Grrrr. Pit Bulls.

by Kerry Dougherty

Harrowing. Bloodcurdling. Horrific.

Those are the only words I can find to describe the latest two pit bull fatalities. Last Wednesday afternoon two children, a 2-year-old girl and a 5-month-old boy, were savaged to death by their family dogs in Millington, Tennessee. Their mother was mauled into critical condition trying to save the lives of her kids. Family members report that the dogs had been part of the family for eight years and had never shown signs of aggression.

Look, I don’t care how many angry, witless pit bull owners come at me, the fact is, I’ve written about too many pit bull incidents since 2001 to care what they have to say.

In fact, their defensive posture is tedious, disingenuous and always the same.

My first column on this unpredictable, muscular breed was written in 2001 when an 11-year-old girl in Great Neck Meadows was mauled and nearly killed by a neighbor’s pit bull. A sweet, lovable family pet. Of course. Who chewed his way out of his house and mauled a kid shooting hoops by herself in her driveway.

Over the years I’ve documented the deaths of a Suffolk toddler, an 82-year-old Spotsylvania woman, a 22-year-old Goochland woman who was ripped apart by her own lovable pets and, closer to home, a 90-year-old Virginia Beach woman who was disemboweled and had most of one arm chewed off by her daughter’s newly adopted pit bull. She died, incidentally.

I’ve also written about accounts of docile family pets shredded by pit bulls who attacked them on the beach, in parks or in their own yards, although these incidents are too numerous to document.

In August a friend wrote to tell me that he and his little dog were attacked while walking through their Outer Banks neighborhood by a pit bull:

“Walking my dog this morning a neighbor’s pit bull broke its wire leash and attacked us. Bit me, then got my dog by the throat. I tried to beat it off but no use. I carry a pen-knife and saw no alternative so I stabbed the dog to death. My dog will live but may lose an eye. I have a splint on my hand and can kiss a few days of work goodbye.”

Look, I’m a dog lover. As every dog lover knows, canines were bred for different jobs and temperaments. Those characteristics are hard-wired into their DNA.

Pit bulls were not bred to be nanny dogs as many pit bull owners foolishly argue. They were bred to bait bulls. More recently, they’ve been bred to fight.

There’s a reason Michael Vick was raising pit bulls and not poodles in his Surry County dog-fighting operation.

Yes, I am sure there are docile, well-tempered pit bulls. But there have been far too many incidents of these dogs with no history of aggression suddenly attacking to allow kids around them.

Don’t let your children near these dogs. If you have a pit bull and decide to have babies, get rid of your pit bull. It’s not worth the risk.

Any questions? Ask Colby and Kirstie Bennard, the parents of the dead Tennessee children.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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6 responses to “Grrrr. Pit Bulls.”

    1. Kathleen Smith Avatar
      Kathleen Smith

      Come live in Petersburg, it is Pit-Bull friendly.

    2. Thanks for pointing that out, Dr. Semantics.

    3. PeterTx52 Avatar

      an excellent article from a “pit bull” apologist

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    It’s the owner more than the breed although some breeds are more disposed towards aggression. I know folks who have docile pit-bulls… for years.

    The people who have aggressive pit-bulls are involved in that behavior.

    Just like most “dog-training” is not for the dog but the owner.

  2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    This is sad news. I had a neighbor with a vicious pitfall- Soprano. The neighbor was an idiot with a live in friend he would abuse. One night I had the police and the city mayor chasing that dog as it had tried to attack me when I got home from work. From my car, I called the City Manager’s home and let him know I wanted him to be as inconvenienced as me. I was not able to get into my house at the end of a long day and I hoped he was attempting to relax at the end of a long day. He would not be relaxing. Lucky for me, I was able to get into my car. Kids are not so lucky as they wait at bus stops. (Most people in my neighborhood go with their kids to the bus stop for reasons like unfriendly pit bulls.) That night the dog attacked the owner’s other pit bull. Ripped her apart. I told the police officer the dog would lunge. He was going to try to coax it with a big ham bone he had received from a local barbecue. Evidently, in Petersburg, pit bulls are a common dog in need of police back-up. As the dog sat atop a brick wall, the officer tried to coax the dog to him. It lunged. The policeman fired at Soprano. He was dead. The City took the owner to court. He was fined. Probably bought another dog, I am not sure, he moved. There is redemption.

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