevoked or attacked.I kinda think like this..if my kids come to me saying the other one hit them,I first ask what they did to CAUSE the actual hitting and its always because they hit the other one FIRST even though they didnt tell me that to begin with.Now do we teach & educate our children right wrong and how to treat other people?..yes we do..so why dont we TEACH and educate people about how to treat dogs?Too many wonderful dogs have lost in the battle..when its the owners who are at fault.

October 24, 2012 at 5 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Librul, you seem to be the lone voice of dissent here. But I stand with you. I love animals as much as anyone but pit bulls are demons from hell as far as I'm concerned.

Pit bulls have been selectively bred throughout the centuries specifically for fighting. They have a freakishly powerful jaw that no other dog possesses. And there is still that feral attack characteristic that can be unleashed at any time. A pit bull can live for years being docile and sweet and then one day, out of the blue, regardless of how much it has been loved and cared for, it can turn into a manic beast. Maybe the majority of pit bulls do not succumb to such viciousness, but it's like playing Russian roulette having one around. And one time is too much, when it happens.

I've lost count of the number of incidents I've seen in the news - and two people I've known personally - where the owners of the pit bulls were as surprised as anyone that their loving little "angels" attacked someone. To say that pit bulls are just like other dogs is BS, pure and simple. They are innately wired to fight. And when they fight, they fight to kill.

While it's true that some other breeds might bite more than pit bulls, it's a meaningless statistic, all in all. Most other dogs bite out of fear and then retreat. But pit bulls are relentless when they attack. Why is it we never hear of chihuahuas or dachshunds mauling someone? Because they don't do that! Even the larger dogs that bite seldom if ever fight to kill. But a pit bull's bites are almost always debilitating and often fatal. The little f##kers aim to kill!

Even if we could be assured that proper care could lessen or even eradicate vicious behavior, too many negligent, irresponsible people own pit bulls. It is not at all uncommon for them to chain their dogs and mistreat them, or to let them roam the neighborhood. And they have no civic responsibility towards their neighbors. It's bad enough to hear of the attacks where the dogs were otherwise properly cared for, but it's like waiting for a ticking time bomb to explode when neighbors see obvious neglect and mistreatment by owners and are helpless to do anything about it. More often than not the negligent owners such as those are only made more hostile by their neighbors' complaints, and the authorities, if and when they are contacted, do too little too late.

Maybe euthanizing all pit bulls would be a bit extreme but at the very least they should be spayed/neutered so as not to reproduce. Or perhaps they should be treated more like exotic animals and have stricter regulations placed on owning them. At any rate, I'm really amazed at the number of people who are making such outlandish excuses for these animals. I know they look like a dog, walk like a dog, and bark like a dog....but they are NOT your ordinary dog.

Gush over your darling Pits if you want to, but keep your butt-ugly little devils far, far away from me, thank you.

October 25, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
jesse said...

I'm w/rickaroo and librul on this one!

I also think that MOST owners of pitt bulls have them because of the breeds reputation! They feel more macho because they own a mean dog! If you want a large friendly dog that becomes one of the family get a LAB of some sort!

October 25, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

I agree with you on that point too, jesse. I know that some people have a genuine fondness for the breed, or for all dogs in general, but unfortunately too many guys think it enhances their manhood or something by having such a bad-ass "macho" dog.

October 25, 2012 at 1:32 p.m.
Leaf said...

Regarding danger: There are degrees of danger. Owning a pit bull is obviously statistically more dangerous than owning a golden retreiver. Owning a car is more dangerous than owning a pit bull. I'm not sure where guns fall in the continuum of danger, but I would guess somewhere between cars and pit bulls.

Regarding judgement: I think pit bull owners broadly fall into two separate categories. Thugs, who admire the dangerous tendencies of the breed; and Bleeding Hearts, who feel sorry for the dogs and say they have been given a bad rap. Neither of the groups see the breed completeley realistically. Either way, owning one says something about a person's judgement.

Regarding legislation: if you can justify banning pit bulls, why aren't you banning chow dogs, dobermans, trucks, muscle cars, alcohol and guns?

Regarding insurance: It is completely justifiable to charge people more homeowner or renter's insurance if they own a pit bull - just as it is justifiable to charge them more car insurance if they own a Mustang. Statistically speaking, the Mustang-driving pit bull owner is more likely to be injured or be responsible for injury than the Vovlo-driving chihuahua owner. That's how the insurance company can cover the lawsuits from the grieving parents.

