Kitten-chasing pit bulls chew up minivan

 Cnwk.1D I Tim 2012 08 22 120820-Van Gnawed By Pit Bulls-Ap370809089132 620X350

The damage above is reportedly the work of four pit bull terriers were were trying to reach a stray kitten camped out in the engine compartment of a Dodge minivan belonging to the dogs' owner. From CBS News:

 Cnwk.1D I Tim 2012 08 22 120821-Fender Lynx 244X183 The Desert Sun of Palm Springs reports an animal control officer freed the kitten following a 40-minute process that involved removing the bumper.

The kitten is OK and available for adoption at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.

"Pit bulls maul Calif. minivan chasing kitten"


    1. Some suspect this cow panic can be traced to something called “Cow Week” in the media.  I can’t remember who was doing those stories, though.

  1. Glad the kitty is okay. I just hope this doesn’t feed any anti-pit-bull fervor. Remember, the problem is stray and/or poorly raised animals, not specific breeds – lots of breeds of dog could’ve done that damage, as scary as it looks.

      1. Possible because the sort of people that plan to raise animals poorly frackin’ love pit bulls.

      2. Pit bulls are the lone gunmen of the pet world.  Every attack is unexpected, nobody could have predicted it, and has nothing to do with any other attacks, real or hypothetical.  Also the owner’s fault.  Plus, she had it coming.

    1. A 2009 report issued by shows that 19 dog breeds contributed to 88 deaths in a recent 3-year period. Pit bulls accounted for 59% followed by rottweilers with 14%.

      1. Yes, but that’s probably heavily influenced owners.   

        If you want to act tough and all macho or want an attack dog, you don’t get a dachshund or a poodle. 

        1. pit bulls don’t kill people, people who acquire pit bulls kill people.   if you outlaw pit bulls only outlaws will have pit bulls.  etc. uzw…

          but one clear legal problem that i’ve heard (endlessly tediously) discussed at city council meetings is:  how do you define a pit-bull?  (“lab results reveal that the defendant’s unlicensed canine was 63.7% possessed of pit-bull DNA markers”  …nah). you can easily legislate “you can’t own a bear (in the city limits)” whereas “you can’t own this specific possibly mixed breed of dog which some say looks like mostly….” gets rapidly problematic.

          1. Sure you can. Stipulated what organization is responsible for making the determination for the purposes of enforcing the law.

          2. Autonomous terminator robots armed with nerve gas and other weapons of mass destruction, powered by advanced AI, and with network options to link legions of them together into coordinated fighting units – and all available from your neighborhood gun store (or Amazon) at refreshingly low prices – don’t kill people.

            People do.

        2. You can’t prove (with the data you have) that the owners are responsible for it but you can show that the breed was a common thread.  Taking the average owner into account who rarely spends much time training their dog a pit pull is too much of a risk.

          1. Didn’t Britain ban them? I wonder how the fatality stats compare, now vs. beforehand (per capita).

          1. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are definitely a dangerous breed of dog so far as capabilities for dealing damage and causing death. (Although, poodles have killed people, I think it’s been limited to children. Daschunds are significantly less kill-capable than poodles, obviously.)

            I’m not even opposed to regulating them.

            I don’t think these animals are inherently dangerous, but I’d be fine with limiting ownership to experienced dog owners who’ve demonstrated the ability to control and care for their animal(s).

            But I’m not sure if the the numbers stand up, evidence wise, for a complete ban, and that’s inevitably what the anti-pitbull crowd pushes for. It’s all … kind of useless, and doesn’t bother controlling for even the obvious relevant factors. Some decent science would be appreciated, and it may even exist, but it’s never what’s offered by the side trying not just to regulate the breed but destroy it.

            It’s always hysteria and propoganda, to the point where, to be honest, I just don’t trust the people who want to ban them. They’ve shown me time and time again that they are willing to lie, distort facts, and massage data in order to justify their fear of some specific breed.

      2. The same study also says that pit bulls were responsible for 81% of all attacks that occurred off of the owner’s property.

          1.  No, it makes them way more dangerous because avoiding the homes that have them isn’t a solution.  Outright ban on them makes them less dangerous.

      3. Similar stats appeared when the breed of popularity was dobermans, rottweilers and german Shepherds. It’s a reflection of sheer numbers, poor ownership, and the reality that these are all large powerful dogs we are talking about and when they bite, damage is done. It reports deaths, not bites. It doesn’t take into account how many small dog bites occur that are never reported because medical attention wasn’t sought.

      4.  88 deaths among how many million people? 
        Dogs are like terrorists. 
        Toasters are far more dangerous. 

          1. At least 791 people were killed by toasters while dogs killed 28. 
            I don’t know how many survived getting mauled by their toasters, but they too have reason to “squawk”. 
            Cows kill more people than dogs do.

            [791 is bull, I found that somewhere and was impressed. But it’s untrue. sry]

          2. I see that you’ve just ignored my comment about the 4,500,000 who suffer dog bites annually in the US. And the 31,000 who require reconstructive surgery.

