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Breed Bias

7308 Views 79 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  JohnnyBandit
Part of my family is absolutely freaking out that we are keeping one of the pit bull puppies that we rescued a couple of weeks ago. My parents are the absolute worst. They buy into every myth they hear, and I couldn't help but laugh the other day when my mama kept going on and on about how "they all turn and when they bite you their jaws lock, blah, blah, blah..." We live next door to my parents, so I've made a point to take Scarlett with me pretty much every time I've been over there in the last week. I've made it my mission to change their minds. When I told my mom what my plan was, she kind of jokingly said that the first time she "growls or snaps" at someone she'd be reaching for her gun. When I asked her why she hadn't brought out the gun for my sister's little yappy mutt that bark, growl, and snaps at EVERYBODY, she shut it down.

We stopped by my sister's house today too (she lives on the other side of mom and dad) and was talking to my brother-in-law about Scarlett when he asked if she was a pit. When I said yes he kind of winced and said "Ooooh." I asked him why he responded that way he just said, "I just don't like them." So I asked him, "Have you ever met a real, live pit bull in person?" Of course his answer was no, but that he was afraid of them. It was the first honest answer I've heard out of anyone. So I assured him there would be no reason for him to be afraid of her, now or ever and asked that he at least give her a chance.

When we decided to keep Scarlett I knew there was going to be some challenges because of her breed, but it really bugs me that my family is so ignorant about the breed. I ask myself all the time how I ended up such an open minded person when the rest of my family is so prejudice.
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^I just have to say to what's said above... Sadly, I know someone who euthanized three of their own dogs for killing their own cats. All on the property, out in the country where they let their (at the time) six dogs run around freely. So sad... Since this person continues to own both cats and dogs, when it clearly wasn't the dogs fault and none of them had human aggression(apparently one of them was 'questionable' but that's besides the point. and it's not like the dog did any serious damage to anyone). I'm also RELATED to someone who had their black lab escape from his outdoor kennel and kill their cat in the garage. They euthanized the dog for that, too. I hate stories like this. They make me sick.
I don't understand putting a dog down for preydrive.

I will say, though, that I'd have a hard time keeping a dog in my house after it had killed MY cat, though. Especially if I was doing the appropriate things to manage and one of those freak accidents just happened to make it fail.
The problem is, is that they weren't doing appropriate things to avoid this. The dogs were free-ranging outside and killed their indoor-outdoor cats. And I, also, would have a hard time keeping my dog if he killed my cat. But I would just send him to a home where there were no cats, not end his life. All the dogs I was talking about, had no idea what they did was wrong.
Yeah, like I said: I don't think i could bring myself to KILL THE DOG for being a dog. I also don't see keeping dogs and cats without some precautions in place (like, oh, supervision, a baby gate, and dog crates). I just occasionally run into people foaming at the mouth for someone rehoming a dog for killing or mauling a cat, and as much as I'd like to think I wouldn't knee-jerk to rehoming... I likely would. I don't think it would be fair to THE DOG, if I couldn't get over myself.
LOL! Sorry Johnny!
That just creates a weird Monty Python image in my head!
There was, seriously, a pomeranian that killed an infant. Link to article. Dogs are animals with teeth. Any animal with teeth can bite, and can do damage. Granted, in this case it's 'adult supervising' fail but - how many children bitten by dogs ISN"T because of parenting fail? People decide their dogs are entirely safe and could never hurt anyone, and crap happens - like walking away for 'just a minute'. Funnily enough, people with dogs like pits and rotts are less likely to have that kind of mindset than people with poms and labs.
I truly can guarantee my dog wouldn't bite a person under conditions that the person WASN'T doing any harm to him. My dog does exceptionally well with strangers, and the only thing that needs to be watched with him, is that he tends to jump and THAT can scare people, but it's not aggressive and it probably wouldn't seriously injure anyone. Although it might really upset a young child, but even then they still probably wouldn't be left majorly scarred or anything. I truly believe my dog would never, ever bite someone (like I said, as long as that someone wasn't attacking him or obviously hurting him in some way) and I'll stand by that. If I need to post a youtube video of "Sharky and a million strangers" to prove my point, I will.
It isn't a case of needing to prove a point, it's that sometimes strangers? Do unpredictable things. SOmetimes? Outside influences come into play. 100% faith your dog will never, ever, bite to the point of not taking precautions is foolish, and dangerous. You can have faith in your DOG all you want, but don't forget about things like redirected aggression, fear, pain, another dog being aggressive or someone being an idiot. You can't control all those outside influences or other people, but you CAN control your DOG and keep him from becoming another dog-bite statistic. As a responsible owner you should WANT to do that.

