View Poll Results: Ban pit bulls? yea or nay?

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  • Yes- they are a dangerous breed and should be made illegal

    10 21.28%
  • No- the owners should be held more accountable

    37 78.72%
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Thread: Ban pit bulls? yea or nay?

  1. #1
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    Ban pit bulls? yea or nay?

    Ban pit bulls? yea or nay?

  2. #2
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    Nope. Like all dogs, not every pitbull is a kiling machine. A correctly breeded and trained pitbull is as (un)safe as any other dog (strength and size differ of course). I see no problem with that. I know a very sweet Rottweiler, and there have been really evil Golden Retrievers.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  3. #3
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    Not practical. Do you ban only registered, full-blood pit bulls, or any dog with some pit bull blood? How do you tell if a vaguely pit-bull-looking dog actually has pit bull blood, since mixed breed dogs seldom come with any breeding records? And what is a pit bull? There is more than one breed that may be called a pit bull.
    As noted above, not all pit bulls are killers. Indescriminate breeding (usually for profit) may result in a bad line, but I have known some very sweet, gentle "pit bulls" as well.

  4. #4
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    Gethen is right, bottom line...the humans are the ones responsible. Irresponsible breeding coupled with inappropriate use and treatment of dogs is what equals danger. Besides, the banning approach won't work anyway (for the reasons gethen cited). May as well accept the reality for this one, it's owner responsibility.

  5. #5
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    Bermuda bans 23 breeds of dog. Dogs from those breeds cannot be brought to the island and those already here are not allowed to breed. The ban is fairly recent and has caused some problems. There are also concerns that people who already own a 'banned' dog will be less likely to take it to the vet for proper care for fear that it will be taken away.

  6. #6
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    My dog is (ž each) boxer, pit bull, rottweiler, & mastiff. If you're not careful, she might do outrageous things like offer you her paw to shake, curl up at your feet, or *gasp* lick you affectionately.

    The above posts seem to have the matter well in hand. A dog's behavior largely reflects the nature of its upbringing.

  7. #7
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    No. We should send the maniacs who turn them into killers to jail and throw away the keys.

  8. #8
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    I'm somewhat undecided.

    It goes against my grain to condemn an entire breed when the issue, in my mind, is more that the individual dog is anti-social and/or the owner is irresponsible.

    That said, my view is colored by the fact that I've been in three very dangerous encounters in my lifetime.

    Once as a kid (I was around twelve, IIRC), I was confronted by a loose pit-bull. It was in a very hostile posture, but wasn't claiming dominance (it was turned, slightly.) I had had no choice but to claim alpha and convince the dog that attacking me was a losing proposition. It took me an hour to ease myself out of it's claimed territory, backing a half-step at a time, then having to reestablish dominance, etc. I have no doubt that had I shown the slightest bit of submissiveness, it would have struck. I doubt I would have been able to fight it off if I'd been unsuccessful. First and only time I've ever had the "shakes" once I'd come down off the adrenaline rush.

    About ten years ago, on my walk to work, I'd been charged by something that looked like a black bath pillow with a rat's head. Ugly little thing. It was on its chain, so it wasn't that big a deal. I ended up staring that critter down as well, though. It never bothered me again on my walk to work, and it wasn't that much of a danger to me, worst case. Still, I wonder how many other people it's attempted to attack. There were a significant number of pedestrian seniors and school kids living on that street.

    And last year, I was walking downtown when I was again confronted (charged from behind) by a loose dog, this time some big mutt. (Big enough to be a real danger.) Again, I had to establish dominance, but it backed down and left after a few minutes.

    (I wonder if it's a coincidence that all three dogs were submissive-aggressive.)

    Basically, I've had first hand experience with what can happen when a dog goes bad. And I hate to say it, but I've been jumped on and accosted frequently enough even when the dog was supposedly "in control" that I have little remaining faith that the majority of dog owners are responsible. (Usually getting the patronizing "he's just being playful" "he's really friendly, honest" nonsense.) I see little evidence of it.

    I think my answer is leaning towards both approaches.

    I think pet owners should be held more responsible for the behavior of their pets. But while I acknowledge at least a significant minority of power-breed animals with excellent characters (I've met dobies and sheps I've felt perfectly safe around), the fact is that if a power-breed animal goes bad, everyone in its surroundings is put in very serious, and potentially deadly danger.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  9. #9
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    Perhaps this is the news story that inspired BBP to start the thread. Legislation to ban pit bulls in the Canadian province of Ontario.

