Monday, May 31, 2010

Tammy Devoll: Is Ownership of Pit Bulls Worth the Risk?

Didn't I just write about this? And didn't a commenter say that no one makes these kinds of arguments? Apparently people do.

Tammy Devoll has an opinion. Here's part of her opinion. If you are so inclined, you can read the rest of opinion here. You don't need to be inclined. In summation: Devoll doesn't like Pit Bulls, she doesn't like their owners, and you are practically a sex offender if you have a Pit Bull.
Any breed of dog will bite if provoked, however, the difference between a more docile breed is it will more than likely bite once and usually the bitten area will be a leg or a hand, not intentionally the neck as the pit bull targets.
 Ah, the magical "only Pit Bulls attack the neck/face and only Pit Bulls bite multiple times" argument.
On the other end are the Pit Bulls who aren't living up to Devoll's standards:
We have multiple exceptions on both ends of the spectrum- more docile breeds engaging in prolonged attacks on people's faces and less docile Pit Bulls not biting necks.

For Devoll to be right, she must reclassify breeds with individuals biting the neck of humans or biting more than once as less docile. She must then re-classify individual Pit Bulls who don't bite necks or only bite once as something else. More docile individual Pit Bulls? I'm not sure how the argument would flow.

Go pet your dogs. Try not to get bit in the neck. I mean, if I read this blog entry and thought it represented all dogs, I'd consider them pretty darn dangerous. I don't, of course. You probably don't either. But therein lies the problem with the microscope and slant of media bias. A picture is painted that is more impressionist than realist. This would be fine if we were talking about cotton balls. Not so fine when the painting results in the death of dogs, a reduction in public safety and discrimination.


Retrieverman said...


I want you to do me a favor.

Whenever you find a story about a golden retriever or a Lab mauling someone, please highlight it very strongly on your blog. I have a hard time finding and reading specific dog bite accounts. Otherwise, I'd do it myself.

People do not understand that goldens and Labs are losing their once stellar temperaments, and people are expecting too much docility out of a dog.

It's the exact opposite reputation that pits get, but I think it's just as much a distortion.

themacinator said...

interesting to hear this from retrieverman, because it's long been my pet theory- didn't realize it was already popular in the retriever world (i wanted to copyright it, dammit!)

i feel like labs are very likely the "next pit bulls" not in terms of media, necessarily, but in terms of sheer numbers, craptastic breeding programs, unreasonable expectations of owners, and their "throw-away-ability." i have seen too many labs bought because "they're good with kids" put in the back yard, expected to grow into wonderful stuffed animals as adults, and then brought to shelters because they're overgrown, undersocialized, rude adolescents, often with some kind of bite history under their belt due to a) bad breeding b) poor socialization c) lack of exercize d) lack of parental supervision etc. sound like what's going on with pit bulls?

anyway, that's really not your main topic, but i'm sort of ticked to see someone else bring it up, and i wonder if Ms Devoll thinks the risk of retriever ownership is worth the risk? what about the risk of irresponsible dog ownership?

Anonymous said...

Scottie, I think I've told you about the sharp-temperamented GR's I encounter in Colorado agility all the f'ing time. They are very intense, high drive.. and not at all nice to other dogs. I think they are intentionally bred for the drive, and carelessly bred for other aspects of the temperament. I don't think even highdrive field labs are supposed to be sharp with other dogs...

btw, what's the s*** Tammy is spewing about biting on the neck? Are dogs vampires now?


Lauren said...

Devoll is ignorant and her whole article is garbage.
I posted it on my blog as well with my own thoughts on it:
It irks me that articles like this make it in the paper. This woman clearly believes the hysteria the media stirs up before educating herself and gathering facts firsthand.
Here is another ridiculous letter, actually I think its worse and here is original article
Thanks for your posts, Rinalia!