Turn your Doberman into a Poodle
July 6, 2005 7:13 AM   Subscribe

How to turn your Doberman into a Poodle. Worry no longer, attackchi will be making disguises for all the so called 'dangerous breeds'. Now you can go to the park with your kids and your dog (like you have been doing for years), without the worry of people thinking you are a bad parent.
posted by Ljubljana (80 comments total)
Hmm. If it's not a joke, then I can only imagine how much worse of a legal case someone has who wilfully disguised their dog before it attacked someone than the same person whose un-disguised dog attacked someone.
posted by odinsdream at 7:33 AM on July 6, 2005

Given that the disguise is remarkably ineffective, it probably will not affect a post-attack legal case one iota.

And if I were that dog, I'd bite my owner.
posted by orange swan at 7:40 AM on July 6, 2005

It's a joke. The entire point is that it's the same dog-- trained, well-behaved, and not dangerous.

Dangerous breed legislation is a huge problem, and it doesn't protect people at all. Most dog bites occur because of poorly trained dogs, not specific breeds. I have a Rottweiler mix who is incredibly gentle and sweet, but I had a hard time getting homeowner's insurance because of him, which is ridiculous.
posted by miss tea at 7:40 AM on July 6, 2005

Do they make a disguise kit for wives too?

I have a Rottie mix as well but you'd be hard pressed to see it in her without being told. We were told that it would be alot easier to get insurance by just listing her main breed (Catahoula) first and to try and keep the Rottie off the papers altogether if we could.

I do not envy legislators having to try and figure out a solution to all of these horrible dog attacks we've been having lately.
posted by fenriq at 7:46 AM on July 6, 2005

Fenriq-- no freaking way. Ours is Rottie/Catahoula too!! That's completely random. He's pretty small for both breeds (80 lbs) but has a big rottie-shaped jaw which makes it pretty obvious.
posted by miss tea at 7:53 AM on July 6, 2005

I hate dogs with costumes/hats/accessories on them. Either have some kids or get a life.

In agreement with miss tea. Here in Cleveland you have to register certain breeds with the city (pit bulls, rottweilers and chows) that have been deemed "dangerous". However, no registration is required for the idiot dog owners who torment them in order to make them vicious.
posted by SawBeck at 7:54 AM on July 6, 2005

attack chi. . . yeahhh they should make a kit for Russell Crowe since he has too much chi to be treated civilly by the pathetic losers
posted by nervousfritz at 7:56 AM on July 6, 2005

besides, your dog would have a heatstroke if you threw all that crap on them and took them to the park.
posted by puke & cry at 8:00 AM on July 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Miss Tea, here's my hound's photo album on Flickr, she has a great big personality and almost limitless energy!

But that is pretty funny. Most people have no idea who or what a catahoula is. I know I didn't before we got her.
posted by fenriq at 8:03 AM on July 6, 2005

Funny stuff, and it is ridiculous that some dogs are considered more dangerous than others, for the sake of insurance and whatnot. Some breeds are markedly more aggressive, but it usually takes human intervention to make that aggression an issue. Most of the time, that extra energy manifests itself as berzerk playfulness.

The only thing we could disguise our dog as is a shipping box, perhaps. She's ~100 pounds, boxer/pit bull mix, with a skull to match. Watching her run head-first into a wall while chasing a thrown maraca is quite awe-inspiring; the entire house rattles. Her size and vicious bark scares children and adults alike (although our 16 month old son uses her as a jungle gym, which does not bother her at all.) Apparently the violently wagging tail does not say "Oh shit! Play with meeeeee!" to most people.

Why are people so afraid of big dogs? Get a spine and some shit-kickin' boots if you're scared, pansies.
posted by Floach at 8:07 AM on July 6, 2005

Floach, with respect I hope your head-first into the wall dog never eats your 16 month old son.
posted by buzzman at 8:16 AM on July 6, 2005

fenriq, catahoulas were new to me too until we saw our boy. yours is a doll, great eyebrows. Here's mine, i posted him to my livejournal.

And to buzzman, what an ignorant comment. Did you know that more dog bites are perpetrated by smaller dogs like cocker spaniels and dachshunds? My dog has been attacked by dachsund twice (once in a dog park and once in someone's home). But of course he's going to be blamed for any incident because of ignorance like yours.
posted by miss tea at 8:25 AM on July 6, 2005

As an American Staffordshire Terrier owner, I'm against BSL in any way shape or form (and I got a laugh out of the link).

That said, Floach you're nuts for letting a child that young climb over any dog of any breed. That's an accident waiting to happen.
posted by dobbs at 8:25 AM on July 6, 2005

I'm not in favour of breed specific bans (though I think breed specific training and muzzling laws have their place), but I find the head in the sand attitude many people have about breed specific traits to be rather puzzling. Dog breeds are often described in terms of their traits - Shephards like to herd things, Labs like to fetch things, Schnauzers like to bark. Aggression, proclivity towards biting, etc, are traits, too, and they are much more common in certain breeds. When those breeds are the ones that have the potential to do damage, the problem gets worse. An untrained pomeranian is never going to be as dangerous as a well-trained Rottie, even if it bites more often.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:28 AM on July 6, 2005

An untrained pomeranian is never going to be as dangerous as a well-trained Rottie, even if it bites more often.

This is simply not true. A poorly-trained pomeranian can cause serious damage to an baby or small child.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 AM on July 6, 2005

The whole problem could be solved by banning dogs inside the city limits. We've done it with chickens and sheep, why not dogs. Think of the bliss of a dog free city. We could ban kids after that.

Realisticly though, there are idiots that own motorbikes that endanger me, idiots with Hummers that endanger me, and obviously idiots with dogs that endanger me. I look at it as one of the risks living around other people.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2005

An untrained pomeranian is never going to be as dangerous as a well-trained Rottie, even if it bites more often.

Not necessarily true- my son was bitten on the face by a toy poodle, and ended up spending a week in the hospital on heavy-duty antibiotics for the infection the bite caused. He was lucky he didn't die, and he very nearly lost his eye. As it stands, he can't *see* from that eye much at all. A dog doesn't have to bite chunks out of somebody to do serious, serious damage.
posted by headspace at 8:59 AM on July 6, 2005

Like fenriq said above, this is a difficult area. Almost any dog can be trained to be nice, or trained to be vicious. But a lot of dog owners are real pricks, and through bad training and laziness they risk a lot more harm to their dog and to people around them than they should.

