The former owner of a rescue pit bull shares story of an unprovoked attack.
Atlanta, GA - The former owner of a rescue pit bull recently wrote into our nonprofit and shared a powerful story with us. This individual is "still dismantling the beliefs I previously held about these dogs." Beliefs this person learned by "networking with other pit bull owners." This person did not expect the level of "fear, regret and guilt I would feel when the attack happened." This former owner is still very shaken by the experience and will never own a rescue dog again as a result.
This individual also comments about how many shelters adopt out pit bull-mixes under the "mixed-breed" label to "unsuspecting adopters." In January, we published a letter from a person who once worked at an open intake shelter. That letter also discussed the deliberate mislabeling of pit bulls and their mixes by shelter staff, along with adopting these dogs out to homes with unprepared adopters. An unsuspecting adopter of a pit bull-type dog is equivalent to an unprepared adopter.
I used to be a pit bull advocate. We adopted a pit bull puppy who was adorable and sweet with absolutely no background of abuse. She was rescued at 5 weeks along with her mom and litter mates. She was not separated from her mom too young. We gave this puppy the perfect life. At that point, I believed the lies put forth by pit bull advocates. I felt like you had to teach these dogs to be aggressive and they weren’t born this way.
Well, in January 2021, my dog attacked a man for no good reason at all. He was doing nothing strange. He wasn’t talking. He was standing still. By the grace of God, this man was able to mitigate the attack by holding her leash away from his body. My dog tore through his shirt and he was left with bruises and an abrasion. I didn’t witness the attack in full because I had fallen when my dog pulled so I was trying to get up when part of the attack was taking place. Once I grabbed her, I immediately took her to the vet to be put down.
I’m still in the process of mentally healing from this situation. I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that this was my dog that I loved and this dog had the perfect life, yet still became an attack dog. I’m still dismantling the beliefs I previously held about these dogs that they’re not inherently dangerous. I learned and adopted these beliefs through networking with other pit bull owners.
Since we adopted her, I had heard about numerous other pit bulls getting into fights and hurting other dogs so we decided to get a very strong insurance policy to protect a potential victim. I researched dog bites and knew how expensive they could be. I did not expect the level of fear, regret and guilt I would feel when the attack happened. I’m plagued daily by considering what could have happened and how bad it could have been.
So, although I know sweet pit bulls, I tell people to absolutely believe this breed is dangerous. If someone were to own a pit bull, they’d need to be an expert behaviorist to keep the dog in-line, although I still would advise anyone to avoid this breed. One thing that scares me is that most shelter dogs in Georgia are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. A lot of shelters adopt them out as mixed-breeds to unsuspecting adopters. I’m so sad to say I will never own another rescue dog. The chance of getting a pit mix is too high.
I appreciate what your organization is doing to educate and safeguard the public … I’m still very shaken by my experience.
We also directed this individual to the letter submitted by the former open intake shelter worker. This person had worked with four trainers in Atlanta, who basically pointed back the blame finger instead of being honest. This was a "project dog" with impulsive aggression, despite being adopted as a young puppy into a loving home. Further, when the person tried to return the dog to the rescue, "they said they absolutely would not take on a dog with a known bite history."
This article is 100% true and spot on. My dog was spayed and was actually much smaller than most pits at 50 lbs. Maybe that’s why the man was able to defend himself. We had worked with 4 trainers who all said she was submissive and it was basically our fault we couldn’t make her into a normal dog. She was my 1st dog so I believed them. Since then we’ve adopted a wonderful pure breed dog (non pit bull-type) from a breeder and guess what? It turns out I’m not an idiot as it relates to training a dog. My pit bull was a problem dog. When the attack happened, I asked the rescue if they wanted her back and they said they absolutely would not take on a dog with a known bite history. They said there was no where for her to go where she wouldn’t be a danger to others. We immediately put her down after we got off the phone with the rescue.
01/04/21: Working at an Open Intake Shelter: Deliberate Breed Mislabeling, Aggressive Dogs...
12/16/20: Ann Marie Rogers: Animal Welfare Advocate, Animal Control Officer, Public Safety...
