NO BAD DOGS, only bad Owners: Pit Bulls used be Nanny Dogs
“No bad dogs, only bad owners”
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A 2009 study in the Journal of Forensic Science ($$), found that the owners of vicious dogs, regardless of the breed, had “significantly more criminal behaviors than other dog owners.” The researchers added that “vicious dog owners were higher in sensation seeking and primary psychopathy,” and concluded that “vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance.” And according to the ASPCA, “Pit Bulls often attract the worst kind of dog owners.”
All of those human failings lead to poorly socialized and potentially aggressive dogs. It is because pitbulls are disproportionately favored by these kinds of owners that they’re responsible for a statistically outsized share of serious attacks on humans. These incidents are then reported - and very often misreported - with breathless sensationalism by the media, and the cycle continues.
Meanwhile, advocates say that pitbulls are the most frequently abused, tortured, abandoned and euthanized breed of dog in the United States. Shelters across the country are overflowing with pitbull mixes. Because of their stigma, they’re often difficult to adopt out; a ride to the shelter is almost always a one-way trip for pitties.
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According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, ‘controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous.’ The American Temperance Testing Society (ATTS) puts thousands of dogs – purebreds and spayed and neutered mixed-breeds – through their paces each year. The dogs are tested for skittishness, aggression and their ability to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening humans. Among all of the breeds ATTS tested – over 30,000 dogs through May 2011 — 83 percent passed the test. How did pitbulls do? They showed an above average temperament, with 86 percent making the grade. Pitbulls are the second most tolerant breed tested by ATTS, after only golden retreivers.
Pitbulls are disproportionately involved in serious attacks on humans, just as African Americans are found guilty of a disproportionate number of crimes in the United States. That’s simply what the raw data say.