Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sure. You just go right ahead

...and adopt one of Michael Vick's fighting pit bulls.

Let's take a volatile breed, raise a stock of specimens which are selected for ruthless fighting, mistreat them, teach them to fight, and then try to place them as somebody's family pet.

Or make them a police dog. (Nice.)

Who the hell are these "experts"? They are a "team of dog behavioral experts assembled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals." Evidently, their certifications were made available with a purchase from Frito Lay Corp.

Look, I'm not actively trying to ban the breed altogether. While I have no use for pit bulls, and am constantly tired of having everything from a shar pei to a chihuahua on the loose described to me by frantic citizens as "a mad pit bull," I'm not trying to put them all down. In enclosures? Yes. Down? Not necessarily.

But here, we've got dogs selected to fight. Mistreated, so they'll fight. Okay, okay, if you want to drink the Kool-Aid of those who claim "pit bulls aren't all fighting dogs!" then, fine. You do that. But this particular subset of 'em sure was.

It's not their fault. I understand that.

But they're not human beings. We have options available to us.

Put them down cleanly, and humanely. And prosecute folks that intentionally breed fighting dogs to fight.

Because I'll tell you right now, if those dogs get placed, someone will get hurt because of it. And I will without hesitation immediately put down those 70 dogs preemptively, rather than risk one little girl's face.

Why are people overthinking this?

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21 Comments:

At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

Matt,
we had a family in my district that 'rescued' a pit/boxer/chow mix. When they rescued it, it had been tied on a chain, taunted, teased, and fed only from a distance.

They did take care of it, and it was "OK" for them to be around, no one else. One day the daughter, the cutest little 6 year old girl in a blue dress, picked up the dogs toy. The dog mauled her requiring lots of facial surgery, over several years.

I still see her occasionaly, the family likes to visit the fire station and brings cookies every Christmas. You can still see the scars, if you know where to look. Luckily, the surgeons did a great job.

Your right in your observations. Vicks animals, and many like them, can't help what they are. However, it would be a goodness to humanly put them down, to remove them from theirs, as well as our danger.

Mr Fixit

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 1:32:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

An American Staffordshire Terrier, raised from a pup in a loving home, is going to be slightly more dog-aggressive and slightly less people-aggressive than your typical dawg.

Take that same pup and raise it in a brutal environment, and you've got a grenade with the pin half-out.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 2:09:00 PM, Blogger Sailorcurt said...

I agree with you completely about these specific dogs, if they were mistreated as much as the media has depicted, they are ticking time bombs.

However, pit bulls in general were bred to fight other dogs, not humans...in fact, they were bred specifically to be very loyal and not aggressive toward humans.

The problem is that most people don't understand dogs and how they think. All dogs are capable of aggression and violence. Even chihuahua's have sharp teeth and claws and generally aren't afraid to use them...they are just small enough to punt.

As pack animals, dominance and their position in the pecking order are very important to dogs.

Pit bulls especially are a very dominant breed and will assert their dominance if they are allowed to.

The dog that attacked the little girl may have not intended to hurt her at all, he was most likely just under the mistaken impression that he was dominant over her, she was messing with his stuff and he was just putting her in her place as dogs do to inferior members of the pack.

Another dog would have shaken his attack off with a few scratches. A thin-skinned little girl, however, didn't fare so well.

Raising aggressive, highly dominant dogs around children must be approached correctly...much effort must go into teaching the dog that they are on the bottom of the dominance chain, not the middle and definitely not the top.

That is the biggest mistake that people make with these breeds that can lead to attacks.

If you understand them and know how to raise them properly, Pit Bulls are wonderful, loving, affectionate, loyal and intelligent dogs. But if you don't know how to deal with the aggressiveness and establish dominance, a rabbit may be a more appropriate pet.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 2:20:00 PM, Anonymous Rabbit said...

That's why I don't raise Spitzes anymore. They're beautiful little fluffy white dogs that have a (from initial appearances) wonderful smile until they rip your face off. I loved Spitzes, but they can be too much like a Maverick missle with a faulty guidance system. It's gonna go off, you just don't know when or where.

That's why I have a Siberian Husky now, in addition to the Fox Terror and Labrador. Stability and predictability.

Regards,
Rabbit.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 2:22:00 PM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

I've trained upwards of thirty "pit bulls" in my former career. Not a single one was aggressive to humans, although most of them were prone to fighting other dogs.

I've been bitten by more pretty Golden Retrievers than all other breeds combined.

In the great nature vs. nurture debate, I'd say nurturing accounts for about 95% of canine behavior.

Which is why every single one of Michael Vick's dogs should be euthanized.

Right after Michael Vick. Throw in Stephon "hunting and dogfighting are equivalent" Marbury, too.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 2:36:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

"However, pit bulls in general were bred to fight other dogs, not humans...in fact, they were bred specifically to be very loyal and not aggressive toward humans."

Whether or not I aggree with you, the fact remains that a dog, with its limited ability to differentiate Good Human (be loyal to) from Bad Human (be aggressive to), is not worth risking around people if it's aggressive at all.

