Talking Breed Ban In Chicago, Again....STOP! BSL Doesn't Work

Talking Breed Ban In Chicago, Again....STOP! BSL Doesn't Work
This might be called a Pit Bull by those who don't know, it's actually an Alapaha Blue Bulldog. Maybe this dog is more agressive than the Pit Bull who lives down the street, Maybe there's a Standard Poodle that's more agressive. It's not about the breed - even when you can identify the breed.

Whenever something like this happens - some members of the public over-react, and public officials respond in kind - well meaning....but not effective. Banning a breed (Pit Bull-type dogs always among them) never solves a thing. It's a response - but not an effective one, not hardly.

The owner of the two Pit Bulls that were shot by police after  attacking a jogger along the South Shore (7715 D. South Shore Drive) on Monday, January 2. The dogs' owner, Jimmy Johnson, has been ticketed for for failing to restrain his dogs, and not having the required city dog licenses, according to the Chicago Tribune. The man attacked remains in critical condition. Johnson was ticketed twice for each dog, according to Chicago Police News Affairs.

I'm surprised but pleased with the weight of the potential fines, $30 to $200 for failing to license each dog, and $300 to $10,000 for failing to restrain each dog (allowing them to roam). Police did consider escalating the charges and fines, but there was no indication that Johnson actions were intentional. Apparently, someone had left the gate open allowing the dogs out.

Apparently, Johnson voluntarily came forward, and he has no prior history of dog-related violations.

Having said that, apparently these dogs were dangerous and had quite the prey drive - to take down a jogger and maul him so seriously. According to reports, the dogs were tenacious. Also, there are media reports of stray or roaming dogs threatening people in the area repeatedly. Were these same dogs the culprit? And, if true, why didn't animal care and control follow up?

No matter what the answers turn out to be - banning Pit Bulls (or dogs you think might be part Pit Bull) just won't do anything.

- Breed bans have been attempted and continue in towns around the country, but don't work to limit violent dog attacks. Some bad guys (including those that fight dogs) simply go even further underground. They are not dissuaded. And violent dog attacks continue.

- Good owners with good Pit Bulls (the vast majority) would be forced to give up their dogs or move. And many may choose the latter. No doubt at least some of these owners will challenge in court, (if there is a breed ban) and cities spend a lot dealing with these court cases.

- In general consider Michael Vick - the dogs used for dog fighting (not all Pit Bull type dogs are used for this purpose, of course) are victims as well. What happens to dogs when a dog fighting rink is broken up?

-  What's a Pit Bull anyway? I know, there's a certain look - but there are so many instances of residents being forced to give up Pointer mixes or Boxer mixes or whatever....just because someone believes - correctly or not, that dog is part Pit Bull. These dogs are described based on a general look or phenotype. However, phenotype is not directly related to genetics. For examples, many street dogs in Spain look part Chihuahua, and they are not - they just have that look.

- Mandatory Spay Neuter has been suggested by a few Aldermen in Chicago over the past few years and was supported strongly by the person now in charge at Animal Care and Control - but this doesn't work. Use some common sense, will bad guys who think nothing of shooting people, stop and say 'no my, I must neuter my attack dog?' Of course, it's not only about bad guys - but the presumption is that neutering lessons dog attacks, because neutered dogs are not aggressive. This is an absolute fallacy. Don't get me wrong, I am all for spay/neuter, and glad we have a system in Chicago where if you do comply, the dog tag is less money. Mandatory spay neuter offers a laundry list of unintended consequences, from lowering veterinary visits (and fewer rabies vaccines as a result also is a public health issue) to issues dealing with feral cats.

I really hope I don't have to testify in City Hall, and attempt to rally....Overturning a proposed breed ban was how the Task Force in Chicago on Companion Animals and Public Safety began - it is now dissolved, thanks to some to worked for that to happen.

I do endorse looking at why the most serious of dog attacks occur, any dog of any breed or mix. What follows isn't in any particular order.

-I'll begin with dogs the community knows are a danger but police, animal control, whoever does nothing though there have been complaints...It's like that stop sign residents know should be there...but it doesn't go up until someone gets killed.

-Dogs purposefully trained as dangerous weapons - and guess what some become just that.

