Jon Bernthal speaks out against pit bull discrimination, negative stereotypes

The Majority Project with Jon Bernthal from Animal Farm Foundation on Vimeo.

Jon Bernthal has been busy after leaving The Walking Dead in 2012. He was in Fury and The Wolf of Wall Street, he has a miniseries called Show Me a Hero coming up on HBO and he has a bunch of films in the works. He’s also the hot new face of a campaign to raise awareness and advocacy for the pit bull. Bernthal, 38, is the proud owner of pitt bulls Boss and Venice and he’s also a father to two sons, aged four and two. In a new PSA for The Majority Project, Bernthal appears along with his two year-old son, Billy, and their dogs. He explains that pit bull owners are often discriminated against. The Majority Project, started by the Animal Farm Foundation, seeks photos from pit bull owners and families with pit bulls. Their aim is to show that pit bulls are not the problem, irresponsible down owners are. Bernthal says that:

Pit bull dog owners are sometimes victim to negative stereotypes that have nothing to do with how much they love and care for their dog. The laws and policies that target dog owners based on their dogs breed and appearance won’t make communities safer. Holding all reckless dog owners responsible will.

As People Magazine explains, pit bull owners can join The Majority Project and get a chance to appear on an upcoming television PSA. They just need to print out the flyer, fill it out and send in a picture of themselves with the flyer and their dog(s).

I just spent way too much time on The Majority Project website looking at photos of sweet pit bulls. I love the way that breed can look like they’re smiling, and how soulful their eyes are. As I’ve mentioned here before, I know a couple of families with pit bulls and they are loving, loyal dogs. Yes they can be violent when they have horrible, abusive owners, but that is not due to the breed.

There are around 550 jurisdictions in the US that have breed-specific legislation against pit bulls. There are also laws restricting the breed in the UK, Ireland, Australian and parts of Canada.

Here are some of my favorite photos from The Majority Project. I’m also including some photos from Bernthal’s Instagram and Twitter. Look at those doggie faces! Also, Buzzfeed runs some super cute features on Pit Bulls. My favorite recent ones are “27 Pit Bulls Who Will Definitely Brighten Your Day” and “33 Terrifyingly Adorable Pit Bulls.

Boss man

A photo posted by Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal) on



You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

136 Responses to “Jon Bernthal speaks out against pit bull discrimination, negative stereotypes”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. mimif says:

    Shane! Come back, Shane! I love him, he’s a standup guy.

    • kri says:

      It was all LORI”S FAULT!!!!!!!!!! Worst character ever on TWD.

      • mimif says:

        The best TWD meme I ever saw was a pic of Lori and then “I f-cked the sheriff, and I also f-cked the deputy” 😂
        Also, Carl Poppa 4eva!

      • kcarp says:

        Ughhh Lori. If there is ever a time to advocate abortion it’s during a zombie apocalypse. Who has a baby in that mess? And she was living with a Dr/vet who could have helped her!

        Now this got me to thinking could a dog or say a tiger be trained to kill zombies?

        Ok I’m way off topic but the whole Shane saga came rushing back.

      • mimif says:

        Daryl totally needs a little pittie. Or maybe a Catahoula Leopard hound.

  2. T.Fanty says:

    I am a lifetime dog owner and animal lover, but pitbulls were bred for aggression, and consequently, tend to be owned by people who want such prestige. I’m not saying that all pitbulls are dangerous, but they are a more volatile breed, and they can do some serious damage if they turn. I think that it’s naive to pretend this isn’t true.

    • Joy says:

      I agree the issue is that too often they are owned by ding dongs who chain them up in front of their trailer and do NOTHING with them to teach them how to be good dogs. I don’t own a pit but I have a dog that gets mistaken for one constantly (no idea why because he doesn’t look like one) and I am always having to tell people he’s not mean, won’t bite, etc. They’re terrified. Meanwhile my Chihuahua is ripping their ankles to shreds.

      • mmm says:

        Pitfalls were bred to be aggressive to other dogs and then come back and love their owners. They have to be like that in order for it to be safe for the person who was utilizing them as fighting dogs. I used to be a bit on the fence about this but spent a lot of time with pit bulls and they are the sweetest and most loyal dogs I have ever met when it comes to their humans. So loving, and all they really want to do is love their human. You do have to socialize them with other dogs early on though, otherwise it can be a problem (but again, what they were bred for shines through and it really is just with other dogs). You are right though that their reputation attracts more people who want aggressive dogs, but those people could turn any dog mean. I worked at a rescue in LA and its terrible what people do to try and make the pits aggressive. Some of the pitties had acid wounds, and others had scars from being used as bait dogs if they refused to fight.

      • mayamae says:

        @Joy, you just identified one of the problems. People think many dogs are pitbulls. There are at least ten breeds that look like pitbulls, and every time they attack, they’re labelled pitbulls.

        @mmm, you are right. They were bred to be dog aggressive only. Their owners would grab them by the collar to pull them apart during a fight. A pit that even acted like it was going to bite would be killed. It’s only recently that people have worked hard to make them human aggressive, and it takes a good two years of severe abuse to make them that way. The breed is extremely loyal and loving – what other dog is willing to fight to the death to please its owner? I have an Am Staff (very similar to pitbull) and I fell in love with the breed watching the NYC ASPCA show. These dogs would literally be rescued moments from starvation, a walking skeleton, and when placed in the police cars, they’d lean forward and rest their head on the cop’s shoulders and snuggle. They walk in to the hospital tails wagging. They are an amazing breed, and people should be rallying to rescue them instead of rallying to ban and destroy them.

        @T.Fanty, you are way over-generalizing. In the 70s it was German Shepherds, in the 80s it was Dobermans, in the 90s it was Rottweilers, now its Pitbulls. Breed bans are disgusting. In Detroit, for instance, they euthanize pitbull newborns in the SPCA. One vet tech carried a sweet pit pup to put it down, and said, “it’s hard euthanizing a dog whose tail is wagging”.

    • mimif says:

      This is exactly why put bull advocates try to educate the public about bully breed misinformation.
      Pits weren’t bred for human aggression, in fact, any dogs showing human aggression were culled as handlers needed to be able to pull the dogs off of bulls, and later (unfortunately) other dogs. Any dog can be volatile, any dog can turn. Granted there is a group of people attracted to pits for their strength, tenacity and also “gameness”, but this is also in part because most pits will let you abuse them within an inch of their life and still keep going. It’s the irresponsible dog owners and unethical breeders who are dangerous.

      • teatimeiscoming says:


      • Arlene says:

        It’s baffling to me how quickly a breed can be demonised so easily. I own a GSD, sweetest easiest going dog there is, but I’ve watched people almost get mown down by cars to cross the road rather than pass him by as he ambles along, taking no notice of them. I’ve never pet a staffy that wasn’t a rambunctious bundle of love, or a doberman that wasn’t sweet and a little goofy. Dogs are not pre-programmed machines. They are raised and handled to become what they become.

      • mayamae says:

        @mimif, I just said this upthread, but you said it much better. I love this campaign, and think it’s a wonderful idea. Pitbull owners are stereotyped. That’s why I’m a little bit uncomfortable with the TV show Pitbulls and Parolees, it reinforces every stereotype. Around WWII, this breed was considered a family dog. Also, the most decorated military dog was a pitbull. We need to fight and reclaim this image instead of letting the gang-bangers win.

      • laura in LA says:


        @mimif, your post says it all.

