Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Director of the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati Children's Talks 'Pit Bulls'
Dr. David A. Billmire, MD: "There is no need for Pit Bulls"
Doctor Speaks Out
Cincinnati, OH - After 6-year old Zainabou Drame suffered "unimaginable" injuries inflicted by two pit bulls last month, leaving some veteran police officers struggling to speak, Dr. David Billmire, MD, penned an editorial not many other doctors could. For 30-years Dr. Billmire has witnessed, examined and reconstructed the faces and body parts of children coming into Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children after devastating and life-threatening pit bull maulings.
When I started my career, the most common dog-bite injuries were from German shepherds and occasionally retrievers. These injuries were almost always provoked, such as food-related or stepping on the dog, and in almost every instance, the dog reacted with a single snap and release – essentially a warning shot. There were no pack attacks.The pit bull problem erupted in the late 1970s and was in full swing by 1987, when Dr. Billmire began seeing these injuries. It was in 1987 that Ohio adopted a state pit bull law; dismantled by out-of-state animal lobbying groups in 2012. Cincinnati also repealed its longstanding pit bull ban in 2012. Zainabou now lies at Cincinnati Children's Hospital after one pit bull "grabbed her face and literally tore it off," according to her grandfather, and the other one "pulled her mouth off."
Starting about 25 years ago, my colleagues and I started to see disturbingly different types of injuries. Instead of a warning bite, we saw wounds where the flesh was torn from the victim. There were multiple bite wounds covering many different anatomical sites. The attacks were generally unprovoked, persistent and often involved more than one dog. In every instance the dog involved was a pit bull or a pit bull mix. - Dr. Billmire
Dr. Billmire states that he recently gave a talk summarizing his 30-years of practice. One part of it, he noted, was titled, "Why I Hate Pit Bulls." Dr. Billmire states that he "watched a child bleed to death one night in our operating room because a pit bull had torn his throat out." And that he has had to "rebuild the skull of a child who had his ears and entire scalp torn off." Currently, Dr. Billmire is "reconstructing the face of a child, half of whose face has been torn off down to the bone."
Based on my extensive experience, I believe that the risk posed by pit bulls is equivalent to placing a loaded gun with the safety off on the coffee table. In my opinion, these dogs should be banned. I know this is an unpopular stand in some circles, but how many mauled children do we have to see before we realize the folly of allowing these dogs to exist? ... There are plenty of breeds available that peacefully coexist with human society. There is no need for pit bulls. - Dr. BillmireThere are over 175 recognized breeds by the AKC alone. We know why the drug trafficking owner of the two pit bulls that nearly killed Zainabou chose that breed, along with many other deviant types who flock toward pit bulls. We know why dogfighters choose pit bulls too. For the rest of the owners of these dogs, such as rescue "angels" and breed-enthusiasts, we only know one thing: They choose a dog breed that kills more human beings than all other dog breeds combined.
Some of these owners pay with their own lives as well, not to mention their children's lives.
Safety Before Pit Bulldogs
Dr. Billmire is not alone in his assessment. The Safety Before Pit Bulldogs blog maintains a collection of quotes by medical professional experts who treat victims of pit bulls. The list is long readers. Some point to medical studies and others point to news articles and editorials like Dr. Billmire's letter. We thank all of them so much for their continued research and for those who come forward in the wake of a horrifying attack to combat the pit bull propaganda machine response.
10/20/16: Montreal Pit Bull Ban, What the Vets Omitted and How the Pit Bull Lobby Operates
10/10/16: Special Report: Level 1 Trauma Center Dog Bite Studies in All U.S. Geographical...
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
06/25/15: The Mechanics of a "Classic" Unprovoked Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org
03/19/14: 30-Year Anniversary of Historic Pit Bull Attack Victim and the Tijeras Pit Bull Ban
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| 7/02/2014 9:14 PM |
The thing that victims and their families can do to stop this is to release the pictures. Post them EVERYWHERE. The raw wound photos. They speak in a way that words alone cannot. I know this is intrusive, but it really IS the only way to make people see sense.
| 7/03/2014 10:46 AM |
Thank you to all the medical professional experts who have spoken out and who, I hope, will continue to speak out. I agree with Layla Schubert. I saw one pit bull propagandist comment about Dr. Billmire's piece who said - see? before it was the pit bulls it was the german shepherds see? proof that its all the same.