- Unsocialized as puppies, they may be maladaped to cope as a result as they become adults. And genetics does play a role in temperament.

And if you pay attention to science - there are more facts....as mentioned dogs you call Pit Bulls may not even have Pit in them....Pits are generally actually VERY good and with people (though potentially 'iffy with other dogs), children in particular, when well socialized....Pit Bulls and mixes don't have locking jaws. Pit Bulls and mixes don't require more protein than any other dog. What is true is that they are strong dogs.

Professionals who deal with dogs daily (veterinarians, groomers) when mentioning breeds they cite 'concerns' about don't typically even include 'Pits' on the list. There is NO science do demonstrate Pit Bulls and Pit Bull-mixes may more likely be inherently dangerous; there is science to demonstrate such thinking is not true.

I have no idea how these two dogs got out, or if it is has happened before. I think that's key concerning these dogs, and also why they responded SO agressively, which is not 'natural' for any dog except those with keen prey drives (since the jogger was presumably running when he was attacked).

It's a tragic story. It never should have happened....but let's not blame what would amount to over a thousand dogs for the actions of two.

 

 

 

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    BSL's only punish good pet owners and good dogs! don't let BSL happen in chicago and/or the suburbs. I have a 10 year old American Bulldog... a gentle giant! I would move before giving him up. Punish the people who mistreat, fight or abuse thier dogs. Also education to the general public would be beneficial! Don't run when confronted by a loose dog... stand firm and they won't bother you, running is never good. Also in the winter people have thier faces covered and wear bulky clothing this can scare some dogs. Lets use our brainpower and find a solution that holds people responsible not animals for thier actions. Keep us posted, dog lovers must come forward and save a good breed from malignment and prejudice. Go visit a shelter and look at the faces of dogs that deserve and want love but only face fear and hatered. People are the problem!

  • It cannot be argued that some breeds are more aggressive than others. I'd like to see how many dog attacks come from these aggressive breeds - like Pit Bulls - compared to other known, more docile breeds.
    The painful truth is that these dogs have historically been bred to be violent. Yes, many are gentle but many more are not. It's just like a wild animal - you can train them all you want but something in their makeup tells them to be hunters. And, eventually, that's what they will do.
    I would have no problem "grandfathering" in dogs that do not have a violent history. But moving forward, I think these aggressive breeds should absolutely be banned, particularly in high-density cities. I should not have to live in fear when I want to go running in my neighborhood, that a "bad" dog will take me down. And you can try to educate the public as much as you want - when a dog is chasing you down it's very difficult not to panic and run. But the question is, why should I have to "stand my ground" in the first place? I feel for those people who own these breeds and feel that they are being unjustly targeted. But I feel much more for the people who are maimed or killed by dogs - dogs proven to be aggressive time and time again.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    Hey Sound Citizen,

    It's hard for me to hear you characterize Pit Bulls as "wild animals" when they, or a version of them, have been bred as domestic animals since the time of Shakespeare.If we were talking about wolves or wild dogs then I could support your argument but the fact is that Pit Bull "types" of dogs are domesticated.

    Steve has pointed out many times that BSL just doesn't work for many reasons but why do we keep coming back to the ban or don't ban argument? IMHO it is mainly motivated by fear and what could happen as opposed to science and what does happen. If we are talking history, go back through ours as a nation or a species and try to find out how many fear based initiatives worked out for the greater good. To ban a breed or a type of dog because of the actions or misuse by a few individuals( be that dog or person) can be equated to banning cars because people regularly get injured or killed by cars. I understand and respect the fact that you do have fears and concerns but we must be able to look past those if we are truly wanting to find a solution instead of rallying behind an ineffective band-aid. Steve knows what he is talking about when he says that BSL just doesn't work. Be open to alternative solutions. Thanks.

