Banishing Acts: It’s a Pitty

Maybe it’s time for Philly to consider outlawing pit bulls.

By Jacob Lambert
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 58 | Posted Mar. 9, 2010

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On the weekend of February 19, there were three serious pit bull attacks across Philadelphia. In Olney, a 52-year-old woman nearly lost her left hand to one of the dogs. In Frankford, 10-year-old Philip Sheriff was found facedown on a ballfield, his right arm almost severed. And Christine Staab, a 38-year-old Fishtown woman, was killed when her mother’s dog, Jade, grabbed hold of her neck and wouldn’t let go.

Following the attacks, there was a predictable back-and-forth between advocates of pit bull regulation and those who defended the dogs. The newspapers and airwaves were full of opinion; WHYY’s Radio Times pit the founder of DogsBite.org against an attorney for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ledy VanKavage, of Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society, told the Daily News that the debate was “all hype, the dangerous dog du jour.” In the same article, Kenneth Phillips, a Beverly Hills lawyer and dog-bite expert, said: “Like many problems we have as a society, the right way to address it is not to go at the instrument that’s doing people harm but the people behind it.”

To lawful owners, pit bulls are not blood-thirsty maulers but playful little scamps. Christy Landry of Gardendale, Ala., told the Birmingham News that “if [her dogs] were small enough, they would be lap dogs.”

Why mention this case? Because Gardendale, like an increasing number of cities throughout the country, recently banned the breed, angering the area’s “pitty” community.

According to the News, Crestwood pit bull owner Melanie Colvin’s dogs “might ‘lick you to death’ but that is about as close to vicious as they get.”

Certainly, the jury is out on the efficacy of such bans. Denver’s 20-year-old ban is widely seen as draconian. The mayor of Sioux City, Iowa, now regrets voting for his city’s ban in 2008.

According to the ASPCA, “There is no evidence that breed-specific laws … make communities safer for people or companion animals.” Yet as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper told Westword in 2009, “Whether the ban works depends on what side of the argument you’re on.”

PETA, for one, takes this view:

“We … support pit bull bans, as long as they include a grandfather clause allowing all living dogs who are already in good homes and well-cared for to live the remainder of their lives safely and peacefully … PETA supports such laws because they have the potential to prevent an enormous amount of suffering.”

In light of Philadelphia’s recent contribution to this suffering, Mayor Nutter and City Council should consider regulation and study its ramifications.

When confronted with such a prospect, however, law-abiding pit bull owners use an argument familiar to law-abiding handgun owners: Why penalize us for the actions of a malicious few? We love our dogs, we feed them well, we take them to the park. Pebbles is just super with the kids. Why restrict our access to creatures that we’ll treat with warmth and respect?

It’s a sensible argument, usually followed by another: Instead of punishing everybody, simply focus on the lawbreakers. And in insisting that, as the Daily News headline read, “It’s not the dogs, but the people behind them,” the blame shifts toward those who seem quite worthy of it: the thugs in dark hoodies, the Michael Vick contingent. And wasn’t Christine Staab high on something? And, really, what parent would let a 10 year old walk a pit bull?

These arguments, taken in tandem, actually bolster the problem, unintentionally strengthening the cycle of harm and rescue. In vigorously defending their right to own pit bulls, those well-meaning owners—not to mention the ASPCA—unwittingly defend the rights of abusers as well. For city governments such as ours, there’s little to gain in outlawing the family pet, in upsetting our own Christy Landrys. It’s politically easier to cope with the occasional horror and maintain the status quo. So no legislation of any sort materializes—and that same nonlaw applies to the Clark Park Frisbee-tosser as equally as the dogmen in the cellars. The well-intentioned speak out, the politicians move on and the dogfighters place their bets.

My next-door neighbors own a pit bull. The dog is thickly muscled and incredibly quick, but friendly and enthusiastic. He sits when he is told to and generally heeds his master. He’s a pretty good dog. He hasn’t been raised for the ring and isn’t killing “bait cats” in the basement. Yet I feel ill at ease around him. His defenders would say my trepidation is a product of bad PR and hysterical coverage. And perhaps that’s part of it. But there’s also something fundamental at work: an instinctive fear of a powerful animal, a fear not solely reserved for the “dangerous dog du jour.” And whenever I’m sitting on the stoop and I see him trot by, I wonder: Why didn’t they just get a different dog? ■

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 58 of 58
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1. CJ said... on Mar 9, 2010 at 10:25PM

“Banishing Pit-Bulls might be the stupidest thing I've ever read. It MUST be an idea crafted by our own City Government, the bastions of idiocy. Sure, lets ban Pit Bulls. No, lets not pursue the wastes of life training these dogs to fight, and become vicious. We ban the Pit Bulls, thats the end. There CANNOT be other dogs for them to train, right? Dobermans, Rotweilers, German Shepherds, etc etc etc. Stupid.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:13AM

“How would this ban possibly be enforced? Would police be trained as dog breed experts? Would "pit-looking" mutts be included? It sounds like an enormous waste of time, not to mention unfair. Michael Vick gets to play football, but loving, responsible dog owners have to give up their pits? Ridiculous.”

