Monday, October 5, 2009

Breed Identification in Adams County dog bite case

On October 2, a woman in Adams County, Colorado was walking to her car when two of her neighbor's dogs escaped from their backyard and attacked her. In addition to the physical assault, the woman suffered a heart attack due to the attack. She remains in critical condition at the hospital.

Both dogs are most likely intact, considering one is the son of the other. They appeared (from video) to have been resident dogs. These are dogs who may spend their entire lives on the same property but isolated from humans through chaining, tethering, crating, kenneling or never being permitted appropriate social interactions with humans. They are often further isolated through lack of exercise and socialization with humans.

Here are the dogs:

This is the smaller of the two dogs, an intact female named Roxy.

She is described as a Boxer-Pit Bull mix, Pit Bull mix and Boxer mix.

This is the younger, larger male dog, Brutus.

He is described as a Boxer-Pit Bull-Mastiff mix, Mastiff-Pit Bull mix, Bullmastiff-Pit Bull and Pit Bull mix.
Neither of these dogs are American Pit Bull Terriers, or pit bulls.They are mixed breeds with molosser characteristics found in multiple breeds.


News articles:
October 3, 2009 9NEWS - Dogs described as a Boxer-Pit Bull mix and Boxer-Pit Bull-Mastiff mix. (Photo of female dog)
October 3, 2009 DenverPost - Dogs described as Boxer Mix, Mastiff-Pit BUll mix
October 4, 2009 FOX31 - Dogs described as Boxer-Pit Bull mix and Boxer-Pit Bull-Mastiff mix. (Photo of male dog included) Updated on October 5, 2009. The original FOX31 October 3, 2009 article calls both dogs Pit Bull mixes.
October 4, 2009 ABC7 - Dogs described as Boxer-Mix and Pit bull-Mastiff mix (even though Boxer mix is described as the mother, the male/son dog does not have Boxer included in his lineage)(No photos)
October 4, 2009 CBS - Dogs described as Boxer mix and Mastiff/Pit Bull mix. (Picture of female dog)
October 5, 2009 DenverPost - Dogs described as Boxer mix and Bullmastiff-Pit bull mix

That's eight news articles with 2 breed mixes for the female and 4 breed mixes for the male.

Pit Bull is inserted in all but one news report (the original DenverPost article does not mention breed). Nevermind that these dogs are not, by any physical stretch, American Pit Bull Terriers or pit bulls. These dogs were owned by a person who never fixed a nearly foot-wide gap in his fence, a gap by the way, that the dogs had escaped out of before.

"However, he wouldn't go as far as to say pit bulls should be banned altogether. Right now, pit bulls are legal in unincorporated parts of Adams County."

And while breedist legislation is often vague enough to include dogs like these two as "pit bulls", no breed judge or anyone with an iota of experience with American Pit Bull Terriers would classify these dogs as pit bull terriers. They are mixed breeds, mutts, dogs who do not even have two purebred parents.

We have a dog attack that could have been prevented if only the large gap in the fence had been fixed and, more importantly, these two dogs were treated as companion animals, not resident lawn ornaments with dynamic behavioral patterns (unlike your lawn furniture which tends to just sit there on its own). Now a 70-yr-old woman is in the hospital dealing with the aftermath of human arrogance and egregious ignorance. I wish her a safe and speedy, or at least pain-free, recovery.


EmilyandLulu said...

I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that "pit bull" isn't being listed as the primary breed.

There is a scary new theme in lots of writing (terrierman is not the only one) about "pit bulls" that boxers and other molossers are pit bulls (or vice versa). That white boxer in Canada was an obvious victim of this mentality

And many savvy dog people just refuse to type the words "American pit bull terrier"... there's another theme that claims there is really no such thing.


Rinalia said...

Hey Emily, I grapple with the language issue a lot when writing. I've always considered "Pit Bull" = American Pit Bull Terrier and, since they can be dual registered and share common lines, American Staffordshire Terrier. But I often forget that when I type "pit bull", people think "general term" or "any dog with short hair/muscular physique" or "umbrella term, like 'retriever.'"

Legislation muddies up the issue greatly by including the American Bulldog, Bull Terrier and SBTs under the term "pit bull". Couple that with the debates that occur amongst dog owners/guardians about what constitutes a pit bull and we have a recipe for disaster when it comes to discussions with the public.

6p00d83451f90869e2 said...

My favorite was the one that called the mother dog a "Boxer mix" and the son a "pit bull/mastiff" mix.

I wasn't really sure how that was possible...but thought it was a great way to confuse HS biology students.

biggdogg2 said...

are boxer /pitbull mix allowed in Denver/ Aurora area?

biggdogg2 said...
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