Apr192014

Why a Pit Bull?

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How can you not adore something so cute?  How could anybody tarnish the reputation of a loyal, cuddly, lover like a Pit Bull?  Maybe because they are vicious animals that have killed people?  Personally, I don’t like Pit Bulls.  And I do not have a clue as to why it is legal to own one.  I can guess as to why some people may want one, but too bad.   I am a staunch defender of liberty and our Constitution, especially the bit about gun ownership, but I don’t think anyone should be allowed to own a Pit Bull, Presa, Rottweiler, Cane Corso, etc., unless they live far from most people, own livestock, and are willing to face criminal charges if one of their pets attack someone, as if the owner had done the attacking themselves.  And you thought my rantings on gun ownership were inconsistent?  And I am sick and tired of women on Facebook claiming that Pit Bulls are just cuddly little smootchums that would never hurt anything or anyone unless their little smootchums was provoked.  I have a theory as to why men do not post cute Pit Bull cliches on Facebook; cuz they know the truth about their Pit Bull and why they own one, … compensation for a small ____ and feelings of inadequacy.

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Owner of pit bull-mix fatally shot by St. Petersburg police says dog was not attacking

Do Pit Bulls really bite more than other dogs?  Do some dog breeds bite more than others?  Which dogs bite the most?  And if Pit Bulls aren’t the most frequent biters, why do they get such a bad rap?  Well, I looked it up.  And I was surprised by some of the info, and already knew some of it.  I could not find out which dog breed bites the most.  The different lists all have a bias depending upon what their agenda is.  I know that I have been bitten most often by a Weimaraner, specifically a Weimaraner named Charlie who was my best friend when I was ages 9 thru 10.  Charlie bit me multiple times per day and drew more blood by scratching than biting.  We would fight, just about every day, and we would hurt one another.  I don’t remember ever biting him back, but I would punch and kick him and get him in head locks.  By the way, dogs scratch like heck when put in a head lock.  Head locks are not really an advisable defense against a dog.

Henri pointing the first sharptails of the season

You get one guess what instinct has been bred into Weimaraners. My friends and I would take our BB guns to ‘hunt’ rabbits in the oil fields at the Northeast corner of Rosecrans and Sepulveda. Charlie would freeze and point without ever being trained to point.

 

My mom gave Charlie away and I cried.  A lot.  I couldn’t believe that she gave him away.  I was devastated and sure that I would never forgive her.  Oh, you wanna know why my mom gave away my best friend.  Because Charlie was young and active and when I was at school, he would dig and chew.  And he would dig up and ruin my mom’s garden, which she worked hard on and spent money on.  There was one area in particular, which was highly visible when you walked through our gate, actually it stared you right in the face,  that Charlie had a penchant for digging up and destroying every day.  Did I tell you that Charlie was extremely bright, and got 100%s on all his obedience tests?  But he could not be trained to stop digging when no one was around.  He was a dog.  And dogs dig.  Trying to train Charlie not to dig was like trying to teach him not to eat.  He would wait until he was told he could eat, but if no one was watching, his dog instincts would take over and he would eat, or in the garden, he would dig.  Well, my mom got smart, or read something somewhere, and she planted a tree in that particular spot, and that tree cost her $40.  $40 was big bucks back then.  Our house payment was $300 and we lived in a nice home in Manhattan Beach, so you can imagine how much $40 was.  My mom came home from someplace after outsmarting Charlie with the tree and found her tree on the ground.  Charlie had chewed through the trunk, and then dug up the root ball.  Ya gotta be kinda proud of a dog like that.  My mom was not.

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Neighbors stopping by to commiserate with my Mom on Charlie’s destruction of her tree

Oh yeah, dogs that bite:  It is a toss up as to which dogs bite the most and it all depends on who you ask, … or read.  My conclusion is that the breed of dog that bites the most is the mutt, and close behind are the Chihuahua and the Dachshund.  Statistically speaking, mutts bite the most because there are more mutts than there are any particular breed.  If you got 1000 mutts, 3 Dalmatians, 2 Dachsunds, and 2 Pit Bulls, the mutts will statistically inflict more bites just because of their numerical advantage, … or disadvantage, or whatever, but you get my drift, right?  The specific purebred that bites the most would be either the Chihuahua or the Dachsund, and the Cocker Spaniel.  Alaskan Malamutes bite frequently, as do Akitas, Huskies, wolf-hybrids, German Shepards, Rottweillers, Pit Bulls, Dobermans, etc.  If you assign weight by number of dogs owned, mutts do not tend to bite frequently.

