Mary Wakefield

In praise of the pit bull terrier

I grew up with a pit bull, and they aren’t devil dogs. They are the best of breeds

9 May 2015

9:00 AM

9 May 2015

9:00 AM

Last night I saw a woman dancing with a pit bull terrier. It was about 9 p.m. and her curtains were open, lights on. Music must have been playing, though I couldn’t hear it through the glass, because she was singing as she danced the dog about, leaning back to balance his considerable weight. Her arms made a seat for him, as you might carry a child, his paws on her shoulders. The woman gazed down lovingly at the dog, who looked embarrassed but patient, as if this wasn’t his first dance and wouldn’t be his last.

I watched them for a while, standing unseen in the street, half-wondering whether to take a photo — not for fun or for Facebook, but to show to all the crosspatch busybodies who support the ban on ‘devil dogs’. Perhaps also to send to the ‘dangerous dog’ sentencing committee that meets this month to decide the fate of thousands of pit bull owners nationwide.

The ban on pit bulls has failed — any Zone 2 Londoner will tell you that. There are three of them living on my street alone, longer-legged than the froggish Staffie, foursquare and cocksure. The ban has failed, but not just, I think, for the reasons that most anxious bossy-bootses assume. It’s a popular idea that London swarms with devil dogs because the soulless underclass breeds them to use as weapons, but I have an alternative theory, developed as I trot around the streets of Hackney, peering into people’s windows. People keep breeding and buying pit bulls because, though banned, they’re the best of dogs: loyal, good-humoured, bright.

I can testify to a pit bull’s basic decency. My father’s favourite child was a pit bull, a rescue dog, orange, name of Brigand. Briggie slept by my father’s bed at night, and in the evening lay beside him on the sofa watching the News at Ten, one proprietorial paw on his knee. Other dads have photos of their kids around the home. For my father it was just Brigand looking noble in different locations. It’s a tribute to Brig’s character that neither me nor my brothers resented him.

Shake your head all you like, but Brigand was typical of his breed. It’s often argued that pit bulls were bred to fight and are therefore by nature always poised to attack, but they were bred to go for bears and badgers, not people. Back in the grimy days of pit fights, it was vital that a dog, even a battle-ready one, never turned on humans. Most modern pit bulls are mortified at even the slightest cross word.

The RSPCA are hostile to the ban on dangerous dogs on the grounds that there’s no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners. It would be an enjoyable novelty to be at one with the RSPCA, but I’m not sure I agree. I know several chihuahuas who’d rip your throat out if only they could leap high enough. A recent study carried out on 6,000 dogs and their owners found that the five most aggressive breeds (of 33 studied) were, in order: dachshunds, chihuahuas, Jack Russells, Australian cattle dogs and cocker spaniels. A nicely treated bull terrier — pit, Staffie or English — poses an existential threat only to cats. And when you’ve seen a cat enjoy the death struggles of a robin, claw through heart, the odd death by dog can seem like natural justice.

So what of all the real attacks on humans? The terrible tabloid photos of children mauled by snarling devil dogs? Well, it is a fact that dog attacks are on the up, but that’s no justification for the ban — merely a sign of its uselessness. Dogs aren’t becoming more vicious, it’s just that there are more of them: dog ownership of all sorts in Britain is rising even faster than the rate of bites.

And German shepherds, those wolves in pets’ clothing, must take their share of the blame. Yet who ever tries to ban German shepherds, the swot of the dog world? The vast majority of pit bull attacks, like most other unspeakable things, happen in the home; in unstable and violent homes all manner of things become weapons. But this, again, is no reason to ban the breed. Would you ban kitchen knives from nasty council estates? Baseball bats? Stepfathers? What if the dog-abusing classes took a shine to labradors, who then began to feature in the dog-bite charts? Would you ban them?

All this middle-class head-wagging over an animal that poses them no threat! As Brendan O’Neill once wrote in this magazine, it looks suspiciously like a displaced desire to ban not so much the pit bulls but the people who are assumed to own them.

Here, I imagine the police preparing their reply, talking darkly of unstable ‘status dogs’ and all the doughty officers who must face these monsters daily. I’d feel more sympathetic if it weren’t for stories like that of the Merseyside swoop last year. Officers from the Merseyside ‘Matrix’ unit, named I hope after the kung-fu sci-fi film, broke into family homes at dawn with no warning and seized a clutch of family pets. These pit bulls had been on a special ‘safe list’ for banned but provably non-dangerous dogs. Nonetheless, the brave officers of the Matrix killed them, having cleverly spotted that their insurance had run out.

