Bad Dogs…Bad Dogs…Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

Gasp! Why won’t somebody save that little girl in the photo from that scary looking Pitt Bull! Most likely, it’s because the dog she’s lovingly hugging isn’t the least bit vicious, but as a Pit Bull, has been stereotyped as dangerous, nonetheless. 

In all seriousness, there is obviously nothing funny about being attacked by a dog, or the injuries that can result in humans and other animals.  However, there’s been a lot of talk in various communities about what to do when it comes to dog bites and aggressive dogs. One solution that’s being considered in many places is breed-specific legislation (BSL).

BSL places bans or restrictions on certain types of dogs based on their appearance because they are perceived as dangerous.  If the breed isn’t banned altogether, certain restrictions can include having to muzzle the dog in public or having to purchase excessive liability insurance.

Those who are in favor of this type of legislation no doubt have good intentions, and want to promote safety in their communities. However, BSL isn’t doing anything but targeting dogs based on how they look, with no regard for their actual disposition and it is not an effective approach in regards to controlling dogs’ behaviors within a community.


BSL is fraught with flaws:


  • It does nothing to actually prevent bites and/or attacks.
  • It punishes responsible dog owners…and sweet well-behaved dogs!
  • It doesn’t hold irresponsible/criminal dog owners accountable.
  • It requires dogs to be identified by breed, which can’t always be done accurately. Try taking this neat little test to see if you can identify the Pitt Bull.
  • It costs a whole lot of money.
  • It wastes animal control’s time, which they could be using to help animals that need it.
  • It can ironically, in some cases, result in a increase in popularity of certain breeds by irresponsible or criminal owners.
  • It opens the door for those who wish to abuse these dogs to move on to another breed.





BSL is also not supported by any legitimate canine organizations, such as The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Kennel Club, the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, the Humane Society, etc.. Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declines to support it stating that, “There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.” Aggression is also a behavior that isn’t determined by genetics alone.

While many dogs suffer scrutiny, the most targeted breed is the Pit Bull, which isn’t even really a breed, rather it’s a term used to describe several breeds. Lumping these breeds together and comparing the “Pit Bull” to other breeds regarding bites and attacks mucks up statistics a bit. It would be like comparing “large breeds” against a Pomeranian.

Other dogs that have been targeted include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Chows and even surprisingly Labradors and Jack Russell Terriers.

If not BSL, then what? Fear not, there are plenty of viable alternatives. For starters, education is a critical first step on informing the public about what they can do to avoid dog bites in the first place.  The CDC, American Veterinary Medical Association and United States Postal Service have partnered to create National Dog Bite Prevention Week to educate the public. Since most dog bites occur in children, it’s particularly important to teach them how to interact with dogs, even if they don’t have one.

Just like people need to learn about dogs, dogs also need to learn what’s acceptable behavior. Training and socialization are vitally important for dogs. Owners can check out local facilities like shelters and rescue groups to see if they offer training services. If nothing’s available, see if they can get some funding. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a task force examined the costs of a 1996 Pit Bull ban in the county. They found that the cost of confiscating and euthanizing one dog was $60,000.  The total costs from one year of the ban amounted to $560,000. Seems like that kind of money would be better spent on prevention.

Last, but certainly not least, responsible breeding and prevention of abuse go a long way in keeping everybody happy and safe. Breeders, which are mostly unregulated, have the opportunity to play a role in dog’s future. Through responsible breeding practices and placement of dogs, aggressive tendencies can be reduced and dogs can live out their days with responsible owners.

For the most part, puppies are a lot like babies. They’re born a blank slate. It’s our responsibility to make sure they’re well cared for, and don’t fall into abusive situations.  BSL is tantamount to banning cars in drunk driving cases, instead of punishing the driver. 

Sign Care2′s petition to stop BSL here



Meredith D.
Meredith D8 years ago

Teresa, I sincerely hope English is not your first language, because what you wrote made absolutely no sense. Try sentences, punctuation, and proper word usage. It's "muzzle" not "nozzle" and you don't know anything about the history of the pit bull breed. You are commenting out of fear not knowledge. And OF COURSE you should watch your children while around dogs. Otherwise your little "bundle of joy" could be poking the poor dog in the eye with a stick. How do you expect a dog not to defend itself or snap if it is being harassed? My friend has the gentlest black lab; a true sweetie who gives me hugs and kisses every time I come over. He bit a small child once; the child's parents were too busy getting drunk to notice their kid was taunting the dog with food and then pulling it away. The kid was scraped by the dogs teeth (a scratch, not a bite, which would be a puncture wound) and of course it was all the dog's fault. What about the parents?!? They were severely inebriated while responsible for the care of their child. My friend went to the bathroom and when she came back, the kid was hurt. Now whose fault is that? The dog getting harassed or the drunkards who weren't paying any attention to what their kid was doing? And pit bulls aren't fighting dogs by nature, they just have the build for it, and so unscrupulous people teach them to be vicious. Those annoying little yippie dogs have bitten my ankles more times than I can count; THEY are vicious.

