The fatal mauling of a pregnant woman in Pacifica last week has renewed the debate over regulation of pit bulls. In Sonoma, one city councilwoman is calling for a crackdown on the canines. But defenders say that the breed is being unfairly stereotyped and singled out. Should pit bulls be banned?

Should more local governments follow San Francisco’s lead and adopt a mandatory spay-neuter law? Or should politicians simply stop picking on pit bulls and focus on irresponsible owners?

Joanne Sanders, Sonoma City Councilmember and mayor pro tem
Colleen Lynn, founder of, a public education website on pit bull-type dogs and former victim of an attack by a leashed pit bull in 2007
Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA
John Vinton, San Rafael-based dog trainer

  • Penenelope

    Focus on irresponsible owners, of course. Tons of dogs bite. Usually little yappy ones that don’t have the power to hurt badly, but it often reflects on the attitude of the owners. 

    • Suz

      We’re not talking about “little yappy ones” here.

      • Guest

        Nor are we talking about “Pit Bulls” but, instead the OWNERS of Pit Bulls. I have had Pit Bulls for 20 years and not once have I had an upset neighbor or children’s parents while visiting. It is NOT the dog but it is the OWNER’S of those pets who need to be jailed. I have had to double fence around my chickens because my oldest “Terrier” cannot help herself when it comes to the chickens. Therefore, I protect the chickens. Put the responsibility where it belongs and that is totally upon the OWNERS !!!! 

        • S Kopf

          No, we’re talking about pit bulls!  A “little yappy” dog doesn’t possess the physical or mental characteristics to kill like a pit bull.  The question is should this breed should be owned in the first place.

          This couple sounds like they were pretty responsible owners – yet their dog killed not just someone else, but one of the owners!

          Just like Grizzly bears aren’t pets, lots of dangerous, large dog breeds probably shouldn’t be owned by the general public.  Or at least make restrictions on dangerous breeds – spay/neuter, mandatory training, permitting, etc.

          • Guest

            All my animals are spayed/neutered: males horses, dogs and cats. There is NO rooster on my property…just chickens for eggs. The most important factor; however, is the owners and not the breed. Pit Bulls are wonderful.

          • Me


  • Sparrow

    If a person’s dog kills, that person should be prosecuted as if he murdered someone himself. You just know that some evil people out there are training their dogs to kill people, to be an antonymous weapon that the owner can transfer blame to in order to escape prosecution himself.

    • Ms Tif3

      I am in tennessee. I see on wkrn website how this dog or that dog attacked someone. If its a bully breed the media jump at posting it…if its not a bully breed then the media never mention the type of dog. That riles my dander. I always complain about that. My dog is a staffordshire terrier and treated like a spoiled brat. If i were to ignore her wants and needs and let her fend for herself she would be aggressive and mean. Just like raising a child. Any animal is what it is going to be like based on how it ia raised. Its not the animals fault.

  • Kay

     I live on the west side of Sonoma where many pit bulls live, and many times we’ve seen people struggle to keep control of their leashed pit bulls–the other day we watched a man with three on leashes and they were fighting and pulling him all over the place, very scary. There was a toddler a few feet away in a playground.

    Is Sonoma going to wait until there is a shocking incident when someone is ripped to pieces?

    Just look at the statistics about intact male pit bulls and there is no question that they are dangerous–especially in the home or yard, especially those that are chained up–unlike other breeds.

    • lark

      Again wouldn’t it be this owner at fault. Any breed can have horrible leash manners and when a owner chooses to walk 3 dogs of any breed at the same time with bad leash manners it is irresponsible. This owner should be working and walking one on one, with a dog of any breed and believe me all breeds come with training needs is that needs training. Sorry ..not the dog it’s the owner

    • reganfgill

      There is no reason to assume that a dog that you are identifying as a pitbull is a dog that is going to attack a person.
      1. Just becuase you identified the dogs as pitbulls doesn’t mean they were. Lots of other breeds and mixed breeds look like pitbulls to people.
      2. The vast majority of actual pitbulls are people friendly. There is a big difference in a dog’s minds between people and other dogs so even dogs that are aggressive with other dogs are not aggressive with people.
      3. Are you sure they were fighting? Many people that do not know dogs misidentify playing with fighting because part of dog play is play fighting.
      4. Rather than say the statistics it would be a lot better discussion if you actually provided the information.

    • JC


  • Guest

    Nor are we talking about “Pit Bulls” but, instead the OWNERS of Pit
    Bulls. I have had Pit Bulls for 20 years and not once have I had an
    upset neighbor or children’s parents while visiting. It is NOT the dog
    but it is the OWNER’S of those pets who need to be jailed. I have had to
    double fence around my chickens because my oldest “Terrier” cannot help
    herself when it comes to the chickens. Therefore, I protect the
    chickens. Put the responsibility where it belongs and that is totally
    upon the OWNERS !!!!

  • D.w. Daniels

    This is not a very balanced panel of guests. is known to be inaccurate and not objective. You are giving more credibility to someone known to have a personal agenda against these dogs. Shame on you KQED. Say good by to my membership as you are just following all the other media in creating a witch hunt.  

    • JMorgan

      I heard Donna Reynolds backed out at the last minute.

      • lark

        Heard from where? If you don’t know it as a fact, don’t say it. “Hearing something” doesn’t mean anything!

        • JMorgan

          The host confirmed this on air.  

          • Blameitonmarin

            The host did not say that Donna Reynolds “backed out at the last minute”.

          • JustinM

            well, she did.

      • Lookrkt

        The group is declining all media requests until the forensic results are in.

  • A Joe

    Echoing the sentiments expressed earlier, this panel lacks a guest with a more rational perspective who is qualified to speak about all dogs (not just a specific breed) perhaps because they are aware of the obvious agenda of this so-called discussion.
    Copying from a recent blog, below is a letter from the National Canine Research Council that was sent to the editor of the San Mateo Daily Journal:

    Even as we share the grief of Ms. Napora’s family, we do
    well to keep two things in mind. First, serious incidents involving
    dogs have always been exceedingly rare, though they generate news
    coverage that creates an impression they are more prevalent than they
    actually are. There are roughly 78 million dogs in the U.S., and 308
    million human beings. Annually, there is one dog bite-related fatality
    for every 10 million human beings, and every 2.5 million dogs. Second,
    official reports may shed some light on the unique calculus of an
    incident; but they are never a basis for generalizations about all dogs,
    or even one kind of dog. To illustrate, consider the following. The
    week before Ms. Napora died, a pregnant woman in Milwaukee, Sharon
    Staples, was shot to death in the street, in the presence of her 13
    year-old son. Police arrested three teenaged boys in connection with
    her death. There are over 20 million teenagers in the United States.
    What will the investigation into the death of Sharon Staples tell us
    about teenagers?

    Reports concerning the death of Darla Napora cannot be used to generalize about any of the other 78 million dogs.

    Out of respect for Darla Napora and her grieving family, and due
    regard for their love for their dogs, we must not assume we know more
    than we do. The more deeply one examines any incident, the more likely
    one is to appreciate that its complexity cannot be reduced to a simple
    prescription. – Don Cleary National Canine Research Council

  • James Ivey

    How do we define “pitbull”?  Is it just how a dog looks? 

    If so, in what other context is it acceptable for us to prejudge someone or something as guilty of viciousness merely by how it looks?

  • James Ivey

    Traditionally, pitbulls were bred to be very friendly.  A handler should be able to pull a pitbull out of a fight without getting bitten.

    • JMorgan

      You seriously think that it was very safe to be in the pit with the dogs.  If you read accounts of dog fights, as I have, you’ll find it wasn’t even always safe to be in the audience.  Some dogs “scratched to a spectator” which means instead of running across the pit to attack the other pit, the pit bull launched itself into the audience.

