This post is a departure from my normal posts, and it is going to offend some people. I do not apologize for telling the truth. Here it is: Pit Bulls, or the American Pit Bull Terrier is a dangerous dog, and I do not recommend anyone own one of these time bombs. The fact is if you own a dangerous instrumentality, and someone is indeed injured by that instrumentality due to your negligence, you are liable for the injury.

I know there are many owners of Pit Bulls that carry on about how the breed is misunderstood, and the dogs are loving babies. I have heard all of that. Indeed there are many owners who have healthy, balanced Pit Bulls that never hurt anyone so there must be some truth to the notion that these dogs can be good, safe dogs.

But here is what I know. When I turn on the news and hear of some innocent child being mauled by a stray dog, it is always a Pit Bull. A simple Google search turned up hundreds of stories of Pit Bull attacks in the US. The idea for this essay is based on my experience today when I came home to find a police vehicle and animal control vehicle parked on the street in front of my house. A Pit Bull in the neighborhood escaped someone’s yard and attacked another dog.

I know many cases of maulings by these walking shredders is a result of these dogs being mistreated or deliberately weaponized by their owners. These beasts are often used as fighting dogs, and they have a certain appeal to certain demographics who appear to value the act of possessing such a dangerous animal. But to me this is but an indicator of the breed’s natural inclinations.

For example, you could try all day and night to weaponize a Labrador Retriever but fail. You could train a Dachshund to be a fighting dog, and produce an annoyed Dachshund. In other words, most dog breeds on the planet could not be weaponized like a Pit Bull because the necessary genetic coding is not present within most dogs. But there is a berserker gene in a Pit Bull that is lurking inside waiting for a chance to be released upon unsuspecting victims.

The facts are that Pit Bulls are dangerous, and anyone who owns one is risking liability if the dog snaps. See the recent example of the woman in New York who is facing eight criminal counts of assault and two counts of reckless endangerment for her two Pit Bulls attacking and injuring eight innocent people. And who can forget the case in Fort Worth in April of 2015 when the family Pit Bull killed a two month-old baby that was sleeping in his crib. While the plural of anecdote is not data, these are but two of many cases where this type of dog killed on injured people. From 2005-2015 Pit Bulls killed 232 Americans, about one person every 17 days. (see: http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities-2015.php)

Of course if you have any dog that bites someone or someone’s dog, you are likely liable for those injuries. But if you own a Pit Bull, you face three additional challenges. First is the fact that Pit Bulls have a proclivity for attacking people. Second is that the size and strength of Pit Bulls make their attacks more severe than most other dogs. And finally, juries are less tolerant of Pit Bull attacks; the word is out that these are dangerous dogs, and if you choose to own one you bear the weight of the consequences.

As always this essay is intended for educational use and is not a substitute for competent legal representation.  If your dog has attacked someone and you need representation, I urge you to seek a competent plaintiff’s attorney to defend you in court.  But my advice is to avoid owning these killing machines. There are lots of dogs out there that need a home that do not bring with them the risks these dogs pose. If you have a Pit Bull, I recommend surrendering it to the pound or a shelter. If you choose to keep your Pit Bull, be vigilant. Watch for signs of the dog’s violent nature lurking beneath the surface, and if you see violent tendencies develop, be prepared to do what needs to be done to prevent injury to your fellow human beings.

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