One More Chapter
A twenty two year-old's view on life, death,
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
The question has long been debated by many people and over many discourses. Is the reason so many pit bulls attack and kill innocent people due to the animal and its predetermination to be aggressive, or is the blame to be placed on the owner?
Many people associate pit bulls with danger and risk of attacks because it seems that whenever there is news of an incident like this occurring it is more often than not involving some breed of pit bull. But, what most people do not understand is the truth behind these stories, or what the word “pit bull” actually means, nor do they often read far into these news stories to get the whole picture. This all leads to the continuing of the myths and fears surrounding these dogs and makes it close to impossible for them to be adopted when placed into animal shelters – which more often than not they are.
So, perhaps we just need to educate ourselves more fully on the true nature of these dogs, so as to better understand why these attacks are taking place. Though, before we get into that, it is important that it be defined what exactly a pit bull is.
What Does “Pit Bull” Mean? An article from “Happy Pit Bull” gives a great explanation for what actually a pit bull is when they say, “The term “pit bull” has no single, solid, scientific definition. Your idea of a ‘pit bull’ is a personal and individual idea; no one else’s idea of a pit bull will be exactly the same.
Many people believe that a Pit Bull is a specific breed of dog – like a golden retriever or a labrador – but this is just simply not true. The two only pure breed of pit bull is the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The term ‘pit bull’ is referring to the certain ‘look’ that some dogs have.
Looking at the chart above one might begin to understand how many breeds can produce a look similar to the two core breeds. And, since ‘pit bull’ can really mean anything that you want it to mean, this leaves a lot of wiggle room for the media. To journalists and other reporters, pretty much any dog involved in an attack is a pit bull. Why? Because it sells.
The Inaccuracy of Statistics Because of this inaccurate grouping of genetically unrelated animals whose parentage is often unknown, the attack statistics surrounding the animals is often extremely unclear and/or incorrect.
For instance, examine this chart of dog attack deaths and maimings from September 1982 to December 31, 2014.
One thing that adds suspicion as to the accuracy of this chart is the fact that it includes so many Pit bull mixes and varieties. No other “breed” (if that is even a fair description of the word pit bull) is represented in as many variations as this. So why are the hybrid versions of the pit bull more represented than all the ones that surely exist in other fashions?
In addition, the term “pit bull” is represented as a breed, which we have already learned is actually not true at all. The term umbrellas at least two or three other main breed alone, and more likely than not it includes much more than that. Which means that the number, naturally, would be much higher than all other breeds’, and here it seems astronomically higher.
This constant mist interpretation of the term ‘pit bull’ has led to biased and inaccurate reports and statistics, similar to the one above and continued to feed into the world-wide fear of these animals.
Other Pit bull MythsThere are several other myths that revolve around pit bulls in general. One is that they have locking jaws. This would mean that it becomes impossible to remove them from the thing that they are biting down on in the event of an attack. But, surprise, surprise, there is no scientific evidence that suggests such a phenomenon.
In an overtly bias article from the DogsBite.org, the writer attempts to defend this belief by saying, “A pit bull’s jaw may not physically lock, but due to selective breeding for a specific bite style — to hold on and to shake indefinitely — we consistently hear in news reports that the dog ‘would not let go’.” Right there you can see the problem.
Of course the dog, ‘would not let go’. It’s extremely strong and a human trying to pry and attacking dog off of its victim is probably frightened for their own life, the combination of which will lead to the inability to pry open the animal’s jaws. In addition, the writer blatantly stated that the animals’ jaws “may not physically lock.”
In an article by Arin Greenwood she states, “An academic study, ‘Cranial dimensions and forces of biting in the domestic dog,’ does show that bigger- and wider-skulled dogs have stronger bites. It’s worth noting, though, that not all pit bulls have big, wide skulls — these dogs come in a huge variety of sizes, especially compared to the world of dogs at large.” But, while the bite may be stronger, the jaws are no different than any other dog’s and, therefore, there is no magical ability for them to lock.
Others seems to believe that pit bulls are naturally and inherently aggressive. In the same article from above, it is claimed that, “The pit bull’s genetic traits are not in dispute…Some of the genetic traits courts have identified include: unpredictability of aggression, tenacity (“gameness” the refusal to give up a fight), high pain tolerance and the pit bull’s “hold and shake” bite style.”
But here again we see the problem with this claim. How can there be genetic traits when the term ‘pit bull’ has nothing to do with genetics?