  • S Kopf

    Would the owner of a Grizzly bear be responsible for the bear’s behavior?

    Yes and no.  Sure, responsible because they own a Grizzly.  But no because who can control or predict a Grizzly’s behavior?

    They’re (Grizzlies) are just too dangerous to keep as pets.  And the exact argument can be made about certain dogs like pit bulls.

    • reganfgill

      Grizzly bears are wild animals. Dogs are a domesticated breed that has been highly breed. Completely different things. Also dog behavior is highly predictable by people that know dogs.

      • JMorgan

        REally, then explain the Pacifica fatality in terms of predictability.  And don’t try to say because it was unneutered because there are LOTS of unneutered dogs that don’t KILL.

        Every indication is that that dog was well cared for and trained.  The owners were experienced and devotees of BADRAP.  So, explain how pit bulls are highly predictable in this scenario.

        • Ed

          JP, BADRAP advocates neutering dogs — they even provide funding for low income households with pit bulls. These owners had an un-neutered, 125-lb dog (about 2x the weight of avg pit bull) with beware signs on the fence. It’s name was “Gunner.” They had a female dog, too. Not sure if she was spayed, but my guess is no. Dogs need to be monitored for aggressive behavior, especially during adolescence. It may have been well cared for and trained, but dogs that are aggressive show signs and they must be taken seriously.


          • JustinM

            The peninsula humane society just stated that the 125 pound weight is incorrect.  After reviewing Gunners vet records they found he weighed between  68-77 pounds.


            The female was spayed.

            Supposedly these were knowledgeable experienced responsible pit bull owners.  If anyone could recognize signs of aggression and take them seriously it should have been them.  And yet this woman was killed.  That says owner education is not enough to protect one’s self from this kind of dog and that pit bulls aggression is lethal and unpredictable.

          • Ed

            We don’t know the facts and we may never know what set off the dog. Life is not without risks. And the husband has been quoted as being supportive of both his dogs. If you don’t want pit bulls with your family fine, but don’t legislate regulating the families that do want these dogs to live with them. All of the dogs that were trained to fight at Michael Vick’s house are now with families.

    • JC


  • Mike

    To the woman who just said “breed is the equivalent of race.”  Nonsense.  Human races have all evolved with roughly the same environmental pressures, and hence are equivalent in their genetic propensity for violence.  The canine Pit Bull breed has evolved in an environment chosen to cause a higher than average genetic propensity for violence.  Mike, San Jose.

    • JC


  • reganfgill

    I have met 100s of dogs in my 46 years and the only one I was ever attacked by was a doberman in its owners home. I have met plenty of pitbulls which were extremely people friendly and not dangerous including my own dog. Pitbull is not synonymous with vicious dog and this needs to stop being a discussion about a breed. BTW, many dogs identified as pitbulls are misidentified.

  • GregMottin

    What is the ratio of dog attacks by different breeds compared to Pit Bulls. I have experienced viciousness in other breeds. Such as Labs, Malamutes, German Shepard, etc….. I think it is important to put it in perspective.  

    • JMorgan

      Good question  

      Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010 – Merritt Cliftonpit bull terrier         1552Rottweiler               457Husky                     56Wolf Hybrid            82BullMastiff              58German Shepherd  79

      • JC

        Prove they were pitbulls.

    • JMorgan

      Good question  Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010 – Merritt Cliftonpit bull terrier 1552, Rottweiler 457, Husky 56, Wolf Hybrid 82, BullMastiff 58, German Shepherd  79

  • Kit

    To all those who are defending this breed, we seldom (if ever) hear about people being mauled severely or fataly by poodles or great danes, etc. It is the breed, and it either needs to be bred to be more docile, or allowed to disappear altogether.

    • reganfgill

      That is primarily because everyone 1. Jumps to the conclusion that if a dog looks anything like a pitbull it must be a pitbull. 2. People repeat the same stories over and over. 3. Its sounds more interesting to say pitbull so even if someone doesn’t know the dog breed they will say pitbull. 4. Sometime people don’t care about facts. For example why do they keep bringing up the attack in SF by the Presa Canario, an unrelated breed, in the same discussion? Because it makes the story sound better.

    • Shaun

      To be fair, who out there would ever admit to being mauled by a poodle?

    • Me

      you are ignorant.

    • JC


  • Harrybet

    Is it legally viable to require ” owner training ‘  of those that choose to have specific ‘dangerous ‘ breeds ?

    • JMorgan

      I think that would not be as enforceable as mandatory insurance for pit bull owners.  As soon as pit bull owners realized they’d have to pay for the decade of reconstructive surgery they inflicted on someone, most of these “responsible” pit bull owners would vanish.

      However, these guys don’t care if the penalty is merely removing or even killing the dog.  There would have to be a severe penalty for not having pit bull insurance that affects the owner, not just the dog, such as high monetary penalties.

      • JC

        “These guys”?

    • LadyPus-in-Boots

      Smart Question

  • Lee Thé

    Biologically, dogs as a group are a race of wolves. They evolved from wolves only about 10,000 years ago. Dogs can still interbreed with wolves and bear viable offspring, which means they’re the same species.

    The difference is that basically dogs retain the emotional characteristics of puppies through adulthood–the friendliness and lack of extreme fear’anger reactions. This is why they’re called tame, and it’s true of other tame breeds of animals.

    The other unique trait of the race of wolves we call dogs is that, unique in the animal kingdom, they can read human emotions. Even chimps can’t do that.

    Because dogs were bred from wolves so recently and are still the same species, and because some dogs breeds have been bred to be aggressive–that is, throwbacks to their wolf ancestors’ emotional makeup–it’s possible for some some dogs to be dangerous to humans. Not because they’re “vicious” which is an anthropomorphization, but because they”ve returned to their wolf roots in terms of propensity to violence.

    You can raise a dog that belongs to a bred-to-be-aggressive breed to not be aggressive, and that often, even usually, works. But not invariably. Likewise, you can raise a dog from a peaceful breed to be aggressive. That usually works, though if it’s a chihuahua it’s not going to be able to kill you.

    Testosterone makes all mammals more aggressive, all else being equal. So neutering a dog will make it less aggressive, all else being equal.

    The issue with dog breeds is that some breeds are more innately aggressive–that is, more like their wolf ancestors–than other breeds. Denying this is ridiculous. You can raise a dog of an aggressive breed to be less aggressive, and that often works, mostly.

    So the issue is what is in the best interests of society, as far as regulation of dog breeds in a community is concerned. Pit bull fans says it’s the owner, not the dog. As I hope I’ve shown here, that’s not entirely true.

    Any decision a community makes should be based on the odds, not the certainties. the community can’t be certain that a particular pit bull or member of other innately aggressive breed will be aggressive.

    If you mandate neutering or other restrictions on such breeds, you’re infringing on the rights of pit bull owners. If you don’t, you’re infringing on the rights of neighbors of such dogs.

    Your choice.

    • JC

      There are many breeds of dogs who are more wolflike than pitbulls.

  • carlos castenada

    If you bring your pit bull in public, beware. If it makes the slightest aggresion toward my family member, I will kill it instantly. If you interfere, I will kill you.

    • Me

      where’s the dislike

    • guest

      and likewise if you try to kill me, i’ll have no choice but to return the favor.  let’s not let it get to that point though.  *shake hands, friendliness*

    • Linda

      WOW! Can you say “vigilanteism”?

      • JMorgan

        people are arming themselves all over to protect themselves from pit bulls.  

        • JC

          Yes, crazy people.

    • Bb_church

      Can you put that on a t-shirt or some other article of your clothing so you are identifiable. If I see you I’ll know to avoid you. I don’t own a pittie, but I like to avoid armed people with hair trigger lethal response reactions whenever possible. 

