Saturday, December 16, 2017

Virginia Resident Mauled and Killed by Own Dogs

Goochland County, Virginia resident Bethany Stephens was mauled to death by her two 125-pound Pit Bulls

Some will say that a dog that weighs 125 pounds is not a Pit Bull, but Ms. Stephens  disagreed.

Ms. Stephens, age 22, fancied herself a Pit Bull lover. On her Facebook page she had links to "Pit Bulls and Parolees", "Stop Pit Bull Bans (Ban the Deed Not the Breed)", "American Bully World and Reaper Bulls XL, XXL" and "Extreme Bully Style Pit Bulls and Phantom Rolls XXL Bully Pits".

Over-large molosser-type Pit Bulls (there is no terrier in them) have always been bred, from the time of Bill George to today, with the modern massive American Pit Bulls beginning with dogs bred by John D. Johnson in the 1970s.

And what of Ms. Stephens?

She is quite dead.

Ms. Stephen had defensive wound on her arms consistent with her being alive and trying to fight off her dogs. Her throat was ripped, and she was bitten hard around the face and through the skull.

Sheriff James L. Agnew said:

It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my nearly 40 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again...

There were various articles of clothing, under clothing, scattered about the area not far from the body and torn into small pieces, there were patches of blood....

There were no strangulation marks, the victim had puncture wounds in the skull and this was not a homicide.

It took deputies more than an hour to wrangle the dogs which were standing over her body when her father found her. Neighboring Henrico County Animal Control was called for assistance, and they provided tranquilizers to subdue the dogs. Deputies spent eight hours collecting more than 60 pieces of evidence.

The two dogs, Tonk and Pacman, were reported to have come from the same litter, but one had recently come back to Ms. Stephens.

Killings of people by dogs is pretty rare in the U.S. -- only 20-30 deaths a year -- but serious dog bites are a great deal more frequent, and Pit Bull dogs are implicated in a disproportionate majority of these serious attacks.

In neighboring Maryland, Pit Bulls are deemed to be inherently dangerous a stance embraced by the courts after a particularly serious mauling case.

The core problem with Pit Bulls, as I noted back in 2012, is that this is a breed caught between two lies:

When it comes to Pit Bulls, two lies are commonly told.

The first lie, exemplified in the U.K.'s Dangerous Dog Act, is that Pit Bulls are as dangerous as wild lions.

Because of this patent falsehood, Pit Bulls can only be kept in Britain with specific permission from a court, and can only be walked when muzzled.

The second lie, told by Pit Bull aficionados, is that Pit Bulls are no different than any other dog. If you disagree with this statement, be prepared to be called a "breed bigot".

Here's the truth: both claims are lies.

In the United States, where Pit Bulls are a common dog, more people are killed by lightning strikes than by Pit Bulls. In fact, more children are killed by their parents than by Pit Bulls.

Does this mean Pit Bulls are just like every other dog in the world?

No. That too is a lie.

In the U.S., where Pit Bulls account for 2 to 3 percent of all dogs, this breed type (it is not a formal breed) accounts for
over 50 percent of all serious dog bites.

And while Pit Bull-related fatalities are low (about 10 a year), for every fatality there are thousands of hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Those who focus solely on the low number of Pit Bull fatalities are lying by omission when they fail to mention the physical and emotional scars left by Pit Bull attacks.

So, does this mean that Pit Bulls are a problem?

Yes it does.

And part of the problem is that this breed -- like most others -- comes with a code inside it.

Of course, we all know that dogs come with a genetic code.

When we talk about Pointers and Setters, everyone knows these dogs are particularly "birdy."

When we talk about retrievers, everyone agrees this breed is particularly biddable, loves water, and has a desire to bring things to hand.

When we talk about Jack Russell Terriers, everyone agrees they hate rats, and have a natural inclination to go to ground.

But Pit Bulls?

The Pit Bull community wants us to think these dogs are just like any other! Never mind the illegal kennels here in America that crank out line-bred fighting dogs like Pez from a dispenser. Never mind the history of this dog as feral hog hunter, pit fighter, and junkyard protector.

To even suggest that Pit Bulls might have a different genetic code inside them than Pugs, Standard Poodles, Pointers, or Salukies is heresy among many breed-blind Pit Bull defenders.

Of course, canine genetics is only part of the equation. Along with nature comes nurture. In the right hands, even a Pit Bull with a lot of drive can end up being a happy, docile, and extremely playful family dog.