So, if Chihuahuas and Dachshunds are the big biters, why do Pit Bulls get such a bad rap and little Chihuahuas get off scot free in the reputation realm, and in the media?  Because, when a Chihuahua bites you, it hurts and maybe draws blood, and the biggest physical consequence is you need some anti-infectant and a band-aid, but when a Presa attacks, it is a fight of life and death, literally.

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This is a Presa canario with a man in the photo for scale

 

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A couple of Presa being “socialized”. Our country could save much on military spending by just dropping off a few thousand hungry Presas in the military bases of whatever country the US finds threatening.

There was a time when I thought all dogs were friendly and you just had to know how to behave with them in order to keep them under control and friendly in return.  I was working a job where the owners of the property had a Bouvier and a Rottweiler.  Well, I ain’t scared of no Rottweiler so I went in the yard to get the shots we needed and then proceeded to play with the nice big dogs.  They played catch, and chase, and ‘tag, you’re it’, and everything was fine.  Until it wasn’t.  The Rottweiler was fine, but the Bouvier was getting a bit too aggressive for my taste and we weighed the same.  That was a new experience for me.  One time I was in the Home Depot parking lot and a lady had a Weimaraner, my favorite breed, and I asked if I could pet him.  She said sure.  I bent down and that _______ jumped up and bit me, in the chest.  Ouch!  I actually had to get stitches.

I kinda know what it is like to have a breed that is known as a biter.  We had 3 Dachshunds.  They came with my wife.  The oldest one snapped at me a couple of times, because he was old and crotchedy, like me.  The female was fat and she would not dare bite anyone lest anyone might have a treat.  And Jack was my favorite, whom I nicknamed, “The Mighty Hunter”, because he would bring us lizards.  No one had to train him to do that.  Dachshunds have been bred to root out badgers and other burrowing critters, and Dachshunds have to be fierce to go up against a badger.  A few homes ago, there was a family of skinheads in the neighborhood and they had a Pit Bull.  My Mom was walking Jack, (full name, Jack Kerouac), one day past the skinhead house when the Pit Bull came running out barking, snarling, and baring teeth. (I wasn’t actually there, so this is second hand via my Mom)  The Pit Bull made the mistake of of trying to get at Jack by sticking his snarling, growling snout under the rolling gate that was separating the Pit Bull from Jack and Jack did what his bred instincts told him to.  He chomped down on that snout and held on.  The Pit Bull went running back and forth with Jack being dragged and not letting go.  My Mom had to physically pry Jack’s jaw open to free the Pit Bull.  I swear Jack had a smile on his mug when they returned home.  Jack was the only Dachshund we had left when our first daughter was born and by that time I knew that Dachshunds could be agressive and had decided that if Jack ever showed any agressive behavior towards any person, he would no longer live with us.

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Jack Kerouac

What a coincidence!  My daughter’s friend just brought her English Bulldog over.  We have a 80 pound white English Bulldog and a French Bulldog.

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Easiest subject to get a non-blurry photo of; this is what Tex does 23 1/2 hours a day.

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Tex, aka Big Dog, and Theo, aka little dog, are buds

Back to my ramblings: And one time I went over to a neighbors house for whatever reason, and their German Shorthaired, a close cousin to the Weimaraner, ran out and bit me as I turned around.  I came back later to tell them I was ok, and the dog came at me again.  This time I punched him hard, in the side of the face.  The owners were furious with me.  Yeah, they were angry with me.  It turns out the German Shorthaired had bit a few people and was soon put down by law enforcement.  And those particular neighbors sold their house after  a time when Long Beach Swat showed up in our yard, and all up and down the street, because one of the ladies was holed up in their upstairs bathroom with a revolver and was hysterical.  Anywhooz, I have learned my lesson that a dog’s behavior is not dependent upon a person’s behavior, either the owner’s behavior or anyone else’s.