Dog breeds aren't like human ethnicities in this respect -- as long as you don't make assumptions about any particular individual, with dog breeds it really is ok to make general statements about their average aggressiveness, intelligence, etc. That's what they were bred for. Really. And if they have a lazy asshole dog owner, the traits that were bred for will dominate whatever crappy training they were given. That said, a good owner can make a good dog out of just about anything.

I think it'd be good if there were a voluntary training test that you could pay for and have your dog take, that would certify the dog as nonaggressive and the owner as non-asshole. Renewed yearly. Proceeds go to shelters. If they've passed the test, give them the benefit of the doubt. Anything to encourage dog owners of all breeds to train good dogs.

Or something. It's a tricky issue.

*Disclaimer: proud papa of this guy*

(oh, and headspace, that's very sad about your son. My golden retriever puppy bit me in the eye when I was 4, and only purest luck saved me from a similar situation)
posted by gurple at 9:26 AM on July 6, 2005

Has anyone here ever heard from a Rottweiler owner who ever said their beloved Rottweiler was anything other than sweet, and gentle?

I haven't.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:35 AM on July 6, 2005

jeff-o-matic:It's probably because the majority of large dog owners are well aware of the risks and train their dogs well. And on top of that, large dogs tend to be more docile in my experience, if only because they're not threatened by much particularly if they're well cared for.

I can't help but wonder if this sudden "increase" in dog attacks is similar to the sudden "increase" in kidnapping a few years ago; that is to say, a calculated media fabrication in a slow summer.

With the Jackson case over, there needs to be something to raise hysteria and terrorism is so pre-election 2004.
posted by aubin at 9:46 AM on July 6, 2005

Has anyone here ever heard from a Rottweiler owner who ever said their beloved Rottweiler was anything other than sweet, and gentle?

I haven't.

I've never talked to anyone that has said, "Yeah, my dog? Total fucking asshole."
posted by 235w103 at 9:51 AM on July 6, 2005

dobbs, is Floach crazy because of the breed of the dog in question or because a baby is allowed to climb on a dog? Your statement seems to assume that Floach is not properly supervising the interaction between the dog and child and to assume that the dog is not properly trained. Horrible, tragic attacks do happen. However, the risks are greatly mitigated by solid training and careful observation.

I am sure that Floach knows his dog and her particular personality. I currently own a Boxer/Pit mix and a Bernese Mountain Dog. I am comfortable with both dogs getting hugs, sometimes full body hugs, from my 4 year old. In our house, there are rules which have been enforced since my son was born. For example, if the dog is on her pillow, she is to be left alone. This way, she has a spot to go where she knows she won't be bothered by anyone. It is when she, the Boxer/Pit, comes off her pillow that she gets hugged on. While we're still working on the Berner's training, we find that the other will follow the commands on the other side of the room even though we're not talking to her.

Over the years, my family has had 9 Staffordshire Terriers. Eight were gems. One was so overly protective of my Mom that he was dangerous and had to be removed from the family. I remember having to follow similar rules about how we interacted with the dogs. I also remember using them as pillows while watching cartoons and wrestling with them until we both fell over exhausted.

From my POV, training and knowing your dog make the biggest difference.
posted by onhazier at 9:55 AM on July 6, 2005

Miss Tea, he's adorable with those big gentle eyes and gorgeous coloring!

I should add a disclaimer to my statement above about dog breed legislation. I do know that there's a serious difference in jaw strength between a, say, golden retreiver and a pitbull. Pitbulls can generate up to 2000 pounds per square inch of pressure (if I remember correctly) which is enough to snap bones. Golden retrievers can generate up to something like 700 pounds per square inch, which isn't anything to laugh at but is not as dangerous as 2000 pounds/sq. inch, obviously.

The danger represented by dogs like pits and rotties is that they have such massively strong jaws that they can crush skulls and other bones. I don't have a problem with making it harder and harder to have truly dangerous breeds that are capable of such damage. Even the best trained hound can lose control from time to time, I'd just prefer it were not capable of crushing my skull.
posted by fenriq at 9:58 AM on July 6, 2005

It's probably because the majority of large dog owners are well aware of the risks and train their dogs well. And on top of that, large dogs tend to be more docile in my experience, if only because they're not threatened by much particularly if they're well cared for.

Yes and yes. We have a Shepherd/Rottie mix adopted from a shelter. He's a super dog, but he's 115 pounds, so he's been trained within an inch of his life. He walks beside me, keeping the leash slack, because pulling on the leash isn't tolerated. I see people dragged around by 40 or 50 pound dogs and wonder why they allow that. I've seen nippy little terriers, and wouldn't allow that, either.

And jeff-o-matic, a well-trained, well-socialized [insert breed name here] can be a wonderful dog. A poorly trained, unsocialized dog can be a real problem, regardless of breed.
posted by ambrosia at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2005

gurple writes "I think it'd be good if there were a voluntary training test that you could pay for and have your dog child take, that would certify the dog child as nonaggressive and the ownerparent as non-asshole."

But seriously, I'm not too fond of dogs by way of natural reaction. I've lived with a few and got to know a few others and loved them all, so I don't hate them. But in a general sense I've always disliked the fact that my life out in public has to be a little bit scary because of them. I don't really subscribe to the view that I have to adapt and learn to be unafraid when strange dogs come by or learn to overcome my (natural, not over the top) fears and treat them in such a way as to minimize theats or the like. Licensing/laws/muzzles/government sponsored dog training classes -- all good ideas I guess. But I wish there just weren't so many dogs bred and owned and out and about.
posted by peacay at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2005

Most amusing solution. The mal-formed headgear especially, looks like this big 'poodle' has a major dent in his skull. But, think of the horror, the trauma all round, when he gets in a fight with another big odd-looking poodle and poodle parts start flying around all over the park.
posted by scheptech at 10:13 AM on July 6, 2005

Some breeds are just stronger than others and don't make for good neighbours in public places, so they get banned.

Before anyone says we don't do this with people, think again. People of (or without) certain citizenships are not allowed in certain countries. For example, let's say you're Cuban and want to enter the USA. Not going to happen. Iraqi? Probably not going to happen.

Does that mean it's "right"? Not necessarialy, but life sucks... ho hum.

IMHO, it would be much more fair that anyone whose dog attacks and manages to cause serious damage must spend 6 months in jail minimum, whether they are provably a good owner or not. This way people will be discouraged from buying a breed that can cause serious damage if it goes loco.

