The many problems with Charlotte Alter’s TIME article about Pit Bulls

First, it is horrible that KFC kicked out that 3-year-old girl due to people being “scared” of her face, if that’s indeed what actually happened. Other versions say that the child’s mother was actually causing a massive scene inside of the restaurant and that’s what initiated the KFC staff to ask HER to leave, not the child (it’s now been investigated twice and numerous sources state that the incident didn’t happen at all). But regardless, Time writer Charlotte Alter’s focus was clearly on disparaging Pit Bulls. So my focus will be pointing out the many problems in her article…

Problem #1: Alter provided no description of what led to the attack on the little girl, no circumstances (10 dogs, they were all running loose, the little girl was unattended), no details of the environment that the dogs were living in prior and during (9 of the dogs apparently were yard dogs), nothing whatsoever. Kind of relevant and important information if actually wanting to further the concept of public safety.

Problem #2: Alter claims that Pit Bulls “make up only 6% of the dog population,” which she has absolutely no way of knowing or confirming. Why not? Because there’s no accurate way to peg the number of dogs from any breed or “type.” Further, because there’s no specific or consistent definition of what a Pit Bull is or is not, quite the opposite. The reality of labeling Pit Bulls is subjective, ambiguous, vague and all-encompassing in nature, especially by those wanting to exploit a tragedy as a way to further their anti-Pit Bull agenda. That notion then needs to swing both ways when calculating any total number of “Pit Bulls” in existence, meaning: You can’t conveniently overreach in an effort to label every dog involved in anything as a “Pit Bull mix,” and then turn around and not use that same formula when calculating a total number of possible Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes. At least be consistent with your erroneous tactics.

Problem #3: Visual identification is not scientific, wrought with errors and inaccuracies, and these identifications are often made by unqualified people and then printed/reported in the local/national news, which is then used as “facts” for unsubstantiated claims.

Problem #4: Mixed breeds are not a breed at all.

Problem #5: Even if the 6% figure was true (which it’s not even remotely close), in a country of 75 million dogs that would mathematically equate to almost 5 million Pit Bulls. By any count, 99.9% of those dogs have never mauled or killed anyone.

Problem #6: Alter sources Merritt Clifton.

Problem #7: Alter sources alleged percentages coming from Clifton, which aren’t based in reality, evidence or science, and are instead selectively chosen from unsubstantiated media reports. Total bias bullshit, a misrepresentation of the truth, and nothing more than arrogant claims being made when such claims aren’t even possible to ever accurately be made!

Problem #8: Alter tells the audience that the CDC stopped collecting breed-specific information but failed to mention WHY they stopped collecting breed-specific information… I’ll let the CDC explain:

A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (between 1979 and 1998). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002% of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill. Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites.

Problem #9: Alter references the NOT peer-reviewed 2011 Annals of Surgery study titled “Mortality, Mauling and Maiming by Vicious Dogs,” which has been thoroughly discredited. Why? Because it was done by non-animal experts who were looking at photographs of injuries and then concluding, based solely on the photographs and medical records, which breeds of dog caused which injuries. But 1 problem: They never saw any of the offending dogs! So not only did they skip the shoddy visual identification process, but they never laid eyes on the dogs. And yet, they were so arrogant as to breed-label the injuries anyways. Preposterous.

Problem #10: Alter implies that all Pit Bulls and their owners should be collectively blamed for what allegedly happened to the little girl at KFC. Wow, I wasn’t at KFC that day and neither was my dog! If she was treated in such a way then it’s the fault of the person that treated her that way.

Problem #11: Alter mentions the dog from Arizona named Mickey, but again provides no description as to what actually led to that attack, no circumstances, nothing whatsoever. She then proceeds to claim that more people were concerned about the dog than about Kevin Vincente, as if a person couldn’t be simultaneously concerned for both, or as if concern or thoughts about 1 cancelled out concern or thoughts about the other.