    • JC

      You’re a violent psychopath.

  • Amy

    I find people with pitbulls off-leash (among other breeds) at great Bay Area summertime outdoor but populated places like at lakes off hiking trails and at swimming holes along rivers… often the owners are not paying attention to where their dog is, or whether the dog may be paying attention to people that don’t want the dog anywhere near  them.

    What can one do when out in public “play” spots when dogs are running free? How do you approach a pit bull owner to ask them to mind their dog because you worry for your safety?

  • Susan

    Why aren’t muzzles talked about more, especially with aggressive dogs.  l feel most dogs should be muzzled in a public situation.

    • JC

      Good idea.

  • Ajay Ravindra

    The stigma around pitbulls causes some owners to under-socialize their dogs and keep it indoors a lot. This results in turning the dogs into bad canine citizens, further tarnishing the reputation of the breed.

    • JC


  • Guest

    .If people want to walk around with a “deadly weapon” then we should allow for the open, carry of firearms for responsible citizens… and maybe dog owners should be licensed like gun owners.

  • ME

    i hate how people stereotype pit bulls. I have one pit and two 7-8lbs yorkies at home. Everyone knows my female yorkie runs the house and not to mess with the male yorkie or you’ll get bit. My pit the most gentle of them all. STOP STEREOTYPING.

    • Hank

      If it looks like a pit bull – and not a yorkie…and it attacks – well, ’nuff said. 

  • Jlbove

    I have a two-year old pitbull who is a sweet, loving lapdog 99.9% of the time. She’s had puppy training, leash training, and tons of sociallization, and she runs and plays with a pack 5x a week. However when she has on rare occasion gotten into a fight, her prey switch flipped and jaws clamped and she wouldn’t let go. What can I do to prevent that happening again? Is there a specific type of training recommended for pits?

    • Arden Allen

      There is no magic solution to curing aggressive behavior in any dog.  The behavior can only be managed, meaning, don’t allow the dog to experience what stimulates his/her aggressive response.  The threshold for the aggressive reflex can be raised somewhat through proper social conditioning but this requires expert assistance.

    • Reddogsrule

      Get in touch with the SFSPCA. They have excellent and experienced trainers who can help you. If you are closer to San Rafael you can get in touch with Marin Humane Society, they also have an expert dog behavior trainers. 
      Good luck and you get lots of gold stars for all the good training and socializing you have alread done. 🙂

    • JMorgan

      This is the very typical pit bull behavior, the bite and hold.  Until just last year, responsible pit bull owners were told they should always carry a break stick with them because it is a well-known and unique to pit bulls behavior.  In fact, people are warned never to try to use a break stick on any other kind of dog.

      This is why they say pit bull’s jaws lock.  Not because there is a mechanical bony structure that locks, but because pit bulls can lock their jaws closed with their powerful jaw muscles and they cannot be pried off their victim without the use of a break stick.

      Note that this site says this is not a pit bull specific behavior, but a terrier behavior, then it goes on to say never use a break stick on any other kind of dog INCLUDING TERRIERS.  That’s because it IS a pit bull specific behavior.

      • JC

        True. Pitbulls do bite and hold.

      • Riverofbooks

        Thank you for bringing up terriers.  I am not an expert but my observation and experience is that terriers seem more prone to biting and I’ve always wondered if that isn’t part of what’s going on with PBTs, as they are a bull/terrier cross.

  • Arden Allen

    I own two pit bull type dogs, two pit bull mixes, and a
    chocolate labrador retriever.  The difference in temperaments between the two
    breed types is like night and day.  If you are going to deal with the vicious
    dog problem realistically with the public’s support then you have to realize
    what the source of the problem is – the dog owner, naive, ignorant, and
    inexperienced.  Instead of trying to keep potentially dangerous dogs away form
    owners the right approach is to keep potentially bad owners away from
    problematic dogs.  This should be done through a permitting process.  To qualify
    for a permit to own a breed type considered to be problematic the applicant
    should take a course with the ASPCA or other qualified organization to learn the
    pit falls (sorry about the pun) of owning a problematic breed.  Without a permit
    an owner should be subject to citation with a penalty that will get them into
    the permit application process.


    Arden Allen


    • JMorgan

      “you have to realize what the source of the problem is – the dog owner, naive, ignorant, and inexperienced.”
      You are the first pit bull owner I have EVER heard of who admits that pit bulls should be regulated.  I commend you!

      You bring up some interesting ideas.  For instance you call the dogs “problematic.”  It might be a good idea to create a different category than “dangerous” or “vicious.”  If a type of dog is problematic in a community, then the community should address that.  If the problem is that there’s too many, then mandatory spay and neuter until they get off the problematic list.

      If the problem is that irresponsible owners are owning them – institute requirements for ownership until the type gets off the problematic list. I think mandatory insurance if the problem is attacking people or killing pets or livestock is one of the problems, for example.

      I like your ideas.

      • Arden Allen

        By “problematic” I mean a breed type that experts in animal behavior have identified to be likely to harbor an inherent temperament trait that could cause the animal to be ***unpredictably*** vicious.  Once on the “problematic list” the breed would stay there probably indefinitely.  My concern is not to deny owners the right to own a dog of their choice but to properly teach owners of such breeds of their responsibility for personal and public safety.

    • CN

      I fully agree. After living in SF, Oakland, and on the Peninsula, and just seeing the difference in what responsible ownership can do for the state of mind of a dog (any dog, but importantly for pitbulls), we need to address ownership responsibility. If you’re a law-abiding citizen who’s willing to microchip, license, and spay/neuter your dog(s), as well as take basic training courses that deal specifically with challenging dogs, and pay a small annual fee, then what would you have to worry about?! It’s the individuals who are shady, don’t have the basic resources in the first place to care for an animal (any animal), and who don’t give a damn who would be prevented from ownership. One big part of the problem= solved.

  • Jcaufield

    What about an extra fee or tax for owners of pit bulls? Our state, not to mention our country, needs to find revenue. Wouldn’t owning this type of dog constitute a type of luxury item that should be taxed?

    • Linda

      Huh?! Why should those of us who are responsible owners have to pay for the bad behavior of dogs owned by irresponsible idiots?

      • Jcaufield

        That’s a good point….I think the answer depends on whether or not the personal decision to own a pit bull puts an owner in a special category. 

      • JMorgan

        Since no one can tell who the irresponsble ones are, or even if you have a moment of irresponsibility , all pit bull owners should have to pay for the privilege of putting the rest of the community in danger.

        • Blameitonmarin

          OK, then we should also have people pay an extra tax for having the privilege of driving SUVs.  SUVs are more dangerous than a car, and use up more precious resources than cars and produce more pollution per mile.  All SUV owners should have to pay for the privilege of putting the rest of the community in danger.

          • JustinM

            Totally agreed.  They already do pay more for insurance which makes sense as well for both more dangerous cars and more dangerous dogs.

    • JC

      How do you define what a pitbull is?

  • Matt Watson

    I had a red nose pit bull and consider this dog the best of many breeds I’ve had. She was a Labrador in a pit bull body. Pit bulls were originally breed as nursery dogs. It is and always has been and always will be the owner or breeders fault. They are only a dog. We are humans. The smarter one.

  • Tom Sf Subscribe

    In June, I was attacked by a pitbull but not bitten, on the Milagra Ridge trail right above Darla Naparo’s  house.    The owner was up the hill with the pitbull unleashed.   It heard me hiking up the hill and ran down the trail and lunged at me several times.  I used my trekking poles to hold the dog off until the owner came down the hill to call the dog off.   This is a leash restricted trail and this owner along with many others are not obeying the law.  When I told the owner I was calling the police he ran off with the dog.   I haven’t seen pictures of Naparo’s dog but this was a white and brown patched pit.  Hikers, carry pepper spray or a walking stick to protect yourself.