I’ve heard police say that gangs hang dogs from trees to strengthen their jaws’ already lethal grip. I’ve walked the streets of Hackney at all hours in the hope of seeing a parkful of pit bulls all at head height, frogs’ legs dangling, but not a one.

Of course there are such things as ‘status dogs’, and I’m sure they’re rife on sink estates, as the Met claim. But if so, isn’t that at least in part because they make a thug think twice, in places bobbies fear to tread? So who’s to say they don’t do more good than harm?

As it happens, I have a plan to reduce pit bull attacks that’s better, I think, than any concocted so far. It’s said that their ‘banned’ status is actually what gives the pit bulls their cred. So why not legalise them, then train them up to work with cops? Not only would they fall instantly from favour with every gang, but the reputation of this noblest of breeds would be restored.

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Show comments
  • disqusprofile8769

    the best at killing people

  • Perseus Slade

    These dogs were bred for fighting: muscular, big, heavy-jawed and aggressive.
    Walk one down the street and you are inflicting fear on everyone.
    That`s the only only reason people keep these ugly and dangerous dogs.

    • antisocialmedia

      Awww, pitbulls are so cute compared to what I call a pet.
      You must try domesticating a hyena.

      • Verbatim

        Next thing it will be crocodiles and what good pets these make. Ask Steve Irwin about keeping Sting Rays for pets!!

    • Andy M

      I tend to agree with you. I rarely, if ever, see anyone who doesn’t want to make some sort of statement about their protection or capability of being dominant owning one. People like the Dog Whisperer are notable exceptions and he does indeed show what good training can do for any breed, but these are exceptions rather than the rule.

  • AJH1968

    I thought this article was about Nicola Sturgeon…silly me!

    • MrLouKnee

      No Nicola Sturgeon look like a pit bull chewing a wasp

      • AJH1968

        That, or a
        serious lack of fibre in her diet (Prolonged constipation tend to bring out the
        very worst in people).

  • DB Bell

    Notice how bully people never mention the destruction and death that “good” pits can so quickly inflict on other DOGS.

    Good pits were created to leave home /resource, attack for no reason at all other than their mutant man made instinct, and fight to the death of one or both of them.

    The fact that this writer 1) has never witnesses a good pit attack in which the other dog was crushed or disemboweled or 2) has seen a pit attack and a) did not care about the suffering or b) actually enjoyed watching the suffering, doesn’t change the FACT that pits remain THE choice of essentially ALL USA and UK pit men.

    Dog fighters choose pits because they know pits are the best at wanton deadly dog aggression. If course not all pits are good at killing dogs, but the fact that pits were specifically bred to mature to not give warning before attacking and to not stop even when the victim totally submits, means that pits are not worth the risk, at least to those who have compassion for dogs.

    Check out the “dog hang time” videos. The pits aren’t angry. They don’t hate the knotted rope, tied to a tree limb. But they do love biting and crushing, all paws off the ground, still tugging more.

    Good pits are happy when tugging: on a rope, a neighbor’s new puppy, or a passerby arm. If you are close enough when a pit attacks, you will probably see bliss on the pit’s face.

    • Verbatim

      “Good pits”. An oxymoron, surely.

  • yamahalady

    Owners of pit bulls are not very friendly people. Not surprisingly their dogs take after them.

  • lobotomisedjournalist

    Not only is this a badly written and very boring article it is also short on information that could be considered even vaguely accurate.

    One quote: A 20-year (1979–1998) study by the American Veterinary Medical Association into fatal dog attacks on humans[38] concluded that “fatal attacks on humans appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers),” and that “pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers were involved in more than half” (67%) of all the 238 recorded dog bite-related fatalities (DBRF) in the United States during that period, with pit bulls accounting for 66 deaths.

  • Kasperlos

    This paragraph in Ms. Wakefield’s piece proves it’s satire. Right? “So what of all the real attacks on humans? The terrible tabloid photos
    of children mauled by snarling devil dogs? Well, it is a fact that dog
    attacks are on the up, but that’s no justification for the ban — merely a
    sign of its uselessness. Dogs aren’t becoming more vicious, it’s just
    that there are more of them: dog ownership of all sorts in Britain is
    rising even faster than the rate of bites.” I don’t think the countless maimed and, yes, dead victims of Pit Bulls would
    readily subscribe – or much less care – to her ‘scientific’ conclusion. Find another topic,

  • Julia Lewis
  • Julia Lewis

    Mary, try Googling “pit bull attacks”, ditto on YouTube, then you will see what these dogs are like. Not only are they killing Americans at record rates but they kill ordinary dogs and cats every day. And other animals, like horses and donkeys. The carnage in the US is appalling, all because people insist on keeping this type of dog as a pet. The real pit bull people know exactly what they are capable of, which is why they recommend owners and handler carry a “break stick” with them at all times to prise the pit’s jaws open should it latch on to some unfortunate person or animal.

