News Aug 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm


I don't understand people who value dogs more than the lives of children. It's really stunning. I mean-- what exactly is wrong with limiting where animals that are known to KILL CHILDREN are allowed to live?

i mean really...
@99 and 92 Please don't breed. Please, please, please don't.
@103 great, racism, breedism and eugenics. This is some Nazi shit right here.
@103 racist? Are you afraid that if I was to have a child they would maybe accept that a Pit Bull is not a bad thing and that maybe people jump to conclusions based on what they read and not research. Are you afraid that someone will have an opinion different than yours that may be qualified by something other than Dan Savage and The Stranger, the Only copy and paste news source in Seattle.
bassplayerguy have another Tallboy and chime in after you actually know what is going on and not just because The Stranger says so.
Yes, @92, I will go outside and confront a cocker spaniel even in the face of a non life-threatening bite from said cocker spaniel. I will also stay inside when a large, muscular pit bull I've never seen is sniffing around on my deck. Animal Control informed me I'd done exactly the right thing, in fact.

You call that racist (a word you clearly don't know the meaning of and use in a way that is incredibly insulting to those who experience racism).

I call it being a rational human. I suspect the vast majority of grown-ups understand my position. I suspect you are not in the grown-up category yet. Or you a troll. Also quite possible.
@106 SeattleBound, so the Cocker Spaniel is a dog you know, a dog you see around, a dog you are comfortable having around but you say a dog you have never seen you you hide and call for reinforcements and that is not racist?
You are judging, specifically judging on breed so yeah I am sure I am using the term correctly.
I call it being uneducated, judgemental and racist, YES you are RACIST toward PIT BULLS,
So answer me this. I wake up every day to a mixed breed dog pissing on my front door every day. I have a pit bull and he barks Protecting me, I have called every other day for almost a year about this dog and nothing has happened. I called again tonight after this conversation saying there was a pit bull and two cops and animal control showed up.
racism, No?

@104 and 105. No, you shouldn't breed b/c you apparently don't know what being dead is. "Razors injure more people that bazookas so shaving is actually more dangerous than war." Christ you people are dumb.
@39: Do tell the story of Stinker losing an eye.
"@103 great, racism, breedism and eugenics. This is some Nazi shit right here. "

you are literally beyond parody
@107 Lord have mercy you got a serious case of the stupids. A cocker spaniel will NOT KILL YOU! That's the difference. Do you see a difference between getting stitches and being dead? There is a difference you know, between needing stitches and being dead. That's the difference between approaching a pit bull and cocker spaniel. Stitches and being dead. It's not that fucking complicated.
@110 No shit, yo.
We got trolled. No one can be this stupid.
@114 Weeeeellllllll.......I wouldn't be so sure of that.
Leave my son out of it, jerk.
@111 they are willing to approach a dog they assume is safe but a dog they read bad things they fear for their life. that just proves how uneducated and stupid you are.
and @Seattlebound you are racist and until you educate yourself and neighbors and any dogs you have never encountered are not the same and the basis for your argument fails considering your only experience with Pit Bulls is running into a closet and hiding your anal beeds.
@116 Not likely as jerks (or dick wads) tend to be just that; jerks/dickwads.
@113 I'm sorry, you were totally right; after reading 116 I know now these are trolls. Straight up.
"they are willing to approach a dog they assume is safe but a dog they read bad things they fear for their life."

A perfectly reasonable response. I'd approach a tabby and a cougar differently too
Anybody who uses the term "breedism" with a straight face is an imbecile. Full stop.
@119 "Assume" and bassplayerguy I am a troll I have an opinion sorry and you are racist and Dan still cannot prove that Pit Bulls are bad other than c/p articles that he read on the airplane.
The incredible, breathtaking stupidity of a significant portion of our population--as on full display by the commenter here who is hurling around charges of racism--simply mitigates in favor of a ban.
so one cannot be racist if it is not color? Have we come full circle that only Race is considered racism? Back of the bus bitch!
Im sorry he is a Cocker Spaniel he will not hurt my children on my deck because he is not a pit bull,

Ive said it before - People own pit bulls for one reason, and one reason only. To intimidate. Just admit it, pit owners. Just admit it.
if the dog has 15,000 genes (wild-ass guess) then that means a 1500-gene difference at 99.9%.

