Sun, May 13 2012 at 2:03 PM
What this article fails to mention is that many of the "pit bulls" blamed for dog attacks are not pit bulls, or even pit bull mixes. Most of the general public, including law enforcement and animal control officers, couldn't pick a pit bull out of a line up. Any dog with a box type head and muscular body is labeled as a pit bull or pit bull type dog. This includes lab mixes, shepherd mixes and retriever mixes. I have rescued and fostered dogs for years, and have seen more dogs mislabeled as pit bull or pit bull mix then I could count. Any time a dog behaves aggressively, has a stocky build and a boxy head, it is automatically labeled as a pit bull. In the vast majority of cases, the offending dog is an unaltered male that has received little to no socialization. Pair that with an unaltered female dog anywhere in the dogs vicinity, and you have a dangerous situation on your hands, no matter the breed of dog. In the vast majority of dog attack cases, the humans involved were at fault, whether they were the victim of the attack, the dog owner or the parent of the child attacked. Yes, the parents of the child are often at fault, whether it was their dog or not. Most parents fail to teach their children how to behave around a dog or how to approach a dog. I no longer take my dogs to the park because of this. I have had random small children run up to my dog and grab him from behind, as I'm walking him on his leash, with the parent standing close by. The parent generally thinks it's cute, saying "Awww he just LOVES dogs", never asking if the dog is friendly, if the child can pet the dog, or instructing the child in the proper way to meet a strange dog. I've had neighbor kids try to climb my fenced in backyard "to play with my dogs". I don't blame the kids, I blame the parents. If the dog hasn't been socialized around small children, the dog may not recognize them as harmless. Dogs that haven't been raised or socialized around children often view a small child as a prey item. They're small, they move quickly, they squeal and make loud noises, all of which can trigger a dogs prey drive. ANY dog breed. If the dog runs out of nowhere and attacks a child or other person, then it is the fault of the owner. It is the owners responsibility to ensure that their dog is properly confined. It is the owners responsibility to ensure that their dog is properly socialized and well mannered, so that should it escape it is not a danger to those around him. Unfortunately, the dog is the one that pays the price for human ignorance. Dogs don't generally just suddenly snap and attack without warning. I guarantee that for every dog attack, the dog owner had some sign prior to the attack, oftentimes many prior warnings that were ignored. Bulldogs and terriers, the two breed types that comprise pit bulls, are NOT labs or golden retrievers. The breeds are generally willful, stubborn, tenacious, and determined. They are also extremely loyal and family oriented. Lazy, soft willed people should NOT own these dogs. They need interaction with their families, guidance, and a firm hand. They are a hands on breed. They are not "soft" dogs that will obey simply because you want them to. You must EARN their respect and your position as pack leader, or they will ignore you and do their own thing. Most people are NOT willing or able to do this, or they try to establish their leadership through force. We love this breed because they have minds of their own, the relationship is based on mutual respect. We love that once you earn the respect and affection of this breed, they are incredibly loyal and loving. We love the intelligence, athleticism, and willingness to please that they offer.