There's no denying that pit bull type dogs have a bad rap. Stories of dog attacks in the news often involve pit bull type dogs. Many people are afraid of them. Some groups want to ban or restrict the ownership of these dogs through breed specific legislation. Are pit bulls actually bad dogs?
The issue over pit bulls is a controversial one. Those who support breed specific legislation have some compelling arguments. Many BSL supporters or their loved ones have been the victims of dog attacks by pit bull type dogs. However, most people who have truly known and loved pit bull type dogs find them to be loving companions. Are all pit bulls good dogs? No. But they are not all bad. Some are the result of irresponsible ownership and/or irresponsible breeding, both of which can cause behavioral issues in ANY dog breed.
Personally, I adore pit bull type dogs. I currently have a pit bull mix that is great with people and other animals. Most of the pit bull type dogs I have known were wonderful pets. Sure, I have known a few with behavioral issues, but most of them had responsible owners who took the right steps to protect the public while properly addressing their dogs' behavioral issues (through training, socialization and behavior modification). It is my opinion that breed specific legislation is not the answer. Instead, the focus should be on teaching the public about dog bite prevention and educating dog owners (and potential dog owners) about responsible dog ownership. However, I feel for the victims of dog attacks, pit bull and otherwise. I do not wish to make light of their tragedies.
Do you think pit bull-type dogs deserve the stigma that is attached to them? Share your opinion in the comments.
Need more information about the issues? Learn more:
What is a Pit Bill?
Breed Specific Legislation
Dog Bite Prevention
Training to Prevent Dog Bites
Dogs and Aggression
American Pit Bull Terrier Profile
American Staffordshire Terriers Profile
Photo © Brian Honan