About the Westwood pit-bull case, and dogs on the loose


That’s a photo sent to WSB by a man who lives in the Westwood neighborhood where police shot two dogs, described as pit bulls, night before last. (Original WSB report here.) The neighbor believes those are the same dogs – even if not, he says there’s a dog problem — irresponsible owner problem, maybe more like it — in his neighborhood: “I have called Animal Control AND Police on these dogs NUMEROUS times. I have photos attached of the dogs hunting/stalking during the day right in a neighborhood where children play outside all day and walk to and from school. … I have many, many photos of these and other loose dogs stalking my neighborhood day and night.” On the night of the police/dogs confrontation, we heard scanner traffic indicating a history of previous trouble with the dogs that police shot. Now we’ve seen the full police writeup of what happened Tuesday night, and thought you might be interested in additional details:

The report says the first 911 call reported “two loose and roaming pit bulls” that attacked a man walking by with his leashed dog. That was the main victim, a 63-year-old man walking with his Chihuahua; the man was taken to the hospital with bites to his hand and arm, and chest pain — his wife told us at the scene that night that he has heart trouble; the police report says he gave himself nitroglycerin before medics arrived.

As one commenter mentioned after our original report, the same dogs reportedly had attacked or tried to attack others in the neighborhood earlier that evening; one witness told police the same story our commenter told, about fighting them off with an umbrella. The police report featured many individual witness statements, including one from a woman who said the dogs had tried to “jump through (her) window” earlier in the evening. Several of the witnesses talked about previous encounters with the dogs, including one who told police, “These dogs are always roaming and off-leash. We’ve called animal control seven or eight times about this. They are extremely aggressive. I’m afraid to let my 3-year-old son outside … because he wouldn’t have a chance against those dogs.”

When the first police officer arrived, the dogs were found in the front yard of their house in the 8800 block of 24th. The officer at first stayed in his car to assess the situation and whether there was danger. However, he said he had to get out when he saw the dogs charge a neighbor. Then, the officer said, the dogs started charging him: “The dogs got within 10 to 12 feet of me before I fired approximately 5 or 6 shots at them. I hit the large male dog with the first or second shot and heard him yelp. They both continued to advance and I fired several more rounds. … There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t used deadly force against them, I would have been attacked and possibly severely injured, or even killed by the two dogs.”

As reported that night, the male dog was killed, the female injured (and taken away by Animal Control). The original victim’s dog was to be taken to a vet, and we haven’t heard yet how it’s doing. There is one more passage from the police report worth noting; the dogs’ owner showed up eventually, walking toward the house, and said, before officers asked him anything, “Is it my dogs? Oh my God, they must have pushed open the door.” The officer went on to note in the report that the owner asked about the condition of his dogs several times, but never once asked about the condition of the people who they had attacked.

As for whether the owner faces any sort of citations or liability, we’ll be checking and will let you know.

135 Replies to "About the Westwood pit-bull case, and dogs on the loose"

  • grr February 28, 2008 (6:20 pm)

    seeing that picture makes me furious, not only because of my love for the breed, but my love for ALL dogs. If that was two freaking POODLES roaming like a pack together, I’d be pissed.

    The owners not only need their dogs confiscated, THEY need to be arrested for gross neglegence, animal abandonment and cruelty, and need to be held COMPLETELY liable. AND, they should be banned from ever owning ANY kind of animal ever again.

    (oh..fwiw..I sort of feel the same way about people who let their cats run free, and about feral cats, tho..probably not QUITE as strongly).

  • OP February 28, 2008 (6:36 pm)

    As a pet owner, the idea of these dogs roaming free to bite, maim or kill everything from others dogs to perhaps children, makes me beyond furious. I agree with “grr” that the full weight of the law should come down on people who let their dogs—particularly pit bulls, rots, and other dangerous animals—roam free.

    God, what is it with people who own pits? Who needs a dog that violent? Drug dealers? Gangsters? Or is it just because they have small penises and are overcompensating? Is that the deal?

  • barmargia February 28, 2008 (6:42 pm)

    OP that is a great theory about the small penises, but what about the women that own them? And again, not all of those types of dogs are violent, certain people make them that violent.

  • ALS February 28, 2008 (6:49 pm)

    OP – you’re partially right there, in that often drug dealers, gangsters and men that are compensating for their “shortcomings” elsewhere tend to be attracted to pit bulls.

    But where you’re wrong is in painting the entire breed with the term “violent.” ANY big and powerful dog can be violent in the wrong hands. Pit bulls by nature are very loving, goofy and playful dogs. Think of the typical lab personality x100. But they have a tough look to them, and rap culture has glamorized dog fighting, so this tends to be the dog of choice for a lot of thugs.

    But there are also a ton of good responsible dog owners out there who truly love the breed for what it is at heart – goofy, playful and affectionate.

    Check out this video for a true example of pittie personality: http://eyespot.com/share?cmd=permalink&r=0XCzIG2UEokU5XiEJW0yIWmmmh

    (this dog happens to be one of the rescued dogs from Michael Vick’s compound, by the way, and will be appearing on the Rachael Ray show tomorrow – set your TiVos!)

  • angelescrest February 28, 2008 (6:51 pm)

    I see so many people who’ve taken on pits: walking ’em, carrying for them, and that takes real courage when so many of us balk (and rightly so?!) just at the sight of them. They’re just languishing in the shelters everywhere. Condemning the breed scares me, but not as much as the notion of one of them attacking my children or dog. It begs to be asked: are they all potentially violent?

  • I Heart Jiggers! February 28, 2008 (7:29 pm)

    Is the vet treating the victimized Chihuahua accepting donations from the community to help cover costs? Does Victim’s Assistance thru SPD help with injured animals?

  • all dogs bite February 28, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    as a pit owner, i have to reinforce that it is the OWNER that is the real problem here, not the dog. And by the way, i am neither a drug dealer, gangster, nor need to compensate for anything (especially a penis, since i am female). my pit is a sweet, loving and a well trained dog that surprises many when i tell them that he is a pit. PEOPLE cause dogs to be violent or are not smart enough to realize that having a dog requires time, love, attention and training.

    This dog owner should be incredible ashamed and horrified by the mess that he/she has caused and should step up and take full responsibility.

  • iloveapbt February 28, 2008 (7:49 pm)


    If you are going to come with such an ignorant statement, then you better have scientific proof to back up that statement.

    Where is your proof that “pitbulls” are more violent then other breeds.

    Waiting your answer

  • Joel February 28, 2008 (7:58 pm)

    iloveapbt, maybe OP’s theory applies to you?

  • E February 28, 2008 (8:02 pm)

    Maybe the Coyote will eat them. One can always hope.

  • iloveapbt February 28, 2008 (8:03 pm)


    You have still not answered my question.

    Please tell my where in my statements, I have said anything that justifies me being a violent type of person.

  • Joel February 28, 2008 (8:16 pm)

    Defending pit bulls dosen’t make you violent, just misguided. The thing that bothers me the most is that your values are out of whack. If you want an answer to your question, you need only read the story above and the orginal post again.

  • iloveapbt February 28, 2008 (8:19 pm)


    So now I am a drug dealer and gangbanger?

    If you knew who I am, you wouldn’t come with such an ignorant statement.

    When are you going to answer my question?

  • iloveapbt February 28, 2008 (8:25 pm)

    Please don’t tell me you have kids?

  • iloveapbt February 28, 2008 (8:26 pm)

    scientific proof. Do you have it, yes or no?

  • Tim February 28, 2008 (8:55 pm)

    I was curious about iloveapbt’s question. Wikipedia’s listing on Pit Bulls mentions a few scientific studies. One “cited that Pit Bulls were responsible for 65% of fatal dog attacks.”

    However, it’s more complicated than that. I found a pro-Pit Bull web site that discussed how Pit Bull’s have a strong prey drive and that Pit Bull owners must be especially responsible owners. Later in the Wikipedia entry it says, “Pit bulls are said to be popular with irresponsible owners, who see these dogs as a symbol of status or machismo.”

    So, you have a dog that requires an extra responsible owner but attracts very irresponsible ones. A recipe for disaster.

    And, just to add an interesting scientific study, there is one out there that says Pit Bulls are actually less aggressive than humans. Sad but probably true.

  • acemotel February 28, 2008 (9:23 pm)

    iloveapbt: give it up, already. you’re digging your own hole. Frankly OP, that has always my theory, too. ditto for owners of a certain model of car. (I won’t say it….)

  • Rick February 28, 2008 (9:25 pm)

    Do I hear cats?

  • mikev2.0 February 28, 2008 (9:27 pm)


    There is no science only statistics, and experience, you know that!

    So you’re saying that pit bulls are not dangerous? The fact is that with the wrong conditions they can be dangerous. Not everyone is as good of an owner as you are. The breed is known to require a good owner who is ever vigilant. One of my friends who is a pit owner was instructed by her dog trainer to never let her guard down with her dog.

  • Kristina February 28, 2008 (9:34 pm)

    There is an intelligent discussion of the breeds’ pros and cons here:

    My take on it is that whether it’s the breeds’ fault or the owners’ fault, the breed is unpredictable. The percentage of human deaths by dogs classified as pit bulls or rottweilers is rather high, given the diversity of dog breeds in the US.

    When my family went to adopt a dog at the shelter almost two years ago, I knew for certain that I was not interested in a pit bull mix, no matter how seemingly sweet, because breeding seems to have promoted violence in the breed, and that was not a risk I was prepared to take. I recognise that all dogs are potentially dangerous, and that there are nice pit bulls out there, but as I’m not a dog expert, that wasn’t a risk I could take. I have a small child, and pit bulls scare me for good reason.

    That does not mean that I classify all pit bull owners as (negative). I’m sure that most are delightful people. Still, I go out of my way to avoid pit bulls….their reputation preceeds them.

  • TFP February 28, 2008 (9:55 pm)

    According to a 20 year study by federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pit bulls are responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks.

    Yes, fatal dog attacks. (238)

    Also, The highest rate of injuries was to children between the ages of 5 and 9!

