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Pit Bulls’ Bad Rap Affects Adoption Rates

How does dog-bite lawyer Kenneth M. Phillips feel about pit bulls?

“To sum up how I feel about pit bulls: If the pit bull were a toy imported from China, we would all be up in arms. We would say, ‘This is clearly defective. Don’t let it into the country. Send it back because there’s something wrong with it.’”

On the danger of pit bulls, Phillips, who handles only dog-bite cases, is unequivocal. “This ain’t man’s best friend,” he says. “This is a terrorist living among us, pretending to be one of us.”

If comparing a dog to a terrorist sleeper cell seems extreme, listen to what the other side has to say about how pit bulls are treated in this country:

“It’s discrimination. It’s pretty bad. You feel like a black person in the ’50s in Georgia. I see what those people went through. It’s very disheartening and it’s very hurtful.”

That’s Marthina McClay, founder of Our Pack, a pit bull rescue and education organization based out of San Jose. McClay says the last 20 or so years have brought with them an onslaught of myths, rumors and antagonism toward a breed of dog that was once known affectionately as “America’s dog,” circa 1900. As a result, shelters across the country are overflowing with pit bulls, and certain cities outright ban them, allowing officials to seize and euthanize any pit bulls living undercover, even if they have no history of violent behavior. 

Lydia Graecyn, a Santa Cruz resident and the proud owner of a blue-nosed pit bull, has done a lot of research on the aftermath of pit-bull-based Breed Specific Legislation (BSL for short).

“There are some really horrible pictures that look eerily like the Holocaust,” Graecyn says. “There are pictures where there are just rows and rows and rows [of dead pit bulls].”

The views on both sides are heated, for sure. Anti-pit-bull propaganda has even popularized the idea that the breed has a locking jaw (untrue, no mammals do). But it’s the debate itself that is perhaps the most jaw-dropping thing of all.

 

Ban the Breed?

Due to high rates of reported human fatalities from pit bull bites in the last few decades, numerous cities and counties across the country have passed restrictions on the breed. But McClay notes that some states have more recently begun to repeal pit bull bans, finding them ineffective in decreasing the number of bites.

“They say, ‘We banned all the dangerous dogs.’ It’s the stupidest thing, because all dogs bite. They think that no other dog can be dangerous, when in fact any dog can be dangerous,” says McClay.

California has no statewide BSL and no ban on pit bulls, but local animal control authorities have some jurisdiction when it comes to minor restrictions. For example, Sonoma County as well as the cities of Barstow, Highland, Hollister, Manteca, San Francisco, Ventura and Yucaipa require mandatory spay/neutering of pit bulls. San Bernardino County passed an ordinance this summer that requires all pit bulls to be registered.

Bans notwithstanding, pit bulls’ bad rap has caused an influx of the breed in shelters nationwide.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter General Manager Melanie Sobel says that of all the dogs in the animal shelter here, 15 percent were pit bulls as of 2011. “It’s difficult to find homes for them, because people are afraid,” she says.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that dogs bite at least 4.7 million people each year, and half of the victims are children. In 2000, the CDC released a report that looked at 20 years of human dog bite fatalities. It determined simply, “Fatal attacks on humans appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers).”

The report says Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67 percent of human dog bite-related fatalities in the United States between 1997 and 1998, and concludes it’s “extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.”

In Santa Cruz County in 2011, pit bulls accounted for 14.7 percent of the total reported dog bites. But Sobel says that, when it comes to pit bulls, numbers can lie.

“All dogs can bite. All dogs have the propensity to bite. In fact, smaller dogs bite more frequently, but larger dogs can inflict more harm, so those are the ones you tend to hear about in the media,” she says. She also claims a “hysteria” of anti-pit-bull thinking leads police officers and emergency room doctors to incorrectly report a dog as a pit bull, when really it was a mix or a different breed altogether.

For a dog to be classified as a pit bull according to the United Kennel Club, only one breed qualifies: The American Pit Bull Terrier.  The American Kennel Club also includes the American Staffordshire Terrier or a Staffordshire Bull Terrier under the umbrella of “pit bull.” According to the pit bull advocacy website Understand-A-Bull (tag line: “Punish the deed, not the breed!”), there are over 20 other breeds of dogs commonly misidentified as pit bulls.

Our Pack director of marketing and certified dog trainer Stephanie Lam says the term “pit bull” is all too often used to describe any dog with a blocky head and muscular body. In a presentation she regularly gives at animal shelters around the Bay called “Pit Bulls 101,” she projects a slide of a brown and white spotted horse with a word bubble coming out of its mouth that says, “Woof! Woof!” and jokes that by most people’s definition, a horse could qualify as a pit bull.

Attorney Phillips says that in his practice he defines a pit bull more generally. He says he looks for a triangular head, broad chest and small eyes. “It’s not a breed, it is a collection of characteristics of a dog,” he says. “You can call it what you want, you can call it the ‘American Southern Bulldog Special’— I don’t care what you call it, it’s a pit bull.” 