  • Julia Lewis

    Mary, you obviously didn’t realise that these dogs are direct descendants of the bear and bull baiting dogs of Elizabeth times. It took centuries of selective breeding to make them as “game” as they are. They have bred to grab, hold and shake their victim, which is why they are so dangerous. Other dogs like chihuahuas may certainly bite more and be more bad tempered, but once a pit bull has been triggered its genetics come into play. Perhaps you are not aware that certain breeds were created for specific functions – the border collie to herd sheep, the pointer to point at game, the spaniel to flush out game from the under growth, the retrievers to retrieve shot game, the guard dogs to guard and the pit bulls …. to fight. It’s not a coincidence that sheep farmers all have collies to round up sheep, it’s because the herding behaviour have been bred into them. You don’t have to teach a collie how to herd, nor a spaniel to flush, nor a pit bull to fight. And it’s nothing to do with nasty owners, either. Most of the children killed by pit bulls in the US are killed by the “family pet” – a pit bull that has never been abused.

  • Thomas McCartney

    A pit bull BSL works EVERYWHERE it is useful in almost eliminating all serious dog attacks that maim, disfigure, dismember, maul, cripple.

    or kill, this is a simply proven fact in all cases.The number of pit bulls is dramatically reduced as are the numbers of them put to death.

    In ALL BSL’s all existing pit bull type dogs are grandfathered in with restrictions until they die off naturally, only NEW pit bull type dogs are not allowed in.

    In NO case are they put down or even forced to leave the community if they are a grandfathered in pit bull type dog if they are registered.!

    When a BSL is brought in you usually have 30 days to register your pit bull type dog covered by the Ban and it is grandfathered in and you are allowed to keep it with restrictions like short leash by an adult, muzzled, kenneled, 6 figure insurance, fixed, chipped,signage etc.

    • Thomas McCartney

      If you don’t register it in 30 days or you bring one in after the Ban is in effect it is confiscated and put down, as it would be evil & sick to ship a dangerous threat to public safety off to another community and be fine with that as long as your community was safe from them, that would simply be wrong.

      The need to have BSL is to have a preemptive capability to avoid a pit bull attack from happening due to it’s extremely savage consequences.

      It is enacted against all pit bulls as they all have the genetic DNA propensity to carry out these horrific attacks that are non existent in 99% of all other breeds, ban the breed and you ban the deed, simple as that.

      Dealing with an attack after the fact is simply not acceptable due to the horrific nature of said attacks.!

      With any other breed other then Rottweiler’s, wolf hybrids in very small numbers it is not a naturally genetic reality for them to carry out such horrifying attacks.

      • Thomas McCartney

        Simply put, border collies do not herd sheep because they are raised on sheep farms; rather, they are raised on sheep farms because they herd.

        In addition pointers point, retrievers retrieve, and mastiffs guard, all because those traits are part of their breed expectations, meaning strong and continuous selection in the underlying breeding program ”

        Pit bulls do not attack because they are raised with dog fighters and drug dealers, dog fighters and drug dealers use pit bulls because they attack!

        There should be mandatory Spay/Neuter programs for all breeds but clearly the one that needs it the most and where the most change would be effected would be with the Pit Bull type dog where every year a third of their numbers are put down in animal shelters.

        • Thomas McCartney

          There is very little cost difference no matter if you have a pit bull type dog BSL Ban or not.

          There is a very impactful cost free indirect outcome as invariably the pit bull type dog owner will be far more careful and in fact go
          underground to avoid the consequences of not adhering to a BSL Ban such as fines & or losing their dog or even having it put down, this tends to focus their minds and motivates them to be in compliance.

          In effect out of sight reduces interaction with any pit bull type dogs
          in general for both the 2 & 4 legged legitimate members of the
          community which greatly increases their daily safety and dramatically reduces the possibility of pit bull attacks.

          All this at not one cent of extra cost.

          • Thomas McCartney

            AC officers will be more available to carry out routine street and park patrols not having to deal with constant pit bull type dog mauling’s.

