Pit bulls, who’s telling the truth?

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Despite time having passed, Clanimal through the present editorial,
brings into the debate, a solid and scientifically supported way of
looking at the “Pit bull” situation, since last June.

As a matter of fact, no media had yet, seriously looked at scientific
data, like the French television show Découverte (on French Radio-Canada
network) has done to raise the quality level of the discussion going on
in Quebec about animal problems (instead of maintaining a victimization
level, as it has been for the last many years!)

Last September 10, ICI-Radio Canada, showed the program called Découverte,
hosted by Mr. Charles Tisseyre. The show was on certain myths  about
“Pit bulls” (“click here” for the French original version of the show),
and unfortunately as everything that is scientific and logical,
on this matter, it doesn’t get high on the media  priority list, and
Clanimal maintaining its common sense approach, hereby, uncovers
the 3 biggest myths, corrected by science, as presented by Découverte.

We congratulate Mr. Charles Tisseyre for the tone and professionalism with
which he hosted the show and the team working with him, comprised of
Chantal Théorêt/Louis Faure and Éric Lemyre (producers) and Bouchra Ouatik/
Binh An Vu Van and Tobie Lebel (journalists) for the work done to bring
this debate to a necessary balanced scientific level that is so welcome.

So, let’s look more closely now at these 3 myths about “Pit bulls”:


1st Myth:    Is “Pit bull” a dangerous “breed”?

Anti-Pit bull

In 2016, 60% of dog attacks were allegedly caused by “Pit bull”,
according to 2 “anti-Pit bull”
publications (Animals 24/7 and Dogsbite.org)


According to Découverte, the scientific community denounces this
statistic since it covers only a small number of the attacks
occurring in the United States.

Also, a recent study done by Karen Overall (behaviourist veterinary  
at Penn State University) analyzed all the studies done between 1950
and 2000 that looked at the number of dog bites, which resulted
as showing the following:

#1.    German Shepperd or

Rottweiler or

Chow Chow or

Collie or


however “Pit bulls” started to get higher and higher in 2016, to become #1.

NB:   In the United States, in the last 50 years, results have been:”

#1.    German Shepperd and/or

#1.    Saint-Bernard and/or

#1.    Doberman and/or

#1.    Rottweiler

On the other hand when we look at dogs bites on children, between 1998 and 2002, 
Canada differs as bites have been caused by the following breeds:

#1.    Rottweiler at 29%

#2.    German Shepperd at 15%

#3.    Husky at 7%

#4.    Collie and Pit bull at 5%

However, children’s death cause by dog bites, on a 17-year period (from 1990 to 2007),
results are that these deaths were caused by:

#1.    Husky in 29% of cases

#2.    Rottweiler in 11% of cases and

#3.    “Pit bull” in 4% of cases

NB:   In Quebec, here has been 6 deaths caused by dog bites in the last 30 years (1986 to 2016)
and these deaths have been caused by the following breeds:

#1     Husky/Malamute in 5 cases (83.33 %) and

#2.    “Pit bull” in 1 case (16.37%)

2nd Myth:  “Pit bull” attack is the worse? 

Anti-Pit bull 

Generally, “anti-Pit bulls” that there is no more vicious nor deadly attacks
than the one from a “Pit bull”! Even for its detractors, “Pit bulls” will
“blow their gaskets” without warning and react ferociously
(i.e.: Lise Vadnais, sister of Christiane Vadnais, who passed away from
allegedly a “Pit bull” attack in June 2016).


Dr. Martin Godbout stated that there are 2 types of attack which are,
the distancing attack that shows the dog’s discomfort , and the
predatory attack, which is the rarest form and demonstrate
the intent to injure and most often to kill!

Children who often is the object of a distancing attack, according
to Dr. Godbout, is due to a lack of prevention by the animal’s guardian
and/or (according to Clanimal)a lack of education (even from the dog itself!)!
As an example: a child is playing with the animal’s food during their
meal could become the object of a “redirected attack” by one of the dogs.
As well, a child plays with a “sleeping” dog and when it wakes up can very well
be the object of a bite because the dog was startled.

On the other hand, the predatory attack is more “conditioned”. Symptoms are:
fixation by the animal, the animal “charges” towards its prey, then shakes
it with  uncontrollably , potentially until death!

This type of attack is, according to Dr. Godbout, the source of:

a)       an aggressive behaviour conditioned by its guardian;

b)      a consequence of anxiety felt by the animal, either caused by sickness
or is conditioned by its guardian, or

c)       either manipulation/interaction being erroneous (a wrong read out of
the animal body language)

Foreseeable Nature 

According to Dr. Godbout, 35% of mortality cases caused by a dog bite were
foreseeable and already acknowledged by the animal guardian because  it
knew the animal had a behaviour problem prior to the fatal attack ,
such as: biting constantly, being afraid of other dogs (often triggered and/or
caused by the guardian own behaviour).