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3. Luke Thomas said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 01:22AM

“Pit bull bans actually DO work. Miami Dade has such a ban since 1979 and it has reduced gang activities quite a bit and dog fighting is RARE. Enforcement is easy-people turn in other who do unauthorized breeding of this dog and it's $500 fine PER DOG. Pit bull bans help keep this dog away from the hands of dog fighters and thugs.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 08:21AM

“I have a 2 year old German Shepherd/Pit mix that is the sweetest dog I've ever owned. She is extremely obedient, gentle and great with children and other animals of all sizes. I have a 4 year old daughter and my "big, scary pit mix" has NEVER been anything but playful and patient with her. My dog is a 60 lb. lap dog, literally. It bothers me to no end that ignorant people rush to blame the breed, instead of the breeders and/or owners of select, aggressive dogs. I also think that these same ignorant people will jump on any bandwagon sold to them by the media and/or the government. Pit-bull bans are the product of a lazy government, one which won't get off its fat ass to punish law breakers b/c it's easier (and cheaper) to punish everyone preemptively.”

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5. Lauren said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 08:47AM

“I just got home insurance for a new house and was asked what breed of dog I own. Turns out, pit bull owners have higher premiums because of this breed's tendencies. A well-trained pitbull can be a sweetheart and a poorly trained poodle can be vicious, but it's not just a PR problem - it's animal instincts combined with irresponsible owners. I'm an advocate for safer streets - why not impose mandatory muzzles? I'd put one on my dog if it meant that pitbull down the street would also be wearing one.”

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6. Meekrat said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:22AM

“I own German Shepherds, and the first question I am asked is "do they bite?". I always answer "First time for everything." 15/ 20 years ago GSDs where the villains along with Dobermans. Every Pit I've ever encountered is loving, none too bright and will do anything to protect their person, especially children in their care. Much like Labrador Retrievers. My uncle had a dog choose him; and after worrying about if it was part pit due to his looks; he decided he didn't care. Odie is 50 lbs of lapdog and cheer. Judge the owner, not the dog.”

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7. logicneeds toprevail said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:27AM

“This subject is sure to get everyone up in arms. And rightfully so - a ban on pit bulls equals Breed Specific Legislation which is Breed Discriminatory Legislation.
I would like to address each part of the article and some of the remarks that have been made. The author of this article is obviously afraid of pit bulls (which is just a catch all term used to describe the characteristcs of many breeds and before anyone thinks about supporting this ban you might want to check which breeds and characteristics are included) and i'm sorry for that. But i was bit by a schnauzer poodle mix when i was a kid and i don't feel completely trusting around poodles, I don't think that means we should outlaw them. And I certainly don't presume to question why anyone would own one. The choice of a breed is just that a choice, a right that we all should have. I should be allowed to make the decision to own any dog I want until that specific dog does something to make it be deemed dangerous. T”

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8. Portia Palko said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:52AM

“"And whenever I’m sitting on the stoop and I see him trot by, I wonder: Why didn’t they just get a different dog?"

Do Philadelphia and your readers a service and get some education on dogs. You should have been at the CNKP Speaker Series event Monday night to learn a little, check out upcoming ones, or look for the video online.

I'll be happy to teach you about body language, play styles, and how to be a little less mouse-like when around any canine. Come, work with me for a day and see our killer cockapoos, insane Labs and loving sweet-natured so-called "pits."”

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9. Clear Headed said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:53AM

“Should Philadelphia consider banning all pit bulls? No. First one simple reason: it's illegal under Pennsylvania law.
Another reason: pit bull bans DO NOT WORK. Denver, CO, banned pit bulls twenty years ago. Incidents of dog bites did NOT decrease. The breed doing the biting just changed -- to the labrador retriever.
Another reason: Even so-called "dog experts" CANNOT identify a "pit bull" on sight -- because there is no "pit bull" breed. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American bulldogs, Presa Canarios, even BOXERS! are commonly labeled as "pit bulls."”