Problem #12: Where are Merritt Clifton’s sources supporting his asinine claims about “shelter dogs” that span 151 years going back to 1858? No nod to the obvious difference in technology and communication capabilities from the 1800s/1900s in comparison to today. No nod to anything, just a made up number that is utterly unverified but that’s being presented, both by Clifton and by Alter, as if it’s fact.

Problem #13: Alter sources Colleen Lynn from the anti-Pit Bull hate group DogsBite.org.

Problem #14: Colleen Lynn is not a geneticist, nor is she genuinely knowledgeable about dog behavior.

Problem #15: Merritt Clifton states that “not every kind of dog responds to neglect and abuse by killing and injuring people.” Um, just by the way that he phrases this statement he implies 2 utterly wrong concepts: That all Pit Bulls would respond by killing and injuring people and that all non-Pit Bulls wouldn’t respond by killing and injuring people. Way to be a simpleton, Merritt! It’s an obvious fact that dogs are individuals and not objects, sentient beings and not manufactured products that come off of a conveyor belt. Clifton must believe the opposite. 99.9% of all dogs from any breed or type HAVE NOT mauled or killed a person!

Problem #16: Clifton’s proclamations as to what makes a “good” and “bad” Pit Bull is nothing more than a soundbyte meant to blame the dogs and not the people that put them onto the chains he speaks of. Just because a dog is on a chain doesn’t make it a “badass” (vicious, fighter) anymore than Clifton picking up a water hose makes him a firefighter. What chaining your dog does do is isolate it, frustrate it, make it territorial, and take away its option of flight, among other cruel things depending on the circumstances. Some dogs subjected to this type of shit are no less friendly than non-chained ones, as each remains an individual and deserves their right to be properly evaluated. Point being, it all depends. But chaining a dog (any dog) CAN LEAD TO TRAGIC INCIDENTS, especially when involving unsupervised children. What’s also interesting is Clifton claiming there are “good” Pit Bulls, yet he makes his living off of egregiously exploiting them and pushing fabricated statistics onto politicians who then serve up ideas for bans and regulations.

Problem #17: Alter embeds a bar graph from the hate group, spells their website wrong, and then provides no further explanation as to where the numbers come from. I’ll tell you: It’s from Colleen and Merritt, using their tactics of cherry-picking through unverified media reports. Further, what’s the definition of “attack,” or for that matter, “maiming”?

Problem #18: Lynn goes all land shark rhetoric on everyone, threatening that there will be a “disfigured child” in every school. Total fearmongering nonsense. 5? 15? 25 million Pit Bull-type dogs in the country? The definitions become so vague that that latest number is not to be discarded out of hand. What I do know is that reality does show that we have a lot of responsible people and really great dogs out there. Try as you might to ignore this fact, it’s still a fact.

Problem #19: How in the hell does Merritt Clifton assume that 80% of all dogs are sterilized, but then that 80% of all Pit Bulls aren’t sterilized? There is quite literally no way to know this information. Is this silly guy the Oracle? Does he kick it on the weekends with Santa Claus? Does Santa take him down the chimney, notepad in hand? I mean, I’m sorry, but this guy is totally full of shit.

Problem #20: Alter writes as if Colleen Lynn actually cares to prevent having more Pit Bulls euthanized. Haha. Earth to Charlotte Alter: Colleen Lynn wants Pit Bulls ERADICATED by any means necessary. You’ve been played like the neighborhood jukebox. A little something from her Facebook page…


Problem #21: Alter sources PETA, who rules the roost on animal-related doublespeak and lobbies for both Pit Bull bans and “no adoption” policies for the Pit Bulls coming into shelters. They promote the ideology of “killing them to save them from abuse.” This is completely ludicrous and the fact that they are still being given a platform on this issue speaks to how lazily Alter’s piece was slapped together.

Problem #22: Holding Colleen Lynn, Merritt Clifton and PETA up as examples of compassionate advocates for the well-being of Pit Bulls (and bigger dogs in general) is like putting the head of the Ku Klux Klan in charge of African American reproductive systems.

