Brian Edwards Media

It’s Time to Ban the Pit Bull and all its Relatives

   

Photo: Brett Phibbs

Another kiddie mauled by a Pit Bull! We’re slow learners in New Zealand, aren’t we? It doesn’t matter how many children have their faces torn off, how many adults are ripped to pieces, we still think it should be legal to own dangerous breeds like  the American Pit Bull Terrier, the  Dogo Argentino, the Brazilian Fila and the American Tosa.  It shouldn’t. All of these breeds should be banned and there should be heavy penalties for owning them. Want the facts about the Pit Bull? Well here they are:  

The Pit Bull was originally developed in the United States. Its breeding characteristics were strength, aggression and the ability to fight. Not surprising really, since that was the purpose for which the dog was being bred – to fight other dogs.  

All of this was known 23 years ago, when an ad in the Herald offered New Zealanders imported Pit Bull puppies for sale. The Auckland SPCA opposed the importation of the breed, on the grounds that the dogs were dangerous and unpredictable. It was unsuccessful.     

Well, the Pit Bull and the Pit Bull cross remain dangerous and unpredictable. There is an international history now as long as your arm of attacks by Pit Bulls, invariably serious and sometimes fatal,  on strangers, on their owners, on old people, young people, children and babies.  

The Pit Bull’s enormous jaw-strength makes it almost impossible to shake off. In one case in the States, 16 shots were fired into a Pit Bull during an attack, but the dog’s jaws remained firmly clamped to its victim. Strength, aggression and unpredictability – these then are the Pit Bull’s and the Pit Bull cross’s inherited traits.  

So what sort of  person would  want to own a dog like this – an ugly, dangerous, unpredictable breed, with a history of sometimes fatal attacks, not only on other dogs, not only on other people, but on the very people who have raised and cared for it, and their families? Someone who isn’t very bright!  Every time a totally innocent person is scarred for life by a Pit Bull, owners of the breed, including the mothers and fathers of small children,  tell us that their dog  is affectionate and friendly, wonderful with the children,  ‘wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads’.  

This recital of the virtues of the Pit Bull is common to almost every tragic incident involving the breed. When the attack occurs, when the distraught or grieving parent or relative is interviewed, the mantra of denial emerges once again: ‘I can’t understand it. He was so affectionate and friendly, wonderful with the children, wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads.’  

Each time I hear these defences,  I feel a growing rage. I want to say: for god’s sake, don’t be so bloody stupid! Learn something from the past. Don’t dice with your own and your children’s lives in defence of a position that flies in the face of the all the evidence. And I cannot escape the conclusion that the ownership of a dangerous and unpredictable breed of dog, especially where there are children in a home, is an utterly stupid, irresponsible and uncaring act.  

But it doesn’t surprise me. To want to own a dog bred for its strength, aggression and ability to fight, suggests to me an essentially anti-social personality. The dog is merely an extension of its owner.  

If you doubt it, have look at the picture in yesterday’s Herald of the owner of the Pit Bull that had just mauled 8 year old AJ Maninoa.  Is he giving the fingers to the photographer or to society at large? I know my answer.  

So what is to be done? Under the current law, it is illegal to import any of the breeds I have referred to in this post.  Dogs classified as menacing, and that includes all of those breeds, must be muzzled in public places and may be required by the local council to be neutered.  

May be required.  There’s the problem. Those three words mean that we will continue to have Pit Bulls and related dangerous dogs in New Zealand. As a first step, we must urgently change those three words to must be required.  Sterilisation of the existing population must be mandatory with heavy penalties for failing to obey the law. And, once the breed has died out, the law must be further extended to make ownership of such a dog illegal.  

If you have doubts, talk to the parents of any of the children mauled or killed over the years by the pet that ‘wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads’.  

And don’t give me any libertarian crap about owners’ rights. You have no right to put the lives or safety of the rest of us at risk. End of story.

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51 Comments:

  1. I think there might be a valid point here: http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_02_06_a_pitbull.html

    • I think there might be a valid point here: http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_02_06_a_pitbull.html

      There might. But since, as the article itself says, pit bulls are heavilly over-represented in attacks on humans, the argument that this is a generalisation and that not all pitbulls behave like this, strikes me as academic. I’m still not going to take any chances with my children or grandchildren and I don’t want anyone else taking those chances. I’m sorry if the pit bull has got a bad press, or the innocent are being lumped in with the guilty, or there are other really bad breeds as well. I just have to look at the faces and bodies of any of these children or adults who’ve been attacked and I’m left in no doubt where I stand. The risk isn’t worth taking.

  2. What I took from that article is more that there are people in our society who raise violent dogs. They happen to like Pit Bulls. But if tomorrow the “cool” violent dog became a poodle, these people would raise violent poodles, and people would then clamour for the banning of poodles.

    I took from it that we need to concentrate on the people involved, not the breeds.

    • What I took from that article is more that there are people in our society who raise violent dogs. They happen to like Pit Bulls. But if tomorrow the “cool” violent dog became a poodle, these people would raise violent poodles, and people would then clamour for the banning of poodles.