  • charlieg February 28, 2008 (9:58 pm)


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined U.S. dog-attack fatalities from 1979 to 1998. During that period, dogs killed more than 300 Americans, and pit bulls, either purebred or crossbred, accounted for 76 of the deaths, the most of any breed. Purebred or crossbred Rottweillers were responsible for 44 deaths, the second highest. The CDC concluded that Rottweillers and pit bulls were responsible for 67 percent of fatal attacks

  • animalover February 28, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    Everyone, please! Any dog is dangerous under the wrong conditions. Used to be the most dog bite incidents in the U.S. came from cocker spaniels! Fact. So, please don’t stereotype pit bulls. For the ones with irresponsible pet owners who make the news, there are thousands of lovely, sweet ones (I have a dear friend with two). In 1990, in West Seattle’s Pigeon Hill neighborhood, I and my leashed dog were attacked by two unleashed Rottweilers. We both ended up in hospitals – I was pregnant but lost my baby as a result. Animal problems are human-caused — so accept that responsibility. Humans are supposed to be superior, after all.

  • Holly February 28, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    A pit bull is a dog and there is no way you know what will set any dog off. Having a dog is a liability. Some owners even get liability insurance. Yet, good luck getting it if you own a pit bull,it is not that likely these days as many refuse to insure them.
    Regardless, perhaps there is something we can do within our neighborhood block watches or work to lobby city council? One mauling is one too many and I don’t want to wait to see my dog attacked again. I am referring to any violent dogs, not just pit bulls, although I am terrified of them.

  • BobLoblaw February 28, 2008 (10:13 pm)

    Maybe the Dingo ate your baby.

  • JE February 28, 2008 (10:17 pm)

    “The owners not only need their dogs confiscated, THEY need to be arrested for gross neglegence, animal abandonment and cruelty, and need to be held COMPLETELY liable. AND, they should be banned from ever owning ANY kind of animal ever again.”

    And how about applying this also to the “owners” of the unsupervised and wayward teens we keep reading about in the crime reports?

  • grr February 28, 2008 (10:54 pm)

    actually, JE..that thought has occurred to me as well :) Then again , I’d rather have a Pit than a teenager :)

    and, bob..you stole my line.


  • Jiggers February 28, 2008 (11:50 pm)

    Pets are like kids, and if you raise them and train them badly they’ll bite you in the arse.

  • Mikal February 29, 2008 (12:59 am)

    The coyotes are cooler. Look at the cute little puppies in the picture.

  • iloveapbt February 29, 2008 (6:16 am)

    From the CDC regarding human fatalities by dogs:

    To follow, as requested, please find a copy of the report published in the September 15, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In your review of this report, please be cognizant of the following:

    • This study was NOT conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, but by individual investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. The report underwent the standard review process required for publication of scientific reports published in the Journal of the AVMA.

    • In contrast to what has been reported in the news media, the data contained within this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities (e.g., neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be said to be more “dangerous” than any other breed based on the contents of this report). To obtain such risk information it would be necessary to know the numbers of each breed currently residing in the United States. Such information is not available.

    • Data in this report indicate that the number of dogs of a given breed associated with fatal human attacks varies over time, further suggesting that such data should not be used to support the inherent “dangerousness” of any particular breed. More than 25 breeds have been involved in fatal human attacks over the 20-year period summarized in this report.

    • Fatal attacks represent a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and, therefore, should not be the primary factor driving public policy concerning dangerous dogs.

    • Strategies that can be used in an effort to prevent dog bites include enforcement of generic, non-breed-specific dangerous dog laws, with an emphasis on chronically irresponsible owners; enforcement of animal control ordinances such as leash laws; prohibition of dog fighting; encouraging neutering; and school-based and adult education programs that teach pet selection strategies, pet care and responsibility, and bite prevention.

  • grr February 29, 2008 (7:41 am)

    Hey Holly…any time you want to try and get over your fears, let me know. I’ll introduce you to a few of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet.

    and, in case you haven’t seen it..you should watch The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Channel. Probably the single best amabassador for ALL types of dogs, including agressive ones. He has one Pit named ‘Buddy’ that’s his main ‘training’ dog for teaching OTHER dogs how to behave properly.

  • Ken February 29, 2008 (8:11 am)

    Where does commons sense go when dog owners converse?

    There are breeds which were bred for working characteristics. The markings and shape of the muzzle are incidental to the working characteristics.

    The terriers, if they were bigger, would lead the list of fatalities.

    Terriers including the cute miniature breeds are one of the few bred over the centuries to defend grain from rats. They are also one of the breeds that instinctively kills its prey.

    Molossoid dogs, which include Bulldogs, Boxers, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers as well as several other large and small current breeds, were bred for war, hunting, territory protection, fighting for sport and warning of strangers.


    This is their nature. They cannot be allowed to roam free in areas where their territory is subject to challenge.

    The owners are the problem.

    My GF family brought the Boxer to America in the early 20th century and defined the breed. We have owned and fostered Rottweilers, Boxers and Pitt Bulls. I worked for a vet through high-school and have been bitten several times while caring for injured dogs. My worst bite was from a St Bernard, a very friendly and loving dog when not in a deafening kennel and in pain.

    Anyone who underestimates the instinctive response of any dog in an unusual situation (to the dog) will suffer the consequences.

    The owner of any dog running unleashed is responsible for any and all damage or injury done by that dog.

    Each breed does have hard characteristics that can be mitigated by training but you will rarely find a Lab that will not swim, or a Rottweiler who will not challenge an intruder, or a Husky who can be taught not to pull on the leash when excited.

    It is our responsibility as dog owners to not put them in situations where their instinct over rules their training.

  • Holly February 29, 2008 (8:18 am)

    If anyone wants to work towards changing anything, here is a good start: http://www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite/dogbite.pdf
    West Seattle is a great community and we all have the right to our own opinions. If there is interest, perhaps we can work together to a better solution, besides just bitching about it.

  • Chad February 29, 2008 (8:54 am)

    We’re such a nation of fear and it makes me sick. Ever notice how fear is most prevelant in things we’re most ignorant of? Most of these comments are from non dog people that get their information and opinions from biased media reports. Fear sells and these people are the biggest consumers!

  • JumboJim February 29, 2008 (10:27 am)

    C’mon Chad, pull your head out of your rear. Fear or not, there seems to be a lack of common sense when it comes to dogs and potential dangers. Instinct is not something that shows up in a dog’s behavior 24-7, but it does show itself eventually. Ken’s posting was one of the few that addresses the reality behind the selective breeding of dogs (as has been done for many plants and animals). Not every pit bull will attack someone, but the danger when it does is much more than that of most other breeds.

    Saying this is all the owners’ faults is not enough. By the time the owner is held responsible the damage has been done, and when its a serious mauling or death it can’t be undone. What do those who blame owners propose? Should we require all people to register for classes before buying any dog? Before buying certain breeds? What if they take such a class but end up being irresponsible anways? Do we send people in to take the pets away? Can you imagine the incredible outcry that would come of this.

    What we need is some common sense and some pragmatic thinking. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I would suggest some. First, there needs to be some serious enforcement of leash laws. Many people complain that the cops (or animal control officers) should be doing something “more important”. What is more important than protecting your and my health and life? Second, there needs to be some serious examination of banning the most dangerous breeds of dogs. I know people will scream at me for suggesting it, but it is one of the few moves that physically removes the threat from the environment and deals with the problem *before* it occurs.

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (10:55 am)

    For those saying the pit bull was bred to attack/fight as a reason to fear them, it’s important to note that there is a HUGE difference between dog aggression and human aggression.

    Yes, pit bulls were originally bred to fight. But while they were bred to be dog-aggressive, they were bred to be gentle to humans so they could pull them out of the ring in the midst of a fight and not be bitten.

    Pit bulls by nature are not human aggressive. In fact, historically pit bulls have been called “nanny dogs” because they are so good with children. Just look at Petey from the Little Rascals!

    When the media covers pit bull attacks, what they fail to cover is the situation the dog was living in. You can’t draw the conclusiont that pit bull = violence without also looking at:
    -the home environment (was the dog chained to a tree in the back yard? that would make any dog crazy)
    -who is the owner? (did they neglect or abuse the dog? again, any dog would be messed up from that)
    -in the above two scenarios, the types of people who chain dogs to trees and abuse or neglect their dogs ALSO TEND TO BE THE TYPES OF PEOPLE MOST ATTRACTED TO PIT BULLS. If they happened to be attracted to golden retrievers and associated golden retrievers with thug life we’d be hearing a lot more about golden retriever attacks in the news.

  • Joel February 29, 2008 (11:27 am)

    Gosh ALS, I didn’t realize Petey from the Little Rascals was a pit bull. Well they must be safe after all, because tv shows are reality…

    Do you really intend to use that as historical example that pit’s are safe?

    Why don’t you tell the 9 year girl that got bitten in the face? Tell her all about how they used to be called ‘Nanny Dogs?’

    Don’t you see? This is a public safety issue… Punish the owners, fine, but the breed has some part in this, and it’s undeniable.

  • Debra February 29, 2008 (11:36 am)

    ALS, thank you so much for pointing out the difference between dog and human aggression. Pit Bulls were never bred for fighting humans. The simple fact of the matter is, these dogs should never have been running loose. (No dog should ever be running loose!) The owners should as others have said, be held responsible, jailed, fined to the hilt and certainly pay for the damages his dogs inflicted…Debra

  • Jeanne February 29, 2008 (11:51 am)

    ALS, your claim that fighting dogs were not human aggressive is pure fiction. Ever hear of the famous fighting dogs Bolio or Chinaman? Both were manbiters. The truth is, if the dog made money, it didn’t matter if he was human aggressive. Pit bull breeding is big money, and the for-profit breeders lobby spends a lot of time and effort spreading propaganda about the breed.

    Pit Bulls in this country were never called “nanny dogs”; you are referring to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is a relatively rare breed in this country. They were once called “nanny dogs” in Great Britain. Now Great Britain has banned them.

    Pit bulls are currently being bred by dog fighters, criminals and losers who can’t make an honest living otherwise. They are deliberately breeding both dog aggressive and human aggressive dogs. The number of responsible breeders of pit bulls in this country is statistically insignificant……that’s why the dogs have become so dangerous. Many naive owners believe that they can “love” a genetic trait out of a dog, and are horrified when the dog kills the neighbors dog or bites a child. Until we regulate the breeding of these dogs, the trouble will continue.

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (12:17 pm)

    Joel and Jeanne, PLEASE go back and read this portion of my post. Again, it’s the types of people attracted to them that end up giving them bad press. There are tons of well-mannered and adjusted pit bulls living in happy families that you never hear about. Go see the link I posted earlier for a true example of how the majority of pitties act.