Problem #23: You mean to tell me that no other organization wanted to comment for this article? Alter magically produced the only animal welfare organization in the United States that is pro-BSL, and yet failed to produce more statements from the hundreds that are against BSL? Wow, that’s awful convenient! This is probably to give the illusion that the debate is actually equally split. The opposite is true however, as damn near every professional animal/safety-related organization is openly AGAINST breed-specific legislation.

Problem #24: Pit Bulls are dogs, therefore they ARE like any other dog, no matter what Daphna Nachminovitch/PETA or any other demagogue wants to claim.

Problem #25: Breed-specific sterilization for Pit Bulls is not done for overpopulation purposes or to help shelters kill less animals, although those are 2 obvious ends that might eventually come out of a move to incrementally eliminate 1 of America’s most popular types of dog. The truth? It is done as a secondary move when banning dogs by breed or type is not supported by the community or viewed as being unfair or too extreme. Same rhetoric, same sensationalism, same intent, always. Pay attention.

Shall I keep going? I’ll stop.

51 Responses so far.

  1. Beth G says:

    You have written a highly effective analysis piece for that joke of an “article.” I hope this is shared far and wide and that folks will inundate Charlotte and Time with messages that make it clear that we will not sit back quietly while lies and misinformation are vomited. Thank you for your time and effort on this brilliant counter piece on behalf of my family.

  2. Marla Hedden says:

    I have never been bitten by a Pitt, I have been pounced on and licked on a few occasions. I trained dogs for a number of years, I have been bitten Many times, just about every one of the dogs that have bit me was under 25lb! One in particular, a miniature Maltese, would chase adults, children, other dogs, it didn’t care, it would growl, snap, bark at, and if he caught you he would latch on for as long as possible. He never got better, he attacked Dozens of children and adults. The meanest thing I have ever met. He was not neglected or abused, he was a spoiled, angry brat.

    • Lisa Maras says:

      Thank you!! I am a Vet Tech. The worst thing a pit bull ever did to me was pee on me. I have nerve
      damage in a finger from a spoiled little angry brat terrier that
      was brought in because not even his owners can trim his nails without
      being bit. Got me on the tip through a properly fitted muzzle.

    • sarah says:

      I’ve worked at 2 boarding facilities and this is exactly the same for me!! I’ve found that smaller dogs tend to be more aggressive and bite-prone than large dogs!

    • Alex says:

      You obviously lived to tell about being.bitten by dogs under 25lbs. But if it was a pitbull who attacked, you would have been more seriously injured. The point is, it’s not how smaller dogs are meaner and bite more. It’s what the results of what a dog attack can do. Yes, I do agree smaller breeds like yorkies and maltese bite more and are meaner, but the chances of mauling a child to death by these breed is near impossible. If 9/10 small dogs bite and nip, it’s not going to cause a more traumatic injury than a large dog like a pit bites, even if only 1/100 bites. These dogs are powerful and can cause serious injury or even death when they attack, it doesnt matter if they dont attack as much as smaller breeds.

      • Denna says:

        It seems the point was the entire breed is being punished as opposed to the deed. Caution should be taken by parents and/or guardians with their children around any species that can harm a child. Adults should use common sense around them, as well. Unfortunately, accidents do occur. For the most part, however, study each situation and deal with it with justice. If a human being maules and murders another species, or it’s own species, does that imply all humans are vicious. Punish the deed, not the breed, not the species.

        If you are in a car wreck, are you going to punish all cars? If a human leaves their child in a hot car and the child suffers a fatality, are you going to punish all humans?

      • sj says:

        “But if it was a pitbull who attacked, you would have been more seriously injured.”

        That’s not necessarily the case. A dog’s size and jaw strength determines the maximum amount of damage the dog can do, but most dogs won’t inflict the maximal damage they’re capable of every time they bite. It is in fact rare for a large dog to inflict the maximum amount of damage they’re capable of; if that were not the case, we would see a lot more dog bite fatalities.

        • Erin says:

          Have we all forgotten about the dashound that eat the four month old’s penis back in 2007. Children should be supervised around all breeds not just the pitbull types. All dogs bite and all dogs can cause harm. Singling out one specific breed that is grossly misrepresented by mainstream media is not the answer. It’s a huge responsility in owning a dog of any breed and clearly some owners are not up to the task.