 

A Dog’s Life

Graecyn, the Santa Cruz pit bull owner, says there is no mistaking that her dog, Selkie, is definitely a pit bull. Because of that, she has to be cautious both of the negative and positive associations with the breed.

“She’s a really beautiful dog…I don’t take her to the beach in the summer because just walking around Santa Cruz it’s very common for some strange person to stop or yell at me from their car and say, ‘Hey, can I buy your dog?’ or ‘Can I breed your dog?’ And it’s like, this is my friend,” she says.

Graecyn keeps a folder of vintage pit bull photos on her computer, which she uses to supplement the informative fliers she creates about pit bulls and brings with her on walks with Selkie. When someone expresses either interest in or disdain for her dog, Graecyn hands them a flyer featuring statements such as, “Pit bulls and pit bull mixes account for less than  of all dog attacks, only 21%” and “it’s important to understand the paradoxical truth that my pit bull is gentle and friendly and great with kids because of, not in spite of, her breed’s history of selective breeding for fighting purposes.”

She says that pit bulls’ history of being bred to fight has less to do with being violent, and more to do with being highly responsive to humans. “No one would referee a fight if the dog wouldn’t back off when a human said so. This has been bred into them,” Graecyn says.

Of course, things don’t always work out as they should. Sarah Riccabona of Santa Cruz was bitten by her 5-year-old pit bull, DeDe, last week. A friend brought her Chihuahua over to Riccabona’s house, and DeDe—who does have a history of aggression towards other dogs—got into a fight with the Chihuahua. 

“I grabbed DeDe’s harness on her back. She turned and just nipped on my arm,” Riccabona recounts. She had to go to the ER and was treated for a one and a half-inch gash on her forearm.

Riccabona says DeDe had never shown aggression towards humans. “It was very interesting to kind of see that side of her. It did surprise me that she snapped on me.”

Phillips would argue that the randomness and unexpected nature of the attack is classic pit bull behavior.

“This particular dog has been known over and over again to attack without warning and without provocation,” he says. “We have pit bulls who live in a house with a baby, and at some point somebody is holding the baby and all of a sudden the pit bull, which has appeared totally normal to that point, flies off the floor without warning, without a bark, without expression, and in midair, grabs the baby with its teeth and kills the baby. We have that over and over again.”

Graecyn says this “killer” generalization of pit bulls couldn’t be further from the truth. “Selkie’s best days are when my friend comes over, and she’s got a five year old, a three year old and a two year old. One of them will be pulling Selkie’s ears, another one’s got his hand down her throat, another one’s yanking on the tail, and she’s just never been happier,” she says.

 

Nature or Nurture

While they will admit to certain characteristics that some breeders may aim for, pit bull advocates uniformly say it’s irresponsible to judge any dog by its breed, rather than its individual personality. Any dog can become aggressive if it is not socialized properly, insists the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter’s Sobel.

Pit bulls’ reputation, however, has led to something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. “They are now the popular breed with, frankly, irresponsible owners,” says Sobel.

“A pit bull attack is reported in the news more often than others, and is very sensationalized,” says McClay. “Every time that happens, it advertises to more unscrupulous people who say, ‘Oh, I want a dog like that.’ And nice people say, ‘Oh, I don’t want a dog like that.’”

McClay says breed is a moot point. Even if there are traits commonly associated with a particular breed of dog, she says the washout is so great that many dogs don’t possess the traits they’re expected to. “I’ve had clients that are like, ‘Can you teach my Retriever to retrieve?’” she says.

“The first and only face transplant on a human that was performed was due to a Labrador Retriever,” she adds. “Ripped a lady’s face off, literally.”

During Lam’s “Pit Bulls 101” class, a woman tells her that her four-year-old pit bull recently attacked another dog—the first sign of aggression the dog has ever shown. Lam asks about the situation. Was the pit bull on a leash? Did the other dog come running up out of nowhere? Yes and yes, the woman replies. She says the attack may have been something called “prey drive,” which exists in all dogs. She encouraged the woman to step behind a car or tree or even pick her dog up if a similar situation arises in the future. The most important thing is to know your dog, train and socialize it, and know how it will react in certain situations, she tells the woman.

Riccabona says she learned from the experience of being bitten by her dog, and vowed never to open the door if DeDe is behind her. For good measure, she’s extending the same rules to her shy Golden Retriever/poodle mix.

“I’m not going to answer my door with the dog behind me, no matter how sweet it is. Either dog. An animal can turn at any time, no matter how much you think you know them.”

Related Posts

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Patrick Bohler

    Tonight at 8pm Pacific

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepitbulladvocate/2012/11/29/commerce-city-update—open-mic

    Give us a call, Georgia. We’d love to debate this trash you call Journalism.  (347) 838-8615

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Patrick Bohler

    Tonight at 8pm Pacific

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepitbulladvocate/2012/11/29/commerce-city-update—open-mic

    Give us a call, Georgia. We’d love to debate this trash you call Journalism.  (347) 838-8615

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Liz

    “I grabbed DeDe’s harness on her back. She turned and just nipped on my arm,” Riccabona recounts. She had to go to the ER and was treated for a one and a half-inch gash on her forearm.