    “When the media covers pit bull attacks, what they fail to cover is the situation the dog was living in. You can’t draw the conclusiont that pit bull = violence without also looking at:
    -the home environment (was the dog chained to a tree in the back yard? that would make any dog crazy)
    -who is the owner? (did they neglect or abuse the dog? again, any dog would be messed up from that)
    -in the above two scenarios, the types of people who chain dogs to trees and abuse or neglect their dogs ALSO TEND TO BE THE TYPES OF PEOPLE MOST ATTRACTED TO PIT BULLS. If they happened to be attracted to golden retrievers and associated golden retrievers with thug life we’d be hearing a lot more about golden retriever attacks in the news.”

  • bitbypit February 29, 2008 (12:27 pm)

    Keep up the good work WSB! A neighborhood does need loose pit bulls running around. It’s disturbing that animal control did not respond to the numerous calls.

    Classic pit bull owner response; happens all the time: “The officer went on to note in the report that the owner asked about the condition of his dogs several times, but never once asked about the condition of the people who they had attacked.”

    Assuming the dog owner has a valid homeowner policy — correct me if I am wrong, but I think only Farmers Insurance in WA insures homeowners with pit bulls — the victim should have civil recourse. This, however, usually takes a few years. In the meanwhile, the victim pays all of the medical bills.

  • Joel February 29, 2008 (12:43 pm)

    AlS, I read that part of your post, I thought it was just as off the mark as the Little Rascals reference. I’m sure the home environment for these pit’s wasn’t the best. Believe it or not, I feel sorry for the dogs as well. There really isn’t any winner here. Environment aside, it still does NOT justify allowing this breed. Everyone loses when we breed pit bulls.

    I know you have your examples of them being nice, loving animals, but you just can’t deny that the breed plays a crucial part in their behaviour.

    It’s funny, I am no fan of PETA, but I was suprised to find that even PETA supports an outright ban on this breed. Don’t you find that compelling?

  • OP February 29, 2008 (12:48 pm)

    iloveapbt said: If you are going to come with such an ignorant statement, then you better have scientific proof to back up that statement.

    Be happy to.

    Per the Clifton Animal People Study:
    “According to the Clifton study, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes are responsible for 74% of attacks that were included in the study, 68% of the attacks upon children, 82% of the attacks upon adults, 65% of the deaths, and 68% of the maimings. In more than two-thirds of the cases included in the study, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question.”

    “The breeds most often involved in fatal attacks are Rottweilers and Pit bulls.”

    “In the United States, pit bulls make up one to three per cent of the overall dog population and cause more than 50 per cent of serious attacks.”

    “From 1979 to 1998, at least 25 breeds of dogs have been involved in bite related deaths. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers were involved in more than 50 percent of these incidences.”

    Aggressive guard dogs are trained for self protection. While any dog can bite, the top biting breeds include:

    Pit Bulls
    German Shepherds
    Doberman Pinschers
    Chow Chows

    And finally, from the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “Pit bulls were blamed for killing 76 people, or 32 percent, during a study of dog attacks from 1979-1998, the study showed. Rottweilers were the second most deadly animal, reportedly killing 44 people, or 18.5 percent, during the same period.”


    Now, would you care to revise YOUR ignorance.

    barmargia said
    OP that is a great theory about the small penises, but what about the women that own them?

    Easy. The desire to have a penis.

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (12:50 pm)

    For everyone hating on pit bulls, I really would love to know how many pit bulls you’ve actually encountered in your life to allow you to make that judgment. One bad experience when you were a kid, maybe? The media’s perspective? (again, which doesn’t ever report on the environment in which they were raised)

    As a volunteer for the humane society, I can honestly say I’ve worked with dozens of them, maybe hundreds, which I feel qualifies me to talk about their true personality a lot more than most of you posting on this thread. Every week, I work to train and socialize the dogs that irrresponsible people have essentially discarded as trash. The amount of heart and love these dogs can give after being treated so badly constantly amazes me. To hear so many of you put down a breed you know next to nothing about almost brings me to tears. Reminds me of my grandparents who are so anti-gay but have never met a gay person in their life.

    I, like many of you, had misguided views on pit bulls before I got to know so many of them through my work at the humane society. I do not own a pit currently (already have one dog, and hubby is adamant about only being a one dog household). But you better believe my next dog will be a pit bull, if nothing else but to try and change a few more people’s minds when they see a petite blond haired girl walking down the street with such a “scary” dog.

    It makes me so angry to see how many people are so predjudiced against them because of the stereotypes perpetuated by the media. Responsible dog lovers who love pitties for their true personality have to work extra hard to make their dogs ambassadors of the breed, and then one story like this can shoot down all their hard work. It really makes me sick.

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (12:52 pm)

    Joel, PETA doesn’t even believe in owning animals as pets, so I don’t take anything they support seriously.

  • OP February 29, 2008 (12:54 pm)


    In all fairness to you, you may be a responsible, loving and caring owner of a pitbull, and that’s a wonderful thing. The trouble is, you’re probably in the minority when it comes to being a responsible owner. In this case, the many are giving a bad name to the few; and it’s the few that are causing the majority of problems associated with pit bulls.

    Yes, owners are to blame, too and should be held accountable, but don’t think for a minute that pits, Rots and other biting breeds aren’t hardwired and naturally aggressive. In the wrong, ignorant and irresponsible hands, they are deadly and the stats mete that out.

  • Joel February 29, 2008 (1:20 pm)

    ALS, you’re leaving out import parts, I’m not going sit here and defend PETA, they can be extreme. BUT, they DO advocate adoption and care of ‘companion animals’ from shelters, here’s a quote from their site…”Domesticated dogs and cats, however, cannot live “free” in our concrete jungles, so we are responsible for their care”

    Regardless … given their absolute, fanatical regard for animal welfare, don’t you find it compelling that they advocate banning the breed?

    Were you aware that pit bulls are banned in many countries already? Great Britain for one…

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (1:31 pm)

    Again, I just can’t ignore the fact that of all the pit bulls I’ve worked with (and as I mentioned, there have been a lot), 99% of them exhibit personalities that more reflect the link I posted earlier. Again, what is the extent of your pit bull experience? Heresay?

    Yes, they are banned in many countries. Many US cities as well, which is a shame because that does nothing to solve the problem. The types of people who turn these beautiful animals into monsters will just move on to the next breed.

    In the 70s everyone was afraid of Dobermans.
    In the 80s it was the German Shepherd.
    In the 90s it was the Rottweiler.
    Today it is the Pit Bull.

    Imagine if we had banned German Shepherds? Think of all the amazing police work they do.

  • I AM A LOSER February 29, 2008 (1:39 pm)

    I’d like to see that Coyote rip a pitbull to shreds.

  • Holly February 29, 2008 (2:08 pm)

    One bite from a pit bull or any dog is one too many. ALS, people can form their own opinions and they don’t need to justify themselves to anyone. Instead of talking down to others who feel that why, why don’t you work with the city, local vets to educate people.
    Why not start here, taken from CA Sentator Speier:
    As California kills hundreds of thousand of dogs every year in shelters, most true animal advocates would be thrilled to see compulsory spay/neuter of all breeds as long as there are any dogs dying for lack of homes. Why not start with those breeds deemed dangerous, that tend to attract those who enjoy organizing dog fights for sport?

  • Joel February 29, 2008 (2:10 pm)

    No one said anything about any other breed, you keep missing the mark. I’m glad you had a nice experience with 99% of the pit bulls you encountered, and I know that’s signifigant enough for you to say there safe.

    I might be inclined to agree, based on your experience alone, but you have to look at the bigger picture. How come your so sympathetic to the breed? Why don’t you do some volunteer work for the families that are victims of these dogs? Then get on here and defend them as a breed.
    What’s it really worth to you?

    Is it worth even one kid being mauled, a few kids?

    We have an obligation to protect our kids and our families here.

  • Trick February 29, 2008 (2:28 pm)

    As I stated before my experiences (which is most of what most people go by) with pit bulls is not a pretty one.
    Yes, I’ve met numerous, with a controlled owner closely present. The ones I’ve seen loose are quite different.
    Being bit by a Boston Pug, Jack Russell, Australian sheep dog are much more fifferent than
    locked jaws on your wrist and thigh.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and have saved many in my years. However if you go to the Humane society which I have. You’ll sometimes see so many pitbulls there with tags on the cages saying “Left in abandoned car”, “Owner arrested”, “Owner in Jail” it boggled my mind.

  • OP February 29, 2008 (2:29 pm)

    ALS said:

    I just can’t ignore the fact that of all the pit bulls I’ve worked with (and as I mentioned, there have been a lot)
    99% of them exhibit personalities that more reflect the link I posted earlier.

    With all due respect, that’s largely an anecdotal perception and really isn’t taking into account WHY the pit bulls are in the H.S. in the first place.

    The types of people who turn these beautiful animals into monsters will just move on to the next breed.

    Yes, they are monsters but it’s terribly hard to ignore that the dogs have the hard-wiring supplied by nature to maim/kill.

    And I absolutely agree 100% with Joel at #50. Spot on.

  • Beasley February 29, 2008 (2:42 pm)

    For everyone hating on pit bulls, I really would love to know how many pit bulls you’ve actually encountered in your life to allow you to make that judgment.
    Wow. I’ve never met any Klan members either, but that doesn’t prevent me from believing they’re dangerous. Perhaps I should rethink my opinion of them as well.

  • iloveapbt February 29, 2008 (2:55 pm)


    Wow not death by so-called “pitbulls” in this study. How come?

    The only truthful studies done on human fatalities by dog breeds in the USA was done by Pickney & Kennedy, Karen Delise, NCRF and the ACF.

    The National Canine Research Foundation is a national non profit organization created to present accurate statistics and to provide detailed information and research on fatal dog attacks, reported dogs bites and canine behavior. National Canine Research Council

    Pickney & Kennedy

    Traumatic Deaths from Dog Attacks in the United States, 69 PEDIATRICS, Feb., 1982, at 193-94. The report identified the following as responsible for human fatalities during the study period from May, 1975 to April, 1980:

    German Shepard (16)

    Husky (9)

    St. Bernard (8)

    Bull Doggies(6)

    Great Dane (6)

    Malamute (5)

    Golden Retriever (3)

    Boxer (2)

    Dachshund (2)

    Doberman Pinscher (2)

    Collie (2)

    Rottweiler (1)

    Basenji (1)

    Chow-Chow (1)

    Labrador Retriever (1)

    Yorkshire Terrier (1)

    mixed and unknown breeds (15).

  • iloveapbt February 29, 2008 (2:58 pm)


    Why don’t you visit the thousands of people in the US who had their family members slaughtered by kids like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, because irresponsible parents don’t know how to raise their kids.