In conclusion: It is your right to drive around in your blown '85 Mustang with a pistol stuck in your waistband with one in the pipe and a pit bull chained to your passenger seat. However, don't be surprised if unlucky things seem to happen to you.

October 25, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
dao1980 said...

haha, that last sentence is awesome Leaf.

I'm sure a huge portion of the american public are confused most of their lives as to why "unlucky" things seem to happen to them so dern often.

(not that any of us are completely immune from the occasional, self inflicted streak of "bad luck")

October 25, 2012 at 4:51 p.m.
jesse said...

With most breeds of dog the environment in which they are raised is the determining factor in their personality! NOT w/pitt bulls! While it is not the case in each individual dog ,the breed as a whole has been bred for viciousness! When you own a pitt bull in a neighborhood you are not only "shooting the dice"for your family but for the entire HOOD!

October 26, 2012 at 9:55 a.m.
NedNetterville said...

Cook: "Thanks in part to dog-fighting mystique (great going, Michael Vick), redneck culture..."

Hey, Cook, your progressive, political-correct prejudice is showing. Don't you know that Micheal Vick is a Negro? Negros' have black or dark skin so the back of their necks don't turn red when they are out in the sun a lot. Rednecks are white folk who work or live outside a lot anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line. You know, like farmers. Why didn't you blame black culture? Oh, but that would be racist, and progressives are anything but racist--except when it comes to white folks who have red necks. It is my observation that blacks in poorer neighborhoods own a higher percentage of pit bulls than rednecks or other ethnic groups. Some own them for protection in a dangerous environment, with good reason, others own them for less-benign purposes. Your p-c, ethnic-group, progressive prejudice is no different than that of the Etowah council's prejudice against pitbulls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVzTlaRmn7w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLqjKd...

October 26, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
tipper said...

Jesse: I bet your knowledge of pit bulls extends only to Michael Vick, sensational stories about dog maulings, and hearsay. No matter what the breed, a dog in the hands of a responsibhle owner is no problem, including pit bulls. Labs and goldens are just as dangerous if improperly cared for. I've had some close calls with both these breeds owned by clueless owners. If you don't like pit bulls don't have one. You're entitled to make your own choice, but don't force others to lose their right to own a dog of their choice. As to Ned, what a pivot!!! I'm sure Ned knows all about racism. I am also sure pit bulls have no knowledge at all about it. Find something else to center your bigotry around other than seizing on some pit bull issue to hang your ignorant comments on.

October 26, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Labs and goldens are just as dangerous if improperly cared for." - tipper

That is utter BS. Sure, any dog can become vicious if mistreated, but NO dog, unless it becomes rabid, is as vicious as a pit bull. When they attack, they attack to kill, period. No other dog has the power in the jaw that a pit bull has. It is practically impossible, short of a bullet to the head, to knock a pit bull off once it sinks its teeth into someone's flesh. Even if pit bulls respond well to loving owners, there are too many irresponsible people in the hands of whom a pit bull becomes a walking time bomb. And unlike other dogs who might attack and retreat, or at least back off when beaten by a stick or other object, pit bulls will not relent. They fight to the death. Sure, other dogs bite, but all it takes is one attack from a pit bull and someone's life is very likely at stake.

For you to claim that pit bulls are not inherently different from other dogs, that they don't possess a potential threat that is more dangerous...well, that's just denial to the nth degree.

October 26, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
jesse said...

Tipper! I'm 72 years ols and have owned a dog my intire life untill 5 years ago when i had to have my Lab put down after 15 years of being buds! While i never owned a pitt bull i have had neighbors and friends that did ! I do have SOME experience w/the breed and some knowledge of their general makeup! Just because i disagree w/you does not mean i am ignorant! It just means i disagree w/you on this !!

October 26, 2012 at 6:53 p.m.
bigtimejd19 said...

Rickaroo- I'm very curious where you get your information from. Are there links you can share or do you have personal experience with the breed? Is this based on what you've seen on the news or "heard" from others that you are sharing second-hand? You seem very adamant on your position but I can't tell if you're just saying what you're saying because you really believe it. It sounds as though you're saying it because your know it will rile people up. Just curious.......

October 27, 2012 at 8:08 p.m.
bigtimejd19 said...