  • In reply to CDignan:

    CDignan,

    I am completely open to any solution that keeps dangerous dogs off the streets. And I realize that's a broad statement that many have probably made before. Perhaps a better process of registration would help.
    I understand that these dogs have been around for a very long time and were not always bred to be violent. But today, that's where we are. And because these dogs are so powerful, it's a problem.
    This is a very extreme example, but just to illustrate my point a little: Let's say people were training Dachsunds to fight. An aggressive, formerly abused Dachsund might take a chunk out of my calf - but it won't kill me.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    SoundCitizen,
    I usually do not respond to comments by people who are uneducated on the subject but feel the need to set the record straight on this one. Not only am I a trainer and know more about dog behavior than 99% of the public but I also run a Chicago bully breed rescue AND grew up with Labs and Golden Retrievers and have since changed my breed of choice to bully breeds. I have 2, extremely well behaved “pit bull type” dogs. What is a pit bull type dog anyway? I’ll tell you-it’s some sort of mix that has short hair that any “uneducated Joe” can call a pit bull. Many are mixes of American Pit Bull Terriers, Pointers, Mastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers, Boxers, Great Danes, American Bulldogs and even your precious Labs!! I know because I see them walk through our doors every day. I am also going to state that my little sister was bit by one of our Goldens and my friend attacked as a child by our Chocolate Lab needing many stitches in her head. Also, that as a trainer, I see every breed of dog come through our door that has issues with people and/or other animals. These are not the points that I am basing my argument on, simply stating where I come from. So then, let’s talk FACTUAL statistics, not those that the media spews on a daily basis. If you don’t know that blood sells stories than you are blind. There has also been stories that have run pointing out the fact that since blood sells and “pit bulls” are on high demand right now that news stations and papers ONLY want to hear about those stories-not the ones that include “ordinary” or “docile” breeds during attacks. Again, to someone who doesn’t know anything about pit bulls except what they hear on the news, this also is not convincing. I would also like to comment on your comment that these dogs were breed to be violent. Although their past includes fighting other animals, that is not the same gene as human aggression and it NEVER crosses over. This breed is on a spectrum of tolerance to other animals-some being completely fine, some choosey about their dog friends, and some intolerant of other dogs. As with all breeds, they should be docile with people and if they are not, you should seek professional help.

    Please take a look at these links. This is the factual evidence behind dog bite fatalities done by the National Canine RESEARCH Council. You will see that the overwhelming majority of what the media reports is later falsified. Of the miniscule 33 fatalities due to dogs in 2011 (even if all of these involved pit bull type dogs, which they didn’t-there are approximately 5 million registered in America), only 7 of these dogs were actually family pets. The other 26 were kept as resident dogs. What that means is that they live in a backyard, basement, or at the end of a chain and are either starved, neglected or abused OR a combination of all of them. Due to their “badass” look and stereotype the scum of society keep them as lawn ornaments and they detiorate mentally and physically and then unfortunately, escape or have unattended children wander into the yard. Also I challenge you to check out The Pit Bull Placebo by Karen Delise who has done research for the National Canine Research Council for many years. It talks about the media, myths, and politics of canine aggression. Please take a minute to looks over these facts. You can also go to any Chicago land shelter and meet one of these "vicious" dogs. Until you do, I don't think you can sit at your computer and talk about what we should do with them.

    http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/NCRC%20Preliminary%20Report%202011.ashx.pdf

    http://www.amazon.com/Pit-Bull-Placebo-Politics-Aggression/dp/0972191410

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    So by your reasoning almost all dogs should be banned. Most terriers were bred for their tenacity and used to kill rodents and other small animals. Should we ban them because of this? I suppose all hunting dogs must be banned as well. All dogs bred for guarding should be banned too.
    Humans are much more violent than animals and some enjoy killing. Should we ban all humans? After all we completely eliminated the neanderthals and have spread all over the world killing anything that blocks us even committing genocide.

  • Yes. I see your points. After all, you see as many Irish Setters and Labs attacking people as pits and pit mixes. Oh wait. That isn't true.

    If "pet people" do not come up with proactive ways to address issues like these attacks, non pet people are going to, and that is going to be worse. Just saying no to everything is not going to work.

  • In reply to dforgue:

    dforgue,
    Pit bulls generally pass temperament tests in much higher percentages than almost all breeds. Also, you mention pit bull to the media and they will jump on it like fly on poop. It's sensational and draws viewers. They mention two Labs attacking a runner and they will just plainly ignore it. Hell these days there are numerous shootings all over Chicago every day but they NEVER mention it!! However, if a pit bull bites a child it'll be in the news on every channel.. I mean entertainment media outlets. They don't report news they report what they think will draw ratings.