            What’s wrong with you?

        1. 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention. In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

          Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year…Despite the number of victims, only 15,000 to 16,000 of them per year receive money from homeowners insurance companies and renters insurance companies. This equals one-third of one percent of the victims at most – just 3 to 4 out of every 1,000.

          What was that you were saying about toasters being more dangerous?

          1. You’re right, I’m wrong. 
            Over 2000 home fires annually are bad, but not THAT bad. 

            I wish you had told me that before I put my foot in my mouth.

    2. Yeah.

      I feel like the pit argument is essentially the same as the handgun argument.

      Handguns, like pits, are not inherently dangerous. If they have bad owners they can be dangerous, but any frenzy to remove them from the streets is really a frenzy against bad *people* etc. etc.

      1. maybe the solution isn’t banning pit bulls, maybe we would all be safer if everyone had a pit bull?

      2.  Show me a handgun with free will.

        Pitbulls are capable of making their own decisions. They run on a combination of training, environmental factors and INSTINCTS. Handguns, not so much.

        New analogy, please.

        1. Wait, the dog’s free will is your argument? So, as an owner I cannot overcome the dog’s free will through training? Particularly if the training is in line with some of the dog’s instincts? In that situation the dog is capable of making decisions within a very, very narrow band. Since the dog probably has the decision making skills of . . . a three year old? A six year old? . . . and only within a narrow range of options, I’m still feeling pretty good about the analogy.

          Also, to the extent you are imputing genuine free will to a pit, shouldn’t they be eligible for the death penalty (where applicable) if they kill someone?

          1.  I am saying that if you take the best trained dog in the WORLD and dangle a raw steak 10′ in front of it, long enough, it will freak out and eat the damn steak.

            Do you know the sequence of events that occurred before the kitten took refuge in the parked van?

            I sure don’t but I’m willing to bet that they include sufficient “curious kitten” behaviour as well as some poorly trained pitbulls and from that we have a recipe for a giant chew toy.

          2. @google-5cef79b569e7133348582b5dd123ebb5:disqus  Sorry, but most dogs will not almost chew through a car to get at a cat. Most dogs won’t overly exert themselves for a cat. After all, there’s always another small mammal around the corner. A few breeds will relentlessly attack like this. Apparently when those breeds exercise their free will everything will be destroyed. We have people like that. They usually end up in jail or investment banks.

          3. >>  shouldn’t they be eligible for the death penalty (where applicable) if they kill someone?

            They are, aren’t they? Isn’t it standard practice to ‘destroy’ dogs involved in serious attacks? Pretty sure it is in the UK.

          4. @boingboing-00ff31d4bb9646a8a65a4b4659a94e8d:disqus Yes, but the rationale would be different. Now it’s done because the dumb animal did something and we need to protect humanity from it. In the “free will” environment it’d be because the dog had the mens rea necessary for premeditate acts (like humans). It’s a tongue-in-cheek point on my part.

        1. Not if properly used by a responsible owner . . . which is a long way of saying, no more than a pitbull.

          1. To me certain breeds of dogs and other wild animals are more akin to say a stick of dynamite.

            If handled too roughly or given enough time they might just explode.

          2.  your interpretation of “inherently dangerous” is flawed.  “Inherently” means that there is a characteristic that is specific, internal and inseparable to the thing itself.  In the case of a handgun, the entire design: the explosive charge and the slug perfectly aligned to set it off and guide it through a barrel are what makes a gun inherently dangerous.  A knife’s sharp edge is what makes a knife “inherently dangerous”.  Many things are inherently dangerous.  A staple is inherently dangerous because it can pierce skin but obviously its level of danger is low because the severity of harm is unlikely to be lethal.  A gun is inherently very dangerous because its very design is to be lethal. 
            A pitbull is inherently dangerous AND potentially lethal by virtue of its large size, strong musculature, extremely resilient natural fighting potential (even when untrained to do so), and bite force.

            A responsible owner is not an infallible defense against a dog attack.  The countless news stories where the most tame and well behaved dog that took everyone by surprise by mauling the next door toddler in a tragic and isolated incident attest to that.

            Powerful dogs are inherently dangerous.  That is a statement of fact – not a judgment or opinion. 

        1. I’d argue that banning guns and finding murders are not reduced would be a /pretty/ good argument against guns being a ban-worthy cause.

          In this case, if a ban is instituted and dog deaths do not fall, that would be a pretty good reason to lift is as well, right?

          1. Perhaps, but we’ve found quite the opposite. There’s a very strong correlation between gun ownership in a population and gun deaths.

          2. Foobar: Argh. You… you just really aren’t very good at this, are you? You seem to have both completely missed my point AND committed a pretty egregious fallacy there. I would normally assume you were being facetious or sarcastic, but I think you might actually believe your statement is valid, and that… is honestly kind of frightening.

            We do not care about gun deaths in the gun example. We do not care about pit bull deaths in the dog situation. Both of these are completely, 100% irrelevant, statistically, in regards to our genuine concerns, that being people dying. Your statement is both trivial, inconsequential, and dangerous in its artificial appeal.

