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Pit Bulls: Adorable Angels or Deadly Devils? (Part 1: Introduction)

Pit Bulls: Adorable Angels or Deadly Devils? (Part 1: Introduction)

Clown or Killer?

If you have ever seen a YouTube video of a real dog attack on a person or another dog, it is vicious, relentless, horrifying, gory, and sometimes deadly. Certainly dog attacks are not limited to "Pit Bulls," but these dog-types (it is a category, not a recognized breed) seem to be in the news most often. But there are many in shelters, and people frequently adopt/rescue pit bulls without them turning into killing machines.

So, what is the truth about the Pit Bull? I wanted find out more, so I embarked on the well-known Google Quest to get to the facts. My first encounter was with the organization,, because they pop up everywhere in a search for "dog attacks" or "dog bite statistics." They have a web site and a Facebook page, and I thought that I had struck pay dirt, so to speak. However, they are staunchly anti-Pit Bull and arrogantly rude to those who (1) disagree with them, (2) question them, or (3) ask a question of them. Although there is a lot of information on attacks (they present themselves, in part, as a "research and education non-profit organization"), it is mixed in with highly biased and sometimes misleading narratives. For example, "Myth #7: Pit Bulls do not have a locking jaw" is on their "Pit Bull Myths" page. Reading that headline, you would conclude that Pit Bulls do have a locking jaw, right? Here's what they write underneath the myth:

"Pro-Pit Bull groups continuously attempt to debunk the Pit Bull "locking jaw" expression that is often used by the media and the public. A Pit Bull's jaw may not physically lock, but due to selective breeding for a specific bite style -- to hold on and to shake indefinitely -- we consistently hear in news reports that the dog "would not let go."

So, they say it's a myth, then go on to say that it "may not physical lock, but..." Because I find them deceptive in little things like this, why should I believe them when they take other research studies and distill them down into their own charts, tables, narratives, etc.? I find them to be a radically biased, but perhaps a well-intentioned organization. Back in 2010, KC Dog Blog wrote this about them:

"They sensor all comments on their website that even come remotely close to disputing anything they post -- even if it is someone who is providing actual data that is correcting something they misspoke about -- again, censoring other types of thinking isn't exactly something you'd expect from a "public education" website." Here's the link: KC Dog Blog

True in 2010. True today. So, I use their web site very cautiously, and only to find news stories of dog attacks.

I digress. Now, let's get to back to searching for the truth. My Google Quest also revealed that there are Pit Bull police dogs, Pit Bull search and rescue dogs, Pit Bull therapy dogs, Pit Bull service dogs (but they must be the real-deal, not fake...see Service Dog Facts for the General Public and Businesses) and Pit Bull's that pass the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Test... Meet A Multi-Titled American Pit Bull Terrier! So, you would expect these dogs to be attacking at the same rate as the general population of Pit Bull's.

What I have found so far is that there are extreme positions on both sides of the equation, that they are either angels (they can do no wrong) or devils (eliminate them from the face of the earth). Either of the extremes can be downright nasty, responding with ad hominem condemnation instead of debating the issue itself. There are also those who are open minded and willing to look for sound and reasonable solutions when appropriate. Seemingly limitless information abounds on the internet about the "Pit Bull," from all perspectives. But when people start talking about "Pit Bulls," to what are they referring? I will continue my quest for truth in Part 2: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Pit Bull?

Click Here For Part 2

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