Of course, then dog owners would bitch (lol) that they shouldn't be responsible for a dog that goes crazy. OF COURSE YOU SHOULD BE. You're the dumbass that decided to be the sole controller of a killing machine. When people kill others in car accidents do we just ignore it? No, we charge then with manslaughter, no matter how sorry they are.
posted by shepd at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2005

I have quite a few dogs, *cough*five*cough* including a chow mix. When he was a puppy, strangers took it upon themselves to lecture me on how dangerous chows were. Now, when people ask what kind of dog he is, we reply, "A Siberian Cheesehound." No one will admit that they have no idea what that means - and no more lectures.
posted by tizzie at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2005

A friend of mine's chow, a crazy-dominant bitch with lousy training, went into heat and killed their labrador while they were out. They came back to a scene out of a bad horror movie.

Not that that's at all relevant to the discussion. I just thought I'd share.
posted by gurple at 10:18 AM on July 6, 2005

We had an evil Dalmation we dispatched to the shelter. That dog was fucked up.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:57 AM on July 6, 2005

It's probably because the majority of large dog owners are well aware of the risks and train their dogs well.

This may be true of the majority of dog owners you know, but it certainly doesn't apply to the majority of dog owners I know. A lot of pet owners, in general, are slightly neglectful people who bought them because their kids begged, or it seemed like a good idea at the time. They barely manage to walk them regularily, never mind train them properly.

I know some very responsible dog owners, with very well trained dogs - dogs that are trained to follow orders properly from anyone, but that are *also* trained to behave properly when they're unsupervised by humans. They could own "dangerous" breeds with no problem. But many more of the dog owners that I know can't teach their dog to sit and stay, never mind not to attack the neighbour's kid when he comes in the dog's space to retrieve his lost ball. Good dog training is difficult and time consuming, and it involves more than teaching Fido a few cute tricks for him to do for treats.

The problem, definitely, is the owners, and not the dogs, but if the dogs have natural tendancies that the owners can't or won't curb, then the dogs become a problem for others.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2005

"Yeah, my dog? Total fucking asshole."

Yep, that's one of my dogs. Loves people, loves children,
hates other dogs. She's a cattle dog that we got from a
rescue shelter. We call her psycho dog. She's made great
improvements, but she'll never be normal.

My take on "aggressive breeds" has more to do with the
owners of those dogs. If you want a "pit bull", or a "canary
dog", or a dobie or a rottie, then you should be checked
for aggressive tendencies before you're allowed to
have the dog. People who want an aggressive dog will
make aggressive dogs.

Gurple, did they put that chow down?
posted by the Real Dan at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2005

ohazier, I specifically said I thought he should not allow a child that young to *climb on* a dog of *any breed*.

The breed of the dog was irrelevant to my comment. As is the training level. True, I do not know Flaoch's dog (or how well behaved it is), but I do know this: it's a dog. And it's a living creature. Which means it has moods just like any other creature. A 16 month old human has very little capacity to judge a dog's mood. Were an attack to take place (with a well trained dog), I would be more likely to blame the infant than the dog. However, blame helps neither the dog or the baby post-attack.

And yes, I was specifically referring to unsupervised play, since Floach did not specify the details or "rules" as you did in your own post.

In my dog owning years I've had two bulldogs, one Pit Bull, and one American Staffordshire Terrier (still have him). My dog is very well trained and is not human-aggressive in the slightest. Sure, he hates racoons, but who doesn't? :)

Pitbulls can generate up to 2000 pounds per square inch of pressure (if I remember correctly) which is enough to snap bones. Golden retrievers can generate up to something like 700 pounds per square inch, which isn't anything to laugh at but is not as dangerous as 2000 pounds/sq. inch, obviously.

This is pure horseshit. There is no way to measure a dog's bite in this fashion. None. Please stop spreading lies about things you obviously know nothing about. This bullshit is affecting many people and dog's lives in a very negative way!

In addition, feel free to look at the results of American Temperament Test Society's Breed Statistics, which places Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers in the 83%+ pass range--above average and above German Shepherds, Collies, and other popular, "friendly" breeds.
posted by dobbs at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2005

When I take my Chow to the park, I'm equally cheezed off by people who take it upon themselves to tell me "Lady, you've got one aggressive dog there" and Parents who don't stop their kids from yelling "DOGGIE" and running towards her, leaving it to me to tell them this dog is not for petting. Now if I couldn't handle my dog, I wouldn't take her to the park, and I accept it's responsibility to deflect both kinds of situations. It is a bit strange though. So the initial link made me laugh.
posted by rainbaby at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2005

Dachshunds don't kill people.
posted by buzzman at 11:20 AM on July 6, 2005

the Real Dan, no, my friends didn't put that chow of theirs down. I'm not sure if they reported the incident in any way. And it still lives with their other remaining living dog. My friends are examples of terrible dog ownership.

Kids and dogs in the same family. It's a lot of responsibility. I'm pretty non-human-aggressive and I've been well trained not to bite children, but I can't speak for my reflexive actions if I were jolted out of slumber by a rugrat poking me in the eye. Kids gotta learn respect around dogs. We've got a few years left before we have kids, and we're exposing our dog, carefully, to every kid we can find. It's good for the kid and the dog.
posted by gurple at 11:31 AM on July 6, 2005

dobbs, why so hostile?
I think it would be possible to measure bite strength.
The easiest and most obvious example I can think of would be if one breed of dog can easily bite through bones and other breeds cant, then the first breed obviously has a stronger bite.
posted by Iax at 11:56 AM on July 6, 2005

The problem as I see it is less the fault of the dog breeds themselves, but more the idiotic culture of "bad-ass" that they're often associated with.

I've got Pitbulls in the houses to each side of mine, and several more in the immediate area. In almost all cases, it seems the dogs were selected not so much for their loyalty, companionship, or "sweetness", but to compliment the owner's "kick-ass" Celicas, "edgy" tribal tattoos, and overall "I don't give a f**k" attitudes.

No matter how gentle the dog may be in reality, it's definitely not the impression these owners are trying to promote (as evidenced by the ridiculously oversized choke-collars and chain link leashes).

I think the mentality and desired effect is similar to walking around with an AK slung over one's shoulder. On its own, there is nothing inherently bad about it, but it's made plainly obvious that the potential to cause great harm is there should the owner wish it... "So don't f**k with me!"

F**king dimwits.