            This is their normal activity and will allow them to as they enforce the normal leash and dog at large laws to enforce the BSL Ban at the same time at no extra cost.

            Simple they see a pit bull type dog they pick it up, a minor cost to
            bring about increased public safety, & as they go more and more
            underground this cost will drop sharply to the level of being moot from a budget perspective.

            As well neighbors on the street will know if a pit bull type dog is
            illegally present and can call the city AC to report this allowing the
            animal to be removed, a simple, clean and efficient modality to find, fix and remove any pit bull type dog illegally in the community.

          • Thomas McCartney

            If the owners keep their pit bull type dogs in the basement or take them out only very early in the morning or very late at night this will
            dramatically enhance the community’s safety cost free as the possibility of the public interacting with a pit bull type dog is reduced to fractionally what it normally would be the case in normal daytime hours.

            There would be no extras kenneling cost after you pick up a pit bull
            type dog, you put down a stray right away, if there is ownership proof an immediate choice is given to the owner, give it up to be put down right away or if they appeal it in the courts they pay the kenneling cost.

            If done this way the expense of kenneling is also moot.

            Done this way any Pit Bull type dog BSL Ban is easily enforceable by any community, the only requirement to make this a reality is to have the courage to simply carry out said enforcement in the face of screams, rants and raves by the pit bull advocates.

  • Thomas McCartney

    Book Review: Misunderstood Nanny Dogs? A Critical and Objective Analysis of the Facts & Myths Concerning Pit Bulls.

    By J. Thomas Beasley dives into the sobering pit bull mauling epidemic in our country, the primary false myths trumpeted by the pit bull lobby and pulls in pop culture figures like Jon Stewart, Tia Torres and more.

    Press release:

    http://www.digitaljournal dot com/pr/2543891

    A synopsis of the book is provided on the blog below:

    http://blog.dogsbite dot org/2015/04/book-review-misunderstood-nanny-dogs.html

  • Thomas McCartney

    Facts on the Danger of all Pit Bull Type Dogs

    The Truth about the success of Pit Bull type Dog Ban & BSL enforcement, Views of Dog trainers/animal control, Pit Bull breeders, owners,Canine experts, animal behaviorists, Vets, Doctors, Dog attack statistics for the USA, General Dog Bite Statistics across the country.

    And everything you were want to know about the pit bull type dog but were afraid to ask.!

    http://banallpitbulls.blogspot dot ca/

  • Thomas McCartney

    Knives and guns and bombs do not have a mind of their own and are safe unless misused.

    A pit bull type dog has a mind based on killer genetics and instincts and acts on it’s own and has the Genetic reality to Kill, Maul, Maim, Disfigure, Dismember, cause Life Flights or trips to the Intensive Care Unit with the human element moot as to the outcome and not in control over the outcome.

    The human has nothing to do with what happens, it is all on the mutated undog.!!!!!

  • Thomas McCartney

    Classic nutter argument: “In the 70s it was German Shepherds, in the 80s it was Dobermans, and in the 90s it was Rottweilers.”

    gathered some numbers from Wikipedia’s list of fatal dog maulings to
    use when responding to this particular bit of idiocy. Mixes were
    included in the tallies.

    DBRFs from German Shepherds in the 70s: 10

    DBRFs from Dobermans in the 80s: 1

    DBRFs from Rottweilers in the 90s: 17

    DBRFs from all three of these breeds from 1970 through 2014 (nearly 45 years): 115

    backwards from the present day, one need only go back to mid-August
    2009 to count 115 deaths by pit bull. Pit bulls accomplished in just
    over 5 years what it took these other three breeds 45 years to do.

    DBRFs from Chihuahuas: 0

    • Thomas McCartney

      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Radio Show Interviews Assistant City Attorney Don Bauermeister About Pit Bull Bans

      Browning: “Have you had any other nuisances in your community similar to the pit bulls?”


      a lot of rhetoric and argument that these thugs that were responsible
      for the pit bulls, that they’ll just go out and grab another dog and
      we’re going to see a problem with some sort of replacement dog.

      That has not happened. That’s simply false, and it’s rhetoric, and it hasn’t happened in Denver either.

  • Thomas McCartney

    There was 5 fatal shark attacks around the world in all of 2013.

    There was 1 fatal bear attack in the U.S in all of 2013.

    There was 0 fatal alligator attacks in the U.S in all of 2013.

    There was 2 fatal lion attacks in the U.S. in all of 2013.

    There was 0 fatal snake bites in the U.S. in all of 2013.

    That is a total of 8 fatalities by these feared killers listed above in the whole year of 2013.

