How safe are Pitbull and Pitbull Mixed-Breeds as a family pet?
The mention of Pitbull-breed dogs stirs up strong feelings. Some people swear to their gentleness, while others are uncomfortable being near them. Most Pittbull owners will tell you that their temperament is much more docile than what the stereotypes would have you believe. This may be the case when the canine in question is in the right environment. In fact, Pitbull breeds may show no signs of aggression around humans, including young children, but humans may not be the ones in immediate danger.
Pitbull Genetics Can Favor Aggression Toward Animals, Including Other Dogs
The Pitbull breed was created for strength and fearlessness in the face of large predator animals like bears, wolves and wild boars. To this day, Pitbulls and related breeds like the Dog O Argentina serve as the boar hunting dogs of choice. It is no wonder then that Pitbull canines have become a symbol associated with groups looking to portray a tough, loyal and powerful image.
There are several variations of the Pitbull breed, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The name Staffordshire comes from the geographic origin of the breed: a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England where the dogs were believed to be originally bred for use in various blood sports.
Animals Might Be Most At-Risk from Pitbull Aggression
The lineage of these breeds points to potential dangers to other animals, even domestic pets. Pitbull breeds constitute the majority of dogs used for illegal dogfighting in the United States. In this unlawful and cruel activity, the dogs are bred and selected for animal aggression. They can make the news for attacks such as an incident where a Boykin Spaniel was mauled by a Pitbull running loose in a Virginia Beach neighborhood. In another incident a Pitbull pulled away from its owner and began attacking a neighbor’s dog in Athens, GA, as noted in an Athens-Clark County Police Department report. As a result, the dog bit and injured a child.
An alarming number of Pitbulls and Pitbull mixes find their way into animal shelters. Many can pass safety evaluations, which primarily screen them for aggression toward humans (one typical test involves taking a food bowl away from an animal and seeing if it bites). A dog approved for adoption can indeed be very sweet to its new family, who may be taken by surprise when their new dog attacks a neighbor’s animal without provocation. Training can certainly help in most cases.
In my experience as a dog bite personal injury lawyer, I have seen countless incidents where a dog owner rushes to protect their pet when a dog fight breaks out, only to get attacked by the aggressive dog while trying to intervene. When pit mix charges my dog, I immediately scoop my dog up and loudly yell at the aggressive dog, which often responds obediently to a stern human voice.
Understanding breed behavioral tendencies of Pitbulls and mixes means appreciating that such dogs can be docile and loyal to humans, but can still be provoked to the point of aggression by other animals. Whether it was a Pitbull or another breed, if you have experienced personal injury from a dog bite, call an experienced law firm like Atkinson Law at 757-648-8579 or use the online contact form today to get the help you need.