  10. #10
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    Moose, just out of curiosity, how does one claim dominance over a dog? Do you mean standing still and large, staring at the dog etc? (this could beh andy to know one day...)
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  11. #11
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    I am curious, does anyone know what the death toll is due to dog attacks in the States and in the UK?

    I think a large problem with dog attacks is that people are already afraid of nasty looking barking dogs due to the media. My ex used to work in a dog resuce and shelter place and they get some real head case dogs. You had to be resolute but I never knew of a dog that wouldn't back down to a confident person - it's all psychology and we definitely have the upper hand.

    I don't think it is reasonable, though, to expect everybody to learn dog body language to protect themselves, the responsibility must lie with the owners. Dogs are really wolves in perpetual puppydom and need good parenting just like any other child.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by worzel
    I am curious, does anyone know what the death toll is due to dog attacks in the States and in the UK?
    Just the other day I was reading an article accounting that 1500 americans die from dog attacks per year. I donīt have UK figures.

  13. #13
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    Believe it or not (I love google) this is an entire website devoted to legal issues involving dog bites. I think they are selling legal services. :-? I am therefore a little dubious about their numbers, but this is what they say
    In 1997 and 1998, at least 27 people died as a result of dog bite attacks (18 in 1997, and 9 in 1998). Of these, 19 were young children between zero and 11 years of age, and 8 were older children and adults between 17 and 87 years of age.
    Edited to respond to Argo's comment - I have doubts about this website, but I don't believe 1500 either, that seems much too high.

    Back to the question, no I don't believe in banning a breed. I think the owners need to be held responsible, to the point that they are charged with assault or murder as appropriate.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Moose, just out of curiosity, how does one claim dominance over a dog? Do you mean standing still and large, staring at the dog etc? (this could beh andy to know one day...)
    Stare it in the eyes with your eyes as wide and unblinking as possible - that usually works - it's certanly very aggresive as far as a dog is concerned. But it's usually easier just to make friends with the dog.

  15. #15
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    My mom got torn into by my sisters "pet" so bad the paramedics had to give her blood before transporting her to the hospital. He got ahold of her wrist and nailed the artery. There was so much blood spattered around the room due to the shaking he gave her that it looked like an ax murder had taken place.

    The incident was directly the result of my sister never taking the time to teach the dog it's place in the pack, our family. That is the key, as dogs are a pack animal, and will stay very much in line with what they see as the established heirarchy of the pack. Bad dogs are only bad dogs because of bad owners. They were not properly acclimated to socialize.

    The case of animals intentionally trained to be agressive is a whole different matter. Ideally, they should never be allowed in public without proper equipment and a trained handler. That means a muzzle, a sturdy leash, and a person certified to handle dangerous animals.

    That being said, what an administrative nightmare that would be, not to mention the difficulty of enforcement.

    I read something a few years ago that was along the lines of claiming that most breeds of dogs are no more likely to be aggressive than others. It cited dog attack statistics that showed attacks were distributed roughly proportionate to the population of each breed. The most commonly owned dog was the German Shepherd. The dog you are most likely to get bit by, the German Shepherd. And so on. Now what kind of damage they did once they did bite, . . . a whole different story.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    Edited to respond to Argo's comment - I have doubts about this website, but I don't believe 1500 either, that seems much too high.
    Yep, it seemed so to me too...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Moose, just out of curiosity, how does one claim dominance over a dog? Do you mean standing still and large, staring at the dog etc? (this could beh andy to know one day...)
    Yeah, basically by taking on the same sort of body language dogs use to establish precedence.

    Animals negociating pecking order have certain common behaviors.

    Dogs accepting submission will turn their heads and not look straight at you. Dogs seeking dominance will face head on. If both dogs claim dominance, they'll stare at each other until one backs down and turns their head after a few seconds. If neither dog is willing to back down, then there's potential for a fight.

    I'm not really sure what happens when both dogs attempt to be submissive. I've never seen that sort of interaction play out.

    Cats also do this, sort of, but the protocols are a little different, and appear to be at least somewhat gender based.

    Both cats and dogs negociate pecking order with each other and with humans.