    And the trusted pit bull that many trust the lives of their loves ones with has killed 34 people in 2013 in the U.S. and 6 in 2015 and we are only in the month of March. after 30 people were killed by pit bull type dogs in 2012.

    35 people were killed by Pit Bull Type Dogs in 2014.

    Sharks, Bears, Alligators, Lions, and Snakes are not the wild animals

    that are most likely to kill it is your beloved PIT BULL !!……….

    • Andy M

      You are discussing animals and mammals that don’t tend to come into contact with humans that much compared to pits. I’m sure if you had lions and bears hanging out in suburbs with humans you’d see a lot more, and probably quite a few dog deaths as a result of them being there too.

      • Thomas McCartney

        That’s the point, they are not allowed to interact with human beings and for good reason and so should the pit bull type dog not be allowed to interact with human beings for much the same reason.

        • Andy M

          But pittbulls, despite being potentially more dangerous than other dogs, are still a domesticated dog breed which can be trained like all domesticated breeds, as people like Caesar Milan show is possible. It should be limited to expert dog handlers and experienced owners who can prove their responsibility, but I don’t think it’s the same as a wild animal at all. It’s a completely different ballpark.

          • Thomas McCartney

            They are not potentially more dangerous they ARE more dangerous and exponentially so, 1 pout of 40 pit bull type dogs will attack someone or something, with normal dogs it is 1 out of every 50,000, see the difference?

            You can not train genetics, it is what it is and can not be altered.

          • Andy M

            Well they can only be potentially more dangerous until each individual dog actually does something that makes them a danger. You can’t guarantee each one is going to attack, therefore it’s only a potential.

            You can’t train genetics, but you can breed out characteristics and breed in other characteristics, changing the genetics by changing what breed of dogs mate. Pitbulls are not a species of wild dog, they have been created by breeding various breeds of dog in order to fulfil a purpose. That purpose, which is why I agree they are dangerous, was to fight and be protective, but at the same time it cannot be ignored that they were also bred to be able to exist among humans and to be protective of their owners. They are not untrainable, wild animals.

            Interestingly, when measured, the bite force of the pitbull was less powerful than the rottweiler, by almost 100lbs of force, and it is a myth they can lock their jaws. They can’t do that. I would hate to be attacked by any dog, but if I was in some bizarre situation where I was forced to choose, I would rather be attacked by a pitbull than a Caucasian Ovcharka or rottweiler, which would do far more damage with each bite. I’m not for banning any of them, I just think we should leave the dominant and more aggressive breeds to experienced and responsible professionals.

          • Thomas McCartney

            It is not about bite force but what they will do with what they have, a Kangle can kill a pit bull in 2 sec. but it will not use it’s ability, same thing with a mastiff, if you cross a mastiff with a pit bull to get a bullmastiff you get a killer, simple as that.

          • Andy M

            But we’re not talking about dogs using their bite on other dogs, we’re talking about dogs being dangerous and of course if one has a bite force which it will use on humans, it makes it more dangerous than another with a lower bite force. Also, a Kangal will use its ability, but will lose interest in a fight with a pitbull, whereas the pitbull will not stop even if it is dominated. That’s why pitbulls are often chosen for dogfights, not because they are necessarily the most dangerous breed. Again, I’d rather be bitten by a pitbull than a Kangal.

          • Thomas McCartney

            Benjamin Hart, professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and an animal behaviorist, said he wasn’t surprised by dog behaviorists positive assessment’s of pit bull type dogs after attacks.

            “It’s quite common for a pit bull to show no signs of aggression,” Hart said Wednesday. “People will call it a nice dog, a sweet dog, even the neighbors – and then all of a sudden something triggers the dog, and it attacks a human in a characteristic way of biting and hanging on until a lot of damage is done.”

            Hart said pit bulls are responsible for about 60 percent of dog attack fatalities each year, which is “way out of proportion” compared with other breeds. Pit bulls make up less than 5 percent of the American dog population.

            “It’s very poor policy to allow any child around a pit bull, in my mind, let alone climb on a dog,” Hart said.

          • Andy M

            I agree with this. It still doesn’t make them a wild animal though. They are a breed of dog which can be responsibly owned by experienced dog handlers.

          • Thomas McCartney

            Only if they are kept in a concrete bunker other then when they are actually fought, the dog men know and understand this and keep them exactly this way.

