Pit Bulls Kill Toddler but Are the Dogs Really Too Dangerous for Kids?

pit bullA Wisconsin 14-month-old boy died yesterday under horrible circumstances. The toddler was killed by two pit bulls at his babysitter's house. The sitter called 911 to say she and the boy were being attacked by the dogs. There's no word yet on what provoked the attack -- only the heartbreaking news that the child died soon after being rushed to the hospital.

If any other breed of dog had been involved, you'd never see it in the headline. But pit bulls have a bad reputation for violence. And yet, I hear people defend those dogs all the time. What's the deal with this breed? Are pit bulls really that dangerous -- and should they even be allowed around children?

Last year, a Maryland court declared pit bull dogs "inherently dangerous." It doesn't help that pit bulls have been bred specifically for fighting -- and those traits can be passed on for a couple generations, even to dogs not intended for fighting. The dogs are also very strong, much stronger than the top three biters, dachshunds, chihuahuas, and Jack Russell terriers. But still, pit bull owners say the dogs can be raised and socialized to be just as peaceful as other dogs.

Maybe it's not so much the dogs that are dangerous -- maybe it's their owners. And maybe it's the kind of conditions pit bulls are raised in. Plenty of responsible animal lovers raise pit bulls. But they've been associated with criminal culture -- and those owners are most likely to be irresponsible dog owners. They're giving pit bulls a bad name.

So what's a responsible pit bull owner supposed to do when stories like this surface? Probably not attack the press -- that's just going to reinforce that aggression stereotype. But I think people who care about a pit bull's image should work to show the public that their dogs can be gentle -- and how good training can help any breed of dog.

Do you think pit bull dogs are more dangerous than other breeds?


Image via jennie_Marie/Flickr



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Temples are dangerous dogs the fact of the matter is there an animal. an animal cat attack no matter what the breed but of course pitbulls have a little bit more in them To attack...

tesscat tesscat

"Maybe it's not so much the dogs that are dangerous -- maybe it's their owners."
nail on the head. don't blame the breed blame the deed, etc.

i have a pit bull and he is BEAUTIFUL around my boyfriend's nieces. they're 2 and 8 months and he just wants to cuddle and kiss them all the time.

pit bulls used to be considered NANNY DOGS. they are amazing and protective. 

Coles... Coles_mom

I wouldn't let any of my kids around a pit bull.


I agree Coles_mom. A little boy in my community just got killed by a pit bull last weekend. So sad. These dogs are predisposed to violence because of their breeding. It doesn't help matters that many pitbull owners are ghetto trash that get the dogs so they can look tough and then treat the dogs like crap.

tesscat tesscat


you need to do some serious research. they are NOT predisposed to violence. pit bulls tested better than most dogs on temperment tests. the only reason you hear more about pit bulls killing people is because there are a LOT of dogs that can fall into the pit bull type catergory. PLUS people love to vilify these dogs. of course you'll see PIT BULL in the headline but if it's a golden retriever or a lab it's just a "dog" attack. PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH. the generalization and vilification of pit bulls makes me sick.

Mommi... MommietoJB

I do not let my kids near pit bulls or any breed of dog that is big and strong. These dogs are for protection they should not be inside the home or near where children play. Its not the animals fault but they have animal instincts and you never know what will set them off.

nonmember avatar andrea

I would have found a new babysitter before I left my toddler in an apartment with two pitbulls. I watch my kids very closely around any dogs, but I would never allow them around pitbulls.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

As a dog groomer I'd rather have ten pits in my salon then five of any small breed of dog. The only aggressive dogs I've seen are the ones with idiot owners. I've been bitten countless times by small dogs because their owners are uneducated about how to raise a dog properly. I am comfortable with my kids around pit bulls any day of the week, but won't let them near my MIL yorkies because they constantly snap at them. It all comes down to proper training and responsible ownership, with any animal. 

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I would not allow my son around a pit bull as I watched my father's pit bull attack the other family dog and almost kill her, the vet stated this was normal behavior and pit was only demonstrating its dominence. I get that some can be nice but I am not willing to chance it.

Also pit bulls do attack more frequently than other dogs look at statistics on study conducted by Animal People from 1982-2011 found that pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for only 6% of dogs in the US but for 77% of attacks that induced bodily harm, 73% of attacks to children, 81% of attacks to adults, 68% of attacks resulting in deaths, and 76% of attacks resulting in maiming. The numbers don't lie they are a dangerous breed for whatever reason be nurture or nature.

nonmember avatar Trish

No surprise here. I just don't understand how people continue to defend pitbulls. One thing the author said that I don't agree with: "If this were any other breed it wouldn't be a headline". WRONG. If Collies and Golden Retrievers killed as many people as pitbulls do we WOULD hear about it, but the fact is they don't. All dogs can bite if provoked, and there are even other breeds that bite more frequently than pitbulls. However the huge difference is that when a pitbull bites it's not going to result in just a mark or a scratch that can be remedied with a bandaid - it's going to result in serious injury and/or death. These animals are extremely strong and dangerous, and contrary to what pitbull supporters will try to convince you of, these dogs have been bred to fight (and continue to be in illegal dog rings). When a pitbull bites, they clamp on and violently shake their victim and they do not let go easily. They should not be in environments where small children are present, and I simply cannot understand adults who allow it.

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