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Yes, I brought a Pit Bull

Some time back, I wrote about the prejudices that pit bulls (and those who love them) must endure. ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/10/346856.shtml) This prejudice, like any other, is a dangerous and ignorant thing. Pits are actually being murdered in many places in this country, just because of who they are. It's important to speak out about this, and so I did. I was shocked to find that readers of this site can be as bigoted as anyone when it comes to Rhodie and Romeo, the dogs that I love. So I want to share a story with you. And I'd like it if you'd think about it.
Romeo
Romeo
A few days ago, I was walking Romeo along the river. He was happily trotting along in front of me, ears flapping like little wings as he went. For both our sakes, Romeo and I were on a leash, of course. As always. Suddenly, I heard a loud and threatening ruckus coming from the top of a nearby hill. I turned to see a woman with two large, standard poodles walking down a trail toward us. I smiled and waved, and she tried to do the same. But her dogs were lunging wildly, and the trail was slippery, and the woman lost her balance and fell. As she slid down the bank, the dogs pulled loose and came lunging and snarling and barking down at us. She screamed for them, and I shouted "NO!" But they kept coming, all gnashing teeth and wild eyes, and trailing a long, slippery green leash which bound them both together. It was a very frightening moment.

They came wheeling upon us, and surrounded us. Their leash tangled around us, and i tried to grab it, but they were snapping and visciously snarling at my little Romeo, and I could not get them away. Each of them outweighed Romeo by a substantial margin, and they were attacking him. I tried to pull Romeo out of their grasp, but we were so tangled in their damn leash that there was no way to get away. Through the entire ordeal, Romeo stood there in terror, trying to turn away from them, trying to press against my legs, just trying to keep out of their grasp. As they snapped at his ears and haunches, I shouted at them and pushed them off him with my boot. I flung my arm between the meaner of the two and Romeo, and the poodle tried to snap at my arm, though I was able to pull away before it reached the skin. After what seemed like much too long, the woman who had recovered her feet came running down the trail, shouting and flailing at them. Another person came running over to help. Grabbing at leashes and dog parts, they eventually managed to get a firm enough grip on the white-toothed assailants to get them off my dog.

"Oh shit!" The woman exclaimed. "I SO apologize! Shit! SHIT!"

I knelt down and checked Romeo, who was shaken and covered with foamy dog slobber, and had a few cuts, but did not seem too badly injured. I asked the woman if she was all right (she had taken a bad spill down the bank). She, too, was shaken but not badly hurt. She continued to apologize profusly for her dogs' very bad behavior. What could I say? She had had them on a leash, and it was not her fault that she fell. I've seen people give stern lectures at times like this, but the woman was already so clearly aware of her dogs' transgressions, without my having to say anything. I asked her, again, if she was all right, and then continued on my way.

As I walked away, though, I thought about all the people who wrote on this site about how dangerous and mean and iredeemable pit bulls are. (But thank God, it wasn't everyone. And thanks, Madam Hatter.) And I thought, again, about mindless prejudices. Because if my dog had acted like hers did, everyone would have taken it as "proof." "See? Pit bulls. That's how they are." And if my dog had acted like that, he would be in danger of being taken away by "the authorities." But my dog, the pit bull, did not act like that. My dog stood there trembling in terror as two big, standard poodles attacked him.

And yet, to my knowledge no one has ever proposed a ban on poodles.

This story is made more ironic by an experience we had today, as the two of us walked through downtown. We were down near the max tracks when the yearly parade of drunken santas came jostling past. Several of them stopped to admire Romeo, and one stopped for a long bear hug with him. A family walked by, and three little girls asked if they could pet him. Sure, I said. He loves the attention. So they surrounded him and pet him and hugged him, and he licked their faces and put his paws on their shoulders. A little while later, as we wandered through the crowd, a man in a levi jacket pushed past, looked down at Romeo, and snarled, "Oh, great. Yeh, bring a pit bull here. Nice."

(I offered my observation to him that he would do better to fear the toe of my boot in his ass than the dog, and he continued on his way.) Still, it was an odd experience. To have some complete stranger come up and offer such a thoughtless and ignorant remark like that, which had no grounding in reality, was really annoying. Some people can be such dumbasses. But then, of course, that's what prejudice is all about. A block later, we passed a woman with a little black cocker spaniel. The spaniel took one look at Romeo and went into a frenzy. Barking and leaping and pulling at his leash, he made quite a spectacle of himself. Romeo glanced nonchalantly at him, and sauntered away.

That's my boy.

prejudice 09.Dec.2006 19:19

retch

Pit bulls don't have to be bad, just like poodles. Hell, even chihuahuas have a reputation for being merciless ankle slicers. However, pit bulls have very powerful jaws and can be built like brick shithouses so a good upbringing is crucial to their success in society. A responsible person with the intent of obtaining one should read about how to effectively raise them first.