        I was going to comment, but I’m pretty much fed up with this debate. I’ve worked w/at least a hundred dogs through rescue and the LA shelter system. The only dog I ever met that lunged at everyone and tried to bite? My friend’s well-kept but very aggressive purebred Labrador.

        People, not Pitbulls, are to blame for these problems.

      • Lovelee412 says:

        I see a lot of bullshit on here. Lol. I own a pit. She is the sweetest dog I have EVER owned, even sweeter than my lab! It’s 100% about how they are raised. My pit loves babies and kids, too. She just wants to play/love/snuggle. My best friend is a Vet and said he can count on ONE HAND the number of mean pits he has met….but that he can count on ONE HAND the number of chows or German sheppards he’s met that are NICE!!!!! Educate yourself people. SHESH!

      • EM says:

        Your last sentence says it all. I’m tired of people blaming animals. I’m tired of reading stories about poor children being mauled by dogs (not just pit bulls), because most of the time the parents or whichever adult is in charge, doesn’t even supervise the animal and uses the animal as a substitute babysitter. And it goes on.
        Irresponsible dog ownership is the root cause of most -if not all – dog aggression.

      • Stacy says:

        Thank you!

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I respectfully disagree, @mimif. I have been a registered breeder with the AKC and have been owned by my multiple dogs for my entire life. I also grew up on a farm and have what I believe to be a solid understanding of animals. Dogs were bred for specific purposes. Malamutes were bred for cold climates to work in teams to pull sleds. Sheepdog and Shepherds, to mind the flocks. Great Danes were bred to hunt large sporting prey such as bears and boars. Small working terriers were bred to rid farms of vermin. And so on. I disagree that any dog can turn. Rarely do we hear of, nor are there police reports to support that that a Golden Retriever, Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, Greyhound has mauled/killed a human or other dog. What is especially dangerous about pits is their death grip bite. They lock on their victim and do not let go. Other dogs may bite but do not lock on. Pits are powerful. They should only be owned by someone who has been through a certified training program and they should be muzzled in public. Anyone who has a pit and is careless enough to let the dog escape should lose the dog permanently, even if it means that the dog must be put down.

    • Kiddo says:

      Agreed, there are instinctual characteristics that are bred into all dogs, and sometimes even the best intended owners can find that their animal acted out on those. I have known some truly sweet pits, but to ignore the grip and pressure of their jaws and the reason why they were bred and what is bred into them in the first place, can put other smaller animals and sometimes small children into peril. This doesn’t happen with all pits of course, but I think training is an oversimplification of the issue.

      What I mean by that is you can’t take the herding out of a sheep dog, or the foraging out of beagle. It’s in there somewhere and lineage plays a role as to what degree.

      • **sighs** says:

        This^. It’s naive to ignore their genetic predisposition. My SIL has the absolute sweetest pit ever, but I still won’t leave my young child in the room with her alone. It’s what they’re capable of. A Chihuahua can do damage, but not the kind of damage a pit can do.
        And to be fair, I don’t let my child around any dog alone.

      • Tippy says:

        The standard size Dachshund (German for Badger Dog) was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other underground burrow-dwelling animals.

      • minime says:

        @Kiddo and @**sighs**: What you both said!
        A couple friend of mine had two pit bull that were the sweetest thing and I always felt very safe around them. It’s not saying that they cannot be gentle loving dogs it’s about what happens when they are not…

        I had a great companion that was a Rottweiler and even though we educated him and gave him a lot of love, I saw many times that even if he wouldn’t bite (that he wouldn’t cause he was taught not to do so) he could be very dangerous just by jumping towards someone to play or in a defensive way if he would somehow be startled (and you can teach a dog to let you take food from their mouth but you can’t take their defense instincts). I really learned that I had to be 1000x more careful with him than with other kind of dog.

        That said, I think it’s important to accept that there are genetically and physically more dangerous breeds of dogs than others. They require more work, more attention, sometimes even formal education in a dog school. And I think there should be tight regulation on this because we live in a society and just because some people are great dog owners and can be responsible with such a breed like pit bull doesn’t really mean all are.

      • mayamae says:

        @Kiddo, you’re generalizing. You can’t compare pitublls to breeds who’ve been bred for thousands of years to herd, hunt, forage, etc. It’s only in the last two decades that humans have attempted to turn pits human aggressive. As mentioned many times this thread, they were bred for generations to be dog aggressive, but killed if they attempted to turn on their owners.

      • laura in LA says:

        Kiddo, no offense, but I’d like to know where you get your knowledge of this issue? Because if it comes from what you’ve heard or seen in the media, then it’s fear-mongering myth.

        First of all, there’s no official Pitbull breed, and many mixes are misidentified, but you know, the breed most trusted with children that actually has the most bite incidences? The Golden Retriever.

        Yes, it’s true that most so-called Pitbulls need a calm leader and a strong handler, but this is because they tend to be energetic and smart. They’re also loyal to their people, why they were once bred for fighting – but also at once considered the “nanny” dogs.

        Second, any dog raised badly can turn on people, but I’ve seen all kinds of dogs, especially Pitbulls, coming from the worst of conditions and abusive situations, yet still trusting of and loving towards humans.

        Please look up the Victory Dogs, some of whom went on to become therapy pets and changed perceptions of bully breeds. Also, I’d recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s essay “Troublemakers: What Pitbulls Can Teach Us About Crime” as turns any such erroneous assumptions on their heads.

        Finally, as I wrote on another post, I’ve worked with at least hundred dogs in the LA shelter system. And you know the only dog that I felt was a serious danger? My friend’s very aggressive, lunging and biting purebred Labrador.

        Judge the deed, not the breed.

      • Kiddo says:

        laura in LA, and others, you can read the rest of my comments below. The problem IS people, and the laws are geared TOWARD people.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I agree with you 100%. I have rescued pure-breeds and mutts. I am also a registered breeder with the AKC. Dogs do what they were bred to do. Yes, they all have their personalities, just like people. Two of my dogs are brother and sister. One is cunning, sly and a thief. The other is obedient, sweet and wouldn’t dare take a steak off the counter-top. One of my mutts has dachshund and chihuahua in her. She yaps at the dogs on TV, imaginary dogs and is a terror to my other dogs who outweigh her by 80 lbs. Terriers in general are prone to nipping or biting. Breaking up fights between 20-25 lb. terrier females has left my hands and arms scarred for life. No doubt, pits can be sweet and loving to their owners but it is ignorant to think that your pit bull is the exception and that it will never harm you, a member of your family a friend, a stranger or another dog/animal.

    • MVD says:

      Absolutely true T. Fanty! People love to say it’s not the breed, it’s the owner but I don’t know if they’re being naive or are just uninformed and making emotional arguments based on their limited experience. It’s VERY clear that some types of dogs are more dangerous than others.

      The link below details a study that the CDC did about it:

      And as for stereotypes about pitbull owners, it’s a stereotype because it’s actually true. I’m not saying there most PB owners arent’t law abiding but many of the people that seek PBs out as pets ARE NOT:

      • mimif says:

        Life long pit bull owner and bully breed advocate here. Just wanted to point out a few things based on my very extensive experience. First off, the term “pit bull” encompasses a wide group of dogs, hence some of the misinformation being spread by uniformed (naive) people including the media.