      OK. I scanned it fairly quickly. My view would be that, as a general rule, aggressive people will choose aggressive dogs. The dog is chosen to make a statement about them, to enhance their image as people to be feared. It isn’t a matter of looking ‘cool’, other than with people of like mind, people who regard aggression as cool. So I don’t think poodles are ever going to make it with this group. That said, it’s possible that there are people who just like the look of pit bulls or think they are sweet. Too often they, or their families, discover that that judgement was wrong. I can certainly sympathise with the woman whose child is mauled by the dog she thought would never harm a fly. Mostly, I suspect, it’s men who buy these dogs and it’s men who refuse to have their male dog neutered, since they see this as a threat to their own masculinity.

  3. Fair enough Daniel, but the poodle’s capacity to injure is a lot smaller than the pitbull’s and it is nowhere near as fierce, persistent or downright savage. I’ve owned, bred and trained dogs all my life and I wouldn’t have another pitbull under my roof.

  4. Daniel Miles@… “I took from it that we need to concentrate on the people involved, not the breeds.”

    Well now… where would I start to ‘concentrate’ on the people involved. At about the age of conception would be my guess. Less of the naivity please.

  5. Don – I wouldn’t doubt that. I’ve never owned a dog in my life and I don’t really know anything about them – I just saw this post and was reminded of that article. That is a good point about capacity to injure.

    Brian – Yes, the poodle example was intentionally silly. My (really Gladwell’s) point is more that banning Pit Bulls will (may?) just cause another dog to be the violent dog of choice.

  6. Ban the expletive deleted things, for the same reasons we ban the importation of alligators or tiger snakes.

    Both of which look very sweet to their mothers.

    In the old saying, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

  7. I think that there are a percentage of people who don’t do a decent job training their dogs. They’re not properly socialised with humans and other dogs, and not sufficiently under their owner’s control.

    Let’s say that’s 10% of dogs.

    Probably about 90% of that 10% are just annoying or mildly dangerous. They jump up, scare children and posties, bark aggressively.

    The other 1% are actually physically dangerous. They may attack other animals or people. Some are silly little fluffballs that couldn’t hurt a tennis ball, others are potentially dangerous animals.

    While it’s not particularly fair on the 90% of dog owners that raise responsible, safe dogs (including pit bulls), until we reduce those 10% figures drastically, making some smart choices about which breeds aren’t allowed is a relatively simple measure to reduce the odds.

    If we were to be more aggressive requiring dogs to be registered, and make a requirement of registration that each owner and animal had completed a socialisation and obedience course, then I’d be happier with these more dangerous breeds being in NZ. Under the current system, blanket bans may be unfair, but statistically they’re our best chance of reducing these sorts of incidents.

  8. I agree with banning them. I acknowledge that, should that happen, some people will then simply move to other breeds of dog if they want an agressive, threatening-looking breed of dog. When I was growing up, the favoured “tough” breeds were Alsatians and Doberman Pinschers. I’d still prefer them over the pitbull varieties.

  9. Alsatians. The armed offenders squad was called out on the chap next door to my studio. I glanced out the open front door as a dog-handler walked past with his dog on a short leash: the dog was reared up on its hind legs, its hackles were up, its front legs clawed the air and its fangs were bared. What I saw was a werewolf advancing – towing its handler – a truly terrifying and awesome sight.

  10. Banning (any breed of) dogs does NOT accomplish a safe society.

    Denver CO USA banned the Pit Bulls and today have a higher number of (non-pit bull) attacks than larger cities within the state.

    They spend hundreds of thousands of US (tax payers) Dollars enforcing the ban and defending it in their courts.

    Miami-Dade FL USA banned the Pit Bulls 25 years ago, they cannot enforce it effectively, and typically permit a pit bull owner the opportunity to have the dog removed from the area before seizing it.

    More than 52 area’s within the US have repealed their BSL because it does not work, does not make a safer society and costs far more than local governments can afford.

    Internationally bans are being lifted for similar reasons and have recognized that OWNER ACCOUNTABILITY is the root of the problems originally blamed on the dogs.

    As for the incident cited about the dog being shot 16 times and still holding on – this is NOT the result of jaw strength nor locking jaws. It is an occurrence that has been reported repeatedly in numerous breeds that were killed while engaged in biting (such as a Belgian Malanois that attacked an Albuquerque in 2005).

    The comment about Pit Bull owners ‘always saying the dog wouldn’t harm a hair on his head’ is not a PIT BULL EXCLUSIVE, any dog owner that has owned a dog that attacked is most always ill-prepared and shocked.

    In this particular case, you have an unregistered male, unneutered dog chained in a garage. That screams irresponsible (and illegal) ownership. It is NOT because of the breed of dog, it IS the owner’s ability to act responsibly, and when that is not the case, the laws capability to hold an owner accountable.

    • Banning (any breed of) dogs does NOT accomplish a safe society.

