This question resonates with me as my son was attacked by his grandfather's dog and ended up with 300 stitches on his face, a lip with a partial piece removed, and an eye with stitches all around as the dog tried to bite the eye.
True story, but the dog was not a pit bull. The plastic surgeon said that the two dog breeds with the most bites in his practice were German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels. His theory was that they were too inbred and nervous.
Personally, I believe that it is the training the dog receives, and the owner being consistent with the dog in its training. Pit bulls are not my favorite dog breed because of the strength of their jaws and the inability most times to make them let go if they do attack. I think it is the owners who should have required training before being able to own a dog such as pit bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers etc. all of which require good training and strong owners committed to their dogs being good animals.
I agree with kplharidson! Nurture can always overcome nature in this case. It all depends upon the care with which a breeder/owner treats the dogs. There is no reason to "outlaw" any particular type of domesticated dog. What SHOULD be outlawed (and actually IS in most cases) is the mistreatment that leads to pit bulls obtaining their violent personalities.
The opinion on this seems to be divided between those who have reason to be concerned about attack and those who are owners, breeders, dog fanciers, and friends of any of the above. It seems to me that Pits are in the same category as Dobermans: if bred and raised well and well trained for the function they are expected to perform (if any), they are an acceptable addition to the human-doggy community. Trouble is, when they were first introduced, there was a mystique of viciousness around them that individuals bought them for and fostered in them.
No, no and no. It is the owners, the type of training the dog receives, and the amount of contact the animal has with humans which determines how the animal's inherent nature will affect their social communication. Even a chihuahua can be vicious and bite you in a dangerous place if you train it to be a wild, antisocial animal.
Pitbulls are dogs. Period. Like any other animal, they depend on humans to be domesticated. Every time I hear a story about a Pitbull attacking humans the first thing that crosses my mind is: What condition was that dog living under to unleash such a demonic behavior.
I have seen dogs rehabilitate and become functional working animals, including Pitbulls. Meanwhile, a moron like Michael Vic, who used dogs to make money through dogfighting, he does not get put to sleep. Why? Outlaw humans who endanger others by not raising their naturally active dogs the proper way.
I can't speak for the incidence of pit bull attacks in the US, but in the UK, invariably, if there are cases of dog maulings, it is generally a pit bull that is responsible. I don't wish to be snobby here, but in the UK, the breed of dog you have is very much caught up in social class, and it is normally the lower classes that have pit bulls, which could support the views of other editors. It is the way that dogs are cared for and treated that has a direct correlation on whether they are violent or not.
I am a dog lover, and most dogs love me. Pit bulls are not among my favorite breeds, but I have several friends with pits that are as sweet and friendly as any dog imaginable. I believe the character of a dog depends entirely upon how they are bred and treated by their owner. If they are bred to fight, any dog will seem vicious. If they are brought up with love and kindness, even pit bulls will usually respond in kind.
The problem with allowing pit bulls but strengthening the restrictions regarding how and where they are kept is the same as with so many situations regarding a potential danger - where to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable risk. Yes, any dog can become aggressive if abused or made to feel endangered, but it does seem that this tendency comes out quickly and with little provocation in the case of many pit bulls. I would support banning them in my home town.
I do not believe that pit bulls are dangerous. I believe people are dangerous. To offer an analogy, a gun is not dangerous when not influenced (held) in the hand of man. Like the gun, a pit bull no influenced by a bad owner could, and have been, amazing and loyal pets.
Any animal can become dangerous when raised in an abusive and violent atmosphere.
There are all kinds of dangerous things the government might or should ban but does not. People are allowed to ride carnival rides on which some people are hurt and even killed each year. People are allowed to smoke even though the evidence is clear that it is a dangerous and often deadly behavior. People are allowed to...well, the list could go on for a very long time. Pit bulls scare me and I do not want one living anywhere near me or the people I love; however, unless the breed is going to be completely eradicated and a law against owning them is effective everywhere in the nation, it seems to me that people must be allowed to own them. There are bans on many exotic pets being shipped in from the wilds; but I think pit bulls fall into the category of domestic animals, even though they are not particularly domesticated. I would, however, certainly like to see the restrictions on pit bulls and their owners become more stringent.
I know a lot of people are either against or on the fence when it comes to this issue, or regard it as an encroachment on personal freedom, or too extreme, but I agree with a complete ban on this breed. We have one in place in Yakima, Washington, which was passed after a 5 year old was killed and a mailman mauled into critical condition. They weren't the first incidents, but they were the tipping point for many people in the city.
There are other breeds of guard dog that are less unpredictable, less violent in general, and less dangerous to public safety. We don't let people have tigers or grizzlies as pets either, and unfortunately, I don't think that's an unfair comparison.
It's hard to know whether the dogs are inherently vicious or if they are kept in ways or by people who make it more likely that they will be aggressive. This sort of dog is most typically kept by fairly young men who are themselves somewhat macho (in my opinion). It seems at least possible that their owners' attitudes have an impact on the dogs' behaviors. I would have no problem with banning them since I do not think that any particular breed of dog has a "right" to exist. I don't know that I'd want to kill them all, but I think it would be fine if further breeding were banned.
This is an issue that has created a great deal of debate. Although many pit bulls appear quite docile, there appears to be an inbred tendency towards aggression. It is this aggressive tendency that has made them a favorite for dog fighters and other sickly sort. Many years of ill treatment in raising them for fighting has perhaps exacerbated this tendency. I am not sure that they should be outlawed; but certainly should be kept under strict supervision and away from children. The dog that "doesn't bite" is like the gun that isn't loaded: one need be wrong only once.