Pit Bulls Are Serial Killers?

This is where to talk about Pit Bulls!

Postby TheRedQueen » November 10th, 2009, 8:27 pm

maberi wrote:And the reason I decided to post the original comments (author intentionally NOT included so no one would have to defend themselves), was because it was an insightful post, with some interesting points. I also felt it was written in a way that wouldn't be taken out of context based on some of the other nutty posts on there.

Just like you are quick to defend when someone points out all of the "problems" with clicker training, I am naturally quick to defend pit bulls when a group of people take a thread completely off topic and spend days pointing out the "bad things" with pits.


Fair enough...I see your points. ;) It's just that the original poster is a friend of mine...and I knew she wouldn't take kindly to her comments being ripped to shreds by pit bull lovers without a chance to defend her position. :D
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Postby mnp13 » November 10th, 2009, 9:45 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I just think it's a reasonable discussion on a well-moderated list...that just happens to be talking about pit bulls...this list talks about all sorts of dogs/breeds. :| It's not like there is a ton of pit bull bashing going on. Sure, there are idiotic comments, but for the most part, it's a good discussion, imho.


I read about 6 pages of it, it's pretty level headed for the most part actually.
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Postby maberi » November 10th, 2009, 10:26 pm

I can't post any more items from that thread on here due to the fact that I got in trouble for doing so :neener:

BUT there was an EXTREMELY informative post put up by someone named (oh I probably can't say there name either). In any event, I'm trying to find out if they will give me permission to share
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Postby Emi » November 10th, 2009, 11:46 pm

:D Well my Pit might not be a Serial Killer, BUT she is a Serial Licker :) :D
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Postby call2arms » November 11th, 2009, 12:36 am

I ain't touching this forum with a 10 foot pole.

I was not too miffed until there was talk about the creepiness and un-naturalness of it all.

I recall male lions KILLING cubs (granted, it's to spread their own seed). Rats, mice, chipmunks, chimpanzees (apparently social groups may split in two and hunt and kill each other for power over a territory, reminds of another species...), brown bears and wolverines also do it, and I'm sure there are more. So they can stick their "OMG they HAVE to be specifically trained to kill another member of their species" bulls*hit up where I think.
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Postby mnp13 » November 11th, 2009, 12:44 am

maberi wrote:I can't post any more items from that thread on here due to the fact that I got in trouble for doing so :neener:

BUT there was an EXTREMELY informative post put up by someone named (oh I probably can't say there name either). In any event, I'm trying to find out if they will give me permission to share


I already asked :D
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 12:46 am

call2arms wrote:I ain't touching this forum with a 10 foot pole.

I was not too miffed until there was talk about the creepiness and un-naturalness of it all.

I recall male lions KILLING cubs (granted, it's to spread their own seed). Rats, mice, chipmunks, chimpanzees (apparently social groups may split in two and hunt and kill each other for power over a territory, reminds of another species...), brown bears and wolverines also do it, and I'm sure there are more. So they can stick their "OMG they HAVE to be specifically trained to kill another member of their species" bulls*hit up where I think.


Again, reading ALL of the posts in this discussion makes much more sense than just reading ONE post. :rolleyes2: This is why I called it inflammatory to repost this post here, without the rest of the discussion... :neutral:
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Postby mnp13 » November 11th, 2009, 12:49 am

Besides being asked if I know that Riggs is the type of "serious fighting dog" that they were talking about because I have fought him :rolleyes2: :rolleyes2: :rolleyes2: the discussion has been quite good actually. There's a lot more to it than just that post.
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 12:55 am

Well, you did say "he's a serious fighting dog"...it was an honest question. :|

BTW, for those not following the discussion...this original poster also wrote this:
http://companionanimalsolutions.com/blo ... s/#more-20
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Postby plebayo » November 11th, 2009, 1:11 am

My only argument really with that post particularly is that they are singling out one dog for human aggression. What about Rottweilers and German Shepherds TRAINED to take down a person? They're making it seem like Pit Bulls are a part of this huge regime that plan attacks on humans. They are DOGS.