  • In reply to dforgue:

    "After all, you see as many...Labs attacking people as pits and pit mixes. Oh wait. That isn't true."

    Actually- it is:
    http://omaha.com/article/20110714/NEWS01/707149828

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    As Steve says, most dogs identified as "pit bulls" are mixed breeds, they may have what is known as a bully breed behind them, but they are often just big mutts. For some reason people think it's "cool" to refer to them as a pit bull. Even so, these types of dogs require proper socialization and training like any dog. Properly socialized dogs do not attack humans without provocation.

    That being said, why is it so often joggers that are attacked... because they are running.

    If a dog is going to attack you, the last thing you want to do is run unless you're right next to a doorway or fenced in area. The average human is not going to be able to outrun most dogs. The instinct to chase is a strong one.

    Stand still and if you know you are about to be attacked, curl up and protect your vital organs. But do not run away from a dog.

    And they need to enforce the laws currently on the books. Dogs need to be confined to their own property or on lead. They need to be licensed properly. Perhaps, the city needs to offer rebates on licenses to dogs that complete an obedience course, or Canine Good Citizenship degree. It already does this for neutered animals, this is just as important, if not more so.

  • Sound Citizen,

    I've taught dog obedience for 35+ years. I'm always amazed at what people consider acceptable behavior from dogs.

    Sorry, but the statistics on "aggressive" breeds do NOT reflect anything.

    - You're more likely to be hurt, or killed, on a bicycle than you are from a dog attack. Should we outlaw bicycles?
    - Most importantly about statistics on bites. There has never been a study that I know of that was a follow up to these incidents. WHY did the dog bite someone? Gang dog? Dog trained to fight? Dog that NEVER had any training? Abused dog? Etc.
    - Until we start finding out WHY these incidents are happening, banning any breed is irrelevant. I can take what you would consider to be a mild tempered dog such as a Lab or a Golden, and have them want to harm you. And no I wouldn't be simply making them a fear biter.
    - If you want to get a true feeling about all of this try being a dog trainer. Every time you start a new class, you have NO idea what you're in for. Having a dog come at you is not something that anyone wants to face.
    - Overall, I am appalled by the fact that some communities will not take action against dog owners who's dogs get out and are threatening people. (Algonquin has had one owner who's dogs have done this multiple times and the police there say there's nothing they can do. Huh?)
    - You can ban any breed you want. Where this has been done, it hasn't worked to any degree. The people who are causing these problems simply move on to other dog breeds. Ever face an aggressive St. Bernard? It's happening out there.

  • In reply to WOBrien:

    WOBrien,

    We're not discussing the statistics between bicycle accidents and dogs. We're talking about dogs. Although, maybe there are some statistics about aggressive dogs taking down bicyclists, too.
    But seriously, I can all but assure you that more people are maimed and/or killed by particular, known aggressive breeds - including Pits and varieties of them - than other dogs like Goldens or Dachsunds. I would welcome seeing something that proves otherwise. (Not trying to be snarky, I'd really be interested in some data.)
    The problem is that even when some of these dogs are rescued, there's still a very good chance they are dangerous. I live next to a rescued Pit Bull, and on more than one occasion I've had to wait in my stairwell while the owner wrangles his dog because it will not let me up the stairs. That's unacceptable. Unfortunately, this dog has been trained to be violent and likely abused. It's sad but it's also very dangerous. I'm also a dog owner but no dog - not even mine - is worth more than a human life.
    I don't know if a ban is a complete solution, but the way I see it, fewer aggressive dogs means fewer attacks from aggressive dogs.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    Sound Citizen,

    I mentioned bicycles to give you a perspective of the problem.

    The CDC has looked into the issue of dog bites NUMEROUS times. Their conclusion remains the same, BSLs don't work. They've looked at these bans throughout the world.

    Your assurance about which breeds bite is incorrect. What you are ignoring is a couple of things. #1 - Number of dogs of a particular breed born in a year. There are probably 10X more German Shepherd type dogs born every year than any of the "aggressive breeds". #2 - The vast majority of stats that I've seen do not even list "mixed breeds" as a classification. #3 - The people identifying the dogs many times don't know the various breeds of dogs (heck, I'm an AKC judge and there are some dogs that I'd have a hard time identifying).