    • JC

      “Attacked’? No damage. No one hurt. But you were “attacked’. No.

  • Mfporges

    Gunner is actually a NAME. Scandanavian in origin??  I think that this was probably why the name was chosen. Please don’t show your ignorance of other cultures by assuming that the name means ‘shooter’ to these people. They loved the dog, as misguided as they were. 

  • goh roh

    Does pepper spray work on pit bulls? I’d show less fear if I knew I could zap a dog that gets too close. Do I aim for eyes or nose?

    • JMorgan

      Nope.  A man used a whole can of pepper spray for bears – strong and big can – but the dog the pit was attacking still died.  He used the whole can before the pit stopped.

      Only bullets and knives.

      • JC

        Prove that it was a pitbull.

  • Carla

    Jennifer Scarlett – you added nothing to this conversation but vague platitudes. If telling pit bull owners to “be considerate” worked, we wouldn’t have pit bulls roaming neighborhoods and public places off-leash with owners that don’t care about anyone’s rights. 

    Dog owners:  I don’t want YOUR DOG running up to me for ANY REASON. I don’t know YOUR DOG. Keep it the hell AWAY FROM ME.

    And stupid owners will yell to you from 50 yards away as their dog jumps on you that “it’s okay to pet him.”  I DONT WANT TO PET YOUR DOG I WANT YOU TO KEEP IT AWAY FROM ME.

    • CN

      I fully agree. I may love my dogs, but that doesn’t mean I have to force everyone else around me to love my dogs, too. It gives me no right to infringe upon the rights and comforts of others. And those BS excuses dog owners give about “socialization” or “he’s so friendly!”, can them. There’s nothing pro-social or well-behaved about rushing up to someone, and generally being a nuisance.

    • Ed

      Carla, time a for chill pill. The purpose of a forum is different viewpoints. Jennifer Scarlett was well reasoned and knowledgeable. You may not like what she had to say, but you sure don’t refute anything with your childish rant. There are plenty of places you can go where dogs are not allowed. (Note that Sanitariums for the most part no longer exist, but that may be something for you to check into)

    • JustinM

      I completely agree about asking pit bull owners to be considerate.  They won’t be.  And I agree that pit bull owners love to “socialize” their dogs at the expense of the comfort of others.  If they cannot regulate themselves, they will need to be regulated.

      • JC

        That is a huge generaliztion.

    • JC

      Will do.

  • Bob

    Was on hold for the entire 1-hour program. Most of the panel were apologists for pit bulls and manslaughter and/or murder. Our obligation is to protect children – period. We can’t control human behavior so we have stoplights to try and control behavior. So, let’s move pitbulls into our National Zoos. This gives pitbull lovers their opportunity to love a pitbulll. And, we protect children and give the rest of us chance to love a pitbull from a very safe distance.

    • guest

      “you can’t control humans” so let’s just give up on the humans and just let them be irresponsible because a faster catch-all is to just clear everything away that’s potentially dangerous in humans’ hands? first of all, that means you should take away cars and bikes and kichen knives and ovens and gardening fertilizer and electrical wire and hammers and nails…. second, giving up and giving in to catch-all fallbacks…this is the lesson you’re teaching your children?!

      • JMorgan

        OK, then how do you want to regulate the pit bull owners?  Because throwing your hands in the air and exclaiming its the owners, its the owners is doing nothing to address the problem.

        Badrap attempts to “educate” the public.  See how well that worked for the BADRAP devotees the Naporas? This educating the public isn’t working the Napora’s local Peninsula humane society PAYS pit bull owners to spay and neuter theri pits, and they still won’t do it.  Hand wringing and “education” is not working.

        So how do you propose to regulate the pit bull owners?

    • Jen

      WOW! I cannot believe what I just read!I would like to be the voice for Pitbulls. They are LOVING, SWEET ANIMALS. I have a pitbull and 2 children. DO THINK I WOULD GET A DOG THAT WOULD HURT MY KIDS? Dogs just like humans are individuals and how they are raised determines a lot. My kids and my dog absolutely love one another. I have had all types of dogs growing up, purebreeds and mixes a like. Each dog was trained, socialized and shown lots of love, and they gave more love back in return. My Pitbull is no different. Each decade there seems to be a breed that is picked and given a bad rap. German Shepherds, for example, was the breed in the ’80’s and I had one growing up that was the best family dog. I just hope and pray that people would take the time to educate themselves and get informed before making judgements on a breed of dog they obviously don’t know enough about except what they hear from the media. My children are my life as is my Pitbull. All of which are loved, well cared for, taught manners and happy. Putting Pitbulls in zoos in the most ridiculous thing I have heard of in a long time. I know you want to protect children, so why don’t you educate yourself and others around you about the breed before you embarass yourself in the future. Did you ever watch Little Rascals? Petey the dog that all the kids hugged and loved was a Pitbull. Pitbulls were considered “Nanny Dogs” because they are so good with kids.  Please take the time and learn more about Pitbulls, you will be pleasantly surprised what a wonderful, loving breed they are. ~ Thank You!

    • BuildUpNotOut

      What program were you listening to? The slant of the show and the guests were all on the anti-pit bull side or leaning that way. They did not have a single pro-pit bull guest on the show to advocate against the wild claims made by the antipit bull “DogBite” lady or the councilwoman.

    • JC

      I think we should move you into a zoo.

    • Riverofbooks

      You have to realize that dog problems are created by
      humans.  Dogs are bred by people who are sometimes totally irresponsibly or
      ignorant about breeding them, which often leads to poorly bred dogs with
      unstable temperaments.

      Dogs are also sometimes owned by people who want their
      dogs to be aggressive and so train and raise them to be that way.

      There is no
      point in banning the breed because the people who have made pit bulls such a
      problem will simply do exactly the same thing with another breed. 

  • Jobeckzz

    first pit-bull terrier are a breed that was introduced to the world as a hunting and killing dog… this is tru -however that was 500 years ago… ANYBODY EVERY HEARD OF STUBBY THE WAR DOG???? he saved the lives of a dozen men in world war 1 not to mention he received medals form OUR government for it… EVER HEARD OF PETEY??? He was the beloved dog on the ever famous little rascals …. did you know pit bulls in the late 1800’s -early 1900’s were raised to work in childrens hospitals?why becuasae their skin is so tough and can take little kids hand pulling and pushing…
    granted pits do by nature have a violent demeanor, however that is solely based on one factor THE NATURE IN WHICH YOU RASIE YOUR DOG WILL DIRECTLY AFFECT THE WAY IT RESPONDS AS AN ADULT. END OF STORY IF YOU RASIE A DOG TO FIGHT THAT IS WHAT IT WILL DO… IM SORRY BUT KQED HAS LOST MY FAITH ON HAVING A UNBAISED STORY REPORTED… oh and one last thing… ever been bit my a violent small dog? I’ve been raised by pit bulls.. they have always been in ym home from the day i was born until now… and its funny i have been bit by chihuahuas more times then my pits….

  • Momo

    Dogs are animals.  They all have the potential to be dangerous.  The key is responsibility.  I have had dogs my whole life and I have worked for years with dog rescue organizations.  I have seen dogs of all breeds lash out at humans.  Dogs are very strong animals – some more than others. If there is any chance that a dog is dangerous the dog should be put down.  But also dogs who are sweet and safe should be taken care of and loved.  I think we can think of animals like we think of other dangerous items in society.  We require training and licensing for guns and motorcycles and cars (that can both cause severe damage but also be completely begnine).  Any dog can hurt a human.  This has nothing to do with pitbulls.  Some dogs are bigger and stonger than others and therefore are more threatening, like a semiautomatic weapon. Pitbulls were actually bread to be loyal and do as they are told.  That is why they are so easy to train to fight other dogs.  But lets be clear pitbulls were not bread to fight people…just dogs… Just beacuse they are strong does not mean that they will always hurt people.  There are plenty of other very strong dogs out there that could cause as much damage but we don’t discuss them.  Let talk about the reality which is that DOGs are strong animals and can be dangerous.  Lets make sure that people who own them are responsible and can make sure the dogs are safe.  I have a boxer (which never comes up in conversation) and she is agressive to other dogs.  She is very strong too.  I need to be a responsible owner with her and understand her behavior.  If I had any indication that she was a threat to society it would be my responsibility to put her down.  The same should be true for any dog…not just pitbulls.