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10. Sally-Rouge said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:55AM

“Dear Mr. Lambert,
I wonder, as I read your article over and over again, if you truly know these dogs, or if you, like so many others, have only learned about them through the irresponsible reporting of the media. It seems to me that you could not possibly really know these dogs. Because surely if you did, you would have written about how pitbulls are frequently used as service dogs and therapy dogs. You would have written about how, on average, they score higher on temperment tests than family favorites, such as golden retrievers (83% vs 71%). You would have taken the time to research organizations such as For Pit's Sake - an all-rescue, all-pittie search and rescue team. Or the LAPD cocaine bust pulled off by a pitbull who had been rescued from a fighting operation. I believe the article said it was the largest bust they'd ever had.
These are good dogs that have been exploited and I would encourage you to truly get to know them before you put pen to paper in condemnation of the breed”

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11. Alex said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:41AM

“It's important to remember that training and exercise are important for all dogs, regardless of breed. Lack of either or both can make any dog aggressive.

Jacob, regarding your neighbors, and why they didn't get a different dog: have you ever visited an animal shelter in Philadelphia? A huge percentage of the dogs in there are pit bulls, or pit mixes. There are thousands of them living with families in Philadelphia, but you'll never read about them in the news because they'll never have a problem.

I ended up adopting one myself. It wasn't my intention to look for any particular breed, but mine is a sweet, gentle girl who needed a home. She recently passed a test certifying her as a therapy dog.”

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12. Ranger said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:18PM

“I have a rescued pitty that completed the canine good citizen test, which requires he interact with people and other dogs. He is now a certified therapy dog who visits adults with dementia and he works with disabled children. Why ban him when all he does is help people in need? The same can't be said for many humans.”

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13. Professor Katz said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:23PM

“I am blessed to have a rescued pitty in my life. He is in training to become a service do for my daughter who has fibromyalgia. Mojo is one of the sweetest, gentlest dogs I've ever shared my life with, and I've had many dogs over the years.
Please, punish the people, like Vick, not the breed.”

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14. Becca said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 01:52PM

“Over 90% of dog bites and attacks come from dogs that are not spayed or neutered. Spending the energy on low cost spay/neuter clinics or mandatory spay/neuter requirements for all breeds would do far more for "dangerous" dogs than any breed-specific legislation would.
Blame the owner, not the dog. Most pits are nothing but silly and sweet lapdogs.”

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15. Carol K said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:19PM

“I am not a pit bull owner, but I am familiar with the dogs, and they are no more dangerous than any other breed. Many years ago, pits were known as "America's Babysitter" breed because they are particularly loyal and obedient and form immensely strong bonds with their humans.

Any dog trained to fight and kill will do so eventually. A dog taught to be obedient and treated with love will give love and obedience in return. That's why any breed-specific ban is unneeded and bound to be ineffective.

Better to spend the effort on teaching responsbile pet ownership and getting the thugs who are the real problem off the street.”

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16. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:23PM

“http://www.bulladelphia.org/”

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17. Teddy said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:31PM

“Jacob, before you wonder "Why didn't they get another dog" why don't you go over to PAWS or watch the many Pit Mixes play in Orianna Hill Dog Park? You would find many loving and well behaved pit bulls/mixes--you would also find many dangerous dogs who don't have an ounce of pit in them. The problem here is not the dogs but rather the culture of neglect in many Philadelphia neighborhoods and homes. This is a time to educate not ban.”

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18. r.f. said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:33PM

“It's pretty funny that you guys used a picture of twinkie (full name twinkle toes), a dog that the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society adopted out in 2009. That dog is a sweetheart and is certainly not the poster child for dangerous animals.”

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19. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:46PM

“Articles like these breed the ignorance and lack of knowledge on which mass hysteria is based.
The number of "pitbull" attacks is only related to the number of "pitbulls" in Philadelphia. Instead of targeting the dogs that pour into Philadelphia's shelters in the thousands each year, the media should learn how to help Philadelphians recognize how much of a problem the overpopulation of homeless, neglected, and abused pitbull type dogs is in our city.
As a pitbull owner, rescuer, foster parent, and proud advocate, I find articles like these unfounded and downright sad.
Punish the Deed, NOT the breed - or the educated, responsible owners who love them.”

