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Speak Out: Are Pit Bulls a Problem?

Let us know what you think.

A Maryland Court of Appeals ruling in May .

Since then, advocacy groups like the U.S. Humane Society and B-more Dog have been trying to change what they call breed discrimination.

One young Takoma Park pit bull lover expressed her affection for the breed in a handwritten letter.

"Please don't discriminate against my pit bull," 8-year-old Caden wrote on June 19. A photo of the letter was tweeted out by B-more Dog.

So we want to know what you think of pit bulls. What experiences have you had with the breed?

Rocky June 20, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I would be curious about what % of all dog attacks are carried out by Pit Bulls . I would suspect it is very high.
Jodi Doll June 21, 2012 at 05:09 AM
BSL simply does not work. It targets responsible owners, family pets. There is nothing about it that makes sense. Please, do research about the breeds. Visit, or volunteer, at a shelter/rescue and get to know a pit bull. They're goofballs, lovers, and incredible dogs. Don't rely on fear, myths, and the media to create your opinion. - Pit Bull owner and activist
Rjo June 21, 2012 at 06:35 AM
It's the OWNER! (not the pit bull!) (that IS the problem!) My son has several pit bulls! and they are the most loving! adorable animals I've ever known! One, during time my son was away, for an extended period of time, crawled into my lap, each night, at TV time! PLEASE! Stop! Discriminating pit-bulls! They can be the most loving, adorable dogs imaginable! (just like all other dog breeds!) It's HOW THEY ARE TRAINED ! (by irresponsible dog owners!) that IS the problem!
Kimberly Ann Grant June 21, 2012 at 11:38 AM
I suggest you do more research. I bet you also believe "pits" have locking jaws, huh?
Chef David Edelstein M June 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM
you would be correct, but not anymore correct than me saying that Toyota (or Honda or Chevrolet or what ever make you wanted to insert) cars make up the greater percentage of automobile related accidents due to the fact that they are the most popular car on the road these days. It all boils down to census and location. What a newspaper article or broadcast news story NEVER tells the community is "WHERE" the incident occured EXACTLY. If "PIT BULL ATTACK" was always accompanied by the FACT that the incident occured in the ghetto or barrio or up some white trash country bumpkin dirt road... our society would start to see the trend as they would have a good idea of what sort of people live in those area/ what type of dog ownership practices these type of people engage in. I follow most "PIT BULL ATTACK" stories quite closely. I do not recall hearing any of them coming our of Beverly Hills or Manhattan, NY. Why does the media not cover this part of the story? 1) they fear a racial lawsuit and 2) news papers can not afford to lose ANY readers these days seeing how their asses are being handed to them by the internet.
Kara June 21, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I agree that most of the problems with Pit Bulls are a result of abuse by owners. Sadly, many of the people that get these dogs are aggressive and they want a dog that fits their psychological profile. This is unfortunate, but we cannot monitor who gets these dogs anymore than we can monitor who has children. The legislation should be aimed at making people more accountable if something happens because of their abuse. They should not be putting down the dogs, but locking up their owners.
Chef David Edelstein M June 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM
"Snaps" ... hmm, Ive heard of this alleged "Snap" before but have never witnessed it, which is rather strange seeing that Ive worked with the Pit Bull breeds for over two decades and currently sleep/live/work/eat/exercise/watch tv/work on the computer/ etc with 4 of them. Could this alleged "Snap" be just an irresponsible owners excuse as to why the dog acted negatively in a situation and a cover-up of their own lack of socializing the dog? lack of exercising the dog? lack of providing the dog with a healthy diet and clean water? lack of spay/ neutering the dog? excluding the dog from being part of the family? over-breeding the dog and kicking her to the curb when she is no longer able to produce a healthy liter for his own profit? I suggest multiple years of hands-on experience with some before making such uneducated guestimations on something you know not.
Chef David Edelstein M June 21, 2012 at 02:40 PM
another fun fact: Check out the American Temperament Test Society. Oddly, the Pit Bull breeds (ie Amer Pit Bull Terrier, Am Staff, and Staffordshire) ALL test higher than 86% of all other known domestic breeds of dogs in the United States. Dont take my word for it... READ for yourself- http://atts.org/ Also Mr.Marshall, please provide written testimony of at least 5 credible sources of your information. I'll make it simple... get 5 signed affidavits from 5 animal control officers, or 5 Humane Society Employees, or even 5 dog rescue volunteers backing your "theories". Come on, I dare ya.
Felice June 21, 2012 at 02:57 PM
100 people have been SHOT and KILLED in Baltimore as of today and NOT bitten by a Pit Bull! A 15 year old teen was shot in the head in Ellicot City and is fighting for his life! Who's inherently dangerous?! This is ridiculous! The state needs to focus on the real inherenlty dangerous issue, HUMANS! I am a proud mom of a wonderful Pit Bull and I'm NOT a gangsta or in any gang.