      Your argument assumes that dogs do not have inherited characteristics. That assumption is incorrect. Your American examples of ineffective banning are almost certainly not relevant to a small society like New Zealand. A banning law could work perfectly well here. It is already against the law to import these breeds of dog. All that remains is to ensure that the existing population is not able to breed further generations. I do weary of the argument that laws are pointless because people break them. The proper response is to ensure that the laws are obeyed not to abandon them. (Speeding and drink driving are cases in point.)

  11. Cnr Joe: What I saw was a werewolf advancing – towing its handler – a truly terrifying and awesome sight.

    That’s exactly how you are meant to react in that particular situation and to that very sight you were confronted with Cnr Joe… but having owned German Shepherds all my life (3 including my current one) I can tell you that the sole reason the Police, AOS, SAS etc use Shepherds, as opposed to any other breed, is purely because of their intelligence… the specific trait they were originally bred for.
    Even though the German Shepherd is capable of inflicting a bite far worse than that of a Pit-Bull Terrier, the key difference between the breeds is that when I command my shepherd is to stop, it will damn well stop… immediately! The other main difference is that shepherd you saw at your door with his handler wont be going any where near you unless his handler tells him to do sop. Period.
    This what sets them apart from these psychotic, unpredictable, killing machines used by the gangs and other low-life’s whose express purpose and pleasure in life is to intimidate and be ‘Staunch’. Once these things attack, that’s it… game over. Not even their owners can prize them off their chosen prey. Their targets are random, they show no visible displays of aggressive intent through their body language (which is why children are often the sad victims of these horrific beasts), they feel no pain when engaged in their attack, their instinctive intention when fighting is to inflict as much damage as can possibly do, all the while every cell in their bodies is screaming to their brain to keep attacking at all costs… these are specific traits bred into these particular types of canine.
    How any dog owner could begin to justify ‘owners rights’ and use this argument to not have the breed eliminated and allowed to remain in society is beyond me and is an affront to responsible dog owners like myself. Owners who took the time to understand the breed they were taking on, train it religiously when it was young for its own safety as well as for the safety of others around it, socialise it regularly with children and adults alike, as well as other dogs.

    Get rid of these purposeless, anti-social, genetically mutated time-bombs once for and for all… before those weirdo cat-loving zealots get a chance to whip up their usual hysteria again and paint all of us who love dogs as being collectively responsible for this latest tragedy.

    • This what sets them apart from these psychotic, unpredictable, killing machines used by the gangs and other low-life’s whose express purpose and pleasure in life is to intimidate and be ‘Staunch’. Once these things attack, that’s it… game over. Not even their owners can prize them off their chosen prey. Their targets are random, they show no visible displays of aggressive intent through their body language (which is why children are often the sad victims of these horrific beasts), they feel no pain when engaged in their attack, their instinctive intention when fighting is to inflict as much damage as can possibly do, all the while every cell in their bodies is screaming to their brain to keep attacking at all costs… these are specific traits bred into these particular types of canine.

      Very helpful and informative post, thank you Nic.

  12. There is something missing in that pic…. Got it!
    There’s no one walking that anti-social retard, because he’s gone out without his choke chain and he’s not tethered to a leash.

  13. Well BE, if you wish to base an argument on the heredity of the dogs, they were bred away from human aggression (as is the reason they are not used in police work commonly).

    They were not bred to fight, they’re TRAINED to fight. They were bred for their tenacity, their drive, their size and strength and their loyalty.

    Their size is no more than 30 kgs, their stature muscular yet lean. The dog in this picture doesn’t even match the breed standard.

    They are not demons, nor are they anymore ” psychotic, unpredictable, killing machines” than are German Shepherds, Retrievers, or other breeds.

    I am not suggesting that nothing be done about dangerous dogs, what I am stating is that not all of any breed or type of dog IS inherently viscous.

    • Well BE, if you wish to base an argument on the heredity of the dogs, they were bred away from human aggression (as is the reason they are not used in police work commonly).

      Bred/Trained – this is little more than nitpicking. And I don’t see any real need to rush to the defence of any breed’s good name. They aren’t offended. I’ve no doubt there are pitbulls that don’t attack people, but their record clearly indicates that they are a dangerous breed today and they are so classified in New Zealand law. I tend to worry more about the scarred kids and adults who may not be so impressed by your spirited defence. The risk of being sentimental about them seems too great to me.

  14. http://www.gasfreedom.info/yourfreedom/uk-dog-section-should-breed-specific-legislation-bsl-be-repealed

  15. BE, I personally do enjoy the pit bull breeds, and with nearly 30 years personal experience, none of which produced an aggressive dog one, my point is concerning the kids and adults who may not be so impressed…

    Laws such as these have proven to generate false security among communities. The belief is only pit bulls attack, when in fact ALL dogs, great and small, bite.

    Wouldn’t communities be better served with laws that deal with dog attacks rather than dogs that may or may not attack?