          • Thomas McCartney

            Even Cesar Milan says so:

            CESAR MILAN, celebrity dog trainer

            “Yeah, but this is a different breed…the power that comes behind bull dog, pit bull, presa canario, the fighting breed – They have an extra boost, they can go into a zone, they don’t feel the pain anymore. He is using the bulldog in him, which is way too powerful, so we have to ‘make him dog’ (I guess as in a “regular” dog) so we can actually create the limits.

            So if you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender.”. If you add pain, it only infuriates them pain is that adrenaline rush, they are looking forward to that, they are addicted to it…

            That’s why they are such great fighters.” Cesar goes on to say…”Especially with fighting breeds, you’re going to have these explosions over and over because there’s no limits in their brain.”

          • Andy M

            Yes and I agree with you and him – they are a more dangerous breed. But they are a breed of domestic dog, that although bred for fighting was also used to living among humans and other animals. Dogs are all geared towards responding to training. Wild animals are not. Although both dangerous, the wild animals are far more so, hence why they are illegal to own without an exotic pets license and pitbulls aren’t.

            Like I said, the restrictions that should be placed on ownership could be for dog training experience and evidence of being a responsible dog owner. They can make the checks stringent, make all dogs microchipped with registered owner details. The owner is then completely responsible for the dog and faces jail time if they do not train and monitor it effectively.

          • Thomas McCartney

            You are obfuscating, no matter if they were bred to be what they are or are a dog and not a lion they are as dangerous as a wild animal and therefore should be bred into extinction.

            The only pit bull type dog fir for human interaction is one that is dead, stuffed or in a zoo.!!

          • Thomas McCartney

            You can not train genetics nor is it acceptable for society to wait for 800 years of genetic engineering to be reversed over more then a hundred years while up to 50 people are killed a year in the US by them.

            Dealing with them after an attack does not do much for the victim which includes over 50,000 people. pets and livestock per ear in the US.

          • Thomas McCartney

            But i do agree with your dog does the deed you own the outcome as if you did it yourself.

          • Thomas McCartney

            The only people capable of owning and handling a pit bull type dog is a Professional dog fighter who by definition regards all pit bull type dogs as being unfit for human interaction due to realistic safety concerns.

            They never allow their undogs in public nor around their family.

          • Thomas McCartney

            The functional real world danger a pit bull type dog poses is the same as that of a wild animal only more so so due to their unpredictability.

  • Thomas McCartney

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    LawDogsUSA, Pit Bull Detection Dog Program, Shuts Down
    October 2008 Closure Notice

    Olympia, WA – Back in April, we reported that a handful of pit bulls seized from the Pima County dogfighting raid were chosen to be “rehabilitated” as detection dogs. Diane Jessup, the owner of LawDogsUSA, was the recipient of these dogs. In October, Jessup shut down LawDogsUSA due to lack of interest from the “pit bull community” and lack of adequate funding.

    “I had dreamed that LawDogsUSA would attract the best and brightest in the pit bull community and be able to grow larger than just me.

    While I received fantastic support from a few, unfortunately the support and funding necessary to continue the program in a meaningful way was not forthcoming.”
    Fate of the Pima Dogs

    • Thomas McCartney

      The Pima County dogs did not work out either. She had selected three dogs for the detection program: Pima, Tucson and Arizona. Jessup writes on her website (please scroll to the bottom of the page titled: Update August 2008):

      “It is with deep regret that I report that “Tucson” (the male) was found to have developed uncontrollable dog aggression. With no socialization or training to channel his drive during his critical period (21 days to 16 weeks) this pup would never….”

      “Both dogs developed a very aggressive form of demodex mange – common in inbred dogs with compromised immune systems – and were being treated for that when I evaluated them for structural soundness. Both girls were suffering from severe…”

      • Thomas McCartney

        It appears she euthanized all three dogs. Interestingly, Jessup does not support “no-kill” or dumping pit bulls into “sanctuaries,” which she compares to “above ground pet cemeteries.”

        She writes that the practice “amounts to a boarding kennel” and is the “height of disrespect for our noble companions.” She feels that euthanasia in her own arms is the most humane option.

  • Thomas McCartney

    Neighborhoods are horribly impacted. Residents are afraid to walk to the mailbox, take out the garbage, allow their children to play in their own yards.

    It is a national disgrace that children are kept in the house to keep them safe.

    It is national disgrace that people are unable to work in their own gardens without having a handgun on their hip.

    Peaceful people are victims of irrational pit bull advocacy without being actual victims of attacks. Loss of freedom should be addressed by the legal system at some level.

