July 30, 2014

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'Pit Bull Facts'

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'Pit Bull Facts'

A lot has been said about 'pit bulls'. That they are time bombs. That they were bred to fight. That they are unreliable.

Before you make up your mind about whether or not a 'pit bull' ban is justified you owe it to the breeds affected to learn the truth.

Fact: It is true that the 'pit bull' was originally bred to fight - other dogs. However the dogs lived at home as a family pet in the late 1800s and lived in the house with the wives and children of the men who fought their dogs for sport, so they needed to be absolutely reliable around people. Dogs that showed human aggression were culled - that means they were euthanized and never bred from. These actions have evolved a unique dog personality where animal aggression has absolutlely no correlation to human aggression.

Fact: There are quite a few celebrities who have owned one of the 'pit bull' breeds that Michael Bryant would ban in Ontario: Ray Romano, Don Cherry, Fred Astaire, President Roosevelt, Jack Dempsy, Thomas Edison, Madonna, Michael J Fox, Brad Pitt, Bernadette Peters, Sinbad, Alicia Silverstone, Linda Blair, Humphrey Bogart, Usher, Mel Brooks, Ann Bancroft, John Stuart, Jan Michael Vincent, Pink, Kelli Williams, Ken Howard (Father in Crossing Jordon - his Pit Shadow saved his life), Malcolm Jamal Warner, Stephan Jenkins, Rosie Perez, Ananda Lewis, Amy Jo Johnson, Mary Tyler Moore, Steve and Terrie Erwin (the Crocodile Hunter), Jack Johnson, Bill Berloni (Broadway show dog trainer who has said that the Pit is the breed of choice for training), Anthony Robbins, Molly Price, President Woodrow Wilson, Frankie Muniz, AJ Mclean, Barbara Eden, and even Helen Keller.

Fact: Dog fighting was outlawed in the early 1900's.  Since that time the breeds that go back to the original 'pit bull' of the early 1800s has been raised as a family pet, not a fighter.

Fact: The only people raising fighting dogs today are a small contigent (est. 1-2%) of criminals and gang members - these people are also selling drugs, carry guns and are a threat to society on many different levels. Breed bans will not stop these people or curb the danger they pose in our society.

Fact: According to Alfons Estelt of the American Temperament Test Society, Inc. temperament evaluations of American Pit Bull Terriers shows that this breed has a very high passing rate of 95%. The average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs in the tests: 77%.

Fact: The 'pit bull' does not have a 'locking jaw'. On this topic Dr. 1. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia wrote:
"The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."

Fact: 'Pit bulls' are therapy and service dogs. They are also involved in search and rescue. The Chako Rescue Association has Pit Bull therapy dogs in Texas, Utah and California. Cheyenne and Dakota are a team of hard-working Search-and-Rescue Pit Bulls in Sacramento, California. APBT Weela was the Ken-L Ration's Dog Hero of the Year and is credited with rescuing over 30 people.

Fact: The problem with 'pit bull' attacks is an ownership problem that will not go away if we ban 'pit bulls'. Politicians are distorting the truth and are ignoring all of the evidence that says the bad owners will simply switch to other breeds - and there are many for them to choose from that can be equally as dangerous as a 'pit bull'. Ontario needs strong dog laws that apply to all dogs equally.