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20. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:48PM

“PW and Jacob Lambert should be ashamed of themselves! All they have done is contribute to the mass hysteria of fear mongering and discrimination. If we substituted pit bull for some racial or ethnic class, this would never have been printed but because he picks on a breed that he knows nothing about, he gets published? Both PW and Jacob Lambert should have attended the event sponsored by Drexel Law School and CItizens for a No Kill Philadelphia this past Monday where EXPERTS discussed these issues - not some idiot. Check out news coverage... http://cbs3.com/video/?id=98856@kyw.dayport.com”

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21. Carl said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 02:59PM

“I appreciate the author's trying to be balanced, after all we can't ignore what many people believe. Sadly many people are of the belief shared by the author. Mike Newell's article "Pit Bulls in Pain" a while back was great. Why not write something serious that people can learn from that will also do some good - like raise awareness and help stem the tide of back yard breeders and dog fighting.”

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22. Debbie said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:06PM

“In the Inquirer article regarding the death of Christine Staab, the reporter noted that this was the second fatal dog attack in Philadelphia since the 70s. That's right, the second in 30 years. And we don't even know if the first one was a pit bull attack; that wasn't mentioned. How many gun deaths have there been in Philadelphia in 30 years? If we want to discuss bans, perhaps we should move on to a real problem.”

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23. Walter said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:08PM

“Please, please, please read this Malcolm Gladwell article to see why banning pit bulls is terrible idea regardless of whether you like the breed or not: http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_02_06_a_pitbull.html
Let's not make Philly the next city to enact a law that at it's best ineffectual in accomplishing what it seeks out to do: save human lives. As Gladwell points out, there are much more intelligent ways to protect our citizens from dog attacks, and breed specific legislation is perhaps one of the worst approaches to the problem.”

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24. Jaclyn said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:24PM

“Its obvious that my three pitbulls are smarter than the media.
PUNISH THE DEED NOT THE BREED.”

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25. Walter said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:28PM

“I also recommend this article (which was a response to a Huffington Post article) and the links within which show thaat there are actually no statistics supporting breed based bans: http://animals.change.org/blog/view/huffington_post_perpetuates_pit_bull_myths
Jacob, please do full research before writing a piece that not only will hurt many good dogs and good owners, but also encourage laws that are ineffectual. As both this article and the one I posted above show, there are better things to legislate against than breed, things that will actually make us safer. And in a city like Philadelphia, with one of the worst dog fighting and dog abuse problems inthe nations (along with Baltimore, Oakland to name a few others) it's even more important that the people of this city who are kind and respectful to animals, like you or I, not dismiss an entire breed (and often neglected and hurt breed) just because of the way they look and the situations their born into.”

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26. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:30PM

“Irresponsible and lazy reporting. It would seem that Mr. Lambert is not only contributing to the media-driven hysteria but a victim of it himself - how ironic. Shame on him and PW.”

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27. Dillon said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:33PM

“I love my pit mix it's those little Rat dogs that are terrifying my dogs 80 lbs and thinks she's a lap dog she's 100 percent sweet if there is a ban I'll be looking for a new city..nutter sucks”

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28. Laura said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 03:50PM

“I do not own a Pitbull, I own Pugs-however I am a huge supporter of the breed and would not hesitate owning one. I think that your article Mr. Lambert is extremely biased, and based on a fear of a breed that you frankly, have no idea about. Yes, Pitbulls were bred for fighting, however that is not the role they play in society today. (except by disgusting people) They are loving, affectionate, teddy-bears. I know several people with them and I have never seen an ounce of aggression from any of them. Around children, they are patient, kind, and watch cautiously and protectively as they play. I've seen them play dress up, hide and seek, and cuddle lovingly with anyone who will have them. Mr. Lambert, as you should know, every journalist should be educated and observant on the subject they are writing about-you have shown me otherwise. Before you jump to the gun on banning Pitbulls, stop and remind yourself that ANY dog is capable to bite or be aggressive; should we ban all dogs then?”

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29. Alicia said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 04:10PM

“I can tell you why they did not get another breed. They chose a dog breed they like. Pit bulls are dogs, some humans are missing this fact. I happen to have 3 pit bull type dogs and a rottie. Why? Because my dogs give me and anyone else unconditional love.I have had people petting my dogs saying how great and pretty they are withdrawal their hand after asking what breed they are. I am one pittie owner sick of this reaction. A dog is what you raise them to be. PETA is the largest killer and yet self proclaimed saver of animals, remember PETA in the news dumping bodies of animals in dumpsters. Learn about dogs, who you donate money to, train your dogs, and please understand any breed can bite given the right circumstances. People need to start looking at the owners of dogs that bite and the entire story of why the bite took place. I have been attacked by 2 dog breeds in my life neither were pits, rottie,sheps,dobie or any other breed who the media has latched onto over the years.”