Pit Bulls are in the media a lot of biting people, but they aren't the only dogs who bite and attack people and in the situations that bites occur it is usually HUMAN ERROR. Not to mention how many bites occur out of fear when a dog is at large, protecting whatever space it is in. I just think it's stupid to make blanket statements about an entire breed. Claiming that aggressive behavior is linked completely to genetics. It's a big part of it, but you can have two perfectly even tempered dogs produce ill tempered puppies.

The truth is that some pits and pit mixes are going to become dog aggressive. Know that in advance. Make wise plans.


Again, it's not just a pit bull problem. Terriers, Arctic Breeds, Herding Breeds - I could probably name at least 5 other breeds of dog with known dog aggression issues.

In fact, in an ideal world, everyone who buys or adopts any dog should be educated about how real dogs behave! They need to hear that real dogs may eat poop, bite people, guard the sofa, kill cats, chase skateboards, or fight with other dogs. That some of this behavior is very hard-wired and fixing it can be hard!


This is true across the board in owning dogs. Again, yeah an 80lb dog with DA tendencies is worse than a 4lb DA dog, however at the end of the day they are all dogs, and all dogs deserve a responsible owner.

This post doesn't really make me angry, it's the same stuff we always here about Pit Bulls. The thing is to make sure those of you who have Pit Bulls, and Know people with Pit Bulls really need to show off their good behavior, someday people will change their minds. I think also being an advocate of spaying and neutering and teaching people about not over breeding and breeding for the right reasons. I remember in the 90's when Rottweilers were the "bad dogs" of society, someday this will pass.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » November 11th, 2009, 9:09 am

I agree that the entire discussion has been very good - the only posts that really push me over the edge are the ones by the person who posted the quote I put up.
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 9:31 am

plebayo wrote:My only argument really with that post particularly is that they are singling out one dog for human aggression. What about Rottweilers and German Shepherds TRAINED to take down a person? They're making it seem like Pit Bulls are a part of this huge regime that plan attacks on humans. They are DOGS.

.



The original poster in the original discussion was speaking of pit bulls, thus the center of the discussion was on pit bulls. Many other breeds have been brought up in the entire discussion, including rottweilers, akitas, German shepherds and greyhounds.
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Postby maberi » November 11th, 2009, 10:05 am

Michelle, the original posters has asked that you remove her post from this thread. She feels as does a couple other people on this board that I posted it in an inflammatory manner.

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Postby maberi » November 11th, 2009, 10:14 am

Erin, I'm not sure why you feel that it was inflammatory to post that here. The basis of what that person wrote is NOT taken out of context, and all of their other posts fall in line with what I posted.



TheRedQueen wrote:
call2arms wrote:I ain't touching this forum with a 10 foot pole.

I was not too miffed until there was talk about the creepiness and un-naturalness of it all.

I recall male lions KILLING cubs (granted, it's to spread their own seed). Rats, mice, chipmunks, chimpanzees (apparently social groups may split in two and hunt and kill each other for power over a territory, reminds of another species...), brown bears and wolverines also do it, and I'm sure there are more. So they can stick their "OMG they HAVE to be specifically trained to kill another member of their species" bulls*hit up where I think.


Again, reading ALL of the posts in this discussion makes much more sense than just reading ONE post. :rolleyes2: This is why I called it inflammatory to repost this post here, without the rest of the discussion... :neutral:
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 10:20 am

maberi wrote:Erin, I'm not sure why you feel that it was inflammatory to post that here. The basis of what that person wrote is NOT taken out of context, and all of their other posts fall in line with what I posted.


Because it was meant for discussion here, I know that...but honestly, without reading the rest of the discussion on the clicker solutions list (for those that want to go read the rest), it comes across as anti-pit bull or against breeding pit bulls...which was not the intent of the poster. At least, that's how I'm reading it based on the responses from those on PBT that have not read the rest of the discussion.
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Postby maberi » November 11th, 2009, 10:39 am

Fair enough, we will just have to disagree on our perception of that individual's comments.

I probably hold a bias because I'm trying to defend the breed I love and you probably hold one because that individual is your friend. Although remarks have been made that they love pits, I find their comments very contradictory to that. I DO think your friend holds a bias against the breed based on their line of work and some of their own personal experiences with their dogs (again, not posting details).