As discussed earlier, the term “pit bull” is just a way to refer to the physical appearance of a dog. “pit bulls aren’t inherently anything, other than dogs with a blocky-shaped head. And of course the shape of a dog’s head tells you exactly nothing about that dog’s personality,”(Greenwood). Most pit bulls have unknown or foggy parentage and, therefore, the genetics of the animal can have nothing to do with the “aggressive behavior” their so well-known for because they come from such a wide array and blends of other breeds.
So, Is It the Pit Bull or the Owner? Now that you have more of a background on pit bulls and the myths surrounding them, let’s discuss why there still seems to be so many attacks and deaths by their hand. I mean, even though there are often misconceptions as to what pit bulls are and their natural tendencies, the numbers still, of course, seem over whelming.
I mean, take a look at some of these statistics:
Even taking into consideration that the term “pit bull” encompasses many different types of dogs from a wide variety of genes, these numbers seem staggering, and possibly cause for alarm.
But we must take into consideration who is owning these attacking dogs. For let us not forget that it is impossible for pit bulls to have a genetic precondition towards aggressive behavior, as they all come from different genetic backgrounds. In addition these animals have a long history of being raised in terrible conditions and being forced to attack each other for the benefit of humans.
Dogfighting is most definitely still an epidemic in the United States. “Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Other animals are often sacrificed as well; dogs who are born “cold,” or won’t fight, may be kept around to sic other dogs on.” (Humane Society).
While dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, there is still heavy evidence of it occurring across the country. The chart below depicts the various types of animal abuse crimes that had been listed in the police database.
By February 24th, 2016 the number of fighting cases that had been discovered and intervened by law enforcement was at 1,506. And there are many more cases that have successfully remained underground.
According an article on the ASPCA website, the number of dogfighting – which had begun to diminish after the 90’s – is now, once again on the rise, and the primary breed used in fighting is the American Pit Bull Terrier (the core breed in the pit bull category).
Because of these horrible statistics, many of the pit bulls that end up in shelters have a dark past of abuse and, therefore, suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Ensuring the proper placement into permanent homes for these dogs is absolutely crucial and the failure to do so can lead to grave results.
In addition, the number of deaths by dog attacks are often by pit bulls because it is done by those whom are still living in the world of dogfighting. Many of the reports of these deaths take place in areas where dogfighting is very prevalent and the attack is by multiple dogs (sometime up to five) which could be a signifier that these were fighting dogs, being raised to kill doing just that.
To see this first hand, it is important to look closely at specific cases in which a victim of a deadly dog attack died at the hands of a reported “pit bull.”
Specific Pit Bull Attacks In a Fatal Pit Bull Attack Archive one is able to view the new reports on every dog attack case in which both the victim was killed and the attacking dog(s) were classified as “pit bulls.” In taking a look at the latest 10 cases, we can begin to see the patterns forming.
Attack #1 – “Woman Killed by Pet Pit Bull in Perquimans County, NC”
This attack, which took place in February 2016, was by a dog that the woman had recently adopted. The reports stated that, “She called a Virginia Beach couple who delivered the dog to her home. When Story offered to pay, the couple just gave her the dog for free and took off.” A few weeks later, the attack happened.
Due to the strange nature in which this woman came into possession of the dog, it seems that there must be an important backstory involving the animal which most likely has to do with the animal snapping like this.
Attack #2 – “Pit Bull Kills Child, Injures Another in Lumberton, North Carolina”
In this case, from January 2016, it was reported that, “the attacking pit bull died on scene, but had no visible injuries, The Robesonian reports. A veterinarian is examining the dog, the sheriff’s office said.” This draws a lot of suspicion as to the animal’s health during the time of the attack.
It doesn’t make sense that an animal would just keel over and die without visible injuries without a serious inner problem. Perhaps the dog was having an aneurism or something of the sort – the cause of death is still undetermined – which would have lead to the animal’s detachment from reality and aggression.
Attack #3 – “Visiting Child is Killed by Babysitters’ Pit Bull Mix in Virginia”
This January attack took place while the babysitters were sleeping – and most likely a drug induced sleep because, “Grayson County investigators executed a search warrant at the residence and discovered illegal drugs and ammunition.”
The couple has been arrested for second-degree murder due to their negligence surrounding the situation. Because of the state of the home and the involvement of the couple in drugs and their poor decision-making in being under the influence of said drugs while watching the child may suggest that they were not successful in properly raising their pet and, therefore, led to the animal’s aggressive behavior.
Attack #4 – “Boy Killed by His Sister’s Three Pit Bulls in Yuba County, California”
In this case, the attack was one that may have been prevented. It was stated in the reports that, “The documents state that her pit bulls previously attacked a child and that Tyler [the younger brother] was not allowed to play with the dogs without supervision.” This means that the animals should have perhaps not have even been around small children at all, for extra precaution until properly trained.
