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Pit bull breakout

I’m a big-time dog lover, just a tad anti-authoritarian and sufficiently well-informed on the subject to reject the demonization of pit bulls as some sort of super-vicious devil dogs, so I find the following very amusing:

Max, a 70-pound pit bull that bit two people earlier this year, cheated death Wednesday and is on the run – with some human help.

The 3-year-old red nose pit bull was stolen from the Alameda Animal Shelter, just hours before he was to be euthanized for being a dangerous animal.

Note that Max does have a history of biting people, which may be a temperament issue, or else a matter of training and circumstance. I sincerely hope there are no further biting incidents, no matter who freed the dog and currently has him in their care. But I applaud the rescue of the dog from an imminent death, and his chance for a new life.

Run, Max, run!

By the way, while there’s not really a standard definition of “pit bull,” a couple of breeds and associated mixes are usually included in that category. Of those breeds, the American Temperament Test Society, a national not-for-profit organization that uses uniform standards for evaluating the temperament of dogs and then breaks the results out by breed, reports that 85.3% of American Pit Bull Terriers and 83.9% of American Staffordshire Terriers have passed its tests.

And no, their jaws don’t “lock.” (PDF)

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  • My personal experience with pit bulls is not good but I think it is more of a training issue. Unfortunately, too many of the people who keep pit bulls are irresponsible owners and train them (intentionally or not) to be vicious. We live in the middle of the biggest town in the area. Our neighbors have a female pit bull and male Doberman that get out of their bramble overgrown yard periodically. These people scream at their kid and treat the dogs the same way. I’m sure it would not harm anyone in its “pack” but when it’s out it chases and growls at everyone who happens to walk or ride by. Last time it got out it tried to bite me (I was working on my car in my yard when it came running at me), bit another dog and the dogs owner. Police refused to even get out of their cars to deal with it this last time. (“I’m not going out there!”) When we expressed concern for our kids (We always have a “dog check” before leaving the enclosed front porch.) the animal control officer looked around, leaned over and said, “Do what you have to do.”

    I have heard that there are two primary breeding lines of pit bull in the states and one tends to be meaner. Don’t know if that’s true or not.

  • Alan,

    My understanding is that there’s no such thing as a mean breed or breeding line. Dogs have individual personalities of their own, but the real issue is how they’re raised and treated. If a certain subculture wants mean dogs, they raise them to be that way, and the breed they choose to do that with tends to be a matter of fashion that changes over the years. At one time, bloodhounds were the “evil” breed, and then german shepherds and dobermans; these days it’s pit bulls (which aren’t even a breed).

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