The point is......... 09.Dec.2006 19:53

Chuck

I never thought it was about the pit bull, only about the folks who own them. I don't like to make generalizations, so I will rely on my first hand knowledge of pit bull owners after 20 years experience caring for dogs. About 70% of Pit bull owners are assholes who want the dog for the wrong reasons and train it to be mean to enhance their own brutal nature. About 20% of folks out their own pit bulls becasue they are fearful of the world and want to have soemthing or someone to protect them. The other 20% just love pit bulls and treat them as they should be treated. You sound like the latter, but remember you are in the minority.

yes, retch 09.Dec.2006 19:55

circe

You are so right, retch. It takes a dedicated person to raise a pit bull to be social and well behaved. I know Romeo and can tell you that he is getting the proper training. He is a wonderful loving animal and lives with people who are well aware of his needs. I wish all dogs could be raised with that kind of care. What is worrisome, as Catwoman says, is the blind prejudice that follows the pit bull wherever he or she goes. It is wise to give all dogs plenty of space until you know for sure that they are friendly, but to suggest one breed should not be allowed in public is just not tolerable. I have a cute little rat terrier that looks like a sweetie, but he does not like children and we have to watch him like a hawk when we take him out on his leash. You cannot tell a friendly dog by his/her breed.

that woman should have smaller dogs 09.Dec.2006 20:00

I hate poodles anyway

The woman obviously should have dogs she is capable of controlling, especially if she cannot train them not to attack other animals / people. To even have those dogs seems irresponsible, and they probably don't have the best upbringing if they act that way.

To add to the commentary about pit bulls: I've never in my life (I'm in my mid-thirties) met a pit bull I thought was dangerous. I'm sure they exist, but of all the many pit bulls I've encountered (friends, relatives, associates, people I delivered papers for) I've never been afraid of one though I have feared injury from other dogs.

Funny story: when I was much younger I worked for a nice family in their light fixture store. The parents brought in their German shorthair pointer, and the son his pit bull. Both were very charming, greeted others enthusiastically, and played gently together. The son liked to tell the story about a neighborhood he lived in where a woman on the street instilled terror in the neighborhood kids about pit bulls. Once, his dog was off-leash and the gate happened to be open, and he wandered out of the yard. Children ran screaming "THE PIT BULL'S LOOSE, THE PIT BULL'S LOOSE!!" while this charming dog walked around wagging his tail and curiously sniffing flowers.

prejudice yep 09.Dec.2006 21:48

E

I've seen first hand the damage pit bull's can inflict. Also I've seen first hand pit's turn on their owners. The last experience two years ago at a public park a pit locked onto a smaller dog's head that was reacting extremely passive, the owner was bitten trying to remove his dog from the small dog.
I kicked the pit in the head as hard as I could just to get it to release.
It's funny after the incident he told me, my dog has never done anything like this before.


I wish you luck with your liability; I'm defiantly no fan of this breed of dog.

Walking dogs 09.Dec.2006 22:22

Big dog guy

It's always a good idea, when walking any size dog in public areas, for the owner to carry a "walking stick". Good, hard walking sticks can be obtained at REI or any other outdoor store, or you can easily make one of your own.

The advantage to carrying a walking stick is that if another dog attacks your leased dog, you have a means of self defense for both you and your dog. Let's face it, veterinary bills are expensive and people being what they are nowdays, you will probably play hell trying to get the offending dog's owner to pay your vet bill.

A good sharp rap across the snout of most dogs will make it take off crying. You don't have to break bones to get a dog's attention.

People in general need to take full responsibility for their pets at all times.

carry a sturdy stick 09.Dec.2006 23:31

skull kraker

most mean dogs know from experience to curl their tails and run when faced with a brandished stick, but to be safe carry something sturdy (enuf to bounce off a skull without cracking the wood). also throwing any piece of crap at the beast usually works wonders. amazing how people use dogs as shields and weapons.

You ARE a Minority - and Your Pit Bull is Young 10.Dec.2006 03:05

Dog Lover

I go to a dog park several times a week. Almost all of the owners of purebred pit bulls are young men who see the dog as an extension of themselves and their power. Pit bulls (the "Brindle pit") are bred for aggressiveness and fighting. They are known for having a hair trigger temper.

However, not all terriers are like brindle pit bulls - the American Bull Terrier is a great family dog, without the hair trigger temper that brindle pits have. Yet, they still have the big mouth and scare the hell out of bad people.

A brindle pit bull might cause landlords not to rent to you. Your insurance can be raised - or canceled. If you ever go to court over the dog no one will believe that your pit bull is innocent. Cops take one look at a pit bull and draw their guns and only assume the worst of you. Maybe none of these things is fair - but they are reality.

I own an American Bull Terrier and he is a wonderful dog with kids and around other dogs - but even he gets into lots of fights at the dog park.

Catwoman, I am sorry to be so negative and I do appreciate what you are trying to do with Romeo. When pits are young they are the cutest dogs on the planet. I am offering this advice because I once had a dog that I did not understand.

To Dog Lover 10.Dec.2006 04:08

Dog Pro

I've been breeding and showing dogs for over 15 years now. I have done extensive work in shelters and with community outreach dog obedience classes. And I have never, never once, heard of a breed or type of dog described as a "brindle pit bull."

Sure, I've heard of brindle pit bulls, but only as a way to identify the color of a dog of a certain breed. What is this "brindle pit bull" you speak of? There is a common type of pit called a Red Nose pit bull, but I'm lost as to a "brindle pit bull."

Funny that the first comment you make about the breed is in regards to irresponsable owners, yet you go on to criticize the breed. I strongly feel that IF pit bulls are indeed more dangerous to people and other dogs than other breeds, the blame lies squarely with the owners. But I say IF, because I believe this is one of those self-fulfilling prophecies- that mainstream media is more likely to report a 'dangerous dog' story if it involves a pit bull, and that Joe Shmoe is more likely to REMEMBER a dangerous dog story if it involves a pit bull.

