Professor Clara Blenis
English 101 TTH
2 May 2013
Considered to be aggressive, and with jaws that lock without release until the victim is tired of fighting or dies from blood loss, it would seem that pit bulls are bred for combat. In fact, it may appear as such because pit bulls were bred to “bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head” (“Pit Bull”). As a result, breeding an animal like this drew people who enjoyed watching animal fights, which eventually gave the misconception that pit bulls are a dangerous breed. This misconception, along with irresponsible owners who didn’t socialize their dogs properly and/or wanted a dog that had a tough look, resulted in pit bulls becoming victims of the media, which portrays the dogs as vicious monsters that have one mission: to kill. The media releases stories of pit bull attacks on a seemingly bias basis, which has destroyed the dog’s original reputation as a family dog.
During the early 1900’s, pit bulls were the face of the military and America as a country and were used as family dogs for the protection of children. For example, a pit bull named Sergeant (Sgt.) Stubby is the most decorated dog in military history and the only dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought in 17 battles in the trenches of France during WWI for 18 months (“Stubby”). Unfortunately, stories like this were drowned out by negative media reports, and society has turned on the once beloved dog. Even though there are many reports of vicious dog attacks that have lead to pit bull specific bans across the country, pit bulls should not be banned because they are misrepresented due to irresponsible owners, victims of pit bull hysteria, and they have one of the best rated temperaments. The amount of media reports of pit bull related attacks gives the appearance that pit bulls are an unpredictable and ferocious dog. As a result, a website called dogbite.org written by Colleen Lynn, a victim of a pit bull looking dog bite and who has no background in animal behavior or veterinary medicine, only reports dog attacks reported by the media, as opposed to credible animal behavior sources such as American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or the National Canine Research Council (NCRC). According to Dogbite.org, there were thirty-one fatalities as a result of a dog attack in 2011, and seventy-one percent of those fatalities were caused by pit bulls (dogbite.com). The site’s references consisted entirely of “information [that] was gathered through media accounts that were available at the time of the attack or found through Internet archives, including: Google News Archive and AccessMyLibrary. Each fatality also lists ‘source citations,’ which links to its related citations” (dogbite.com). These “source citations” are all reports recounted by the media and have no other information regarding the attacks, which shows that people are being coerced by the media to essentially hate pit bulls. Subsequently, these misrepresented reports has led to the ban of pit bulls in almost all rentable homes across the United States, and has caused county wide, and even state wide bans against this specific breed. In fact, these bans are due to the media’s over reporting of pit bull attacks. A report by the Denver Post cited a reporting from the NCRC, showing that in a four day period the evidence of anti-pit bull bias is more than just speculation. The reports are as follows: “August 18, 2007 — A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers. This incident was reported in one article in the local paper. August 19, 2007 — A 16-month-old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed-breed dog. This attack was reported on twice by the local paper. August 20, 2007 — A...