            The fact that you would bring it up makes it quite clear that, rather than seeing a problem that needs a solution, you have an agenda that needs validation.

            So stop that thinking with your gut stuff, right now, and start using your brain to think about this stuff rationally.

          3. So stop that thinking with your gut stuff, right now, and start using your brain to think about this stuff rationally.

            Dude, that’s not your brain down there.

    3. MA just passed a state law overthrowing local ordinances against specific breeds.  Finally our kids and pets are free to be mauled with bone crushing force.

      1.  Smart move: what happens when $breed stops being the breed du jour, and $new_breed becomes the new problem pet? Write a new law?

        How’s about…
        If your dog (regardless of breed) bites someone, you get $x_punishment.
        If permanent disfigurement results, you get $y_punishment.
        If death results within a year and one day, you get $z_punishment.

        Remember how crack cocaine laws ended up jailing black people, while all the white people did straight cocaine and got a slap on the wrist? Yeah, that worked out well for society…

        1. You do realize laws aren’t generally written in stone, right? We can just change them as the situation warrants.

        2. That’s a lousy solution.  The victim still suffers the attack and disfigurement, or death.  Punishing the the owner after the fact does nothing for the kid with his face torn off. 

          The statistical evidence shows that pit bulls are significantly more dangerous, whatever the reasons.   That’s enough for me.  Ban them.

    4. I don’t care. Ban Pit bulls now. Dogs bred to destroy have no place in modern society. Sorry, they don’t.

      I’m not angry, I’m not a fanatic. It is my opinion however and I stand by it.

      1. I don’t think it’s appropriate to keep dangerous dogs in densely populated areas – near children especially.  No matter how responsible an owner is, they cannot oversee a dog 24 hours a day.  It only takes one bite to destroy a family and ruin lives.

      2. Dogs bred to destroy have no place in modern society.

        We do have to take into account that this opinion is offered by a squirrel.

      3. When you talk about banning a breed you are talking about killing thousands of innocent animals that have never hurt anyone. I doubt you would have the stomach to actually do the putting down yourself. Many of those dogs belong to loving households with children. Pretty sure they wouldn’t agree with you.

        1. I’ll do it.  I’ll do it painlessly, and I’ll think about the kids I’m saving while do it.  I’ll think about those “loving households with children” that never would have seen it coming when their lovable pit bull tears up their child because he’s been bred for aggression and just snapped when the kid fell or ran or screamed in a way that triggered the violent response.

    5. While each animal has its own temperament, just as in humans, some breeds are simply more aggressive than others, regardless of upbringing.  That’s what decades and centuries of selective breeding will get you.

      Quite frankly, I feel that some breeds simply do not belong near (children, other pets, fill-in-the-blank).

      1. While each animal has its own temperament, just as in humans, some breeds are simply more aggressive than others

        Exactly. And all redheads are bullies!

        (j/k. Your point is valid.)

    6. What is the deal with pit bull apologists?  Yeah, sure, under the right circumstances, and if properly trained, pit bulls, lions, and grizzlies can be perfectly harmless.  Also, other species of dogs, such as the doberman pinscher, are almost as deadly, so why focus on the poor pit bulls, right?  

      1.  I think there’s a couple different motivations for pit bull apologists.  Some just want to prove that there’s good in everyone, including fight dogs.  Others just want to prove that they’re so tough they can dominate a fight dog.  I have more sympathy for the former, but I’m still for a ban.

  2. I have a Boston Terrier/Poodle mix that could have easily done that much damage in one night, provided motivation. This is a dog that chewed through a fence to get to a skunk.

    It’s amazing what one animal can do when their brain says HUNT, much less 3 or 4.

  3. Pit Bulls should be banned from ownership, and be seen only in zoos. I’ve worked with people who raise Pit Bulls for fighting. I’d never let one around my kids. 

    1. “I’ve worked with people who use computers for hacking, so I’d never let a computer around my kids.”

      Ever thought judging an animal by the criminals who own them might not be exactly fair? And that any animal raised for this purpose probably isn’t one you’d want around kids? (Yeah, even the birds) And if you know that about these people, why the fuck haven’t you turned them in? I certainly wouldn’t want my kids around people like you…

      Not only are you actively contributing to this sort of prejudice, you’re aiding the sort of activity that created it to begin with.

        1. Dogfighting, and supporting dogfighting, is both criminal and immoral. Lazy/irresponsible certainly describes a great many dog owners, but not the ones John Bodart was describing.

          1. Raising pit bulls for fighting/”guarding” and encouraging aggression isn’t illegal or even particularly rare.

      1. I think he said he wouldn’t let any of those people he worked with, who raise Pit Bulls for fighting, around his kids.
        Sounds sensible to me.

        1. Yes, that interpretation is pretty sensible. If that’s what he meant, I apologize. Not sure how much sense it makes with the zoo bit though.

      2. Not only are you actively contributing to this sort of prejudice, you’re aiding the sort of activity that created it to begin with.

