Bonny T. Lee, a semi-retired nurse and dog owner, wrote an Op-ed in The Roanoke Times about the dangers of adopting Pit Bull rescue dogs. Lee is convinced that adopting Pit Bulls is a public health issue that is “truly concerning.” She cites that there were 42 people killed from dog attacks last year (17 small children) and 13 this year (6 small children).
Although all dogs can bite, Lee claims that Pit Bulls are the worst—after all, something like “Care of Pit Bulls in a Shelter Environment,” published by Leslie Appel, director of shelter veterinary outreach, isn’t written about other dogs.
But are Pit Bulls as bad as Lee makes them out to be? Some research says no.
A 2008 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that Chihuahuas and Dachshunds were actually the most aggressive towards humans and other dogs. Also, the idea that Pit Bulls have special “locking jaws” is just a myth. A National Geographic study found that the American Pit Bull Terrier exerted less bite-force compared to German Shepherds or Rottweilers.
It’s not only that they’re less aggressive and have less powerful jaws—Pit Bulls are also pretty tolerant. The American Temperance Testing Society (ATTS) found that out of the 30,000 dogs they tested in 2011, Pit Bulls were the second most tolerant breed after golden retrievers.
Unfortunately, Lee isn’t alone in her anti-bull stance. Merritt Clifton of Animals 24-7 regularly writes articles like How Many Other Animals Did Pit Bulls Kill in 2014 and 773% Rise in Fatal & Disfiguring Pit Bull Attacks from 2007 to 2014.
Thankfully, attitudes towards Pit Bull violence are shifting. Celebrities like Linda Blair, who runs a foundation against breed-specific brands, and Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, who has two calm and patient Pit Bulls, are changing the tide.
People are slowly cluing in to the fact that Pit Bulls aren’t dangerous. Any breed can be detrimental to society given the environment they grow up in and the way they are. At the end of the day, it depends on the specific dog and their owner, not the breed.