Sorry for nitpicking, @26, but this is wrong. A similarity level of 99.9% means only .1% of the genes are different, which for a genome of 15,000 genes would mean only 15 differing genes (1500 would be a 10% difference, not a .1% one). I don't think this invalidates your point, though.
Seattlebound, who said: "@63 Ya think? Ya think that heavy criminal fines and incarceration would deter every pit bull owner? Just like the death penalty has deterred all murderers?

Sorry, but I have to disagree here. By the logic you're proposing here, nobody should ever be punished for anything, since punishment doesn't really deter crime -- right? So, should we drop not only the death penalty, but in fact any legal penalty, on murder? And what would the consequence be -- an increase, or a decrease, in the number of murders?

Punishment does work. It doesn't prevent/solve every single case, of course, but until we have a good, reliable, predictable science of social engineering that tells us what exactly to do to prevent social problems, we have to use the means that have worked thus far. The law works. Till we have something better I say let's use it.

So I have to agree with Dingo: if bad dog owners were held criminally responsible for the damage caused by their dogs, it would be less likely that you'd have had a pitbull roaming all over your backyard. The other reasonable solutions proposed on this comment thread would have had less effect, if at all, on this possibility.
@126. I agree. If we charged pet owners with murder if their animal killed someone I think there'd eventually be a drop in idiots owning potentially dangerous animals.
Pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other dogs. Sorry to disappoint the bleeding heart animal lovers out there, but it's true.

It's great that pit bull maulings are rare, but I doubt that comforts the parents of children who are killed by pit bulls. Your desire to own an aggressive breed of dog is not more important than another person's safety.

I've met some wonderful pit bulls in my day. Really, sweet, friendly dogs, but so the fuck what? Pit bulls kill people. They can be aggressive and unpredictable. They should be banned.

Saying that a ban might be ineffective at getting rid of all pit bulls is not an argument against a ban, just an argument for better enforcement of the ban. Clearly, no ban will be completely effective. I spent 10 years in a city with a pit bull ban (Mesa, AZ), and I can tell you that the pit bull owners I knew were certainly much more careful about securing their dogs, because if a pit bull got out and was caught by Animal Control it would be killed.

I really do love animals. But I've never understood why so many people seem far more emotionally involved in the lives of animals than they are in the lives of members of their own species, even the innocent, vulnerable juveniles of their own species.
@128 -- "But I've never understood why so many people seem far more emotionally involved in the lives of animals than they are in the lives of members of their own species, even the innocent, vulnerable juveniles of their own species."

Because that would be racist.

Seriously, does anyone have actual data about this? There are cities that have banned pit bulls. Have their mauling rates changed?
@71, given that there is some evidence that human and dog evolution is closely linked, and that much of our cognitive abilities are due to the "work" that dogs took over for us when they became domesticated, it might be better to suggest that an aversion to having dogs is the psychological disorder. (Sorry, Dan.)
@128: "They can be aggressive and unpredictable."
That's all dogs, yo.
@129 not data, per se:

I think the problem is: what defines a breed?
I fucking hate idiots who think that banning pit bulls is the same as discrimination. They weren't created by god or nature. They were bread to be killers by humans. It's like saying banning land mines is discrimination.
@ Functional Atheist: I never said only "dog experts" can have an opinion about dogs. I said that Dan is both completely ignorant about dogs AND hasn't bothered to do any homework, which is obvious from his relentless promotion of a solution (breed bans) that doesn't work.

