Myths and Facts about Pitbull Attacks
It seems like there is a news story about a pitbull attacking a child or adult in Los Angeles every other day. On one side of the issue is a belief that the breed is inherently dangerous, and it should be illegal to even own a pitbull. Meanwhile, the other side argues that it is the owners who are at fault due to abusing their dog or failing to train it properly and that no breed is by nature dangerous or should be outlawed.
Let’s look at some of the most common beliefs about pitbulls and evaluate their merit.
Pitbulls Are a Dangerous Breed
False. There is no evidence that purebred pitbulls are inherently more dangerous to other animals or humans than other dog breeds. Studies by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that examined dog bite and other attack-related occurrences concluded they were not due to genetics, but rather other, often preventable factors. In fact, temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) showed pitbulls achieved a passing rate of over 80 percent (compared to only 77 percent of other dog breeds), indicating they are not naturally aggressive due to breeding alone.
Certain Dogs are Frequently Misidentified as Pitbulls
True. A Veterinary Journal study revealed that mixed-breed dogs were incorrectly identified as pitbulls in one out of three cases. Some may not even have pitbull in them, but rather be another bull breed. This leads to speculation that some of those news reports about vicious pitbull attacks may not involve an actual pitbull dog at all.
Pitbulls Pose a Risk to Other Animals
Partially true. While many pitbulls can and do live peacefully around other pets and behave fine around even strange dogs, there’s no denying that they were originally bred to attack other animals (usually larger). This indicates that any pitbull has a higher potential to react to a perceived threat by attacking, rather than fleeing like many other dogs. Owners must be cognizant of this and put in the effort to socialize their pitbull early and safely, and otherwise take responsibility for raising a dog that is not easily agitated or feels threatened whenever a strange dog or other animal crosses their path.
It is Too Risky to Adopt a Pitbull from a Shelter
False. It is true that a reputable pitbull breeder will be able to give you all the information you need about a puppy, such as its lineage, associated health issues, history of aggression, and other helpful insights that a shelter won’t know. However, a shelter can tell you enough basic facts about a particular puppy or adult pitbull so you make an informed decision. Make sure to ask if the dog has:
- Ever shown aggression toward other animals or humans
- Acted very shy or withdrawn around adults or children
- Exhibited any threatening or otherwise concerning behaviors
- Signs that it was abused, mistreated, or bred/used to fight other dogs
You might also ask if you can take the dog home on a trial basis to see how well it gets along with your family and other pets before committing to an adoption.
Dog Attacks Cause Serious Injuries. Contact a Lawyer
The truth is any dog can turn out to be dangerous given the right circumstances, regardless of breed. If you or a family member is bitten or otherwise attacked by a pitbull or other dog, the owner should be held accountable for any injuries sustained. Call Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, and get the financial support you need to recover from a dog attack.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.