    • Arden Allen

      You contradict yourself, Momo.  You say, “…If there is any chance that a dog is dangerous the dog should be put down. …”  Then you say about your boxer, “…I need to be a responsible owner with her and understand her behavior. …”  Don’t be so cavalier about what other people should do about their dogs, i.e., killing them.  Everyone should do as you say you should do with your boxer.  Should we kill your dog if she growls at another dog?  Keep in mind people get bit breaking up dog fights.  You need to give this some more careful thought.

  • Triplethree3

     This issue raises an interesting philosophical question which applies to the question of legislation around not only animals such as pet dogs, but also other potentially dangerous property such as cars, guns, and medication.  There seem to be two major factors on which the legislation question hinges, as identified by the various guests and callers on the show:  first, whenever someone brings a potentially dangerous object into the company of other people, there is a “worst case scenario” outcome in which that person or others may be killed or seriously injured, which, of course, has long-lasting and serious impacts upon everyone associated with the incident.  Second, these potentially dangerous objects (whether they are dogs, cars, guns, or whatever else) also potentially bring benefits when used properly, whether they end up being beneficial or harmful in the final analysis depends largely (though not entirely) upon whether or not they are used responsibly.

    The philosophical issue is, do we make legislation based on the potential “worst case scenario”, or based on the potential benefits?  Because to outlaw something entirely, based purely on the fact that it could be extremely harmful, creates the potential for discrimination (as pointed out by the guest from the ASPCA).  There isn’t necessarily an easy way to know for sure whether someone will be responsible towards their dog (or car, or gun) until after the fact when someone has been harmed, and to prevent them from having one at all because they possibly COULD be harmful can be considered discrimination.  On the other hand, to REFUSE to discriminate at all means that the potential for those “worst case scenario” outcomes are increased, because just as plenty of people will behave responsibly, plenty of others will not, and inevitably there will be injuries and deaths, with all of the serious fallout those entail.

    Naturally, of course, people who have been negatively affected by those “worst case scenarios” will be focused on those outcomes, and will want to do anything they can to prevent them, even if that means potentially discriminatory legislation.  On the other hand, people who have not been affected by those “worst case scenarios” (for instance, all the dog owners who love their dogs and have never had a bad experience with them) feel that to discriminate against them just because OTHER people have not behaved responsibly is wrong.  Based on what was presented in the program, and the comments people have made on this page, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution that doesn’t include one or the other of these options:  you can’t eliminate the worst case scenario without some level of discrimination, but you can’t refuse to discriminate without allowing the possibility of the worst case scenario. 

    So how do we legislate?  Whether it’s dogs, cars, guns, medications, or anything else, do we restrict freedom of ownership to prevent negative outcomes, knowing that we will also be restricting potentially positive outcomes as well?  Or do we refuse to restrict freedom, thus opening the door for positive outcomes while accepting that there will inevitably also be negative outcomes, which someone will be affected by?  Or is there a middle road, which effectively meets both needs?  What do people think?

    • Arden Allen

      I would say that the crux of your argument is, how do we “better” society without resorting to tyranny?  Perhaps an answer would be a few mad dogs are better than a mad populace.

      • Triplethree3

        Sounds like an argument in favor of legislating to preserve freedom and prevent discrimination, as opposed to legislating for the “worst case scenario” to reduce freedom and prevent negative outcomes. 

        Just to be clear, I’m not arguing with you or taking an opposing position.  I’m just trying to see where people line up on this question.  Thanks for your response.

    • JMorgan

      You do realize that all three of those things you used as comparison are ALREADY HIGHLY REGULATED, right?  And yes, we do that to prevent negative outcomes.

      Our cars are the most highly regulated things most people own – guns too.  For both, you have to take tests, you have to license and register both the owner and the equipment and RENEW those licences and prove you are physically capable of driving (eye test). 

      Further, car manufacturing is a most HIGHLY REGULATED INDUSTRY.  Producers of cars (analogous to breeders)  have to prove their cars meet safety standards and are REQUIRED BY LAW to recall defective ones.

      So, yes, pit bulls like other dangerous things must be highly regulated as well as their owners and breeders.

      • TedEd

        If you want to regulate pit bulls then you should regulate all dogs (or enforce dog licensing, which should include neuter/spay requirements). There are all types of dogs that have aggression — it’s the owner’s responsibility to recognize this and take appropriate action, whether it’s a yellow lab or beagle. Just like we require the humans who manufacture cars and guns to be responsible for them.

        • JustinM

          You’re suggesting that pistols be as highly regulated as assault rifles.  No.  Pits are the problem, the solution is regulating pits.

          • Ted Edwards

            Pits that roam the streets killing people are a pit problem. When a pit lives with humans it’s a human problem. And try telling someone’s next of kin whose family member was murdered by someone using a pistol that it should be regulated less than an assault rifle. Pistols kill more people in the US than any type of gun

          • Art

            How about pit bulls living with people that roam the streets attacking people, entering strangers homes and killing pets and people (first human fatality from a pit bull home invasion occurred this week in Australia), that’s a problem with pit bulls.

              Yours is an excellent argument to ban all guns.  Unfortunately, its a constitutional right to own them, so legislation is aimed at deciding the limits to our constitutional rights.  
            There is no such right to own a pit bull.  Therefore, ban them

      • Triplethree3

        Indeed, I do realize that these industries are highly regulated–that was in fact my point.  These regulations are, in many cases, highly controversial, for exactly the reasons I stated, because often people feel they unfairly discriminate against those who have not been irresponsible as a way of preventing negative outcomes by those who might be.  However, it should also be pointed out that despite these regulations and the controversy surrounding them, guns, cars and medications are STILL responsible for many, many injuries and deaths each year–far more than pit bulls, or even all dogs put together.

        So in a sense, even these strict regulations you mention do not eliminate the “worst case scenario”.  Judging by the other posts you have made on this subject, I believe (and correct me if I’m mistaken) you are in favor of a policy that heightens restrictions to the point that does eliminate the “worst case scenario” from pit bulls.  Which, comparatively speaking, is stricter than the existing laws on guns, cars, or medications, because such laws do not eliminate those outcomes. 

        So, returning to my original question, it seems we have one vote strongly in favor of the “legislate for the worst case scenario” option, which reduces the likelihood of negative outcomes at the potential cost of increased discrimination.  Just to be clear, I’m not arguing with you or taking an opposing position, just trying to see where people line up on this question.  Thank you for your response.  

        • Art

          Of the three examples you use –  guns, cars, and medications, two, cars and medications, are highly beneficial and virtually indispensable in modern society.  Obviously the gains outweigh the losses. Gun possession is a right granted by the constitution.

          Unlike those other things, if pit bulls ceased to exist, nothing happens – there is absolutely zero down side for society.  You can’t say, well Darla’s death while tragic was unavoidable because we absolutely can’t deny anyone the joy of owning a pit bull.

  • Sanibelsf

    Dr. Jennifer Scarlett is exactly what this conversation needs-a knowledgeable, experienced and calm voice in the chaotic reaction. Thank you for providing the well reasoned responses which were not at all what was quoted below, as I understood she clearly addressed owners’ responsibilities with regard tot his issue.