I exerted myself and found Plenty of data, though it is obviously there in support of breed bans. Pit bull bans dramatically reduce pit bull bites (hardly surprising). There was a lot less data about bites in general, but it was evident that in places with pit bull bans, "dangerous dog" bans, or special laws about such dogs, the dog bite rate may not change much but the bites are a lot less severe.

This was interesting:
"A trend that began in California now has communities across the country considering a similar option: mandatory pit bull sterilization. Cities troubled with high pit bull bite counts and shelter occupancy rates are hoping to combat both problems at once with spay/neuter laws targeted at pit bulls. In January 2006, San Francisco enacted such a measure. After 18 months of passing: pit bull impoundments declined by 21%; shelter occupancy rates fell from three-quarters to one-quarter and pit bull euthanizations dropped 24%.

"By 2010, biting incidents had significantly decreased as well. Sgt. Bill Herndon, of the San Francisco Police Department's vicious dog unit, said the numbers and severity of pit bull attacks are down since the ordinance was enacted."
Heroin owners rarely walk their heroin outside to take a shit.
I'm not saying banning is the answer to this problem, but prohibiting certain behaviors and items IS the right thing to do in certain circumstances. For instance, I'm quite happy that dog fights and bear baiting are illegal, and that not just anyone can get their hands on surface to air missiles.
My sister called Animal Control for a rattlesnake in her yard yesterday. I was like "Bitch, you wouldn't have called the cops for a garter snake, you're so racist. You know garters and rattlers have almost the exact same DNA, the rattler just wasn't loved enough by a caring pet owner. How could you do that to such a sweet snake that really loves kids?"
Actually, the pit bull bans in Denver and Aurora CO are in the process of being mitigated. The ban went into effect in Aurora in 2006. Since 2003, yes the number of bites by pit bulls has dropped (as you would expect), but the numbers of bites from ALL OTHER DOGS has gone UP. This leads one to conclude that it's the same SHITTY OWNERS raising dogs.

Additionally, according to a study done by the Children's Hospital here in Colorado, more dog attacks occur on children by Labs and Golden Retrievers than any other type of dog in the state. This is because people WRONGLY assume that the family dogs are not, in fact, dogs, and will never bite or attack.

Dogs will bite and attack. It doesn't matter. Any dog can be inherently unpredictable. That is a fact. Some people are better equipped to own some dogs than others. Just like some people are better equipped to do certain jobs than others.

It really does ultimately come down to owner responsibility -- understanding of the breed, understanding of your dog, training, and responsibility.
Dogs will bite and attack. It doesn't matter. Any dog can be inherently unpredictable. That is a fact. Some dogs are better equipped to do tremendous damage than others.
@140 -Yes, some dogs are better equiped to do tremendous damage such as Rotti's, sherpards, akida's, chow's, doberman's, german short hair pointers, american bulldogs, Standard poddles etc. - large, powerful, high strung, "sporting" breeds.
If you're going to ban pitbulls, ya may as well ban all these breeds no?
And seattlebound, I would hope you would be leary to approach any of the dogs listed above should they wander into your backyard. A German sherpard could kill you - probably why they are so popular with police /military organisations.
Standard poodles lmao

also learn how to use apostrophes
@142 -- I love you completely ignore the entire rest of my post, you know, the parts with the facts and statistics that can be backed up by the published studies done by the physicians at Children's Hospital, as well as the Aurora City Council's own data on bites in the city of Aurora since 2003.

Don't let facts get in the way of your truthiness there.
Go ahead Reader01, laugh your ass off, Standard poodles are big, powerful sketchy dogs!

This is exactly the point the so called pit apologists are trying to make: you're not scared of a Standard poodle because it's a poodle and everyone knows THAT breed is all sweet and cuddle and would never hurt a fly.
And I'm (is that correct?) sorry about the apostrophes - no doubt you're (is that correct?) my intellectual superior - even if you can't (is that correct?) form entire sentences with periods and everything.
144 OR 143. Pit bulls or their mixes were responsible for 59% of fatal dog attacks between January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008, for example. They are also responsible for more bites resulting in significant bodily harm than EVERY OTHER BREED COMBINED while making up only about 4% of the total dog population. Pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other breeds, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, and you do not have any right to own the dog breed of your choice, period. Hopefully this penetrates your thick skulls before the teeth of the dogs you love so much for some unfathomable reason do.

