Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blame the Deed - Not the Breed

While checking my emails today, I was notified that two pit bulls had killed a four month old baby. You can read the article here. Now, as an advocate - someone who STRONGLY states, "BLAME THE DEED NOT THE BREED" - there are things that really stand out to me. First, we do not have the entire story here. But there are some red flags in this story for me.

And to be clear here - had the officers NOT shot and killed the dogs, I most CERTAINLY would have advocated for these dogs to be put to sleep (PTS). Any pit bull who is Human Aggressive (HA) goes against breed standard and makes life harder for stable pit bulls out there, and should be PTS. What these dogs did was terrible - but ultimately, dogs do what they are trained to do or are pushed into doing, so therefor, a lot of attention does need to be focused in on the owners here as well.

1. First and foremost - dogs have no sense of morality and no sense of right and wrong. We have to remember this.

2. Shortly before the attack - the pit bulls were in the back yard. How long were they in the back yard? Pit bulls are NOT outside dogs. They are inside dogs, they are very social animals and need interaction with their owners. They cannot just be dumped outside all the time and then be expected to behave. Nonsense.

3. The grandmother stated that they (the dogs) went right in for the little girl - of course they did. Pit bulls (and dogs in general) have a prey drive. Pit bulls, just like any other dog, have various levels of prey drives. Some pitties have no prey drive, some high levels of prey drive. If they have a high level of prey drive - then they will go after anything smaller than them - including a baby. And this is why obediance training is SO incredibly important. It's not just something nice to do - but with pit bulls (because they are POWER dogs) HUGELY important. Because they have to be taught what is and is not okay (back to the lack of morality). Pit bulls aim to please their owners, once they know what is and is not okay - like that a baby is someone they are to please, someone to protect, someone to love, a member of their pack, then they will aim to please that baby. Not harm it.

4. The grandmother went on the describe the attack, "She tried to close the door behind her, but one of the dogs forced its way into the room, Forti said, followed by the other." Dogs are pack animals and pit bulls are determined animals. Once they are set on something - they WILL accomplish it. Period. Sadly, because the grandmother could not control these dogs, it shows that she was not a member of their pack - she had no control over them because there was no obediance training in place. Another reason this is HUGELY important, again with ANY dog but especially with pit bulls again because they are power dogs and because their drive to please their owners is so strong they excel in obediance training.

5. The article went on to list other dog attacks in the LV area - including dog attacks by Boxers (not a member of the "pit bull" family - which is not a breed, but rather a common name given to dogs that share the same traits). Which only goes to show that ANY dog can attack a child. Dogs are living, breathing, creatures with their own temperaments and can decide whether or not if they are fed up with children. Obviously this four month old did nothing to provoke the attack, but children sadly are more often the victims of attacks by dogs.

6. One neighbor said, that you just don't have pit bulls around children "period". Hogwash. In fact - pit bulls used to be the "nanny dog". They have high ranking temperament test scores - right up there with the Labs (Goldens and Black Labs). Maya gets put through the wringer with Paul and Anya and she takes it gladly from them, returning their pulling, tugging, and rolling on top of her with kisses and licks. However, we would be utter fools to ever leave our dog completly unsupervised with our children. I would like to state you should never leave ANY dog unsupervised with ANY child.

7. These dogs were also often found wandering the neighborhood. These owners appear from the story to be at best - negligent. Should not have been owners of a power breed that NEEDED to be indoors, with it's owners, exercised regularly, obediance training, played with, etc etc.

Pit bulls (American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier) are a very interactive breed. You have to train with them, you have to exercise with them, they need to be with you. They are WORK. But they are worth it. They are determined, stubborn, and they are WORK. People will judge you for having one. Whenever I mention that I have a pit bull AND two small children the usual comments I recieve are:

"What are you stupid?"

"Are your kids still alive?"

"Someone should turn you into CPS"

"Do your kids have both their hands?"

"That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard."

And more. If you cannot handle things like this - do not own a pit bull. What happened to these dogs is incredibly tragic. What happened to this baby - oh my God, was horrific and even more tragic. Please do not think because I blogged in defense of the BREED that I ignore what occurred to this innocent victim. What happened to the baby was just horrible. I am so sorry for the family's loss and especially for this baby. Again, I stress - I am incredibly sorry for this innocent little baby who suffered such a horrible death. Do not think for a moment I ignore the death. I do think the parents should be investigated and upon investigation prevented from EVER owning an animal - or at the very least a power breed EVER again.

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