The sad truth, however, is most Pit Bulls in America do not end up in the right hands. This is a breed that tends to attract "the wrong types" to the point that research has shown that U.S. Pit Bull owners are far
more likely to have criminal records than other dog owners.

The predictable result of too many boisterous Pit Bulls meeting up with too many ill-prepared and unstable owners is that the dogs suffer.

And in America, Pit Bulls suffer terribly.

Nearly a million Pit Bulls were euthanized in American shelters in 2009 --
more than the sum of all dogs of all breeds registered by the American Kennel Club last year.

In the last decade, about 8,000,000 Pit Bulls were euthanized in U.S. animal shelters -- approximately four hundred million pounds of dead Pit Bull.

What makes this particularly distressing is that Pit Bull euthanasia rates in the U.S. have been on the rise for 30 years, even as all other canine impounds and euthanasias have been on a steady and steep decline.

What's going on with Pit Bulls?

The problem is not Pit Bull haters.

Ironically enough, the problem is Pit Bull lovers.

After all, it's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are breeding these dogs.

It's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are acquiring these dogs.

It's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are too often abusing the dogs through ignorance and neglect before abandoning them to their death a year or two after acquisition.

You mean Pit Bull "haters" are not the problem?

No, they are not.

The problem is young numbskulls who acquire these dogs in ignorance and haste, discover that they are too much dog to handle, and who then abandon them at leisure.

So what to do?

One of the most obvious ways forward, is to do with Pit Bulls what we have done for hawks, guns, and and cars in the U.S.: require a license conditional upon passing a basic training course.

When "hunter safety" courses were mandated in the U.S., accidental shootings fell to the point that golf and tennis are now deemed to be more dangerous than hunting.

When falconers were required to serve two-year apprenticeships, the longevity of captive birds soared, and concerns about raptor abuse plummeted.

And, of course, driving courses and driver's licenses have been in place since the beginning. Do accidents still happen? Sure, but no one argues that driver's license enforcement is not Step One to improved highway safety.

With dogs, however, the assumption is that everyone knows everything they need to know about dogs at birth -- and never mind if that is demonstrably wrong, especially for large game-bred breeds like Pit Bulls.

And the consequence of this crazy idea?

Millions of dead dogs.

What is bizarre here, is that you would think there would be a natural constituency for a simple Canine Safety and Responsibility Course.

After all, teaching such a course could be a small money-maker for sponsoring groups such as the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, the RSPCA, and dog-activity clubs.

Would a Canine Safety and Responsibility Course solve every Pit Bull (or dog) problem in the world?

No, of course not.

But it would solve a lot of them, and it would also serve as the "edge of the wedge" when it comes to tackling the human problems that too many dogs face -- ignorance about costs, responsibility, health, and training.

I am sure Bethany Stephens meant well. But meaning well does not give you a stable life style, real dog training, or the experience and physical size to handle two 125-pound dogs.

Most Pit Bulls are fine (there is one asleep at my feet as I type this), but these are not "nanny dogs" that can be "loved into being good," as if human emotion and intent is a quick and ready substitute for 5,000 hours of dog training and socialization.

A Pit Bull is a serious thing; every bit as capable of mayhem as a gun or a car. Owning one should be a right that is counter-weighted by a legal responsibility to carry insurance, to have at least 100-hours of dog training under your belt, and to have a properly fenced yard. 

If you're not serious enough about owning a Pit Bull to meet these expectations, then you are not serious enough to shoulder the responsibility of caring for, and training, a dog that requires daily exercise, daily training, and a jaundiced eye towards its potential for mayhem.

Finally, because I am from Virginia, and because I have written about the issue of Pit Bulls and southern culture before, let me say that I am not terribly surprised to find pictures of Ms. Stephens that suggest she was a young person acting out certain negative cultural manifestations and stereotypes.

As I wrote back in 2007, in a post on this blog entitled Black and White and Redneck All Over, and focused on the drama surrounding Michael Vick:

In Black Rednecks and White Liberals, sociologist Thomas Sowell suggests that the black pathology we see lionized by inner city thugs today is really just a kind of "black redneck" culture adopted from white rednecks in the South.

Sowell has a point. Both cultures embrace easy violence, routine inebriation, monthly government checks, and children born out of wedlock. Both cultures embrace prison tattoos and celebrate machismo posturing. Both cultures have a long love affair with fast vehicles, easy credit, and gambling.