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30. Erin said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 04:29PM

“What I don't understand is how can the same news source provide such a well researched and insightful picture into the unfortunate lives of many Philadelphia pit bulls (http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/cover-story/Tails-of-the-City.html) and then come out with this unresearched, ignorant, and extremely breedist article. I completely support the majority of the above comments that its primarily unneutered dogs etc that are the primary aggressors and that it is not the breed it is the way in which they are treated that dictates how they will act. My main point is that as sad as it is, the majority of the pits that you see out walking and that are family dogs are the dog fighting "drop outs". People in this city breed these dogs for specific purposes and when they don't embody those negative traits, they are ditched on the street. so punish the people who commit these crimes not the result of them”

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31. Carrie said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 05:11PM

“"Yet I feel ill at ease around him. His defenders would say my trepidation is a product of bad PR and hysterical coverage." So you feed into the hype by writing a shoddy article without researching 1. Widely available breed personality tests or 2. The effectiveness of Breed Specific Legislation. (It doesn't work.)

And since when do people use PETA as a credible source for journalism? From PETA's website: "we believe that it would have been in the animals' best interests if the institution of "pet keeping"...never existed." Of course they support the ban. Duh.”

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32. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 05:38PM

“"And whenever I’m sitting on the stoop and I see him trot by, I wonder: Why didn’t they just get a different dog?"

You're a jerk.

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33. Anonymous said... on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:39PM

“I'm sorry that there are so few comments in support of your article.
People are certainly entitled to choose the kind of pet that makes them happy but they shouldn't bring them to dog runs and subject other people's pets to the aggressiveness of their animal.
I used to enjoy taking my dog to the dog run but will no longer do so because he was attacked by a pit bull. A couple of years ago, a little dog was killed by a pit bull while entering the small dog area at Schuylkill Park.
Pit Bull Rescue Central states that "the majority of pit bulls will, at some point in their lives, exhibit some degree of dog-on-dog aggression...we can't love, train or socialize it out of the dog."
People should be aware of this tendency, and respect the safety of all our dogs. Keep pit bulls -- and all aggressive dogs -- out of dog runs!”

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34. K. Boston said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 03:17AM

“Why don't we ban shovels, baseball bats, hammers, rope, or duct tape they are often used to injure or kill someone. After all, it's the bad objects fault right? What should we ban next? What rights would you like to lose? Since all the data has shown no reduction in dog bites by banning Pit Bulls, only thousands of Pit Bulls killed, what is the exact reasoning for wanting a ban? Did you know Pit Bulls test low on the scale for aggression? Did you know the dog most likely to send you to the hospital is a poodle? Did you know a child is 800 more times likely to be killed by a parent or caregiver than a Pit Bull? Perhaps, there are better things to do with your money and time. How about education, spay/neuter/shot clinics.”

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35. deekay said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 02:10PM

“First, @CJ idiocy and stupidest are not words. Now to the op, there were three dog attacks last weekend, NONE of them were carried out by cockapoos. How is the media responsible for the breed of dog doing the attacking? They are reporting news, dog /victim/ results/ outcome. They named the breed, named the victim by age and gender, gave a location and the injury. That is not biased reporting. Just facts”

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36. trudy said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 03:04PM

“Pit bulls were originally bred to and for their ability to lock jaws and hang on when engaged in battle or attack. They almost have to be dead to give up. This makes them dangerous when unsupervised and off leash.
Any comments about exploitation of the trait for profit?”

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37. perspective said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 03:32PM

“Let's not forget that more people die from lighting strikes than pit bull attacks. I am not trying to minimize recent attacks, but really, this needs to be put into perspective.

Jacob, you said: "In vigorously defending their right to own pit bulls, those well-meaning owners—not to mention the ASPCA—unwittingly defend the rights of abusers as well." I'm a pit bull advocate and I also advocate for mandatory spay/neuter laws, anti-tethering laws, stricter regulation of breeding/kennel licenses, and other measures that will help prevent these dogs from ending up in the wrong hands. As someone who was mauled by a labrador retriever, requiring plastic surgery on my face, I know first-hand that any breed can be vicious. I also acknowledge that pit bulls are powerful dogs and I would love to see fewer of them getting into the wrong hands.

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38. Andrew said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 04:46PM

“From CDC's page on dog bites I quote directly: "A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."”

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39. Arlean Hale said... on Mar 11, 2010 at 08:03PM

“I think the best solution to this problem would be to require that all dogs be muzzled whenever they are out in the public. Just this week I was taking a walk near my home and a dog came out after me barking at my heels for about a 100 yards. Had I demonstrated fear openly, (which I actually was feeling) I feel certain I could have been attacked. The dog's owner called after his dog, but when the dog totally ignored the call, the owner went on about his business. As long as individual dog owners behave in such an irresponsible way, the general public will be fearful of any and all dogs regardless of their breed and rightfully so. MUZZLE THEM ALL! They all are potentially dangerous.”