    So please spare me your sympathy speech on dogs and kids.

  • April February 29, 2008 (3:02 pm)

    That’s really too bad. But honestly, most of the blame lies with the owner. Humans, see, we have this large frontal cortex we use to make decisions. Apparently this owner wasn’t using his very well, if at all. Dogs are dependent on us for care, training, and socialization to function in our society.

    We have two pit bulls. One we’ve raised since he was 5 weeks old. He tries to lick any stranger who shows the slightest interest in him, he sleeps under the covers, and he likes to sit on our laps even though he weighs nearly 80 pounds. We call him a Verigated Bed Pig. The other one we adopted–she survived Hurricane Katrina and was found roaming the streets of east New Orleans as a pup. Ok, we know the hurricanes were bad and we saw how the people were affected. But can you imagine how traumatizing that would be for a dog to experience? Yet this dog is one of the most loving dogs I’ve ever encountered. She wants to be touched and petted constantly and rolls on her back for tummy scratches all the time. We’re very lucky to have found her. But she is still afraid of strangers, especially men, and she will bark loudly at people who catch her off-guard. We’ve had her over a year and the progress she’s made in that time is amazing.

    Please don’t judge every single dog on the basis of a few that probably mistreated or neglected by their owners. If all pit bulls are such evil killing machines how can there be people who defend them so passionately? It’s because we’ve seen that these can be good dogs—with supervision, training, socialization, love.

    Beasley–your logic is flawed. People choose to become Klan members. Dogs can not choose their breed or their owners.

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (3:18 pm)

    I really don’t think I’ve ever talked down to anyone here. I simply said I believe I’m more qualified to talk about their behavior due to my experience with them. Again, I liken this to my grandparents’ anti-gay mentality despite the fact they’ve never met a gay person.

    And, I do try to educate people – hence, what I’m doing on this board. I also helped to organize an anti-BSL (breed specific legislation) vigil to help stop pit bulls from being banned in King County.

    It’s silly to say I should do some volunteer work for the families who have been victims of these dogs, when there are a lot more pit bulls that have been victims of human neglect and abuse. And for the families who have been victims of dog bites (from ANY breed), it’s almost always the owner’s fault, not the dog’s.

    The fact is, pit bull attacks really are not as common as the media would like you to think. It’s not a news story when Buddy, the family lab bites someone. But if Buddy is a pit bull, suddenly it’s a story.

    Oh, and Trick, pit bulls do not have locking jaws. For myths and facts on pitbulls, visit badrap.org

  • ALS February 29, 2008 (3:23 pm)

    April, your pups are adorable!

  • JumboJim February 29, 2008 (3:31 pm)

    ALS says: “important to note that there is a HUGE difference between dog aggression and human aggression.”

    ALS – its not a huge difference when the dog is chewing on your a**.

    Again – all this emphasis on “bad owners” is beside the point. We all know they exist. How does one eliminate bad ownership before someone or someone’s pet is attacked? Since that doesn’t seem likely to happen in our lifetimes other measures will need to be looked at.

  • Beasley February 29, 2008 (3:32 pm)

    April- you missed my point completely. It wasn’t about dogs vs. Klan members, I was simply making the point that you don’t need to be exposed to a danger to recognize one.
    For me the bottom line is this: Some dogs have massively powerful jaws and limited impulse control. Regardless of their dispositions, that makes them dangerous. Happy dogs bite too, just for different reasons. Smaller dogs bite too, but do less damage.

  • WSB February 29, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    Staying out of this one except for one angle we are uniquely qualified to address: The contention that “the media only reports dog bites when it’s pit bulls” or that “the media” is somehow responsible for any particular breed having a bum rap. I’ve worked in “the media” for 30 years, from newspapers to TV to the Web, as a newsroom manager for the last decade-plus, and I will tell you unequivocally that any dog bite that seriously injures someone is news. (Or any other animal bite, among other types of human and animal attacks.) If you are having trouble finding evidence of other breeds attacking people, it’s not a case of media conspiracy. I did find this non-pit bull attack from six months ago:

  • April February 29, 2008 (3:48 pm)

    Some [people] have massively powerful [guns, cars, egos…] and limited impulse control.

  • April February 29, 2008 (3:54 pm)

    Oh wow, a non-pit bull attack from six months ago! I am convinced! We all know the media is unbiased, right? Right?

    Beasley–I didn’t miss your point. Wait, maybe I did because I still don’t get it. What is your solution?

  • OP February 29, 2008 (3:55 pm)


    You can’t be serious. Your report is from 1982! Worse still is the 5-year sample size. LOL Try again.

    Wow not death by so-called “pitbulls” in this study. How come?

    Convenient how you ignored ““Pit bulls were blamed for killing 76 people, or 32 percent, during a study of dog attacks from 1979-1998, the study showed” part.

  • April February 29, 2008 (4:17 pm)

    76 people in 21 years (1979-1998)??
    Is that supposed to seem like an epidemic we need to address? Are you serious?

    National Center for Health Statistics odds of dying by…
    Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting*
    Earthquake (included also in Natural Forces above)
    Dog Attack

  • Bob February 29, 2008 (4:17 pm)

    Here’s the gritty, realistic underbelly of the Center for Something’s statistics (cf. iloveapbt, above) that I really liked – the study shows that Dachshunds are twice as dangerous as Rottweilers.
    Yes, this has exposed the horror and the truth. But we knew it in our hearts all along.
    Didn’t we, my precious ittle-wittle pittie-woo? Leashes are so confining, I’ve always thought so. That’s right, there you go! Ooh, look at you run, you’re so fine and doggly and manly! You wouldn’t hurt a fly, would you, my darling?

  • Beasley February 29, 2008 (4:22 pm)

    Some [people] have massively powerful [guns, cars, egos…] and limited impulse control.

    See, you did get my point after all!

  • April February 29, 2008 (4:30 pm)

    Only we don’t legislate pre-emptively in any of those cases, as BSL attempts to do—we hold the people responsible after they break a law. That’s what should happen in this case.

    But saying that my dogs deserve to be destroyed because some asshat is an irresponsible owner is ridiculous. Don’t punish everyone according to the actions of a few. Isn’t it interesting how we never hear about “good” pit bulls…not good for ratings. However, they do exist! One of them is Ruby.

  • OP February 29, 2008 (4:33 pm)

    Is that supposed to seem like an epidemic we need to address? Are you serious?

    And no it doesn’t signal an epidemic, my hyperbole-addled friend. What it DOES signify is a trend/pattern and a penchant for violent/aggressive behavior.

    Furthermore, and most importantly, do you somehow think 76 is not a lot? That doesn’t count the maulings, now does it.

  • April February 29, 2008 (4:52 pm)

    No, I think that 76 people dying over a span of 20 years of any cause is not really all that compelling. It does not signify a “trend”—all it tells us is less than 4 people a year died (under what circumstances?) and a “pit bull” was identified as the cause. Most people are unable to distinguish between breeds of dogs by looking at still photos let alone in the middle of an attack. Can you identify the pit bull in this group? Also, “pit bull” encompasses several breeds of dogs and any mix thereof. What’s your cut-off? 50% pit bull?

    And if you take the time to actually read these stories of “maulings,” you’ll usually see it was because of negligence of the owner (e.g. letting small children around the dog unsupervised, letting a stranger touch its food). I still don’t see how you can excuse the human and blame the dog? What kind of logic is that?

  • JenV February 29, 2008 (5:48 pm)

    April- what a couple of cuties you have! :D :D

  • Melissa February 29, 2008 (6:18 pm)

    Oh fer crying out loud! The amount of ire and energy being wasted on this issue! No, those dogs shouldn’t have been out marauding. Duh. They weren’t doing so because they were pits but because their owner is a dingbat. How ’bout we get all riled up about, I dunno, the number of companies that refuse to pay their workers a living wage? Or the number of children living in poverty? Or something nutty like old folks who don’t have adequate health insurance and care and are neglected, sometimes fatally?!?

  • Bernicki March 1, 2008 (8:13 am)

    Melissa: because old folks who don’t have health insurance won’t chase you down the street and try to tear your arm off with their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Well, at least most of them won’t.

  • Melissa March 1, 2008 (8:47 am)

    My point, Bernicki, is that the numbers of people affected by those tragedies I mentioned is astronomically higher than those affected by biting dogs. Astronomically. This energy and passion could be used far more productively.

  • OP March 1, 2008 (9:00 am)

    It does not signify a “trend”—all it tells us is less than 4 people a year died (under what circumstances?) and a “pit bull” was identified as the cause.

    You’re joking, right? You’re honestly going to sit there with a straight face and imply that that number is somehow acceptable, and that the circumstances may have been mitigating? 32%, April. 32% of all deaths caused by dogs are via pit bulls. Again, the Clifton Report sites that “U.S. & Canada, reported much higher numbers of human deaths and maulings by Pit Bulls (1,110). That report cited that Pit Bulls were responsible for 65% of fatal dog attacks.”

    And let’s not split hairs on what constitutes a pit bull and what doesn’t; it’s safe to assume we’re discussing pit bull terriers. To attempt to identify what is and isn’t a pit bull is merely a deflection and distraction from the issue. And that is, pit bulls mixed stupid/irresponsible owners create a volatile and deadly mix that’s unacceptable. No one is excusing the owners, April (I certainly haven’t). But you can’t escape the fact that pit bulls are “hardwired” to be aggressive animals. Does that mean that that switch gets turned in every pit or even a majority? No, it doesn’t. But far too often that switch gets turned on by a rotten owner and bad things happen. Add to that the gang/thug culture (and those who follow it) that perpetuates the image that its “cool” or “hip” or “gangsta” to own a dog that can maim or kill, then we’ve got a problem.

    Look, I was just sick with anger and disgust over what Michael Vick did to those pit bulls at his house. It’s f-ing disgusting. I can’t believe some one would do that to an animal, any animal, even pit bull. But he and his buddies did. Why? Because they knew the dogs were “hardwired” to maim/kill and that’s what got their sick rocks off.

    Anyway, let’s not kind ourselves into thinking that pit bulls don’t present a greater propensity for aggressive/deadly behavior than other dogs. It’s simply not the case, and something (not destroying the animals, I’m not suggesting that) needs to be done about it.