Is it really such a shock, then, that a southern black redneck by the name of Michael Vick was caught with a dog fighting arena and a kennel-full of scarred Pit Bulls behind his house in Virginia?

Let's be clear what Vick was doing: He was raising dogs to fight each other to the death for entertainment purposes, and he had been doing it for at least 6 years as part of his "Bad Newz Kennels." The "winning" dog was lucky to survive his wounds, while the loser, if not killed outright in the fight, was shot, hung, or electrocuted.

Uh oh.

I’m talking about it
now, aren't I?

Yes I am.

Just to clarify: just because you are poor does not make you a redneck. Just because you are rural or Southern does not make you a redneck. There are good people, black and white, who do not have a lot of money or a lot of education and who happen to live in the South and buy their towels (and their deer-hunting ammunition) at WalMart.

Most of these people marry their children's mother, do not routinely get drunk, pay their bills, work hard at their jobs, and go to church. Call these folks "redneck," and you may be picking up your teeth.

A redneck is someone who confuses bad choices for culture. But don't take my word for it. Listen to any of the rappers who feel they have to routinely give a shout-out to their fellow "Niggaz," while singing about drinking their "40s" and shooting their "trey-eights," and cruising for their "hoes."

Better yet listen to country music star Gretchen Wilson celebrate "Redneck Women," whom she defines as those who would "rather drink beer all night, in a tavern or in a honky tonk, or on a 4 wheel drive tailgate."

And if you have a problem with her lifestyle of public drunkeness, she sings, "I don't give a rip, I'll stand barefooted in my own front yard with a baby on my hip, cause I'm a redneck woman."

Is it an accident that there's a Pit Bull in that big picture on her web site? I don't think so.

Great. These folks are glamorizing the folks who keep showing up drunk and shirtless on "COPS."

Bad boys, bad boys, who you gonna call when they come for you?

Bad choices.

Make enough of them, and they have a way of catching up with you.

Bethany Stephens
seems to have made more that a few of them, from the bad fake spray-tan and low-budget streaked-hair dye job you can see on her Facebook page, to the selfies with the Rebel flag behind her, to the KKK bikini picture, and the Dixie flag drape she also posted there.

Could she possibly have done anything more to signal her desire to date someone in the Ku Klux Klan?

This is someone who clearly wanted to trot out a Gretchen Wilson "Redneck Woman" persona. A pair of 125-pound Pit Bulls simply filled out that character, same as her over-large tattoos.

My condolences to her family and friends who no doubt loved her and will miss her.  The chance that Ms. Stephens would be mauled, killed, and chewed on by her own giant dogs was never a given, and always quite remote.  That said, it was never outside the bounds of possible, was it? 

It reminds me of the folks who drink too much and drive too fast. When they wrap their car around a bridge abutment everyone at the funeral says it was a terrible "accident" and no one stops drinking, and there may even be another drunk driving death as people speed away loaded from the funeral.

Bad boys, bad boys, who you gonna call when they come for you?


John said...

Very disturbing

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Your main points are well-taken. I have a related question about "this breed type (it is not a formal breed)":

It is said that "In the U.S., where Pit Bulls account for 2 to 3 percent of all dogs". I sincerely wonder how we know the prevalence is 2 to 3 percent. What is the data-source for this statement about prevalence.

This breed type is not well-defined. It includes dogs that are unquestionable, and dogs that at least seem to be obvious members of the type, but it may or may not included a tremendous scope of dogs with very mixed ancestory. Exactly which dogs would be included in the count of dogs is ambiguous.

The many dogs that are not registered or licensed in any way may not be counted if anyone is counting.

Finally, the documented fact that "Nearly a million Pit Bulls were euthanized in American shelters in 2009 -- more than the sum of all dogs of all breeds registered by the American Kennel Club last year" does not make it sound like the type is rare.

So how do we know?


Heather Houlahan said...

Two things:

1) Those dogs are no way 125#. They look like 50-60# dogs to me, with the petite mauling victim for scale.

An animal doesn't have to outweigh you to pose a danger.

2) The 2-3% v. 50% figure is bogus.

NO square-headed muscle-bound short-haired dog is a "pit bull" on license records, vet records, shelter cards.

ALL of them are "pit bulls" when the sheriff is talking after the mauling.