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40. RGrey said... on Mar 12, 2010 at 07:31AM

“Just some quick facts because there were a few misrepresentations above:

There is no such thing as a pit bull breed-- pit bull type dogs can be a variety of different dogs, like the american pit bull terrier, bull terrier, am staff, etc. all with different physical characteristics-- but what they share in physical traits is identified and labeled as "pit bull." hence, the widely different variations as well as misidentification.

No dog can "lock" his/her jaw. That's crazy. Bully breeds tend to be big strong dogs, yes, so of course they do more harm than a cockapoo, but they aren't monsterous. There are so many myths like this out there. Please check before you continue to spread them.

Muzzling is a good solution for some dogs. The problem with an all out muzzle ordinance is it prohibits normal social interaction between dogs. Dogs communicate with their mouths through both facial expression and touch. Muzzling leads to more frustrated and potential dog aggressive dogs.”

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41. Anonymous said... on Mar 12, 2010 at 06:17PM

“Google "pitattacksbystate" and see how these dogs are killing and mauling in record numbers. The CDC never said that pits aren't dangerous but since they are supposed to be "scientific" they could not pass judgement because their information is media based. And to say there is no such thing as a pit bull, how uninformed. This is propaganda, again google "pit bull" and see all the rescues, breeders, and dogfighting hits come up. If there is no such thing then why is "pit bull" all over the internet. Since the beginning of 2010, pits have killed at the rate of one person every 9 days. In the last 4 years, they are averaging killing a person every 22 days. Be informed or your child could be the next one making news headlines.”

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42. Gary said... on Mar 12, 2010 at 10:12PM

“Anonymous: A Coward to post one's real name, Do you really believe what you just wrote or do you like to just find bs articles like this obviously biased reporter to quote?

Perhaps if the article had left the closing line out and never quoted PETA as an animal expert, a group no one in animal welfare respects it would be called an attempt at journalism.

Pits serve in customs, police forces, search and rescue missions, as certified therapy dogs, guide dogs even Helen Keller chose pits to guide her, agility training,and loving family pets. APBT lived in the White House.

If man had the courage,intelligence, forgiveness and heart of a "pit bull" breed the world would be a much better place to live in. Please educate yourself go to these sites The Real Pit Bull, Diane Jessup, The Animal Farm, Bad Rap, Best Friends all leaders in this breed who need protection from mankind. I am ashamed of the human race after reading some of this trash.Please name your breed of dog for me?”

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43. Alicia said... on Mar 12, 2010 at 10:23PM

“http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html

Find the pittie? First try? Please learn about an awesome breed of dog you are attacking. Truly learn as Gary has written. I'll take my 3 three pits and rot any day over stupid people.”

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44. RGrey said... on Mar 13, 2010 at 12:09PM

“"If there is no such thing then why is "pit bull" all over the internet. Since the beginning of 2010, pits have killed at the rate of one person every 9 days. In the last 4 years, they are averaging killing a person every 22 days. Be informed or your child could be the next one making news headlines.”

Gotta love internet research. Google "the moon landing was staged!" and you'll also find a lot of really good facts.”

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45. Walter said... on Mar 13, 2010 at 04:04PM

“Also just to jump on the critiquing of "Anonymous"'s argument, I love that he shoots down the CDC's rejection of BSL and breed-based bite reports by saying they have to be scientific as though that were a bad thing. God forbid they decide to take a more careful, accurate approach when it comes to making assessments that involve both human and dog lives. I really wish more research organizations would make their decisions based solely off of media hype, just like you "Anonymous," because that truly is the best way. I agree with RGrey, you gotta love this fine, fine google research.”

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46. K K in port richmond said... on Mar 13, 2010 at 07:07PM

“BAN PIT BULLS? idotitic bullshit. jail the dog fighters - for not less than 5 years, if these dogs are fighters, they are a dangerous weapon, the fighter's should be jailed accordingly & the animals if possible - rehabilitated, humanely. BAN THE FIGHTERS from the streets & civilized society, put those ruthless bastards in jail. Or bring them to me for a lil Resevoir Dogs style punishment....I'll show those pieces of shit some pain.”