          • Erin says:


          • Bonny Thomas Lee RN says:

            Erin, dear, I believe the correct spelling of the vexing little German dog is
            dog is “Dachshund” And I am going to assume your good heart and intentions.e.g.that you do not take a strange delight appears to be taken by Pit Bull advocates when another breed causes serious damage, it happens rarely..do take a look at the 40 human beings killed this year by Pit Bulls and think seriously about this issue. Bonny Thomas Lee RN

      • Tori Wheeler says:

        Yes, it is true that small dogs will do less damage when delivering a severe bite than large ones, in most cases. But the difference is not breed related, it’s size related. Truly. Now I know that most dogs of a certain breed are of a similar size, sure, but what I’m trying to say is that a pit bull sized Chihuahua would, apart from being terrifying, would be able to cause some pretty severe damage. Chihuahuas are less likely to kill or maim not because they are a more mentally stable and safe breed (they aren’t), they are less likely to kill because they are tiny. If we want to prevent most fatal dog encounters, we must ban medium and large dogs altogether, regardless of breed. Even still, many smaller dogs have all the equipment to fatally maul a baby or small child. I think most sane people would agree that is a silly solution. What we ought to realize it’s that dogs kill about the same number of people each year as lightning strikes do (which, in the interest of full disclosure, is a statistic I got by comparing the number of dog mauling fatalities with lightning fatalities for a single year…so you can take it with a grain of salt. The point is, the number of people killed by dogs compared to all accidental deaths is an extremely small number) We should concentrate on dog bite prevention, we should fight to end irresponsible dog breeding and irresponsible ownership of all breeds. We should fight to end the chaining of dogs. We should seek to educate children about dogs whether they live with dogs or not – bite prevention should be mentioned in the same breath as stranger danger and stop, drop, and roll. Only then will we begin to lower the number of bites. Dog fatalities are, in my opinion, quite similar to mass shootings. They are tragic, they shouldn’t happen, but in all honesty they don’t happen that often, and doing things like banning firearms or having every “good guy” carrying a gun won’t stop them completely.

      • Lynn says:

        Near impossible, but not impossible. In October of 2000, a six week-old infant being baby-sat by her uncle was mauled by the family Pomeranian as the uncle was preparing her bottle. He got the dog off her and called an ambulance, but she died shortly after reaching the hospital. L.A. Times, October 2000. You’ve got to consider the individual rather than the breed.

    • elle says:

      That article made me laugh. I have a female pit named Mazy and she is the sweetest dog I have ever owned. My uncle has a chiuaua and that thing is the most aggressive animal I have ever met.my grandmothers bicon is extremely aggressive toward adults. So why aren’t we addressing these animals? Why aren’t they being put down and hated? I love pittes

  3. G Wheeler says:

    Excellent. I have not read anything this well written in a very long time. I’m not just saying that because I agree with everything stated. The guy who wrote this should be writing for Time. Or in this case, a better publication that wants to employ a journalist who gets his facts straight. Perfectly written.

  4. For Real Pit Bull Lovers Facebook page says:

    Thank you for a well written response to the Time article defaming Pit Bulls.
    As was stated recently from Bill Maher of Real Time on HBO “Time is having trouble with selling magazines so they’re looking for anything that will help circulation, referencing the cover with butter on it hailing the health benefits. Time is trying to sell more magazines by sensationalism & to do this you have to appeal to the few who are stupid enough to believe anything.
    Time magazine, well done! You have managed to lose your educated, well informed readers to the ill informed, uneducated, fearful beings that I can not call human or humane.

  5. Once again, very well said Josh Liddy!!! You are my hero!!!

  6. Andria Calhoun says:

    We invite Charlotte Alter to come along with my children and I anytime on one of our many visits to a high kill shelter we visit in Ohio. Look into the eyes of a dog on death row…spend time with them at the gate. Get the facts! Pit bull type dogs are guilty because of a BREED and likely dead in hours because of her pen and the ignorance shared by many.
    Thank you swaylove for being an educator, voice and defender of these precious dogs!