    Riccabona says DeDe had never shown aggression towards humans. “It was very interesting to kind of see that side of her. It did surprise me that she snapped on me.””

    Sarah is an idiot. The dog REDIRECTED, that was NOT HUMAN aggression. It’s people just like Sarah, who should not own this breed if they have no idea how to control, or manage this kind of dog.

    “Phillips would argue that the randomness and unexpected nature of the attack is classic pit bull behavior.”

    Absolutely untrue. Where was this “attack” unprovoked? The dog was KNOWN to be DOG AGGRESSIVE, it was currently in a fight, and grabbed; The dog redirected. That is not unprovoked or unpredictable behavior. This was the fault solely of the owner of the dog.

    Phillips is an ignorant loser. None of his statements are facts, or backed up by facts. His words are lunacy. He doesn’t even know what a “Pit Bull” is. It’s people like this, the painfully ignorant, who continue to spew this nonsense, that add to the hysteria of a dog breed created by us.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Liz

    “I grabbed DeDe’s harness on her back. She turned and just nipped on my arm,” Riccabona recounts. She had to go to the ER and was treated for a one and a half-inch gash on her forearm.

    Riccabona says DeDe had never shown aggression towards humans. “It was very interesting to kind of see that side of her. It did surprise me that she snapped on me.””

    Sarah is an idiot. The dog REDIRECTED, that was NOT HUMAN aggression. It’s people just like Sarah, who should not own this breed if they have no idea how to control, or manage this kind of dog.

    “Phillips would argue that the randomness and unexpected nature of the attack is classic pit bull behavior.”

    Absolutely untrue. Where was this “attack” unprovoked? The dog was KNOWN to be DOG AGGRESSIVE, it was currently in a fight, and grabbed; The dog redirected. That is not unprovoked or unpredictable behavior. This was the fault solely of the owner of the dog.

    Phillips is an ignorant loser. None of his statements are facts, or backed up by facts. His words are lunacy. He doesn’t even know what a “Pit Bull” is. It’s people like this, the painfully ignorant, who continue to spew this nonsense, that add to the hysteria of a dog breed created by us.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates HipCowboy420

    I do not have a Pit Bull but I love the breed as I grew up it was America’s Dog. But I not so sure this article serves them any justice?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html HipCowboy420

    I do not have a Pit Bull but I love the breed as I grew up it was America’s Dog. But I not so sure this article serves them any justice?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Pit Bull, Cat and Rat Mama

    Funny, I have a pit bull who I adopted as an adult from a county shelter. She didn’t know how to be a dog so she had clearly been neglected. She is my first dog of ANY breed—I grew up solely with cats. I also have 2 cats and currently 2 rats. Funny how my pit bull is the most gentle creature of them all. I also have a group of good friends who all have pit bulls—we walk our dogs together every month. I know firsthand how wonderful each and every one of these dogs is. This article is so filled with unreliable BIAS that it’s shocking to me. The CDC report that was cited was misrepresented and the analysis was completely missing. Here is an analysis of that report and the issues with it:

    http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/CDCReport/CDCReport.htm

    Allow me to point out that the whole report was based on MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF DOG BITES! Are you kidding me?

    In the first bullet point they admit to using, “media accounts”!  That alone tells us this report is nothing more than a waste of paper.  The media is certainly NOT a place to gather information for a statistical study.  There are many incidents that are reported as X then turn out to be Y.  Many cases of mistaken breed identity or out right lies.  Here are a few: http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/MistakenIdentity/WrongId.htm

    Furthmore,  this report was a collaboration of the CDC and the AVMA both of which are AGAINST BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION! Of course the author of this crappy article, Georgia Perry, doesn’t mention that.

    As to the woman who brought a chihuahua into the home of her dog who ALREADY WAS AGGRESSIVE TOWARD OTHER DOGS—are you dumb? Were you really surprised when your COMPLETELY STRESSED OUT AND AGITATED DOG turned and bit you? YOU CREATED THAT BY BRINGING ANOTHER DOG INTO THE HOME! Use your brain, folks! That is NOT a random bite.

    And the lawyer claiming that pit bulls rip babies out of their parents’ arms? HAHAHA! What a pile of crap. My pit bull has never so much as jumped up to sniff a child, even though she sometimes does this to adults. She is especially gentle with children—we have done babysitting for friends dozens of times together.