    I used to do temperament evaluation for some rescue groups. If there's a group out there adopting out aggressive dogs, they are waiting to be sued. These groups are typically running on a shoe string. They can be held liable for bite incidents. The LAT thing that they need.

    For you last sentence. What prevents those folks from simply getting ANOTHER dog and having it be a problem?

    BTW. In my training career, I have told some people that I wouldn't trust their dog and suggested that they have the dog put down.

  • In reply to WOBrien:

    WOBrien,

    I completely respect your experience and knowledge, and absolutely appreciate your insight. I trust you when you say that total bans do not work, as I'm certain you know more about this topic than me - so, hopefully another solution can be found.
    But I strongly believe that some breeds are predisposed toward aggressive behavior no matter how they are raised - just as some wild animals are more aggressive than others. I don't know the genetic makeup of these dogs, so this may be somewhat irrelevant but, as an example: The Bull Shark is responsible for more attacks and deaths than any other shark. It also has one of the highest testosterone levels in the animal kingdom. I don't think that's coincidence, I think that's a particular animal that is innately more aggressive than another, similar animal.
    And dogs are, after all, animals.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    Are you sure it's the bull shark or the tiger shark? I've gone scuba diving with bull sharks in proximity and it was fine. If there were tiger sharks we'd never have gone in the water. Either way if you use testosterone as the reason how about just neutering all the dogs?

    By the way if you look into pit bull history you will see that yes they were bred for fighting but they also purposely bred them to NOT be human aggressive. They bred the dogs that they could grab during a fight and that wouldn't just snap at anything in a frenzy. Most dogs would bite anybody that touches them in a second.

    These days it's all the idiot backyard breeders and idiot owners that don't train and control their dogs that's causing the problems. Your neighbor needs to train their dogs it's plain and simple. If you take away the dogs from an idiot they'll get another dog that'll also then do whatever he feels like. The owner of the dogs involved in this incident should never be allowed to own another pet.

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    In reply to SoundCitizen:

    recently read the animal behavioralist have listed chihuahuas, jack russell terriers and dachshunds the most likely to bite.

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    In reply to SoundCitizen:

    You're a moron and I hope you get bit by one of those not threatening dog breeds right on your smug ass. Most people report a pit bull bite and they never confirm the breed of dog.

    I wanted to write something kind and diplomatic, but because of people like you i have to live in a nasty, outdated building in the ghetto, right in the middle of all the gang wars that go on in Clarendon park, because there aren't any nice, affordable buildings that allow bully breeds anywhere else in the city. So you can take your uneducated, unfounded opinion somewhere else and stop trolling.

    I won't even defend my dog, his reputation as the sweetest, most behaved dog at the dog park speaks for itself.

  • There are many facets of this debate that are analagous to the debate over gun control laws. Many more facets that are not analagous, and I am not trying to hijack here. What I am saying is do what is reasonable: Not a breed ban, but a viscious dog ban. Or a special permit, with special requirements. There are those who want a mean dog for protection, or just want one. Fine, make them pay. And then those who do not pay, fine the crap out of them. The guy whose dogs attacked the jogger should be held for atempted manslaughter.

    See, the guy who legally owns a firearm has to posess a special permit. If this guy then turns around and uses his firearm in an illegal fashion, he is held responsible. Do the same with viscious dogs.

    A ban isn't going to work. We live in a dangerous world. 10 out of 10 people will die from something. Best we can do is mitigate. And the above is a reasonable way to do so.

  • Maybe the owners of pit bulls or any aggressive dogs should be vetted better. To fine an owner after a tragic attack is not going to stop future attacks.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Sadly I bet there are people out there that now want a pit bull because of this attack to look all tough. This is exactly what the media outlets want because they want news that draw ratings.

  • Some stats: http://dogbitelaw.com/dog-bite-statistics/the-breeds-most-likely-to-kill.html

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    Phillips (dogbite law) is a lawyer.

    From the actual study.

    "Another concern is that a ban on a specific breed
    might cause people who want a dangerous dog to simply
    turn to another breed for the same qualities they
    sought in the original dog (eg, large size, aggression
    easily fostered). Breed-specific legislation does not
    address the fact that a dog of any breed can become
    dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From
    a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation
    in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites.