  7. Teresa Baita says:

    Perfect Josh! Thank you for always being real and honest.

  8. Bonnie Barrington says:

    I am the proud owner of an amazing Pitbull Romeo. Firstly,let me start out by saying that I blame the media tremendously for the genocide that this breed is now facing. I would just like to know one thing… who is the moron editor who actually approved the publishing of Charlotte Alter’s article? This is the person to blame. Who would even allow an article such as this, based on totally non factual statistics and pure discriminatory comments to be put into print? How many more of these beautiful dogs need to die before everyone realizes that it is the humans to blame, not the breed. This has just set back many of the efforts being made against BSL. All lovers of this breed should inundate this publication with emails and phone calls demanding an apology from this publication. The fear they have just instilled in the public by publishing this article is insurmountable.

  9. Michael Turton says:

    My opinion is truly that most people that fear this breed is because they are uneducated about them.The “pitbull” scores very highly in temperament test in most cases not to mention they are “people pleaser” meaning that the breed generally speaking wants to be accompanied by people and are driven by a need to receive atta boys from their owners. I have had 4 pitbulls of various types and all of them looked for the same thing my acceptance and would do what I tought them to do.

  10. Krista Welsh says:

    I have three (!) female (!!) pit mixes that I adopted from a local shelter. I’m not going to bullshit anyone, the most recent addition caused some pretty severe fights, landing both the dogs and myself in the hospital at least once. It took time, but now they are all fine together, but we are careful.

    My middle pooch, Izzie, a.k.a. the finisher is terrified of people. Especially men. Do you think that was bred into her? She will go bat shit crazy and attack the window when the mailman comes up to drop the mail. However if we were to let him in the house, she would immediately run across the room, stick her fanny in the air and “wuf”.

    When a human hand has even accidentally gotten into one of my girl’s mouths they will freeze and do that spit-it-out move because they do NOT want to hurt a human in any capacity. My ending up in the hospital was my own fault for jumping into the middle of a three way scrum like an idiot.

    When I volunteered at the shelter, we had a case come in once, it was a “pit bull type dog” who had attacked it’s owner. This sad, beautiful boy was in his kennel growling at everyone. He was clearly not a pitbull. I’m sure he had some bully in him in some fashion, though more likely cane corso. He was a giant. He was kept on a chain in the yard his whole life and he was scared shitless. We were all gathered around his kennel door talking about his sad situation, and he was going nuts inside, growling and snapping at the gate. But here’s the thing, I watched some tv show at some point that talked about aggressive or fearful dogs and how other dogs will face away from them avoiding that frontal confrontation, and they will calm down. So I stepped in front of the door and turned my back to it, so he didn’t have to face everyone, and he calmed right down and laid down. That night he slept on a huge fluffy comforter surrounded by treats for the first and last time in his life. The next day he was killed. All because some asshole made him like that.

    Are some dogs inherently more aggressive? Probably, I’m not an expert. As stated, they do what they are bred to do. However, pitbulls are NOT bred to be aggressive to humans. Quite the opposite. These monsters who breed them to fight are right there in the ring with them, screaming over their shoulders to egg them on. They couldn’t do that if they were bred to hurt humans.

    I have rarely seen a dog attack that didn’t have at least some kind of trigger. Whether the person wasn’t reading the signs from the dog which was perhaps territorial, scared or hurt.. there often was a warning. There will always be an exception. Just like there is no explanation for why some PEOPLE kill without provocation, the same is true for Any Animal In Nature.

    And as always I say, my Dachshund, that fiesty little shit, bites me and oh no I have a scratch. My Pitbull bites me and oh no, I better get a stitch on that. Guess who bites me more? It ain’t my Pitbull.

    That was a long rant, my apologies, but I needed to get that out.

  11. S Wooley says:

    I don’t even own a Pit and know that the Time piece was pure BS. Knew that as soon as I saw Colleen Lynn being an expert. Yes, she was bit by a Pit. Why? Because she ran up (from behind) on the dog that was on a leash and like someone that knows nothing about dogs, she ran too close to a startled dog. Instead of her admitting fault, she set up shop to bring down the breed type based on ONE incident. However you cannot dispute anything from their site or they will block you.