        As for your stereotypes, as I mentioned upthread, unfortunately there is a portion of the population that is attracted to pits because of their incredibly high pain threshold. However, not all pit owners are gang bangers. Did you know Helen Keller had a American Pit Bull Terrier? Petey from the Little Rascals was a pit. APBT’s were a mascot for WWII, pits came west with the pioneers, and APBT’s were considered “nanny dogs” at one point. I’m not denying the fact that they are extremely powerful dogs and *some* of them are capable of causing harm, but many of them are also capable of being incredibly loving, loyal and trustworthy dogs. Oh, and they just happen to score higher than America’s beloved Golden Retriever on the American Temperament Test Society as well.

      • Erinn says:

        One thing I will say though – if you look at non-fatal dog bites, the breeds ARE different.

        Also from the CDC:

        “A study performed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, and the Humane Society of the United States, analyzed dog bite statistics from the last 20 years and found that the statistics don’t show that any breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. The study showed that the most popular large breed dogs at any one time were consistently on the list of breeds that bit fatally. There were a high number of fatal bites from Doberman pinschers in the 1970s, for example, because Dobermans were very popular at that time and there were more Dobermans around, and because Dobermans’ size makes their bites more dangerous. The number of fatal bites from pit bulls rose in the 1980s for the same reason, and the number of bites from Rottweilers in the 1990s. The study also noted that there are no reliable statistics for nonfatal dog bites, so there is no way to know how often smaller breeds are biting.”

        The thing is that a Pit is more dangerous as far as damage goes than a Chihuahua. They do more intense damage when they do bite. I don’t even for a second think that Pit’s bite more often than snappy small dogs, so there IS a bit of a skew on the data. I’ve only ever been bitten by small dogs – but because the injuries are so minor, people don’t report them or go to the hospital.

        ETA: My gramp had a pitbull growing up – probably around the 1930’s. He said that he could take anything out of that dogs mouth and had never gotten bit, or felt worried that he was going to be bit. I’ve been bit my a Yorkie mix, a Dachshund, and a Cocker Spaniel, and a Springer Spaniel. The Yorkie mix because it was being a little tyrant – it was an untrained, spoiled mess. Any untrained, unsocialized dog has the potential to bite. Fear, food aggression, pain, etc.

        Pit’s are the most frequently abused, and abandoned dog. The stigma makes them difficult to adopt, and unfortunately their size and rep has attracted terrible people to the breed. I would absolutely consider getting a pit in the future. They’re gorgeous, smart, and full of heart. I have been around FAR FEW ill-behaved pit’s than I have ill-behaved small dogs. People think the behavior of tiny dogs acting up is funny, so they get away with it.

      • mayamae says:

        @Erinn, thank you for not stereotyping. What a wonderful post. It’s a sad fact that pitbulls, expecially black or brindle, are some of the least adopted dogs in shelters. Being euthanized isn’t even the worst part. In many parts of the country, animal research labs can legally go to shelters and seize dogs. That’s where these dogs are ending up and it’s horrifying.

      • laura in LA says:

        @MVD, I’m most definitely NOT naive or uninformed. Please see comment above for my knowledge and experience. And by the way, what is yours?!

        @Erinn, I’m w/you on this.

        @mayamae, I go for black dogs, whether or not this is true, and it’s what I’ve named my business. My first black mix died, but I still have have his now senior black/brindle Shepherd companion. Although I hate to think of losing him, my “next” dog will be another black or brindle, and probably a Pitbull. 🙂

      • Lovelee412 says:

        MVD… sound like an uneducated idiot when it comes to “stereotypes are true because they are true”. Wow, enroll at your local community college. Take some sociology classes, please!!!! You have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously some laughable stuff here. I am not going to comment on this thread anymore because it is difficult for me to communicate with someone so beneath me. Just PLEASE educate yourself on stereotypes, and life in general.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I’m with you, MVD. @Erinn pulls out some very curious “facts” about mauling and deaths due to dog attacks. Between 1982 and 2010, pitbulls were responsible for 166 deaths and 1,552 maulings of humans. Rotweillers, 73 deaths and 457 maulings. Dobermans, 6 deaths and 14 maulings. These stats are from cases that went to trial. So, these stats do not include settlements out of court. They also don’t include the death of dogs or other animals attacked by a Pit, Rot or Dobie. Also, these stats do not include pitbull mixed breeds. Pure-breed only. @Erinn, please don’t tell me that a bite from a yappy little dog is as injurious as a bite from a pitbull.

    • Nuzzybear says:

      Yeah – my feelings about guns and pitbulls are kind of the same.

    • Gena says:

      T Fanty – This is an ignorant, uninformed view that only contributes to the negative stereotyping pitbulls. I am the proud owner of the sweetest dog that ever lived who also happens to be a pitbull. He was abused within an inch of his life until he was about 9 weeks old then thrown away in the trash. The police found him and we adopted him from a rescue shelter as soon he was released from the animal hospital. We’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old and even with all the horror he suffered, he is the sweetest, most gentle, loving dog.
      There needs to stronger punishment and enforcement of animal abuse – not the continued slander against this poor breed that has been so maligned and mistreated.
      Unless you own a pitbull – please keep your misinformation to yourself.

      • mimif says:

        +1 Gena. Your little pup is lucky to have you and I wish him a long and healthy life.

      • Nuzzybear says:

        I know a Gena (same spelling!) who has at least one pitbull – and luckier dogs there never were. Sweet owner – sweet animals.

        It’s just hard for me to reconcile the risks of having such a powerful animal in the hands of anyone who wants to buy one.

      • Kiddo says:

        Gena, breeding plays a role in all animal behavior, personality, disposition, including humans. It’s a nature/nurture argument, but nature does play a role in passing on genetic traits. There are pits, who are in fact, being bred for the most aggressive characteristics. What comes out in the wash, based on nurture, is anyone’s guess, as it is with children. Does love and kindness make for a better well adjusted kid? Sure it does. Does it wipe out all remnants of DNA characteristics? I’m not sure anyone could say that without question.

      • Gena says:

        Nuzzybear – So funny about your friend Gena! You are correct. You really have to be diligent about training a pit, but I would imagine it’s the same with any dog (have never owned anything but rescue pits).

        I am going to have to get off this page though. So many ignorant comments are bringing out my less than sweet side. It’s very hard to read hateful comments about pitties after nursing so many back to health. Poor dogs that have been beaten and abused by humans, but are still able to trust and love.

      • mimif says:

        @Kiddo, APBT’s haven’t been bred for dog aggression in a very long time. Not by ethical breeders anyway. I don’t think there are any statistics available, but even people who breed for gameness end up with dogs that simply will not fight. Those are the ones that get tied to bait stands, or tortured and left to die an agonizing death. Again, I’m not denying that they are capable of tremendous force, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Unless you’ve spent some time with bully breeds, know their full history (the good and the bad), I think it’s terribly unfair not to take into account the truly amazing attributes they also posses.

      • Kiddo says:

        mimif, there are people who breed them for aggressive characteristics, some were within my own old neighborhood. No one calls them ethical. But these may be the ones who end up in shelters. But the point is that this isn’t and shouldn’t be a condemnation of people’s fears, because there are attacks, and they can be deadly. More of an effort in these outreach type of things should be directed at people who are using these animals as weapons, and not those who fear these animals as weapons. I have a few friends who have pits who are absolutely delightful and gentler than my cat (she’s nuts). And then there are those who are not. I understand his point about holding reckless owners accountable, but people can’t read ‘reckless owners’ just by looking at their faces, and this is a reactive measure, in that you are waiting for something terrible to happen first, then punishment. KWIM? So the laws that sweep all pit bull owners into one box, aim to be proactive, before something happens. Make an enormous effort to go after those who are misusing these dogs, or set up a requirement for everyone to take training lessons, with a certificate. But a PR campaign alone that chastises people for fear is not going to be effective if even one person suffers a casualty or maiming because of one asshole owner.