Mr. Fixit, you described a nightmare breed, with the exception of boxer. The only dog that I've found to be consistently more agressive than pits are chows. I've got scars on my face to remind me not to underestimate chows' aggression again.

There are going to be people reading this that believe that I must just hate dogs. That I don't understand, because I'm just not a "dog person." Wrong. I love a good dog.

I just don't think very many people are going to any effort to raise them.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:19:00 PM, Blogger 5150Wife said...

Hmm, hot topic ya' got here, Mr. G.

I'll chime in my politically incorrect and unpopular opinion.

I do not buy into the 'raised in a loving home' argument. I worked for State Farm for 10 years and handled entirely too many claims for supposedly 'loving' pits who turned on humans (usually children).

Sure, all breeds bite. But that locking jaw of the pit takes it to a whole new level, one which most people (particularly children) are hard pressed to escape. IMO they should be banned. Period.

As for Vick's, you betcha, put 'em down.

I've been out of the field since '97, so things may have changed since then. In those years I worked such cases, the #1 offender of serious dog bite cases (requiring medical attention or a morgue) was pits. #2 was chows. #3 shephards. #4 rottweilers.

K-

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 4:11:00 PM, Anonymous LabRat said...

The rescue and trainer folks I know are all a-chatter over this.

There are a lot of eyebrows being raised because it seems there's a prominent pit rescue organization with a good reputation for not making any excuses about aggression toward humans involved; this is apparently the only reason it's not being universally proclaimed a horrible idea. They've also got a good reputation for taking evaluations for adoptees very seriously and not placing dogs in homes that don't know what they're doing. I got the impression that if it had been another organization the consensus would have been "pit people desensitized to dealing with dog-dog aggression who cluelessly think everyone else is as used to management as they are".

BADRAP usually relies on evaluations of the dog, and not so much on history; the theory goes that some temperaments simply are impossible to ruin no matter how badly the dog is treated. While I agree provisionally, having seen some dogs (including some pits) come out of the jaws of Hell itself without a lick of malice toward other living things... I don't agree with this. Pits have got more than enough image problems, with their devotees and detractors alike spouting reams of romantic bullcrap; they do NOT need for this to go wrong in any way, even leaving alone the people that might wind up with the dogs.

P.S. I'm afraid to say that "locking jaws" thing is nonsense. There's nothing special about their jaw structure; it's the same short, strong muzzle shared by dozens of breeds and mutts alike. All that's behind it is the dog's determination.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 4:25:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I've always wondered about that one.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 4:55:00 PM, Blogger GUYK said...

Same here. I am a dog lover..had dogs all my life and can't imagine my home without at least one getting under my feet. But we put down a Chow some years back that was a good dog except she like to bite my grand kid..and probably it wasn't her fault..the kid aggravated the dog but I cannot have a dog that bites kids.

De-programming a vicious dog is probably next to impossible. These dogs should be put down and the sooner the better.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 5:02:00 PM, Blogger 5150Wife said...

I realize that the issue of the locking jaw has been hotly contested. I only know from the descriptions I have been told by victims and witnesses.

In all the claims I personally handled, I never once had a victim who was able to release the grip of the pit's jaws around their foot, leg, arm, hand, or face or head. Not one.

And I am only personally aware of 2 men who have been able to release the grip of a pit from another person in the midst of an attack.

I saw cases of pits letting go of their grip on their victim because they were shot, stabbed or kicked or simply stopped for an unknown reason. But never because a victim was able to open the jaws back up.

There very well may be victims who have single-handedly lifted the grasp of a pit bull's locked jaws. I'm just sayin' I am not personally aware of such a case.

:-)

K-

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 5:09:00 PM, Blogger knitalot3 said...

So, if you have a dog that is frequently attacking other dogs and biting humans, can it "unlearn" that behavior?

Is it really worth it?

Not betting my kid on it, sorry.

I'll stick with Labradors. If one of my dogs shows aggression and bites someone, putting it down would be considered. I wouldn't expect someone else to adopt it and take on my problem.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 5:12:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Seems to me that I saw a special once, in which the mechanical advantage was calculated to show how powerfully a dog could bite. IIRCC, it was in the hundreds or even thousands of PSI. "Locked" or not, NO ONE can physically pry open jaws like that, without a tool.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 5:22:00 PM, Anonymous LabRat said...

Oh, there's little question that when a pit- or a dog of similar mindset and structure- decides it wants to grab, it will grab and not let go. It's just that there's no special physiology involved; any dog that wants to put that kind of pressure on can.

*dull lecture*

The reason pit bulls make such a specialty of it is because their predominant ancestry isn't dog fighting. No breed's really is, in terms of what the majority of their direct ancestors did; dog fighting is too expensive and too impractical to be practiced by any but a few, and the dogs themselves don't often survive to have a long career in breeding. If they don't die in the ring or of wounds, they're put down when the dogs are confisticated.