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47. J.A.B. said... on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:14AM

“I was out in the suburbs visiting my parents last weekend. I took my 8 month old pit with me. while there I took her on a walk to the local grocery store. Her and I sat outside while my brother ran in. This lady coming up to get a cart starts going OMG is that a pitbulll!? OMG! So she gets her car and keeps making a racket. My dog is afraid of carts and cowers under the bench and barks. This bitch starts telling my dog that thats why she hates her breed and all this crap.
Does that make any sense?
Now when I was purchasing a dog I didn't take into account the breed. I knew about all the news hysteria and all that stuff but I just wanted a dog. So when I found some pit bull puppies for sale pretty cheap I had to get one. The pictures of the pup were adorable. I also knew they grew up to be a good medium sized dog. I've had her since she was 5 weeks old.
So I guess what I am trying to say is I can not imagine my dog ever hurting anyone unless they were hurting her”

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48. ahomeforcutie said... on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:25AM

“How well I understand Mr. Jacob Lambert's queasy feeling about pitbulls. Why? Because I was just like him in 2004. My son brought home a pitbull puppy, 4 weeks old, separated from its Mom by a backyard breeder, way, way too soon. And what did I do? I told him that he could not live in my house with one of 'those' dogs....'Those' dogs....in the 70s and 80s, one of 'those' dogs could have been a Rotti, or a German Shepherd, or a Doberman Pinscher. So I tossed him out, with his puppy...and of course, back he came several days later, with the puppy in tow.

I fell in love with that puppy and then I decided that if I was going to have such a strong opinion, I should back it up with something. So I started to read; I read everything, pro and con I could get my hands on. I then fostered a over-sized AmStaff-Pit-Mastiff mix, I went out to California to visit the Saturday morning Pit-Ed classes that BadRap does. BadRap is probably the most famous pitbull rescue in the country, having rescued more than a few of the Vick dogs, appeared on Rachael Ray and involved nationwide in advocacy and education for the dogs.

I learned something. I learned that speaking about 'those' dogs was sort of the same thing as saying I didn't want one of 'those' people in my neighborhood. I wasn't proud of my prejudice. Now I devote my life to the rescue of 'those' dogs.

The problem is this: there are too many pitbulls out there. Why? It's a cash crop for many and as Mr. Lambert aptly points out, it's a betting game as well. Let's try something different in Philadelphia. Let's offer a reward to people who will report people breeding without a license. We don't have to be breed-specific. There must be an unenforced law on the city's books You breed, you get busted, your dogs are seized and you are fined heavily. Sound like a very strong measure, right? Yup, it is....but until we can decrease the population of this cash crop (and not by killing them in fighting pits or a shelter), this will not stop. Bring BSL here and the good people, the responsible pitbull owners will suffer; the thugs will continue in their basements, garages and warehouses.

So bust the breeders and we can all go back to where we were, before the infamous Sports Illustrated Cover in the 80s, that started the 'fashion' of dog-fighting. Yes, dog-fighting existed then as it has for hundreds of years and I don't condone it. But what is happening now is way, way beyond anything happening in mid-century America.

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49. Krunch said... on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:57AM

“Mr. Lambert,
You need to educate yourself about the failure of breed-specific legislation elswhere in this country. Banning certain breeds only makes them more valuable to the people most likely to abuse them.
By a wide margin, the most dog bites in this country are commited by the labrador retriever. Why? They are the most widely owned. A dog is a dog is a dog you fool. Ban irresponsible owners not dogs.”

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50. perspective said... on Mar 17, 2010 at 06:10PM

“Oh JAB, please don't buy another pit bull puppy. There are SO MANY in shelters, and they all come from the same place: backyard breeders who are ill-informed and only care about making money. I live in a rough neighborhood in Philly, and people ask me all the time "where'd you buy that pit?" I tell them I adopted him from the shelter. They're always shocked that such a "good looking" pit bull came from a shelter. Well, someone bred his mom and dad to get him there in the first place!”

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51. Anonymous said... on Mar 19, 2010 at 09:06AM

“If you think that all pits should be eliminated as you so indirectly put in your article that's mass GENOCIDE of the entire breed. They are dogs but they are a species of living beings just as killing homo Sapiens would be wrong just because you have the power to kill does not mean you should get a life get over yourself and yes I own a Pittbull she is aggressive and spoiled but she and my rottweiler are as playful as can be. Have a nice day you jerk!!!!!!
Man up, if you don't like them then don't get one!!!!!!!!!!”

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52. Felicity said... on Jun 2, 2010 at 06:55PM

“Banning pit bull does NOT prevent dogfighting or any form of animal abuse! the uk banned pit bulls 18 years ago and dogfighting has increased by x15!

i think you need to stop lissening to PETA before they brainwash you any further! PETA is trying to emilimate pet ownership altogether, pit bulls are just the starting point, their not doing coz they think it will 'save' the dogs. they also kill 97% of the animals they claim to 'save'!

the people defending pit bulls are RIGHT! we need stronger enforcement on anti-abuse laws, roaming laws and on irressponsible owners.”