Btw, I found this after I posted......

"No other dog has the power in the jaw that a pit bull has." -Rickaroo

http://www.ehow.com/list_6519877_strongest-dog-bites.html

" It is practically impossible, short of a bullet to the head, to knock a pit bull off once it sinks its teeth into someone's flesh. " -Rickaroo

Question: Do Pit Bulls have locking jaws?

Answer: Prepared by: Al W. Stinson, D.V.M. Director of Legislative Affairs, Michigan Association for Pure Bred Dogs, and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Dog Owners Association

The following quote was sent to me from Dr. Howard Evans, Professor Emeritus, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, Ithaca New York. We were colleagues in the veterinary college for four years. He is the author of the textbook, ANATOMY OF THE DOG, (the world's definitive work on the anatomy of the dog). His statement was in a letter addressed to me on March 26. 2002. His quote was: "I have spoken with [Dr.] Sandy deLahunta (the foremost dog neurologist in the country) and [DR.] Katherine Houpt (a leading dog behaviorist) about a jaw locking mechanism in pit bulls or any other dog and they both say, as do I, that there is NO SUCH THING AS "JAW LOCKING" IN ANY BREED.

http://www.pbrc.net/mediacenter/mediaqa.html#LockJaws

You're entitled to your opinions, but it's dangerous and irresponsible to pawn off these opinions as facts. Do some research or go to a shelter and spend some time with these animals before you make uninformed judgements.

October 27, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

I like to walk my little dog, see him as my avatar. We walk past the pit bulls every day, many of them. They bark at us and foam at the mouth trying to get off the chain to get to us. There are just so many of them. I got one chained to the back of the duplex 2 doors to the left. The lady that rents there chains him to the back porch when she goes to work. There is another one chained to a tree accross the street. When we go toward the back block there is one chained to its dog house that barks and lunges and there are two more on the corner lot chained to a pole because they learned how to climb the fence and run the neighborhood everytime a bitch went into heat. I often joke that I carry my gun not because I'm afraid of being robbed, but because I'm afraid of being mauled! Best I can tell none of the dogs have been fixed and I never see any of the owners out there playing of even walking their animal. It's sad. But to be honest I wish the city of Chattanooga would consider such a ban , not because I hate the breed but because I hate the owners who leave them on a chain! But if a ban is too harsh at least push for a law getting them off the chain, granting them somesort of humane status. Get us a tool to free them from a life of misery circling a tree. But if you want to walk up and pet one of these sweet misunderstood puppys I hope you wear a leather glove because an animal that has lived it's life on a chain one day will get off and it won't want to go back on .

October 28, 2012 at 7:16 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Btjd, I'm curious - where in my comment did you see me use the term "locking jaw?" I never said that. I'm well aware that they don't have "locking" jaws. They might not even have the most powerful jaws. But you people making the claim that other dogs bite, and perhaps even more frequently, and other dogs have jaws that might even be more powerful, are missing the point entirely. The fact is that pit bulls, when they attack, they attack with a tenacity that is uncommonly strong, vicious, and relentless.

There is a reason pit bulls, more than any other breed, are in the news for mauling someone, either to their death or severely maiming them: they attack more viciously than any other dog. They were bred as fighting dogs for centuries and the fight-to-the-death gene is still within them. Sure, most pit bulls will not succumb to such viciousness, especially those that are properly cared for; but even proper care will not guarantee a completely docile dog that will never attack. And there are far too many owners who own pit bulls just because of their "bad-boy" image and have no regard for the dog's well-being. Those pits should be considered especially dangerous.

Pit bulls account for more maulings in this country than any other breed, usually making up anywhere from 55% - 60% of all deaths attributed to dogs. Rottweilers are usually next in line, accounting for about 15%. There is not some biased, unfair smear campaign against pit bulls. They make the news deservedly, because their attacks are unusually vicious and oftentimes fatal. Some other breeds might bite more often, but they don’t bite to kill. And a few other dogs might have more powerful jaws, but they don't use their jaws in the same ruthless way that pit bulls do. For you to claim that pit bulls are maligned and don't deserve their bad-boy image shows your complete denial of factual evidence.

October 28, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
jesse said...

According to dogsbite.org over a 3 year period out of 88 fatal dog attacks pit bulls accounted for 60%! pit bulls,rottweilers and wolf hybrids combined accounted for68%! These numbers should speak to you! BTW: Akitas are ,as a breed ,bad actors too!