    Understand, I am in NO WAY defending a dog that attacks. I am only saying that laws should protect the people from the dogs, not just from SOME dogs. If people face stiff penalties/fines, they are less likely to allow their dogs to be aggressive, no matter what breed of dog it is.

    And yes, you do hear more about pit bull attacks, but that isn’t because they attack more often. Its because they make the readers buy the paper, google a particular pit bull attack and see how many different media outlets print the exact same story.

    There are good pit bull stories too, but papers don’t reprint those. Just this month in America, there have been two pit bulls that saved their families from house fires, one actually pulled the bassinet to the front door with a baby in it. And a 3rd woke its owner up to alert her a man was outside having a heart attack. When the owner opened the door, the dog ran down the stairs and sat loyally by the ailing mans side.

  16. Banning of the above mentioned dogs is a good step towards limiting attacks.Legislating against unsuitable and ill trained ownwers is also nessesary to limit dog attacks.These incidents cannot be allowed to continue without suitable action being taken.Shooting the offenders is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff option.

    • Banning of the above mentioned dogs is a good step towards limiting attacks.Legislating against unsuitable and ill trained ownwers is also nessesary to limit dog attacks.

      Agree totally.

  17. The point to remember, whether its breed specific or not:

    An owner of a dog that attacks MUST face consequences. If the solution is simply to euthanize the dog and the owner gets no punishment, the lesson is FAR from learned. It truly comes down to ACCOUNTABILITY and JUSTICE.

    • An owner of a dog that attacks MUST face consequences. If the solution is simply to euthanize the dog and the owner gets no punishment, the lesson is FAR from learned. It truly comes down to ACCOUNTABILITY and JUSTICE.

      I completely agree.

  18. You can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness, seeing the dog and knowing it was put-down only a few hours later.

  19. The pitbull ownership debate reminds me of the gun control debate – and how gun lobbyists point out that: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” – in other words, it’s the idiot behind the trigger that causes the gunshot, not the gun itself. Although true – if simplistic – given the extreme consequences a weapon (or an aggressive dog) can have, sometimes it’s more practical to remove the weapon/animal itself, rather than try to magically convert the owners into caring, responsible citizens (through what, night classes? correspondence courses? intensive one-on-one supervision?)

    • The pitbull ownership debate reminds me of the gun control debate – and how gun lobbyists point out that: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

      I think it’s a valid comparison, Kate, but it seems to escape the American Right altogether that people who haven’t got guns cant use guns to kill people. Sadly the ‘god and guns’ lobby is the most powerful in the US.

  20. Nic, I couldn’t agree with your sentiments more. We have a black Labrador [I suspect a LabX] who is an absolute softie, who simply loves everyone to distraction [especially our grandchildren], though she [she being speyed] will bark at any strangers who venture near our property – with tail wagging furiously and wants to lick the perps to death, if they are invited inside. This doesn’t mean that I’m not always vigilant to the extreme when said ‘grandies’ and other visitors are at our place, particularly as she was attacked by a neighbour’s brindle Staffordshire X a few years ago, which involved plenty of veterinary care to get her head area stitched back together again. She has been left with legacy of being uncomfortable in the presence of other dogs and doesn’t have a particularly nice time when she goes to a boarding kennel at holiday time. We probably slightly part ways though Nic, as we also have two cats, one of which really bosses our dog around and simply won’t stand for any doggie nonsense, which always keeps us amused. I have no idea how our dog would react if one of our family was threatened in her presence – I just hope that scenario never happens.

  21. It appears nothing makes us immune to the notion of simple solutions to complex problems, not even the intelligence and experience of a Brian Edwards.

    Ban the breed, the next step after the empirically failed “micro-chipping” legislation.

    If it weren’t so tragic, involving further pain and injury, when this too fails, I could look forward to the explanations of why it failed, and the proposals for the next simple solution.

    I don’t have one, shit happens, and the idea that we can select and exclude a canine identity group and eliminate it is naive.

    • It appears nothing makes us immune to the notion of simple solutions to complex problems, not even the intelligence and experience of a Brian Edwards.

      Well, I appreciate the compliment and will attempt to apply my intelligence and experience to your comment. If the breed were successfully banned, then once the current population had died out, there would be no pitbulls left, so the problem with pitbulls would of necessity disappear. Lack of success in banning the breed could only result from people breaking the law, presumably by failing to have their pitbulls de-sexed. I assume this is the problem you see as insuperable. The argument essentially then is that laws that some people break should be dispensed with.

  22. @ Amber Lynn
    Thomas Owen. Brian Hill. Remember them, Amber? No? Well, these two turkeys owned a dog and, fearful that it might be put down if they stepped forward, and, no doubt having a “tinge of sadness” for their own lovely kuri which had never before hurt so much as a fly (?) kept themselves and their dog well hidden, lied to the police, and expressed no remorse (until it got round to time for the judge to do the sentencing thing) after Carolina Anderson was attacked. I hope you had a “tinge of sadness” for Carolina at the time.