    Imagine this scenario: a parent with a child also has a dog who is completely unsocialized because they never walk or exercise the dog, never let that dog have any sort of outlet for psychological stimulation, etc—they CREATE a VERY unstable dog through their neglect and/or abuse—when the dog attacks the child one day—are those parents going to explain how completely irresponsible and cruel and horrible they were to that dog? NO, OF COURSE NOT. They are going to tell animal control and police that the dog was a loved and cherished family pet—and that all the sudden the dog just bit their kid, who was also probably completely unsupervised. Use critical thinking, folks! The VAST MAJORITY of dog bites are by unsocialized “resident dogs”—dogs who are NOT treated like loved and cherished family pets.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Pit Bull, Cat and Rat Mama

    Funny, I have a pit bull who I adopted as an adult from a county shelter. She didn’t know how to be a dog so she had clearly been neglected. She is my first dog of ANY breed—I grew up solely with cats. I also have 2 cats and currently 2 rats. Funny how my pit bull is the most gentle creature of them all. I also have a group of good friends who all have pit bulls—we walk our dogs together every month. I know firsthand how wonderful each and every one of these dogs is. This article is so filled with unreliable BIAS that it’s shocking to me. The CDC report that was cited was misrepresented and the analysis was completely missing. Here is an analysis of that report and the issues with it:

    http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/CDCReport/CDCReport.htm

    Allow me to point out that the whole report was based on MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF DOG BITES! Are you kidding me?

    In the first bullet point they admit to using, “media accounts”!  That alone tells us this report is nothing more than a waste of paper.  The media is certainly NOT a place to gather information for a statistical study.  There are many incidents that are reported as X then turn out to be Y.  Many cases of mistaken breed identity or out right lies.  Here are a few: http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/MistakenIdentity/WrongId.htm

    Furthmore,  this report was a collaboration of the CDC and the AVMA both of which are AGAINST BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION! Of course the author of this crappy article, Georgia Perry, doesn’t mention that.

    As to the woman who brought a chihuahua into the home of her dog who ALREADY WAS AGGRESSIVE TOWARD OTHER DOGS—are you dumb? Were you really surprised when your COMPLETELY STRESSED OUT AND AGITATED DOG turned and bit you? YOU CREATED THAT BY BRINGING ANOTHER DOG INTO THE HOME! Use your brain, folks! That is NOT a random bite.

    And the lawyer claiming that pit bulls rip babies out of their parents’ arms? HAHAHA! What a pile of crap. My pit bull has never so much as jumped up to sniff a child, even though she sometimes does this to adults. She is especially gentle with children—we have done babysitting for friends dozens of times together.

    Imagine this scenario: a parent with a child also has a dog who is completely unsocialized because they never walk or exercise the dog, never let that dog have any sort of outlet for psychological stimulation, etc—they CREATE a VERY unstable dog through their neglect and/or abuse—when the dog attacks the child one day—are those parents going to explain how completely irresponsible and cruel and horrible they were to that dog? NO, OF COURSE NOT. They are going to tell animal control and police that the dog was a loved and cherished family pet—and that all the sudden the dog just bit their kid, who was also probably completely unsupervised. Use critical thinking, folks! The VAST MAJORITY of dog bites are by unsocialized “resident dogs”—dogs who are NOT treated like loved and cherished family pets.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Debbie Bell

    McClay says that breed has no bearing on behavior? I disagree, but have it your way.  Ban pit breeding. Enact and enforce spay/neuter microchipping of all pits/pit mixes/all dog aggressive dogs. You can keep your spayed/neutered pit, but when she passes away, and there are fewer/no pits, you can adopt ANY homeless dog and train/manage her to be your charming pet.  Since breed doesn’t matter, how can you object?

    Re: “The first and only face transplant on a human that was performed was due to a Labrador Retriever”. That victim had tried to commit suicide, od’d on pills, was unconscious, and believed her dog was trying to save her. Anyway, the woman lived, unlike 30+ other adult pit owners, killed by their own dogs in the past decade. Hundreds of other pit owners and pit neighbors were injured and THOUSANDS of neighbor pets have been needlessly killed by pits, pits being “good” pits. “Kill or die trying is the pit bull motto.”

    IF it is illegal for me to approach your leashed dog from behind, silently attack your dog, stab holes into your dog’s body, slice off chunks of flesh, why is it legal to breed, sell and PROMOTE dogs designed to do exactly the same thing?

    In the past 2 months, two pit rescuers were killed by their own dogs, dogs who they were certain could be trusted. Mary Jo Hunt and Rebecca Carey were pit mongers who learned the hard way.  I would accept pits if their only victims were their consenting adults owners, but more often the victims are the elderly neighbor walking to the mailbox or the elderly dog, killed on public property. If pits are are the “best” at killing their adult owners, we should never be surprised when they maim/kill neighbors and passersby.

    Proof that pits are different, the best at attacking and not stopping?  Essentially all US dog fighters choose only pits.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Debbie Bell

    McClay says that breed has no bearing on behavior? I disagree, but have it your way.  Ban pit breeding. Enact and enforce spay/neuter microchipping of all pits/pit mixes/all dog aggressive dogs. You can keep your spayed/neutered pit, but when she passes away, and there are fewer/no pits, you can adopt ANY homeless dog and train/manage her to be your charming pet.  Since breed doesn’t matter, how can you object?