    There is NO proof that breed bans work.

    The study does not cover the entire US because some places don't keep these numbers.

    Stringent ownership dog laws (keeping your dog on leash, etc.) does more to bring these numbers down than BSLs.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    As I mentioned, any breed can be trained be to vicious. Quote from your website: "a 6-week-old baby, which was killed by her family's Pomeranian dog. The average weight of a Pomeranian is about 4 pounds, and they are not thought of as a dangerous breed. Note, however, that they were bred to be watchdogs" -- lets ban Pomeranian dogs as well.
    Another quote from your website:
    "In all fairness, therefore, it must be noted that:
    Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. The owner or handler most often is responsible for making a dog into something dangerous.
    An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous, as in the case of the Pomeranian that killed the infant (see above).
    Any individual dog may be a good, loving pet, even though its breed is considered to be potentially dangerous. A responsible owner can win the love and respect of a dog, no matter its breed. One cannot look at an individual dog, recognize its breed, and then state whether or not it is going to attack. "

    You cannot single out pitbulls!

  • In reply to llaneza9:

    llaneza9,

    I'd argue that the Pomeranian example is an extremely rare occurrence. Much rarer than pit bull attacks.

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    SoundCitizen,

    That's why I brought up bicycle accidents.

    From the numbers that you found, the average number of deaths from "pitbulls" in a year is 6. In Illinois, it's less than one on average. There are about 1300 deaths a year from bicycles.

    http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm

    In other words, you're 200X more likely to get killed on a bicycle than by a pit bull.

    For ALL dogs in the study, there were 238 deaths in a 10 year period. Bicycles were nearly 13 THOUSAND.

    For all of the dog breeds listed in the study, you're talking about MILLIONS of dogs. I'd say 238 deaths out of millions of dogs is rather rare.

  • In reply to WOBrien:

    WOBrien,

    I'm really struggling to see how bicycle accidents have anything to do with any of this, on any level.
    It's like saying more people die from cigarettes than handguns, when discussing the difference between deaths as a result of handguns versus shotguns.
    We're talking about the proportionate number of deaths or attacks related to particular dog breeds as compared to other dog breeds. Where does bicycles come in?

  • In reply to SoundCitizen:

    SoundCitizen,

    What we are talking about is known as actuarial tables. What is the probability of something happening. It is simply looking at anything and then saying what are my odds of being killed, hurt, or winning the lottery.

    The thought behind BSLs is that you are going to make the general population safer by enacting these types of laws. Speeding for example.

    I bring up bicycles as something that appears to be safe, but in fact is more likely to kill you than a pitbull attack. BTW. The study for bicycles is about helmets. ie. If more people wore helmets, fewer people would die.

    At the height of their popularity a few years ago, there were over 250,000 Rottweilers born every year. Assume an average age of 6 and you've got 1.5 MILLION Rotts around at any point in time. So if you had 150 deaths from Rottweilers, you're talking about a number that is inconsequential (from a statistics point of view). Same is true for pitbulls.

    If you truly look at the numbers, one of the highest groups for dog attacks is mixed breeds. And that group outnumbers pitbulls. So how would you outlaw mixed breed dogs?

    More to the point. Let's say that you enacted a law banning 9 MM guns. People would simply go to other guns. That law wouldn't stop murders. Similarly. If you enact a pitbull law, people will simply go to other dogs.

    That's the point. Want to see an aggressive St. Bernard? I have seen them and I don't want to see any more of them.

  • In reply to WOBrien:

    Also stating that any one breed is more aggressive based on bite numbers and NOT including total number of that breed in existence compared to every other breed is completely idiotic and only emotional. You'll simply conclude that the rarest of breeds are 100% safe since there aren't any bites recorded over any set time. Sadly pit bulls are extremely popular and there are imbeciles all over the city breeding them purely on looks and more idiots buying them to look all tough and promoting aggressive behaviors.

  • In reply to JayJay:

    Some breeds ARE more aggressive - numbers or no numbers. Dogs are bred to be more aggressive or less aggressive all the time. That's not being emotional, that's pure fact. That's why Michael Vick was killing "losing" dogs and breeding "winning" dogs.

    And WObrien, no. I do not want to see an aggressive St. Bernard, but thank you.