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53. julia for animals said... on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:58AM

“What harm can be caused by TRYING a pit bull ban? Dog fighting/abuse is out of control in this city with over 25,000 Pit's being put down a year. That's over 2000 dogs a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's criminal.

Why not TRY to end the mindless suffering of these poor animals. If it doesn't bring down the numbers that end up being euthanized in shelters, then it can be repealed - but something needs to be done.
I say this as the owner of a wonderful, rescued, affectionate, black and white pit bull named Lucy - she is the apple of my eye and my 3 year old son's best friend.”

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54. Gary said... on Dec 31, 2011 at 11:24AM

“I as a dog owner support the ban on Pit bull breeds, this comes from "dog bite.org"Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada,
September 1982 to June 25, 2010
By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2010, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.
The combination of pit bulls, rottweilers, presa canarios, and their mixes:
80% of attacks that induce bodily harm
70% of attacks to children
83% of attack to adults
69% of attacks that result in fatalities
75% that result in maiming. we have a lot of pits in the northeast that run wild. had a friend that had his nore bitten off by a so called sweetheart of a pit. he was just sitting in a chair next to us, dog just charged after him, no reason”

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55. Anonymous said... on Jun 20, 2012 at 09:43AM

“I hate Pit bulls. You might as well have a lion. I too have met very sweet pit bulls, but I do not care what any one says, you never how they are gonna react in situations. Additionally, these dogs are capable of killing someone and that's the bottom line. Why would you want a dog like that anyway? But I have to say I admit that action needs to be taken on the owners. If someone's pit bull kills someone, then they should go to Jail for Manslaughter. You make that public, problem solved. If someones pit bull bites someone, or is off a leash, or aggressive in any way, regulate it. Put them in Jail for thirty days. If these people want to stand by these dogs so much, then maybe they should start taking some responsibility for this particular breeds actions.”

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56. Anonymous said... on Jul 17, 2012 at 03:22PM

“I can tell from a lot of these responses, there is a strong bias. And the author is being penalized for having an opinion by pit owners. The reason there are so many(pits) is that people here in philadelphia view pits are the underdog. There fore despite all the warnings , the overflowing shelters people still advocate for them.I am all about second chances and adopting from the shelters, i just visited one recently. Where I was not shocked to find out that 89% of the dogs were pitbulls. out of which 98% where kept in the side kennels and were marked as aggressive, i couldn't even walk past those cages with out the aggressive barks. Philadelphia is overflowing with pitbulls.People get them for the wrong reasons.Even on craigslist people are trying to get rid of them. When owners realize they can not handle or mange them any more they end up in shelter.And are often not adoptable.despite the best efforts and hard work, the shelters and volunteers put in.”

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57. Anonymous said... on Jul 17, 2012 at 03:49PM

“By banning pit bulls in philadelphia, it will help cut down the amount of pitts being abandoned on a daily bais, also will help put a dent in the illegal pit fighting that happens here, and attacks. My friends bought a house in a bad area, and people kept dropping off pitts on their front door stop. They themselves had two pits one raised from a pup and one adopted. I used to walk them when my friends weren't home. sweet dogs, however, a few years later the one they had as pup, out of the blue lunged at a child in the park baring his teeth. lucky we had him under control, i got nipped in the process. Their other dog after having her for 5 years out of nowhere attacked their 6 year old.
I am in favor of the pit ban.In addition i would like to add that maybe there should be a push to prohibit certain people from owning dogs. And there should be striker guidelines and background checks when it comes to people owning these dogs, in bad areas, where dog fighting is common.”

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58. Anonymous said... on Nov 28, 2013 at 10:17PM

“In the past 30 years I've seen a few vicious dogs - a German Shepherd, a Lab, a Yorkie. All three were bad dogs, the sort who behave with outsized aggression without provocation. The first two attacked my dog, the third attacked me. All attacks were scary, all made contact and all were damaging either physically or mentally to me or my dog. So I realize aggression in dogs isn't limited to pit bulls. But there is a real and immense difference between those 3 rotten dogs and the pit bull that attacked my current dog a few years ago. It came out of nowhere, ran right into my dog, buried its face in her throat so all you could see was its enormous head, and ground down, thrashing my 60lb collie mix around like she was a chew toy. It wanted to kill her and it very nearly did. And it was wagging its tail the whole time. Pit bulls need to be regulated as the weapons they are rather than as the pets they routinely kill.”

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