    Re: “The first and only face transplant on a human that was performed was due to a Labrador Retriever”. That victim had tried to commit suicide, od’d on pills, was unconscious, and believed her dog was trying to save her. Anyway, the woman lived, unlike 30+ other adult pit owners, killed by their own dogs in the past decade. Hundreds of other pit owners and pit neighbors were injured and THOUSANDS of neighbor pets have been needlessly killed by pits, pits being “good” pits. “Kill or die trying is the pit bull motto.”

    IF it is illegal for me to approach your leashed dog from behind, silently attack your dog, stab holes into your dog’s body, slice off chunks of flesh, why is it legal to breed, sell and PROMOTE dogs designed to do exactly the same thing?

    In the past 2 months, two pit rescuers were killed by their own dogs, dogs who they were certain could be trusted. Mary Jo Hunt and Rebecca Carey were pit mongers who learned the hard way.  I would accept pits if their only victims were their consenting adults owners, but more often the victims are the elderly neighbor walking to the mailbox or the elderly dog, killed on public property. If pits are are the “best” at killing their adult owners, we should never be surprised when they maim/kill neighbors and passersby.

    Proof that pits are different, the best at attacking and not stopping?  Essentially all US dog fighters choose only pits.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Ben Bettor

    Looks like the author of this article didn’t bother to read the whole CDC report (it goes on to say that because it is impossible to determine a breed based on appearance alone, BSL won’t work-that is because “pit bull type dogs” encompass more than 20 different breeds and all the mixes of those breeds). Seems s little odd to quote a dog bite lawyer without acknowledging the fact that he has a vested financial interest in people being afraid of pit bulls so that they will sue if they are bitten by a dog that may share physical characteristics of pit bulls. Dogs don’t attack “without warning or provocation.” The fact that an ignorant owner may not recognize warning signs is hardly evidence of an “unprovoked attack.” What this article doesn’t mention is the perspective of families that have had their families ripped apart because of BSL. Families whose dogs have never hurt anyone or anything are taken away and slaughtered because of how they look. The case of Lenox in Belfast is a prime example- a lab/american bull dog mix who fit the “pit bull type” guidelines and was held in isolation until his hair fell out and then killed despite many offers of sanctuary and the fact that he had never hurt a soul. This happens daily in the United States, largely because of people like Mr. Phillips and their willingness to spread outrageous lies (comparing a dog to a terrorist is ludicrous) to further their own careers or fearful beliefs.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Ben Bettor

    Looks like the author of this article didn’t bother to read the whole CDC report (it goes on to say that because it is impossible to determine a breed based on appearance alone, BSL won’t work-that is because “pit bull type dogs” encompass more than 20 different breeds and all the mixes of those breeds). Seems s little odd to quote a dog bite lawyer without acknowledging the fact that he has a vested financial interest in people being afraid of pit bulls so that they will sue if they are bitten by a dog that may share physical characteristics of pit bulls. Dogs don’t attack “without warning or provocation.” The fact that an ignorant owner may not recognize warning signs is hardly evidence of an “unprovoked attack.” What this article doesn’t mention is the perspective of families that have had their families ripped apart because of BSL. Families whose dogs have never hurt anyone or anything are taken away and slaughtered because of how they look. The case of Lenox in Belfast is a prime example- a lab/american bull dog mix who fit the “pit bull type” guidelines and was held in isolation until his hair fell out and then killed despite many offers of sanctuary and the fact that he had never hurt a soul. This happens daily in the United States, largely because of people like Mr. Phillips and their willingness to spread outrageous lies (comparing a dog to a terrorist is ludicrous) to further their own careers or fearful beliefs.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Jacob Pierce

    As for the bite lawyer, I think the paper’s readers are sharp enough to realize “the fact that he has a vested financial interest in people being afraid of pit bulls.”

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Jacob Pierce

    As for the bite lawyer, I think the paper’s readers are sharp enough to realize “the fact that he has a vested financial interest in people being afraid of pit bulls.”

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Shawn harris

    I wish that lawyers like the one in this article got ain’t bull. He would change his mind . The problem is idiot owners. Each dog is different and the owner knows if their dog likes or doesn’t like children,little dogs, other dogs (dog aggressive) be responsible it’s hard to be the so called pack leader because they are so lovable, but yes they have another side the side that must be tamed. I saw a pit bull T the doggie beach with its balls and a spiked collar it saddened me no more backyard breeding is what I wanted to say . I feel like I’m under attack because I own a pit but he is well trained . It’s hard to train them but it is possible .  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY DOG . Key word dog

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Shawn harris

    I wish that lawyers like the one in this article got ain’t bull. He would change his mind . The problem is idiot owners. Each dog is different and the owner knows if their dog likes or doesn’t like children,little dogs, other dogs (dog aggressive) be responsible it’s hard to be the so called pack leader because they are so lovable, but yes they have another side the side that must be tamed. I saw a pit bull T the doggie beach with its balls and a spiked collar it saddened me no more backyard breeding is what I wanted to say . I feel like I’m under attack because I own a pit but he is well trained . It’s hard to train them but it is possible .  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY DOG . Key word dog

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Genavieve

    This has to be one of the most ignorant and biased articles I’ve read in a long time. As a former Animal Control Officer in SC County, I can attest to picking up a lot of pit bull/“bully-like” breeds, mostly because so many people ignore the spay/neuter ordinances. To call a pit bull “a ticking time bomb” is hyperbole, at best, and fear-mongering, especially considering Mr. Phillips has a vested financial interest in keeping people fearful.

