Ferocious Dogs or Tail Wagging Puppies? Pit Bull Terriers Are Not the Aggressive Dogs Many People Believe Them to Be

morgan-wA Pit Bull Terrier is running towards you at full speed with teeth showing and barking loudly. You start backing away to avoid the onslaught, your brain flowing with adrenaline knowing that the dog is coming to attack. The Pit Bull jumps and lands on you as you sit down and laugh. Your two year old pet starts licking your face excitedly, wagging its tail in weed whacker fashion.

Pit Bulls have a bad reputation based mostly on how they look and stigmas attached to the breed. People see Pit Bulls only as fighting dogs or fearsome animals that will attack at any moment. These rumors are completely unwarranted. The way an animal acts is based on how the owner raises and treats them.

“It makes me mad because it’s the person that makes the dog the way it is,” said  Loy Norrix sophomore Briley Kruger. “It’s not the dog’s fault.”

Kruger has three dogs currently, one being a Pit Bull. His name is Fat Head AKA T-rex. Kruger met Fat Head when he was just a puppy six years ago and brought him home. She looked at all the puppies and spotted the smallest. She instantly fell in love with the smallest of them all and thought he was the cutest. Fat Head also plays with his companions, Booda, a Chinese pug, and Princess, a maltese. Whenever people come over, he greets them with kisses and tail wagging.

One rumor surrounding Pit Bulls is that they have a “lock jaw,” meaning the dog can lock its jaws so its mouth won’t open without incredible force. According to the SPCA, a study done by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D. concluded that Pit Bulls have no special mechanism or enzyme that makes their jaws lock.

There is a legislation called the  Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), that allows any housing complexes, towns and even cities to ban certain “power” breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Chow Chows, etc. This legislation was passed in hopes to limit the number of dog attacks, mainly from Pit Bulls, based on the stereotypes given to the breed by social media. However, there is no proof that this method has been effective other than to split apart families and their pets. Many cities also say that the dangerous breeds are not allowed, or have restrictions in order to have the “dangerous dogs” due to their perceived violent nature. If the breeds on the BSL are found, some cities may forcibly remove the dog or immediately euthanize it when caught on the streets.

However, these discriminatory laws are rarely based in science.

“…controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous,” The American Veterinary Medicine Association states.

Another example from the “New York Times,” of Pit Bulls turning from fighting dogs into family dogs is a scenario involving Michael Vick. Vick was a former NFL quarterback that hosted an illegal dog fighting ring. He was later arrested. Upon his arrest the Pit Bulls he owned for fighting were going to be euthanized, which is unfortunately the norm for seized fighting dogs. Many animal rescue organizations, like the Best Friends Animal Society, pushed to save the dogs. Best Friends gave them all evaluations to see if the dogs could be re-homed. Out of 47 surviving dogs, only one needed to be euthanized due to aggression towards people.

Georgia, one of Vick’s former dogs, is now giving sloppy kisses to those who meet her. She still bears the signs of abuse and torture with all of her teeth missing due to them being pulled, but Georgia is now a happy puppy once more. Ten of the twenty-two dogs taken in by Best Friends Animal Society, are now living in their forever home with no reports of biting.

According to the CDC, while dog bites are not uncommon, there is no proof that the majority, or even a good portion are from Pit Bulls. An article by Cesar Milan, a dog psychologist, titled the “History of Pitbulls,” goes into how the breed used to guard houses and people. Toddlers and babies were the most protected by this breed. ALTERNET also describes this breed as “the nanny dog,” due to their loyalty and friendliness to their families.

It’s true that Pit Bulls can be less tolerant of other dogs than some breeds, but so are Miniature Schnauzers and Jack Russell Terriers, as well as many more which are pointed out by the American Kennel Club.

Pit Bulls are not the scary, vicious breed media and common misconceptions make them out to be. A breed of dog should never be prosecuted for the stereotypes that are attached to them.

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