        And you’re an apologist for dogs that murder and maim people, usually the weak and helpless.

        1. So you think it’s perfectly acceptable that he could put a stop to some illegal dogfighting (and the creation of animals you think are inherently dangerous) and chooses not to? You think it’s alright?

          And an apologist? I’ve already said I’ve like to see the breed, and all other large dogs, more tightly regulated and licensed. I despise most of the people that own these animals – usually irresponsible, at best –  and I’d love to see far fewer of them around. I don’t think the fact that they are dangerous is a legitimate excuse for poor reasoning or irrational behavior. I don’t think these dogs are inherently evil, and don’t want to see them all destroyed because some people believe they are.

          If this makes me an apologist, then so be it. If someone submits evidence that a ban would help, preferably in a long-term way, I would be more than happy to reconsider my position – but no one has bothered to provide that, yet. And I’m not going to accept that sort of restriction just because people want it /really really hard/.

          1. You yourself admit that the breed is dangerous: “the fact that they are dangerous”

            At the heart of this controversy is the choice we must make between: 1) satisfying some cosmetic preference for specifically owning pitbulls or 2) removing a clearly identifiable danger to prevent harm upon the statistically most likely victims: children and the elderly.

            Pitbulls are at the top of the responsible breeds for human deaths, maulings, and lasting psychological damage arising from dog attacks. 

            Do you find the statistical figures of pitbulls-related maulings and deaths acceptable as a social cost of owning this breed as a house pet? I don’t. It’s not sensible in this day and age to keep a dangerous predatory animal with greater strength and agility than any human that will ever exist.

            Bluntly, I find your position irresponsible and morally reprehensible. What you are saying is “I would rather accept the deaths of a few toddlers so that I can keep this specific breed of dog over all other breeds of dogs.”

          2. @yahoo-65CSAR3QATRNKJW4NYNB2BESZE:disqus  – Yes, they are dangerous. So are pools. In fact, pools are arguably more dangerous, exist almost solely for leisure or sport, kill far more children than all dogs do every year, and I support people’s right to have pools.

            Since your so keen on removing clearly identifiable dangers, pools should be banned, right? In fact, the argument there is strong, because there’s evidence it would actually accomplish something!

            Which was the core of my post – it doesn’t MATTER if they are dangerous. The only thing that matters is whether or not banning them improves things.

            “Do you find the statistical figures of pitbulls-related maulings and deaths acceptable as a social cost of owning this breed as a house pet?”

            I find them a meaningless aside in relation to the actual important questions – would banning pitbulls reduce the number of deaths and injuries from dog attacks? That’s question one. Considering that a number of places have banned them, I find it telling that no one has even attempted to demonstrate this. If you still don’t understand what I’m getting at here – cars are dangerous. If a majority of accidents involved red cars, would the solution be to ban red paint jobs, perhaps because they go faster? Of course not. Statistics are all well and good, but aren’t all that useful without context when making decisions. If those car accidents tended to involve cars from a specific manufacturer, it would certainly deserve a closer looker and may lead to tighter regulations, but the statistic alone would not be anywhere near enough evidence to run them out of business, for the same reason blaming red cars is ludicrous.

            Even then, we need to determine whether the benefit thereof is worth the cost of choice. And make no mistake, we make choices every single day that value convenience, leisure, and style over the health and safety of ourselves and our fellow man.

            “Bluntly, I find your position irresponsible and morally reprehensible. What you are saying is ‘I would rather accept the deaths of a few toddlers so that I can keep this specific breed of dog over all other breeds of dogs.'”

            I find yours shortsighted and morally reprehensible. And, since I neither own nor desire to own pit bulls, I find it strange if that were truly what I was saying. I think your position applies pretty much to dogs as a whole, not just dangerous breeds.

          3. So are pools. In fact, pools are arguably more dangerous, exist almost solely for leisure or sport, kill far more children than all dogs do every year, and I support people’s right to have pools.

            I see that you have also chosen to ignore my comment about 4,500,000 Americans being bitten annually, with 31,000 needing reconstructive surgery. If you can’t participate without cherry picking and straw men, it’s time for you to stop.

      3. Could you give me a link to the story where the family computer tore the throat out of one of the kids? 

        And yes, turn those people in.  And euthanize the dogs.

    2. A dog raised for fighting compared to a dog not raised for fighting is pretty much like comparing a child  soldier to someone with normal upbringing.  There’s also pit bulls that work as therapy animals.  Nurture is sometimes more important than nature. 

      1. Nurture is sometimes more important than nature, where pit bulls are concerned, I’d say nature wins out.  I’ve seen even lovingly raised pits go unhinged.  Some individuals are more prone to aggressiveness than others, and the pit bull breed in general is much more aggressive than your average dog.

  4. Worth considering in this case is that the minivan and the dogs WERE OWNED BY THE SAME PERSON, so the dogs were probably locked in a yard with the van.  Digging small animals out of holes in the backyard is what dogs do for fun.