There have been numerous instances in which the owners of a Pit Bull and other aggressive breeds have responded to a vicious attack by their dog explaining that they can’t understand what could have happened because the dog is a sweetheart and has never shown any aggressive behavior before.  IT IS A MYTH that dogs only attack when they have been abused or not socialized.  They aren’t a transistor that responds either on or off decisively to a particular circumstance.  Dogs have a brain and instincts, and some breeds have a VERY strong attack instinct bred into them.  And if they have a bred instinct to attack small animals, they could be sweeter than honey for years and then some toddler runs in front of them and BAM!  A breed can have an attack instinct bred out of them after a century or so, but as of right now, many of the Molossers still have their attack instincts intact and they are dangerous.  Some web info:

By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.

 The combination of molosser breeds, including pit bulls, curs, rottweilers, presa canarios, cane corsos, mastiffs, dogo argentinos, fila brasieros, sharpeis, boxers, and their mixes, inflict:

 ▪               81% of attacks that induce bodily harm

▪               76% of attacks to children

▪               87% of attack to adults

▪               72% of attacks that result in fatalities

▪               81% that result in maiming

Embody 9.2%+ of the total dog population

For insurance companies it is a matter of dollars and sense.  Insurance companies have no motivation to favor or discriminate against one breed or another except for how much it may cost them.

More web info:

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a study in 2010 showing that the number of Americans hospitalized for dog bites almost doubled over a 15-year period.

▪               The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.

I found some photos of Pit Bull attack victims, but couldn’t post them because they are so horrific.

There were 4 times as many dog bite-related ED visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas.

Why more dog bite-related ED visits in rural areas than in urban areas?  Cuz that is where most of the big Molossers and guard dogs are located.  So what dog breeds do homeowner’s insurance companies tend to resist covering?

  1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
  2. Doberman Pinschers
  3. Rottweilers
  4. German Shepherds
  5. Chows
  6. Great Danes
  7. Presa Canarios
  8. Akitas
  9. Alaskan Malamutes
  10. Siberian Huskies
  11. Wolf-hybrids

(Note: Insurance companies tend to deny coverage for the first four breeds on this list most often, experts say.)

The industry claims dog bites cost insurance businesses an arm and a leg. Recently released data from the Insurance Information Institute, which represents more than 300 companies, reveals dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner liability claims paid out in 2012– costing insurance companies nearly $490 million last year.

Another list, not insurance related, of the 25 most dangerous dog breeds:

Tosa Inu, American Bandogge, Cane Corso, Bull Terrier, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dogo Argentino, Boer Boel, Gull Dong, Basenji, Saint Bernard, American Bulldog, (not English Bulldog), Great Dane, Fila Brasileiro, Perro de Presa Canario, Akita Inu, Boxer, Wolf Hybrid, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinschers, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Pitbull, Caucasian Ovcharka

Just as dog bite statistics show a prevalence among the more popular types, so do fatalities due to dog attacks show  the shift in popularity among breeds.  There was a time when German Shepards were statistically the most dangerous dog, and ten years ago, that indictment would have gone to Rottweilers.  Presently Pit Bulls are the most dangerous breed.  Is a Presa potentially more dangerous than a Pit Bull?  Yes, but it seems that Pit Bulls have become popular with the thug set and those who wish to identify with the thug culture, kinda like driving an old VW van in the 80’s would identify one as a surfer.  It did not make one a surfer and the driver may not have ever surfed in his life, but it was associated with the culture.  Likewise, owning a Pit Bull does not make you a tough guy, but it may make you feel like one.

There are all sorts of rationalizations given for why a Pit Bull is no more dangerous than any other dog.  I don’t wanna copy the whole thing, so click on this link to read about the Myths about Pit Bulls, and let me emphasize, these myths can be extended to any of the dangerous breeds.

If guns had brains and the ability to have attack instincts bred into them, I would not understand why gun ownership was legal.  And one more thing.  Why is it that when you take a kid to a doctor, they ask you if there are any guns in the house, but they don’t ask you if there are any knives, bomb making equipment, exposed electrical wires, non-fenced pools, or Pit Bulls in the house?

 

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