Pit Bulls – Vicious or Slandered?

October 1, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Debate has raged in recent years over court rulings that labeled pit bulls as “inherently dangerous.” Is it true? In our experience with many, many dogs, pit bulls are just dogs. Nevertheless, more than 650 localities in the U.S. have enacted breed bans focused on the pit bull category of dogs. To inform an objective opinion, we’ve been studying the scientific literature and some other analyses on the subject. The data is definitely mixed, but we find these two facts most telling.

One: Even when pit bull type dogs have been banned in a community, the number of dog bite incidents usually don’t go down. If dog bite incidents do go down, it’s by an extremely marginal rate (e.g. 0.69 hospitalizations for every 300,000 person years). Much less than breed banners would say pit bulls cause. Why doesn’t banning a breed reduce dog bite incidents? Because the breed of dog is not what causes dog bite incidents.

Two: When pit bulls are studied directly, instead of through second-hand accounts, the pit bull types always test as good as any other dog. For instance, Steffanie Ott, DVM, and colleagues put 70 golden retrievers through a standardized temperament test and compared their results to 415 dogs belonging to banned breeds. No banned breed proved significantly different than golden retrievers. (Ott S, et al. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. May 2008; Volume 3, Issue 3: pages 134-140).

National Pit Bull Awareness Day is October, 25. Learn more about the day here: http://www.nationalpitbullawarenessday.org/.

Pit Bulls Vicious or Slandered

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