Paul Miller, Hagerstown, MD
Knoxville, TN - Paul Miller used to be able to unclip a pit bull he wasn't familiar with from its chain without fear. Today, that's no longer the case. Miller, the executive director of the Humane Society in Hagerstown, MD, and an expert on pit bulls, gave a public lecture recently at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
He said that in the past, pit bulls bred to fight other dogs typically were not human-aggressive. Trait dilution in the breed since the 1980s, however, has changed things. He said that today, one pit bull might be happy in the company of other pets. But another might attack humans with the same fight-to-kill mindset traditionally reserved for other dogs.
Multiple animal agencies have acknowledge this "trait dilution," most notably the HSUS and the ASPCA.
"With the unknown breed history in a lot of them, you have to be aware of the factors in their environment," Miller said. He later added, "How far they are from fighting, we don't know." Miller’s statements leave little doubt that animal agencies, strongly affiliated with pit bulls, understand the rising risk of all pit bulls -- raised properly or improperly -- to attack human beings.
Miller's talk to about 30 people, including many pit bull owners, was the third about the topic he has given in the past few days in Knoxville. He has also spoken to law enforcement officers and shelter workers. Since the brutal attack and killing of 21-year old Jennifer Lowe in Knox County last November, Tennessee politicians and the Lowe family have been pressing for stronger dangerous dog laws.
01/12/08: Pit Bull "Parenting" Class Offered After Brutal Death of Jennifer Lowe
11/15/07: 2007 Fatality: No Charges Filed for Owner of 2 Pit Bulls that Killed Jennifer Lowe