    As far as danger goes, I own a pitbull and a border collie (both rescued strays).  The collie is the one that barks and snaps at other dogs.  Both are fine with our cats and our baby, but they (and again, especially the collie) give chase to strange animals in their “territory”.

    1. “Digging small animals out of holes in the backyard is what dogs do for fun.”

      It’s what terriers do for fun. Keeping in mind individual variation, it isn’t what setters, retrievers, and other kinds of dogs do for fun. That makes sense, since humans bred this “fun” into dogs and wanted different dogs to want to do different things.

    2. You have a baby, and you keep a pit bull.  You might as well keep a loaded pistol on the changing table too.  Stop betting your kid’s life on your training skills with an aggressive breed.  If you want to go out and live with the pit bull in the barn, be my guest.  Then you only rolling dice with your own life, not your kid’s.

      1. I was reading recently that pit bulls were once considered great dogs for families with children (though partially because they were so fiercely protective) and german shepherds were considered the root of all (canine) evil. I think there’s probably some truth to the idea that of the aggressive/fierce/whatever dog breeds, there’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy: which ever dog has the worst reputation is the one most sought after by people looking to have scary dogs, and dogs owned by people like that are the most likely to go on the attack. 

        I have a friend that had a pitbull she loved to pieces. The dog never hurt a fly, and from my one experience, was really just the sweetest thing. (Me: oh no, a scary pitbull! Dog: instantly ran over, flopped down at my feet, and begged for a belly rub). But at the same time? It’s still a breed that was engineered for fierceness and aggressiveness. It’s one that currently seems the dog of choice for dog fighting. So I think there’s really two factors here: it’s fair enough to be wary of all aggressive dog breeds (and we do tend to pick and choose a bit there, which ones we decide we’re afraid of), and it’s fair enough to be wary of any dog that’s likely to be owned by someone who wanted a ferocious dog (I’m tired, so I can’t seem to say that right). Neither circumstance is really the dog (or the breed’s) fault. And simply banning (or demonizing) the breed isn’t going to stop dogs from being bred to be aggressive and ferocious. 

        So I guess what I am saying is that the comparison to a loaded pistol is a very poor one, but the issue is sufficiently complex that a)pretending that the traits that pit bulls have been bred for don’t matter and that they’re all just sweeties or b)pretending that if we could just get rid of those evil pit bulls, dog maulings would go down by a billion percent are both stupid and ridiculous. 

  5. I’m surprised by the anti-pitbull sentiment here.
    If you have a problem with pit bulls, do yourself a favor and go meet a well trained one in a loving home. 
    They are easily some of the sweetest most loving dogs I have ever met (we own one).

    1. Cool, maybe later you can come over and see my gun vault? I’ve got AKs, M16s, and a Bushmaster ACR. They’re super beautiful and shiny and I only ever aim them at paper targets. You trust me, right?

      Two of the sweetest dogs I know are pitbulls, I get it. But it is silly to act as if pitbulls aren’t disproportionately responsible for attacks and irresponsible, to dismiss the attacks, often on children, as irrelevant.  Or, for that matter, to discount the sheer number of pitbulls who end up at shelters and are killed. How is that humane?

      How would you suggest communities deal with the problem?

      1. Dogs are not guns. We’re talking about animals, not pieces of hardware.The problem I have is people blaming the dog. The dog is a dog. Pit bulls require more involvement and exercise than most dog owners are willing to put in. People who own them for fighting or as protection or to seem tough are not giving the dog the care it needs or worse, actively encouraging violent behavior.

        Communities should deal with the problem by shutting down dog fighting and prosecuting people who abuse their dogs.

        1. No. Pitbulls are not guns. But like guns they get way more dangerous when owned by asshats. And asshats seem to disproportionally be the ones who want to buy ’em.

          Also, the laws you describe are already in place, but they didn’t help the minivan any.

      2. Outlaw unapproved pitbull breeding, require unregistered private owners to have their animals fixed, offer large rewards for information leading to the break up of breeding and fighting rings, and, maybe require owners get licensed for specific breeds by demonstrating a working knowledge of how best to care for it and possess the ability to do so.

        Also, I would love to see that gun vault.

        1. With licensing, I would completely get on board with a program like this; it both acknowledges and mitigates the risks and allows for personal freedom.  Plus, as fashion changes, it is elastic enough to cover any problem breed.

          On the other, far dumber and more likely hand, banning breeds outright is free and easy. Two things politicians freakin’ love.

    2.  I had a pitbull myself.  She was gentle and well tempered and docile.
      That doesn’t mean I consider pits to be dogs that are appropriate to own around any environment.  I wouldn’t want them around kids.  Just because my pitbull was sweet doesn’t mean every pitbull out there was equally well-tempered. 
      It only takes one unforeseen incident to ruin a family.  So I favor regulations.  An owner who really wants a pitbull or any large strong guard-dog breed should have to actively demonstrate that they are responsible. 

      You want a dog with the potential to cause lethal harm?  Jump through some hoops to prove your commitment to it.    and in the end, is that really worth it?   What is it about pits that you absolutely have to have one?  

