Black Market Breeders
Las Vegas, NE - Given the rarity of dog bite fatalities (20-30 per year), it's important to take a closer look at cities that suffer 2 fatalities in the same year. In 2007, San Antonio suffered 2 fatalities; both attacks were attributed to pit bulls. Recently, we've been writing posts about San Antonio (Bexar County). Officials do not appear to be prosecuting under Lillian's Law, there is a sizable stray dog problem and the city shelter is headed toward a "no kill" policy even though the facility is overflowing with animals.
As this Las Vegas article describes, San Antonio may also be suffering from a proliferation of pit bulls being bred by the worse kinds of breeders: backyard, dogs bred for fighting, and greedy opportunists. A single litter from a decent bloodline can generate $3-8 thousand dollars. Unlike Harris County -- who drove the legislation after a young boy was killed by a stray pit bull in 2006 -- Bexar County has not banned roadside (and parking lot) sales of animals either, which is where many of these sales take place.
Las Vegas may have suffered its second pit bull fatality as well. Back in September, Cenedi Carey was ripped from her stroller by two pit bulls and killed in North Las Vegas. As we started to do background research on the city, this May 2007 article cropped up, which reports an "explosion of pit bulls on the streets of Las Vegas." Backyard breeders were raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling pit bulls. These dogs stand a high risk of being unstable, and many may wind up stray or at shelters for adoption.
Highlights of Las Vegas Breeder Article:
- "[Pit bulls] are being bred -- and inbred-- in record numbers, and then sold like drugs or illegal weapons in clandestine street encounters. This illicit trade is a danger to public safety, a drain on public dollars, and a tragedy for the dogs themselves."
- "With the money that's involved with them, it's easy to sell the pit bull. Chief Womble and his 12 officers handle 30,000 calls a year. About half of them involve pit bulls. Hundreds of those calls involve pit bulls that have bitten a person or animal."
- "Pit bulls have become the dog of choice for street gangsters and wannabe gangsters. Web sites and MySpace entries that directly appeal to a street audience advertise pit bull pups that sell in Las Vegas for up to $2,000 apiece."
- Backyard breeders also push their wares in the classified pages of the local paper. Anyone who breeds and sells dogs is supposed to have a license. Few, if any, of the ads mention a license number.
- "Unlicensed breeders treat the dogs like contraband. Animal Control's Floyd Womble said, "They sell them out of the back of a pickup in parking lots. Won't meet at their residence."
- "Lied Animal Shelter spokesman Mark Fierro said, "Every time a pit bull has a litter, there isn't five or six little puppies. There's ten or twelve, and they all live. As a result of that, there's a lot of money..." -Channel 8 I-Team, newsnow.com
There is a part II to this article as well. The message is that recent bad breeders have made pit bulls dangerous. DogsBite.org does not argue that unprincipled breeders greatly contribute to the proliferation of dangerous pit bulls. But the pit bull has been selectively bred since the mid 1800s for the purposes of dogfighting. The history of breeding to attain top fighting traits, such as gameness (tenacity), has been present for over a 100 years. Shoddy breeders from the past decade did not invent this deadly trait.
"Gameness" is the ability to continue fighting despite sizable levels of pain and injury. Due to selective breeding, pit bulls have unmatched gameness in the canine world. In the instances of attacks on humans, it's this very trait that results in the following scenario: 4 grown men, 2 baseball bats and a shovel could not stop the attacking pit bull.
11/27/08: 2008 Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed in Clark County, Nevada
11/24/08: Bexar County, Texas Pit Bull Problems Continue to Surface in the News
11/16/08: Massive Dogfighting Sting in Harris County, Texas
11/03/08: Bexar County Still Has Not Brought Charges Against Dog Owners
08/18/08: 2008 Fatality: Pit Bulls Fatally Maul 4-Month Old in Las Vegas
09/18/08: Video: Cenedi Kia Carey, 4-Months Old, 911 Tape