One more point, Dog Lover-
you say your dog is wonderful around other dogs, but even he gets into "lots" of fights at the dog park. On what evidence are you basing the statement that he is wonderful around other dogs???? I have four adult dogs currently (three terriers, who are known by dog-educated people as being breeds which will "spar" with each other and always want to dominate, have you heard the phrase "terrier temperment"?) and if ANY one of them were EVER involved in a dog fight beyond being directly attacked, I would NOT refer to that dog as "wonderful with other dogs." My dogs are continually at dog shows, obedience trials, agility competitions, Earthdog tests, and many other events, as well as the weekly training classes which go along with all of these sports. They are typically off-leash, working around other dogs which are also off-leash, and even in the agility class which currently includes two brindle-colored pit bulls, there hasn't been a dog fight yet.


I'll end with a happy pit story for those of us who respect the breed and like to add things to our "happy thoughts" side of controversey.

My friend is an avid animal lover and I sometimes believe she is preparing for a flood by having 'two of every type.' Her current household includes two dogs, one of which is a brindle-colored pit bull and the other is a tiny doxen. She has four cats, two of which she just found by the side of the road with their eyes still shut. She has birds, cockatials and a parrot, a rabbit and a guinea pig.
The tiny kittens are currently in a box in the kitchen and next to them is a small aquarium with two baby cockatiels which are being hand fed. Neither box has a top- none of the animals could climb out, and that way the heat lamp can warm them. When I arrived the other night, she shouted at me- "don't let the rabbit out!" And there, in the middle of the floor, was the rabbit calmly eating the carpet. Next, the guinea pig scampered through the room. My view of the tiny animals was cut off by the brindle colored pit bull, which had leaped off the couch and over the rabbit to greet me at the door, by wagging so hard she was almost falling over and barking, "rooo roooo roooooooo, rooo roooo roooooooo" while she danced in circles around me. Next, my friend is saying, "watch this new trick!" as she takes her parrot and puts in on the pit bull's neck. The parrot gripped the dog's collar and the dog pranced about the living room and kitchen. The bird flapped his wings whenever he lost his balance, and frequently struck the dog in the head with them. The viscious pit bull carfully avoided bumping the open boxes containing the four tiny, helpless, no doubt tasty baby animals, and made sure to step over and not on the rabbit and she paraded around with the parrot.
Truely, a dog that anyone should be proud of, pit bull or no.

Yes, prejudice 10.Dec.2006 08:59

....

The guy with the anecdote about the pit bull biting another dog is a perfect example. I go to dog parks often, and I often see dogs react negatively to each other. Anyone who hangs out at the dog park has seen other dogs behave aggressively and bite each other. It's not good, but it happens. German shepherds, terriers, labs, mutts, and yes even poodles. Although I know it happens, I have never seen a pit bull do that at the dog park. The point is, any dog can be dangerous, so caution is always advised. But to try to use the anecdote about the pit bull to justify this prejudice would be as silly as using the above example about poodles to justify prejudices and stereotypes about them.

That's the thing about prejudice. It makes you very selective about which examples you will see, remember, and relate. An example having to do with a pit bull fits right into the pattern you have already established in your mind, and so it becomes proof of your assumptions. But an example having to do with any other animal is merely an anomaly, so you are unlikely to even remember the breed, much less categorize it like that. Same with prejudices against people of different ethnicities than you. One negative experience with someone from a different ethnicity can come to symbolize everyone from that ethnicity. And if you have been surrounded by media telling you that one group of people (or dogs) is bad, you can meet ten thousand people (or dogs) from that group who are cool and not think about it, but you meet one who does something wrong, and suddenly it's "aha!"

The person above talking about 70% and 20% and all that is another perfect example of prejudice. Such "scientific" numbers! I'm sure you have met many people with pits, and have carefully evaluated the evidence. Not. What you did was make assumptions. Just like I did when the people with the three pit bulls and the race car moved in across the street from me. I assumed they must be druggies or something, and I was really fearful of their dogs. I thought they had them either to prove how manly they were, or worse, maybe even to fight them. Every little thing they did became "evidence" to me that I was right. From the way they dressed to the big parties they had, to the loud music they played. And then I got to know them.

Turns out, I was wrong. They are musicians, so that's why they play loud music. And they are animal rights activists, and they have three pit bulls because they rescued them. (Too many pit bulls need rescue, because people are afraid of them and jump to conclusions about them, and they are often homeless.) And they are really nice people.

And by the way, I want to share an anecdote of my own about a pit bull. A "brindle pit," to use the jargon of the above poster. When I was a kid, my best friend had a pit bull. Yes, one of those brindled ones. She was beautiful! They used to keep her tied to a tree in the front yard, which I have heard is a really bad thing to do to a pit bull (to any dog, really), because it can make them mean. But this dog never got mean. She was the sweetest, most loving dog in the neighborhood. My friend had four brothers and sisters, so the house always had little kids around. And because we used to let it loose all the time, it was always running around the neighborhood, wagging and friendly. I had a little westie who used to play with the pit. So don't tell me that your mean dog anecdote means any more than my nice dog anecdote. The point is, any dog can be friendly or not friendly, so it's best to approach any dog carefully. A dog like a pit bull or a doberman should make you even more careful, because they're so big, and yes, pits have big mouths. There's nothing wrong with being careful. But there is something wrong with being a presumptuous biggot about a particular breed of dog, or their humans.

The Our Gang dog, Petey, was a pit bull. Most people who remember Our Gang are surprised by that, because he never fit their stereotypes about what a pit bull would be like.