  12. Marie Kilby says:

    My grandson who is 2 lays on my Cupcake but he has been raised around all kinds of breeds and has been taught you don’t be mean to any dog because ANY breed can react if it is hurt…parents need to teach their children not just their pets to love not hit or harm any dog !My daughter was 14 at friends and they ran to park left gate open friends pit followed excitedly wanting to play..the kids were laughing swinging and my daughter went to jump off swing the dog just jumped up to play grabbing her sleeve but just caught her elbow…I received called to meet friends parents at ER …they had his shot record etc in hand and I got there daughter was crying ..why because she saw animal control ( hosp reported it by law ) she told them the dog was just playing and don’t hurt dog! The dog was allowed to do his required 10 days quarantine at his own vet and I went to meet all 3 of their “dangerous dogs ” the only danger I was in was being licked to death !

  13. […] someone who wrote a pretty well-shared rebuttal to Charlotte Alter’s Time article, I now want to say something else… I’ve seen […]

  14. Teresa Collins says:

    So very well written and so very factual!!! I am so happy to see someone put some truth to that false BS!!! Thank you for representing our breed with such dignity and grace!! You are my HERO!! I love my Pit Bull and will defend the breed until I take my last breath. I work hard everyday and have for years being a voice for the underdogs that can’t speak. People like you give me hope that the voice is being heard <3 GOD BLESS YOU †

  15. Angela says:

    Very well written and an ironlike voice for an amazing yet horribly misunderstood breed.
    Sheldon, Ella, Casper and Sally (a Shepherd but their sibling) thank you.

  16. Pat Nichols says:

    I love this…sometimes I want to scream my head off to how some groups and people think about pit bulls in general…its always negative for them and they don’t even know the facts. Half of these dogs are mixed also…I have one pit and 2 mixed pits and they have always been the sweetest most loving dogs. Bad people have have raised bad dogs…of any kind. I also hate any town or state that thinks they must protect themselves from these “bad” dogs by not letter anyone have them inside the town or county and it’s impossible to even rent if you have a pit. My daughter has 2 dogs she has had forever, very sweet and she can’t rent a place with them even with a big deposit. This is not fair…Chow’s are ok thought and they are can be aggressive as well as many other breeds but let’s punish good people who love animals and take the best care of them….LEAVE THOSE PITS ALONE!

  17. JunAr says:

    Thanks for defending one of my favorite breed of dogs. I have had various breed of dogs in the past and pitbull is easily one of my favorite. I have 2 of them but have to give them up for adoption coz i need to move to a condo in the city. Guess who have been very eager to get my dogs? The people in the neighborhood who have been witness to their loving, funny and playful attitudes and characters. Our hearts were heavy in giving them away but if ever i will have the oppurtunity again to own a dog it will certainly be a pitbull again.

  18. pits:) says:

    My daughter who is 3 has been raised around pitbulls & her recent dog his name was juicy boy, stolen from my exs backyard my poor baby was heart broken he was very playful watchful when my daughter was outside w him he would sleep on her car seat when we did long trips snored loudly when he slept inside we miss him. Planning to visit the shelter to look for another pibble. Nothing bad,I’d get another when the times right πŸ™‚

  19. Hannah says:

    Thank you for writing this!!!

  20. Matt says:

    Those who are hardest to love need it the most. Thanks for speaking up!

  21. Kimmie Mustang says:

    I have 2 Pit Bull/American Bulldog mixes
    A lot of people are afraid of them for no reason. Every one that I have spoken to about their breed, this is always my response which I stand by:
    “I have seen more aggression from chihuahuas then pit bulls. It’s all in how the animal is raised. If you raise them with love, that’s what they will show. If you raise them with violence and show aggression towards them that’s what you will get in return.” I live in a city where it is mandatory to license pit bulls as “vicious dogs” I think this is total bs. My dogs are both fixed, microchipped, and up to date on all shots. Not to mention that they have never bitten any other animal or human, never have shown any type of aggressive behavior whatsoever! So get your shit straight before negatively exposing my breed! I will advocate for pit bull at any cost! KEEP YOUR FILTHY LAWS OFF MY PITBULLS!!