One day I was trying to wash my car in my own driveway, and one of the neighbor's Pitbulls got through its gate to come charging at me. I had no idea I could jump to the roof of my car so quick.

If it had been a Pomeranian, Jack Russell, or such, I would have laughed and sent it into the air with a swift kick, but what the hell are you supposed to do when a thick-skulled muscle-with-teeth comes at you when all you've got is bare skin?

Although the owner finally made it out to grab the dog (about 2 minutes later), I was pissed as all hell, and got even more infuriated once I considered what might have happened had this been a day where my 2 year old daughter wanted to help wash.

There were a few nights when thoughts of rat poison-filled hotdogs filled my mind...

Beyond that, and about a year ago, my wife was bringing in groceries, and got cornered in front of our house by another (different) neighborhood Pitbull that had gotten out (again, it was several minutes before the owners realized this and came to get the dog, during which time it just stood in front of her snapping and barking). Needless to say, my wife was very shaken up about the incident.

I can't speak to official statistics for innate aggressiveness, but neither of us has ever been cornered by a Golden Retriever or Irish Setter (maybe only because no one keeps these "wussy" breeds anymore?). Maybe it's just a case of "which came first?"... The dog is perceived as aggressive, so it is purchased by those wanting "aggressive" dogs, who then raise it to be such. But where did it get that rep to begin with? Bad PR?

We've been living in this neighborhood for 15 years now, and it's sad to say that the recent influx of all these "testosterone breeds" has been a major factor in making us consider moving. As it stands, there's nothing more we can do but wait for the next incident, and pray that it will remain bloodless.

Funny thing is that I am (and always have been) a dog lover. I was constantly surrounded by dogs growing up. As an only-child, I often considered my first dog like a sibling, and loved it as much. Thing is, everyone I new always took really good care of, and respected their dogs (especially my farmer grandfather and his ranch dogs). Growing up in the country, I also new it was important for dogs to have plenty of space to "be". No one I knew ever kept a dog as a "bad-ass" accessory.

That said, I think banning the breeds outright is an overblown reaction, but since we're not going to alter the motivations of the cretins who want the dogs in order to serve their vanity and gain some "street cred", what else are we to do?

7 day waiting periods? Background checks? Mandatory training?

How do we strike a balance between the rights of the people who can properly care for this sort of animal, and the rights of the families who just want to walk their streets in peace?

It pains me, but at this point, I'd consider pushing for reinstatement of the "right to carry", so the next time a member of my family is threatened, I can return the gesture swiftly and equitably.

(sigh)... "Welcome to the Wild West", I guess.
posted by numlok at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2005

I've never talked to anyone that has said, "Yeah, my dog? Total fucking asshole."

There's a woman in my apartment building who has two miniature Dobermans. They are the nastiest little brutes ever. I love dogs, but I swear to God when it comes to these two, given the opportunity, I would pull the trigger without a qualm. They are constantly aggressive and must be tightly leashed at all times.

One time as this woman was walking by the elevators and one of them opened, the dogs began snarling and barking like mad at the people inside. There was a eight year old boy at the front and he literally shook with fear and was afraid to get off and walk by these dogs. This woman snarled, "Jesus Christ, they're only barking. You don't have to freak out!" at this little boy. The child's brother had to drag him out of the elevator.

The woman later said to me that the only reason her dogs acted the way they did is because people overreact to them and it's all "their" fault.

Nope, you don't hear people admitting their dogs are assholes. Anymore than you hear them recognizing that they themselves are assholes.
posted by orange swan at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2005

Poisoned hot dogs, numlok? Shooting dogs? Have you, you know, called animal control or the cops yet? There are recourses for you, if these dogs are out of line. They may not work perfectly, and they may not ingratiate you to your testosterone-laden neighbors, but it's better than canicide.
posted by gurple at 12:11 PM on July 6, 2005

There's a truly lousy big-dog owner in my neighborhood who lets his agressive rottie mix wander around unleashed, but almost all the dog owners I know with 'dangerous' breeds make a real commitment to training their dogs well. I think most people who adopt 'rescue' dogs are very clear on what they're getting into, and the time & effort it takes to socialise an abused dog. On the other hand, we have a lot of little "handbag" doggies around here that are vicious little biters (including the toy dachshund next door that's drawn blood on more than one occasion.) In my experience, small dog owners are far less likely to train thier dogs at all. Maybe dog training courses for anyone getting a dog liscense would help?

BTW, here's my North American Bixhund.
posted by maryh at 12:13 PM on July 6, 2005

Maybe dog training courses for anyone getting a dog liscense would help?

Unfortunately we've got enough unlicensed dogs running around already. I'm amazed at how many people who seem to consider themselves good dog owners don't have that little numbered tag on their dog's collar.

Nice pooch, maryh! Ah, flickr's back up, here are the pics of my Northwest Boozehound
posted by gurple at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2005

dobbs, why so hostile?

Because, as I said, people's lives and dog's lives (including my own) are affected by the spread of these lies--misinformation leads to ridiculous legislation and bias in media and other places.

I think it would be possible to measure bite strength.

Like it or not, your opinion on whether it's possible or not is irrelevant to whether it is actually possible.

the first breed obviously has a stronger bite.

I didn't say that different dogs and dog breeds don't have different jaw strengths. Of course a Lab has a stronger bite than a chihuhua. However, it is impossible to put a psi number to this and measure it in any reliable fashion.

How can it be done? Do the scientists get the dog to bite something and then say, "Fido, are you *sure* you bit as hard as you possibly can?" It's a dog. It's not human. You can't say, "Make sure you use all your strength!"

Also, if it was possible, it WOULD have been done. However, I've never seen such a study, even though for years I was in a position to. I have seen plenty of PSI numbers on blogs, usenet, and places like Mefi.

As I said, I have an American Staffordshire Terrier. For all intents and purposes, it's a large pit bull (according to the law). I possess all the upper body strength of the average writer and computer nerd. I can pry my dog's jaws open when he has something in them he wants to hang onto.

I'm hostile because I used to volunteer for an organization called People for Pit Bulls here in Toronto (no longer around). I worked with them for 4 years (built and maintained their web site). I saw all kinds of data pass through the place. Legitimate data (like the tests I linked to above) and total BS. I've seen media coverage of "Pit Bull attacks" which, when investigated, were done by Basset Hounds, American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and even Labs!