As it has been made apparent in this thread, and the other thread that is now almost 200 posts long, opinions very greatly. :|

Because I am a pit bull owner I put the lives of others dogs at risk? Fine. Because you guys drive a vehicle much larger than I do, you put my life in danger.
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Postby maberi » November 11th, 2009, 10:57 am

Just as a follow up, I was given permission to post someone's response (all names removed) that I found very insightful. I would encourage everyone to read it and if you have time would encourage everyone to read all of the posts on that other board (if you have a few days).


Oh dear, I've tried to stay quiet for a while, but it's not working. Some thoughts

-There are NO peer-reviewed published statistics on rates of human aggression by dogs of any particular breed or mix. Anti-pit advocates cite the CDC figures from the 1990s that appeared to show pits and rotties were overrepresented in the breeds responsible for fatal attacks, but those data were never peer-reviewed, and the CDC is the first to argue that they do not actually tell us anything about which breeds were indeed responsible for attacks. If anyone really cares, I can go into all the reasons these data are not usable for such comparisons.

-For similar reasons, pro-pit advocates like to cite Karen Delise's statistics showing that only about 20% of fatal attacks on people were by pits or pit-mixes, which is likely lower than the percentage of pits in the general pet population (suggesting that pits are LESS likely than other breeds to attack people). Again, as someone who has pits I might like to believe that argument, but Delise has not published her work in a peer-reviewed journal, and I believe that until she does, we can't draw any conclusions from it.

-As (name) suggested (I think it was (name)), you sure can't believe everything you read on the internet. Lots of websites argue old pit yardmen and fighters used to cull out any dog that showed any degree of human aggression, making pits especially human-friendly. Is this true? None of these studies are published or peer-reviewed, so it's hard to know. But it would be possible to find out, using archival data from the 18th and 19th centuries, and both archival sources and interviews from the 20th C. One of my colleagues. Dr Edmund Russell at U of Virginia, is in the final stages of what should be a fascinating article on the history of pits. His archival research suggests how very labile (in evolutionary terms) this breed has been. For example, in the 1800s, the style of betting on dog fights changed in England--bets were tossed into the ring, and as betting styles (a human social preference, not for the dog, but for a kind of betting) changed, the dog's phenology (shape) soon changed as well, because smaller, thinner, faster dogs could do better under the new betting conditions, which led to new fighting conditions (smaller rings), which led to selective pressures for new kinds of dogs.

Similarly, when the Irish immigration to the US intensified, many Irish families brought their pits with them, and fighting dogs were so valuable to an Irish family that the dogs lived inside with the family (something that was very rare indeed in Europe for a larger breed), and strong selection for gentleness with children seems to have begun at that point. Russell hasn't yet researched in any depth the American part of the story about pits, but someone should. (Name) asked if the pet pits that Roosevelt and Helen Keller and all the others owned in the early 20th century had actually diverged from fighting bull breeds. I emailed Russell to ask him about this, and he said he doesn't know for sure, but he's pretty certain that they hadn't--the game-bred pits were actually popular as pets, and they didn't fight other dogs in normal conditions, only in actual fighting pits. It may have been too risky to an important family investment to have a good fighting dog that would pick fights with stranger dogs on the street. The old story about game pits was that they wouldn't start a fight, but they also wouldn't end one. Is this true? Who knows.

-Many yardmen argue that "gameness" in pits is not just about fighting--it' s terrier tenacity, and it can be turned to con-specific fights, or it can be turned to farm-yard purposes, or it can be turned to agility purposes. Today, on the fighting websites, I think it is indeed used as a euphemism for "fighting". But gameness is a real quality, and my impression is that it's closely linked in pre-1950s pits with the gentleness toward children and people. This is just an impression (although many pit breeders argue that it's true, I don't know of any data that have been gathered to support the hypothesis. It could be tested, however).

-Conspecific aggression that leads to fatalities is actually surprisingly common in many species, including wild canids (and it's also observed in feral dogs and village dogs.) In fact, it's quite common in the evolutionary history of many group-living organisms. We would like to hope that such aggression is rarely fatal, but it's actually quite often fatal.