    More to the point, however, is the shoddy reporting. There are numerous pit bull breed rescue organizations in the area. Why did the author of this article not reach out to Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer of BAD RAP in the East Bay? This organization has rescued and rehabbed dozens, if not hundreds, of pit bulls including a dozen of the Vick dogs, dog that were thought to be irredeemable due to their “extensive fighting history.” Most of those dogs have earned their Canine Good Citizen certificates and a number of them are therapy dogs? Irredeemable? Hardly.

    Any and every dog can potentially bite in the right circumstances and with the right stimuli. To single pit bulls out and promote BSL is misinformed. Pit bulls get the most headlines because the stories are the most sensational. When a Chihuahua bites someone, it’s hardly news and many of the smaller breeds are notorious for being poorly socialized and snappy.

    Georgia Perry, you had an opportunity to do good work here and you failed miserably. If this is the kind of the reporting the SC Weekly is shifting to, this is one reader who will start using the Weekly for fishwrap. Shame, shame, shame!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Genavieve

    This has to be one of the most ignorant and biased articles I’ve read in a long time. As a former Animal Control Officer in SC County, I can attest to picking up a lot of pit bull/“bully-like” breeds, mostly because so many people ignore the spay/neuter ordinances. To call a pit bull “a ticking time bomb” is hyperbole, at best, and fear-mongering, especially considering Mr. Phillips has a vested financial interest in keeping people fearful.

    More to the point, however, is the shoddy reporting. There are numerous pit bull breed rescue organizations in the area. Why did the author of this article not reach out to Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer of BAD RAP in the East Bay? This organization has rescued and rehabbed dozens, if not hundreds, of pit bulls including a dozen of the Vick dogs, dog that were thought to be irredeemable due to their “extensive fighting history.” Most of those dogs have earned their Canine Good Citizen certificates and a number of them are therapy dogs? Irredeemable? Hardly.

    Any and every dog can potentially bite in the right circumstances and with the right stimuli. To single pit bulls out and promote BSL is misinformed. Pit bulls get the most headlines because the stories are the most sensational. When a Chihuahua bites someone, it’s hardly news and many of the smaller breeds are notorious for being poorly socialized and snappy.

    Georgia Perry, you had an opportunity to do good work here and you failed miserably. If this is the kind of the reporting the SC Weekly is shifting to, this is one reader who will start using the Weekly for fishwrap. Shame, shame, shame!

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Mike Whitten

    Pitbulls are like guns, they are only as safe as their owners. They differ from most other dogs in that they have been breed to fight, sometimes to the death, and they are extremely strong. Certain people should not be able to own or breed these potentially dangerous dogs. I don’t think the reputation pitbulls have is at all based on myth.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Mike Whitten

    Pitbulls are like guns, they are only as safe as their owners. They differ from most other dogs in that they have been breed to fight, sometimes to the death, and they are extremely strong. Certain people should not be able to own or breed these potentially dangerous dogs. I don’t think the reputation pitbulls have is at all based on myth.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Cheesus

    So, this is just troll bait, right? I mean, that’s gotta be the only explanation.

    Surely, even in this benighted age of journalism, this doesn’t pass as a competent, well-written piece. A “dog-bite” lawyer given license to present hysterical anecdotes unchallenged by you, a CDC piece quoted that you apparently didn’t bother to read, an “attack” identified as “random and unexpected” by you that was neither, etc, etc. I mean, this is the Santa Cruz weekly and all, so my expectations aren’t exactly high. But really?

    Anyhow, I figure yer a troll. And well done at that, at least. High-fives all around.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Cheesus

    So, this is just troll bait, right? I mean, that’s gotta be the only explanation.

    Surely, even in this benighted age of journalism, this doesn’t pass as a competent, well-written piece. A “dog-bite” lawyer given license to present hysterical anecdotes unchallenged by you, a CDC piece quoted that you apparently didn’t bother to read, an “attack” identified as “random and unexpected” by you that was neither, etc, etc. I mean, this is the Santa Cruz weekly and all, so my expectations aren’t exactly high. But really?

    Anyhow, I figure yer a troll. And well done at that, at least. High-fives all around.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Megan Summers

    First, Pitbull is a dog just like any other. Almost all dogs have in their nature to attack and kill if provoke. Do you think a Maltese wouldn’t attack a person just because they look dainty and cute? WRONG!

