The American Kennel Club Has No Breed Standard For Pit Bulls

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17 Responses

  1. Madrocketscientist says:

    I swear cops get points toward retirement for every dog they shoot.

  2. Ken says:

    Surely there is selection bias going on. But at what stage? Perhaps some people become police officers because they like to kill dogs.

    With respect to mail carriers — I once prosecuted a woman who maced a mail carrier. The mail carrier had removed his mace from its holster to mace her dog, which was attacking, and the woman grabbed the mace and got the mail carrier straight in the eyes. Then the dog bit the mail carrier.

    A dog-shooting incident also formed the basis of one of the very few instances I have ever seen in which a grand jury no-billed an indictment. The INS [as it was then called] showed up at a house to serve a deportation warrant. The deportee's mother let the family dog out — probably with intent to have it attack the INS agents. The INS agent shot the dog dead. The INS then insisted that the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecute the woman for assault on a federal agent. The office, showing rather a lack of client control, agreed. The grand jury didn't.

  3. jb says:

    Radley Balko's "" has a whole section on puppycide. It's really quite appalling.

  4. bw says:

    In my view, it's a training and competence problem:

    -Anyone whose job requires encountering dogs has a responsibility to learn how to read dogs' body language and reliably determine when a dog actually is attacking, and EVEN IF a dog is attacking,

    -No able bodied adult capable of passing the physical criteria for entry to a police academy should ever need a weapon to deal with an attacking domestic dog.

    I spent a summer in college working for a public interest campaign contractor, circulating petitions door to door across two counties. Even in the roughest redneck neighborhoods, I never encountered a dog I couldn't stare down, or, at a decidedly non-athletic 5'9", physically subdue, including several rotts, danes, and pits.

  5. J Random says:

    There are certainly instances of police shooting dogs without cause – heck, there are more than one where you can watch the video of shootings that are completely unwarranted.

    That said, you can only take the mailman comparison so far – if, say, someone running a crack house maintains a stable of vicious dogs for 'security', the mailman can just refuse to deliver to the house. An officer serving a warrant can't do that.

    I wonder if some 'how to work with dogs' training might help officers with perhaps a bit of a dog phobia to handle things better.

  6. dave says:

    I think it isn't just police officers (even though they are doing the shooting), but a broader cultural confirmation bias. I have a six year old pit terrier that I rescued from a shelter (unnecessary pics here: ). I rescued her from a shelter outside of Denver, where all the humane society and rescue organizations have been flooded by pit-like dogs in in outlaying suburbs because of a ban in Denver. The comments i and reactions i have gotten with here in public are appalling. I have had my neighbors threaten to shoot her if they "saw that f***king dog out, cuz i don't like them fu***king pit bulls" In 5 years, my pit has never showed any aggression toward a person, or even barked at one. And there is a reason they are being banned in municipalities across the country, even though traditionally bred pits are bred to be non-aggressive toward people, just like Labradors are bred to retrieve. Its because they have been vilified by the media and people associated them with black and latino people. The racist undertones of the ban in Denver (where I have lived) are not really undertones at all, but pretty openly racially motivated by the advocates of the ban when they discuss it.

  7. Patrick says:

    How did you teach your dog to climb a tree, Dave?

  8. dave says:

    Didn't really teach her, a lot of pits know how to climb trees it is instinctive for them. All of them can, but most of them don't know it, my dog was the same way with swimming. Took days for her to get into the water for the first time, but after that can't keep her out of it. Once a most pits get into a tree for the first time, can't keep them out of them out of them going after toys, squirrels, cats, etc. I try not to encourage mine because they sometimes fall out and get hurt or climb up high enough that they have a hard time getting down. The way I have seen other people do it is use a small squeaky toy in the tree to trigger their prey drive while you hold them back a little so they get a running start and don't just jump at the base of the tree, and then let them go. There are some good youtubes of it:, tons of videos if you do a search.

  9. Chris says:

    From wikipedia:

    In the late 1800s to early 1900s, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering APBTs: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association. The United Kennel Club was founded in 1898, and was the first registry to recognize the breed, with the owner assigning the first number to his own APBT.

    Was there really some sort of schism among Kennel Clubs in the late 19th century over pit bulls? Fascinating.

  10. dave says:

    Chris, Thats true, in fact APBT's are only recognized by the UK kennel club, and not the american kennel club. The American Kennel club does not recognize Pit-bulls as a breed, so there is no such thing as a "pure-bred" pitbull, except those that or from the UK lines and papered. That is one of the major problems with the supposed pitbull bans, there is no way to tell which dogs are pitbulls and which dogs are not. A lot of people say that the AKC recognized Staffordshire terriers are the same breed, but that is not correct. Staffys were bred for bull baiting, and were at least in part the genetic predecessors of the American pit bull terrier, but they do not have the dog-fighting breeding and heritage that makes APBT's a distinct breed in the UK and with our colloquially known pitbulls in the US. I do not condone dog fighting, but that specified breeding is what has given traditionally bred pitbulls a lot of the characteristics that caused them to be known as the "nanny breed" and a favorite American breed during the early 1900's: an affinity for people and children, a tendency to not be barkers, and great athleticism. This is one of my favorite topics, i will probably write a longer post over on my own blog when I get a few min.

  11. Chris says:

    Every day you learn about something else you're completely ignorant of. I look forward to your blog post.

  12. FIREhat says:

    I've been a firefighter for 12 years, a sizable portion of that in rough urban neighborhoods, and I have NEVER been attacked by a dog or even threatened in a manner that could not be dealt with non-violently. We go into homes on fire and medical calls everyday and it's just not an issue. Perhaps the problem is the body language of the cops (Superman pose) or their smell (smarmy weasel).

  13. bw says:

    Or maybe it's the mere fact of their armament. When you carry a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

  14. SG says:

    Perhaps it's all because training costs money, while bullets are cheap.

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