October 28, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
bigtimejd19 said...

Rickaroo- you did write " It is practically impossible, short of a bullet to the head, to knock a pit bull off once it sinks its teeth into someone's flesh. " I would assume that meant it had a locking jaw. What did you mean then? And why didn't you address anything else I wrote to you. I want to see where you're getting your info from because now it just sounds like you're making stuff up. Show me the factual evidence.

Jesse-The argument is whether or not the dog is inherently bad. Some people on here are claiming that Pitbulls by nature are violent, aggressive dogs. My argument, as is the argument of many others on here, is that bad people raise bad dogs. Pitbulls are the victim and are taken advantage of because of their eagerness to please and their loyalty to their owner. The legislation put in place isn't addressing the problem: bad, irresponsible owners. Also, many attacks are reported as pitbull attacks when they're not even pitbulls. Nobody is denying that there's a problem out there, I'm just saying that it's not the dog's fault. This is why breed specific legislation is ridiculous. http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html

October 28, 2012 at 6:44 p.m.
jesse said...

Diff.breeds are selectively bred for certain traits,that's why retrievers retrieve and hounds hunt and bird dogs point! Pit bulls have been bred to be aggressive and fight!simple as that! W/o a doubt you may own a pit for 20 years and never see these traits surface BUT its like owning a pet cougar,you never can trust them!Only takes once for one to grab a child THEN you know you made a bad decision!

Let me put it this way,i've owned a dog all my life.malamutes,border collies and last a black lab!I don't ever intend to have a pitt bull nor care about being around one! BTW: i think what rickaroo was refering to is the WAY a pitt bull fights,once they get a grip it's their nature to hold on till what ever they got quits moving!They DON"T turn loose!Jack London had a good knowledge of dogs and in his novel "White Fang" he describes a dog fight that illustrates this tactic!

October 28, 2012 at 7:37 p.m.
snoopy said...

@Jesse

Sure, different breeds excel at different things, but they are all still dogs, capable of doing the same things. Pit bulls, believe it or not, is one of the only breed types that excel at many of the things other do. Pit bulls are not naturally born aggressive fighters, but born more on the loyal, intelligent, and confident side. Specifically breed to be extremely human friendly, because these dog fighters never wanted a dog to turn on them, and anyone that did when they moved from bull baiting to dog fighting, were culled. That is the reason they are so sweet, and pit bulls make a sub-par guard dog, compared to shepherd, rottweilers, or dobermans, which were specifically breed to go after humans.

I also had retrievers, german shepherds, labs, and a sheepdog, pointers and now a pit bull. I too used to share your thoughts, but I was wrong, as I met many other pit bulls that never fit the stereotypical profile, and took the time to research, and even volunteer at shelters. Now I even train dogs on a part time basis, and pit bulls are nothing like you believe they are. If you do not have a dog at this time, but enjoy being with the, volunteer some of your time at a shelter walking dogs. You will have the opportunity to meet pit bulls, as shelters are riddled with them, although your dog of choice to walk may be a different breed. I can guaranteeing you that your perspective of these dogs will change, as they are not naturally aggressive, but rather extremely loyal and confident dogs, that are very versatile. Take those traits, give them to a person that fails to socialize their dog, abuses it, and trains it improperly, and you will possibly have an issue.

My pit bull out retrieves and retriever I have owned, and is also much more friendly towards other dogs, people, and even cats. She is also a champion of Frisbee and dock jumping. All that in a one year period of time, after sitting in a kill shelter for months, awaiting her time to be put down. She is the type of dog I can keep off leash and in the front yard with me, others can walk by with children and pets, and she doesn't even think about barking at them or going up to them, unless they are coming in my yard, which she wags her tail, and submissively walks up to them. It is what you make of them, and mine is friendlier than any other breed I owned. I am not telling you to get one, but please, get some real experience with the before you cast judgement.

Also, Dogsbite.org, that website you referenced earlier, is a website designed by a woman with a grudge, that thinks it may have been a pit bull that attacked her, but not positive, so she is on a mission to destroy all pit bulls. That website is highly discredited by ALL canine experts and ALL trusted canine groups. That website over inflates the truth, using bogus statistics, and percentages to make it seem like there is a major issue.

October 30, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
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