    Second, animals are sensitive lot and mirror the emotions and habits of their owner/handler. If the Pitbull is aggressive and testy, then it’s the owner’s fault. He could have train his pet and make him into a responsible canine citizen.

    Third, if you are going to ban the breed, do you think dog biting incidents would stop or lessen? Think again. Even most docile animal are prone to be violent and attack anyone if provoke. So banning the breed is totally nonsense.

    http://www.poodleproblems.com

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Megan Summers

    First, Pitbull is a dog just like any other. Almost all dogs have in their nature to attack and kill if provoke. Do you think a Maltese wouldn’t attack a person just because they look dainty and cute? WRONG!

    Second, animals are sensitive lot and mirror the emotions and habits of their owner/handler. If the Pitbull is aggressive and testy, then it’s the owner’s fault. He could have train his pet and make him into a responsible canine citizen.

    Third, if you are going to ban the breed, do you think dog biting incidents would stop or lessen? Think again. Even most docile animal are prone to be violent and attack anyone if provoke. So banning the breed is totally nonsense.

    http://www.poodleproblems.com

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates RK

    This by far is the worst article I have read.  Complete lack of research and then to go out and find a lawyer who’s living is based on suing people over dogs? I own a Amstaff and my dog is a therapy dog, not “defective”.  Dogs require leadership and responsible owners, I would image behind every attack there is a responsible human.  The dogs that attacked Diane whipples were being cared for by lawyers who were affiliated with Aryan Brotherhood prisoners.  What about the Pommeranian that killed a infant in LA? Georgia Perry go back to journalism school I don’t think you learned anything.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html RK

    This by far is the worst article I have read.  Complete lack of research and then to go out and find a lawyer who’s living is based on suing people over dogs? I own a Amstaff and my dog is a therapy dog, not “defective”.  Dogs require leadership and responsible owners, I would image behind every attack there is a responsible human.  The dogs that attacked Diane whipples were being cared for by lawyers who were affiliated with Aryan Brotherhood prisoners.  What about the Pommeranian that killed a infant in LA? Georgia Perry go back to journalism school I don’t think you learned anything.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Shawn Kimberly Harris

    Omg ! U r violent -  anyone like u needs help sorry but ur disgusting and my pitbull would never stab a dog or eat chunks out of a dog – he is not on bath salts

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Shawn Kimberly Harris

    Omg ! U r violent -  anyone like u needs help sorry but ur disgusting and my pitbull would never stab a dog or eat chunks out of a dog – he is not on bath salts

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Shawn Harris

    I emailed the dog bite lawyer with a lot of the information that all of you are posting. He kindly responded with lawyer goggles on – I think this has gotten octamom out of control- recommend “beyond the myth” to anyone who has media titis – a pitbull is : so courageous

     

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Shawn Harris

    I emailed the dog bite lawyer with a lot of the information that all of you are posting. He kindly responded with lawyer goggles on – I think this has gotten octamom out of control- recommend “beyond the myth” to anyone who has media titis – a pitbull is : so courageous

     

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates E Mews

    Your artical quotes imfomation from a report published by the Centers For Disease Control. The summary for this report is posted below, highlights the above journalists blatent misrepresentation of the studies findings.

    Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC, Lockwood R. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. JAVMA 2000;217:836-840.
    This article lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years. It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html E Mews

    Your artical quotes imfomation from a report published by the Centers For Disease Control. The summary for this report is posted below, highlights the above journalists blatent misrepresentation of the studies findings.

    Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC, Lockwood R. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. JAVMA 2000;217:836-840.
    This article lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years. It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Sophie Carins

    not ripped from arms… this happened May 28th of this year… will this do ya until I track down the others.

    A two-day-old Coffeyville baby lost part of her leg after the family pit bull attacked her late last week.

    It happened last Thursday morning just after Sorena and Justin Frostad brought baby Ariona home from the hospital.

    They don’t want to talk specifically about what happened, but police say the couple had five pit bulls. Investigators said that as the family came home, one of the dogs reached through the fence and grabbed the baby.

    “We were outside,” said Justin Frostad. “I was the one holding her. I was crying, never felt that way in my life.”

    The dog had ripped part of the baby’s leg off. Doctors tried to reattach it, but the baby was just too tiny.

    http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/Infant-Loses-Leg-In-Pit-Bull-Attack-209231481.html

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Sophie Carins

    not ripped from arms… this happened May 28th of this year… will this do ya until I track down the others.

    A two-day-old Coffeyville baby lost part of her leg after the family pit bull attacked her late last week.

    It happened last Thursday morning just after Sorena and Justin Frostad brought baby Ariona home from the hospital.

    They don’t want to talk specifically about what happened, but police say the couple had five pit bulls. Investigators said that as the family came home, one of the dogs reached through the fence and grabbed the baby.

    “We were outside,” said Justin Frostad. “I was the one holding her. I was crying, never felt that way in my life.”

