The Problem With Pit Bulls

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The problem with pit bulls is that they simply aren’t just like other dogs:

Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention.

Clifton himself has been twice attacked by dogs (one pit bull), and part of his work involves logging fatal and disfiguring attacks. Clifton says that for the 32 years he’s been recording, there has never been a year when pit bulls have accounted for less than half of all attacks. A CDC report on dog-bite fatalities from 1978 to 1998 confirms that pit bulls are responsible for more deaths than any other breed, but the CDC no longer collects breed-specific information.

Another report published in the April 2011 issue of Annals of Surgery found that one person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, two people are injured by a pit bull every day, and young children are especially at risk. The report concludes that “these breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated.” That report was shared with TIME by PETA, the world’s largest animal-rights organization.

Pit Bull Attacks

“If you need a marker in your head for when pit bulls got out of control, it’s 2007 with Michael Vick,” Lynn says. Vick’s high-profile trial for dogfighting and cruelty to animals roused a growing sympathy for pit bulls, which led more people to adopt them and bring them into their homes.

“We need to get used to mauling injuries, because we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them,” warns Lynn. “Each of us will know a mauled, disfigured child by a known dangerous breed of dog. There will be one in every school.”

But what can be done about the growing number of pit bulls? Some say the best solution would be breed-specific sterilization, which would curb the pit-bull population and reduce euthanasia in shelters. Most dogs of all breeds are spayed and neutered — about 80%, by Clifton’s estimation. But only 20% of pit bulls are sterilized, partly because the population that owns pit bulls tends to resist the spay-neuter message. He notes that there are a number of free sterilization programs for pit bulls, including one run by the ASPCA, but that even the largest programs aren’t sterilizing enough pit bulls to reduce the number of shelter intakes.

Lynn agrees that breed-specific sterilization laws are the most humane and efficient way to deal with the situation and avoid having more dogs euthanized. “If you want to hit that ‘no kill’ status, you better do something about the pit-bull problem.” Pit bulls currently account for 63% of the dogs put down in shelters, but only 38% of the admissions. Lynn says that all pit bulls should be sterilized, except those that come from licensed breeders.

Even PETA, the largest animal-rights organization in the world, supports breed-specific sterilization for pit bulls. “Pit bulls are a breed-specific problem, so it seems reasonable to target them,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations. “The public is misled to believe that pit bulls are like any other dog. And they just aren’t.” Even the ASPCA acknowledges on its website that pit bulls are genetically different than other dogs. “Pit bulls have been bred to behave differently during a fight,” it says. “They may not give warning before becoming aggressive, and they’re less likely to back down when clashing with an opponent.”


  1. Magus Janus says:

    “only 20% of pit bulls are sterilized, partly because the population that owns pit bulls tends to resist the spay-neuter message.”

    Let’s all take a wild guess at the demographics of said population….

  2. Heh, I thought the satire went higher than that. Let me guess: they are going to found a charity called Planned Pitbullhood. Pitbull abortion clinics. Start shaming those deadbeat dogs with all their puppy-mamas. EBT dogfood. Obama dog beds.

  3. Steve Johnson says:

    “Let’s all take a wild guess at the demographics of said population….”

    What a dilemma for the left.

    Either acknowledge genetic differences in behavior in dogs or people.

  4. Faze says:

    Visited our municipal dog pound while researching an article. A vast room, with 80 cages, each holding a pit bull, abandoned and destined to be put down. In the pound’s low-cost community veterinary clinic next door, a drug dealer had brought his pit bull in for treatment of a wound he angrily asserted had been caused when a policeman hit the dog with a shovel during a raid. As the dealer told this story, a tear ran down his cheek; he bent over to hug the injured animal; as he did so, the back of his shirt rode up and I saw a pistol stuck in his waistband. After he left, the vet said that caring for wounded pit bulls was a large part of his work, and this guy was not untypical of their owners.

  5. FNN says:

    Libtards don’t see how many generations of selective breeding for what amounts to psychotic behavior could possibly have any negative effect.

  6. Dan Kurt says:

    Read another view of the Pit Bull. Search used book venues and obtain this book: The Dogs of Capitalism by Mitchel Jones.

    The author in the book promised a second book on the topic but nearly thirty years since the book was published it has not arrived. However, if you are interested in the breed the book is well worth reading.

  7. Alrenous says:

    I wonder what the pit bull attack rate looks like when controlled for race of owner.

  8. Slovenian Guest says:

    Fun fact: in Germany most owners of those so called “attack dogs” are police-known or have a criminal record. And just last September the German police shot two free-roaming Staffordshire bull-terriers in the middle of a city.

    It caused a big shit storm, people demonstrating and lighting candles for the dogs; it’s hilarious; the officers involved even received threats to their life!

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