  • Thomas McCartney

    The UK Ban is a joke, they Ban pit bull terriers but if you get caught with one

    they usually let you keep it if you muzzle and kennel it, but they left
    a huge loop hole in that they allowed them to still keep Staffordshire
    bull terriers which are exactly the same as a pit bull terrier, so they
    can just call their pit bull by that name to get around the Ban.

    This has led to a horrific number of maulings and deaths in the UK from
    these pit bull terriers in Staffordshire bull terriers clothing.

  • Jan Smith

    What other dog breed’s supporters and advocates have to work THIS hard, for decades non-stop and STILL can’t convince people they are decent pets? Could you look a victim or a dead child’s mother in the eye and tell them it’s all worth it just to save one pit bull? Do you think it’s just a weird coincidence that these dogs have been banned in 35 other countries? What, everyone got together one day, and said, I’m bored, I know!!! Let’s all gang up on ONE BREED, forget that we can’t even communicate in the same language as the other countries, we’ll organize it and carry on until the end of time. Why doesn’t Snopes have a section about how the pit bull deaths and maulings are all just hype and not true? Because it IS true.

    • Brenda Carr

      No other breed needs the work that the pit groupies are doing. Their breed of choice is bad and they know it.

      • Verbatim

        It’s like trying to defend cigarette smoking; not everyone is going to die from cancer!!

  • MrLouKnee


    After reading what you had to say about cats and German Shepherds, i hope my cat rips your heart out then drops it infront of my German Shepherd to eat.

    • Verbatim

      My cat/your dog; what about achieving something YOURSELF without having to rely on an animal to objectify your frustrated hopes and dreams. Whoa; I think I just described animal-lovers!!

      • MrLouKnee

        how about i introduce you to my dog?

        sadly, the government wont allow me to buy my wife a 9mm pistol to protect herself when im out, so ive got a dog thats very protective of the family and the cat

        when i left school at 16, and joined the army and as i was walking all over the world humping more than my body weight on my back keeping an eye open for snipers and trip wires as one foot moved infront of the other while i fantasised about food, i had my dreams and made my plans for the future, and now at 44, all i can say is, with the exception of the mountains the moles leave in the garden, lifes great, ive achieved more than my wildest dreams

        All i ever wanted was a nice house, fast car, a fit bird, a couple of kids, a cat, dog and chickens in a massive garden. And ive achieved all this plus more. I work less than 10 hours a week and earn more money than i can spend

        I hope youve had a good life and hopefully, youve achieved half as much as i have, which i doubt, as your post reflects your state of mind and the life youve led rather than a reflection of my life

        • Verbatim

          I can see that your experiences have left you with permanent psychological scarring. And, on behalf of the society you’ve protected in your job as a soldier, I’m very sorry for it. Many people don’t appreciate the work soldiers do, but I’ll bet a dog does. I mean, you willingly march to the supermarket and buy them lorry loads of canned food and other treats…..probably greater than your body weight too.

          Better to own a dog so you can lavish all your affection on that. They’re good at “unconditional love”, I’m told. Yeah, what’s that about; ‘unconditional love’? A lapdog that does everything for you without answering back, no matter how bad the ‘punishment’. Some people call this a “wife”.

          And, of course, with all your booty stored in the house you’ll need a vicious dog to scare off potential predators. If we all did this we wouldn’t need cops, or soldiers for that matter.

          • MrLouKnee

            if everyone had a firearm and lived in morally correct society, we would have no need for the police. Once all those who would do you harm had been killed, we’d all be living in utopia with our fellow morally correct citizens

            I live in hope, thats why i vote ukip

          • Verbatim

            “Morally correct citizens”? Some people would say that by owning kind and gentle animals and putting other people first instead of animals that this makes them “morally correct”. I’d have to agree.

  • Thomtids

    The article is genuinely right. I have grown up with English Bulldogs and have just lost, to illness, my seventh. As a breed they are large, but placid and dependably good with children, other animals and people.
    Pit Bulls are likewise, substantial dogs, but bright. They are good natured but retain a higher degree of “doggy-loyalty” (not their fault!). The saying “not bad dogs, only bad owners” is undoubtedly true. Treated with gentleness, they’re all sweeties! I have a Yorkshire Terrier that is a bad-tempered mouthful of sharp teeth; the Yorkie used to frighten my 90lbs Bulldog to death!

    • Verbatim


      • Thomtids

        Many drug dealers and lowlifes do keep pit bull crosses thar are mentally unbalanced with deliberately-inflicted drug habits. Many breeds are used as “security” German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Ridgebacks etc. and dogs can be sensitised to and made behaviourally aggressive. And, yes, you can get the odd bad dog of any breed. We’re talking majority and the pit bull is not especially difficult or aggressive with decent, ordinary social training most puppies receive.