Joan Fleming
Joan for Peace9 years ago

totally agree, and sign every petition that will help the dogs being discriminated against

Stacey S.
Stacey S9 years ago

ANY Dog can attack. I was bitten by a Delmation when I was a child. Not just Pit Bulls. Once an animal has been mistreated it can be rehabbed just as all but one of the Vick dogs were, the one that wasn't was too ill, the rest were trained as rehab dogs just as thousands of other pit bulls are. Muzzles should be used on a case by case basis. People need to be responsible for their pets, as do parents for their children. No one needs to approach a dog on a leash, if they are afraid of being bit. I personally don't like Ceasar Millan as I think he teaches obedience with unnecessary harm to an animal in the form of choke chains and other things I've seen him do. By far Victoria Stilwell is much more kind in her approach and uses no cruel methods to the dogs she trains, including no use of choke chains, which in themselves can cause an animal to bite out of fear, when pulled on in a manor by it's owner that causes fear. Dogs tend to attack and kill on instinct especially in groups. The breed doesn't matter. PIT BULLS WERE BREAD TO BE FAMILY DOGS, hence their nickname "NANNY DOG", BECAUSE THEY ARE SO GOOD WITH CHILDREN AND ARE SO PROTECTIVE OF CHILDREN. However, any animal that has been breed or used to fight, that can't be rehabbed (continues to show signs of being aggressive) should be kept off of public streets. Cities should have a test to show that a dog must pass to show it is not aggressive with a fee for those that don't pass the test, to be kept only on private prop.

Megan P.
Megan Penney9 years ago

I have volunteered at the local animal shelter for almost 5 years and the pit bulls at the shelter are the lease of anybody's worries. The shepherds, small dogs, labs, and hounds are the worst. Especially the shepherds. I personally have 3 standard poodles because a member of my family is allergic and they are wonderful dogs but from the shelter there are even stories of poodle attacks, especially in toy poodles and royal standard poodles. I also had a cocker spaniel and he bit my brother 5 times, me once and 2 of my dads customers. I have heard a TON of stories on cockerspaniels attacking people, especially children. Pit bulls can, like with any breed, be the best dogs ever. Its really sad watching them spend their lives in a shelter because people are afraid of a pit bull. ....Watch, one day we won't be able to have any dog or pet in general. Well maybe pet rocks, but who knows, pet rocks can be quite dangerous.

Denise T.
Denise T9 years ago

It's all in the ignorance of the dog owners. Being a previous breeder of Rottweilers and still own one (and always will), I am an avid supporter for the rights of Rottweilers (obviously) and have never had one vicious Rott to speak of. I am in the process of training my current Rottie to be a therapy dog, he will be visiting children and adults alike in the hospitals and nursing homes. These officials need to own a so-called "vicious" dog and let's see how they end up feeling once they get attached to their own companion.

Michael Brunson

It is always trajic when a small child is attacked by an uncontrolled animal. This is nothing to make fun of either. However, the nozzle thing bothers me. Does this help the animal spit more acurately? Perhaps that was the source of it's frustration, always drolling on him or herself. As far as attacks are concerned I have found that an ill controlled animal is much safer if muzzled.

Stupid dog owners, I will not mention names like Michael Vick, are generally the real issue. Dogs do what they are taught to do or revert to pack instinct. That includes protecting their perceived pack from outside intruders. If not taught the difference between friend and foe they err on the side of caution.

Cars kill more people, including children, than dogs. The same goes for tainted foods, guns, mis-informed politians, and people with anger issues. People who don't protect their children are of course never to blaim! I think it says so right there on page seventeen of the, "I May Be Too Stupid To Raise a Child But It Is My Right," handboook given out by every hospital to new parents.

It is also a well known fact that if you put down (kill) pit bulls all jack russells will fall right in line. I expect it will get the attention of those darned old Chows as well. (The dog breed not what some refer to food as.)

If you live in certain areas of the country it would be a good thing to hire people like Sarah Palin to nozzle bears, mountain lions, and let's not forget snakes.

phyllis s.
Phyllis S9 years ago

What a shame! I have owned pitts and NO,they were not BAD dogs.Old saying"There are no bad dogs, just bad OWNERS!!!We have got to stop advancing hate in any form!!

Teresa Caldwell
Teresa Caldwell9 years ago

on our news today a 3mth old baby was attracted by a pit bull and a jack Russell dog the baby died from its injuries we here have a law that all pit bulls must be nozzle and kept on a lead at all times when your out with them these dogs scare me never mind a child they weren't bred to be pets although some are but they are a fighting dog and now these dogs if the vet says they are full bred bull dogs much be neuter and the bleed to die out yes i own 2 dogs so not a dog hater but you must watch your kids with all dogs

Charmaine Gonzalez
Marie Gonzalez9 years ago

The pit bull looks scary but that does NOT mean that they are dangerous - in fact, the sad fact is that once the dog is maltreated, it WILL turn bad.

Naw H.
Naw H.9 years ago

never leave the little child with any pets .We can't imagine the animals' minds however they are very clever.