    In my case, because each dog was instigating a territorial response, but not claiming alpha, I had little reason to believe that adopting a submissive pose was going to help the situation any.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  18. #18
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    No way in heck, if you train them to viciousness, you pay the price. Holding a dog fully accountable for the actions for which it is trained to do is the legal equivalent of holding a human of diminished mental capacity accountable in a court of law. Dogs know what they are trained to know and are conditioned by genetic to go down fighting for their 'pack'. If their master, whom they view as their alpha, orders them to attack, its beyond their capacity to question that authority.

  19. #19
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    OK so in fact you got to show the dog "I'm here, and I know you are here, an you're the one that will get out of MY way", by showing no posture suggesting you are willing to move back, and facing the dog untill he stops facing you, but not by shouting at the animal or things like that. Correct?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  20. #20
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    I agree that the proactive responsibility is with the owner. They should be aware of the potential for harm (most aren't) and prepared to deal with it. But in the real world a person needs to be able to react to the reality of a threatening situation - so I advocate that everyone, especially children, should be taught how to protect themselves. I mean, correctly placing blame with the owner is little compensation after getting mauled.

    Establishing dominance is a good tactic, but can backfire badly if it is a bluff you can not back up and the dog doesn't buy it. Taking a passive or subordinate posture is more likely to be successful. That is, head down (but keep an eye on the dog), do not lock stares, body turned sideways, limp posture (even bent over or on one knee if the dog is a safe distance to do so), maybe even extend a limp arm (but not close enough to get bit).

    I've used this a couple times, and both times the dog went totally relaxed and friendly within a few seconds. I did have the dominating strategy backfire once.

    If you are actually under attack and are not able to fend off the dog, the best thing to do is ball up and cover you neck and head as much as possible. Unless the dog is trained to kill, they will back down after they realize you have given up. They will almost always back down if you back down first, AND carefully make your way out of their territory.

  21. #21
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    Just a further note on dangerous canine breeds. ANY dog can be turned into an unquestioningly loyal and deadly weapon. My mother briefly had a cocker spaniel that spent its entire life around women. When we took her after her original owner died of cancer, that dog absolutely could not stand to be around men. Even after several attempts by me to acclimate her, she would still go after me and my mother's boyfriend with intent to maim. We finally had to get rid of her.

  22. #22
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    My dog (a four year old Irish Setter) sometimes forgets his place and will growl at me while I am eating. I will usually stare at him, and if he barks, I yell back. He usually becomes all submissive. Sometimes I will have to stand up and make myself all bigger, but he usually remembers that I am superior. :wink:

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjumperdon
    That is the key, as dogs are a pack animal, and will stay very much in line with what they see as the established heirarchy of the pack. Bad dogs are only bad dogs because of bad owners. They were not properly acclimated to socialize.
    Absolutely, me and my ex had a rescued dog that had spent years on the streets fending for itself and was possibly mistreated before. He was very aggressive at first, unhomable, which is why we had him. I had to call his bluff the first few times he threatened to pounce and leap forwad and overpower him, but once he got used to living with humans and knew his place (along with his place on the bed) he was very obedient and only wanted to please. It was quite a transormation.

    The case of animals intentionally trained to be agressive is a whole different matter. Ideally, they should never be allowed in public without proper equipment and a trained handler. That means a muzzle, a sturdy leash, and a person certified to handle dangerous animals.
    Ideally they wouldn't be trained to be aggressive in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose
    If neither dog is willing to back down, then there's potential for a fight.
    You can usually avoid a fight by attacking first. Just like with humans, the real aggressor will attack first when they see hesitation in the other, and the aggressor almost always wins. If it looks like the dog is going to attack then rush it, what have you got to lose anyway. You'll be amazed how many dogs (and people) will simply back off no matter how aggressive they initially appeared.

  24. #24
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    Not until after you ban Cocker Spaniels!

    :P

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    I would be very careful about advising people to attack first because you might not have anything to lose. If you are not confident you can win the fight, best to be submissive. The dog will almost certainly back down once it feels it has established dominance. Maybe you get a couple minor bites on your arms from covering up.

    If a bluffed attack backfires, a person could be in big trouble. I've duked it out a couple times with large breed dogs. Very scary. I am 6'2", 200 lbs. and very cool in a crisis. Anything much less and you will be burnt toast.