Too Many Dogs, No Matter What Breed 10.Dec.2006 11:01

Free

The central question is: when overpopulation, overconsumption, and expansion of the built environment is killing the planet, why are Portlanders so unconscious, insecure, self-centered and unhappy that they feel the need to have more dogs per capita than any other U.S. city? Too much coffee, too much ego, too many corporate messages that instead of directing their consciousness on the source of satisfaction within, they must go get themselves one, two, three, four dogs? And then these poor dogs become their slaves. In their prison yards they bark all hours of the day and night, consume and shit too much, andm when taken out for their ocassional runs, they trapse through sensitive natural environments and ruin our parks.

Here's to the disregard of ignorent, programmed generalizations 10.Dec.2006 11:27

,

Every single encounter I have ever had with a pitbull involved one (or more) that was abused and left to it's own devices in cities and in the wilderness. However, everyone of those dogs was intelligent, not violent, and more than anything, seemed sad, desperate, and grateful for the consideration. Even in the most extreme case (with a literally feral pit that had lived alone in the mountains for some time), frequent time-outs to sit together and clam down were all that was needed to get him to recognize that he needn't fear violent punishment everytime he chewed something up (had a special animosity for zucchinis, for some reason), or barked at a goat. I'm not saying that things don't go wrong for dogs with the kind of strength and destructive power that a pit has, but that I've never had much of a problem, and that those pits that have had abusive upbringings should be afforded the same patience and consideration that we (as responsible people) lend to all such members of our society, a society which is the cause of the problem in the first place.

After all of that, I will add that I have encountered wild dogs in urban waste areas that were friggin' blood thirsty variations on all manner of "accepted" breeds. In a better world, the best thing anyone could do for pitbulls, and any other breed, is to make sure that their offspring are not purebred.

Hope to bump into you and Romeo, sometime.

re: too many dogs... 10.Dec.2006 11:54

,

How is helping out a dog that is abandoned, or lined up for extermination contributing to the destruction of the planet? Should people simply allow them to be rounded up and terminated? If so, and if environmental damage caused by over-use demands such a solution, then let's start with the species that's really messing things up (us) and let's see you volunteer to go first. Of course dogs are happier in the country (hell, they're happier when their wolves), but this, like every other issue in the world, is not an all-or-nothing situation.

Thanks Dog Pro 11.Dec.2006 09:21

:-D

What a great story!

Hey, where's a good place to call for dog obedience classes?

There is prejudice 11.Dec.2006 16:53

Mother of Ex-Pit Bull owner

Yes, a few years ago,my son (late 20's) and his family were going to get a Pit Bull. "Oh No", not around my grand children I said. Well he seperated from his wife, had his kids custody shared and was on disability, he has a fatal illness. He still wanted a Pit Bull, so he got one from a friend who was tired of thier wild dog.
He house trained it, etc. They were inseperable. The Pit Bull would get in between anyone who visited my son,looking out after his new owner, sensing he was ill. But he was the most gentle, loving dog.
I had read about Pit Bulls and told my son about thier chewing on objects, and how they feel rejected if left alone.Well,my sons late hours did not please his pet, so he started tearing up the furniture. People in the apartment(who had the same prejudice I originally had) did not want a Pit Bull in the complex, so my son was told he had to get rid of him. There was actually a written policy against pit bulls, which the landlords had ignored unless someone complained.
That experience showed me, that I too, held accepted prejudices.

Breed does not determine behavior 11.Dec.2006 16:57

....

As a youth, many years ago, I lived in a small town. In my neighborhood was a black labrador (Now everyone knows how totally vicious THAT breed is, right?) who was infamous. Most of the year, he was simply a very loving, "typical" lab, and anyone could do anything with or to him. Not so when ever there was a lady dog in the mood residing anywhere within the confines of the town. When this happened, anyone and anything was subject to attack. He attacked and killed at least three small dogs in our neighborhood, and he attacked quickly and without warning. He attacked and was beaten up by several larger dogs. He also attacked many a kid in the neighborhood, some very seriously. Folks were not as litigious back then, but I still do not understand how this dog and his keeper were allowed to roam the streets, year after year. That, of course, was not my point. My point is that this dog was of a breed not noted for their pugnacity, in fact, I am told that they are bred for their "soft" mouths, in that they supposedly pick up and retrieve birds that their trainers have killed, without damaging their already broken bodies. Many folks buy them for their friendly, clueless, nature. This dog was neither friendly, nor clueless, but he was a killer. I would prefer Romeo. Besides, he is just plain cuter.

I confess 11.Dec.2006 20:56

None

I confess, I do harbor prejudice against the Pitbulls. I've seen some bad behavior out of the breed before. One incident was where a large pit spotted another pit a half a block away, lunged and pulled it's leash out of it's owner's hand. It proceeded to charge the other smaller pit and then locked onto it's neck. The dog refused to unlock and held on for about 15 minutes while both owners tried anything and everything to get it to unlock, cold water, gripping it's scruff tightly, kicking it, etc. The smaller pit was bleeding profusely from it's wound during all this and losing blood. The larger dog did not want to unlock for anything. Finally someone brought a large screwdriver and the owner finally was able to pry the dog loose. It was a very scary scene to witness.

I also knew a guy who had two pittbulls which he considered very docile and they were well behaved around his children. The dogs ended up digging under their kennel in the back yard, escaping and one bit a child across the street. The dog had to be put down. Many pit owners are under the illusion their pets are harmless and would never attack someone unprovoked. Who can really predict canine behavior?