        Again, my friends: gentle sweet pits. Down the block, a few years back, a pit was attacking police unprovoked and had to be shot.

      • Tifygodess24 says:

        @Gena just because you have a Pit doesn’t mean your opinion is anymore valid or any less valid than someone who doesn’t. ANYONE can have an opinion or put information out there.

      • Diana Prince says:

        My big boy turned 11 this year. I have had this light of my life since he was 6 weeks old. I also too care and continue to care for his brother when his owner is indisposed. I have over a decade of actual hands on experience with with an actual pitbull. So unanimous with you @Gena!

      • laura in LA says:

        @Gena, you’re awesome.

        @mimif, I agree w/everything you say.

    • tim says:

      With all due respect, your perspective on some pit bull owners, while certainly valid, is perhaps not frequent enough to make a such a generalization. I say this because my experience with thses dogs has been the complete opposite of what you describe. Of course, my perspective, just like yours, is inly ine point of view. Therefore, neither is enough to arrive at a generalization which could ultimately further damage the reputation of these voiceless animals.

    • Distended says:


      I must add mine to the voices that disagree with you. There’s zero evidence that pit bulls are more volatile and aggressive than many other breeds, in an essentialist way. The rest is just folklore, and a damaging one. Mimif is right, there’s a mix of high pain endurance and loyalty that makes the pit bull the drug dealer’s favorite dog.

    • Drea says:

      Not accurate at all. Pittbulls were bred to be aggressive toward other dogs if they felt they themselves or their owners were threatened. Pitbulls were also bred to be babysitters for children, protectors, and playmates. I suggest you google it for further info.

      I’m a pittbull owner and I can tell you that when I chose my dog at the animal shelter it was not because I wanted some aggressive monster of a dog. What I saw and felt from my baby was that she wanted to have a home and be loved and I knew I could provide those things.

      She is the most loving, goofy, attention-seeking, and ditzy creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not once have I feared she’d hurt others. Even my rabbit is not afraid of her and he’s afraid of everything.

    • Anna says:

      The few pits that I’ve know in real life were all very loving, loyal, sweet and great with kids but I am a bit leery of people growing TOO comfortable. They are still dogs. I don’t think anyone should be afraid of a properly trained dog (of any variety) but as people realize these dogs “aren’t so bad” many people take it as a given that they can just leave their kids alone with them. That makes me a bit nervous. Even the nicest pit bull is still rather muscular and quite heavy and accidents happen. My brother’s dog is a pit and very wonderful but when she was a puppy she had a very bad habit of running (and bouncing) around with the neighborhood kids. He watched over them as carefully as possible whenever they played with her but she easily mowed over more than one kid (and genuinely hurt them–busted lips, scraped knees) just playing.

  3. OhDear says:

    Pit bulls are one of the sweetest breeds! Perhaps not for first time dog owners, but as with any dog, they have to be trained right.

    On another vaguely related note, chihuahuas generally hate me for some reason.

    • Gena says:

      I love my pitty so much. So funny – when I’m walking him, little dogs always snap and bark and never makes a sound. He sits calmly and lets them pass or lays down to make himself small so they might play with him. But he’s the one with the bad wrap! Poor, sweet thing!

    • TQB says:

      I was a first time dog owner and my pit mix is the loveliest, friendly dog. A first-timer ESPECIALLY should realize they will need training and obedience classes, for the human more than the dog!

    • Joy says:

      I have a Chihuahua who has been fixed, been to training for obedience, socialized since he was a tot, and he’s still mean as hell. But at 5 lbs soaking wet, he’s not really a danger to anything but your ankles. I agree with everyone who says these are strong dogs that can be aggressive, but if you are a good owner who is willing to exercise and socialize these dogs, you will have a loyal and sweet companion. Lots of dogs are strong and aggressive, and they need proper training and observation.

  4. aims says:

    Huge animal lover here. But whenever a pit bull is in my presence I get nervous. My SIL has one, she’s even brougt it into my home, he’s never ever shown aggression towards my kids or myself, I always feel a little guarded. It needs obedience classes but that’s it.

    • kcarp says:

      I would probably be upset if someone brought a pit bull to my house with my 3 year old. I have to say any dog larger than a shih Tzu coming to visit wouldn’t be a good thing

      I have a 65lb English Bulldog so I don’t have a bias I’m just not comfortable having an animal I don’t trust around my kid.

      • aims says:

        My kids aren’t little anymore, they’re 13,15,17. But a dog can be unpredictable no matter what age you are.

      • Erinn says:

        I don’t like the idea of people bringing dogs to peoples’ houses without a headsup/permission. Especially when kids or other pets are involved.

    • laura in LA says:

      The question is not really whether you trust the dog or breed, but rather your SIL in being a good leader and handling him.

      Having said that, I’d never leave a child alone with ANY dog. The big ones can knock one over, the little ones may snap, and both can bite when annoyed.

      True story: When I was four, I went to our neighbor’s house to visit their hound mix, Spooky. And though I knew I was being a pain, I just couldn’t get enough of her. I got up close to her face while she was eating, and she bit me on the nose.

      Fortunately, it was minor, and I was not at all traumatized by it. I still loved dogs as much as I ever did, but lesson learned: Don’t bother Spooky while she’s eating!

      • Lauraq says:

        Bingo. Kids should not be left unsupervised with ANY dog. All animals are unpredictable to a point, and you never know what the kid might do to the dog to provoke it.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Another huge animal lover here. I would never, ever allow a pitbull in my home or yard lest the pit get loose. I love my animals but I value my family, friends and other human beings over a dog. Pitbull owners should have to go through certified training and must be required to have their dogs muzzled when in public.

  5. kri says:

    Awww! Much love to JB for doing this. As @T.Fanty said, the breed originally was bred for aggressive traits. But..that is why special care must be taken in the training and treatment of these amazing dogs. I will not go into some of the sickening thigs that have been done with and to them by absolute pieces of human crap. If you raise them with care and love, you will own a lovely animal.

  6. Maria says:

    Awe, those precious babies.

    My best friend had to find a new home for hers because he kept breaking through the fence, he now has a huge two acres of land to play in, more importantly with an 8ft concrete fence, no more escaping.

    Pitts really are an affectionate breed, provided they’re in the right hands.

    I own a very sweet chow and people always assume the worst with her which infuriates me — she’s exceptionally shy and while more friendly, she’ll run away before growling (unless you’re a bird, possum, or burglar ).

    The automatic assumption of her viciousness never fails to annoy me, kudos to him.

    • Lauraq says:

      I’ve known some vicious Chows. I’ve also known some nice ones. All the Chows I’ve ever met were named Bear. Though I’ve never had one personally, my understanding as it’s been told to me is that they can be protective and territorial, so proper training and a formal introduction to new people is important.
      I’ve heard similar things about Dalmations.

  7. SamiHami says:

    I loved Bernthal on Walking Dead, but he is 100% wrong here. It’s incredibly irresponsible to have any aggressive breed dog in the house with children, especially pitt bulls. They were bred to be aggressive and it’s just not a risk any responsible parent should take. You want pitts when your kids are grown? That’s one thing. But a two or four year old would never stand a chance if one of those dogs decided to turn.