07/31/20: 2020 Edition: 125 Behavior Terms for Shelter Dogs Decoded that Mask Aggression
10/16/19: A Pit Bull Adoption Disaster: Animal Aggression, Anti-Anxiety Medication and More
The official people who are officially in pro-canine stance will always deny the possibility of any unprovoked attack. Unprovoked attacks can not ever happen. They do not exist. It is always the victims’ fault. If the dog just “does not like you”, the unmistakable strong inference is that it is the victims’ fault that the dog does not like the victim. The dog just simply must have made a valid judgement call on the victims’ character, so the dog attacked a person who is a bad person. This, per official law and legal government personnel. It does not matter what the breed is. Pitbull, German shepherd, Queensland heeler: Any breed can attack a person that the dog did not like, per the victims’ character, as per assessed and legally determined by the dog! The dog has the legal right of way to decide who it wants to attack. The victim has zero legal recourse. If someone else defended the victim, or if the victim defended himself, the defender is the criminal. In our criminally insane society, according to our criminally insane layers of government, the victim is the problem. The dog is the one who is worshiped by our society, and by all of our layers of government. Is it 40 extremely severe traumatic maulings every day in the USA, for 14,000 severe traumatic maulings every year in this country? News media, local government, real estate associations and all other official bodies do not want anyone to know about this huge quantity of the dangerous canine breed threat. Anyone who attempts to get the message out to the people about dangerous breed canines is the criminal enemy of the the Dognited States of America.
Could we please stop misusing the word “rescue” in relation to dogs? Unless that dog was plucked from a raging river or carried out of a burning building, it was purchased. Nothing more, nothing less.
As long as it looks like some kind of humanitarian aid to “save pitbulls” this battle will continue.
It’s all about the money, it was always about the money, and it remains as a result of people paying for rescue facilities, paying breeders, thinking they can breed and make money, etc. etc.
If it wasn’t about the money I could walk down the street, find some poor sod whose dam was knocked up by a fence jumper and grab a cheap/free puppy. No hassle, no contract, no shelter fees, no donations.
Astonishing that the rescue refused to take the dog back. I see so many rescues proudly rehoming bite case dogs.
These attacks – severe attacks and attacks by well-raised pit bulls without a history of abuse or aggression – are under the radar, but they are out there and I think we’d be startled by how many there are. I just came across a pit bull rescuer on social media who was in the process of moving from rescue to training when she was very nearly killed by a client’s raised-since-puppyhood pit bull – one arm mauled so badly that the dog’s teeth punctured bone, and the other arm broken by the pit bull’s grip. She described it as dragging her while her own dogs – also pit bulls – fled the room in terror. She would have been killed if her bf hadn’t been in the house at the time and dragged it loose twice. She says the dog had mild resource guarding, but no other history of aggression, but that it seemed to completely lose its mind and fixate on her. Sound familiar? She very nearly lost her arms, and she was clearly traumatized – there was zero pit bull advocacy language in her posts after the attack. Her story never made the news. Neither did the story I came across buried in the local government records of a nearby town’s council meeting where they discussed giving an award to a man who’d saved a woman from her own pit bull when it mauled her in a park. The dog was raised from a puppy, zero aggression, nice pet. Walking with her and other household dog in the park, turned around and tried to kill her. Again, no media coverage.
My father works with a man who used to breed pit bulls with his wife. They were nice people, took excellent care of their dogs. They had a male puppy that they’d kept, who slept in their bed every night. One day while the husband was at work, that dog randomly attacked her. She lost one arm and nearly the other, and almost bled to death because the dog stood growling and wouldn’t let her get to her phone. They can snap, just like that. That’s when I knew I’d NEVER trust anything with pit blood.
I highly commend this former pit bull owner who was brave enough to immediately put her pit bull down after the attack. Many pit bull owners would have excused the behavior, but she chose to value human life and community safety and do the right thing.
Not only that, but she reached out to share her story on this blog. It is powerful to hear from prior pit bull owners and advocates who have been shaken by the pit bull behavior and are willing to re-evaluate their former opinions.