I'm not saying every pit bull exibits this behavior, just that pittbull owners should really be well aware that the breed is very powerful and has so much pulling power you better be on top of it if it suddenly decides to make a run for it. A friend of mine has a small purebred female pit that is so powerful it takes every bit of strength to restrain it when it pulls. The dog frankly scares the hell out of me, it's very high-strung and does not seem to respond well to commands and training. The dogs are bred to pull large amounts of weight.

I wish I didn't feel this way but I do not consider them a safe breed to own. Many are well behaved at most times but I've seen enough bad behavior over time to be leery. Just my opinion, other people are entitled to their's.

Pit Bull Pup Bites Baby's Toes Off 12.Dec.2006 02:23

Dog Lover

Here is a story from today's news about a put bull puppy who bit several toes off an infant. Yes, the parents have been charged for neglect. They speculate the pit puppy was trying to nurse.

If you are thinking of having a pit bull around small kids please read this article. If you can't load it, just Google "Pit Bull bites baby" and you will find the stories.

 link to icwales.icnetwork.co.uk

Toes chewed off 12.Dec.2006 08:23

SlimX

Catwoman,
I am a huge fan of your writing, passion, logic, etc. You always do a great service to our community with your thoughful sharing.

However, I guess by now we have all heard of the 6 week old pit bull puppy that chewed off the toes of a new baby yesterday.
We don't know all the facts yet. But, bizzare pit bull events seem to happen all to frequently.

Is it that they just get more press? I'm not sure if we can place all blame there.
I'm sure if a poodle had done it instead, we still would have heard about it.

I was a paperboy as a kid. I know what ALL dogs are capable of...I have the scars.

Catwoman, if anyone can issue a call for a reasoned study of pitbull behavior, it is you.
I think it is sorely needed.
That way, we can just look at the facts and not have them clouded by sentiment and emotion (as valid as sentiment and emotion is in other circumstances).

Just sick to my stomach this morning.
SlimX

I confess 12.Dec.2006 09:19

someone else

Most big dogs scare me. I mean, if I don't know them, I don't know whether to trust them or not. I once saw a sharpay (or how ever you spell that) that was supposedly the most well behaved dog ever. But he bit a child near me, and he also snapped at me. The owner said he had never done anything like that before.

I guess the moral of the story is, any dog can act weird, and it's not just pit bulls. THe trick is to be careful around any dog, and for people to keep their dogs on leashes around others. I don't think you can be more direct than that. I don't think making rude comments to or about people with pit bulls on leash in public is acceptable. I think any dog can be that way and people who are being responsible should be appreciated no matter what kind of dog they have.

PIT BULLS 12.Dec.2006 10:07

MARS

yes, we have three pit bulls and we love them. they are the most wonderful intellegent, loyal and gentle dogs you can imagin. it is the people who own these dogs that are to blame for the negative repportings. yes, a pit bull could do some damage but they do not know it. but so can elephants..............but they don't know that. i know what you are saying about others breeds..........like poodles, or any other breed.........it depends on the owner, and the temperment of the dog. i was accidently bit by one of my own yorkies and ended up with a blood infection in my hand and arm. the yorkies jump up and bit the pits when they want to play..........and the pits play gently with them. we've never had a problem. people are to blame for the actions of their dogs, regardless of the breed.

BRINDLE PIT BULL 12.Dec.2006 10:09

MARS

brinlde is the color of the pit bull in case anyone wants to know..........we have one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fortune 12.Dec.2006 11:22

ms_xeno

"Free"'s post makes me feel fortunate to live in a neighborhood where the dog owners are excellent caretakers. The folks across the street, for example, have four dogs (some of them rescued as abandoned puppies) of varying sizes and breed. The dogs have the entire front, back, and side yards fenced in so they can get ample exercise during the day. They have an enclosure in the back in case of inclement weather. These dogs are well-treated and rarely bark at me once I get close to their fence;They have seen me pass by a million times before and no longer consider me a threat to their territory.

I have met "bad dogs" and I have seen a dog being abused by its owner. None of the "bad dogs" were pits. Dogs are also a lot more work than cats, which is why I don't have a dog even though I'm fond of them.

CatWoman, I'm very happy to hear that you and your dog are all right.

pit bulls and bull dogs 12.Dec.2006 12:21

dogs are wonderful eviltracker1@yahoomail.com

yes unfortunatly pit bulls and bull dogs have a bad reputation, I've been living with a couple friends who have two american bull dogs and I have to say they are the sweetest dogs I have ever met!!!
there are several pit bulls that live at the apartment complex and they are all very wonderfull, as I believe it was stated in another comment or in your article pit bulls and bull dogs are built (generally) like a brick wall and have a lot of jaw muscle, this makes them very dangerous if they are raised wrong, and many people get the to be guard dogs or attack dogs and when these poorly raised dogs get out they do what they have been taught to do...attack strangers...unfortunate but true, the complex manager at the apartments was very hesitant to let my friends move in due to bull dogs reputations but once she met the dogs she realized that they were very sweet as long as you treated them with respect and didn't try to scare them or take them by surprise, and considering the older of these two wonderfull dogs has been through a car crash (she was thrown from the living room into the kitchen when a car went through our wall) and that she was adopted from an abusive home she has only niped at me out of play and when you tell her no she listens...camo the younger of the two is very playfull and lets your pick him up and roll him around.
since my friends moved into the complex there have been two other bull dogs and several pure bred pit's and even more mutt pits.
all of which are sweet loving dogs.