Neither fiction is helpful.

(When I was attacked by a purebred boxer, a remarkable number of people, including the public health department and hospital employees, tried hard to make him a pitbull. Nope. Didn't make the bites hurt any less, and sure as HELL didn't make that dog any less dangerous.)

Your own next-submitted figures for number of pit types killed in pounds v. number of purebreds registered by AKC denies the dichotomy.

A wild-ass unscientific survey of "dogs I pass on the street/in parks with their owners" and "dogs in shelters" (yes, huge sampling bias there, but still) would put pit bull "types" as maybe a quarter of the general canine population.

Easily more than half the homeless canine population, to your point about easy dumping. They are fecund early and die on a fast schedule in the hands of the geniuses who produce them.

Much, MUCH lower proportion of "dogs whose owners seek any kind of damned training."

Decades ago a local trainer of some renown was killed by her own dogs, in a pack. Speculation was that she'd gone out to the dog yard "dressed up" for a formal function, and the dogs "didn't recognize her." Uh huh.

Those were all German shepherds, which at the time more or less filled the pitbull niche socially and in some other ways.

And so it goes.

Jennifer said...

From my three years in rural Florida, I'd say that opiod addiction is a more serious problem than beer, pit bulls, and redneck culture. Which is not to say the redneck world is ok. All in all, the "sweet sunny South" is not a happy place.

PBurns said...

I would agree with you that those two dogs in the picture do not look to be 125# but I have no way of knowing if those are the dogs in question.

The press reports are what noted the weight of the dogs, and without any other evidence, and with both dogs in custody, I was not going to invent weight. A 60-pound Pit Bull can kill you as quickly as 125 pound dog, as noted.

We actually do have some idea of the prevalence of Pit Bull-type dogs in the U.S, as we can go through newspaper ads for litters. People tend to advertise correctly what they are selling.

For starters, though the AKC registers less than 500,000 dogs a year of the 7-8 million dogs needed to replace aging pets, there a total of 190 AKC dog breeds.

The point here is that the percent of any breed is quite low.

As noted at the links that follows, here, more than half of all AKC dogs registered are among the top 10 breeds registered, and the Top Ten does not include the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Across the US, about half of all dogs are mixed breeds and about the same percent are acquired at shelters. See >> and >>

For the last 10 years, ANIMALS 24-7 has done an electronic survey of classified dog ads. In 2016 they evaluated 783,645 classified ads, excluding duplicates, which represented approximately 783,645 individual dogs put up for sale. Though far from the total of dogs being sold or acquired in the U.S., this is a larger cohort than all AKC registrations, and probably a more representative cross-section of what "the market" looks like.

The most popular single breed was dachshunds with 6.9% market share. Germans Shepherds represent 5.3 percent of the dogs in ads, Chihuahua's 4.5 percent, Beagles 3.2 percent, Pugs 3.1 percent, French Bulldogs 2 percent, and Boxers and Doberman's each came in at 1.9 percent.

Small terriers (lumped together as a larger group) total 8.5 percent, and large retrievers also lumped together as a group (Goldens, Labs, Chessies) claimed a 6.1% market share, while Hounds (lumped together as a group) came in at 7 percent.

Bull breeds of ALL types accounted for 4.9% in 2016, and included Pit Bulls, American bulldogs, American Bully, Ambulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, Olde English Bulldogges, and everything else that is a bully breed, but not including English and French bulldogs.

Note that these are newspaper ads, mostly for puppies.

Pit Bull puppies, of course, are abandoned to the pound in droves between the ages of 6 mos and two years, with the majority of Pit Bulls bouncing through the shelter system (true for all dogs) and the majority of these being euthanized (over half of canine euthanizations are Pit Bulls). In short, the percent of Pit Bully dogs sold as pets is likely to be half what actually shows up as adult dogs.

For more newspaper ad data See >>

The bottom line is that a 2-3 percent number is very close to what everyone has seen in pet surveys, which actually are "a thing". People will tell you what type of dog they have if you ask them.

PBurns said...

As for serious bite records, here too we have pretty good information. In Atlanta, for example of 1,616 serious dog bites requiring surgery, Pit bulls were responsible for 50% of the bites. In Seattle, of 342 serious bites studied at a regional Level One Trauma Center, Pit Bulls were responsible for 60% of all injuries. In Sacramento, in another Level One Trauma Center, Pit Bulls represented 54% of the injuries when the breed was known (211 cases).