    • Arlene says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. No small child should be left unguarded with ANY dog. Pitt were NOT bred to be H/A, but to be dog aggressive, indeed Pitts have shown to have remarkable tolerance thresholds, compared say to collies or JRTs or Poms. A two or four year old wouldn’t stand a change against ANY dog. And while yes size matters- temperament and adult supervision and good dog handling count WAY more.

      • MVD says:

        Actually yes, she does know what she’s talking about:

      • Gena says:


      • SamiHami says:

        I DO know what I’m talking about, thank you. It’s undeniable that the vast majority of dog attacks against humans are done by pitt bulls. And comparing pitts to poms? That’s like comparing a tomato to a couch. There is no comparison. Yeah, little dogs can be yappy and nip you, but they don’t have the same size, weight, and jaw construction of a pitt that is going to cause serious damage/death.

        “In the 9-year period from 2005 to 2013, two dog breeds accounted for 74% of the attacks that resulted in death: pit bulls and rottweilers.”

        2013 Dog Bite Fatalities by, 2014

        “Pit bull terriers were selectively bred for a violent activity that is now a felony in all 50 U.S. states: dogfighting.”

        Dogfighting Fact Sheet by the Human Society of the United States

        I would suggest you read up on it yourself. A good source of factual information regarding this very dangerous breed is

      • Distended says:

        THe majority of dog bites are done by Rottweilers.

        Seriously, when it comes to pitts, people seem to indulge in cognitive dissonance.

      • Arlene says:

        Conclusions—Although fatal attacks on humans
        appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type
        dogs and Rottweilers), other breeds may bite and
        cause fatalities at higher rates. Because of difficulties
        inherent in determining a dog’s breed with certainty,
        enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional
        and practical issues. Fatal attacks represent
        a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and,
        therefore, should not be the primary factor driving
        public policy concerning dangerous dogs. Many practical
        alternatives to breed-specific ordinances exist and
        hold promise for prevention of dog bites. (J Am Vet
        Med Assoc 2000;217:836–840)

        Here is the ACTUAL conclusion to the report you guys are touting as evidence that pitts are dangerous. All a dog has to do is LOOK like a pitt and scaremongering leaps right into place. Oh and I didn’t COMPARE a pom to a pitt, I said pitts have been shown to have a higher tolerance to humans.
        Once again, dogs are the product of their environment, raised with owners who pre-plan ownership and understand their particular breed’s needs NO breed of dog is more inherently dangerous than any other, the problem occurs when under exercised, under socialised animals are raised in the wrong hands, the result being a dog with no idea how to behave; pups who never learn bite inhibition; high energy dogs who are going absolutely stir-crazy from lack of mental and physical stimulation, dogs who have fear aggression, resource guarding problems, separation anxiety, fence fighting, the list is bloody endless. But while breeds have characteristics, inherent human aggression is extremely rare and usually found in semi-feral dogs. This is an animal who has been domesticated alongside us as our companions, our helpers. That WE do THEM a disservice is abundantly clear and we continue to do the a disservice by stigmatising breeds through ignorance.

      • laura in LA says:

        @Arlene, agreed!

    • Gena says:

      T Fanty, MVD and SmiHami – Your ignorant, uninformed views only contribute to the negative stereotyping pitbulls. I am the proud owner of the sweetest dog that ever lived who also happens to be a pitbull. He was abused within an inch of his life until he was about 9 weeks old then thrown away in the trash. The police found him and we adopted him from a rescue shelter as soon he was released from the animal hospital. We’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old and even with all the horror he suffered, he is the sweetest, most gentle, loving dog.
      There needs to stronger punishment and enforcement of animal abuse – not the continued slander against this poor breed that has been so maligned and mistreated.
      Unless you own a pitbull – please keep your misinformation to yourself.
      SamiHami – that website is propaganda BS. I hope you’re not a dog owner. Dumb owners make for vicious dogs. You would have a very vicious dog.

      • Alyce says:

        Since you seem to only respect people with pit bull experience, here is mine. I was jogging 2 years ago and was attacked by a “friendly” Pit who “hadn’t hurt a fly” until he ripped a giant chunk out of my lower thigh. I have a huge mangled scar and had to be hospitalized. Now, I know my experience is just mine and I don’t wish death on all Pits. But people have a right to be scared and there is good reason to ban them from apartments and the like.

    • TQB says:

      A child would not stand a chance against ANY large dog breed if they decided to turn. I am neither an irresponsible parent nor dog owner, and I do not need additional research. It is foolish and irresponsible for any adult to leave a child and an animal unattended. I do not leave my 3 year old alone with my 15 year old cat because I know he is 4 times the size of her and could harm her, even though I have taught him to be gentle. I do not leave my 3 year old with my pit mix because she is twice the size of him and could harm him, even though she has been trained for 6 years to be gentle and has never harmed a person or animal.

      What you’re talking about is not breed aggression, it’s common sense. If a parent doesn’t have that, it’s not the dog’s fault, and certainly not the fault of the dog’s breed.

      • Erinn says:

        I don’t trust my dog. I know I could probably trust my dog for nearly every situation. But it’s an animal. She’s still young and hyper – she could topple a kid over, or they could get a nail to the eye even if they’ve been clipped down. I also don’t trust her with my cats all the time because she does have a prey drive, and she likes to chase them. She’s never hurt them, but I make sure the cats always have an escape of some sort, whether by means of baby gate, or room where the dog can’t get in.

        I also wouldn’t trust a rambunctious child with my 16 year old cat, because she’s getting really up there, she’s sensitive, and she could lash out if she’s in pain, or the kid could trip on her, and crush her. She’s a very tiny, old cat.

        Nobody SHOULD trust their kids, or an animal without supervision. Period.

    • chloeee says:

      No it is not. Any animal you have in the house needs to be monitored. Cats have been known to smother children, large exotic snakes. You have a small human in the same space as an animal who had the capacity to overpower that child. People need to be careful. Its common sense that has been muddled by hysteria and outdated mentalities like yours.

    • laura in LA says:

      @SamiHami, your link is actually from a totally biased, anti-Pitbull BSL site.

      @MVD, this link from the CDC presents a report that’s over 15 yrs-old, and since then has been discredited. There’s no such thing as a “Pitbull” breed, and those identified as “Pitbull-type” are mixes of unknown breeds with people’s perceptions influenced by fear and hysteria. Not to mention, their source was the HSUS, which used to discriminate against Pitbulls, that is until they realized the outpouring of public support for the Vick dogs and changed their ways.

      By the way, instead of googling random bits to prove your point, you might try volunteering at your local shelter and learning about dogs before ignorance and generalizations here.

      @Alyce, while I’m sorry for your bad experience, and I don’t mean to minimize your pain or trauma, that’s just one incident. Many dogs of all breeds will go after runners, cyclists or just the person walking down the street.

      As an owner of two medium-sized senior dogs and foster/caregiver to many others of different breeds and sizes, it pisses me off to no end when other owners disobey leash laws! Another dog could attack my older guys for being weak or me for any reason at all.

      People, not Pitbulls (or any dog for that matter), are the problem!

  8. teatimeiscoming says:

    Have said it before, will say it again:


    The breed isn’t as important as the individual dog’s behavior. All this is, is discrimination.

    The dogs I witness on a regular basis acting out aggressively are overwhelmingly Chihuahuas and Dachshunds. They’re the ones charging out of their fences at me while I ride my bicycle past.