Pitbulls 12.Dec.2006 18:00

Spuds

We had a pitbull when I was younger and he was the greatest dog I ever had, until we found out he was writing bad checks and sneaking out at night with the car! People a dog is a dog, good ones bad ones, but a pit bull is like a .357, when you get bit by one it's a lot worse then a .38! I guess what I'm saying is we should all have pet turtles, and take them to the turtle park, it would be good for our society, it would slow things down.

And there you go 12.Dec.2006 18:37

df

I had a pet Turtle once , his name was little pea . Well any way one night I was awaken by Mr. Pea he was just there kinde of siting on my chest just looking down at me , I was like Hey little guy , but nothing - little Pea just looked at me with dark empty eyes ..little black eyes looking at me , then I said once again Hey little guy .. and then .. then well I save you the gory stuff .

I had to have one hunderd stitches when it was all done . My point even a cute little Turtle can be ..crazy .

Yes 12.Dec.2006 19:22

Doug P.

Very good point, a bite from a Pittbull is like a .357. That's what owners should realise and take into account, that the dogs are very powerful animals and have the potential to inflict serious injuries. All owners of large powerful breeds need to be responsible owners. Well that's not going to be the case alot of the time.

Both sides 13.Dec.2006 15:22

lola

I love dogs, and they know it. I never approach a dog without looking her in the eye and sensing her 'OK'.
I was chased and bit twice by a pit bull in Eugene, Oregon. And, I have met sweet and friendly pit bulls.
As far as I can tell, it all depends on the owner.

To sum up 13.Dec.2006 15:40

Spuds

I think we can sum up overall what we have discovered to date. Dogs are like guns, guns you may love or hate, you may even have a family gun that is trustworthy but other people may not be as comfortable with your family gun because guns hurt when they "go off". When a pitbull goes off it's like a .357, a Mastiff would be I guess like a .44 magnum, a mad turtle we have found is like being shot repeatedly with a bb gun at close range. Brindle is a certain flavor extract of Pitbulls that they excrete from their brows. Since the decline of Spuds Mckenzie and his jovial portrayal of pitbulls, Pitbulls have suffered from the lack of good natured, fun loving party animal type spokesman so when a lone Pitbull operating outside of the good natured fun loving party animal paradigm decides to nibble off a babies toes, people forget that underneathe such behavior is a pitbull who just wants to get drunk, wear a hawaiin t-shirt and surf on a surf board, but is denied the opportunity in our classist, speciest, breedest, trans fat society.

Well spuds.... 13.Dec.2006 19:16

dogeek

As much as I may agree with your commentary, I have to say that spuds is actually not a pit bull. He's a bull terrier, which is a different animal. Similar, but different. Bull terriers were bred in england, from the same bulldog/terrier mix as pits, but they evolved into their own...thing.

And except for the gun part, I love your gun analogy. I mean, i like the part about how the thing can be loved or not, and that others may not be comfortable with the one u love, and that everyone's gotta respect each other and zall good and stuff. But dogs are not guns and i really hate guns but i love dogs. So let's say dogs are like, applesauce. Usually, it's really good and tasty and harmless and healthy. But just because some weird freaky cult people put cyanide in it once or twice, some people don't trust applesauce and so we need to respect that and keep our applesauce on leashes.

Thanks 14.Dec.2006 00:39

Kathleen

Thank you for this article. It is good info to get out there....and I hope more people will post similar articles. Breed prejudice is a damn shame. I don't need to reiterate the truths of pit breeds... I spent five years volunteering at a Humane Society, and can validate the truth that pit breeds are NOT inherently aggressive towards humans, however they do have the tendency toward dog-to-dog aggression. I have never heard of a well-raised(ie. socialized, not abused, etc) pit breed who was out to eat people. So sad that their image has been distorted. I wish more people knew that some pit breeds were once crib-companions for small children.

Yada yada. Thanks for the article.

Spuds 14.Dec.2006 12:50

Spunky guns, the sauce and crib companions

I don't want to quibble, but it is a well known fact that Spuds was of mixed parentage, and tried to pass as a bull terrier to further his career. Which we know only further encourages the self-loathing mind set of pitbulls. As for guns not being lovable, I don't think you've really grown as a person until you've let a cute small handgun jump up on your lap and give you little gun kisses on your cheeks, but I do like your applesauce recipe! And just in time for the holidays! I can't wait to serve some up when my crib companions come over. Got the sauce happening in the crib, dogs!
(Just in case anyone thinks I'm for real,...well I'm not, I'm a hologram.)

Right on Cat 14.Dec.2006 13:47

Madam Hatter

Great article Cat, and typical of my experiences too. My 3 year old male pit is a sweetie who has never been anything but gentle, passive and friendly to people or other dogs - unlike my fox terrier - who can be quite skittish with strangers. My vet reports the same thing. As a dog groomer and veterinary tech, the only dogs that ever bit me were poodles and cocker spaniels (ask any groomer).

Oh, and for the statistician above: 70% + 20% + 20% = 110%. Geez.

Pitties = Controversy, Always 15.Dec.2006 12:27

Fairy Dogmother

My sister sent me a link to this article, and I found it refreshing. I adopted a Lab/Pit mix from our local shelter when she was just a little pup. She's an absolute sweetheart, but I have to admit, even now I find I have prejudices against Pitties I didn't even know I harbored. I love all dogs. All dogs love me. But when I adopted Star, I was told by a pit bull rescue organization that she would probably turn dog-aggressive when she reached maturity, and that I could never take her to a dog park, because even if she didn't start a fight, if one broke out, she would be the one who would finish it.