    3. I think the anti-pitbull-owner sentiment is stronger. 
      Pits sometimes have to make up for the mini-van.  Or the penis size. 

    4. If you have a problem with pit bulls, do yourself a favor and go meet a well trained one in a loving home.

      Iran is full of really nice people. Sort of irrelevant if you’re an American considering a vacation there.

      Nobody said that every pit bull is a killer. Statistically, they’re far more likely to kill than other breeds.

  6. “Does the notion of a pit-bull menace rest on a stable or an unstable generalization? The best data we have on breed dangerousness are fatal dog bites, which serve as a useful indicator of just how much havoc certain kinds of dogs are causing. Between the late nineteen-seventies and the late nineteen-nineties, more than twenty-five breeds were involved in fatal attacks in the United States. Pit-bull breeds led the pack, but the variability from year to year is considerable. For instance, in the period from 1981 to 1982 fatalities were caused by five pit bulls, three mixed breeds, two St. Bernards, two German-shepherd mixes, a pure-bred German shepherd, a husky type, a Doberman, a Chow Chow, a Great Dane, a wolf-dog hybrid, a husky mix, and a pit-bull mix—but no Rottweilers. In 1995 and 1996, the list included ten Rottweilers, four pit bulls, two German shepherds, two huskies, two Chow Chows, two wolf-dog hybrids, two shepherd mixes, a Rottweiler mix, a mixed breed, a Chow Chow mix, and a Great Dane. The kinds of dogs that kill people change over time, because the popularity of certain breeds changes over time. The one thing that doesn’t change is the total number of the people killed by dogs. When we have more problems with pit bulls, it’s not necessarily a sign that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. It could just be a sign that pit bulls have become more numerous.”

      1. I’d say “when there are less pit bull deaths, there are still just as many deaths” is pretty much the ONLY relevant fact, easily rendering “pit bulls led the pack” into utter irrelevance.

        I just don’t know if it’s true. But (if it was) I think that  it would be a lethal blow to the “ban pit bulls now” crowd, since it would remove the entire justification for banning pit bulls (assuming your justification is something reasonable, like reducing dog deaths, instead of just being an asshole).

        1. Deaths are a poor measure of how dangerous something is. We regulate many things well short of that threshold. Absolutely not lethal to the argument for banning the breed.

          Second, banning each breed in turn as it is used by bad people to do bad things is a more sensible response than doing nothing. Just because it may be necessary to ban pits and Doberman’s doesn’t mean you do nothing.

          1. Yes, if you decide that dog deaths is not important (up until this point, we’ve been working under the assumption that dog deaths are the main point of contention), fine. But, the statement still holds, just altered slightly, to be injuries instead of deaths:

            “”if, when there are less [specific metric], there are still just as many [general metric]”

            Is absolutely a lethal argument against any flavour of
            “We should ban [specific] because it causes [metric incident].”

            If the first argument is true, the second is obviously meaningless. It does not matter if “a” causes “b”, if removing “a” does not reduce the instances of “b” there is no cause to mandate removal of “a” (which in this case means mandating a fuckton of dead animals)

            The only counter is that it’s a limited subset of sufficient causes, and banning a particular group of those causes DOES have an effect – in which case statistics showing banning the individual cause does nothing become irrelevant, because things have gone a level higher.

            Perhaps this ultimately what you’d like to see? Banning all non-toy dogs would probably be effective in reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries…

          2. Its almost impossible to write a meaningful law banning “pit bulls”, because that’s no single breed and even if it is, the law could be circumvented by not keeping breed records.  For that reason, “pit bull” bans usually target physical traits, almost always ones that are common to a huge range of breeds.

            My ‘pitbull’ is 55 lbs,  built like a slightly chubby whippet or a boxer with a longer nose.  Any breed standard he meets, a Lab would also meet.

    1. Fatal dog bites are so relatively uncommon that they are not the “best data” available. That’s particularly true when Gladwell is going to cite events in Europe as well as the U.S.

      Also, showing that Chow Chows and wolf hybrids are *also* dangerous is not really saying anything in favor of pitbulls.

      Third, conditions on the ground have changed since 2006 (when this was written) and certainly since 1982.

  7. Too many pit bulls bred for people who want a dog that represents their own strong and macho  image.  A very white trash/ghetto attitude.   It’s always going to be with us, sadly.

    I’ve got a bichon mix and minivan.  And I’m quite the manly man, if I may say so myself.  *bends iron bar while spitting*

  8. Clearly the only is to arm the kitten population to defend against the violent agressors. I suggest frickin’ lazers strapped to their heads, but hand gun permits will also do.

        1. The worms are all right, though, right? Or are they an abomination, too? Please say my red wrigglers won’t need to be destroyed!

  9. Honestly, I think the problem is less with the pit bull breed (although it is definitely on the aggressive side) and more with disposition and intelligence of the average pit bull owner. Dogs mirror their owners to a great, great degree.