As a wildlife ecologist (I trained in the evolutionary ecology of social behavior, although I now work in epigenetics) , I know of course that dogs aren't exactly wolves. But whoever pointed out the wild wolves do often kill other wolves is entirely correct. Recent and very interesting research supports the (depressing) hypothesis that the altruistic behavior in social mammals seems able to evolve only when there's a high level of fatal conspecific aggression. This may seem contradictory, but when you think about it, it makes (depressing) sense. In small groups, wild canids and people will act for the benefit of the others in the group even when they don't share genetic material. This was long a theoretical puzzle for evolutionary biologists, but evidence (both theoretical modelling studies and empirical evidence) supports the argument that altruism evolves when high levels of fatal conspecific aggression exists between groups. Kind behavior, in other words, toward the same species seems to evolve because of (not in spite of) nasty violence toward the same species.

-Group-living species do indeed evolve ritualistic displays of aggression that substitute for actual fights that might result in fatal injuries--what (name) has been pointing to in "normal" dogs. But in all those species that have been studied (which isn't all that many), such ritualistic displays continue to persist in a population only when they are "backed up" by a certain frequency of actual, violent, damaging aggression. To understand this, think about painted cattle-guards versus actual metal cattle-guards as a useful metaphor. In ranch country, ranchers know they can have a certain percentage of "fake" cattle guards that are just painted onto the road--ritualistic displays of cattle-guardedness. But a certain percentage of cattle guards need to be actual grates that hurt cows' feet when they test them, or else the painted cattle guards lose their effectiveness. Ritualistic displays--roaring, snarling, mock-fights- -similarly lose their communicative power (over generations) when they never result in actual bloodshed. This doesn't mean that all dogs will fight to kill; what it does mean is that violent aggression is not abnormal; we can't point to a group of dogs that do it and say they're "abnormal" for doing it. We may not like that behavior, but the only reason it could be selected for by breeders is because the genetic potential exists for it in the larger canid gene-pool. You can't breed a dog who can fly, but you can breed a dog who can fight, because fighting played an important role in their evolutionary histories.

-Play behavior in many young predator species is an interesting combination of prey behavior ( practice for hunting) and ritualized fighting (conspecific aggression). Because of their breeding, many pitties seem to slip more quickly from play into aggressive or prey behavior than some other dog breeds, but for all dogs, play behavior has close links to both hunting and conspecific aggression. All dogs have the potential to get overaroused when playing and slide into fight behavior or prey behavior. Certain breeds, of course, are more likely to do this.
-
-Aggression is extraordinarily complex in evolutionary terms, and it doesn't make much sense to speak of it as one trait. Conspecific aggression (fighting) is different than predation, and in turn both are different than aggression against humans; they don't appear to be part of one continuum. Aggressive traits are polygenic (controlled by more than one gene, just like hip dysplasia), and many the genes that affect various kinds of aggression are also likely to affect many other characteristics (when one gene controls several traits, it is called pleitropy). Epigenetic influences in turn affect gene expression, and hormones affect it all. What this ends up meaning is that it wouldn't be difficult to breed for very low human aggression and high fight aggression in the same individual, and this historically is supposedly what happened with game-bred pits in the late 19th century. It probably wouldn't be impossible to breed for low human aggression, high gameness, and low fight aggression as well. But because these traits are polygenic and each of those genes are pleitropic, it's also quite easy to start messing with dogs in deleterious ways (see-- goldens: hip dysplasia; pointers: nervousness; etc)

-In the 1980s, pits became popular with inner-city adolescents, their reputation spiraled downwards. Some of this was probably connected with racism and media bias: white people became freaked out over pits because they associated pits with a certain kind of African-American culture. The media's job was to sell papers and magazines, and scary pit stories sold. But it wasn't all racism. The pits themselves changed, as backyard and inner-city breeders began breeding for large heads, for much larger sizes (instead of the 40 to 45 pounds of the Irish pits, we now see 95 lb dogs). Some people began intentionally trying to breed pits for human aggression, and some human aggression probably slipped in as an unintended consequence of breeding for large heads and large body size, which meant crossing pits with guarding breeds.

-Artificial selection actually is evolution in action. In wildlife ecology departments, we like to call it "experimental evolution", but it's certainly evolution. (This doesn't mean I agree with Karen Delise--I think pits are shaped very much by their evolutionary heritage, just as other dog breeds are. And I think people can really, really mess up a nice breed without even trying very hard.)