Is a Pit Bull a bigger problem than a German Shepherd, a Rottweiler, a Doberman, or a Cane Corso? Well, funny enough, all of those dogs are man-stoppers that were bred for their ability to guard and, if need be, to maim.

The fact that German Shepherds used to be oversold and bit a lot of folks in the 1960s is a little like saying no one is shot with .38s anymore because the more popular caliber is a 9 mm.

Dogs bred to bite, which are over-bred and oversold to people who have no idea what they are getting into is the problem.

And YES breed does have something to do with it. Not all dogs are blank slates. Can a breed go from being a very drivey butcher's dog or a tax collector's bite dog to a passable pet? Sure. That's what occurred to the majority of Boxers and the Dobermans, but that took 50 to 100 years to get done. Job One was to stop over-breeding the dogs and selling them to numskulls, and Job Two was to cull out of the gene pool dogs that had a lot of prey drive, fear, and dominance-based aggression. Dobermans and Boxers had an advantage in this regard; neither were ever fought the way Pit Bulls have been from the beginning (and still are).

Lisa said...

Those who insist that pit bulls are given an unfair "bad rap" need to scroll through the "dog fatalities in the U.S" Wikipedia entry some time, the breed column reads like this: pitbull, pitbull, pitbull, pitbull mix, pitbull, Rottweiler, pitbull, pitbull, pitbull mix, pitbull...

Keith Smith said...

Any idea why the deputies had to wait to "wrangle" the dogs? Why no shoot them on the spot?

PBurns said...


This women was dead, and that part of the story was well over. It does not sound like the dogs were attacking anyone else, though they were probably pretty hopped up.

In that kind of situation, you take the gun out, take the safety off, and try to de-escalate the situation in order to preserve evidence and make sure the story that's in the newspaper the next day is about how smart, calm, and sensible the cops were, rather than how the shoot two dogs and contaminated the crime scene.

I applaud them for their action; cops shoot entire too many dogs for no reason what so ever and simply because they have guns on their hips. Too many cops escalate, Taser, and shoot as if it's the only choices on deck. De-escalation is not taught enough in my opinion.

To be clear, these dogs are going to be euthanized, but it will be done with thought and with as little pain and as little panic and chaos as possible.

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Your main points are well-taken, no question. Thank you for the kind replies and discussion.

As Heather rightly noted that, "Neither fiction is helpful": Selection-bias in available data is a serious concern, as short-haired mixed-breed dogs are too often not a "pit bull" until the sheriff and the media show up. And then they all tend to be "pit bulls".

There is no question that breeding does matter. As you say, "Dogs bred to bite, which are over-bred and oversold to people who have no idea what they are getting into is the problem."

But "Neither fiction is helpful" when in fact,
-- breeding does matter
-- relying on media coverage of dog-bites presents a highly biased view

One fiction can lead to more bites, while the other can lead to unhelpful and harmful breed-specific legislation.

No surprise: The CDC published a study in 2000 using media reports from 1979-1998. Per wikipedia, "They stated that media reports are likely to only cover about 74% of the actual incidents and that dog attacks involving certain breeds may be more likely to receive media coverage. They also reported that since breed identification is difficult and subjective, attacks may be more likely to be 'ascribed to breeds with a reputation for aggression.'"

The most recent study (published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: US data from 2000–2009) concluded that

"Reliable verification of the breed of dog was only possible in 18% of incidents."

Per wikipedia, "For 401 dogs described in various media accounts of cases, media sources reported conflicting breed attributions for 124 of the dogs (30.9%); and where there were media reports and an animal control report (346 dogs), there were conflicting breed attributions for 139 dogs (40.2%)"

"This was the first study to be based on law-enforcement reports, animal control reports, and investigator statements.

This study identified preventable risk factors in the fatal incidents.
The most common contributing factors were:
-- absence of an able-bodied person to intervene,
-- no familiar relationship of victims with dogs,
-- owner failure to neuter dogs,
-- compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (e.g. mental disabilities),
-- dogs kept isolated (e.g. dogs kept chained in backyards) from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs ,
-- the owner's prior mismanagement of dogs,
-- and owners' history of abuse or neglect of dogs.

In 80% of the incidents, 4 or more of the above factors co-occurred."

