Why have a pit bull? (Opinion)
A 9-year-old yorkie terrier was mauled to death by a pit bull in Church Square Park in Hoboken on Sunday night. Patricia Enrico brought her dog to the fenced-in dog run and as she was closing the gate turned around to see her dog's head in the mouth of a pit bull. She says it was completely unprovoked and she was horrified watching as someone tried prying the pit bull's jaws off the yorkie. According to the Jersey Journal, police arrived to find the small dog's eye ripped out of its socket. They rushed the dog and its owner to an animal hospital where it held on for 12 hours struggling to maintain a heartbeat before finally dying.
I don't think we should have any breed-specific legislation banning dogs. I do, however, think we ought to have breed specific common sense. The problem with pit bulls is largely owners who don't know the dog's history or don't properly train and socialize the dog. But its more than that. There is too often a propensity in these dogs to snap; to suddenly and unpredictably turn vicious.
Too many of these poor animals were bred and raised for dog fighting. Think Michael Vick. That sort of aggression can get bred into a breed. People who argue otherwise are the same people who want to believe all the positive characteristics have been bred in, like loyalty, intelligence, but refuse to think a negative can be as well. Also, by physical design, the pit bull is more formidable than most dogs, doing far more damage if it does bite.
In San Diego in 2016, a mother and father of 3-day-old Sebastian Caban were lying in bed with their newborn watching TV along with their pit bull. The mother coughed. One cough. That's all it took. The pit bull tore the child apart with the parent right there unable to pry it off. The injuries were so traumatic the parents sped the baby to the hospital themselves instead of waiting for an ambulance. It didn't matter. The newborn was dead.
A 1-year-old girl suffered life-threatening injuries in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when a pit bull the family had owned for five years with no signs of aggression suddenly had the girl's face in its jaws. The attack appeared to be totally unprovoked. The father was unable to separate the dog from his baby so he grabbed a pistol, realized it was unloaded, then picked up a knife instead. He stabbed the pit bull to get the dog to release his child.
Can any dog bite? Absolutely. Do pit bulls bite more than other breeds? No way. In fact the cocker spaniel and the chihuahua bite more often. Is an attack from a pit bull the most deadly? Yes, by far. And that's the difference. A bite you recover from is one thing. A bite that either leaves you permanently disfigured or dead is another.
Dog bites are on the rise in this country. From 1993 to 2008 there was an 86 percent increase in hospitalizations due to dog bites. There was an 82 percent increase in fatal dog attacks from the 1980s to 2012. The average number of what they call canine homicides was 17 per year in the 80s and 90s but rose to over 31 human deaths per year from 2010 to 2013, according to the CDC.
How often are pit bulls the breed responsible for killing people? Extremely often. Take 2016 for example. There were 31 fatal dog attacks that year and 71 percent of those were pit bulls — 22 of the 31. That is 7 times more than the next responsible breed. Think about that: 7 times more. And this is not breed confusion. If you added their close cousin the American bulldog, then those fatalities rise to 24 from 22.
So I ask you ... why? Why would you desire the one breed of dog that has killed more people in the United States than any other, often unprovoked, often after years of showing no aggression. Again, I don't believe in legislation to ban particular breeds. But I do believe in common sense.
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