    I love my Rottweiler. He shouldn’t be discriminated against, either.

    • Joy says:

      My vet says Chihuahuas and weenie dogs give her the most bites. I know this because my Chihuahua bit her once. In his defense, she has stuck something up his butt and he was displeased.

      • Lauraq says:

        I’ve heard that dachshunds bite a lot and are VERY stubborn. Which is sad because I kind of wanted one, but I have a hard time dealing with stubborn dogs.

  9. Tig says:

    If you want one, and have the time, patience and fortitude to train it, good for you. My experience with a pit bull mix ( a shelter dog) was not the best. I realized pretty quickly that this dog was more than I could handle, and she was terrorizing my other dogs. Thankfully, the organization took her back pretty quickly. And no, I wasn’t looking for protection- I liked her cute face!

    • TQB says:

      Sometimes the most responsible thing you can do is to recognize your limits. Good for you for selecting a rescue that cares about placements and was willing to take the dog back. It doesn’t always work out!

  10. eribra says:

    I have a new puppy- a lab- and he is wild as a March hare. We are in obedience training. Multiple breeds and the pits are all very calm. The most aggressive dog there is a pug. What I’m saying here is train your dog! I’ve owned a pit mix and he was glorious so I’m partial to the breed. You have to train all breeds- the only dog bite I’ve had came from a rat terrier, who was never taught to greet strangers. I love this training class and recommend obedience training to all dog owners- it doesn’t have to be expensive, the humane society had a reasonable price. If you put the time and effort in to training your dog you will be rewarded daily with a loving, controllable dog, no matter the breed.

  11. AK84 says:

    I own a Doberman, the “vicious” dog of the 80s, a GSD, the “vicious” dog of the 90s, and a pitbull mix. Guess which one garners the most raised eyebrows despite being shorter, slower, fatter, and lazier than the other two? All are absolute sweethearts, of course, because I treat them like family and not as permanent outdoor residents. It’s fascinating how the fear-inducing headlines “pick” a breed to discriminate throughout time. Pitbulls just have the misfortune of coming up when the Internet can inflame the misinformation and outrage even more.

    • Distended says:

      A fat pit bull is a sight to behold. It’s like a canine Buddha statue.

      I own an Akita, a pitt, a Rottweiler, and a border collie. I guess I’d be in trouble in a zillion of jurisdictions. BTW, the collie is the alpha and the basket case.

      • teatimeiscoming says:

        My 13 year old GSDx is the alpha in our house, in spite of her being almost a full 90lbs smaller than the Rottenweiler. She can be a grouchy old lady, but the rott is a big goober. Scared of chickens, cats, fans, the fridge…

    • laura in LA says:

      Funny, I once knew a male Rottie over 100lbs living w/a male MinPin, and guess who was the boss in that house?

  12. scout says:

    Never owned a Pitt Bull, we have a great Dane now who is a gentle giant and sweet as a puppy although he is 2yrs old and I grew up with 2 German Shepherds.
    Last year in our city, a 3yr old girl was mauled and killed by her own pet, a 2yr old Pitt Bull and this dog never had a history of attack ever. So, I don’t know if you have to be a good owner with training etc or it’s just something triggers them to attack.

  13. Zigggy says:

    I LOVE this! I love my 2 “nanny dogs” and they are wonderful with my 2 kids. Smart, soulful and so loving and eager to please 🙂

  14. dragonlady sakura says:

    I will admit to being slightly terrified of pit bulls having seen an attack when I was younger. That being said, I wouldn’t ever wish anyone to be cruel to a dog or discriminatory to a responsible Pitt owner.

  15. savu says:

    I have a German shepherd, and some people will still cross the street to avoid passing next to us on the sidewalk. Not gonna lie, it’s taken a lot of training to teach her she can be protective in our home but NOT outside. Best dog I’ve ever had though.

    • mayamae says:

      I moved from the Midwest to the south with my Am Staff, and have lived in fear that some redneck will shoot first and ask questions later. To be courteous, I will cross the street first while walking my dog, in an attempt to show respect to walkers/runners/others with dogs. It’s amazing how differently she’s looked at here compared to the Chicagoland area.

  16. Renee28 says:

    I own two dogs. One is a pit mix and the other is a dachshund. I’ll let you guess which one has split my hand open twice. Hint it’s not the pit mix.

  17. ketjo says:

    Tell this fairy tale to the mother of a 7 yr old boy who had his throat ripped open and his face mangled so bad they have to bury him in a closed casket cause he walked into a room where her boyfriends two pit bulls were sitting….all in front of his mothers eyes…..
    Or the woman who got up to turn off the oven when the timer went off and left the 3 month old baby sleeping in its bouncy chair on the floor hear a sudden scream and growls and run back into the room to find their pit bull chewing on what was left of the baby’s head….
    Oh I know these stories are gross and violent and grim…but one thing else they are all true…..
    Pitbull are not house pets …they are dangerous…just as a tiger is dangerous…they can be trained to be friendly but they will kill you any time they want to….

    • Arlene says:

      Sure, now lets discuss the baby killed by the 9 pound JRT in the UK or the baby eaten by a malamute again in the UK or oh I don’t know any of the other small children maimed or killed by other breeds of dogs that just don’t extract the right kind of media interest. The bull mastiffs, the Ridgebacks, the cute labrador Lucky that ripped a baby’s legs off in North Carolina, aw, but labs aren’t tigers are they?
      Scare stories, we all have ’em.

      • mimif says:

        How about the French woman, recipient of the world’s first full face transplant after her black lab ripped her entire face off while she was passed out?

      • Arlene says:

        Oh god yes, that poor woman.

      • lrm says:

        True, but what is the ratio of pittbull or mix attacks vs. other dogs? And the percentage of mortally wounded or permanently scarred/disabled?

      • ketjo says:

        The average here in the United states on death or severe injury by pit bull attacks is averaging 2 or more a week….yes a week… that is over 80 percent of injury or death by the total of all deaths reports… .Right now every animal shelter and dog pound in most states are filled with large dogs who are pit bull or mixed pitbull at least in this area of North Carolina… I am a dog lover but until you walk out to your stock pen and find 8 Emu’s who weight 130 lbs or more apiece torn to pieces and mangled all over the pens and a huge Rottweiler/Pit Bull laying over one of them with their blood and feathers covering his mouth where he had being savaging it…..Even the Sheriff deputies were afraid to go into the pen to catch him and they call in a wildlife bear team to dart and tranquilize it before getting near it….So you can beat your breast all you want for love of the breed but I have seen what they are capable of doing…..

      • mimif says:

        Sorry to hear about your emus, ketjo. Links, please, on your stats.

    • chloeee says:

      @ketjo I really hope one day you are fortunate enough to experience love from a pit bull. I was never scared of them per se before I met mine, but I absolutely was more cautious around them. I didnt trust them only becausr of what I had heard. A family friend couldn’t watch his and the dog ended up with me for a year. That year taught me how to not only be responsible but how to be open minded, it humbled me. Animals are a blessing and a lesson on what it means to be human. They deserve more respect and credit than we give them. I only hope you can experience that too.

    • Lauraq says:

      ketjo Emus have killed people too. You shouldn’t keep them as pets, they are like tigers.

  18. bns says:

    I grew up with two Rottweilers and they were the absolute best.