  23. There are approx. 1629 dogs being sold/given away on Trade Me, and how many of those are Pit Bull / Bull terrier crosses? What is a ‘pure’ Pit Bull, and how many ‘pure breds’ are attacking versus cross breds?

    The hybrid vigour of the cross-breed dog is a wonder to behold. Cross a greyhound with a working collie, maybe get a highly trainable medium sized dog that casts out in a circle gathering rabbits together with agility of a collie, with the greyhound speed and strength to catch and kill. But not all the pups will necessarily have these characteristics in equal measure, some will behave like a hound, some like a collie. Some might be untrainable wanderers with a mind of their own.

    The ‘bully’ breeds are specialised attack and hold dogs for hunting large prey, and the crossbreds have always been popular with pig hunters.
    In the city, these dogs are redundant and have no ‘identifiable prey’, and what is the prognosis if they are raised by the kind of people who teach them tug-of-war and ‘play aggression’ as a pup?
    In the first instance, the ultimate responsibility for the explosion of unstable dogs goes back to the purebred breeders who were greedy to make a buck selling pups to anyone with the money to pay for one. Then to the people breeding these dogs indiscriminately.

    I support (and extend) your call for mandatory neutering/spaying:
    – of all bull terrier crosses
    – strict licensing of all breeders of purebred bull terriers
    – mandatory neutering of all pups (not being sold to a licensed breeder)
    – mandatory wearing of muzzles on bull terriers/crosses in public (same as for racing greyhounds)
    – registration of all new owners of dogs, run on similar lines to getting a gun licence, including property inspection.

    All dogs bite, all dogs have the capacity to close their jaws on a small person or animal. However, some dogs are bred for ‘soft mouths’ and can carry an egg without breaking it. The worst biter I ever met was a Corgi, the most vicious was a Chihuahua, but the size, strength and tenacity of the big bully cross can turn an attack into a potential life/death situation for the victim.

  24. its bullshit how they wana band these breeds it aint the dogs fault mate its how you bring them up and how much attention you give to them youz needa get all the facts ryte before you start jumpin into this shit iv been attacked by foxys labs, german sheparedz it aint only pit bulls

    • its bullshit how they wana band these breeds it aint the dogs fault mate its how you bring them up and how much attention you give to them youz needa get all the facts ryte before you start jumpin into this shit iv been attacked by foxys labs, german sheparedz it aint only pit bulls

      You’ve really had some bad luck with dogs, jayjay. I’m 72 and I’ve never been attacked by a dog. As for the facts about the pitbull breed, they’re outlined in my post. And if a pitbull is about to rip my throat out, I’m really not going to concern myself too much with who made it the way it is. It’s still a bloody dangerous dog.

  25. I really think that banning specific breeds of dog would achieve very little beyond paying wages to the people employed to write the legislation.

    Dog owners need to be made accountable. Before you can make the owners responsible for their dogs’ actions you need to prove ownership of these mutts. That’s hard enough, and the dog licensing system already costs us more than we are happy to pay for. But how on earth do you prove the breed of a dog?

    Legally defining a breed would require proper pedigrees to be kept. In the absence of such records, all we would end up with is yet another unenforceable law.

  26. This is ridiculous.

    Animal Cruelty comes around in many forms and fashions. We will be no better than the idiot’s in the ‘hoods’ or whatever you want to call them that are responsible for the few Pit Bull attacks, who abuse these dogs and let them roam and dominate an area.

    What is interesting about all this is that through the many dog attacks that happen in New Zealand it’s only ever Pit Bull Terriers that are put in the newspaper.

    The media is disgusting.

    Tell the truth, once Pit Bulls are gone, I would like to see how the public react when truth be told it will be Labradors next, who are right behind in attack statistics.

    They don’t put photo’s of evil looking Labs in the paper do they.

    I have been savaged by a dog before by the way. Punish the DEED not the BREED.

    Punishing the breed is human arrogance at it’s best.

  27. The trouble is the genie’s long been out of the bottle, it’s too late to ban them. Hell, even the dogs the SPCA advertises look pit bull-ish. The trouble is indeed the owners. When I was young people who owned dogs actually understood dogs. These days anybody can have a dog and anybody does. Once dogs slept outside in a kennel and or run and knew their place, which wasn’t inside the home. When I see neurotic dogs being coo-ed over by their even more neurotic owners I can’t help but think that dogs were happier being treated like, well, dogs. When I hear fools talk about their dog being one of the family, or their child, I think there’s another bite waiting to happen. And as for fools who let their dogs lick their faces (they do it instinctively in the hope of regurgitated food) I can’t help but think of what an old dog trialler once said to a mother laughing as her labrador licked icecream off a baby in a pushchair: “If you teach the kid to lick the dog’s bum, the worms will have a shorter trip.” I just get so angry when fools get dogs, the dog bites a kid, often a family member or a visitor, and the dog is destroyed.

  28. Dear Brian.

    This article is a pile of mind rot from start to finish. You seem to have enjoyed revelling in your ignorance and readiness to reinforce old wives tales.

    “The Pit Bull was originally developed in the United States.”