    The dog had ripped part of the baby’s leg off. Doctors tried to reattach it, but the baby was just too tiny.

    http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/Infant-Loses-Leg-In-Pit-Bull-Attack-209231481.html

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Sophie Cairns

    Since you live on the coast…. ever hear of Darla Napora?  She was a rescuer with ‘Bad Rap Pit Rescue’ and SHE …… and her soon to be born child were killed by a PItBull she had raised from puppyhood.  It’s NOT how they are raised… unless you want to believe that the Napora’s raised their PitBull to kill her when she was pregnant.  It IS the 200+ years of breeding to attack without warning and provocation and to hold until the prey is dead or they are.. AND the combination of stupid/sociopathic people who own them.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Sophie Cairns

    Since you live on the coast…. ever hear of Darla Napora?  She was a rescuer with ‘Bad Rap Pit Rescue’ and SHE …… and her soon to be born child were killed by a PItBull she had raised from puppyhood.  It’s NOT how they are raised… unless you want to believe that the Napora’s raised their PitBull to kill her when she was pregnant.  It IS the 200+ years of breeding to attack without warning and provocation and to hold until the prey is dead or they are.. AND the combination of stupid/sociopathic people who own them.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Merritt Clifton

    The current U.S. pit bull population is about three million, and it has been about three million for about 10 years now, according to the annual ANIMAL PEOPLE surveys of classified ads offering dogs for sale or adoption. About one million pit bulls per year enter animal shelters, about two-thirds surrendered by their keepers, most of the rest impounded for dangerous behavior. Most of these dogs have already been through three homes—their birth home, the home that bought them, and a subsequent pass-along home, before they arrive at shelters. An average of just over 900,000 pit bulls per year over the past 10 years have been killed in shelters after flunking behavioral screening, with a peak of 967,000, a low of 835,000, and 888,000 killed last year. This is about 60% of all the dogs killed in U.S. shelters today, up from about 50% in 2003. The average age of pit bulls killed in animal shelters is about 18 months. So what we have at any given time is a third of the pit bull population having not yet reached maturity, a third (at most) in homes they will still occupy at the end of the year, and a third flunking out of homes and being killed—which translates into a 50% failure rate among adult dogs in homes each & every year. Among all other dog breeds combined, about 5% enter shelters each year.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Merritt Clifton

    The current U.S. pit bull population is about three million, and it has been about three million for about 10 years now, according to the annual ANIMAL PEOPLE surveys of classified ads offering dogs for sale or adoption. About one million pit bulls per year enter animal shelters, about two-thirds surrendered by their keepers, most of the rest impounded for dangerous behavior. Most of these dogs have already been through three homes—their birth home, the home that bought them, and a subsequent pass-along home, before they arrive at shelters. An average of just over 900,000 pit bulls per year over the past 10 years have been killed in shelters after flunking behavioral screening, with a peak of 967,000, a low of 835,000, and 888,000 killed last year. This is about 60% of all the dogs killed in U.S. shelters today, up from about 50% in 2003. The average age of pit bulls killed in animal shelters is about 18 months. So what we have at any given time is a third of the pit bull population having not yet reached maturity, a third (at most) in homes they will still occupy at the end of the year, and a third flunking out of homes and being killed—which translates into a 50% failure rate among adult dogs in homes each & every year. Among all other dog breeds combined, about 5% enter shelters each year.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates Merritt Clifton

    Of the 4,200 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 2,624 (62%) were pit bulls; 534 were Rottweilers; 3,372 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 510 human fatalities, 258 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 380 (69%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,453 people who were disfigured, 1,531 (62%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 307 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 1,940 (79%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls, incidentally, inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls are less than 5% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html Merritt Clifton

    Of the 4,200 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 2,624 (62%) were pit bulls; 534 were Rottweilers; 3,372 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 510 human fatalities, 258 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 380 (69%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,453 people who were disfigured, 1,531 (62%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 307 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 1,940 (79%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls, incidentally, inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls are less than 5% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates fran

    I love dogs, and I’ve had them most of my life. It is so sad to here that pit bulls have such a bad reputation. My brother has had 3 pit bulls most of our grown up days, and all the way through raising his kids. I believe they are the most lovable dogs ever. I think the bad rap they receive is due mostly to the owner, maybe the owners of dogs needs to have some <a >reputation management</a>

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html fran

    I love dogs, and I’ve had them most of my life. It is so sad to here that pit bulls have such a bad reputation. My brother has had 3 pit bulls most of our grown up days, and all the way through raising his kids. I believe they are the most lovable dogs ever. I think the bad rap they receive is due mostly to the owner, maybe the owners of dogs needs to have some <a >reputation management</a>

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates nick

    great post about pits

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html nick

    great post about pits

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/11/27/pit_bulls_adoption_rates James Pokolvy

    I love pit bulls and i will always love them. Doing away with them will not solve the problems. Who does not react when provoked?

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/pit_bulls_adoption_rates.html James Pokolvy

    I love pit bulls and i will always love them. Doing away with them will not solve the problems. Who does not react when provoked?