  19. Wren33 says:

    Like others, I don’t think the issue is the inherent aggressiveness of the dog, but the problem with how much damage they can do when they do bite. While I know lots of people with sweet pit bulls and feel uncomfortable with a ban, laws also must recognize that lots of people out there won’t train their dogs well, and some dogs will react in they are challenged or get scared, no matter how well-trained they are. I have a small terrier. When she was around 1, she nipped my niece’s face when we turned our backs and my niece stuck her head in my dog’s food bowl while she was eating. She didn’t break the skin at all, and has never bit again, but I was terrified. You can be attentive and protective of your dog, but unless you are perfect, bad situations can arise.

    Of course, if you ban pit bulls, other larger dogs with the perception of aggression will fill that niche I am sure.

  20. Mean Hannah says:

    It’s been repeated enough here, but no pets should be left unattended with babies and young child(ren), regardless of size and breed. I don’t let my 3 year old alone with my cat, and it’s more for her benefit than his.

    I’ll add to the defense of Pitt bulls: the sweetest dogs I have ever had and met were Pitt bulls. I have seen some of them be aggressive – mostly towards other dogs and twice with people – but I have seen plenty of other breeds be aggressive, too. The difference is that Pitt bulls were always provoked and they were the only ones who allowed me to physically intervene when they were being aggressive. Someone said above that her grandfather was never afraid to put his hand in his pitt’s mouth and I’d agree with that.

    • Wren33 says:

      But even that doesn’t solve all problems, which is why training is so important. Like my story above – my dog nipped my niece in a room full of people. And having two small kids myself now, even if you are close by, a little toddler can very unexpectedly lurch over and grab a dog. So, you need to have a place where the dog can retreat, make sure it feels safe in general, immediately rescue and protect it if a kid gets handsy, and train, train, train it to not snap or growl. And with all that, you never really know when a dog may snap.

  21. Jayna says:

    With children involved, I would never ever ever ever have a pit bull. Not all pit bulls that attacked were raised by bad people like always gets thrown out there, oh, it’s just bad owners. That’s too broad a brush. Just my opinion. I know others feel differently. That damage done is too great a risk for me.

    And when I visit relatives in Georgia who live on big, beautiful farms they have had pit bulls a few times, so I have been around pit bulls. It’s not that I try to say all pit bulls are evil. It doesn’t change how I feel.

  22. lrm says:

    Seriously, this pitbull thing has become the new civil rights movement [after celebrity privacy, of course]. #firstworldproblems to the max.

    One thing I ahve noticed (not on this thread but in my life) is that *some* folks who go out of their way to defend this breed have an rebel attitude-like they are such bad as*es to own a pitbull and everyone else is so misinformed and clueless. and be damned with what other people think. I think that’s the problem for me: The current societal entitlement issue has spilled over into this pitbull issue. There may be some truth to the points made by those advocating for pitbulls, but honestly, imagine what results we could see from these efforts applied to larger issues, whether animal welfare/rights or another concern?

    Also, there are so many other breeds/options, why constantly complain that your landlord cannot/will not take your pitbull? And why say things like ‘other dogs bite or attack too’ when it’s known that pitbulls and similar mixes have a death grip?

    My child, as a toddler, was chased down by one in a local park. Fortunately, my husband and the dog’s owner say it happening and were able to reach the situation before it went south which would have been instantly. [my child was simply playing and the dog [who we didn’t even notice until then, and it was unleashed] went after him]. I shudder to this day. My child had a dog phobia for many years, and I just kind of let it be b/c randomly petting dogs isn’t a good idea, anyway. Now, he loves dogs and all is fine. Though, people used to tell me he needed therapy just b/c he didn’t want their dog jumping on him at the park. Seriously, even when I explained the situation, people regularly acted as though it was unreasonable that he didn’t like dogs. Obviously, this is a touchy subject re: pitbulls, and dogs in general. It does seem like we all have a pitbull/RT attack story though. I also know of doberman stories and yes, sometimes the odd other variety of dog-particularly if they were adopted and had a traumatized background-one that appears latent but could resurface at any time.
    This happened to a family member, dog bit his face when reaching down to pet him out of the blue. Since they had just adopted, they chose to return the dog and the SPCA actually blamed them and questioned what they had done! Unbelievable. Dogs are unpredictable; that is what we can take from this thread of comments, too.

    But in terms of pitbulls, if there is a high rate of attacks, it’s similar to any insurance actuary/calculation: Skydiving (or whatever) is more dangerous. Yes, people get injured or die doing many other things, but certain activities are considered more dangerous by design and therefore will not be covered by certain policies, etc. The trend with pitbulls has created a similar situation. Statistics don’t lie, though can be manipulated of course.

  23. RobN says:

    In the 9-year period from 2005 to 2013, pit bulls killed 176 Americans and accounted for 62% of the total recorded deaths (283). Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 74% of these deaths. (From AHRQ, a govt. organization. )

    Do they bite more often than the nasty chihuahua across the street with the idiot owner who lets it run wild? Maybe not. But the chihuahua isn’t killing anybody.

    It’s the degree of harm inflicted that is the problem; I don’t doubt for a minute that there are wonderful pits and rotties and wonderful owners, but that’s a lot of dead people and it doesn’t even include the number of people permanently disfigured.

    Have any dog you’d like, but don’t dismiss the dangers by pretending they’re all just part of a p.r. campaign and yours is just a big baby.

    • Mikeyangel says:

      This! All dogs can be good or bad. Unfortunately Pitt bulls got their reputation from facts. There are plenty of great Pitts but there are plenty that aren’t. Facts are facts.

    • jane16 says:

      Thank you RobN. Well said. My brother has a pit, and it is very sweet, but one of my friends was recently attacked in front of her house by two pit bulls that belonged to her neighbor and were out wandering without a leash. Fortunately, she’s a tough lady and fought them off til her collie came zooming into the fray, and the two pit bulls got a little of their own back and then took off. Her neighbor barely apologized for the attack. I hope my friend sues her.

  24. PoliteTeaSipper says:

    I worked in a children’s hospital for many years. After all the children I’ve seen come in completely mauled by pits–and yes, EVERY SINGLE dog attack was by a pit–crushed skulls, broken femurs, the absolute works–(either the family or a wandering stray) I will never allow one on my property or near my family. Honestly, I don’t care if that offends anyone, because I have the right to decide who my kids and dogs come into contact with. A friend from church nearly lost his child when a wandering pit attacked the boy playing in his own sandbox. My neighbors let their pit wander free until the dog was shot by another homeowner when it tried to attack their family pet. I can’t believe the friends I had who called me “ignorant” for not wanting that pit on my property harassing us and how “you need to socialize that pit.” It is NOT my responsibility to socialize my neighbors dog and I am sure as hell not going to put my kids and dogs lives at risk trying to socialize a pit.

    I understand they can be sweet but after the aftermath I’ve seen for my family it is simply not worth the risk.

    • Illyra says:

      Thank you for posting that.

    • mayamae says:

      Every dog bite may have been blamed on a pit, but it’s unlikely every dog was a pit. I worked as a recovery room nurse for years, and every child that I took care of with a dog bite, were attacked by NON-pits.

      Sometimes the hysteria is a little over the top.

  25. HoustonGrl says:

    I don’t really have an informed opinion about Pit bulls, just anecdotes and personal experiences. When I worked as a reporter on the police beat, 99% of dog bites were pit bulls. The problem with that particular breed is that, not only were they bred to be aggressive, but also to have very strong jaws. I think to own a pit bull is a big responsibility, though that’s true of owning any animal. Perhaps one solution would be to require owners of certain dog breeds to obtain a license, and to obtain such a license would require education and dog training, much like driving a car. This could also help control dog fighting. It’s sad, I wish there were a better reality for these dogs, I know many are automatically euthanized in shelters.