Most of what we now call the pit bull's ancestors were catch dogs, which were dogs bred to pursue an animal, and then hold it there. If the dog was being used by a hunter, the animal would then be dispatched with a clean shot. If by a rancher, the farmer would then do whatever he needed to do with the caught cow or pig. If you look at old photos of "bull and terriers", they don't look like show-ring Bull Terriers- they look like lean, rangy pit bulls. Catch dogs are still in use today in rural areas, especially pig hunters, and they have the same look.

It is mindset, not structure, just like there's nothing physical about a herding dog that makes it herd instead of hunt. Other types of dogs don't usually catch and hold like that because for a wild dog hunting, it's a swift way to get your skull kicked in- wild canids slash and move and do it again.

The reason I think the difference is important is that any discussion of breed bans (which I am wholly against for a number of reasons) must involve defining a pit bull or pit bull type dog, and trying to use a nonexistent characteristic like "locking jaws" only adds another ton of mud to the already murky waters- especially since the same jaw structure is found in many breeds that have not been used for anything more sinister than ratting for the last hundred years.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 7:45:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

With this particular set of dogs that have already been taught to fight I totally agree with you. On doing it to all pit bulls just because they are supposedley "bred to fight" I could not disagree more. I have had pit bulls all my life. They are no different than any ohter dog if raised with care and compassion. They are no more vicious than any other dog if you raise them like a normal dog. It's the morons that get them and try to make them mean that should be put down or caged for life, not the dog.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 10:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a kid my dad and uncle raised pit bulls.And yes, they fought them. Evidently the dog fighting scene has changed in 50 or so years. It used to be like having a stable of prize fighters, some good, some OK and one or two that had championship capabilities. You didn't mistreat or abuse your dogs. You didn't fight them to the death. And you most certainly did NOT make them man fighters. Bull dogs do not lock their jaws. They have extremely well developed muscles that allow them to hold their jaws closed very tightly. We used paring sticks or goat horns stuck into the corner of their jaws to open their mouths and separate the dogs when they fought.These same dogs would live in the house with us as pets because they knew their place in the pecking order of our house hold. They were all friendly to people, in fact they would let a burglar empty the house just as long as they got some pettin in when the house was bein emptied.
Bull dogs have gotten a bad rap over the years because of stupid people and their misbehavior and abuse to the animals.
My 0.02 Thad

 
At Wednesday, October 03, 2007 7:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to put them down. Make Vick pay for a facility where the dogs can live out their natural lifespans, fed and cared for by a few full-time employees.

 
At Wednesday, October 03, 2007 4:20:00 PM, Anonymous Gabby said...

Pits, by nature, usually have strong prey drive--that was bred into them for their "catch dog" role. They are usually agressive toward other animals--dogs, cats, rabbits, birds--you name it. People, usually not.

They are strong willed and strong bodied. They are not a dog for everyone because they will "walk you" when out for a stroll if you are not willing and able to be the Alpha in the relationship. They are determined and pushy. They are also loving and happy companions.

Any dog--pits or otherwise--that demonstrates agressiveness toward humans should be eliminated, and responsible breeders have done that for years with pits.

Just because the dogs have been fought, does not mean they will be agressive toward humans. A social evaluation, made over time within a foster home situation, can be made by trained, knowledgeable, licensed, responsible folks that will tell the tale on each dog.

Putting down the whole lot is not necessary and would be adding insult to the injury that the dogs have already endured. A professional evaluation of each dog and its prospective owner is adequate insurance.

 
At Thursday, October 04, 2007 9:53:00 AM, Blogger Dreaming Mage said...

I once traveled for a time with a group of hippies on a bus.

Among the group was a pit bull named "Rosie". With us, she was affectionate to the point that I woke up one morning in Saddle Top pass in Colorado to find her snuggled into my sleeping bag.

A week later, she attacked a small child and tore a 5" gash in her (the child's) face for no knowable reason.

They are dangerous animals, put them down.

Mage

 
At Thursday, October 04, 2007 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Gabby said...

Anyone that would leave a large dog, unsupervised, with a small child that the dog was not raised with is negligent.

Small children make all sorts of dogs nervous--not just pits.

I would be really surprised if the rescued dogs go to families with small children, or other small pets.

You don't leave a bulldog breed unattended--ever--if you are a responsible owner. It is a shame that the child paid that price for the owner's negligence.

Back in the dark ages when I was in school, some of my acquaintances would "supercharge" their retriever with cannabis smoke. The dog ever after would jump at snap at cigar smoke blown into the air. I wonder if the dog that attacked the child had experience perception altering drugs, not that a group of hippies would have such in their possession .

 
At Thursday, October 04, 2007 3:34:00 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I hate to see any animal put down if it is not sick. I think anonymous has the best solution by having the dogs live out their natural lives on a property with people paid to care for them. Hell, Vick's got that kind of money, he should be punished, and the dogs can live out their lives happy without paying for Vick's crimes.

Too bad a judge didn't issue this type of sentence.

 

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