Guardian Behaviour

In its last editorial in French, Clanimal addressed certain aspects of the
irresponsible side of certain types of guardians of “Pit bulls”,
such as: uncertainty,  low self-esteem, that need to impress others
(the dog is the one bearing the “balls”), or, the “eternal optimist” 
that believes every powerful dog is good and incapable of causing
any kind of harm to humans!

NB:   According to Staffordshire Bull terrier  breeder, Julien Santerre,
many of these problematic cases come from breeders where they do not care
about the type of behaviour reproduced (or “care too much” about the
behaviour they reproduce, by seeking to reproduce certain aggressive
behaviour)which both examples are  frequently found in Puppy Mills facilities !

NB:   According to James Serpell, (zoologist and animal behaviourist specialist
and researcher at Penn State University) certain breeders have succeeded in
curbing, and even stopping altogether certain unwanted behaviour by strongly
structuring  the breeding practices of certain  breeders (as an example,
the Doberman).

3rd Myth:   Is Banning “Pit bulls” the only solution?

Anti-Pit bull

Major argument used by “anti-Pit bull” forces is that banning (going as far
as eradicating!) is the only alternative to resolve the “Pit bull” problem!
Is this the obvious reflection of today’s Societies, that wants everything
right now?

Others are for simple euthanasia after the first and only bitting incident
involving a dog (such as Dr. Christiane Laberge and Lise Vadnais as we
saw in our last editorial)


The scientific community doesn’t agree with Specific Ban Legislation  to
resolve any and all society’s problems with any dog breed. As a matter
of fact, Alan Beck (researcher in animal ecology at Purdue University in Indiana)
came back on his support to SBL in Ontario in 2005 because at that time:
“he felt there appeared to be a significant number of “Pits” with
behavioural problems!”

In addition, Alan Beck supports James Serpell (Pennn State University) to the
effect that “if we can develop a “Pit bull” with good behaviour, as we have
done with the Doberman, why would we need SBL!” 


Effects of SBL 

In Ontario:     In 10 years (2005-2015) the number of “Pit bulls” has decreased
significantly and

There was an increase by 39% in dog bites per 100 000 people hospitalized!

Also, according to Felicia Trembath (researcher in Public Health and epidemiology
at Arizona University) submits in addition, that the majority of SBL aiming at
dogs such as the “Pit”, adds other breeds as Canary Dogge and Majorque and
the Brazilerio Fila.

Worldwide there are only 5 studies on the workability of SBL about “Pit bulls”
(Vancouver, Winnipeg, Scotland and Spain (2)) and 3 of them (60%) concluded
that this type of legislation didn’t have any effects! (notably in Manitoba
(Winnipeg) concluded that after 16 years, the number of dog bites
remained the same!)

Where the SBL approach appeared to work has been in Spain, where the authorities
included Dobermans and Rottweiler, as well requesting future dog guardians to
have a spotless criminal records, as well as getting a psychological aptitude

Finally, the City of Calgary succeeded in decreasing the number of dog bites
while refraining to use SBL to handle “Pit bulls” (refer to: Clanimal Approach
to the Pit bull Crisis Works) as an example that Clanimal approach really works!

In the end, we cannot forget to bring up the following points:

“Pit bulls” genetic aggressiveness

Anti-Pit bull

According to many “anti-Pit bull” proponents, such as Lise Vadnais at
Mr. Denis Lévesque program on September 13, 2016, it is “genetic”
for the “Pit bull” to be aggressive and “blow its gaskets” at
any moment, since it is raised only for “that”!


According to James Serpell, a zoologist  and animal behaviour specialist and
researcher at Penn State University, that studied 30 000 dogs coming from
300 breeds, aggressiveness is foremost present in guard dogs, and with
the “Pit”, it is only “aggressive” with other dogs and not humans.

Still according to James Serpell, the animal behaviour relies more on its
environment that its genes. As an example, he submits: “As humans, it’s
like to say at someone that if it is French, then it should
act in such a way, or that if it is German, then it should act in another


Dog Bite Importance

Anti-Pit bull

According to frequently heard testimonies, the “Pit bull” is a monster
causing the most damages, without any competition, except that….


According to a study conducted by Barry Bar , zoologist,
the strength of a bite is proportional to the size of the
head of the dog, and the most powerful bite belongs to:

#1.    Rottweiler at                   328 lbs/sq

#2.    German Shepperd at     238 lbs/sq, and

#3.    “Pit bull” at                      235 lbs/sq

Therefore, all big dogs can cause a catastrophique bite!

NB:   In 2005, in France, Isabelle Denoir her face ripped off by a
Labrador, and required a full-face graft!

NB2:  In 2012, in South Carolina, a “cross-breed Labrador-Golden
Retriever” ripped a 2-month-old baby’s legs, while the baby was sleeping!


We now invite you to read the different editorials written on the present
matter that you can read at the Learning Center/human/editorials (click here),
or start your animal education by completing  Matchmaking
Dogs with You
 and please share it with your friends and family to help a dog and its
future guardian!

This is my opinion!

The Guy (theguy@clanimal.com)

The Guy

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