The pit bull lover is somehow completely able to equate a bite and release with a face literally torn from a skull and a tongue and jaw pulled off the skull and body. Totally disgusting that they deny the horrors these fighting dogs bring to innocents for absolutely no reason.
| 7/03/2014 3:51 PM |
THANK YOU DOCTOR FOR PUBLICLY SPEAKING TOWARD SOMETHING I HAVE HEARD MANY OTHER DOCTORS TELL ME IN PRIVATE.
DON'T LET THE PIT BULL LOBBY SILENCE YOU. THANKS FOR SAVING SO MANY VICTIMS OVER THE YEARS. I BELIEVE THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF OTHER DOCTORS SIMILARLY SITUATED THAT ALSO NEED TO STAND UP AND SPEAK ON THIS.
| 7/07/2014 1:58 PM |
I hope this good Doctor isn't attacked by the PB lobby. There aren't many people who dare say what he said.
Another thing, if a dog is a dog, and all dogs bite/mail; then what about the scruffy little family dog that ran in to try to save his little buddy against dogs that could kill him in an instance? That is the kind of dog that should be around kids and people in general.
| 7/08/2014 8:26 AM |
Joyful anniversary -- it's been a whole month since Holden William Garrison was killed by what friends of the family confirm was a pit bull - Catahoula mix. A whole month without anyone else dying due to pit bull type dog attack. That's a first for this year.
| 7/09/2014 12:13 AM |
Exposing injury photos often makes people turn away -- many are far too horrible for ordinary people. This is especially true with facial injuries. We need many more people engaged in this issue; we don't want them to turn away. Images that transform people often leave the worst elements out (we are asked to "piece the rest together" in our imagination). For instance, what did it look like inside this home? The mother explains that she can't use her cell phone to call 911 because she "kept slipping in the blood." (http://blog.dogsbite.org/2013/12/video-mother-of-fatal-pit-bull-attack.html) Images of the injured victim are not needed. If you recall, police hung a sheet over the doorway to make sure that observers gathering in the yard could not see the scene of the attack inside the doorway. This attack was carried out by the family pit bull, named Kissy Face, that had been with the family for about 8-years. (http://blog.dogsbite.org/2013/04/2013-dog-bite-fatality-fulton-county.html) Attack scene images show the barbaric nature of the attack and the prolonged struggle. They force people to acknowledge the immense violence these dogs are capable of. A veteran once sent a letter in and he said something close to, "I never in my life thought I would see such "macabre" injuries anywhere except on a battlefield." Though shaken, he could look without turning away, a small minority.
| 7/10/2014 6:43 AM |
Colleen, what you say is true and you make some good points about not scaring people away. I've found, however, that words cannot adequately describe these attacks and their results. After my first experience with a pit attack (a neighbor's pit dug under one fence and climbed another and got in with a flock of ducks)I tried to describe the aftermath and how horrific it was to several people. I did not have the words to make them understand. We raise these ducks for food and slaughter them ourselves. I still was brought, sobbing, to my knees at the carnage. I could not make anyone understand how life-changing this event was for me. I still can't. With the way these articles are sanitized and played-down in the "regular" media, people don't get it. And they won't until it happens to them or their nose is rubbed in it. I don't know where the middle ground is.
| 7/10/2014 1:31 PM |
Words can indeed effectively describe injuries -- this is absolutely the case of Zainabou. Cincinnati citizens are horrified about what happened to her. There were no photographs of her nor will there likely ever be. I think what you are referring to is the sheer terror of the attack and actually seeing one of these dogs go off. This is very hard to describe, unless you are Stephen King or a legendary filmmaker. It is nearly impossible to describe the sense of helplessness as well. One victim told me that when he was knocked to the ground and undergoing an extreme attack, his wife standing next to him became paralyzed. He was carrying a knife and was able to stab the dog enough to get it to back off. Weeks later, she was still shell-shocked, completely traumatized because she was helpless to help him. He said that this "demolished her world." He wondered what it would have been like for him had he not been carrying that knife. "Where would I be emotionally today if I knew I could not have helped myself that day?" Sadly, he would be like most victims and his wife.
| 7/15/2014 9:54 PM |
For me, no, words do not have the impact that pictures have had. I've always assumed a dog bite was a dog bite and sometimes the dog it the wrong spot and someone died.