Well, Star never has turned dog-aggressive, but I have stopped taking her to dog parks. I watch her like a hawk, knowing that if ever anything happened, her pittie heritage would be to blame. I never felt the need to watch either my terrier nor my staghound so closely, but there you have it. Perhaps the prejudice is a good thing, because it keeps me vigilant, and vigilance means that "incidents" are much less likely to happen.

Star's a Canine Good Citizen and a certified Pet Therapy Dog, by the way. Thanks so much for the Good Word for Pitties!

PS: The Killer Turtle story was amazing!

Don't judge a book by its cover... 19.Dec.2006 22:59

.

The other day I was out with my pit, and I went into a little coffee shop. She is still a puppy and is learning her manners, but she is very smart. She sat down as we waited in line, and was perfectly calm with all the activity. A few people asked to pet her, and she was content with all the attention. As I was walking out of the shop, a woman looked over from her table as she heard the jingle of Poppy's tag on her collar. She looked down to see what was on the other end of the leash as she opened her mouth to ask permission to greet my loving girl. Her smile turned to a frown as she saw my Poppy was a pit. Instead of the friendly "May I pet your dog?" that I was certain was going to come out of her mouth came a snooty sounding "Oh. It's a pit bull. I didn't know those things were allowed in here." Now, she turned to her sleeping Yorkshire terrier and shot me an icy stare as she scooted her chair away from poor Poppy, who looked at her with her big puppy eyes, confused. I felt like shouting at this rude woman, "Who the hell do you think you are? You think you can insult my dog like that?! She appears to be better behaved in public than you. Goodbye." But being myself, I took a deep breath and said curtly,
"Yes, she is a pit bull, and she is well-behaved and loving like most all pit bulls are." Then I walked away as her awakened Yorkie began to yip. And you know what? My Poppy did not even look back. As we walked out the door, someone said to me, "Thank goodness someone will stand up for those guys. I had a pit myself, and he was the most wonderful thing on four paws."
Moral of my story? Don't judge a book by its cover. There are bad pits out there like there are any bad dogs out there, but don't insult my dog just cuz she's a pit. Chances are, if you feel like you don't want to be around the person on the upper end of the leash, you probably don't want to be around the dog. But if the people train and treat their pups well, you probably have nothing to worry about.

IGNORANCE 20.Dec.2006 01:20

RED

most not all pitbulls are dangerous (most) especially around kids because kids are aggravating owners also play a major role my point is don't underestimate an "animal" !!!!!

HELP ME PLEASE 29.Dec.2006 15:51

etento@gmail.com

this is kind of off topic, but do any of you guys know any options about rehoming pitbulls? my loser exboyfriend has a 2 yr old pitbull, really great, fully papered. paid a lot of money to get "true bloodline and papers" well, he falls into that category of getting the dog for wrong reasons,
the dog's name is hoss. he is rednose, and large and friendly.

anyways, hoss was raised around children, and now, a year after we broke up thje ex is calling me saying that he is GOING TO PUT HOSS DOWN BECAUSE HE DOESN'T HAVE TIME FOR HIM!!!! When we broke up he had all the time in the world. and at that point we both decided that he would treat the dog well and he would have custody of the dog. like i said it has been a year since we spoke, and he called me today and told me the news. well i live in a home that has a cat, which i don't think hoss will do well with. I am definately going to take him, so that the stupid, loser ex doesn't kill him for no reason but i don't think I will be able to keep him. Hoss is not neutered, which will be the first thing I do when I get him, he is gentle, but large and I need help! please email me with thoughts, ideas, pawsitively pitbulls won't take him because they are full, and I am not willing to take him to the pound.
thank you
elizabeth
 etento@gmail.com
971 570 2135

Another case of poor dog ownership and ignorance 11.Jan.2007 00:57

pit lover

I would like to say that I agree with 'skull kraker' to carry a study walking stick with you, you are within your rights to defend yourself when threatened, and you most definitely were. To all of you saying that Pit Bulls turn on their owners, are completely unreliable, ????hair trigger temper???? please stop spreading your ignorance and educate yourselves.

1) The pit bull 'turning' on its owner at the dog park was either redirected aggression, instinct -> when a dog is in a dog fight, he goes into what is called survival drive. I can not tell as i was not there.
2) to address the 'hair trigger temper' spoken about, this does not exist. Dogs do not have a temper, getting angry like humans do. they react to situations, that reaction generally depending on 1- their pack position (should be subordinate, omega, lowest pack member) , learned behavior which is influenced by the dogs genetics, etc etc.
-i would go on, but i dont have much more time for now

To everyone who is against pit bulls as a breed please stop consciously or unconsciously using dogs as scapegoats for social problems. The 'pit bull problem' some speak of is a lack of understanding of dogs and pack behavior, (no offense at all but most here demonstrated a lack of understanding about pack behavior), poorly bred dogs being bought and sold for wrong reasons -> bought for macho image/ guard dog, sold as a cash crop. lack of excersise, lack of discipline/ structure.

I will go into further detail if commented on again. I hope you will educate your self and spread truth about these wonderful dogs. for information specifically about pit bulls try --> www.badrap.org and for information on dogs, training, pack behavior etc visit --> www.leerburg.com and/or  link to www9.nationalgeographic.com

Thanks Pit Lover! 21.Jan.2007 11:23

Pit Lover too

I could not have said it better myself. Thanks!!!