    Not true. He was developed in western Europe. Britain and Ireland mainly. It was from here he was exported to colonial lands like the USA and Australia.

    “All of this was known 23 years ago, when an ad in the Herald offered New Zealanders imported Pit Bull puppies for sale. The Auckland SPCA opposed the importation of the breed”

    Actually 23 years ago – 1987 – opinions on the matter were divided within the SPCA. Neil Wells for example was interviewed by The Evening Post where he clearly admitted the problem was an ownership one and NOT a breed one.

    It should also be mentioned that during 1987 American media sunk to new lows in how they went about sensationalizing Pit Bull articles. Sports Illustrated compared them to sharks and Time magazine actually pulled figures from the sky and proclaimed Pit Bulls bite with 2000 pounds per square inch of bite pressure. Amazingly this nonsense was actually bought into by both NZ media and NZ SPCA as would be evident later on in Pit Bull articles.

    Regardless of which side of the debate members within the SPCA stood, one thing must be true – very few of them would have met a genuine American Pit Bull Terrier at this point!

    “The Pit Bull’s enormous jaw-strength makes it almost impossible to shake off. In one case in the States, 16 shots were fired into a Pit Bull during an attack, but the dog’s jaws remained firmly clamped to its victim.”

    Absolute nonsense. No dog could be shot up to 16 times and still make a conscious decision to bite something. There would be nothing left of the dog for one thing. That you actually believe this nonsense enough to print, more than shows that you have not based your opinions on Pit Bulls from rational thinking. I would ask you to post links to this article if you have them so one can get an idea of the reliability of the source thanks.

    In reality the bite of the Pit Bull is roughly the same as a German Sheppard. While the Rottweiler bites harder and even larger dogs like English Mastiffs can bite with twice the bite pressure of the Pit Bull. My source? The National Geographic tests carried out by Barr Brady.

    “So what sort of person would want to own a dog like this – an ugly, dangerous, unpredictable breed, with a history of sometimes fatal attacks, not only on other dogs, not only on other people, but on the very people who have raised and cared for it”

    By raised and cared for – do you mean – beaten, not socialized, starved and fed poison to? Just some of the details left out of US media articles who would rather sensationalize a breed fatality than admit the real causes of poor human ownership had the largest roles to play.

    Plus you have purposely singled out Pit Bulls as if canine fatalities are unique to them only. We have had 5 human fatalities in NZ and they were all from different breeds!

    As for who would own them – and you thinking they must not be too bright? Try Theodore Roosevelt, Michael J Fox or Thomas Edison for starters.

    “Every time a totally innocent person is scarred for life by a Pit Bull, owners of the breed, including the mothers and fathers of small children, tell us that their dog is affectionate and friendly, wonderful with the children, ‘wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads”.

    Naturally. They’re forced to defend “their” dog’s reputation when ever another Pit Bull or Pit Bull cross somewhere else attacks somebody! We wouldn’t expect an owner of an Airedale or Labrador to defend their dog’s reputation if an Airedale or Labrador attacked somebody or something in another part of the country. But this is what we expect Pit Bull or Rottweiler owners to do – to blame “their” dog for an attack their had nothing to do with!

    “I want to say: for god’s sake, don’t be so bloody stupid! Learn something from the past.”

    Take your own advice and give yourself a Pit Bull history lesson. Where were all your Pit Bull headlines prior to the 1980s? Seems to me if Pit Bulls were inherently dangerous like you want us to believe then the reputation of the Pit Bull when it was at its peck at the turn of last century would NOT have been something akin to a child’s best friend!

    “Don’t dice with your own and your children’s lives in defence of a position that flies in the face of the all the evidence.”

    American Pit Bull Terrier – amount tested 772 – amount passed 86%.

    Golden Retriever – amount tested 744 – amount passed 84.6%.

    Airedale Terrier – amount tested 101 – amount passed 77.2%

    British Bulldog – amount tested 134 – amount passed 70.1%.

    Bearded Collie – amount tested 45 – amount passed 53.3%.

    ATTS has been testing dog breeds based on soundness of temperament for 30 years. These are their results. The REAL American Pit Bull Terrier, when we look at temperament tests – proves to be an all round stand up dog!

    “So what is to be done?”

    Media have a lot to answer for in shaping the images of breeds differently. This needs to be the first thing that stops. Is it too hard to figure out the people that should NOT own Pit Bulls are the ones being attracted to them every time media purposely goes out of their way to make the Pit Bull look like a killing machine hell bent on destruction? Look at every image that gets used in the media of a Pit Bull – and then compare that to every image that gets used of a Labrador – do you really NOT see the difference!?!

    This portraying of dog breeds differently influences the decision of a regular law abiding family to get a Labrador and it influences a finger waving muppet with a macho image into getting a Pit Bull.

    Another thing that needs changing is that journalists need to start doing their jobs properly. Dogs don’t attack without reason. Stop pretending they do. Investigate the circumstances leading to the attack. Don’t just stop at the breed and say “jack pot” when the alleged dog is a Pit Bull!