Don't let the facts get in the way of truthiness indeed.
Those figures are nationwide btw. Not the Aurora City Council, wherever the fuck that is.
I'd post a link but I can't:/
Seattlebound, why wouldn't you just shoot a dog that trespassed in your backyard? Trespassing dogs should be shot on sight. Regardless of breed. Unless you know them and feel safe with them (and even then, if we shot all trespassing dogs, people would be a lot more careful with their animals).
Some interesting quotes as I read further in that report... "In more than two-thirds of the cases, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question. Children and elderly people were almost always the victims."

Also "One might hope that educating the public against the acquisition of dangerous dogs would help; but the very traits that make certain breeds dangerous also appeal to a certain class of dog owner."

AKA pieces of shit. For my own (immaterial) part I have yet to meet a pit owner that wasn't a giant bag of shit.
And the summary, which puts it better than I can: "The humane community does not try to encourage the adoption of pumas in the same manner that we encourage the adoption of felis catus, because even though a puma can also be box-trained and otherwise exhibits much the same indoor behavior, it is clearly understood that accidents with a puma are frequently fatal.
For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people to regard pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any other, no matter how much they may behave like other dogs under ordinary circumstances.

Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed--and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.
@144 I'm not sure about sketchy. Apparently standard poodles are breed that's least likely to bite. Can you find one instance of a standard poodle killing someone?
BlackRose, I will answer in seriousness though I detect that you are asking a rhetorical question.

First, I don't own a gun. Second, I wouldn't shoot an animal who isn't mauling someone even if I did.

Here's the deal. My family chooses not to have potentially deadly items--like guns or pit bulls--in our household. I don't think it's so much to ask that strangers keep their deadly items--like guns and pit bulls--off my property. I also expect gun owners and dog owners to follow the law.

Call me crrraaazzzy.
Wow, Reader01, you seem really aggressive to a totally sane, calm, rational comment.

I was merely pointing out what has happened in an area where a pit bull breed ban HAS gone into effect, and been in effect for a number of years. As one would expect, bites from that breed have gone down, but bites from other breeds have gone up, actually surpassing the total number of bites that occured the year before pit bulls were banned.

Furthermore, as you point out, the victims are the children and the elderly. Again, in an area where pit bulls are banned, more Labs and Golden Retrievers bite children under the age of 5 WHO ARE UNSUPERVISED with the family dogs, leading to serious and sometimes fatal injuries. I think we can all agree that kids under the age of 5 shouldn't be left alone with ANY dog, but then again, that would require the owners and parents to accept responsibility for all the living things in their charge.

We certainly wouldn't want that to happen, now would we.

Finally, my aunt-in-law has bred pits on the East Coast for over 10 years. Not one of her dogs has ever had a behavioral issue. So, in over 100 dogs from a known bloodline and responsible breeder, who sent her dogs to vetted homes, not one of those dogs has had an issue -- yes, there is corrolation to breeding, socialization early on, training, and family life.
"but bites from other breeds have gone up, actually surpassing the total number of bites that occured the year before pit bulls were banned."

Again, no one cares. Their bites don't often mean permanent damage up to and including death.

"more Labs and Golden Retrievers bite children under the age of 5 WHO ARE UNSUPERVISED with the family dogs, leading to serious and sometimes fatal injuries."

Really? How many Golden Retrievers and Labs have maimed or killed children? As it so happens, from 1982-2010, here's how the breeds stack up. First figure is bodily harm, second is maimings, third is deaths. Tell me which one stands out

Golden 9, 6, 2
Labrador 36, 28, 3 (approximately 92x as many Labs as Goldens)
Pit bull 1552, 859, 166 (approximately 1/3 as many Pits as Labs)

Yup, clearly I am deluded!