There’s nothing wrong with rescuing a dog as long as it isn’t pit. If it looks part pit, it probably is. We rescued a dog- part poodle part lab. Obviously does not look pit. Of course looked 2 1/2 years to find her. It’s worth waiting for the right dog, a dog that is going to be a biddable, safe pet. I’d avoid the dogs the shelter is eager to get rid of. Sad every pit owner has such warped thinking, this is what creates a danger to everyone else- the fact they can’t accept reality. BREED matters.
Thank you to our anonymous writer for writing her powerful story.
Yours is not the first story I’ve heard like this. The guilt, the shame of being forced to euthanize for behavioural problems, the pitbull advocates blaming everything but the actual dog itself, the fear and trauma that follows when a beloved dog attacks someone.
Here’s the kicker.
It wouldn’t have mattered if you *did* make some handling errors. Most dogs are resilient. There’s time to learn to correct them. With pitbulls, all too often handling errors are blamed and it often isn’t true. Just walk down your street and watch how many dogs owners are clearly unable to manage their dog’s behaviour or can’t/won’t even teach the dog a simple “heel” command. Even with larger dogs it’s rare that inexperienced handling ends in tragedy.
I worked with plenty of dogs that were poorly handled. Very rarely did that make them vicious. Those that were truly vicious and not just posturing–were clearly genetically flawed. And that’s what pitbulls are in so many cases like yours–bred to be genetically flawed.
Viciousness in pitbulls isn’t a bug. It’s a feature.
Now you have the opportunity, dear writer, to understand what kind of bond a companion dog and a human can share. Once that relationship has happened with a dog, it’s hard to convince that dog owner that getting a risky dog is ever worth it.
The best to you.
We have to remember that this individual is in “recovery” after being a pit bull person. Of course mistakes are going to be made such as calling a pit bull puppy, arguably a highly profitable dog for a shelter, a rescue and calling that transaction adoption. Also mistakes such as trying to take the dog back to the shelter which risks it getting rehomed to someone else. This person made the right decision by putting his dog down and deciding to stay away from the breed forever more. By reaching out to DBO, he/she is working through reprogramming.
I have to commend the writer for not only coming to the tough realization that their pet was no longer a pet, but doing the absolute right thing and having it put down immediately. Not many people can even admit they were wrong, much less take responsibility for it.
A man across my street was attacked by two pit bulls that got loose. The victim was just taking a walk! The dogs were owned by a pit breeder, and thankfully animal control came in time. When I yelled at the two dogs from across the street (the victim, already bitten in the groin, had found refuge in a screened porch) they came for me, and I will never forget that wild look in their eyes. Vicious.
We euthanized many PITBULLS that were raised in perfectly loving homes for years and then suddenly and without any provocation attacked and or killed the toddler or the household cat it grew up with.
It’s called idiopathic aggression.
In my 18+ years we only euthanized one other breed of dog for this and that was a old senile Labrador, other than that…it’s PITBULLS !
We also banned this breed from our boarding facility.
It was just too much of a liability to our Kennel staff which is One Employee on the weekends .
Amazes me of the deceit of some rescue facilities. Call pitbulls and pitbull mixes “Boxer mix” or “Lab mix”. You look at the dog and has the giant bullet head and tiny eyes with that gigantic mouth! And the ridiculous names like pibble and pittie and putting sunglasses on them and refer to them as “lovebugs’. My county banned them.
In my opinion, no pit bulls should be sold by shelters or rescues. If the owner cannot keep it, euthanasia is available.
In Indianapolis, the top position for Animal Control was a revolving door when pit bulls were euthanized. Now that pit bulls are adopted, the director stays.
On another subject, Animal Control stole four beautiful long haired designer kittens from the breeder, filed abuse/neglect, and the local shelter represented these kittens as abused. Even the police report said condition acceptable, and they were vaccinated and well socialized.
The breeder could not get the kittens back because she had to put up $450 per kitten per month to have a chance to reclaim them. She won in court so the police officer involved has targeted her again. She has asked for his badge.
When shelters scream abuse, just maybe they are lying.