I'm hostile because in 2003 there were 12 reported Pit Bull attacks in Toronto. Over the same period there were 33 GSD attacks (German Shepherds). I saw Pit Bulls on the cover of the Toronto Sun for just about every one of those attacks. Didn't see a single Shepherd on the cover. Guess which breed my province is banning in August?

I'm hostile because my very friendly, well trained 7-year old dog will have to start wearing a muzzle this fall. Even though he has been attacked more than once in my own neighbourhood by "friendly breeds", even though I have to cross the street to walk past certain dogs in my area because they are not trained and very often not on a leash (my dog is on a leash at all times). It's fucking nonsense and I'm sick of it, and when I see bullshit "statistics" on places like Mefi, it makes me very, very angry.
posted by dobbs at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2005

How can it be done? Do the scientists get the dog to bite something and then say, "Fido, are you *sure* you bit as hard as you possibly can?"

Seems like they could just hook a dead dog's jaw muscles up to a car battery or something, yeah? Or count the muscle fibers, or something? I don't know that that's been done, though. Anybody?

Not that it really matters -- any dog can cause serious damage.
posted by gurple at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2005

Big dogs can become aggressive if kept in confined spaces, if they don't get to go outside to play regularly in open spaces. Ideally, people should have these dogs only if they can afford the space (possibly, garden) and regular walks/runs in the nearest park/beach/woods. Even aside from the potential aggressivity problem, it really can be almost cruel to keep them in a flat and only take them out for a quick walk round the block. At best, they get depressed.
posted by funambulist at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2005

(just-in-case-it-gets-misread ps - the above was not a comment on any of the commenters here! just a reference to examples I knew of)

fenriq, gurple, maryh: those are gorgeous dogs! (as is the one in the poodle-disguise page, poor thing). I'm so envious.

I've had mongrels of all sizes since I was a kid, mostly found or donated, and always wanted a pure breed. I just don't have the space now.
posted by funambulist at 12:42 PM on July 6, 2005

Dachshunds don't kill people.

Didn't you read Headspace's post? His child was seriously injured by a toy poodle.

In regards to people saying 'my dog is an asshole,' maybe you just don't know the right people. For example, I am wholly aware that my dog, if attacked by another dog, will bite (actually not hard, a warning bite, but it's not OK, obviously). He is in training to teach him how to disengage from aggressive dogs, but for the meantime he doesn't go off leash or to the dog park. He might never be allowed to again, which would be fine.

On the other hand, I am also wholly aware that my dog is a perfect angel with all cats, children, and other humans.

Why am I mentioning this? Because I acknowledge that sometimes dogs' behavior is not ideal, and it's the owner's responsibility to do something about it. It's not that hard to keep your dog on leash and train him, and there is NO REASON a perfectly well-behaved innocent dog should be muzzled, like Dobbs's boy.

It's too bad that numlok's neighbors are assholes. It sounds like the owners are the problem, and as such he should definitely call the animal control.

All we owners of so-called 'dangerous breeds' are asking is that our dogs be treated as the individuals they (and we) are.

BTW, thanks for the kind words, Fenriq. He's a very gentle and loveable little guy. (We call him little because he has such a self-effacing personality).
posted by miss tea at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2005

Pitbulls can generate up to 2000 pounds per square inch of pressure (if I remember correctly) which is enough to snap bones. Golden retrievers can generate up to something like 700 pounds per square inch, which isn't anything to laugh at but is not as dangerous as 2000 pounds/sq. inch, obviously

Scotties can do that too. I guess you need to ban them as well. Scotties are also probably crazier- one reason why I like them.

I hope someone tries, so I can start a "DONT BAN FALA" countercampaign and get this shitty plan wiped off the face of the earth.
posted by perianwyr at 12:48 PM on July 6, 2005

dobbs writes:
In addition, feel free to look at the results of American Temperament Test Society's Breed Statistics, which places Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers in the 83%+ pass range--above average and above German Shepherds, Collies, and other popular, "friendly" breeds.

OK. Feel free to look at the fatalities that pit bulls have produced. This is just the fatalities -- I can't find breed statistics on the 5 million non-fatal wounds inflicted by dogs each year. 70 fatalities from pit bull breeds and crossbreeds, out of 199. That's a little more than 35%. A call to my local vet reveals that about 3% of the dogs in the area -- which is about average, according to her -- are pit bulls. So statistically, pit bulls are probably around ten times likelier to kill someone than an average dog.

Which makes a lot of sense, given the information which pit bull advocacy groups attempt to hide: the breed was bred to exert a vicious bite and hang on despite whatever the multi-ton bull it was biting was doing to it, and then later, to fight to the death.

Would you accept an 83%+ pass range on temperament to a large man, trained to kill, with the intellect of a small child, and subject to sudden snapping mood swings, living in your neighborhood?
posted by felix at 12:49 PM on July 6, 2005

Gurple: "Poisoned hot dogs, numlok? Shooting dogs?"

We did call animal control after my wife was cornered. They came and spoke to the neighbor for a couple of minutes and left. Basically a verbal "slap on the wrist" about watching their gates more closely.

I have a feeling that it is similar to many other situations of the sort... Animal Control is looking at a potential paperwork/legal hassle if they come and take someone's dog. Getting loose and "barking" at a neighbor is simply not enough to warrant the effort.

I get the sneaking suspicion they'd rather wait for something more "tangible" to occur before stepping in, whereas I'd rather not take the chance.

As for shooting dogs: Like I said, I'm a dog lover, but if I were armed and being charged by an aggressive dog, I'd have no qualms about putting it in its place. Sorry...

I guess it comes down to "flee or fight", and since I'm in no condition or training to fight with a dog of that sort on my own (heh heh... pry an angry Pitbull's jaws open with my bare hands... right.) and can't run fast enough to flee (ever been chased by a dog while riding a bicycle? It's still hard to get away), I think I'd prefer to use Human ingenuity (read: gunpowder) to level the field.

That said, I have to agree with funambulist on the space issue. I don't know of any yards in the neighborhood big enough for these dogs to be comfortable. Add to that the increased stress of city-living, and you're pushing your luck.

Like I said, I think it has a lot to do with the escalating "bad-ass" trend, coupled with the trend of "dog as accessory" (Pitbull=masculine, Chihuahua=feminine) and not as a companion.

As for bite-strength, here's an interesting article on its research and measurement (though mostly about sharks, I think it is still relevant).

Ps. Despite all of this, I still recognize the humor in the "Poodle disguise". ;^)
posted by numlok at 1:21 PM on July 6, 2005

dobbs, note, I did say if I remember correctly and I did not remember correctly so I researched it and found this site that shows I accidentally added a "0" to the 2000 lb/sq. in when it should have been 200 and up to 450 for the big dogs.