My dog has never been anything but friendly, gentle, and kind. That doesn't mean I leave him unsupervised with kids, cats, strangers, or outside. Shit happens - kinda like we were talking about those rescuer relatives of yours who left the cats and dogs running together, because they had '100% faith' the dogs and cats would be fine together. They weren't. Responsibility would have been, I think we agreed, safety-measures and supervision.

Things happen. Dogs are animals. Forgetting that is dangerous. It's not a disparging remark on your dog to say that absolute confidence that a dog will NEVER, under any circumstance bite, isn't a good idea.
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Yes, but how do you prevent him being harmed? Or in pain?

I'm sorry, but this kind of belief just. Burns me up and makes me lose all faith in anyone who spouts it. So I'm backing out of this thread, rather than it turning into an argument neither can win. I will never believe you are anything but deluded, you will never believe that I am right. So. Done now. I'm sorry.
Watching three of your pet cats being mauled to death and then being pinned against a car by dogs would certainly qualify, in my opinion, for a person to be rightfully scared. There is never an excuse or reason for someone's dog(s) to kill another person's animals especially when the animals are in their own yard. It doesn't matter the breed of dog.
And that's the rest of the 'thing', here. If you know you have a high-prey drive dog (and come on, terriers? This isn't news) you do what's necessary to contain them and keep them from hurting someone else's pets.

And I say that as someone WITH A TERRIER. It's not a breed issue, for me, and I'm not confusing prey-drive or animal aggression with human aggression, but responsible owners just don't let their dogs kill other people's pets, anymore than they let them damage someone else's property. (And that's me TRYING to leave emotion out of it, but as I said before, I would be GUTTED by the loss of my cats.)
I previously stated that I am getting help. But from my doctor's point of view? I'm not behaving irrationally. In a short span of time I had three very violent experiences. To not avoid bully breeds would be foolish on my part. I talked to several vets and trainers who have admitted there is a real problem with aggressive dogs being adopted out to inexperienced owners that have no business owning them. A vet at one of the best animal clinics in Chicago said that there's nothing wrong with exhibiting extra caution with unknown dogs of a specific breed. I've already been threaten three times and an animal professional told me to be cautious. That's a threat.
I also have PTSD. Your Doctor should not be telling you that you are behaving irrationally, but his goal -and yours- should be able to go out, see these dogs, and be okay. That's what the help is for: to disarm the triggers so your every day life is not negatively impacted, and so that you are not *behaving* irrationally in situations that do not call for it. Do you have reason for trauma? Yes. But PTSD, by its nature, is a reaction that does not fit the situation. So, yeah, ultimately you can't -and should not want to- make the things that trigger you to go away. The goal is to disarm them so they're not triggers, anymore. PTSD is rough. You have my sympathy.

That out of the way, I understand both why you're getting the reaction you are (you are the one here talking, not the congressmen in Denver) and that's making a lot of people who very, very dearly love their pets very, very upset - and justifiably and rationally so. The real problem is, most of these people out there, the ones making the laws, aren't fearful of the dogs. They're ignorant of the dogs, the situation and the fact that the owners who have pits now will find another dog to use to fight, to abuse, and to turn into an aggressive macho guard-dog that wants to take your face off. You can take pits out of the equation and you get another breed of dog being used to fill the same void. It happens in many areas now. Staffies, yeah, but also Huskies and guardian breeds (both mastiff breeds and LGDs) are the ones I'm most familiar with, but there are also the GSDs, the Dobermans and the Rotts that got this crap in the 70s. Yet, a mutt from the shelter can be, and have been, trained to fight or aggress at humans or other animals.

...Heck, it doesn't even have to be DOGS. Cockfighting is a major issue, and yes, they can do damage.

What do people do about it? Not support the law and hopefully educate people that there are ALWAYS going to be breeds of dogs used by nasty people for nasty things - like dogfighting and intimidation and/or hurting other people. Dogs, being dogs, will do what it takes to please their owners. As long as that is true, and until dogs learn to think for themselves and learn some morality, there are going to be people who use them for good -police dogs, arson dogs, SAR dogs, therapy dogs, herding, etc - and for bad: guarding, intimidating, and gambling. It just. Is what people do. Heck, it's the heart of the relationship between dogs and humans: Mutual benefit. We use them. We love them, some of us, but we use them.

The only solution is to crack down HARD on people who use innocent animals as weapons, and even that isn't a solution - take away guns, and they'll pick up a knife (or get an illegal gun, anyway).

People are doing quite a lot about that one. Or, rather, are trying very hard to do that. It's an uphill battle, but things ARE being done. Just not an in your face 'stop the pitbull ban', always, because that is just the tip of a much, much larger iceberg, and *just* stopping a pit ban won't stop the actual problem.
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