I've listened to too many hysterical accounts of accidents and mis-adventures to believe what people say about the damage done.
The first time I saw a photo of a victim's arm torn down to nothing but bone and tendon, I thought, "That's not a dog bite".
To this day I haven't seen the kind of damage a pit can do to a human from any other animal except for a Grizzly, where the mauling photo showed the a victim whose thigh was nothing more than a defleshed femur.
A normal person can read "nothing but bone and tendon" or "defleshed femur" and forget those words. Once a normal person SEES one of these things, it's burned into their memory.
| 7/16/2014 9:49 AM |
I found this imagined description of a pit bull attack on a dog and it is the closest I have ever seen to something that captures the awfulness of it. I hope to never experience this. Just imagine replacing "dog" with "child".
"One day, when the dog owner least expects it, a mauling machine attacks. It can happen when the owner is going out the door. A low, square pit bull pushes past him and latches onto his dog.
It happens that the wife and kids are in the living room at the time. The pit bull attaches itself to the dog's face and neck and impales the dog with long spikes. As blood spreads through the dog's beautiful coat, the children begin to wail. The adults try frantically to find the "off" switch; there is none.
The pit bull begins to shake the dog, with such force the dog is tossed about up in the air. "like a rag doll". Blood spatters the walls, the couch, the kids. The pit bull suddenly stops, then positions itself on one front leg and again begins to shake the dog.
The dog looks to his owners with pleading eyes. The wife tries to call 911, but knows it will be too late to save her dog. Suddenly the dog is free, but to the family's horror, they realize the dog is free because the leg was torn from the dog's body.
Now, the dog owners can try to deliver their dying dog to the vet's, with thousands of dollars due, and with little chance of the dog surviving. What does the future hold? Nightmares for all who witnessed their beloved dogs last moment, months/years trying to pay off the vet bill, years from now they will still find their beloved dog’s blood in their home."
| 7/20/2014 2:30 PM |
See, that long description of an attack only enters my brain only if I chose to keep reading, and I didn't. TL;DR. However, one glance at a photo of a dismembered limb, or, say, a picture of Linda Henry on her porch, and I can't deny there's a difference between a pit attack and a dog bite.
Maybe I'm just weird.
| 7/20/2014 6:16 PM |
I thought the exact same thing after waking up & reading the headlines of 2 more child fatalities.Post pictures of the results of allowing these mutants to walk the earth free because they are labeled a "dog" I'm just sick for all these victims. It's an every day occurance now. Just sick.
| 7/21/2014 1:45 PM |
This man was attacked by pit bulls. Quote from the article: "His family wants this graphic picture shown, so people know how violent the attack was." I'm too chicken to watch the video. Here is a link.
| 8/19/2017 10:42 PM |
My adopted daughter is Christina Burleson. She was 43 when attacked by 2 Pits. No one would let me see her until I testified in court about the impact of her death. I took the pictures of her showing a happy smiling child and young adult. I then asked the judge if she would like to look at them. I stood by her as she looked at them and naturally gazed about and for the first time saw my daughter laying in the street. I ask you to forgive the description! She looked like a 4'8" piece of red sausage. The pits tore her throat out killing her, then drug her off to consume her. That is why they do not post the pictures. What parent would not lose their minds. My dauhgter could not even have a burial service, however she is home in her urn. I cannot begin to tell you how it has changed me. So many have told me to just pray (I do and have as long as I was little singing "JESUS LOVES ME".) It is not something you want to see as it stays in the mind. I went to a councillor talked and still the vision is there. They cannot remove that. The issue is to support your state laws, take a stand and know you child will be with you. May God be with us...He is.
| 8/22/2017 4:03 PM |
While I agree that description of an attack can be incredibly potent, sometimes enough so to shake *some* people; pictures are undeniably more powerful. Like many of my fellow commentators, it was the *images* that sparked my fundamental understanding of what these dogs truly do, and it was those images that took me from a comfortable perch on the fence to a deep and impassioned understanding of the truth. I have found, in my own personal (albeit thus anecdotal) life, that images were the convincing evidence needed to solidify a truthful understanding of pit bulls to those around me.