But, just so you know, the way they measure bite pressure is by building a model of the animal's jaws. There is a show called Animal Faceoff that has been running for a while now pitting one dangerous creature against another in a virtual battle by this means. Its not fake science at all and is probably where I got that 2000 psi number, likely from another animal and I got my wires crossed.

And don't think you're the only dog owner here. I'm affected by the stupid laws as well.
posted by fenriq at 1:50 PM on July 6, 2005

Ah, I finally found it. The talk of hot dog poisoning (and I'm sure you wouldn't actually do it, numlok) reminded me of this story from Portland.

Some people lack a concept of proportionate response. If I ever find one of them, they'll also lack molars.
posted by gurple at 1:52 PM on July 6, 2005

Feel free to look at the fatalities that pit bulls have produced.

Pit Bulls is in quotes in that study and I didn't see what they defined as a pit bull. I assume it's not solely the American Pit Bull Terrier as then it wouldn't be in quotes. You probably already know this, but there are many breeds which get lumped in with Pit Bulls (American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, APBT, English Bulldog, etc etc.). German Shepherds, not in quotes (meaning the single breed), are on that same list with 30 kills. Rottweilers (no quotes) with 32. Do you see how this data is not exactly useful?

A call to my local vet reveals that about 3% of the dogs in the area

Uh huh. Well, my local vet owns an American Pit Bull Terrier. My dog's vet loves pit bulls and Staffs. Did you happen to ask your vet if s/he's in favor of Breed Specific Legislation?

Which makes a lot of sense, given the information which pit bull advocacy groups attempt to hide

Nonsense. It's on the history page of every single Pit Bull page I've ever seen. I'd be surprised if you could find me any page with a history of the dog that doesn't mention this.

If your research was as thorough as you seem to think it is you more than likely would have found out that

a) aggression against humans and agression against bulls (and any non-human animal) are completely different things. Many dogs are bred to be aggressive against animals (many terriers were used to kill rats and other pests; Ridgebacks were bred to taunt lions, etc.)
b) aggression against humans is a trait specifically bred out of Pit Bulls. Again, this information would be on any proper history of the breed.

Would you accept an 83%+ pass range on temperament to a large man, trained to kill, with the intellect of a small child, and subject to sudden snapping mood swings, living in your neighborhood?

I was with you up until the "sudden snapping and mood swiings" part. In case you didn't understand, this is exactly what the temperment test I linked to above is testing. APBT and other "pit breeds" are above average for NOT "snapping".

Anyway, regardless of what you think of the breed, let me ask you:

Is it fair that my dog, who:

-- is 7 and has lived in this neighborhood his entire life
-- has no human aggression whatsoever
-- is trained
-- is always on a leash (even in the off-leash dog park)
-- is registered with the Humane Society and Pet Net (always wears his tags)
-- has officially passed the Canine Good Citizen Test

Should have to be muzzled whereas the black Lab who lives above me, which is human-aggressive (my Letter Carrier carries mace because of this dog), is often off-leash, and has charged other dogs (including my own) gets a pass because, well, Labs are friendly. Everyone knows that!

Breed Specific Legislation is nonsense. Legislation that encourages owners to be responsible regardless of breed is what's required.

On preview, fenriq: thanks for the link and not taking offense. Though I still stand by my statement that to my knowledge there have not been any breed-specific scientific tests for jaw power. And as an aside, I can't believe there's a show called Animal Faceoff and that people watch it. :)
posted by dobbs at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2005

maryh, the dachshund has drawn blood more than once and is still alive? Why? Were complaints against the dog not filed? Were its bites brushed off because it is a small dog? I, as a big dog owner, resent that some little dogs get away with being nasty, bitey beasts while one nip from one of mine would probably end in the dog being destroyed.

I'm not fond of small dogs because I find them less predictable and more likely to bite. Specifically, I'm thinking of the toy breeds. Then again, this POV could be a result of having little long-term exposure to small dogs. My mom had her cheek ripped open by a small, crazy dog. She's lucky she doesn't scar and that they were able to stitch her back together so quickly.
posted by onhazier at 2:23 PM on July 6, 2005

Felix, my point was that I have seen my dog have problems with other dogs under certain circumstances, so I have taken steps to ensure that no problems arise. Obviously you never know what's going to happen in the future, or why the dog (not a 'dangerous breed') in that article went for the kid.

It's also very important to teach your children how to behave with dogs. I was very impressed with one little girl over the weekend (maybe 7) who came up and said 'may I pet your dog' instead of lunging for him. Her mother stood by and watched while she gave him a gentle pat. This is by far the exception, not the rule, sadly.

It's certainly true that any dog can injure a person under certain circumstances. It's up to us to ensure that those circumstances don't arise. And it's important to remember that this kind of thing can happen with any dog, not just the 'bad' ones.

I enjoyed this test.
posted by miss tea at 2:27 PM on July 6, 2005

Sigh. The dangerous breed thing is like the car thing: you can't find a way to stop dangerous owners from killing someone through negligence, so you punish everyone who owns the type of car or dog that a negligent person is "likely" to have, or that has the largest capacity to inflict harm in the hands of a negligent owner.

The sad thing is, there isn't a better solution. I wish there was, and I'd love to see one. I have two little tiny dogs, and one of them (after six years of ownership) bit me through my jeans yesterday when someone came to the door and he got freaked out. He's a little dog, though, and easy to fend off. If my dog were a great dane with the same temperament, I have no idea what might have happened. Similarly, the middle-aged lady who almost broadsided me when she ran a red light (and, oblivious to my screeching to a halt just out of her path, kept right on going through the intersection, oblivious) was driving a small economy car and wasn't going very fast; someone driving an SUV at a higher speed through the same red light might have hit me before I could take evasive action.