  22. […] you’re interested in delving into the mistakes and false data she presents, here’s a great recap of the […]

  23. diana says:

    Amazingly said. Pit bulls are so misunderstood and people work SO hard to rid their bad rep that is total misconception and then 1 person writes an article like times and everyone once again is scared and hates on pit bulls after all the hard work of these people. So not fair why is that people love to hate things that cannot defend themselves

  24. Singing Dogs says:

    If you don’t like the article, why did you link to it? Your just giving it more link juice and clicks.

  25. Emily Tucker says:

    There were loads of misinformation strewn about, but as a Louisiana-native, one of my biggest issues with the Time article was the hurricane Katrina reference. How dare you blame an up rise in pitt attacks on a natural disaster? and then have the balls to publicly state, “The dogs who were rescued were good pit bulls, he says, and β€œthe real badasses, the ones chained outside, were drowned.””?! So, just to reiterate, the helpless dogs whose owners would not unchain their own dogs before a HURRICANE are the dogs who DESERVED to drown? I feel bad for Charlotte Alter (the author), because she will never know unconditional love.

  26. Jamie says:

    Thank you for this article.
    I`m a LabX owner & I`m sick and tired of the Media & Political attacks on these dogs & their owners.

  27. Poppy says:

    I’ve never personally owned a ‘pit bull’ type – not that I wouldn’t, I just tend to lean towards herding breeds (likely because I was raised on a farm with them!). However, I’ve met several and haven’t met a mean one. In fact, some of the nicest and most docile dogs I’ve been around have been pit mixes.

    Obviously it’s a complicated issue. Breed is important, and therefore people should do research before they purchase or adopt any breed, to be sure they are truly the right home for whatever the breed requires. However, with all the backyard breeding and less people using dogs for their original purpose (and as such, breeding for their original purpose)the waters become more muddy as far as breed-specific traits.

    What some refuse to understand is that there are different types of aggression. Human aggression, dog aggression, high prey drive, and fear aggression are all different things. ANY dog could suffer from them. The way the dog is raised is relevant, but so is the genetics of the dog. I had a Sheltie that was fear aggressive; she was a puppy mill dog and raised with love and kindness but she was just wired wrong. Any dog has that potential.

    Instead of persecuting based on breed, people need to be educated in general. They need to learn about the breed they are interested in, but they also need to learn about temperament. They need to know how to pick a GOOD breeder, or if they are getting a shelter dog, they need to learn how to evaluate temperament (or have some help doing so) and then be prepared to deal with whatever comes along.

  28. Jill says:

    Thanks Josh and everyone. As an educated, well-read individual who is also involved in rescue (all-breed including many pit bulls and pit mixes, as well as dogs who are wrongly labelled pit mix) I am floored at the blatant ignorance in a Time magazine piece. If this was just some hack posting on their own blog, well I’d say there are ignorant people out there. But this is Time magazine. I used to imagine that they wouldn’t publish anything that wasn’t based on some facts and research. This is one person’s opinion presented as fact, the most dangerous kind of misinformation.

  29. […] And this awesome response. […]

  30. Hugh says:

    Great job.

  31. […] I won’t link to Time Magazine’s offensive, biased, and badly reported article about pit bulls, but instead offer this rebuttal. […]

  32. Alex says:

    I understand why the ‘dangerous breeds’ list has been created, that particular breed of dog has done some serious damage to other dogs and people – but has anyone noticed how they are all big dogs? No one ever mentions all the little dogs that bite and have done harm (ie, jack russells, Yorkies, chihuahuas), so although the harm they cause may not take a life, it still hurts, scars and makes lots of people scared of dogs. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against any breed of dog, I feel that the dog is just a reflection of its owner! I hate stereotyping and wish some people would think outside the box a little before they go shouting their mouth off about something they think they “know”.