  • karen

    Listen folks, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. As the custodians, caretakers, companions and loving family memebers of ANY breed of dog it is our responsibility to raise them correctly, train them and socialize them properly and provide a stable and safe environment for them. Pit Bulls are products of breeding and their environment, just like every other dog. If you know a loving pit, a friendly poodle, a sweet rat terrier then you have just met a good dog owner. If you meet an aggressive or out of control dog of any breed you have just met a poor owner.

    It is time that people stop making the breed the villain and start taking responsibility to train, exercise and care for their dogs.

    • Arden Allen

      If it were really that simple your advice would be plausible.  The truth is closer to the fact that temperament varies widely within breeds.  Some pit bulls are docile and friendly with both people and other animals.  Some pit bulls cannot stand the sight of another dog without going on the attack.  Both nature and nurture contribute to ultimate behaviors most often with little regard to the owner’s efforts, good or bad.  Some dogs are eternally forgiving, some full of trouble.  Practically everyone can drive a car safely but few are automotive engineers.  How does one prevent a car from breaking down on the freeway, respond to inclement weather, or avoiding colliding with a recklessly driven vehicle?  Molding a dog to perfect behaviors is a delusion in the minds of novices.  Experienced owners have learned to live with the limitations dog ownership brings to life.  The meaning dogs give us is what makes us love them.

      • CCH

        Few are automotive engineers? What do YOU do when you get a flat? Call a mechanic? You change the tire, you respond to the situation and the environment and be ready for the next time it happens. If you don’t know what to do when it happens then it’s the fault of the owner of the car. Same with a dog. Read the owners manual. Just because you own a Humvee doesn’t give you the right to run into other people. You have to know how to steer the thing, know how and when to apply the breaks and to play by the rules of the road. It’s the owners responsibility.

  • CN

    Did anyone else who knows (anything) about aggressive characteristics note as I did that NOTHING was mentioned about human directed aggression versus animal directed aggression or prey drive? Because people kept referring that pitbulls were bred to be “aggressive”. Yes, dog aggressive, for gameness against other dogs and against bulls for bullbaiting. Those who were human aggressive were destroyed back then… But wait… don’t people understand that urban America f**ked the breed up by creating huge, monstrous, overbred, and unstable specimens WITH human directed aggression? Left to our own devices, we’ve created a problem we must now deal with… It upsets me to no end that pitbulls are still “glamorized” as being bad-ass by rappers promoting other illegal and shady enterprises. Way to ruin it, people…

    • Justin Morgan8

      1. You’re speaking about how pit bulls are not human aggressive in the comments section of a story that was prompted by a pit bull killing its owner who treated it well, trained it, was knowledgeable about pit bulls.

      2. You are using an argument based on genetics when pit bull advocates like to claim “its all how you raise them.”

      3. If you read accounts of dog fighting, as I have, you would know its not safe being in the pit or even in the audience of a dog fight.  I’ve read about dog fights where the dog kept “scratching to a spectator” which means that when the dog fighter let the dog go, instead running to the other dog to attack it, it leaped into the audience to attack a person.  There are literally dozens of accounts of “man eaters” – fighting pit bulls that attacked people.  Look up Bullyson, Honeybunch, Indian Bolio.  These are all famous fighting dogs that were known to be human aggressive.  But they were winners and so were fought and BRED.

      • CN

        1. Yes, I’m trying to bring about a counter-point in noting that not ALL pitbulls go postal, and that this is an indication of bad breeding.

        2. I am neither a pitbull advocate nor a pitbull demonizer. All animals are influenced by genetics AND environment; to totally discount one is unfair.

        3. I am referring to breed traits as they are described by the AKC for Am. Staffs and UKC for Am. Pitbulls, as well as the bulk of information about the breed out there. They refer to gameness and prey drive as a drveloped breed trait, and frown upon/discourage/stamp out human aggression.

        I am not trying to discount the fact that in uncommon instances pitbulls have the potential to be human aggressive. It is simply in my opinion that bad factors (both genetic and environmental) created this.

        And JMorgan, I am not trying to be a part of the problem by advocating a glowing, idealized image of the pitbull, but I do want to offer a balanced view of a tremendous animal, capable of tremendous things: companionship, love, and power.

        One last thing, don’t go so far over the edge as to become the mindless, foaming-at-the-mouth villager carrying a pitchfork, metaphorically speaking in a brigade against all pitbulls. Nothing will get accomplished when people show themselves to be inflexibly thinking extremists.

        • JustinM

          I admit I did not read a portion of your comment correctly and now see that you do acknowledge the genetic component.

          As to the villager with a pitchfork – basically all pit bulls must be highly regulated simply because we cannot know which pit bulls are docile, or will always be docile, or which pit bull owners are responsible or will always be responsible by looking at them.  After this Pacifica case, we don’t even know if anyone can be responsible enough to keep some of them from killing.

          I do not believe all pit bulls are dangerous or will become dangerous.  Obviously, if they all were dangerous, every could figure that out.

           but when I walk down the street with my dogs, I can’t tell if the pit bulls behind the 4 foot fence are being supervised, need supervision, or are inclined to jump the fence and kill my dogs.  I can’t tell if a pit bull owner thinks their pit bulls are just like labs or has a clue.

          All I can know with absolute certainty is that if that pit bull wants to kill my dogs there is NOTHING I can do to stop it short of shooting it or hoping I can stab them in the lungs with a knife. 

          I can and have bluffed an aggressive german shepherd.  I have bluffed a bear that  wasn’t aggressive but was too close to me for comfort.  I have ZERO confidence that I can bluff a pit bull.  NOTHING will stop pit  – except bullets or a well placed knife thrusts.

          That is why all pit bulls need to be regulated.

  • ilani

    With every breed a dog owner needs to become
    proficiently accountable of proper dog handling; train and know your dog (.) 


    I believe adequate training of each dog owner
    will solve the majority of dog problems that in reality people have caused from
    lack of dog handling knowledge. Training is key here, I propose when a dog is
    purchased from a breeder or adopted the dog owners are then required by
    ordinance to attend basic dog training course as an extension of licensing.


    I do acknowledge though the Pitbull as a breed
    has an extremely stronger bite than most breeds making them quite simply a
    stronger danger than other breeds if left untrained.

  • Pit bull owners often say that the dog is not dangerous, and most of the time they are correct. Pit bulls have not been proved to bite people more often than other dogs bite people. Nevertheless, the pregnant woman who recently was mauled to death by one of her own pit bulls belonged to a group which was campaigning to convince people that pit bulls are not dangerous. The name of that group was “Dog Lovers Responsible about Pit Bulls.” Her dog bit her dozens of times in her body and face, killing her and her unborn child.The question we must ask ourselves is whether the risk of this being repeated is worth taking. When any other dog has a bad day, somebody can get hurt; when a pit bull has a bad day, somebody can get killed. Although the appalling lack of statistics cannot reliably tell us the number of victims from this breed of dog, the news reports as well as an important recent study confirm that attacks by pit bulls result in far greater injuries, hospitalizations and medical costs that attacks by other dogs. In recent years, most human fatalities, if caused by a dog, were inflicted by pit bulls.If this breed is not to be banned altogether, it certainly must be restricted in several important respects: who may own it, where it may live, and how it is to be confined and restrained whether on public or private property. It should not be owned by minors, ex-criminals, were people who violate leash laws or any animal control laws. It should not be allowed to live in multifamily dwellings or upon premises used for day care. It should be confined in dog runs with a floor, four sides, and a roof. It should only be permitted in public when it is on a 4 foot leash wearing a secure muzzle designed to prevent biting. In a court of law it should be presumed that if a pit bull is running at large, a person who kills it was acting in self-defense.If the mayhem continues, stronger measures certainly might be warranted. To prevent that from happening, dog fanciers and breeders should immediately commence the following strategy: pit bulls should be carefully bred for nonviolent tendencies, all violations of animal control laws should be immediately reported whether or not the involved dog is a pit bull, and pit bull owners should be educated as to the proper care, handling and confinement of their dogs.