The big difference, of course, is that nobody's camaro is getting taken to the pound and put down, and while some dogs are actually menaces (due to poor training, abuse or mental problems), a whole lot of sweet, gentle and well-mannered dogs are getting swept up in this.

posted by davejay at 2:37 PM on July 6, 2005

And fenriq, I didn't mean to imply I was the only dog owner affected by dumb legislation.
posted by dobbs at 2:44 PM on July 6, 2005

Onhazier, the little weiner dog of death is still alive and well. I was talking to the neighbor a while back about the dog's barking (yet another charming aspect of the critter's behavior) and he blithely mentioned several times the dog had bitten co-workers & repairmen. I was speechless. I'm suprised he hasn't been threatened with a lawsuit. (Not 'nips', bites, as in bloodshed.)
Poisoned hotdogs? Yeah, I've fantasized about it.... But as awful as that dog is, it's pretty obvious where the real problem lies.
posted by maryh at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2005

dobbs, no worries, I know how amped I get when I hear people talking about aggressive dogs or when people I don't know start lecturing me on the dangers of having a big dog.

And my pup is still learning her control when we're out but she's bright and obedient. One of our exercises in the morning is to let her off her leash so she can run into the brush after rocks. And, on occasion, another dog will go walking by with its owner, my pup will, most of the time, not even glance at the other dog because she's so focused on the rock in my hand. Its pretty cool.

That and she chases clumps of sand on the beach. That's fun!

Just like laws had to be written to get asshole pet owners to pick up their animal's crap in public places, its a few bad seeds in the apple that screw things up for those of us who care for and about our four legged pals.

maryh, it would seem that your neighbor with the wiener dog needs a little bit of a reality check if he's unworried about his dog drawing people's blood on multiple occasions. Like, say, a letter from an attorney letting him know he's being sued for negligence.
posted by fenriq at 3:08 PM on July 6, 2005

I like it, good idea.
posted by hatchetjack at 3:30 PM on July 6, 2005

I never considered the devalue effect on a neighborhood that pits or rotts would have to potential buyers.
Still not finding a corelation between dashshunds and child deaths.
posted by buzzman at 3:55 PM on July 6, 2005

It is a true statement that dog breed reflects the personality of the owner(s). I have known dozens of pit-bull owners for example and to the one, they all share one or two personality traits that are common to AST owners. If that happens to make you mad then my point ought to be considered.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:40 PM on July 6, 2005

fenriq, just be careful with the offleash dog. When mine was a pup (I got him at 12 weeks old), he was also offleash (in an offleash park). He ate what 4 vets assume was some sort of poison and it permanently fucked up his pancreas. He's been on medication and a special diet for years as a result. Very expensive for me and pretty awful for him.
posted by dobbs at 5:17 PM on July 6, 2005

This is my staffy Tasha. She likes waves and is very aggro about it. I think she would be seriously depressed if she had to dress like a poodle to go to the park.
posted by alpinist at 5:19 PM on July 6, 2005

I guess Roy's tiger was just raised badly.
posted by HTuttle at 11:28 PM on July 6, 2005

Maybe it was raised badly.

Or maybe it just missed out on the more than ten thousand years of domestication, and breeding for biddability and gregariousness.

Because as you know, Bob, pack animals that we've been domesticating and breeding for biddability and gregariousness for somewhere in excess of ten thousand years that mass about the same as child or small adult are just like undomesticated solitary animals held in captivity that mass 2--3 times a big man. Because they are both mammals.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:22 AM on July 7, 2005

in response to dobbs' question:

No, it's not fair. That other dog, as well as your dog, should be muzzled.

I understand you love your dog, and think it's inhumane to treat it differently from other dogs. But the evidence is that
your dog is a dangerous weapon -- whether or not in your case it's 'loaded'. You say you have a neighbor above you -- that suggests that you live in a highly urbanized environment, certainly not a farm or a hunting preserve where a 'working dog' would be a necessity of life. That is the key to the problem.

Whether or not your dog is just the cutest dog ever and would never hurt a fly (which is always, by the way, the first thing the dog owner says after an unexpected violent mauling), the fact is that 83% is an absolutely terrible rate of success for temperament for a large, physically threatening creature in an urban environment. Maybe your dog is in the 83%, never crosses over, never makes a mistake or gets sick or addled and attacks someone else; great. But there are thousands of these dogs, and not all of them are in the 83%. And worse, there are many, many documented instances of 'nice pit bulls' killing or critically injuring people.

So in the interest of public safety, there are three choices. First, outlaw the dogs entirely in urban zones (my preference). Second, require lots of licenses and mandatory training for both the owner and the dog (politically infeasible, impossible to enforce). Third, mandate a muzzle in public. Out of those options, it looks to me like pit bull owners got away with the win by only having to muzzle their dogs in public.

I didn't ask if the vet supported breed specific legislation, because I was calling to discover factual statistics. She could be a pit bull maven, and it wouldn't change the fact that according to the numbers you can look up yourself, pit bulls are far and away the most dangerous animal you can keep.
posted by felix at 9:17 AM on July 7, 2005

Can't let the thread end on that one, I'm afraid, even if it's just symbolic.

Does anyone know the actual incidence of dog attacks, injuries, fatalities? I don't. I suspect that, due to their tragic nature, and due to the fact that a lot of people have some amount of fear of dogs, they're overreported in the same way that shark attacks are, and that overreporting, in turn, feeds the fear.

I can guarantee that dog attacks account for hugely fewer injuries and deaths than car accidents. Is that a useless comparison? Maybe not. Both cars and dogs are generally (not always, in the case of both dogs and cars) unnecessary in urban settings. With both cars and dogs, there's a certain contingent of owners who get tough-looking ones to show how macho they are and use them irresponsibly.

Both cars and dogs are a part of life, and we regulate them to an extent that tries to balance the protection gained from regulation against the harm caused by the regulation. Would you welcome a governor on your engine that prevented you from going over 55MPH? Over 25MPH in residential zones? Some people would. I wouldn't mind so much. Some people would be livid at the thought.

Whichever side you line up on, get involved locally. No community has a perfect solution to the issue.
posted by gurple at 10:19 AM on July 7, 2005

Does anyone know the actual incidence of dog attacks, injuries, fatalities? I don't.

Then read the thread.
posted by felix at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2005

Fair enough, I missed that.

For injuries, you mention an unsupported number of 5 million per year. Some injury lawyer websites (speaking of attack dogs) agree with that number and also say "There are more than 850,000 dog bites requiring medical attention in the U.S. yearly". Consider just the ones that require emergency room treatment and we're down to about 350,000 (here). Taking that at face value, one in every 1000 Americans will go to the emergency room this year for a dog bite. Does that still sound high? Maybe, I guess. If so, I wonder how many of THOSE are the owners themselves. I can't find that percentage anywhere, but that would have a big impact on how much of a public health concern dogs are.