jag June 21, 2012 at 03:41 PM
LOL. Way to massacre a field of straw men, Felice. That was hilarious. Gun violence is worse than dog bites, got it. Thanks for that clarification.
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Bill, I have to disagree. I own a chihuahua, a black lab and a pitbull. My chihuahua started 5 fights with my pitbull for no reason..my pit ignored him, on the 6 th time my pitbull reacted and went to fight back, one word from me and he stopped and rolled over submissively on his belly, my chihuahua took 3 ppl, me, my husband and my son to grab him and get him to stop. My chihuahua is a work in progress, my pit is fine. Dogs aim to please and its all in how you raise them, The ones that are raised to be mean or fight is becaus ethe owners are so abusive to them physically and mentally until they are forced to try and defend themselves and then they are rewarded. this is repeated over and over, the dog wants approval and postive attention from his owner and soon realizes this is how he gets it. Its horrible and the dog is not to blame.
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Excellent analogy!
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 04:09 PM
The problem here is the owner. Why is he breeding so many dogs when the shelter is full of them? If he was responsible his dog would be neutered and keep in mind, that dog may just be barking out of frustration and being unexercised but it doesnt mean his is automatically a killer. Maybe your apartment can have a restriction such as all dogs must be neutered, eliminating a breeding problem.
jag June 21, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Can someone clarify for me what people are complaining about...I hear over and over that it's the crappy owners, not an issue with the dog's breed. The entire point of the ruling is that legal action can more easily be taken against the owners when their aggressive pit kills/injures/destroys. So if someone raises a pit monster then the owner will be held liable for that. How could someone take issue with that?? Everyone on here seems to agree with the spirit of the ruling, but is still complaining. Is it that you wish the ruling applied equally to all dogs and not just pits?
Chef David Edelstein M June 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
"ruling applied equally to all dogs and not just pits". BINGO!!!!
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Sadly Jag, BSL (breed specific legislation) goes after the entire breed of dog putting restrictions on ownership in certain cities & targeting innocent dogs and responsible owners forcing their dogs to be kiilled as in the case of Lennox right now, www.savelennox.co.uk . A dog with no bite history or complaint ever lodged against him is on death row, ripped out of his familys house over 2 years ago and is being kept in horrible conditions, mistreated in a concrete cell, no toys, no exercise, no love or human attention& to a pack animal it is psychological torture, this dog is confused, scared & wondering where his family is and why they arent taking him home away from this hell. He has sores on him from laying in his own waste & is losing his fur from the stress he is under. The owners were responsible in every way, he was neutered, microchipped, licensed, muzzled in public (that is their law) and yet he was taken away because of his look and measurements not because of any negative behavior. It is an unfair law that targets good dogs and responsible owners. The irresponsible dog owners that abuse dogs and try to use them to inflict harm will still be out there and wont care if their dog is put down, theyll get another, these abusers rarely get sentenced when they go to court, they get a slap on the wrist and do it again. We do need stricter laws against them not the good ones. Check out Lennoxs website there is lots of information and maybe you can help save his life too.
Shannon June 21, 2012 at 05:30 PM
As in this ruling (Tracey v Solesky) they found that any type of pit bull or cross bred pit bull is "inherently dangerous". There has to be minimum proof the first time the dog bites before it is put down. Every other breed in Maryland (Black labs, Doberman...) get 2 chances. Remember, they group several different breeds of dogs under this "pit bull" type dog. There is no actual scientific research actually proving what that is other than looks. On an even more dire note- the LANDLORD OR PROPERTY OWNER is also held responsible for the tenants dog, thus making innocent and good pit bull owners have to choose between keeping their dog, finding a new place to live (in hopes they can find a landlord who will), or move out of the state all together. This is the main reason we need immediate action. We personally know of folks going through this currently. The shelters are getting over populated with GOOD AND WELL BEHAVED "pit bull" type dogs because of this ruling. Keep in mind- people like myself who obey the law will continue to obey the law, people who do not will continue to not obey the law! So what is really changing? All this has done is hurt the good people trying to do the right thing! *please also note- they consider any mutt who LOOKS like what they believe to be a pit bull considered a cross-bred pit bull...
Shannon June 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