In contrast... The editor of ANIMALS 24-7 is Merritt Clifton who is entirely untrustworthy, and infamous for manipulating data. While data from newspaper ads could be used as a valid source, it is not the only source and is subject to selection biases. People advertise in other ways as well; e.g., using something called the 'internet'.

Forgive me if I do not trust ANIMALS 24-7.


Sarah Beaupre said...

From the latest report from the sheriff, it sounds like these dogs rarely had human interaction. They were kept outside at her father's property, where she visited them a couple of times a week. They were not house pets, like the brindle one in the frequently posted photo appears to be. Her facebook also had photos of a dane, and of a beagle mix that was being given away. The dogs that mauled her were siblings, and one was "returned" to her, not sure if she was the breeder or it was a rehome that didn't work.
Glad to finally see someone mentioning all of the other stuff on her facebook, too. If she was black and had posted stuff that was equivalent, it would be in the first sentence of every article.

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

In addition to all the other basic problems, and the problems inherent to owning sibling dogs: Sergeant Mike Blackwood said... "the dogs were a 'little bit neglected towards the end of this.' [She] left the dogs with her father, and Blackwood said; “he wasn’t taking care of them – it wasn’t his responsibility.” The dogs, who were indoor dogs, were moved out to the kennel where they stayed 'in the cold.' Blackwood said that with [her father] coming home maybe five times a week, the dogs became more isolated and only had contact with each other."

tuffy said...

just a point: dogs ''bred to fight'' other dogs is not the same as dogs ''bred to fight humans''. there really is a difference. they rarely cross over. see both Vikki Hearn and Bill Koehler.

Also, just from my own personal experience as a surgeon and many shelters and vet clinics: i have handled literally many 1000's of dogs over the years. (and to be clear, i AM a Koehler trainer). while i know there are bad apples in every breed, i experienced the largest numbers of these bad seeds in chow-chows, chihuahuas, English Bulldogs and other more Pure Bull/Mastiff types, German Shepherds and Rotties. I can honestly say, there was only one or two American Pitbull Terriers that were anything but lovely to work with. I am talking the 50# type Pitties, not the 120# variety, (which honestly, at this time in dog breeds and varieties, I do not consider an American Pitbull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier). In fact given the choice of any dog breed off the street on which to clean up and staple up a superficial would without anesthesia, I would take a Pittie any day. I know i won't get bitten. too much moral fiber there; and they love the attention, despite the mild pinch of the surgical staples.
I can't tell you how many Golden Retriever and Chihuahua dogs biting young humans I've seen/examined, and Terriers and mixed breed dogs scrapping with other dogs (never humans in my experience) i've sewed up.
I've certainly sewed up Pitties scrapping with other dogs or cats, but never scrapping with humans, to my knowledge.
Just my experience.

However, knowing the horrendous breeding going on out there, most especially on the West Coast, and the lack of training and leadership knowledge of most dog owners, I still recommend EVERYONE owning a Pittie know what dogs are all about and go through a 'military style' *balanced* training course, not a ''cookie'' one with no consequences.
I actually recommend against owning the breed most of the time, for fear of yet another bad outcome.
And I do love that breed. Deeply.
But I love the original versions of that breed, not the current versions, which are all over the place size-wise and cross-breed-wise.

PipedreamFarm said...

The problem is that dogs from breeds developed for animal aggression are not being evaluated for those instincts prior to breeding so one does not know what aggression instincts are being bred.

If the individual dog from these breeds you get has unbalanced instincts, training (no matter how good) may not be able to prevent unexpected aggression.

Ralph said...

People will tell you what type of dog they have if you ask them.
That is my experience. The owner of the dog that bit ours said she was a pit bull. He did warn me a month earlier that his dog didn't like other dogs, but I forgot about it when I was out playing with my dog. I did not know anything about pit bulls, and never really thought much about them. He said our 20 poundy fluffy dog startled his. In hindsight, I had been playing fetch for about 15 minutes, threw one toward his yard, and I think his dog couldn't contain the excitement anymore. There wasn't a growl or anything, just all of a sudden it was there, and my dog was hightailing across the yard.

I found the Pit Bull Federation of South America articles, and they are also defenders of the breed, and have the same conclusions; that advocates are actually doing more damage than those of us intimidated by the reasons you provide.

Thank you. I would not be afraid to have you and your pit as a neighbor. But the guy down the road that lets his two run the neighborhood scare me.