The only piece of relevant information in the pdf you linked, Felix, is this:

"Continued From 1979 through 1994, attacks by dogs resulted in 279 deaths of humans in the
United States"

279 people in 15 years, in a country of, what, 350 million? How does that compare with deaths by bottle opener? Call me callous, but I can deal with those numbers. Individual stories tragic. Numbers not so tragic.

Since I think we're the only ones still here, I'll just say that I respect your viewpoint, and hey, at least you're not out poisoning porterhouse in the park.
posted by gurple at 12:30 PM on July 7, 2005

1 million bites requiring medical attention in a country of 295,734,134 = 3% chance per year of being bitten by a dog and going to the doctor. On the same page, > 50% of those requiring medical attention are children, and the majority of injuries are to the face.

The old saw about 'well, such and such an event causes far more deaths' is not a great reason why we shouldn't attempt to deal with this particular problem; and the issue is largely serious injuries, not deaths. Yes, cars are worse, but in aggregate, cars PLUS unnecessarily large dogs bred for aggression kept in urban environments = bad. We should get rid of both, long term.
posted by felix at 12:57 PM on July 7, 2005

One problem with those statistics links is, near as I can tell, there's no indication of how they discovered the dog's breed, or mix of breeds. As dobbs (misspelled that as doggs, heh) notes, people can be *very* bad at identifying dog breeds.

If it's reported by the victim, there's little reason to think they're making an accurate assessment. If that's how they're determining breed, it's very likely that many of the "Rottweilers" on the list are actually just black Labs, or Lab-heavy mutts -- a big black dog bit me, so it musta been a Rottweiler because those are, like, scary.

Breed laws are dumb. It would be better simply to hold owners responsible for their dogs' actions -- what your dog does is deemed to be your action.

1 million bites requiring medical attention

What does "requiring medical attention" mean? That they saw a physician? I have to think that many an ER worker would tell you that people seek medical care for many conditions that don't "require" medical attention for any reasonable definition of the word. Or does it actually mean that more than a million people were seen by physicians for dog bites, but only for a million did the physician agree that medical attention was somehow necessary?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:48 PM on July 7, 2005

You can parse 'require' all you need. The point is, that every single one of those 3% per person per year visits to a medical professional, whether it's a baby with its face bitten off or, I guess you're postulating, a crybaby whiner who, what, went to the hospital because the pit bull just gently nibbled on them or something (I really can't understand this line of desparate handwaving at all, so you'll have to bear with me) is an extra visit to the medical professionals, possibly of a serious nature!

Holding a dog owner responsible for the dogs' actions is already part of the law. The problem is, that it's ex post facto (and sometimes, post mortem). I'm not entirely sure that the preteen who didn't know any better and now is horrifically disfigured is all that compensatable by knowing that some dickhead is now in a cell. The problem needs to be addressed before it happens, not after.

We already handle this fairly well by banning or requiring draconian registration (or permanent blockage of utility in) guns of a certain killing ability, knives of a certain length, explosives (including firecrackers), poisons, and so on in an urban environment. Just because your excessively dangerous weapon also happens to like dog biscuits doesn't mean you get to wave it around for free.
posted by felix at 2:08 PM on July 7, 2005

1 million bites requiring medical attention in a country of 295,734,134 = 3% chance per year of being bitten by a dog and going to the doctor.

Interesting math, felix... was that an accidental factor of 10 in your favor?
posted by gurple at 2:26 PM on July 7, 2005

Incidentally, I think you're wrong. I think that increasing the severity of punishments for dog bite incidents, and providing better enforcement, WOULD encourage owners to have better control over their animals, as well as discourage them from having more animals than they could control, or animals of particularly risky breeds. And it would do so without hurting conscientious owners of well-trained dogs.

I've done a good job raising a sweet, obedient dog, and I'd be willing to risk some jail time on that assertion.
posted by gurple at 2:32 PM on July 7, 2005

yes, and I stand duly corrected. I still had the '5% of americans will be bitten each year' running around in my head, and wrongly conflated the two. Thanks for pointing that out.

(on preview) right now, owners who cause serious injury are liable. It doesn't seem to be doing enough. One of the reasons for that is that dogs are not their owners, and sometimes, as posted previously, a previously 'good' dog with no history of violence will go berserk and, e.g., maul a child to death. If you're willing to take the death penalty for murder on behalf of your animal, then sir, I honor your courage -- but you getting the injection is still no replacement to the grieving mother and father.
posted by felix at 2:36 PM on July 7, 2005

Yes, I'm postulating that some large number of that million are people going to the hospital (or being dragged to the hospital by hysterical parents) for a minor puncture wound that's no longer bleeding when they get there. Or otherwise suffer an injury no worse than falling down and scraping their elbow.

At minimum, I'd be interested in seeing how many people needed at least one stitch to close a dog-bite wound every year.

In any case, I was trying to show that the lawyer's words, in his advertisement intended to induce people to press suit over dog bites, don't mean much in any case.

Breed laws are dumb for two reasons. First, they're based primarily on misplaced fear and people being bad at identifying breeds -- there is no guarantee whatsoever that all or even a majority of those people being attacked by pit bulls or Rottweilers were actually attacked by those breeds. It would be interesting to a study that checked papers, or had a vet examine the dogs in question, to assess breed more firmly.

Second, the problem isn't the dogs, it's the dickhead owners. Let's say that God strikes all the pit bulls, presa canarios, fila brasiliera, and so on dead tonight. Tomorrow, dickheads who want a nasty dog will take poodles, or labs, or newfies, or sheppies, or malinois, or schnauzers, and mistreat them until they're vicious, and they will be dangerous. It's simply not a solution, unless you're advocating the extermination of all canids over ~30 pounds.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:45 PM on July 7, 2005

I'm a little surprised that you're suggesting that 'wounds which are no longer bleeding when they get there' are somehow inocuous enough that we should just put up with them. And given that dog bites can carry disease, are you seriously suggesting these people should just grin and bear it instead of going to the doctor?

Laws of any type will never be perfect, especially dealing with something as pliable as breeding. However, the breed and related breeds in question are known to be a problem an order of magnitude bigger than other dogs. Something has to be done. Muzzles based on breed appear to be the most dog-owner-friendly solution available that actually prevents the problem, rather than inadequately addressing its aftermath.

If it were completely up to me? Zero dogs in cities. Not up to me, though.
posted by felix at 3:05 PM on July 7, 2005

felix, I'm glad its not up to you.
posted by fenriq at 3:58 PM on July 7, 2005

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