So to answer the question posted "What experiences have you had with the breed?", I will say I have had one of the most pleasant and overwhelmingly best experience of a life time. Diamond (whom is believed to be a pit bull because of her box head and muscles) has been with us for 11 years. Diamond has touched the hearts of so many individuals who never knew a pit bull other than what the media portrays them as. She is the most behaved, and lovable dog ever imaginable, and no dog can top her. Believe it or not, she was BORN THIS WAY! She was born with a smile, big ears, and a long tongue. A tongue she licks your face off anytime she gets a chance! She steals your seat, and wags her tail in approval. You see, she is just a dog! A dog who loves her owners, and the kids in the neighborhood. She has also enjoyed meeting her new pit bull friends as of the recent ruling! I dare all those that have never met a pit bull type dog to join a group of pit bull lovers, or to even come on down to a pit bull on parades event and meet them! I guarantee what the media portrays them as is no where near the truth! Blame the deed not the breed!
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Shannon, well made point! I too own a big baby that wants his belly rubbed and wants you to "do pretty" when brushing his head, his eyes close and he just loves it. The media likes to make these dog out to be savage killers waiting for the moment to eat the neighborhood children, If anyone was to actually spend some time with them and get to know one their opinions would change. I challenge anyone that has never been up close and personal to make an effort just once to meet one and i bet their opinion will change!
Mary Malinowski Neidich June 21, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Jag - Yes, the issue that most have with this ruling is that it singles out a specific type of dog (it's not even a "breed" - it's just the way some unspecified authority figure identifies a dog subjectively based on physical appearance). There is no scientific evidence nor any concrete data/statistics to support the assumption that a dog who looks a certain way is more "inherently dangerous" than another. All there is to support this is a lot of media hype and sensationalism. In my neighborhood, the dog who snarls, growls & snaps at everyone is a yellow lab. Should that owner be less accountable just because the dog doesn't "look" like a mean dog should? I would also oppose this ruling even if it didn't specify a breed, because it still places an undue burden of responsibility on the landlord. If the ruling were re-worded to include ALL dogs, the problem would be even larger than it is now; No landlord in their right mind would allow a renter own ANY type of dog while leasing their property. I understand the motivation behind this ruling; the Solesky child was horribly injured, and their were tremendous medical bills incurred. The owner was not just irresponsible, he was also without a penny to his name, or any suitable insurance policy. Holding the landlord accountable was the only way the only means by which this family would get any type of financial recompense. I get it - but I don't think that a fair or just burden to place on the landlord
Mary Malinowski Neidich June 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Oh - and as to my own opinion on "pit bull type" dogs: I love them, and have had nothing but positive experiences with all that I have ever encountered. One of my dogs is classified as a pit mix. We adopted him from BHS at the age of 4, and he had come to them from another shelter. We hose him not because of his looks, but rather because of the impression he made on us when we went to the shelter looking to adopt a dog. Despite his history of mistreatment and neglect, he was the most eager-to-please, affectionate and laid-back dog we met there. He immediately got along with our other dog (a ridgeback mix) and 14 y/o cat, and has never shown an ounce of unprovoked aggression towards another living creature. He is now ten, and is the long-suffering playmate of my 3 y/o daughter. He has tolerated having his nails painted pink, will wear fairy wings and princess crowns, and is especially talented at chasing the monsters out of her closet or from underneath her bed. In fact, he has been her constant loving companion since birth; her first word at 8 months was not, to my dismay, "mommy", but "puppy"! Despite his advanced years, graying face and arthritic joints, he is most happy when surrounded by little people loving on him and playing with him. I am so fortunate to own my home; not only would it break my heart if I had to rehome him, it would absolutely devastate my daughter.
Temperance Blalock June 21, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I'll share my own anecdotal pit bull opinion, which must be short because of the space limitation for posting comments. I had a Border Collie who got pregnant by a pit bull, and I kept one of the pups, who was definitely not raised by me to be aggressive in any way. However, by the time she was ten weeks old she was already dominating her mother, and by the time she was six months old she had turned on me several times when I disciplined her verbally and she challenged me. Her sire was a pit bull who was owned by a man that fought cocks (which was legal at the time) as well as his dogs (which was not legal). It became apparent that she had inherited her demeanor from a line of dogs that was deliberately raised to be aggressive, and that she was potentially a danger to myself and to others. The fact that she also had the genetic inclination to herd anything in multiples, whether it was chickens or children or other dogs, didn't help. Bottom line, I believe that the breed is more dangerous than others because most people don't know the bloodline of their dogs, and the potential for having an aggressive ancestor is very high with pit bulls. My own dog was a sweetie 99% if the time, but I was extremely concerned 1% of the time.