  • Chad March 1, 2008 (10:41 am)

    “Pit bull” is not a breed of dog. It’s a slang term that includes several breeds of dog. So which breed are all of you haters actually so afraid of? Is it the American Pit Bull Terrier? The Staffordshire Bull Terrier? Bull Terrier maybe? American Bulldog? Miniature Bull Terrier? See, these purebred dogs I just mentioned actually account for very few bites or mauling each year. Over four million serious bites a year…..why do you think the media uses the term “pit bull”; a term that doesn’t even describe a real breed of dog? When you sensationalize something it makes people more fearful. That equals more ratings and hits on their websites. Ignorance is the best friend of the media!! Most of the haters have never even met one of the purebred dogs mentioned above. Think you could pick the correct breed out of a lineup? I doubt it. So why on earth would you follow the media like sheep? Two words, FEAR and IGNORANCE.

  • iloveapbt March 1, 2008 (12:19 pm)


    wow coming from someone that mentioned the Merritt Clifton report, biased and junk science:


  • Jeanne March 1, 2008 (1:22 pm)

    By now, this thread has been posted on the “pro-pit” message boards and forums, and readers will be inundated with “statistics” and anecdotes about how “wonderful” these dogs are. Anyone who expresses any reservations about the breed, or has opinions based on bad personal experiences with pit bull type dogs, will be called “stupid” and “ignornant”. It’s the same old, same old. The public isn’t buying it anymore.

    These “breeds” of dogs were never meant to be family pets; they were created for bloodsport. Most reputable pit bull advocacy groups emphasize that these dogs are often highly animal aggressive, a trait that makes them dangerous to other domestic pets and livestock. Many people have been mauled while trying to protect their leashed dog from a pit bull attack. Even Badrap advises owners to carry a “break stick”, to pry the pit bull’s jaws off in case he gets into a fight with another dog. Many, many pit bull type dogs are being bred for dogfighting in this country; many others are being bred for human aggressive temperaments by criminals and thugs. Still others are simply being bred indiscriminately, by owners who just want to make a few bucks, with no attention paid to creating dogs with safe, stable temperaments. I could easily post links to hundreds of scary, creepy pit bull “kennels” advertising their dogs on the web. It’s pretty clear that the majority of these dogs are not being created to be loving family companions.

    It is quite likely that many of the anonymous posters on these boards are breeders, perhaps even dogfighters. Several phony pit bull “registries” have been merely fronts for dogfighters, who pretend they are breeding show dogs to stay under the radar. Dogfighters are among the most vocal groups fighting against BSL… here is a website for dogfighters… http://www.game-dog.com/ They have a lot to say about BSL.

    All pit bull type dogs should be s/n, microchipped, and the owners should carry a hefty liability insurance policy. An exception can be made for dogs competing in AKC confirmation or performance events…..they can remain intact. The taxpayers have been subsidizing the pit bull breeders for too long…hundreds of thousands of these dogs are dumped and euthanized in shelters each year. They are overrepresented in most animal shelters, because of the out-of-control breeding of them. The dogs appeal to the very worst type of owners, who often abuse, neglect, or simply abandon them. No one needs a pit bull, if all the want is a family companion…they can go out and adopt one of the millions of other dogs that are languishing in shelters.

    Lets get a grip, people. This is a domesticated animal, and we need to regulate it, like we do other animals. I can’t keep a pony in my backyard, because of local ordinances, and a pony isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as a pit bull.

  • iloveapbt March 1, 2008 (3:11 pm)

    FYI the Washington State Patrol have 10 pitbulls as narcotics and explosives detection dogs.


    Pitbull top dog in drug detection


  • iloveapbt March 1, 2008 (4:29 pm)

    so Jeanne,

    If there were no pitbulls and rottweiles tomorrow in the whole world, there would be no more dog problems?

    Have you ever heard the phrase “chasing the baby around the table”?

  • ALS March 1, 2008 (4:43 pm)

    Jeanne, I actually do agree with about 95% of what you posted. You present a logical and educated argument, and for that I commend you.

    True, because pit bulls have been traditionally bred for fighting, they *can* have animal aggressive tendencies, and because of that, owners need to supervise and leash them and train them with an assertive, yet gentle hand. But then again, I believe that’s what all dog owners should do. I’ve been bitten more times (and bled) by chihuahuas and pomeranians than by big dogs because too often small dog owners think it’s acceptable to just let little dogs do whatever they want because “look, it’s cute! He thinks he’s a big dog!” Give me a break. I’m not saying pit bulls are for everyone. They are a tenacious and sometimes stubborn dog – as is any terrier.

    What I don’t agree with are two points you made. First, the assumption that dog aggression = human aggression. Read any dog website and you will find that is simply not true. There are on occasion dogs that happen to be both, but it’s not a cause and effect relationship.

    The second thing I don’t agree with is that no one needs a pit bull if all they want is a family companion. Pit bulls make wonderful pets – there’s really nothing like a pittie smile. Ask anyone who’s ever owned or worked with pitties and you’ll find they are in love with the breed, especially since they need so much “PR.” The more of them I get to know, the more I realize just how much love they have to give. I would actually argue that more “normal” people need to get pit bulls to help turn the stereotype around. If you ever met me in real life you’d never peg me for a pit bull person – you’d probably think I’d be more attracted to the type of dog I could fit in my purse. :) The reason the bite statistics are so high is because of the type of people who usually own pit bulls. As I’ve said before, if thug life suddenly started glamorizing another breed – for example, Great Danes – another big and powerful breed, which was originally bred to guard – you’d be hearing a lot more about Great Dane attacks in the news.

    I realize I probably won’t ever be able to convince most of you that pitties really are amazing dogs – all I ask is that you keep an open mind the next time you see a responsible owner walking their pittie on a leash, and don’t cross to the other side of the street. As for dogs roaming off leash – that’s a whole different story – I don’t trust any dog I don’t know off leash, I don’t care what breed it is.

  • ALS March 1, 2008 (4:50 pm)

    I should clarify – by saying more people should get pit bulls, I mean they should ADOPT one of the many sitting in our shelters. I don’t advocate breeding of any dog, unless it’s for the betterment of the breed… but that’s a whole different soap box I could get up on… :)

  • Chad March 1, 2008 (5:49 pm)

    It’s a dog. Keep saying that to yourself. It’s a dog. It’s a dog. Please bring yourself back to reality. These are not monsters or wild animals. They are domesticated dogs. Please stop watching Nancy Grace ok. Stop letting the media brainwash you. Wake up.

  • WSB March 1, 2008 (6:03 pm)

    Jeanne, if this thread HAS been posted on any such boards, nobody seems to be following the links – we keep fairly close watch on who’s coming into the site and from where, and haven’t seen any such referrals (unless they sneaked in when we weren’t looking, like 4 am). Unlike oh, say, the Nicholas Francisco threads till we closed them, which were posted on a couple of amateur-sleuth boards among other places, with quite a few people following those links. Just a data point.

  • iloveapbt March 1, 2008 (7:05 pm)


    Thank you for posting that. No need to lie to try and prove a point.

  • kb March 2, 2008 (1:35 am)

    In the mix of the debate ..Is Rosie the chihuahua ok? What’s the update on this little dog?

  • Jeanne March 2, 2008 (11:35 am)

    To WSB, thanks for the info. I have seen the dynamic happen time and time again, though, on blogs and forums. Many discussions have been shut down by RDOWS, and other pro-pit breeders groups. As a dog owner, I have participated in several on-line forums to get information on health and training; I left several because of the outrageous behavior of the pro-pit posters. On the SF gate blog, after the Nicky Faibish mauling, there were posters who received death threats for suggesting pit bulls be regulated.

    Pit bulls are not common in my town, but have been responsible for a disproportionate number of attacks. I was involved in a group who tried to get a dangerous dog ordinance passed a few years back, but we failed. I am still following the evolution of BSL around the country, seeing what works and what doesn’t, as I feel that my town is one serious mauling away from a breed specific law. Up until now, some of the most common victims of pit bull attacks are other dogs, and no one seems to care about them.

    I am so sick and tired hearing pit lovers talk about the horrors of aggressive Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and toy poodles. None of these breeds pose a real threat to public safety. This isn’t about your dog, pit owners…the question being debated is, do certain dog breeds pose a greater threat to public safety than others?

    ALS, you say that dog aggression is “different” than hunman aggression. I am saying it doesn’t matter, its just as dangerous. Many times a pit bull begins an attack against another dog, then redirects his aggression toward the owner of that dog when they try to intervene. A Boston woman had a finger bitten off by her responsible neighbors “loving family pets”, when the pit bulls slipped out the door while the owner was bringing in groceries. They charged her as she walked her English Cocker, and when she picked her dog up to protect him, they jumped on her and attacked, biting her finger clean off in the process.

    Pitbulls don’t need PR, they need advocates who do not anthropomorphize them into furry “babies”. They need rescue groups that are honest about their limitations as a family dog. They need supporters who will spend time and energy going after back yard breeders and dog fighters, instead of trying to convince novice dog owners that owning a dog that wants to kill every other dog in the neighborhood is “easy”. It is not “stereotyping”, to say that pit bulls were bred to have certain traits…. high prey drive, high levels of animal aggression (which was sometimes redirected towards humans), “gameness” (the ability to continue fighting and not stop despite physical pain and exhaustion), and ability to grab, hold, and shake an opponent and not let go. These traits are still being bred into pit bulls. Many breeders are also deliberately breeding dogs for human aggressive temperaments. I suggest you check out youtube and look at all the videos of pit bulls hanging onto springpoles. You won’t see Golden Retreivers doing that.

    You ask that we all suspend disbelief and believe that the majority of pit bull type dogs, which are being selectively bred for aggressive temperaments, are turning out just the opposite. That is totally impossible. That would have made the creation of all dog breeds impossible….how do you think retrievers developed, or scent hounds, or sight hounds?

    I do not support breed bans, but do support mandatory s/n, microchipping, and special insurance requirements for pit bull owners. No responsible owner is hurt by these measures. If pit bull owners don’t accept that we need to regulate the breeding of these dogs, then the high profile attacks will continue, and communities will have no choice but to ban these dogs.

  • Chad March 2, 2008 (3:03 pm)

    “communities will have no choice but to ban these dogs”

    Then what? What’s the next breed of dog you’ll want to ban? When will people like you realize it’s not the breed of dog but the owner. BSL and higher premiums do nothing to punish bad owners. The ones that suffer are the responsible dog owners. Dog aggression and human aggression are not even closely related so your showing your bias and ignorance on that one. I love when people like you lump numerous breeds into the “pit bull” category. You mention the Golden Retriever….well maybe you should visit the ATTS website and check out some temperament stats. Notice how the overbred Golden ranks below the American Pit Bull Terrier. Four million dog bites and maulings each year……yet all we hear about are the “pit bulls”. First it was Dobermans, then German Shepherds, then Rottweilers! Oh and don’t forget that all these breeds go crazy because their brain swells up and it outgrows their skull!! Fear and hysteria, gotta love it.