Need some advice on pitbull next door 22.Jan.2007 07:33

philly

I would like to ask anyones opinion on this as on christmas day my neighbors dog ran down and chased a boy who was walking around the neighborhood looking for his dog. He wasn't in the dogs yard and didn't aggrivate the dog. We witnessed it, and the dog who is a lab/pit mix took off after the boy and bit him. He ended up going to the hospital and getting it taken care of and is ok. Then, I tried to get the dog into his own yard, (I know the dog) and have been around him and he hunched down and snarled at me like he wanted to fight!! I backed away and he backed down as well. I have two small children who love to play outside and the problem I have is that the owner leaves this dog outside during the day in hopes that her underground fence will keep him in the yard. It doesn't as he was loose again the other day. My job is to protect my children and I don't have a problem with pits or mixed pits as my other neighbor next to me has one and my children have been in their yard with that dog and he is fine. I do however have a huge problem with this dog. He has a mean streak in him a mile long, I don't think my neighbor has trusted him either as she has made a comment to me about him being so protective over her. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me what kind of dog this is as if it were another kind of dog I would feel the same about this particular dog. I have never never never seen a dog show his teeth to me as this one did. It looked like something in the movies and yah, it scared the hell out of me. I have done some research on pit bulls and the mixes and from what I understand that they are fun loving animals!! I just think this one has a bad streak. Also, he is in the same house as another male dog and I wonder what might happen with that, I understand, correct me if I am wrong that male pits do not like other males. As, that is probably the case with most breeds. If this dog is out of his yard again they are going to put it down, it also went after two different police officers as well.

The sweetest doggie girl 24.Jan.2007 15:29

RLR

I just want to say that the sweetest, gentlest, most loving and soulful dog I have ever know is a pitbull, australian sheppard mix. She has never snapped at anyone or behaved aggressively at all. Her worst sin was to be bouncy and curious as a puppy. She's elderly now, but still the best doggie girl in the world.

Bad dogs are made, not born. 29.Mar.2007 20:08

Anji sag384@stu.aii.edu

I love this posting. I totally agree with you. I have a 5yr old pitt girl named Sonnie, and she is an angel. She is a true friend if I ever knew one. I am glad that you have found the same wonderful feeling from your pitt as I have in mine. Your story made me smile. Kisses! Anj!

Proud of my pit too :) 04.Jul.2007 20:30

Sarah... mountaingirl5@hotmail.com

Fortunately I live in a place where, as far as I know, pit bulls are not as frowned upon as every other place I have lived in. Even at the dog parks here, people are very encouraging. The first time I went I was very nervous but all of the complete strangers were very comforting and helpful oddly. I thought for sure I would run into some one with some sort of prejudice and who'd have been upset for bringing my intact male pit bull to a public dog park.
Just letting those of you know that there may be hope, but then again I do live in a rather liberal Anchorage, Alaska. Thus far people are not that prude and ignorant up here.

Yes, I brought a Pit Bull 09.Sep.2007 22:47

CatWoman csmagic@yahoo.com

I LOVE IT... I, too, have a dalmatian/pit bull mix, the sweetest most loving dog in the world, one year old, and can relate so much to what you wrote !!! she gives joy and hope and love to everyone she meets... if they will let her... and everyone loves her, well, 99% of the people we meet love my girl... and 1% are just plain ignorant folks who have preconceived notions and prejudices... my girl has been attacked twice by smaller dogs who bloodied her ears at a dog park, I stopped going... frankly, because she was blamed for the other dogs attacking her... ! one of the dogs, a Jack russell, is particularly mean and vicious, like his owner, who did apologize to me for nasty remarks, but then she caused a big ruckus where my girl was hurt by her dog again... I rescued my girl from a dangerous situation, too... people who are bigots against pit bulls should be outlawed and fined!!! Hah! by the way, my girl, is currently recovering from surgery, she was hit by a car... and had to have her fractured femur bone put back together... hope to have her home soon...

Pit Bulls are the Best 19.Feb.2008 09:56

Evelyn dragnwings@gmail.com

I have read a number of the comments here and am amused that the worst offenders that do not like Pitts are people who have no idea what they are really about. One bad experience does not affect and entire Breed of dogs that Humans made the way they are.Humans Created the breed for fighting other animals. That makes me ashamed to be Human. These are NOT people agressive dogs and the amount of Hell they go through to be made to be agressive is heartbreaking. My Am Staff is the most lovable dog I've ever known. Oh yea he is a Brindle :) He was well socialized as a pup and lives with another older dog who he adores. Oh yes both are males and Neutered. Dogs of Any breed are unique. No animal is the same in any given group of Breeds.There are bad apples in every aspect of Life that's what makes Life Life. I know that many people can not even describe a Pit Bull period and many other breeds have been given a bad name because of this. That is a crying Shame. What it comes down to is the person who Owns the dog and the Reason for that ownership. I am a minority huh? Well I guess it's about time the Minority steps up to the plate and Raises some Cane :) All you ever hear about are bad dogs here's a link to the good ones who have served this country and entertained and made people laugh

 http://www.geocities.com/pitbullstop/famous.html

GOOD press time! Woohooo!

Get Educated about this Breed here

 http://www.pitbulllovers.com/

"Pit bull chews baby's toes off" 26.Nov.2008 10:00

Cat

The person who posted the article about the pit bull chewing a baby's toes off unwittingly helped to illustrate the whole point here: By posting a corporate media article about a "pit bull attack!" that turned out not to be one at all. It later turned out that the baby's toes were chewed off by a ferret, while the drugged out parents slept. The parents pater admitted this....

So thanks for making the point that pit bulls are often accused of crimes they did not commit. (Just like white people trying to cover up for themselves often make up a black assailant ala Susan Smith.)