-Some people argue that 'normal' dogs don't exhibit violent aggression, so if pits sometimes do this, by definition they aren't normal. This doesn't make much more sense than arguing that normal dogs don't have hip dysplasia, so if labs and goldens do, they aren't normal dogs. Conspecific aggression that leads to fatal wounds is part of the evolutionary heritage of all dogs, just as prey aggression is. We hate to see it in our household pets, but it's important to realize that this is part of the normal evolutionary heritage of normal canids. Genes, however, are very labile things, and it's possible to select against certain traits and bring about changes in just a few generations, even in wild species (see the silver fox study cited yesterday). But genes are also very complicated things, and selecting against certain traits we like or don't like can often lead to sobering and unintended consequences (see English springer show gaits and aggression).

Sorry for such a long set of thoughts. As someone who loves pits but who understands that they do indeed have an increased potential to inflict serious wounds on other dogs, I think these thoughtful discussions are important if they lead people to more careful management. The risk of pits inflicting fatal wounds on children is vanishingly small, and I if we're going to bring human aggression into the argument, we need to recognize that pits were indeed long bred for low rates of human aggression, just as they were long bred for high rates of conspecific aggression. I personally certainly hope the two aren't connected, (so that we could breed for continued human-sociability while breeding against fighting) but I'm not sure there's any published evidence that shows us one way or the other.

And (name) and the others of you in Portland--Ed Russell and I will be presenting research on some of these questions (about evolution, epigenetics, and artificial selection) in Portland in March, and if you want to come argue with us, that's always fun at a conference.

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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 10:58 am

maberi wrote:Fair enough, we will just have to disagree on our perception of that individual's comments.

I probably hold a bias because I'm trying to defend the breed I love and you probably hold one because that individual is your friend. Although remarks have been made that they love pits, I find their comments very contradictory to that. I DO think your friend holds a bias against the breed based on their line of work and some of their own personal experiences with their dogs (again, not posting details).

As it has been made apparent in this thread, and the other thread that is now almost 200 posts long, opinions very greatly. :|

Because I am a pit bull owner I put the lives of others dogs at risk? Fine. Because you guys drive a vehicle much larger than I do, you put my life in danger.


Dude...look at the title of your post...that's not meant to get a reaction from everyone here at PBT?

I never said that I agreed with my friend on all of her points. However I still believe that posting her comments here, without her permission...for all on PBT to comment/argue about...without inviting her here to defend her statements was uncool. :| So, regardless of the opinions I hold on what she's saying...which I NEVER said I support or not...I don't like that her comments were brought here for everyone to get pissed off about.

If you read what the other PBT posters have written, you'll see how her post was viewed by people that didn't have access to the rest of the discussion.
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Postby maberi » November 11th, 2009, 11:08 am

Dude, the title of this post is taken directly out of the comment SHE posted in FULL for everyone to read. How is that taking something out of context?

When you post anything on the Internet it is free for ANYONE to read. This is a pit bull forum. We discuss all things pit bull related. If I see someone post some information and opinions about the breed I am free to post that here whether you approve or not. This has been done by others in many other cases. The only reason you are saying anything now is because that is your friend. I already apologized to the author who didn't want the post on here and asked Michelle to take it down. My intention was not to secretly "steal" her opinion on something and sneak it over here for all of us to attack her as our breed has done to her dogs oh so many times.

I'm sorry I posted something that you don't agree with. Welcome to being a pit bull owner


TheRedQueen wrote:Dude...look at the title of your post...that's not meant to get a reaction from everyone here at PBT?

I never said that I agreed with my friend on all of her points. However I still believe that posting her comments here, without her permission...for all on PBT to comment/argue about...without inviting her here to defend her statements was uncool. :| So, regardless of the opinions I hold on what she's saying...which I NEVER said I support or not...I don't like that her comments were brought here for everyone to get pissed off about.

If you read what the other PBT posters have written, you'll see how her post was viewed by people that didn't have access to the rest of the discussion.
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 11th, 2009, 11:29 am

I'm done...I'm leaving this one alone now. But please, Matt...enough with the "us against them". Sorry I don't own a pit bull and I don't know what it means to do so. I came here to learn, and I have...definitely learned. No, I have no experience being a real pit bull owner...but I don't care for it being thrown in my face repeatedly during discussions. :neutral:
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