Monday, May 24, 2010

Pit Bulls Only Breed to Maul

I am oh so very tired of the worn argument that Pit Bulls are the only dogs capable of inflicting massive damage on a human being. I have yet to read any statistical data that indicates Pit Bulls inflict massive damage at a more frequent rate than other breeds. It may be out there. Show it to me if it is.

This little toddler in Odessa may disagree about the first sentence. In April, he was savagely mauled by his grandmother's cattle dog. When I say savagely mauled, I mean that. This was not one dedicated bite, this was a prolonged, devastating attack. The child needed nine hundred stitches. Nine hundred, people. The most recent news is sad - the little boy is still alive but his left eye will be removed. He suffered extensive brain trauma as well. The medical bills are over a million dollars.

This 12-yr-old girl may feel differently about the notion that Pit Bulls can only inflict significant harm. She was bitten in the face by a Labrador Retriever and needed one hundred stitches to close the wounds.

Or perhaps this 2-yr-old may argue (if he could speak) that it wasn't a Pit Bull who tried to kill him, it was a German Shepherd Husky Mix who inflicted two hundred stitches worth of damage.

If you have a theory that states "X Breed should be banned because they are the only ones capable of inflicting significant trauma" then perhaps you need to rethink your theory. Or, you need to hold true to your anti-dog zealotry and include Labs, German Shepherd Husky Mixes, and Cattle Dogs in your quest to ban breeds or mixes that can cause severe damage to peoples' bodies.

Otherwise, your theory rings hollow. It takes one exception to prove it wrong. I've provided three. I can provide more. I am not stating Pit Bulls cannot cause severe physical damage. They can. I am stating that if your position is Pit Bulls should be banned b/c they are the only ones capable of dedicated and savage attacks, then you have to expand your horizons and include all other breeds whose individual members have caused significant harm. It would be only fair.


Jen said...


Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Obviously larger dogs are most likely capable of doing more harm than toy breeds -- but there are litterally dozens of breeds of dogs that can inflict significant harm if the wrong set of circumstances exists.

The Blue Heeler incident involved a toddler that fell on the dog, hurting it, and causing it lash back at the child (severely as you point out).

The Lab was chained, often teased by children, and a girl who was told to not go up to the dog did anyway.

The 2 year old stepped on the tail of the GSD mix and it lashed out.

All were preventable. All were tragic. And none had anything to do with breed. They never do.

Ashley (the mom), Dixie (the Catahoula) and sometimes Lola (the Pit Bull) said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who assumes that a species with that type of dentition can only cause extensive damage if they are a certain type is insane. Size can definitely change the severity but not breed.

Lauren said...

I, too, am tired of the argument! Great post- as usual!
Here are two more examples of other breeds involved with attacking:

This article involves a police dog, a lab I think, attacking a child after being let off his leash. Never is there mention of him being euthanized. I don't care if he was a police dog--> if a pit had done that he would be put down immediately.

Art said...

I have never heard the argument that ONLY pit bulls can cause severe injury.

The argument is that pit bulls cause many more severe injuries, maulings, and deaths than other breeds.

from 1982 to 2009 in North America - Labradors inflicted severe bodily harm 31 times including 3 deaths.

In the same period, GSD mixes inflicted severe bodily harm 37 times including 7 deaths.

Huskies inflicted severe bodily harm 49 times including 17 deaths.

During the same time period, Pit bulls inflicted severe bodily harm 1,451 times including 153 deaths.

Study by Merritt Chase, editor of Animal People - this table covers only attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry

Even in the unlikely case that 2/3 of the pit bull identifications were erroneous, pit bulls would still have inflicted almost 10 times more severe injuries than huskies.

Mary said...

Merritt Clifton's methodology is profoundly and dangerously flawed. There is a reason why the CDC stopped using media accounts to record dog bites.

Rinalia said...

@Art: It's an argument that is frequently proffered as to why Pit Bulls should be singled out. It is always presented when a city is trying to ban a breed that comprises a small percentage of dog bites.

Please try to share with us a more valid data set than the fallacious, made up information of Clifton. He does not cover attacks by "clearly identifiable" breeds. He just uses media reports as data, which is not a source that would be considered acceptable by any peer-reviewed journal committee.

Corinne said...

As a victim of a 5 pit bull attack--these were off collar, off leash and un-muzzled in a public area, I have to agree the post is very good. The problem is never the dog. It's the owner. Banning the dogs is like banning guns. Only the bad people will have them. That said, the previous post that the MAJORITY of maulings is from pit bulls is correct, sadly.

Anonymous said...

Art: so just for an example. In my town, there has been only ONE newspaper story in the last 10 years or so about a serious dogbite incident. ONE. There are dozens of serious dogbites every year in this small town. Guess the "breed" of the dog involved in the published story.

If Clifton was using my town as an example, he would claim that EVERY dogbite incident involved a pit bull, because he extrapolates that way.

See why we doubt the statistics you're using?

PoochesForPeace said...

Do you mind if i "share" this link on my facebook? You make the point so perfectly!

Me said...

Art, one of the myriad problems with your argument is that these are the 'pit bulls' you're talking about:

Breed identification in the media

These are just a few examples of some of the breed identification of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans in recent years. That's a very small sample group, so even this relatively small number of examples make your statistics worthless.

And I have never seen a study of dog bites by breed that did not rely on media accounts.