    1. What about the pit bulls in “loving families” that attack and maim?  Happens too frequently to dismiss.  Yes, owners can bring out the worst, but the worst can also come out without a bad owner.  Either way, the victim still loses.

  10. I had two cats when I got a pit bull. He was great with them, but raised with them from a pup. Those cats moved on with an ex, and I adopted another cat a few years later. They became best friends and always slept together. My pit passed on a couple years ago a month shy of 16, my cat is still here. He was a great dog, but I did keep my eye on him and not let him loose around strangers.

    Any big breed is dangerous, I’ve known a lot of dog owners and pit owners and they are all individual animals. Some pits are sweet as a kitten and some are vicious same as other large breeds. I think if you outlaw pits another breed like chows, rotts, shepards, etc. will become the ‘thug lifestyle’ dog and you will start hearing about how they need to be banned.You can’t even really say what is a pit bull. It’s a mixed breed, there are many kinds of pits and all kinds of percentages, you might as well ban mutts. People always want to ban shit as soon as they hear a bad story. “Think of the children!” is the cry that makes people pass the dumbest laws.

    1.  I don’t know… “Think of the children” seems like a pretty good cry to motivate the passing of laws.  I can’t really think of a better basis. 
      But actually I understand your point… people have misused “think of children” to do dumb stuff like ban books from libraries and suppress rights.

      My problem here is that the pitbull apologists use the example of “I had a pitbull and she was sweet” as if to say all pitbulls are therefore sweet. 
      I had a sweet pitbull but I would say I lucked out – I had a sweet pitbull.  But don’t let that lull you into thinking that all pitbulls are sweet.  Some are dangerous.  So think of the children.

      1. Of course, your proposing banning the sweet pits too. Won’t someone think of the loving and good dogs?

        1. yes.  I am.  Pits were made by man, designed through breeding, to possess characteristics that maximize their lethal fighting ability.  These are traits we should no longer continue to breed so widely.  Neighborhoods where children live should not have these animals.  It’s a ridiculous, barbaric, artificial, and completely needless introduction of danger and risk of death and injury to PEOPLE.

          There are more than enough sweet dogs out there that are not pitbulls that can provide a family with affection and companionship.

          This blind insistence of having to have a pitbull is misguided and vanity at its worst.

          There’s a reason regulations exist to prevent people from owning live grenades in their homes.  The same reasons should apply to owning predatory animals that can crush a baby’s skull in one single bite.  Last year in San Diego, two pits ripped the arms and leg of an elderly woman after the dogs dug through into her yard. She would still be alive today if pits were not there.

          I’m all for dogs but don’t ever ask me to choose a dog over a human life.  I’ve always thought people would find this choice easy and choose people over dogs but now I am not so sure that our society ascribes to those values anymore.

      2. By that logic you can ban everything that could possibly harm children. Cars, all sports, etc… carried to the extreme letting the precious angels out of a padded room could be criminalized. I’m for sensible legislation. Dogs off leash? Illegal. Dogs out of yard? Illegal. Dog bites a child? Put it down. We already have these laws. No need to go crazy. You will never legislate away danger for kids 100 percent and you shouldn’t try to for obvious reasons.

        1. “Dog bites a child? Put it down.”
          That is actually not the case.  A neighbor’s big dog bit a child here in California.  People called 911.  Law enforcement and EMTs showed up.  There were injuries.  The dog was quarantined for a couple of weeks – which meant simply “stay at home.”  The quarantine was lifted after the dog showed no signs of rabies and nothing ever came of it.

        2. Dog bites a child? Put it down.

          I’m sure that it will be very comforting to the child with the middle of her face bitten off who’ll spend her childhood and adolescence having reconstructive surgery.

        3. We do ban cars that don’t meet safety standards.  And we regulate youth sports for their safety. 

          The problem with your argument is that a pit bull is like a gun that can kill people without needing a person to aim and fire.  A dog chained in his own yard, can break free and maim or kill.  And they have.  That’s why people fear them.  They’re the loose cannons of the pet world.

          1. Your mom’s poodles should have been euthanized after their first attack. Your second statement is anecdotal. Some Pintos didn’t explode into flames when hit from behind, yet FORD recalled them all anyway.

  11. If I had dogs that did that kind of damage to my car, I’d kill them myself. I don’t like ANY terrier breeds. They’re all dim-witted and hyperactive.

  12. OK, so it’s always about the blame going to the owners of Pit Bulls. Well, why don’t people STOP GETTING PIT BULLS! Everywhere I go I see people who obviously cannot take care of hamsters let along dogs with Pit Bulls. And then they attack or cause damage because these stupid kids are unable to take care of their dogs. And no, these are not gangsters or rough necks from the ghetto, these are people my age who just want a pet but are unable to take care of their animals or train them or discipline them.

    People, for the love of God, and for the well-being of animals, if you do not have the funds or nurturing skills to have a pet, DO NOT GET ONE. 

  13. The problem with these dogs is that they have tremendous and jaw strength. They were specifically bred in England to kill actual bulls in “bull-baiting”; hence the name. They can be affectionate, but at least some of them can unexpectedly become violent, and when that happens, they have the physical ability to do to a person what those dogs did to that minivan. You can’t say that about a Lab.