  • ALS March 2, 2008 (3:21 pm)

    “it’s not the breed of dog but the owner. BSL and higher premiums do nothing to punish bad owners. The ones that suffer are the responsible dog owners.”

    Thank you, Chad. I could not have said it better myself. You think thugs even insure their dogs? Probably not, so there’s one example of a responsible owner paying the price. Also, dog fighting doesn’t exactly happen out in the open – it happens in basements and garages behind closed doors. If dogfighting is a felony and it still happens, I doubt banning pit bulls would even have an effect on shady owners since they aren’t exactly law-abiding citizens in the first place. Meanwhile, responsible owners would have no choice but to give up their dog, have it put down or be forced to keep it hidden where it would essentially never see daylight. That’s no life for a dog.

    Jeanne, I do agree with you on mandatory spay and neuter and microchipping – but that’s more from a pet overpopulation perspective than from a breed perspective. But again, I don’t see bad dog owners abiding by this one, either…

  • dwr March 2, 2008 (8:53 pm)

    dear wsb.com readers,I am the person who along with my little dog was attacked tuesday evening. I like the officer who was forced to shoot felt that I and my 7lb. dog were in real danger. To those who wished to donate for help with vet bills the good news is that my little Rosie,while sore had no bad injuries. (I still can’t believe that I prevailed in that battle.) perhaps those who still wish to help could help a family license a pet so some child in a family going through tough times won’t be forced to lose a beloved animal. That kind of karma can move a long ways forward. Thanks dwr&Rosie

  • GC March 3, 2008 (12:03 am)

    Bad things happen. Yes, “bad owners” are a problem. But similarly, so are “bad citizens” that fail to take responsibility for their own safety or that of their pets or loved ones.

    What if the officers had not been there? Or able to respond quickly? I wager DWR and her pet would have come to a much less satisfactory end.

    Whether it’s a potent pepper spray, a lawfully carried handgun, or an ability to magically teleport away from the bad things in life, we need to each consider the risks in our environments and take appropriate measures – not unlike keeping fire extinguishers in our homes.

    We are a tool-using species. We are allegedly sentient. Dogs are neither. We should, without too much difficulty, be able to discern a mechanism to bring any dog attack to a screeching halt.

    One answer, though far from the only one, may be found at http://tiny.cc/QUw74 or another at http://tiny.cc/T0YpV in conjunction with http://tiny.cc/e0fXF

    Preparedness often works much better than legislation, which only works with folks sufficiently ok with the legislation in question (or cowed by the prospective penalties) to obey it.

  • Jeanne March 3, 2008 (6:42 am)

    I’m not afraid, you people are. Insecure men are afraid they will have to neuter their male dog and, heaven forbid, be seen walking down the street with a dog without testicles. Back yard breeders are afraid they will lose a source of tax-free income. Dog fighters have even more to lose, because that’s even bigger money.

    Your argument is ridiculous…that we shouldn’t pass laws because “criminals won’t obey them”. Dog fighting is very hard to prove and prosecute. But spayed and neutered dogs are worthless to dogfighters, so all it would take is one call to AC and they could remove dogs from these situations immediately. The owner would have the option of spay/neuter them to get them back.

    Punishing the dog owner sounds great, but it won’t help victims, because it occurs after the fact. The majority of pit bull owners are judgement proof…they have no assets or insurance, or they are minors. Requiring liability insurance, s/n, and microchipping would not hurt responsible dog owners. It would help reduce the suffering of pit bulls, most of which lead short brutal lives. You people don’t seem to care about the dogs, just about your right to have easy access to the breed.

    Oh, and Chad….your info on the ATTS test is part of the misinformation campaign perpetuated by the pro-pit lobby. The ATTS was created to evaluate dogs for bitework…protections sports, like shutzhund. It was never intended to evaluate dogs as to their appropriateness as a family companion animal. It does not test for dog aggression, which is a big problem in pitbulls. The test rewards boldness….it measures how a dog reacts to gunshots, a threatening stranger, etc. There is also a tracking portion, where the dog has to walk across uncomfortable surfaces like wire (think police canine chasing a suspect).
    Timid breeds do worse on the test; also fussy breeds who won’t walk across strange surfaces.

    Even strager, the test is “breed specific”, when evaluating the dogs reaction….I suppose that means that a Pit Bull is allowed a more aggressive reaction than a Golden would be. How the ATTS testers know what constitues the appropriate temperament for each breed is a mystery to a lot of people.

    The ATTS test is primarily used for evaluating dogs for protection sports and police canines…if you look at the breed list of dogs who take the test, the proof is there. GSDs, still the number one choice for law enforcement, are the breed most often evaluated.

  • JoB March 3, 2008 (8:43 am)

    What happened to common sense here?

    How about giving some bite to the laws already available regarding dogs?

    It was illegal for those dogs to be off the owners property without their human. End of story.

    so if we are worried about unsupervised dogs… let’s petition to increase spending for dog control.

    let’s put some bite into the laws regarding stray pets we already have… increase fines… criminalize repeated offenses…

    lets give animal control laws that will help them shut down back yard breeders… Require licensing and supervision for all breeders.

    Let’s lobby for laws that would include a fenced containment area (not an invisible fence) for all dogs with unsupervised outdoor access. Lets make certain that the definition of fence includes a barrier high enough and strong enough to actually contain the dog.

    If we really want to do some good… let’s give a discount on pet licenses to those who can prove regular vet care, animal training and fenced containment areas.

    Arguing about the “racial” characteristics of any one breed of dog simply ignores the real problem of dogs allowed to run the streets without supervision… and our unwillingness to pay for the kind of enforcement that would eliminate the problem.

    I walk my dogs every day and nearly every day we are approached by unsupervised dogs whose owners (if they are even present) say something silly about their dog not being a problem while i am struggling to keep my dogs under control. It is dangerous to me… to my dogs… and quite frankly… to their dogs should i fail to control mine.

    It’s not just “bad” dog owners out there who need to be educated. There are a lot of well meaning dog owners who simply fail to follow leash and containment laws for their family pets… pets which can become dangerous in the wrong situation.

  • JoB March 3, 2008 (9:53 am)

    thank you dwr for posting.
    even after the incredibly frightening experience of being attacked by a pack (2 is a pack) of out of control dogs… you appear sad that the dogs had to be killed. You cite the necessity.
    and you ask us to contribute to families and their pet companions.
    I am so glad you and your dog are ok and hope that i get the honor of meeting you on a walk some day.

  • WSB March 3, 2008 (10:50 am)

    To clarify, one of the dogs is dead, the other survived and is recovering while in Animal Control custody – we just talked with Don Jordan from the Seattle Animal Shelter and are about to post an update on what may happen to that dog, AND the owner.

  • 3 dogs later March 3, 2008 (12:04 pm)


    I think you have great points! What it really is all about owner “responsibilty” & “accountability”
    I know of a fence company that gives discounts to pet owners and rescues.
    Danny (206) 650-8221. http://www.fourseasonsfencing.com
    they are pet friendly..and do good work.

  • emma March 3, 2008 (5:35 pm)

    can i just say that as a pitbull owner, this whole situation is so sad to me. it’s tragic that it ever came to fruition, and there are tons of factors leading to its occurrence, most of which have been mentioned. (inherent characteristics of pitbulls and irresponsible ownership, to name a couple) i absolutely feel for the man whose dog was attacked- that would be extremely upsetting for any pet owner. i am also horrified that the two dogs were subjected to such neglect and abuse to allow such a thing to happen.

    that being said, i would urge everybody to be smart, but not overly judgmental when it comes to pitbulls and pitbull ownership. as mentioned above, they do have many genetic traits (that yes, are bred into them, so don’t try to tell me that they don’t exist) such as gameness that, if abused, can lead to situations such as these. but if treated properly, socialized, exercised, supervised, and loved, they are truly the most affectionate, loyal, and fun dogs i personally have ever encountered. like any pet, they are at least partially a product of their environment. it’s the irresponsible owners that deserve the punishment, not the dogs. breed specific legislation specifically targets and punishes RESPONSIBLE owners- trust me, any sketchy breeders or those who fight them could care less about them being outlawed. and again, as mentioned above, the pitbull is just one of many breeds that have been stigmatized in the past.

    i truly believe that the majority of pitty owners are responsible, caring people who enjoy one of the best companions a person could have. that isn’t to say that there aren’t precautions that should be taken, as there should be with any responsible dog owners. would i leave my two pitbulls alone with an unfamiliar dog? no, but i wouldn’t do that if i owned any other breed, either. when adopting pitbulls, there are some of the most stringent adoption guidelines for any breed. places like the humane society are reluctant to send a pitbull home with those inexperienced with bully breeds. educate yourself, people! don’t cross the street when you see me coming with my two goofy, slobbery, happy pittyfaces on leashes- stop a minute and let them meet you, maybe even give a belly rub, and they’ll be yours forever.

  • CP March 3, 2008 (6:31 pm)

    I’m just glad to see this subject discussed. I am an avid pitbull supporter and believe that every dog owner deals with their own set of unique breed considerations as does every dog owner. Pitbulls have become an unfortunate scapegoat due to statistics (which you can’t always believe) and their capability for strength.

    The fear of pitbulls is a symptom of other fears that exist and are often an unfortunate accessory to our society’s skepticism about certain age groups, racial minorities and drug users. Don’t be so quick to judge, as your prejudices may lie in other ones that don’t truly involve pitbulls but to give in to our society’s need for moral panic. I’ve also done extensive research on this subject and pitbulls, poodles and labs are equally likely to attack under certain conditions. It’s just that most people are scared of pitbulls and feel the need to act aggressively around them or act as though they are very scared, which can in some cases cause an attack by any dog.

    I’m not saying your fears aren’t unfounded, pitbulls can be intimidating. But you cannot discount them as pests. They are not all bad, not all pitbull OWNERS are bad, and most of all many are loving family pets. So let’s try to keep this civilized and all keep open ears.

  • April March 3, 2008 (7:17 pm)

    “I do not support breed bans, but do support mandatory s/n, microchipping, and special insurance requirements for pit bull owners. No responsible owner is hurt by these measures.”