Karlyn Veltri June 21, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I dont agree, dont get me wrong, I do not claim to know your situation with your own dogs. But i believe in most situations nurture wins over nature. For example... I dont believe that the offspring of a human person that has committed violent crimes will automatically grow up to be the same type of person, especially if you take them out of that environment and raise them differently. Cesar Millan has proved this many times over, he has taken seemingly aggressive dogs out of their homes and away from their owners to his psychology center and ends up with a different dog. Most times the dogs are lacking something and if you fulfill the needs of the animal they act differently .
Kelly Quickle June 21, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Actually, Lisa, I have seen very graphic photos of a dachshund attack on a child. It was truly horrible.
Amanda Fitzgerald June 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I would like you to note that in the 33 cases of Dog related fatalities the study shows 21 dogs to be of unknown origin or indeterminable. 2 verified Pit Bulls 3 verified Rottweilers 2 verified German Shepards 1 verified Husky 1 verified American Bulldog 1 verified Wolf Mix 1 verified Boxer The study also makes note that several of the cases were reported to be "pit bulls" by the media, but there was no evidence to support those claims, and photos of the dogs were found to be an unknown mixed breed as well. Most of the unknowns were also strays, feral or junkyard pack dogs that were never located after the incidents. So if you'd like to claim that all of the unknown breeds were "pit bulls" help yourself. But under review by scientific, medical, and veterinary professionals that would be a very incorrect statement.
Kelly Quickle June 21, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Robin, Chef David is spot on - this neighbor is not a responsible owner. Responsible "pit bull" owners are typically more responsible than those who own other breeds. We want our dogs to dispel all the myths and be good ambassadors of their breed. We are dedicated to good ownership practices, such as spay/neuter, training, licensing, etc. We are usually more discerning about their food than our own, steadfast in ensuring appropriate medical care (mine all have wellness plans), and can be extremely over protective in their care. And I do I feel safe around a great number of pit bulls, not just my own. I've responded to disaster areas and helped care for dogs I'd never seen before, mostly pit bulls. As people should be, I am respectful and cautious when meeting a new dog (any dog), and I pay attention to their body language before approaching. You don't just run up to a total stranger and throw your arms around them, do you? ;) Good luck with your neighbor - it sounds like he's living off the money he gets from over-breeding his dogs and selling them to just anyone for a buck. Most of these young dogs you indicate are nice - will likely wind up dead in a dog fight. Report him.
sarah June 28, 2012 at 09:02 AM
do the deed, ban the breed! pit bulls killed 22 out of 31 people killed in dog attacks in the usa last year! rottweilers were next on 4 deaths!
Breanna Jackson August 11, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I was like everyone here who knew someone who had a Pitbull and heard all the stories of what a great dog they are for children. Our neighbor behind us owns 3 and when we moved in we put up an 8 foot wooden fence because they would come out every time my young kids went out to play and all he had was a 5 foot chain link fence. 2 months ago I let my chihuahua/Pomeranian out who weighs 7lbs like I do every morning. I heard him yelping do I ran out back and here is my neighbors pitbull who has broken through our fence with his jaws chomped on my dogs throat. I grabbed a stick and beat this pitbull at least 20 times before I stunned him in the eye and he dropped him. Thank god my dog had the sense to run into the house. The dog turns on me and I am swinging until I can close the door. I call the police and they come with animal control. I rush my dog to the vet with 3 puncture wounds on his neck and several scratches. Thank god!!!! So the owner comes over and tells me what a loving dog his dog is and he loves children but he is dog aggressive. He reluctantly agrees to pay for the vet bill. So today he comes over and asks me if I signed an avidavit and I said yes. He tells me he has put up a new fence and the dog is now living out of state with his girlfriend. I now feel a little safe about letting my dog and kids in the back yard.
alan cohen August 22, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I think when you speak of 'surrender', you are not talking about a fight.....They surrender when they are playing.....You talk but ..................................
alan cohen August 22, 2012 at 08:07 PM
how many dogs have you had and raised?

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