What’s more is that the reports claimed, “The affidavit also reveals that both 18-month old offspring dogs, a male and female, were kept together in a metal crate ‘because they were very destructive of the trailer if she left them alone’.” This is the key to what might have explained the attack. You just simply cannot keep three large animals inside a metal crate together – especially for long hours at a time. It was said that they were held in this crate for over three hours before the attack. This must have put the animals through intense physical and mental stress and it is no wonder that they lashed out.
Attack #5 – “Gridley Woman Mauled to Death by Her Two Pet Pit Bulls”
While, at first, it didn’t seem that this report had any of the usual hints towards poor parenting on the part of the owner or mental health issues with the animal, upon further research it was revealed that, “the dogs had injuries consistent with being involved in a fight with one another.” This based on the police report.
While it is thought that the animals got in a fight with each other and then turned on their owner when she tried to break up the fight, it might also point to something even more violent and dismal.
Attack #6 – “Port Huron Woman, 22, Fatally Attacked by a Pit Bull”
The death of Rebecca Hardy is a unique case for, “Dragovic said the investigation showed that Hardy knew the dogs were dangerous and that her climbing the fence was a ‘purposeful act.’ It seems her death was ‘suicide by pit bull attack.'”
Hardy knew that these dogs were vicious – one of which was not actually a pit bull – and yet, she climbed over the fence anyways. Why the animals were aggressive is unknown, but the owner seemed to understand that he had to keep them away from other people. More likely than not, they attacked as a way of protecting their property.
Attack #7 – “4-Year-Old Boy Savagely Killed by Four Pit Bulls in Detroit”
Here there are two signs of the owner being responsible for this attack. For one, “Lyons [the owner] is no stranger to the legal system. In 1993, he was convicted in Wayne County Circuit Court of a felony possession of between 50 and 225 grams of cocaine. In 2005, Lyons was indicted on money laundering charges.” Sadly, being in and out of jail does not make for a good pet owner.
In addition, “Detroit has long been known as the dogfighting capital of the U.S. Dogfighting, pit bulls, the ceaseless backyard breeding of pit bulls and stray pit bulls are all part of the city’s fabric.” The fact that this man – already in and out of jail for various crimes – was in possession of four aggressive pit bulls is almost a sure sign that he was involved in the underground world of dogfighting.
Attack #8 – “Family Pit Bull-Mix Kills Child in Oneida County, New York”
This is the only case where there seems to be no reasonable cause for the animal’s attack. Perhaps it was merely a freak accident.
Attack #9 – “Tenant’s Pit Bull Kills Visiting Child on Long Island”
In this incident, which took place in November, 2015, is a classic example of it being the fault of the owner. In the reports it is said, “Arnold’s Facebook page indicates this pit bull was possibly being trained for bite work…The organizationnotes on their home page that since 1984, they have enjoyed keeping some of the ‘best old family pit bull lines’ which is code language for saying, keeping some of the “best old family fighting bloodlines.”It is clear that this dog was raised aggressively and with the purpose to fight.
Attack #10 – “Oklahoma Man Dies After Vicious Attack by Five Pit Bulls”
The mere fact that the neighboring man owned five pit bulls, all of which were aggressive and attacked this man, is a huge hint towards an involvement in dogfighting. In an article on the Humane Society’s website it was said that one sign of animal fighting is, “an inordinate number of pit bull-type dogs being kept in one location, especially multiple dogs who are chained and seem unsocialized.”
So What Does This Mean? Even just looking into the latest ten pit bull attacks in this country we can begin to see a correlation between poor owners and the pit bull. It seems that this breed attracts terrible homes.
In ten cases of attacks, only one of them appeared to have no reason for the attack – though, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any reason.
The rest of the animals were being packed into small cages for long amounts of time, used as dog fighting dogs, suffering from internal injuries, living in homes of drug users (which can lead to neglect) and came from sketchy backgrounds. There is no wonder that these attacks happened.
If there is anything that can be deducted from a close reading of these attack reports, it is that it isn’t the animal more often than not. It is, in fact, the owner.
But, because of their bad luck with homes and their history of being involved in dogfighting has lead to a fear of pit bulls. And, because of this, they find it nearly impossible to be adopted from animal shelters. But, when raised properly and in a loving home, these animals can be some of the most caring and heartfelt creatures.
Thank you for reading,
About This Blog:
I started this blog as a way to challenge myself to write more over the 2014 year, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. I use it to let people in on what's happening in my life, talk about things I find important and to spread the news about amazing people, places and art.