    Every crisis situation is unique, and there's no fit-all answer; but in a dog attack situation, the average person's default first strategy should be submissive.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    OK so in fact you got to show the dog "I'm here, and I know you are here, an you're the one that will get out of MY way", by showing no posture suggesting you are willing to move back, and facing the dog untill he stops facing you, but not by shouting at the animal or things like that. Correct?
    Well... Nicolas, you need to realize that I'm very much a layperson (and a cat person, no less), and am not in any way qualified to offer advice on how to train dogs.

    You might consider consulting a dog trainer on how to properly establish dominance with a strange animal.

    What I did was based on 1 part basic principles, 3 parts instinct, and at least some significant component of blind luck. (And in the case of the bath pillow with legs, it was tied up. I held all the cards, so I could afford to screw up.)

    I certainly don't go out of my way to interact with hostile dogs, and to be honest, there's only ever been a handful of dogs I've ever come to like, much less wanted to get to know.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler
    Just a further note on dangerous canine breeds. ANY dog can be turned into an unquestioningly loyal and deadly weapon. My mother briefly had a cocker spaniel that spent its entire life around women. When we took her after her original owner died of cancer, that dog absolutely could not stand to be around men. Even after several attempts by me to acclimate her, she would still go after me and my mother's boyfriend with intent to maim. We finally had to get rid of her.
    And when my husband first started practicing veterinary medicine, it was a fact that, in this state, the dog that most veterinarians were bitten by was the cocker spaniel. Doodler is correct. Any breed can go down the wrong path with irresponsible breeding and improper training. Chow chows, Springer Spaniels, Rottweilers, all have had their turn at being seen as "bad" breeds, but there are numerous examples of very nice, gentle dogs in those breeds too. It sometimes seems that the more popular the breed, the more overbreeding occurs, and the more bad traits that may be perpetuated. And then you add the ignorant or irresponsible dog owner and the recipe for disaster is complete.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjumperdon
    I would be very careful about advising people to attack first because you might not have anything to lose. If you are not confident you can win the fight, best to be submissive. The dog will almost certainly back down once it feels it has established dominance. Maybe you get a couple minor bites on your arms from covering up.

    If a bluffed attack backfires, a person could be in big trouble. I've duked it out a couple times with large breed dogs. Very scary. I am 6'2", 200 lbs. and very cool in a crisis. Anything much less and you will be burnt toast.

    Every crisis situation is unique, and there's no fit-all answer; but in a dog attack situation, the average person's default first strategy should be submissive.
    Fair point, I'm talking from my own personal experience with dogs and my knowledge of self defense with people. I'm no dog expert, and I am rather capable when it comes to aggression (full contact tournament fighting does that to you). I did originally say that usually it's easie to befriend the dog, and I did mean to attack first only if you feel a fight is unavoidable - the difficulty is in judging that moment.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjumperdon
    Establishing dominance is a good tactic, but can backfire badly if it is a bluff you can not back up and the dog doesn't buy it. Taking a passive or subordinate posture is more likely to be successful. That is, head down (but keep an eye on the dog), do not lock stares, body turned sideways, limp posture (even bent over or on one knee if the dog is a safe distance to do so), maybe even extend a limp arm (but not close enough to get bit).
    Agreed. In all cases, I was prepared to go submissive if the dog was truly claiming alpha. I was not going to stick to my guns and fight for it.

    In the case of the pit bull, his posture wasn't "negociate", it was "desired to strike, if I think I can". In my experience, a negociation session with a new dog is entirely civilized and over in about ten seconds when properly executed. The dog wanted to strike, but wasn't sure if it could do so successfully. My only chance to survive the encounter was to take advantage of that hesitancy.

    It was a gamble, no doubt about that.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose
    Once as a kid (I was around twelve, IIRC), I was confronted by a loose pit-bull. It was in a very hostile posture, but wasn't claiming dominance (it was turned, slightly.) I had had no choice but to claim alpha and convince the dog that attacking me was a losing proposition. It took me an hour to ease myself out of it's claimed territory, backing a half-step at a time, then having to reestablish dominance, etc. I have no doubt that had I shown the slightest bit of submissiveness, it would have struck. I doubt I would have been able to fight it off if I'd been unsuccessful.
    I'm impressed that you knew this much about dog social behavior at twelve, especially since you say you haven't really had that much experience with them.

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