  • Mr B J Mann

    “in unstable and violent homes all manner of things become weapons. But this, again, is no reason to ban the breed”

    But no gun has ever leapt at a bay and killed it all of its own accord.

    And Switzerland, with just about the highest gun ownership rate in the world has hardly any gun crime, never mind gun killings.

    But that didn’t stop us banning pistols, even for the British Olympic Pistol Shooting Team?!?!?!

    Meanwhile, Rwanda – a country almost at the bottom of the Guardian’s gun ownership league table – saw a genocide carried out at a killing rate three times that of the actual Holocaust: using nothing but a collection of kitchen utensils and garden implements plus a few sharpened sticks?!?!?!

  • liamcar

    2014 – 32 reported U.S. fatalities – 20 (62%) were Pit Bulls – all other by 6 breeds

    2013 – 32 Reported – 26 (81%) were Pit Bulls – all other by 5 breeds

    2012 – 35 reported – 19 (54%) were Pit Bulls – all other by 5 breeds

    2011 – 33 reported – 20 (60%) were Pit bulls – all other by 4 breeds

    American Kennel club recognises 157 dog breeds

    Pitbulls are 0.6% of U.S. dog breeds.

    0.6% of dog breeds were responsible for the numbers above.

    A nine-year (1979–88) study of fatal dog attacks in the United States
    found that dogs characterized as pit bulls were implicated in 42 of the
    101 attacks where the breed was known

    A 1991 study found that 94% of attacks on children by pit bulls were unprovoked, compared to 43% for other breeds.

    A 5-year (1989–94) review of fatal dog attacks in the U.S. determined
    that pit bulls and pit bull mixed breeds were implicated in 24 (29%) of
    the 84 deaths in which breed was recorded.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Putting the article’s talk of “provably non-dangerous” pit bulls nicely into context – thanks.

  • Callipygian

    hey’re the best of dogs: loyal, good-humoured, bright.
    Cough: that would be the Boxer.

  • Andy M

    Saying they are the “best of breeds” is no more a knee-jerk reaction than saying they are the worst. They are a breed, which was bred for a purpose. They are the best at fulfilling that purpose. In terms of behaviour, I am in no way saying that pitbulls are automatically going to turn out to be monsters, but those who say they are not ‘dangerous dogs’ are kidding themselves. IThese dogs ARE bred to be standoffish with strangers at best, and killers at worst. They are powerful, they are protective of their family (a good quality for the family, but a potentially dangerous one for strangers and other animals) and the fact that they are bred for this, and have it in their genetic code, means that however good the training and however good the owner, they are still more dangerous than a dog which is bred for non-aggressive activities, such as companionship. That doesn’t mean a pitbull can’t be a good companion, or good with kids. Good owners and training will play a huge role in that. I also think that regardless of breed no dog should be left alone with children. But, it does mean that I would still fear a pitbull more than a King Charles spaniel, not solely based on size but also on the probability of it being a danger.

    • jeffersonian

      Well said.

  • Verbatim

    Whatever the reason for their violence, or non-violence (as you claim), they are not wanted. History has shown what they can do to human beings. Whether or not it’s their fault is totally irrelevant. Try telling that to one of their victims (well, you probably do!). We have enough human aggression without more of the animal variety, thanks.

  • AgZarp

    Sometimes it seems to me that people are so vehemently opposed to talking about the genetic-behaviour link in dogs because they fear that the same ideas could be applied to humans. They couldn’t, of course… could they?

  • jeffersonian

    ‘The RSPCA are hostile to the ban on dangerous dogs on the grounds that there’s no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners.’

    Which is of course (mostly) true. However, certain breeds lend themselves particularly well to use as weapons: putbulls and pitbull ‘derivatives’ are very powerful, look like a set of jaws on four legs, have jaws that lock when the dog bites, etc etc. Combine that with the loyalty to the owner and you have a loaded gun.

    If potential dog owners look for loyalty – get a Labrador or Golden Retriever.

  • Dean

    A pit bull type is a dog that has a staffie ( american or uk) bloodline mixed with a larger dog, why therefore are not all staffies or larger dogs banned ? The uk law says a pit bull type goes on ‘looks like a pitbull’.!!! Work that one out, a dog may have no dna match but looks a bit tough so has to be on the naughty list! CRAZY.