    • Pastelpink09

      WELL SAID!!!! There needs to be a STRICT regulation regarding these types of dogs. As one poster stated below, if a pit bull ever tried to attack/harm any PERSON around me, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill it. PEOPLE FIRST not dogs.  

      • JC

        You’re a violent psychopath.

    • Mad dix

      Hi, have you by chance seen the womans body? or photos of sorts after her death? because strangely enough, I have recently read an article about how the media got the wrong facts when in fact the woman FELL OFF A LADDER.
      Though I agree that the breeding needs to be either put on hold or slowed down you have to remember that’s what we are trying to do. Unfortunately the assholes that over-breed dogs for their aggression and for dog fighting, that throw their dog on the side of the street, which usually only breeds more will probably never end. We’ve slowed it down with licensing and spay/neuter laws but that only goes so far.
      Dogs, all breeds are unpredictable.. they’re dogs. If you ban a breed you might as well ban dogs all together. Pit bulls are not at the top of the list for attacks on humans… they aren’t even second on the list.

      Do yourself a favor and get your facts straight. thanks.

      • mad dix

        okay, so the ladder thing was BS… can’t believe everything you read. but still.. who knows what really happened.

    • JC

      You’re a disgrace.

    • Riverofbooks

      I agree with the argument to restrict or regulate the breeding of pit bulls and other dominant breed dogs. It should probably only be done by professional breeders who are accountable in some way for the soundness of their dogs.

      Also the enforcement of neutering or spaying any dominant breed dog not considered temperamentally or otherwise sound enough to be bred. There are too many back yard breeders who really don’t have any idea what they’re doing and that is contributing to the problem.

      Both of the above would also help reduce the number of dogs in shelters and the problem of overpopulation.

      In this economy it seems doubtful state or local governments can manage this issue alone so, as suggested above, dog fanciers, clubs and breeders would have to step up and participate to make this happen. 

  • Diane

    How can we inform and educate people when the media insists on referring to any large, strong dog that injures or kills a human as a “pit bull”? This KQED piece opened by referring to the dog who killed Diane Whipple in SF in 2001 as a “pit bull”. Diane Whipple was attacked by a pair of dogs, both Presa Canario dogs. Shame on you, KQED!

  • Ed

    JMorgan, you have 19 posts here (and counting). Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to express it. You’ve done so.The show is called Forum for a reason — to hear varying viewpoints from many. He who talks the most does not necessarily contribute the most.  There is not a facilitator on this Forum, nor the need for one.

  • Urbandog

    I have had 3 pit mixes in the past. I have 2 pit mixes now. Male or female neuter or spay the dog. Give the dog a lot of love. Train the dog. Do NOT leave any dog unattended around small children. Be a proactive dog owner, not a reactive dog owner. Thoroughly socialize any dog. Be aware of limitations that they may have.
    Be responsible on all levels. Whether you have a maltese, lab, pit bull or a retriever – your dog is only as good as the time you put in.

  • Urbandog

    I want to add that I am also a victim of pit bull attack. My neighbors had an unspayed female dog, that happened to be a pit bull, that was kept in the backyard and NOT socialized with the outside world. The dog had been used to the family, but NO other people. When the dog found itself outside of the yard, fear of the unknown turned to aggression. I ended up in the ER and the dog was put down. I blame NOT the dog but the owners. I had talked to them on many occasions. Guess what, they now have to pomeranians that show the same aggression. So, there you have it.

    • JC

      Prove that it was a pitbull,

      • Art

        prove that that it was not

  • dogowner

    I have a lot to say on this subject – and believe there is no easy solution. I like the idea that someone brought up of having people go through training before getting a license to own a dog, and possibly having more training for certain breeds known to be harder to train. I also like the idea of mandatory insurance or fees to be required.

    I have a standard poodle and used to take him to the dog park frequently for some good play and socialization. He is good off leash and is very good with people and other dogs, but we ALWAYS keep a close eye on him – he can become aggressive (for some reason he has a tendency to be aggressive with german shepherds, and if there is a dog fight, he will go in and try to police it). So in general, whatever kind of dog you have, you should keep an eye on your dog! I have seen many owners who don’t keep a close eye on their dogs. I am someone who thinks there are differences in breeds (this is why I got a poodle) but I do know that any kind of dog can be aggressive if not trained properly.

    At the dog park, I hate to say that, when a dog owner comes in with pit bulls, we often immediately leave the dog park. Too often, we see a pit bull owner enter the dog park, claiming that their dog or dogs are very sweet, and then the dog gets into fights with other dogs. There are many things I’ve seen that I don’t like – either the owner can’t control the dog, or the owner tries to discipline the dog with violence (choke chains, or kicking or hitting the dogs, which I believe just makes it worse).

    I have met sweet pit bulls – I had a friend with a very sweet pitbull who was affectionate, always kissing/licking you to the point where you would get hickies and there was one point where I thought if I wanted to get her off me, I couldn’t do it because she’s so strong – and that was scary to think of if she was aggressive.

    Also, I have so much respect for people who adopt dogs. If you look for dogs at shelters up for adoption, most are pit bulls or chihuahuas or mixes of them. This tells me that people don’t realize the responsibility required, but I do believe the dogs deserve to be loved if the right owners adopt them. Our other dog is a chihuahua – he was 8 when we got him and he was extremely mean and aggressive (you couldn’t pick him up without wearing oven mitts). We’ve worked with him (he was used to being a lap dog who was pet when he would growl to protect his owner – if you put him on the ground if he showed any sign of aggression, he quickly learned) and now he is one of the sweetest dogs. We didn’t take him to the dog park at first because he scared other dogs and we worried he might bite a person or other dog (even though he is tiny). If you surprise him, he might bite, but he is a tiny chihuahua with like 5 teeth so he’s not going to do much damage.

    Also, I was attacked by a dog when I was a child. It was a Scottish Terrier. Dog seemed sweet, friendly, but it was sitting down and I had a pair of scissors in my hand and he freaked out and lunged and bit me in the neck. He also bit some people a few times after that and eventually had to be put down because his aggression was not predictable or controllable.

    All said, I think there is a difference in breeds but the owner is always responsible and should do whatever is possible to keep people and other dogs safe. I think it would be helpful for a regulation or license to ensure people are ready for the responsibility of having a dog.

  • DeDaninn Carter

    my pitbull Dora Lora Lou just passed away after 11 yrs.She never bit anyone ,She loved kids & jumped to kiss them in the nose all the time.She REALLY LOVED CATS & WOULD KISS ANY SHE CAME ACROSS ON THE STREET,MANY WOULD CURL AROUND HER &THEN SLEEP W/HER.

  • DeDaninn Carter

    There NOt pitbull attacks everyday as that wounded wacko says.I had a Chow 20 yrs ago that was trying to bite my other dog & by mistake she bit me.Immdeiately she hunkered down & went into the corner.She was very sorry that she made contact w/me.In 30 yrs. of rescueing MULTIPLE DOGS ONLY TWICE HAVE I BEEN BITTEN. BUT I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO HURT THEM &THEY DIDN’T DO ANYMORE THAN A SIMPLE BITE.before having my pitbull dora I was terrified by MEDIA HYPE,AFTER DORA I HAVE MET NOTHING BUT LOVER DOG PITS AROUND MY TOWN.

  • DeDaninn Carter


  • BuildUpNotOut

    If you have never owned or lived with a pit bull, you have no right to take a hard stance on this issue. Period.

