Man's Best Defense
In what may be the most disturbing article in recent times regarding pit bull ownership, there are lessons to learn and trends to wise up to. In 2005, the Village Voice published an article about Tyler Eison, a man who intentionally trains his pit bulls to be vicious as a means of personal protection.
At DogsBite.org, we've read the article several times. We are still staring in disbelief and scratching our heads. Is the relationship between man and dog evolving into a tool of aggressive defense? It appears that it is, and there are no laws to penalize these owners, nor can victims attain civil recourse if calamity occurs.
Our question to you: Should it be legal to train your dog to violently attack a person? Unlike a gun that must be fired by a human hand, a vicious dog has a mind of its own.
"These are not normal dogs," says Tyler Eison, gazing reverently at a litter of seven-week-old pit bull puppies. "I like having very vicious, angry dogs. I'm going to teach them not to like other dogs. I'm going to agitate them, make them aggressive. That way when it's about business, they are going to be serious."
He goes on to talk about his dogs as "his pistols" and cites an incident that erupted where he summoned his dogs to help:
In the late '80s, Eison's car was rear-ended. An argument erupted as two men leapt out of the other car. One of them said he was going to get something out of his trunk. Eison guessed this something was a gun, so he wasted no time in loosing Conan on him. "I wasn't going to let him kill me, so my dog took care of him," he remembers. "I sicced my dog on that guy, man, and beat the other one up myself. I had no choice."
Another troubling trend in this story is Tyler's attitude about neutering. It's not just Tyler's attitude either; it spans nationwide. There is a culture of male dog owners that refuse to neuter their male dogs because it takes away the dog's "manhood. Actually, the reverse is true: neutering the male dog takes away the owner's manhood. The Brooklyn Animal Care worker adds:
When the owners come to retrieve their animals [at the shelter] they usually don't mention that they're breeders until she brings up the city policy of mandatory fixing of all dogs in city shelters before they're released. The potential financial loss is not the only reason some owners object. "The men always say, 'You're taking my manhood away.' We get that every week. They say that they can't walk the dog in their neighborhood anymore because people will see that his testicles are gone. They are adamant about it," Clemmons says.
Tyler agrees that it would be "embarrassing to be seen with a neutered dog." Then again, because he is a backyard breeder (and sells pups for $2,000) he has a greater reason for abstaining. He takes a crack at animal shelter beliefs:
"Their opinion is that we shouldn't breed, but at the same time they shouldn't be so quick to spay dogs, to take away what God gave them." Dogs are like cars or clothes, he says; people want name brands, not the kind of generic dog you can get at a shelter. With his dogs, people will know they're getting a high-caliber product. He says his bloodline is the Mercedes-Benz of dog breeds.
He solidifies the fine qualities of his dogs at the end of the article. He does so at the stake of the writer that tells his story:
"Watch him now, watch him now," says Eison to Rock in a gruff, deliberate voice, periodically jerking the leash. He lets him charge a foot or two toward the doll before yanking him back. It only takes a couple of passes of the toy before Rock is able to grab it. But it is not the toy he's after. He immediately drops it and stares with terrifying intensity at the person who had been holding it. "Rock's bloodline is one of the best. He doesn't want to stop, he'll fight to the death," says Eison. "You'll never be able to come in this backyard again."