  • In reply to JayJay:

    yes - you are totally correct Jayjay

  • ANY dog owner of ANY breed should be held responsible for the behavior of their dog. Any breed can be trained to very vicious and dangerous, it is because the owners that allow them to be vicious. A woman in Europe was mauled by her Labrador and got a face transplant. People are the problem, not dogs.

  • SoundCitizen,
    I usually do not respond to comments by people who are uneducated on the subject but feel the need to set the record straight on this one. Not only am I a trainer and know more about dog behavior than 99% of the public but I also run a Chicago bully breed rescue AND grew up with Labs and Golden Retrievers and have since changed my breed of choice to bully breeds. I have 2, extremely well behaved “pit bull type” dogs. What is a pit bull type dog anyway? I’ll tell you-it’s some sort of mix that has short hair that any “uneducated Joe” can call a pit bull. Many are mixes of American Pit Bull Terriers, Pointers, Mastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers, Boxers, Great Danes, American Bulldogs and even your precious Labs!! I know because I see them walk through our doors every day. I am also going to state that my little sister was bit by one of our Goldens and my friend attacked as a child by our Chocolate Lab needing many stitches in her head. Also, that as a trainer, I see every breed of dog come through our door that has issues with people and/or other animals. These are not the points that I am basing my argument on, simply stating where I come from. So then, let’s talk FACTUAL statistics, not those that the media spews on a daily basis. If you don’t know that blood sells stories than you are blind. There has also been stories that have run pointing out the fact that since blood sells and “pit bulls” are on high demand right now that news stations and papers ONLY want to hear about those stories-not the ones that include “ordinary” or “docile” breeds during attacks. Again, to someone who doesn’t know anything about pit bulls except what they hear on the news, this also is not convincing. I would also like to comment on your comment that these dogs were breed to be violent. Although their past includes fighting other animals, that is not the same gene as human aggression and it NEVER crosses over. This breed is on a spectrum of tolerance to other animals-some being completely fine, some choosey about their dog friends, and some intolerant of other dogs. As with all breeds, they should be docile with people and if they are not, you should seek professional help.

    Please take a look at these links. This is the factual evidence behind dog bite fatalities done by the National Canine RESEARCH Council. You will see that the overwhelming majority of what the media reports is later falsified. Of the miniscule 33 fatalities due to dogs in 2011 (even if all of these involved pit bull type dogs, which they didn’t-there are approximately 5 million registered in America), only 7 of these dogs were actually family pets. The other 26 were kept as resident dogs. What that means is that they live in a backyard, basement, or at the end of a chain and are either starved, neglected or abused OR a combination of all of them. Due to their “badass” look and stereotype the scum of society keep them as lawn ornaments and they detiorate mentally and physically and then unfortunately, escape or have unattended children wander into the yard. Also I challenge you to check out The Pit Bull Placebo by Karen Delise who has done research for the National Canine Research Council for many years. It talks about the media, myths, and politics of canine aggression. Please take a minute to looks over these facts. Thanks for your time.

    http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/NCRC%20Preliminary%20Report%202011.ashx.pdf

    http://www.amazon.com/Pit-Bull-Placebo-Politics-Aggression/dp/0972191410

  • Also, any ridiculous site that puts dogs in order of most "aggressive" or "dangerous" is to strike fear into uneducated people from people who don't know what they are talking about-and unfortunately it works. Again, please look up the National Canine Research Council for proper statistics.

  • To assert that a dog has been "bred for years..." to do anything and expect that the breeding has been carefully managed to produce a particular behavior shows an unsophisticated understanding of dog breeding, dog genetics and dog behavior. Breeding dogs for a purpose behavior (in the case of this discussion, aggression) is considerably more difficult than breeding dogs for appearance. Call me cynical but I don't have much faith that the for-profit breeders responsible for all the $50/puppy litters have paid even a minute of attention to breeding appropriately for a purpose behavior. We can argue about statistics but that isn't going to keep any human or any dog safe from the irresponsible and reckless owners. The man who owned these two dogs completely disregarded any laws that govern responsible pet ownership. I don't believe he trained his dogs to do anything nor do I believe that he acquired the dogs from anybody who knew squat about purpose breeding dogs. Add to the discussion that "pit bull" isn't even a breed of dog and the "bred for..." discussion goes south in a hurry. To paint all dogs with the same brush as the two dogs involved in this incident is bad policy. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of dogs, pit bulls included, live out their lives quietly, humanely and companionably in homes and never make the headlines and therefore don't get counted in the statistics. Don't criminalize all dog owners for the criminal and neglectful actions of a few.

