The outdated debate, “It’s the owner, not the breed,” has caused the pit bull problem to grow into a 30-year old problem.1?Designed to protect pit bull breeders and owners, the slogan ignores the genetic history of the breed and blames these horrific maulings — inflicted by the pit bull’s genetic “hold and shake” bite style — on environmental factors. While environment plays a role in a pit bull’s behavior, it is genetics that leaves pit bull victims with?permanent?and?disfiguring?injury.
1It’s the owner not the breed
The pit bull’s genetic traits are not in dispute.?Many U.S. courts?agree that pit bulls pose a significant danger to society and can be regulated accordingly. Some of the genetic traits courts have identified include: unpredictability of aggression, tenacity (“gameness” the refusal to give up a fight), high pain tolerance and the pit bull’s “hold and shake” bite style.2?According to forensic medical studies, similar injuries have only been found elsewhere on victims of shark attacks.3
Perpetuators of this myth also cannot account for the many instances in which pit bull owners and family members are victimized by their pet dogs. From 2005 to 2011,?pit bulls killed 128 Americans, about one citizen every 20 days. Of these attacks, 51% (65) involved a family member and a household pit bull.4?In the first 8 months of 2011, nearly half of those killed by a pit bull was its owner — one was even an “avid supporter” of Bad Rap, a recipient of Michael Vick’s dogs. #