No one cares about your aunt. Read the above again. "In more than two-thirds of the cases, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question... Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant."

You are wrong, full stop.
that should read 9x as many Labs as Goldens, not 92x
Thank God the insurance industry is doing something useful for once and effectively banning these dogs from new policies.
You could literally replace every banned pit with a HUNDRED (homed) labs and come out ahead on the number of serious injuries/deaths inflicted.
27/bassplayerguy: I also think there needs to be a law that if your dog kills someone then you, as the owner, will be held liable as if you were the one that killed the person. If it really is just an issue of bad owners then this would get those bad owners off of the street.

The problem with that, of course, is that it's after-the-fact. Holding a pit bull owner liable if their beast mauls and kills someone is of small comfort to the person who has been mauled and killed.

Still, it's a good idea and certainly better than not holding owners responsible.
@158 but it's certainly a lot better than getting nothing more than "oops" from an irresponsible owner who's dog just killed your kid.
As someone cohabitating with a cockapoo (cocker spaniel+poodle and stupidly trendy dog a while back) I'd like to say to SeattleBound (who surely knows this already but I'm gonna say it anyway) and everyone in general that you reeeeally shouldn't approach even the most harmless adorable looking dog without verification from an owner that its not gonna try and bite your hand off. Because the ironically named "Precious" that lives with me will try to bite your hand off. But she will look at you cutely with big brown eyes up until that very moment.
I think its her poodle side, honestly. Poodles are evil. But who knows?
In general I'm against breed bans because its just feeding into paranoia instead of controlling the breeding of animals (and breeding for traits so cunty bitches like Precious don't exist.) For the record, I kinda like the stupid dog (affection whore) but I cant have any friends over and shes extremely difficult to walk and never stops barking so I kinda hate it. Had a doberman-german shepard mix as a kid and he was the best dog ever...and my sister used to have a beautiful sweetheart of a pitbull.
@48 -- Part of the problem is that most of the people who give a crap about dog breeding are people looking for inbred show dogs that have a dozen bone and joint problems but a perfect coat, so sometimes it's tough to spread positive ideas about dog breeding.

@50 -- That dog's owner is a bad owner whether that was a pit bull or a chihuahua. And while they're not as threatening to a full-grown adult human, I've personally encountered chihuahuas easily as unbalanced (and just as dangerous to small children) as the worst pit-bulls.
Yes all dogs bite,

But which are most likely to KILL (dogbitelaw site)? 65% of dog bite deaths in the US over 24 years were caused by Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or Presa Canarios or their mixes. I have no idea of what proportion of the national spectrum of dogs they represent, but where I live there are very few on the street. Nowadays we DON'T need any breeds that kill, we just need guard dogs, hunting dogs, and family pooches (and working dogs, blah, blah, blah).

Pit bulls aren't the problem. It's wiggas and niggas with pit bulls that are the problem.
I came over here hoping this post would be about enjoying my fetish for guys with sexy armpits, and I'm leaving sorely disappointed.
@115: I swear I read that like 5 minutes after posting this:
Fred Casely commented on Slog Bible Study: Leviticus 25:44-45.
Re @29: anyone else here getting creeped out by the increasingly frequent gratuitous references to Dan's family? Please let's all stop.
The first thing you hear from any dog owner is "s/he never does that" right after s/he already did it. The next thing you hear is the exception to the rule: "except when YOU ride a bike" or "dance on one foot." Whatever it is. The dog will have shat on your leg, eaten your children... whatever. So when I tell my children "no you can't pet the dog" and you, dog owner, start to say "don't worry s/he's friendly" - just shut up and walk by with your dog on a leash. My belief in your dog is much lower than my love for my children's current facial features and 10 fingers.

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