About Breeds

The Real Truth About Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls are very strong, that’s true. But that’s not a crime. That doesn’t negate how sweet and lovable they are. We don’t hold it against people for being too strong, right? No, we don’t. Having said that, people shouldn’t just walk up to strange dogs without clearing it with their human family first. That’s not a Pit Bull issue, that’s just using common sense.

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As with people, it’s all in the upbringing. Pit Bulls have been tragically exploited as fighting dogs for a long time now. Fighting dogs are thrown on treadmills and forced to tirelessly and endlessly run. Dog fighters do that to increase their dogs’ stamina so they can last longer in the ring. Their dogs are underfed and trained to be hostile. If people were faced those same conditions, I’d image they’d be hostile too.

Flashback to 2007 when football star Michael Vick’s dog fight operation, Bad Newz Kennels, was raided. Normally, Pit Bulls in these conditions are deemed unable to be rehabilitated and are euthanized. But Best Friends Animal Society and the Bad Rap rescue organization weren’t having that. They stepped up and took the majority of the dogs in. 48 of the 51 Pit Bull-type dogs were placed in foster or re-homed. Their recovery caught the eye of the media and earned the name, “Vicktory Dogs

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Layla, a “Vicktory Dog” passed her Canine Good Citizen test in 2013. Image via Best Friends.

As a human dad to five dogs, one being a Pit Bull, I can attest to the sweetness of this breed. I find it quite offensive that Pit Bulls are associated with such fear and violence. Pit Bulls, like other breeds are born innocent. From there, the onus is on people.

History of Pit Bulls – A Quick Look Back

Pit Bulls were created by breeding bulldogs and terriers together. The purpose was to have the strength of the bulldog and agility of the terrier.

The breed’s history dates back to the 1800s in the UK, where they were used to bait bulls (bullbaiting). Years later, bullbating was deemed inhumane. In a ironically tragic turn of events, straight-up dog-fighting took its place. People revered the best fighters as heroes.

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It was not until 1976 that Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act and made dog-fighting illegal in all 50 states. But by the 1980s, dog-fighting was on the rise. Some think that criminalizing it actually made dog-fighting more appealing to criminals. Others think a 1987 article in Sports Illustrated entitled “The Pit Bull Friend and Killer” influenced the rise of dog-fighting.

Breed Specific Legislation

The increasing public awareness of the horror of dog-fighting and the supposed “dangers” of Pit Bulls gave rise to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the late 1980s. Breed Specific Legislation is a law or ordinance that either bans or restricts ownership of certain dogs based on their appearance. Most BSL affects these breeds (or dogs that resemble them): American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, or any mix of these breeds

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Hundreds of municipalities have now adopted BSL. However, at least 20 states have passed statutes that forbid their cities and towns from enacting BSL. The issue remains highly contentious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites. The study concluded that there is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals. The CDC recommended that dogs be evaluated on an individual basis, not on a breed basis. The study further notes that dog bite statistics can’t be fully relied on because they lack context. For example, many dog bites are defensive bites that occur when dogs are trying to defend themselves. But the statistic only picks up the bite, not the nature of the bite. Statistics about which dog breeds are responsible for the largest number of bites are also misleading, since they speak more to the popularity of specific breeds rather than to the breed itself.

Pit Bull rescue, Rocky of Puerto Rico – A Personal Story

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It was an ordinary Thursday on November 19th, 2015. I was out walking three of my dogs at a close by park. The next thing I knew, a Pit Bull-mix living on the street approached us.

Originally, I would be quite concerned. As my three dogs and I continued to walk, the pittie followed us. When we stopped, he stopped. Eventually, he walked right up to us and sat down.

I realized this dog was not a threat at all. He was letting me know that he was lost and didn’t know how to take care of himself. So I took my three dogs back to the house and came back to the park to sit with him. That was 727 days ago. He’s never lived on the street since then.

Rocky is now my best friend. I call him “My Little Big Guy.” He’s little in the sense that he was a year old when we first met in the park. He’s big in the sense that physically, he’s a large dog. And he has completed my life. When I’m with him, I’m able to forget about my cares, concerns, and anxieties and do nothing but delight in his enthusiastic companionship. Rocky is a living illustration of the question, “Who rescued whom?” Indeed, he rescued me.

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Editor’s bio:

Scott Smith is the pet editor for ConsumersAdvocate.org, as well as a content creator and social media expert. Scott also runs a large animal community, “Everybody Loves Sammy,” which he created about seven years ago, and it’s known all over the world now. Sammy is one of his 5 dogs. “Everybody Loves Sammy” is just the name now. The community itself is about animals and people from all walks of life. Additionally, Scott created the Dr. Harp Seal community, the “I’m a Pig Man” advocacy message, the Drive With Compassion movement in Puerto Rico and most notably, wrote and recorded “Where is the Geneva Convention for Animals?”, which can be heard on SoundCloud by Dr. Harp Seal.




