Anti-Pit Bull Conspiracy in the Press – You Be the Judge [POLL]
Is it possible that the press likes to jump on every case that Pit Bull terriers attack?
After all, it does seem to be the case that an inordinate number of dog biting stories always seem to revolve around pit bulls.
Some weeks ago, I’d written a piece questioning the breed’s overall disposition, as to whether or not the dogs are “killing machines or loyal pets.”
After enduring a flurry of criticism condemning me for being biased against the breed, I figured I’d play devil’s advocate and posted a story about a pit bull that saved an 89 year old lady with dementia.
The story was featured on television news, but not as a lead story.
It was a bumper story placed between the weather and the sports report.
In other words, buried toward the end of the newscast.
Now, just today, there are two stories about pit bulls.
Police officers shot and killed a pit bull after it attacked its owners, putting one in the hospital for several days, according to a report by the Mount Olive Chronicle.
A husband and wife owned the dog, which attacked them March 13, according to the report. The husband was treated for wounds the day of the attacks, but the wife suffered more severe injuries, it said.
It was not immediately clear from the report how the pit bull was acting when approached by officers, prompting them to shoot it.
Pit bull attacks often make headlines — NJ.com recently reported on an incident in which a pit bull killed a house cat on Christmas Day, and an arrest in which police say an alleged Roxbury drug dealer commanded his pit bull to attack officers (though police didn't say in their report the dog actually followed through).
And just Wednesday, the Savanah Morning News reported a Georgia toddler was killed after being attacked by seven dogs, pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
In such cases, advocates for the dogs are quick to argue they're unfairly portrayed as vicious. In a comment on the NJ.com story about the Christmas Day incident, reader Jennifer Lynn wrote "Here we go again! Any breed of dog could attack a cat! I have 2 poodles who don't like cats! The media should be ashamed for always making headlines when 'pit bulls' are at fault. Don't you have anything better to do???"
Several states or other localities have restrictions or bans on pit bulls under breed-specific legislation (the pro-pit-bull site defendpitbulls.org keeps an active list).
Maryland’s highest court ruled last year that pit bulls are inherently dangerous," though legislators are considering a measure that would effectively invalidate that ruling, and rewrite the state's rules for holding dog owners accountable for attacks.
The American Veterinary Medical Association wrote last year that the pit pull is actually one of several dogs — also including German shepherds, rottweilers, chow chows, Jack Russell terriers, collies, springer spaniels, Saint Bernards and Labrador retrievers — commonly identified in biting attacks.
But it also said such reports might be best explained by the popularity of the breeds in victims' communities, reporting biases, or issues surrounding how the dogs are treated.
"Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma, however controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous," the association wrote.
"The pit bull type is particularly ambiguous as a 'breed' encompassing a range of pedigree breeds, informal types and appearances that cannot be reliably identified. Visual determination of dog breed is known to not always be reliable. And witnesses may be predisposed to assume that a vicious dog is of this type."
"It should also be considered that the incidence of pit bull-type dogs' involvement in severe and fatal attacks may represent high prevalence in neighborhoods that present high risk to the young children who are the most common victim of severe or fatal attacks," the association continued.
"And as owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal and/or violent acts — breed correlations may have the owner's behavior as the underlying causal factor."
Police say a small, mixed-breed dog, named Gaby, died Wednesday after it was attacked by a pit bull in a retirement community in the township.
Police said they were called to Cambridge Court in the Original Leisure Village around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, after the attack occurred.
The owner of a 10-year-old pit bull, named Buka, walked out of her home Wednesday morning, but her door did not close completely behind her, said Detective Capt. Paul Daly.
He said the dog pushed its way out of the door, around the same time a neighbor was walking the smaller, 8-year-old dog.
The owner of the pit bull told police she suddenly heard her neighbor screaming, then saw the small dog in her dog’s mouth.
Gaby was brought to the Point Pleasant Veterinary Hospital, where it died from its injuries, police said.
The owner of the pit bull told police she no longer wanted the animal and surrendered it to Lakewood Animal Control to be euthanized.
So, again, in view of the reportage of the breed’s propensity to be involved in an inordinate number of reported dog bites, many of which are fatal, do you view this as an anti pit bull conspiracy?