  • I apologize folks...spent too much of the day at the dentist (don't make me talk about that) and then got a hair cut...just catching up:
    Thank you all for your comments - no matter what you said, all voices should be heard.

    Sound Citizen - Your response is appreciated, but not totally sound. Chris' response to you is correct. First Pit Bulls are just domestic dogs. Of course, most of the street Pits are mixes - and a Pit is likely, maybe, could be or not a part of the mix when we identify a dog we thing is a Pit (a part of the BSL problem - who are you banning?).

    All dogs were indeed bred to do something from herd sheep to sit on laps. Sadly, Pit Bulls were bred to hold bulls by tethers in pits, and much later due to their tenacity and strength and LOYALTY TO PEOPLE were the dog of choice for dog fighting. They do not turn on their people.

    There are many Pit Bull type dogs in Chicago - 98 percent or more are wonderful - how is it fair (or even legal really) to penalize all? And as I said discerning what IS a Pit is even an issue.

    Aquinas - has a good idea about 'vetting' dog owners...but how? I mean, it should be a privilege to have a dog or cat - but not sure in reality how to do that...who would? Government? Hmmm...if Government does it - well, I think that answers that.

    Jay Jay is SO right...what happened is awful, tragic. Period. And should NEVER happen. But dogs are not robots. Still, though, I argue better behaved than people. This month, it's possible more people may be shot and killed for no good reason in Chicago alone, compared to the number killed by dogs nationwide in a year. There are about 60 million dogs in America - serious dog attacks like these (regardless of breed) are rare events - that is one reason why they make the news. SADLY, killings don't because we've become desensitized to hearing about just another shooting. That's a sad statement but apparently true.

  • So you know - several have brought this up ....and what I state below is fact.
    - The CDC no longer tracks (they haven't for years) breed accused in dog bite fatalities because they consider that information likely to be first inaccurate (people get the breed or mix wrong) and second irrelevant. It's irrelevant because the HSUS, AVMA and CDC combined research demonstrates breed is NOT a predictor (though human behavior in which dogs are raised is a predictor).
    - There is NO source that can tell you which dogs bite most often...CDC used to track fatalities and the breed (as mentioned above), but overall bites - there is no data on this. No one organization tracks this...So any website claiming to know - does not know. And if there was data (and again there is not), I'd wonder since people often guess the wrong breed. By people I mean police, hospital workers, person who was bitten.
    - Anecdotal but still worth mentioning EVERY poll of veterinarians, asking about the breeds they fear most - Bully breeds are never in the top-10. Never.

  • Illanza 9 "Any breed can be trained to very vicious and dangerous, it is because the owners that allow them to be vicious. A woman in Europe was mauled by her Labrador and got a face transplant. People are the problem, not dogs." - You are right - what you state is fact....

  • Sound Citizen - that dog in your building needs WOBrien as a trainer...that is SO not a Pit Bull issue, it's a training issue. That's inexcusable.

  • And finally, Gertie: I can't say it another better, thank you: "Don't criminalize all dog owners for the criminal and neglectful actions of a few."

  • 15 year old boy is shot in Chicago - made the news this morning but by tonight will be forgotten or tomorrow for sure....the dog story remains in the news - yet the dog attacks are far more rare, which is exactly why it remains in the news. But there is something wrong with this picture.

  • Sound Citizen - you are being taken in by hype. If you want to think Pit Bulls are inherently aggressive - fine - but it's your view, which flies in the face of science.
    Here's the science - aggression in dogs comes in two basic forms - aggression to people or aggression to other dogs...rarely are dogs both aggressive to people and also aggressive to other dogs....it's typically one or the other. Pit Bulls were bred to in some cases be aggressive to other dogs, and with terrier lineage - well many terriers do scrap with others of their own kind. Aggression to people is completely different. Yes, obviously, there are instances....but there are human aggressive dogs of many breeds and mixes.

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