    Um, most responsible owners already s/n and microchip. The people who you should be worried about—the ones who don’t contain and control their dogs—won’t be complying with those measures anymore than they comply with the current laws.

  • WestwoodWriter March 3, 2008 (10:58 pm)

    I want to talk about this particular situation, and how we as a community can come together to make SURE that the owner of these poor dogs (one dead, and one injured after many, many months of neglect and abuse) is thrown in jail. $1000 in fines is a start, but its unlikely the owner will pay. The police need to arrest this negligent and dangerous dog owner. If Animal Control gives the surviving dog back to the owner, it’s not serving its purpose.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (7:25 am)

    “Oh, and Chad….your info on the ATTS test is part of the misinformation campaign perpetuated by the pro-pit lobby. The ATTS was created to evaluate dogs for bitework…protections sports, like shutzhund”

    Wrong Jeanne. It’s amazing how people like you create your own truths. The only misinformation being put out to further and agenda is being done by you. Here’s what the ATTS actually does: The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.

    ATTS was established to:

    Provide for a uniform national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
    Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament testing.
    Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
    Work for the betterment of ALL breeds of dogs.
    Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluators. Motto “A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY”.

    Please educate yourself and stop buying into the hype perpetrated by the media. Basically, stop making up lies.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (7:37 am)

    Jeanne, where did you get that ridiculous information about the ATTS and the tests they perform? Did you make that up yourself? It isn’t even close to what they do or what they stand for. Seems the only misinformation being put out is being done by you!

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (7:49 am)

    “The ATTS test is primarily used for evaluating dogs for protection sports and police canines”

    Pretty much everything you’ve stated about the ATTS is wrong. Did you even go to their website and read what they actually do and how they do it? That might be a good starting place for you!

  • Jeanne March 4, 2008 (8:15 am)

    Here is a description of the ATTS test from the ATTS website…


    There were a total of 11 Brussels Griffons tested. A total of 29 Bichons….a very, very small number for a VERY popular small breed dog. There were 37 Chihuahuas tested. As for larger breeds, only 61 Greyhounds were tested.

    Oh, and 2,875 German Shephards were tested. Why do you suppose that is?

    The test really doesn’t say anything definitive about any breed, because it is statistically insignificant. People who take the test tend to be members of dog clubs, or are involved in dog sports or competition anyway. As you can see by the description of the test, it is a good tool for evaluating dogs for bitework, tracking, SAR, etc, as it rewards boldness. It should not be confused with the CGC, which does not give statistics by breed.

  • Jeanne March 4, 2008 (8:52 am)

    Right now, if you look on Petfinder, pit bulls and pit bull mixes make up more than 50% of the dogs in the Seattle Animal shelter. That is definitely a “breed specific” problem, if you ask me.

    Again, the argument that criminals and thugs won’t follow mandatory s/n, so why do it, is just plain stupid. Right now, your neighbor can get two pit bulls, and start breeding them indiscriminately, selling them to people who won’t care for, train, or control them properly, thus insuring many of them end up dumped in your local shelter.


    With mandatory s/n, a neighbor can stop a byber with one phone call. AC can legally come out and ticket the owner, giving him 30 days to get the dogs fixed. If they aren’t fixed and chipped, they can come back and take them. You end up with fewer poorly bred pit bulls with dangerous temperaments, fewer pit bulls in the headlines, and fewer pit bulls being euthanized.


    Ultimately, the people in Seattle need to decide what the problem is. Tougher laws for dog owners of any breed who are off leash and off property are definitely in order. But if Seattle is having a problem with pit bulls in particular, the citizens should not be bullied by for-profit breeders and criminals. Public safety should be put first, and all stakeholders need to be heard…not just pit bull owners and breeders, but victims of pit bull attacks, (both human and canine), and law enforcement officials, who are often the ones dealing with these dogs.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    Here’s some common sense for you haters:

    “Red-light runners are more of threat than pit bulls”

    Without getting into the controversy concerning the recent spate of pit bull stories carried by the A-J, one fact is certain: the ongoing publicity given to the attacks by the media, including a high-impact editorial by your paper urging immediate action, is largely responsible for the public outcry.

    Contrast this with the largely neutral (or even negative) stance taken by the local media concerning red-light cameras.

    If you had given similar, sustained coverage to the deaths, injuries, victims, wrecked lives and grieving families resulting from red-light runners – complete with personal stories and photos – an outraged public would no doubt have demanded widespread use of the red-light cameras, instead of cheering their removal after a relatively short-lived experimental period.

    Pit bull attacks are tragic – but the list of victims is much, much shorter than that of red-light runners. After having just witnessed a horrific accident caused by someone speeding through an intersection long after the light changed, I believe the habitual red-light runner is much more of a dangerous breed than any pit bull. Perhaps you should target this menace as avidly as you have the other”

  • Bob March 4, 2008 (2:29 pm)

    Chad, your logic is not just flawed, it’s dangerous… Surely, there may be more important issues than pit bull breeding (red light runners, etc, etc)… That dosen’t mean we shouldn’t or don’t need to address the issue. If it’s not worth worrying about, how come so many in your community are concerned about it?

    And your media bias claims are pure hysteria. We know there’s going to always be some level of bias in the news, but your acting as if the media has some secret plan to smear the reputation of pit bulls. It’s just not true, and you don’t have any real justification for stance, so your throwing out whatever you can.

    Believe me, your not throwing anyone off track or fooling anyone here… It’s time to ban pit bulls.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (3:43 pm)

    Here’s what the media does have, an agenda in order to rake in ratings and interest. Four million serious dog bites and maulings a year, yet what’s the most common name you hear….you got it, “pit bull”. Try not to forget that when these reports come in they aren’t talking about a specific breed of dog. “Pit Bull” is not an actual breed of dog, so when you hear that term you should immediately know that they have no idea what breed it is. Most people couldn’t pick out the numerous breeds that fall under the erroneus term “pit bull” if they had to. Hysteria, fear, and ignorance are what the media thrive on. Too bad there are still people out there (such as yourself) that are oblivious to that reality.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (3:53 pm)

    Also, for those that would like to learn about a terrific breed of dog I’m going to post the breed STANDARD for the American Pit Bull Terrier straight from the UKC registry:

    “The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog…The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers.”

    Please educate yourself before making snap judgements based on sensationalized and misinformed media reports. Thanks.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (4:06 pm)

    Here’s some more proof of media bias:

    According to an Aug. 25 press release, the National Canine Research Council completed a study that it says demonstrates the media’s bias against pit bulls when it reports on dog bite incidents. In the release, the Council cites four dog attack incidents between Aug. 18 and Aug 21 as evidence of the common media biases against pit bulls, compared to other breeds:

    On Aug. 18, a 70-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition after being attacked by a Labrador mix. When police arrived, the dog charged one of the officers and was shot. The incident was reported in only one article and just in a local newspaper.

    On Aug. 19, a mixed breed dog attacked a 16-month-old child; the child died as a result of head and neck injuries. The attack was reported just twice and just in a local paper.

    On Aug. 20, a mixed breed dog attacked a 6-year-old boy, tore off his ear and left severe bite wounds on his head. The incident was reported once and just in a local paper.

    On Aug. 21, a 59-year-old woman was attacked by two pit bulls who entered her home through a dog door. The woman was hospitalized with severe injuries. Although certainly serious and not to be minimized, the attack was reported much differently that the other incidents. The Council found that the incident was reported in over 230 articles in both national and international papers. The story was also picked up and aired on major news networks, including CNN, FOX and MSNBC.

    Using these four examples, Karen Delise, a researcher for the Council, concludes that “a fatal attack by an unremarkable breed is not nearly as newsworthy as a non-fatal attack by a Pit bull.”

    The Council also believes that people, including lawmakers, routinely get their “proof” that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs based solely on unfair and biased media reports. This “proof” then results in public policies and laws that unfairly punish pit bull owners and stigmatize family pets that have no history of aggressive behavior.

  • Jeanne March 4, 2008 (4:08 pm)

    Chad, you need to get a grip…..how many breeders of APBT’s are breeding to the UKC “breed standard”? How many breeders in Seattle are breeding dogs that are UKC registered and titled? The standard only matters if it is the goal of a comprehensive breeding program. If responsible breeders were producing APBTs, they would not be overrepresented in shelters the way they are.
    According to the Seatle Times,
    “More than half of the dogs at the shelter are pit bulls or pit-bull mixes, and about 30 percent of the dog-bite cases animal-control officers investigate involve the breed.”

    Obviously, no one is paying attention to the mythical “breed standard”.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (4:27 pm)

    Check out this site to view some disturbing examples of the media bias and it’s insatiable desire to use the term “pit bull” no matter what the truth might be!!


    Quite often dogs that attack are identified as pit bulls when they are not. It seems that that any dog of medium build with short hair is thought to be a pit bull. There are 20+ breeds that are commonly incorrectly identified as pit bulls.

    The worst part of this identity problem is that the initial attack has frontpage coverage with PIT BULL all over it. Then several day’s later when they properly identify the dog as a mix breed or another breed that story is a line or two on page 30 buried.

  • Chad March 4, 2008 (4:41 pm)

    “The media picks and chooses its stories, not because they contain facts vital to the public, but for their ability to attract readers/viewers/listeners which, in turn, allows them to claim higher ratings, and charge more for advertising space. It’s business. Plain and simple. If it doesn’t involve a “pit bull”, it’s not news”

  • Debra March 4, 2008 (6:42 pm)

    I believe that if a dog, other than a “pitbull”, bites someone, it is much more unlikely that said bite would be reported. Lots of people make excuses for poor dog behavior. I have no statistics to back up what I say, I just believe that if someone gets bit by say a lab, it’s easier for people to excuse the bite, because it’s not “characteristic” of that breed, therefore, I don’t believe dog bite statistics are totally reliable. Just my opinion

  • Jeanne March 5, 2008 (4:46 am)

    Fasten your seat belts, people…here we go. The pro-pit lobby rants and raves. The standard talking points they get off of the internet. It’s a huge media conspiracy!

    For the record, there have been several incidents in my town where pit bulls have bitten people, and have not been reprted by our local paper…a recent bite occured when an unleashed pit bull bit a man playing baseball at our local park on a Sunday afternoon. It got a tiny blurb in the police log, despite a puncture wound that requires medical treatment.