    What does it even mean to be “fair” to a dog or to “blame” a breed of dog? Dogs are not people. We shouldn’t be cruel to them, but we don’t owe them a duty of “fairness.” We do have a duty to protect people from unnecessary danger, and if that means we regulate an entire breed of dog because of its general characteristics, that’s fine with me even if it might not be “fair” to any particular dog. There are plenty of potentially dangerous types of wild animals that you can’t own or can’t own without a license (depending on your state), even if you’re convinced that your own individual jaguar is just as sweet and harmless as that kitten. Pit bulls should be treated the same way, and people need to stop deluding themselves that they are appropriate household pets.

    1. so much THIS.

      greyhounds and othersighthounds were bred with a strong (and fast!) chase drive. this is why it’s commonly accepted that if you have a greyhound, you never walk it off-leash and exercise caution when introducing it to small furry creatures.

      basset hounds, beagles, and other “sounding” dogs were bred to be loudmouths. it’s commonly accepted that these dogs are generally going to be loudmouths, and possess some stubbornness when it comes to pursuing a smell or other stimulation.

      dog breeds have generations-long histories of being bred for whatever purpose they were bred for, and you can’t deny that it affects their potential behavior regardless of upbringing. why people willfully wear blinders in the case of pit bulls and other dogs bred for bloodsport, i cannot fathom.

  14. This just in: vicious cat attacks bird, leaves corpse on owner’s doormat.

    Seriously. The idea that a pack of pitbulls considered a kitten to be prey, especially a running one, isn’t astound or shocking. They’re predators by nature and will continue to be so. If it was 4 chihuahuas, the only difference would be that the van would be in better condition.

    As for the attitude toward the motives of pitbull owners, some people really love the breed for intelligence and obedience. Not everyone who gets a pitbull does it because they want a scary dog. Some people just want a solid, large dog.

    Also, for the soul who wouldn’t let their children around a pit bull because they know people who raise them as fighting dogs: I wouldn’t let my child around *you*. Dog fighting is illegal and immoral and you end up complicit by not reporting such actions.

    1. this just in: vicious cat isn’t likely to tear a toddler’s face off.

      there are other large, solid, intelligent, obedient companion animals that are less likely to maim, kill, or otherwise injure.

  15. Well, I had 3 pitbulls. Two non-biters and then my last one (I rescued her) was a nipper and a growler. She was sweet to all who knew her, really intimidating to strangers. I loved the shit out of that dog. She drove me CRAZY for 7 years trying to keep her from biting people. She ended up going blind from diabetes, and then she was fine… My point is that coming from experience Pitbulls can be a challenge if they aren’t socialized correctly and this makes them dangerous, more dangerous than any other dog. I don’t like the idea of banning a breed though.

    1. ….drove you crazy. Drove you crazy. And still not one single thought of how crazy it might have driven those people it tried to bite? And if it had succeeded? Wtf. Really, what the hell. I have lack of words for this kind of insane disrespect for other beings. You suck. Seriously. Idiot!

  16. Dogs have a natural chase and kill instinct that has been attenuated in certain breeds. Pitbulls have the combo of that attenuated instinct, plus a very strong physical presence.  In a modern setting, that’s a tragedy waiting to happen, IMO.

    1.  All their training goes out the window when they pack up and instinct takes over.  With this particular breed, instinct completely takes over and anyone trying to stop them will find themselves dog food.  This is the true danger of the breed.  One alone is usually not a danger. Once they pack up and start on the chase, not even a well trained pitbull can be called off by its owner.

      1. No kidding.  They also get into a killing frenzy that has nothing to do with hunting down prey for food.
        Here’s a story about 3 or 4 pitbulls that killed 42 goats in within a couple of hours:,0,7073740.story

        Now you’d think anyone who keeps a Bengal tiger in a residential neighborhood is a nutjob right?  Well… arguably, a couple of energetic pitbulls can do a whole lot of killing too and yet people argue that’s just fine.

  17. That’s what the guy gets for owning four pitbulls.  One alone is usually good.  Two or more together, and things like this happen, quite frequently, and not just to innocent kittehs.

    1. That’s the thing about cats and dogs. 100 individual cats is 100 individual cats. Two dogs is a pack.

  18. I don’t get it why people think it’s a right to have these beasts. Yeah sure, statistically they are kinda safe, until they aren’t. But we don’t allow people to walk around carrying grenades – still I would bet that if the same amount of people carried grenades as walked pit bulls – totally discounting both those who would throw them at someone as well as those who would order their dog to charge – there would be a lot less people hurt by the grenades. Grenades are really hard to set off by mistake, dogs… well even the best trained dog can suddenly, randomly, get the wrong signal and go crazy. Not their fault, just fact. There’s no reason why you can’t at least get a dog that hasn’t been bred to do damage if you want one, just as you can get an apple instead if you need to have something round in your pocket.

Comments are closed.