    “Sterilisation of the existing population must be mandatory with heavy penalties for failing to obey the law. And, once the breed has died out, the law must be further extended to make ownership of such a dog illegal”.

    Last week a dog called Jaydee was in NZ news because even though he was clearly a friendly mixed bred little dog – he was considered a safe Labrador cross in one part of New Zealand and a dangerous Pit Bull cross in another. What you are proposing is a law which makes regular New Zealanders criminals if they can’t prove their Labrador cross or Boxer cross or Beagle cross is not actually part Pit Bull. Good luck securing long term support for that one!

    The UK, Ontario Canada, Denver Colorado – breed specific legislation has had rotten consequences in all these places, despite having 20 years to prove their worth in two of them. Denmark just had to raise the amount of breeds banned there to 13 – I presume because the original banning of the Pit Bull had no effect in reducing actual dog bites.

    I am not convinced, Brian, that you have spent much time assessing the effectiveness of breed bans where implemented overseas or their consequences.

    “If you have doubts, talk to the parents of any of the children mauled or killed over the years by the pet that ‘wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads”

    Just as you Brian wouldn’t expect some other guy down the road to feel guilty for keeping a Malamute or Labrador if somebody else completely unrelated was attacked by somebody else’s Malamute or Labrador, so too will people not be pressured into feeling guilt for defending the Pit Bull dog against an attack from a journalist who honestly believes a dog could make a conscious decision to not let go a grip after being shot 16 times – or doesn’t even know the origins of the Pit Bulldog – or who has obviously never had the good fortune to know a genuine American Pit Bull Terrier.

    This is not because I lack empathy for these victims, but because there is as I see it, not a lot of difference between somebody who is seriously attacked by a Pit Bull and somebody who is seriously attacked by any other breed – apart from the fact that somebody who suffers a serious attack from another breed is probably more likely to rationalize what happened to them a little better – after all if I am attacked by a Pit Bull or Rottweiler there is a mountain of media and politicians out there to tell me that it was the breed’s fault.

    “And don’t give me any libertarian crap about owners’ rights. You have no right to put the lives or safety of the rest of us at risk. End of story”.

    For those interested in looking objectively at the reality of the so called Pit Bull threat to our general safety, I suggest reading books like –Dogs Bite but Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous, or The Pit Bull Placebo. Or visiting these websites:
    http://www.purebrednz.com/
    http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/
    http://www.atts.org/
    http://www.game-dog.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/FUzupf

    I trust that you don’t delete opinions which differ than yours on your site Brian.

    Regards.

    • Dear Brian. This article is a pile of mind rot from start to finish.

      Well, it was shorter and less intemperate rot than this.

  29. “Well, it was shorter and less intemperate rot than this”.

    How somebody writes an emotional, hostile and reasonless article and gets to call somebody else intemperate is something no doubt, known best to you. Not that I care too much how you feel it was delivered – just so long as real Pit Bull facts are up there.

    I criticized your article not because I didn’t like what you had to say, but because I didn’t believe what you had too say. You might have had a decent argument back in 1987 if you wrote this, but there is too much information which refutes anything you’ve assumed to be a fault with the Pit Bull dog in itself. Yes Pit Bulls have been involved in a lot of serious dog attacks, but the causes are typically environmental. Not to mention there is a countless string of serious dog bites which were wrongly attributed to the Pit Bull by media both in NZ and overseas. The people discrediting myths are largely veterinarians and dog handlers plus the countless millions of Pit Bulls themselves going through life without ever stepping out of line – not journalists and politicians without an ounce of an understanding of canine anatomy or behaviour. If you had disagreed with what I wrote, all you had to do was point out where.

    BTW I actually had a quick look for information regarding the person supposedly shot 16 times by a Pit Bull which refused to let go of its grip, and I didn’t find anything. Since you never posted any links in your reply, the logical conclusion to make would be that, you were being less than honest in your stating of the facts.

    Perhaps the answers can be found on this site?
    http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com

    Regards.

  30. 30

    There are two elements that determine a dogs final character….genetics and its enviroment.
    Some dogs like pitbulls are bred to kill, some to retrieve (labradors), others to work sheep.
    The enviroment modifies these chracters but when the chips are down, when instinct takes over the dog reverts to type….what it is bred for genetically.
    That is why it is unwise to let your guard down around a pitbull or any other dog for that matter with a genetic predisposition that has been selected to fight, maim and kill.

    Alistar M McKellow BVSC BA Dip Acupuncture
    Veterinarian
    RNZSPCA Mobile Clinic

  31. I have a Sharpei crossed, with what I’m told, a pit bull. In all the above peoples expert opinion should I have him put done on the assumption that all pit bulls crossed or not are dangerous?

