Pits bulls: fact and fiction

By Dave Brown

dave@msgr.com

 

Last week, the Greensboro City Council established a new Pit Bull Ordinance.

Greensboro mayor Glenn Wright said the new ordinance was being established as a way to immediately protect citizens, but said the council could review the ordinance at a later time and/or perhaps form some sort of task force to combat the issue.

“Just because we adopt something doesn’t mean it’s carved in stone,” said Wright.

Here are some caveats of the pit bull ordinance which is effective immediately, even though the Pit Bull registration period goes to March 31, 2018:

 Pit Bull means any Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Terrier or any mixed breed with contains an identifiable element of the breeding of pit bulls.

 No person shall harbor, keep or maintain with the city limits any Pit Bull unless it is currently registered and licensed with the Greensboro Police Department.

 A registration fee is $50 and owners shall have until March 31, 2018 to register these dogs.

 A pup born to a female Pit Bull shall be licensed and registered within six months of its birth.

 While on the owner’s property, a Pit Bull must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent entry of young children, and designed to prevent the animal from escaping.

 Pens must be 5x10 feet and must have secure sides and secure top. Such pen or structure shall

prevent the dog from being with 25 feet of the boundary line.

 Any Pit Bull must wear a fluorescent collar anytime they are outside the owner’s primary residence.

A owner is allowed to file an appeal to review the determination of the dog as a pit bull.

While some are in favor of tighter restrictions on Pit Bulls, some readers took to the Lake Oconee News site on Facebook to sound off against the new ordinance.

Here’s some additional information about Pit Bulls that looks at some of the myths about the breed, including expertise from a prominent UGA researcher:

 

MYTH: Pit bull terriers have locking jaws.

 

FACT: NO. According to Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D., senior research scientist at the University of Georgia and an expert in training, handling, behavior, and the anatomy of bull dog breeds, “The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles, and teeth of [American Pit Bull Terriers] show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any [other] breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of ‘locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.”

 

Source: https://www.yourspca.org/pages/bred-to-love/dispelling-common-myths-abou...

 

 

MYTH: The pit bull terrier is the breed most likely to bite.

 

FACT: NO. According to the American Temperament Test Society, in 2016, 87.4% of American Pit Bull Terriers passed temperament tests that measure stability, shyness, aggressiveness, friendliness, and protectiveness. In other words, almost nine out of ten APBT dogs passed the temperament test. By way of comparison, these breeds had lower passing scores than the APBT dogs:

Golden Retriever (85.4%)

Australian Shepherd (82.3%)

Collie (80.6%)

 

Source: https://atts.org/

 

 

MYTH: Pit bull terriers bite or attack more than any other breed of dog.

 

FACT: NO. The American Veterinary Medical Association states: “Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma, however controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous (emphasis mine). The pit bull type is particularly ambiguous as a "breed" encompassing a range of pedigree breeds, informal types and appearances that cannot be reliably identified. Visual determination of dog breed is known to not always be reliable. And witnesses may be predisposed to assume that a vicious dog is of this type.

 

It should also be considered that the incidence of pit bull-type dogs' involvement in severe and fatal attacks may represent high prevalence in neighborhoods that present high risk to the young children who are the most common victim of severe or fatal attacks. And as owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal and/or violent acts—breed correlations may have the owner's behavior as the underlying causal factor.”

 

Source: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/The-Role-of-Br...

 

 

 

MYTH: Pit bull terriers have more bite pressure than any other breed.

 

FACT: NO. According to Dr. Brisbin (referenced above), “To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to unfounded rumor.”

 

There is only one piece of information I could find that actually measured bite force, in pounds of force, which is imprecise because force should be measured in newtons (one newton is the force need to accelerate one 1 kg of mass at the rate of 1 meter/second, squared, in the direction of the applied force). It was a test by Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic in 2005. He made a career for himself with NAtGeo by putting himself into dangerous situations and measuring the bite force of all kinds of animals. He used a Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, and an American Pit Bull Terrier who had all had Schutzhund (police dog) training and been taught to bite a bite sleeve on command. The results were as follows:

 

Rottweiler: 328 pounds of force

German Shepherd: 238 pounds of force

American Pit Bull Terrier: 235 pounds of force

 

Source: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dr+brady+barr+dog+bite+pressure&vie...

 

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