    Pit bull attacks garner media attention for a few reasons; the violence and severity of the attack; serious maulings always get a lot of attention. Unusual circumstances; the dogs crash through windows, enter homes through dog doors, jump out of vehicle windows, scale 6ft stall doors, etc., to attack their victims. The vulnerability of victims; children, the elderly, miniature therapy horses, small dogs, etc.
    Lastly, the willingness of victims to contact the media to cover the story. If victims and neighbors are calling reporters because they feel the dogs are a threat to their neighborhood, then the media is going to cover it. Often attacks involve dogs that have been an ongoing problem in a neighborhood, and victims use the media coverage to force public officials to take action.

  • Chad March 5, 2008 (8:04 am)

    Media is big business, and the public are the paying customers. ” it’s easier for people to excuse the bite, because it’s not “characteristic” of that breed”….Debra, you should know it is not characteristic for an American Pit Bull Terrier to bite either. The dogs were never bred for human aggression or even to be guard dogs. They were bred for and still retain some dog aggression. The breed overall is extremely devoted to humans, so much so that is is very easy for them to be stolen right out of ones backyard. The breeds stigma comes from owners with bad intentions and biased sensationalized reporting from the media.

  • Jeanne March 5, 2008 (12:13 pm)

    Chad, were are you getting your information? Here are descriptions of two of the most famous fighting dogs in the US, whose bloodlines are STILL being bred and fought today….



    These articles are written by dogfighters, and both dogs were manbiters. Your information is simply not true. NO one today breeding fighting dogs is breeding away from human aggression. MANY APBTs are being bred FOR human aggressive temperaments. You just keep repeating yourself over and over. Seattle AC staff says that 30% of the dog bite cases they investigate are pits. That’s not the media, that Seattle AC.

    Your information is based on fantasy…how you WISH to see these dogs, as opposed to the REALITY of who is creating these animals and why. The majority of pit bulls are NOT being bred by people who care about temperament….that’s a hard truth for you to swallow. Most of your talking points come straight from the anti-BSL websites, many of which are put up by breeders and dogfighters.

  • Debra March 5, 2008 (12:26 pm)

    Chad, thanks. I do own 2 APBT’s. I just really believe that when other breeds bite, (never been bit by a pit, but I have been bit by other breeds) people don’t call Animal Control to report it. …

  • Chad March 5, 2008 (2:05 pm)

    “NO one today breeding fighting dogs is breeding away from human aggression” That’s one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever heard and proves you know nothing about this breed. Please find me one shred of evidence that show ANYONE is breeding the American Pit Bull Terrier for human aggression! Please show me where it is written that the dogs are prone to this! Please show me a breed standard description that describes that type of behavior! Dogmen bred away from manbiters on purpose. Does that mean some weren’t manbiters? No, of course not. Manbiters can be found in every single purebred dog alive today so to pretend like the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only breed that has bitten someone is ignorant.

    Again, people like you make up your history and realities. I actually own this breed so I’m much more qualified than you to comment on the breeds true temperament. You, like most people, have never even met the breed. You couldn’t pick a purebred American Pit Bull Terrier out of a lineup if you had to. If you’d bother to check any of the websites I posted or simply have done your due diligence on the breed you would find out just how mistaken you are.

  • Joel March 6, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    Chad, stop acting as if we all have to own few pit bulls before making a value judgement on the breed. That’s just not realistic.

    Your links are as biased as your claiming the media coverage to be… Only it’s pro breed bias… Really, the group that’s ‘making up their history and realities’ is the pro pit lobby.

  • CP March 7, 2008 (11:39 am)

    No, I think that owning a few pit bulls is really the best way to make a good value judgement, Joel. An encounter with a pit bull is not understanding a breed, and I think that’s what we might be dealing with here – snap judgements or predjudices. It might not be the case, I would give you the benefit on the doubt on this one, but it certainly is what it sounds like.

  • Chad March 8, 2008 (9:12 am)

    Seems Joel likes to make snap judgements based on subjects in which he has absolutely no hands on experience with! What we’re dealing with here Joel is ignorance. I suggest you follow up on the legit and factual information I provided; and then go meet a few purebred American Pit Bull Terriers.

  • iloveapbt March 10, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    Moderator (WSB)

    Please ban Jeanne from posting ever again on WSB, for posting pro dog fighter links.

    Dog fighting is a felony, and she is promoting dogfighting.

    And Joel, you have still not answered my question.

  • CP March 12, 2008 (5:15 pm)

    I second that – it seems like a pretty dangerous way to prove a futile point.

  • Jeanne March 19, 2008 (7:19 am)

    The moderator may delete my post, or just the links…it was you people who kept insisting that dogfighters bred dogs selectively to be non-human aggressive….you all seem to be such experts on dogfighting and the origins of the breed. Anyone can do a five minute google search and find the links I found.

    As someone who has lived in a neighborhood where residents were terrorized by pit bulls and their owners, I sincerely hope the folks in Seattle do what is right for the community….do not listen to the propaganda of the for-profit breeder lobby. Most of their information is false.

  • Joel March 21, 2008 (3:31 pm)

    Jeanne, I couldn’t agree more with your point about doing what’s right for the community. The more I hear the pro-pit propanda and bias, the more alarmed I am. Regardless of the harm done by this breed, they just keep repeating the same tired lines… “But MY pit is safe…” “You’ve never taken the time to get to know them…” All the while, trying to divert our attention with hypervigilant anti BSL sites. Quite sad really, because in the end, it’s really about what’s best for us as a civilized society… and I don’t consider it cizilized at all to subject our children and elderly to these kinds of attacks.
    Is this breed really so important that we should just keep looking the other way?

  • Lori March 23, 2008 (7:32 pm)

    Oh my, I have heard everything in the book on here. So instead of plucking statistics from “google” (statistics and numbers lie) or sniffing out dog-fighting blurbs, has anyone considered the effects if these “pit bull” type dogs were banned? I guess these discussions settle it. We should all get poodles. Everyone knows there is always one breed in the spot light. Like someone said before, it was the rottweiler, then German shepherds, then Dobermans, or whatever. Those are select breeds. “Pit bull” is the slang term for characteristics of several breeds of dogs. Why do you think there are so many so-called “pit bulls” out there. Not to mention those dogs labeled “pits” that aren’t even a bully breed at all. Give me a break people. The last thing we need is the “bad people” seeking out another type of dog to jack up on steroids and train it to fight. People will find a way to do what they are going to do. If there were only smaller breeds left, you be damn sure people would corrupt their reputation, bloodlines, and fight them.
    Oh, and the comment about backyard breeding and keeping the “standard” for the American Pit Bull Terrier. What the hell is with all these “cock-a-poo” “shiggle-poops” or whatever. Last time I checked, the are not AKC. The American Stafforshire, is AKC. If you don’t know what kind of dog the American Stafforshire is and have to “google” it, stop talking crap about a breed you know NOTHING about (directed mostly for Jeanne, shes great at finding FALSE information).

  • Faith March 26, 2008 (10:17 am)

    Seeing these two dogs roaming the streets angers me, though I am more angered at the irresponsible owners than at the dogs. As a responsible dog owner and one who owns two pitbulls this image tells me that who ever owns these dogs are not interested in the well being of their dogs, or public safety (if they have been deemed dangerous).

    Any free roaming dog is at risk of injury and if the dogs have not been properly cared for or are socialized then the public is at risk. This is definitely NOT about the breed, but again about negligent owners who do not care about their dogs, public safety or even the laws in Seattle.

    Just last summer I was confronted by a free roaming (aggressive) weirmaraner on three occasions, who I soon learned lived in my neighborhood. Actually, right near an ON leash park where I walk my dogs, children play and people play tennis. This dog actually chased my dog and I threw the park on one occasion, while other sightings prevented me from even entering the park out of fear.

    On all three occasions I failed to have my cell phone on me, but have carried it ever since and will be contacting animal control and/or 911 if I ever see it again.

    I also later learned that the owners are too preoccupied with their careers and children to exercise the dog and prefer to intentionally let it out to roam free. Negligent people do come in all shapes and sizes and from varying socio economic classes!

    I adopted my first American pit bull terrier 3+ yrs ago and she has never ever been out of my sight or off my property without me walking with me on a leash. I care too much about MY DOGS safety to even let them be in my yard unsupervised. Anything could happen from being hit by a car to being picked up by those few people who tarnish the breeds reputation.

  • ladyd19722000 April 16, 2008 (2:27 pm)

    First of all this really puts anger in my heart. We are so fast to punish the dog that we forget who is really at fault for these attacks, and that is the owner. The police should have took the owner straight to jail and he should not only have been fined but also revoked the right to even have any kind of dogs. This is the reason pit bulls are disliked by the public because of irresponsible idiots that most likely can’t take care of a hamster let alone anything else.

  • Julie4pits April 16, 2008 (6:18 pm)

    The issue at hand is that these dogs are loose. NOT that they are Pit bulls. If there is a greater issue this speaks to, it is the need for stricter enforcement of leash laws within King County, NOT breed-Specific bans that ill- informed activist groups (FDAFB)are pushing for.

    It is disturbing that any dog owner would allow their dogs to roam about in neighborhoods unsupervised. Color me disgusted.

  • Tony April 24, 2008 (4:49 am)

    The American Temperament Testing Society is run by dog breeders and dog fighters

    All they care about is the tax-free money they make breeding these dogs, and they will tell any lie to keep the heat off these dogs.

    There is big money in breeding and fighting pit bulls and these people will say or do ANYTHING to keep breeding, selling and fighting these dogs.

    (and the naive, primarily women, that these dog fighters have suckered into being “pitty happy” and help these dog fighters and breeders keep on torturing these dogs)

  • Sheila May 1, 2008 (11:26 am)

    I wish the irresponsible owners of these unfortunate dogs were afforded the same scrutiny and disdain.

  • aln May 23, 2008 (8:27 pm)

    I tried to read all the posts here, but there are so many. I am not much of a debater, but I wanted to bring up a point that nobody has touched on. I figure that humans and dogs are a lot alike in the idea that you can be genetically predisposed to numerous things including behavior. For example, they say that some people are genetically at risk for developing addictions. Well, I’m sure that is true, but it is not likely that you will develop an addiction if you are not exposed to things that are addictive. Just the same, if your dog is properly trained and well taken care of, there is no reason that it would be violent. Not saying this is a fact, it’s just a thought.

  • carson coleman October 7, 2008 (10:17 am)

    Whats up with blameing pit bulls for every thing. for all you know the attacks blamed on pit bulls could have been labs, but know one wants to add mit it. yah labs are asome dogs but so are pit bulls, rottweilers, and german shepherds.

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