  32. i have a pit bull at home & guess what he’s a calm & loving dog. I don’t know how many times i’ve been near his face & his mouth & he hasn’t once tried to bite my face off he never bites always lick lick lick. & i love him dearly by the way im 13 which means pit bulls are not people aggressive.
    Blame the deed not the breed !
    & by the deed that means the owners who teach these pit bulls how to fight & be aggressive.
    If people weren’t so ignorant & actually cared for the breed maybe they wouldn’t have such bad rep,maybe they wouldn’t be in dog fights.
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31593333&id=1045587048&ref=fbx_album#!/group.php?gid=146346472048183
    Join this group on facebook if you believe that pit bulls are a good breed:

  33. Ban pit bulls and another breed will just take its place. They are not frenzied monsters that will rip a child’s face off at any given moment, it’s the owners that want a tough looking macho dog and have encourage aggression as well as not socialising their dog. In the 70’s Doberman’s were the “aggressive breed” followed by the German Shepard in the 80’s then the Rotweiler in the 90’s guess what dog it is now? I own an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier (close relative of the pit bull) who has a much nicer temperament then my previous dogs which were a Jack Russell and a lab cross. My Staff has never bitten or growled at anyone nor attacked other dogs.

    As stated in a previous comment, check out http://www.atts.org/ or http://www.badrap.org.

  34. for a start the owner of this site might want to get his facts straight….the pit bull was not developed in america it was developed in england and ireland and have been around since record suggests the 1700’s and it was a cross between a terrier and the olde english bulldogge which dates back not on record but tapestry,to ancient roman times!!!!! you need to stop trying to pull the wool over everybodys eye’s the labrador is higher on the dogs that bite list than a pit bull.all dogs are dangerous under given situations.and by the way as far as psi on bite strength the pit bull maybe up there but its only between the 250 to 300 pounds per sqaure inch which is a scientific fact the rottwieller has a stronger bite than a pitbull on average by 50psi and that’s miles away from your 2000psi dont you think?????????? so if you want to do some actual research brian instead of listening to people that blow thing’s out of control you might actually find the truth dont you think so anybody who listens to you is being grossly misguided.i could point holes in your lies all day but i wont that was just a few points.so at the end of the day any dog is dangerous and predatorial towards little people i.e kid’s and a dogs undeniable underlying pack mentality will preside in given situations.this is the essence of any breed and you cannot breed it out,after all they are canid’s at the end of the day.so i think you should stop being predjudistic dont you think? it’s naivity that put’s dog’s of any breed in a situation where it can be dangerous to any human.new zealand need’s educated and responsible dog owner’s not misinformed pervert’s like yourself

    • new zealand need’s educated and responsible dog owner’s not misinformed pervert’s like yourself

      You’ve clearly demonstrated the level of education required.

  35. Sorry but I love my Pit Bull cross and I would never own any other breed. In a good home they are gentle, loving and trustworthy dogs that make excellent family pets.

    Pit Bull ancestery goes back to Britain to the dogs used for bullbaiting. These old bulldogs were very similar to todays pit bull and bred as powerful dogs with strong jaws to latch onto the bull they were baited against.

    The British Bulldog was created by crossing the Bulldog with Pugs.
    The Pit Bull was created by crossing the Bulldog with various terriers for fighting.
    The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was created by crossing the Bulldog with various terriers for fighting.
    The English Bull Terrier was created by crossing the Bulldog with the English White Terrier for fighting.
    The Bull Mastiff was created by crossing Bulldogs with Mastiffs for guarding.
    The Boxer was created by crossing Bulldogs with Bullenbiessers for fighting and guarding.
    The American Bulldog is a direct decendant of these original bulldogs.

    Get the point? How can just Pit Bulls be considered dangerous when all these other breeds have similar ancestory? Whats more is that in 1936 the American Kennel Club decided to allow Pit Bulls into their registery as American Staffordshire Terriers. The pit bull chosen to base the breed standards on was a dog called Primos Choice and the first Pit Bull to be registered as an AmStaff was Pete from The Little Rascals.

    GENETICALLY PITS AND AMSTAFFS ARE STILL THE SAME!! Why?? Because the two breeds are so closely related there is currently no DNA test that can determine which is which. Yet one is banned and the other isnt. Makes sense huh? (not)

    Sorry but Pit Bulls are the most abused breed on this planet and get so much bad rap which is completely unfounded. Pit Bulls do not even have jaws stronger than some other breeds: their bite force is 235 lbs. Heres the bite forces of some other breeds:
    Mastiff: 556 lbs
    Rottweiler: 328 lbs
    American Bulldog: 305 lbs
    German Shepherd: 238 lbs

    This is a lovely breed that deserves love, respect and understanding – not hate. At the end of the day there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner.

  36. communist website, there is a thing call freewill and when dogs to attach people the owners should be punished not the dog, remember it is an animal and always will be, they have a right to live just as much as a human and they are consider some form of property which can be owned meaning the owner should be punished. new zealand may be a weak country but thats because we need common law!! – law of the land!

  37. pitt bulls. U have 2 love them. The best looking dogs u will ever c. Aggresive and powerfull what more could a man want. They r not dogs 4 pen pushing dickheads they r real dogs 4 real men.