  26. mayamae says:

    I wish people would apply some of this self-righteous pearl clutching and outrage to those breeding and buying wolves and wolf hybrids. Talk about a loaded gun.

    • mimif says:

      No kidding. I’ve said it ad nauseum lately, but I’m all for regulating cat & dog breeding, along with much stricter punishment for those who commit animal cruelty. IMO it’s the only way to curb the national disgrace that is our pet overpopulation problem. I’d also like to add that violence towards animals directly correlates to violence against humans, so this is our problem as a society. Just like children, animals have no voice of their own and as stewards of their welfare, I believe we all share a collective responsibility to ensure their health & safety, regardless of the breed.

      My neighbor breeds high percentage wolf hybrids. Those animals scare the sh-t out of me, and I’ve seen it all in 20+ years of volunteering with various animal welfare groups.

      • mayamae says:

        The wolf business is so bizarre. Owners actually brag about how close their pet (generation wise) is to complete feral wolf. They track it closely.

    • Nayru says:

      Breeding wolf/wolf hybrids should be straight up illegal.

    • Lauraq says:

      One of the best quotes about pits I heard came from a police officer who moonlighted as a security guard in the department store where I worked when I was 16 and my family had pit bulls.
      “There are pit bulls and there are pet bulls. When you get to know them, you will find that most pit bulls are actually pet bulls.” He told me he had had to shoot a few dogs in his career, but he knew many more friendly dogs of each breed than aggressive.

  27. Teddy says:

    I work in rescue and have fostered many pit bulls and own three. It is all about the owner and how the dog is treated. I don’t get many unsavory apps for the fosters, hopefully the stereotype is waining. I was afraid until I owned one and now I realize how silly that was. When you judge you shut yourself off to many great opportunities. Also, they were bred as farm dogs not attack dogs. They were the poor mans plow.

    • RobN says:

      The unsavory types don’t adopt fosters, they take a puppy from a friend of a friend who brags about the size of their dog’s head.

      It’s nice that you help out, but judging what you’re willing to put in your home, with your kids, is part of everyday life. There are lots of great dogs out there who are much less of a risk and deserve a nice home just as much.

  28. mimif says:

    Yeah the joke used to be that pits made the worst guard dogs ever because they just wanna lick you like a Popsicle and sit in your lap. Once again, there’s a group of sociopaths who are breeding for inherent aggressiveness and they are the ones that need to be targeted and punished. Not to mention the original APBT standard was considered a small to medium size dog, not the mammoth, huge headed 120 pound outcross mongrels that get passed off as pits today. God, my loathing for humanity just rose a little bit today…

    ETA: This was meant to be in response to ^^Teddy.

    • Kiddo says:

      I hope I didn’t hurt your or anyone else’s feelings. But until the assholes get removed from the picture, there will be restrictive laws or measures, especially in highly populated /congested environments. It’s rights or freedoms of owners versus rights and/or liability of others, and the idiots always create the need for legislation and rules. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

      • mimif says:

        You certainly didn’t hurt my feelings*, and I think it’s important to address the issue with intelligent discussion from both sides. I definitely don’t disagree with people who don’t want bully breeds and don’t want bully breeds around their kids, but I do disagree with some of the profiling and media hysteria. (I actually agreed with you upthread earlier this morning but it got fake baby’d.) And I agree with you here. The only way, the only way this situation will ever end is if it is totally regulated. And that means ferreting out all the freaks that drive dog fighting underground. There are veterinarians who have been busted as part as dog fighting rings(!). There are Instagram pages devoted to showing off game dogs, bloody, wounded, crushed victims of dog fighting, with followers who are wildly cheering them on. These are all symptoms of a desensitized & complicit society.

        One of my good friend’s 7 year old daughter was the victim of a pit bull attack. She was alone in the kitchen with the family’s food aggressive dog, whom attacked her over some string cheese. She spent a long time recovering, complete with plastic surgery. He shot the dog on site and told me henceforth he would shoot any pit bull that crossed his path. All this while my 35 pound American Pit Bull Terrier rescue was sitting on her lap and licking her hand (because she looked nothing like what “pits” do today). I’m not excusing what his dog did by any stretch, but IMHO, he is responsible for a)not taking his dog’s food aggression seriously, and b)leaving his daughter alone with a dog with known aggression issues. So many facets to the stories…but ultimately it is we who are responsible.

        *I don’t have feelings. When do we get to talk about fun/funny stuff again? BRING BACK THE BOOTY SHORTS.

  29. Amy says:

    My bichon frise (a small white curly haired dog often mistaken to my great annoyance to poodle) was such an odd dog. He wasn’t an aggressive dog at all and was very friendly with people and dogs. As he got older however, he got grumpier and would sometimes snap at other dogs who got into his space. We were never sure why–we didn’t teach that to him and he always remained friendly with people. But with certain bigger dogs he got mean so I’d have to scoop him up to avoid him hurting another dog and him getting hurt. I was always afraid he’d provoke an attack from another dog so I started warning people with bigger dogs to stay away (of course some ding dongs wouldn’t listen). Bichons are known for being friendly and playful but ours got aggressive with bigger dogs as he got older and we never figured it out. All dog breeds can be aggressive. It’s such scarier when it is a bigger dog.

  30. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Since many people defending holding a bias against the breed are basing their argument on “statistics”, “breeding”, etc. how about a fact – pitbulls, statistically, are heroes, nannies, and just plain loving pets, FAR more than the negative stories of abuse that are the only ones we ever hear about. . The whole point of this campaign is to dispel the negative, it’s also worth pointing out that even after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of humans, many of the Michael Vick dogs went on to be cherished family pets
    How many other breeds would be so forgiving? Educate yourself before you decide to discriminate. How can it be a breed’s “nature” to attack humans when it has suffered it’s whole life at the hands of humans, only to seek love when offered? A perfect example of this is a pitbull called Calista, who was a bait dog who lost her ears. She’s nothing but love.
    Stop the breed demonizing, it’s not fair on the dogs or their owners. SO happy Jon Bernthal is standing up for this cause.

  31. Alex says:

    I have an 11 year old rescued pit who was tied to a tree in the middle of nowhere as a puppy and left to die. I know a lot about the breed and have done fostering and rescue work. My vet has owned 3 pit bulls and all of these dogs have been wonderful, funny, sweet, love monkeys. My dog has been attacked 3 times by off leash fluffies which she shrugged off and ignored. You cannot stereotype the ‘breed’. They are individuals and should be treated as such. They should never, ever be human aggressive. Any responsible pit bull advocate, rescuer, etc. will tell you that human aggressive pits should be put down immediately. It’s not part of their natural temperament and it’s basically unheard of for a pit bull to not show some form of human aggression and then to just go off. There are always warning signs. Unfortunately they are the breed of choice of moron douchebags with tiny weenies trying to either make money or inflate said weenie. Hopefully the tide has changed as more people adopt and provide a more positive profile for pit bull owners. There are a lot of great groups out there working hard to educate and facilitate change, being one of the absolute best!

  32. Dani says:

    I’m a veterinarian and the responsible owner of a very loving (and handsome!) black male pitty. Any dog can be aggressive and all dogs require appropriate socialization and training. Breed specific legislation is absurd.