    I used to be the same way as all of the anti-pit bull people posting on here. “There are some dogs which you should just not be allowed to own,” etc.. Back when I was ignorant, I thought they were simply aggressive dogs, owned by thugs and gangstas wanting to look tough. As I grew older I had more and more friends who owned pit bulls and came to discover they can be the most affectionate, loving, playful dogs, so much so, that I’ve gone on to own them myself. My dog is a lap dog. My dog is extremely kid-friendly. My dog won’t bark at strangers – but she will try to lick their faces off. Was she born this way? No. It took hours and hours of training, discipline, socialization, and hard work on both our parts – and it’s always ongoing.

    If someone is not willing to take the proper amount of time with a pit bull, they should not be allowed to own one. Of course, this goes for many, many other breeds. But we don’t see people trying to ban German Shepards, do we?

    It IS a matter of the owner. It IS a matter of training, upbringing, environment, and socialization. Any responsible owner should be able to raise a loyal, obedient, loving pit bull.

    People with simplistic, totalitarian opinions on this matter are pathetic. Should there be limits to who can own certain breeds? Probably. Should there be outright bans? Only if you want to create a black market where even more vicious, non-socialized dogs are raised in hidden basements and houses in inhumane conditions.

    People who are spouting ignorant comments really need to spend close time with these beautiful creatures – rather than base their opinions on the most incredible of stories.

  • Romulus23

    I do not want anything to do with PitBulls, yet Pit Bulls are inflicted on me, and make my life hell! Renters next door smuggled in a Pit Bull and it was  nasty ! thrashing its chains against the fence like it wanted to kill us ,anytime it heard my family and our pomeranian. It even tried to jump the 6 ft fence and we saw its head as it was trying to jump over. We called animal control to put a stop to it. 
    We were so scared that we could never leave our pom unnattended in the back yard. What did we do to deserve this? Do I, or any person on the street including 80yr old grandma deserve to live in fear in our own homes???
    What did the 70yr old san diego woman who had her limbs amputated after the next door pit bull jumped the fence and attacked her do to deserve that?
    Don’t try to dilute/dismiss the issue by blaming it on the owner. The breed is vicious and needs to be brought to a end . 

  • Momo

    One other very important point is that soome dogs are not friendly and it is also the resposibility of the owner to understand this and behave appropriately.  I have a dog who is agressive to other dogs…she is not a PitBull.  I keep here always on a leash and away from other dogs.  It is possible to actually be responsible and take care of your pets.

  • JC

    Sonoma county already has a vicious animal ordinance:

  • Riverofbooks

    I would like
    to add another human element of the problem (and apologize if someone else has
    already brought this up). There are individuals who are extremely irresponsible
    and/or uneducated about breeding dogs – sometimes called backyard breeders – and
    many of them favor the dominant breeds.

    I think there’s a possibility of a responsible dog owner unknowingly ending up
    with a poorly bred pup that has an unstable temperament. Perhaps the breeding issue could also be addressed in Arden Allen’s ideas for a permit process.

  • Joy

    Why is a potentially vicious breed of dog any different than a pet such as a cougar on a leash at the park? Seriously, who thinks that education and nice owner is the only protection we need?

    I am #1 on the side of the dog, whose unfortunate luck in breed attracts a vicious owner. 

  • Cmartin1742

    i own a pit bull she is the most gentle friendly dog ever. I also have a 3 year son who we brought home to her. mshe was 5 months old when we brought my son home and shes been nothing but gentle and loving towards him and all of family members. in my opinion any kind of dog can be vicious its not fair to singlke pit bulls out just because their owners raise them to be mean dogs. its totally unfair.

  • APTD

    From 2005-2010, pit bull type dogs in the Bay Area
    killed 2 people. Unfortunately, now it’s 3. All 3 killed family members
    within the home. Diane Whipple was killed by her neighbor’s presa
    canarios (not pit bulls). This leads me to believe that pit bull type
    dogs do not present a “public safety issue” in the Bay Area. If you are
    fearful of pit bulls, don’t get one. You should be alright.

    From 2005-2010, there were 4 fatal shootings at Bay Area schools
    & 11 non-fatal shootings occurring at Bay Area schools. 19 other acts
    of violence (stabbings, rape etc) occurred at Bay Area schools.

    Parents, you should be more worried & more fearful about sending
    your children to SCHOOL than your neighbor having a pit bull. Funny, I
    don’t remember hearing a THING about some kid bringing 10 bombs and a
    chainsaw to a San Mateo school last year? Or a child getting stabbed in
    the chest a Burlingame school in 2006? But boy oh boy, we will never
    ever forget these 3 deaths caused by pit bull type dogs will we?

    People, your statements are hurtful, discriminatory
    & hateful. Now that we can’t discriminate by race, gender, sex,
    religion, we should beat up dogs?  And breed bans are illegal in the State of California so why even bring it up?  Oh that’s right.  Let’s stir up some controversy.  Don’t you get it people, all this pit bull hype…. it’s all about money, greed & arrogance.  Which story will get the most hits and comments, Pit Bull Attack on the nightly news, who will get the best ratings? Money money money! The media & politicians go hand in hand.  Instill fear, elect me, I will make this town a safer place to live.  Who do you think you are fooling?
    For example, on average, 30 humans die from dog attacks per
    year. A little more than 1/2 reported to be from pit bull “type” dogs
    by the media, which may or may not be accurate.  Most likely not, I’ve emailed editors many times asking to edit pit bull out of the headline, after it was reported to be the family’s shepherd not the family’s pit bull responsible for the attack.  But a pit bull will get better ratings and they are scarier, so lets just go with sells.Per media reports, there are about 17 killings of humans by pit bull type dogs per year.  Ironically, each year there is on average 17 parents murdered by their OWN children under the age of 18*.  (233 adult children kill their parents annually).  So what statistics is telling us, is that your
    own KID is about as dangerous as a pit bull.  Feeling a little foolish yet? Would we even be HAVING this
    discussion if Ms. Napora would have been killed by her own child? Would
    anyone even care? Would it even be on the news? Seriously, people.
    We need to stop with the hatred towards pit bulls.

    How would you, as a parent feel, if others looked at your children
    like they were murderers? It wouldn’t feel real good. You as a parent,
    don’t have to constantly defend the goodness of your child to others for
    the bad act of another. You don’t have to constantly hear how
    dangerous your child could be and how children are so dangerous, you
    shouldn’t have them.I did see a new report of Ms. Scarlett from the SF SPCA stating how wonderfully their mandatory spay/neuter law is working and that they are taking in less pit bulls into their shelters.  Perhaps it’s because PHS & SPCA offers YOUR residents free spay/neuter services during this time?  SF SPCA only recently started free pit fixes in May 2011.  I’d like to see figures on pit bull surrenders & euthanizations due to an unaltered pit bulls getting out of its yard or reported by a neighbor and picked up by SF ACC.  Glad to see that SF has finally caught on that mandatory expensive s/n didn’t work & keeps pit bulls “in hiding” when socialization is the very foundation to them being safer family pets.  I’d like figures on how many families didn’t have the money to pay for the very expensive spay/neuter plus impound fees and lost their family pet. Did you offer payment plans?  How long did you hold on to their pit bull so they can raise $500 or so.  3 days?  5 days? 7?  Keep up the great work, San Francisco!*Source: Kathleen M. Heide, PhD, is professor of criminology at the
    University of South Florida, Tampa. She has published two widely
    acclaimed books on juvenile homicide, “Why Kids Kill Parents: Child
    Abuse and Adolescent Homicide” and “Young Killers: The Challenge of
    Juvenile Homicide,” and a third, coauthored with Linda Merz-Perez, on
    “Animal Cruelty: Pathway to Violence Against People.”

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