The term pit bull refers to a collection of dog breeds instead of a single breed. Mostly the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Bulldog, the American Bully, and any crosses between the three. Although pit bulls were all created with similar cross-breeding between bulldogs and terriers, each individual breed within the type has a distinct history. The US Humane Society estimated that in 2009 there were over 79.2 million owned dogs in the United States; however, the number of pit bull-type dogs has not been reliably determined.
Pit Bull Locked Jaw
There is some confusion over the “locked jaw” notion with pit bulls. There is no evidence for the existence of a physiological “locking mechanism” in the teeth or jaw structure of normal pit bull-type dogs, although a dog’s jaws can be locked in a closed position by surgically correctable jaw abnormalities. However, pit bull-type dogs exhibit “bite, hold, and shake” behavior, which is seen in all breeds of dogs, and at times refuse to release when biting; methods to force pit bull-type dogs to release their grip include breaking an ammonia ample and holding it up to the dog’s nose, or using a “break stick” to lever the dog’s jaws open if it bites a person or animal.
Famous Pit Bulls
Pit Bull breeds have become famous for their roles as soldiers, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, actors, television personalities, seeing eye dogs, and celebrity pets. Historically, the Bull Terrier mix Nipper and Petey from the Little Rascals, are the most well-known. Lesser known, but still historically notable pit bulls include Helen Keller’s dog “Sir Thomas”, Buster Brown’s dog “Tige”, Horatio Jackson’s dog “Bud”, President Theodore Roosevelt’s Pit Bull terrier “Pete”, “Jack Brutus” who served for Company K, the First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry during the civil war, and Sir Walter Scott’s “Wasp”.
Modernly significant pit bulls are: Weela, who helped save 32 people, 29 dogs, 3 horses, and 1 cat; Popsicle, a five-month-old puppy originally found nearly dead in a freezer, who grew to become one of the nation’s most important police dogs; Norton, who was placed in the Purina Animal Hall of Fame after he rescued his owner from a severe reaction to a spider bite; Titan, who rescued his owner’s wife, who would have died from an aneurysm, and D-Boy, who took three bullets to save his family from an intruder with a gun.
Breed-specific legislation is a law passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds.
Some jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds commonly used in dog fighting, and some government organizations such as the United States Army and Marine Corps have taken administrative action as well. This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs, to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally “dangerous” or “vicious.” In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municipal governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation.
It is generally settled in case-law that jurisdictions in the United States and Canada have the right to enact breed-specific legislation; however, the appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries is disputed. One point of view is that certain dog breeds are a public safety issue that merits actions such as banning ownership, mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs of these breeds, mandatory microchip implants and liability insurance, or prohibiting people convicted of a felony from owning them.Another point of view is that comprehensive “dog bite” legislation, coupled with better consumer education and legally mandating responsible pet keeping practices, is a better solution than breed-specific legislation to the problem of dangerous dogs. A third point of view is that breed-specific legislation should not ban breeds entirely, but should strictly regulate the conditions under which specific breeds could be owned, e.g., forbidding certain classes of individuals from owning them, specifying public areas where they would be prohibited, and establishing conditions, such as requiring a dog to wear a muzzle, for taking dogs from specific breeds into public places. Finally, some governments, such as that of Australia, have forbidden the import of specific breeds and are requiring the spay/neuter of all existing dogs of these breeds in trying to eliminate the population slowly through natural attrition.