  1. Terry Pagel

    Jul 27, 2019 at 1:36 am

    Shouldn’t this article be called “My Opinion About Pit Bulls?”.

    It’s a bit of an organizational mess with a nice anecdote about a pit bull. They’re is also much confirmation bias and a good heap of logical fallacies. By owning one dog you can attest to the whole breed? These would not bother me if the title did not promote truths.

    If you want to objectively convince people out bulls are safe, then do it. How many of the Victory dogs became docile pets? Just the one? If there are statistics to support your case, use them. Pointing out contentions, using Anecdotal evidence and preaching to the choir don’t help your cause.

    Also, would enforcement and adherence to restrictions make communities safer? Obviously, having them is not enough.

    For instance, I have two anecdotes regarding pit bulls. One is about a gentle female pit that was a gentle pet to a colleague of mine many years ago named. I loved that dog. The other is about two pits mauling a former schoolmate of mine to death. (It’s not a statistic because the breed is popular.) Neither make an actual case. But the mauling to death is a bit stronger and more visceral.

    The onus is on you to do better reporting. It won’t affect me. I think permitting should be in place to ensure the owners are able and responsible, not the dog or it’s breed. Too many people are terrible pet owners, and The pets suffer the consequences- and many times the public. Nobody wants more regulation, but who is looking after the pets and ensuring standards are met? Are the pets cared for? Are they a nuisance or worse? In many ways it’s a public health and safety issue for man and beast.

    I worked for years at a pet store. It’s ridiculous what people are allowed to buy for pets. Many of which are almost impossible to properly care for. So many animals are sold to die in the care of people who aren’t up to the responsibility. I don’t have a solution, just a different point of view.

    Knowing there is no permits or checks in place for pet ownership, does the “right” of a neighbor to own pit bulls supercede the right to Scott’s right to live (and not be mauled)? Something should be done, but what.

  2. Jodie

    Oct 28, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Pit Bulls are amazing, they are all about the Love. I have been in local shelters and 25% of dogs are Pit Bulls. To see them in such a small cage waiting to get a Loving family has to be better than where they were before… You can see it on there faces I wanted to take them all home they are gentle Giants…Im so greatful fit everyone who steps up to help this breed survive and be understood…

    • Dot lindsley

      Jul 18, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      My son has a pit bull that we all claim her.Im the mom and she sleeps with me every night she is so sweet an loven.where I live if a pit is picked up they take them and put them down.they r not given a chance to be resuce

    • Terry Pagel

      Jul 27, 2019 at 1:54 am

      Why are 25% of dogs put in shelters pit bulls? The breed isn’t that popular. Maybe that statistic alone speaks volumes.

      Because they look sad in cages makes them good pets all about the love? Gentle giants? Pit bulls aren’t what I would consider giant. They are muscular and athletic, but not giant.

      Another anecdote, my neighbors pit bull is very aggressive. Though much of his bad behavior I put on the parents… But his aggressive actions are not the same as his bad behaviors, either.

      It’s a tricky issue. But I agree, people are mostly to blame. We bred these dogs for certain characteristics. Now we have to deal with them, but we shouldn’t ignore them.

      Certain items can be more dangerous than other items. You can know that and still choose to own them. You can even own them safely and responsibly. But that doesn’t make them less dangerous… Guns, dogs, knives, machinery, chemicals, etc.

    • Tony B.

      Oct 15, 2019 at 4:32 am

      Your post is spot on. I’ve had pitbullls in my family almost all my life and have two rescues of my own. (Adopt, Don’t Shop) I chose pit bulls because they are great family dogs, loyal as can be and so beautiful. One is an American Pitbull Terrier and one an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. My girls are amazing. The news/media just wants ratings. Despite popular belief, they love children and have a strong relationship with the neighbor kids around me. Please people, stop the hate. Its about the owner.

  3. J

    May 31, 2018 at 11:39 am

    What happened to Dax? Oh, pitbulls killed him….

    • Pmllny

      Oct 31, 2019 at 7:26 pm

      I adopted a 3 yr old abused pit 4 years ago…80lbs. She is the sweetest dog because I show her love and kindness and give her plenty of exercise. Pits that do attack are usually not treated well, e.g., tied up the the yard, never walked, not loved. Dogs are a reflection of how their owners treat them.

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