  33. Karina says:

    I think these consistent fear inducing news reports actually serve to exasperate the problem of dog attacks. Dogs need to be socialized with people to ensure good temperament, however, thanks to such articles, this is becoming increasingly more difficult. Many people are now petrified by any large, especially ‘bull’ type dog. I find on nearly every lead walk with my 12yr old, arthritic Rottie, people crossing the road to avoid him, mothers grabbing their children to drag them away and I’m so sick and tired of hearing ‘is he going to eat me for dinner, ha ha’. He’s been kicked in the face by a man who was on his mobile, didn’t see me coming and walked straight into him. He kicked my dog in panic. The most disturbing is the large number of very young children I see that will have full blown panic attacks, screaming and crying in absolute terror just at the mere sight of a large dog. It’s obvious this behaviour has been learnt from the parents. When any dog consistently has such negative encounters around people and children, it is only a matter of time before the dog learns to be fearful himself and fearful dogs will bite.

  34. Andrew S. Brown says:

    Every time this issue comes up, I like to point out a gross logical error in the reasoning: Even IF the statistics coming from the anti-pit-bull crowd were accurate (and there is ample reason to believe that they are not accurate), and pit bulls/pit bull type dogs are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of dog attacks, whether minor, severe or fatal, so what?!?! That has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of pit bulls out there that we can all agree have never attacked anybody! To make an analogy, I am guessing that if we looked at the statistics on rape, we would see that 95% or more of all rapes are committed by men. That statistic, as true as it may be, says nothing about the fact that the overwhelming majority of men have never raped anyone. If we were to use the same logic that the anti-pit-bull-crowd employs, we would come to the conclusion based on this number that all men are genetically predisposed to rape and that each and every man on the planet should be castrated in the interest of public safety and rape prevention. Does that seem rational to anybody?! It’s the SAME ARGUMENT!

  35. Michelle Williams says:

    I am not from any website or animal rights group. I am however an animal lover and have a pitbull myself. I am outraged and disgusted that a person can pick and choose bits of a situation and fill they can right about it. The truth is that because of heartless people that abuse animals, at this point pitbulls , the dogs are still very willing to forgive and continue to obey. Everyone that breathes distaste for this breed only sees what the media wants them to see and read. There are a lot of PITBULLS throughout history that we loved as kids. I just don’t understand why there are not the same hatred for alot of other things in this world. Here are a few examples….Every catholic priest has got to be a child molester , every black man is a drug dealer and a murderer , every mexican has got to be illegal and a drunken rapist , every judge is out to prove a point , every high profile lawyer is gonna manipulate the system and let all felons get a free ride , every girl that was raped really wanted it and is a slut , I could go on and on but I think you get the point. People fear what they don’t know or experienced first hand. I hope that people can stop believing what a paranoid person thinks is true and start believing what they have seen and felt first hand.

  36. Tara says:

    I was never aware of the stigma around Pitts. My boyfriend has a 70 pound Blue, she is the biggest baby in the world. She needs to be carried in the snow and will steal the warm spot in the bed if it is available. Even my 15 lb yorkie mix pushes her around, steals her treats & toys without so much as a grunt from the “vicious” pitt.
    Thank you for your article, it has opened my eyes to all of the hate groups around me. It is just another form of racism in the world, I wonder who she would hate if it wasn’t directed at innocent dogs?
    Steve Irwin (RIP) put it best- “Animals never attack without first being provoked” Dogs are territorial, that is a a pretty common concept. If your child so happens to wonder off (1- shame on you for being a bad parent- hey we all can all make assumptions right?) and finds themselves on a dogs area and happens to get attacked, that is NOT the dogs fault- would you not harm an intruder who breaks into your house? That dog doesn’t know it isn’t a full grown human-
    Just like, if you do not know someone, you’re not letting your child go into their house right??

    Like come one people- you literally just look dumb hating dogs- get a life or end YOUR OWN, not an innocent dog (ya i said it πŸ™‚ )

  37. Ryan Thompson says:

    Very nicely done. It both quelled and fueled my disgust for Alter and Lynn.

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