September 25, 2013 by kittynh
Skeptics disagree about a lot of things. All I have to do is look at my facebook feed to see all the disagreements. I’m not talking the infighting about feminism, or personal disputes. I’m talking disagreeing about things that should be able to be agreed upon using critical thinking and logic.
Pit bulls are one topic skeptics don’t agree on. They are wonderful loving dogs, or they are dogs with the potential to do more harm, because their bite is more deadly.
I have a good skeptic friend that will quietly avoid any pit bull dogs, and with those he trusts he has good logical reasons for his fear and distrust of the breed. I have always found him to be incredibly logical, and does not tend to follow trendy opinions. You know, the “oh it’s the owners, not the dogs”, opinion that it is currently correct to have. He gets that, but he also doesn’t like any dog with a strong bite, and he has good data to back up his distrust of the dogs.
Brian Dunning has a Skeptoid episode on the subject.
I have a photograph of my mother in law with her pitt bull type breed. This dog was part of the popular “nanny dog” movement. Sadly the “nanny dogs” came about because of well published cases of child kidnappings. Starting with Charlie Ross in 1874, and probably the most famous child kidnapping of all, that of Charles Lindbergh junior, son of aviator Charles Lindbergh, parents in the United States became afraid. It didn’t matter that their child was not rich or the child of someone famous, parents and children remember being terrified. Charles Lindbergh protected his second son by buying a German Shepherd that was trained to protect his child. Other parents followed his lead.
My own husband remembers being followed constantly by a big German shepherd. All the photographs of him as a child have his loyal nanny dog close by. His parents never worried about him playing outside. At night the dog slept in his room. These dogs were in many family photographs of the time not because they were lovable and sweet, they would rip the arm off anyone that tried to hurt a child.
Still, of course, a dog is reflective of the owner. Also, dogs have been used for security and protection for years. A dog that can inspire fear is the oldest security system known to history.
Pit Bulls though seem to inspire hate or love, there is no in between allowed. I like to think a pit bull is a dog that can be trained safely, but that also is going to need that extra bit of training.
My own dog has bitten several people (mainly as a young dog when people did not listen to me saying “DO NOT PET THE DOG, THE DOG WILL BITE!”) My dog is little and cute, and will quickly make friends, but if you reach down to pet him too quickly he will nip. No amount of my telling people NOT to pet him seems to work (it simply takes a few moments for him to be socialized into being your best friend). He has a small weak bite and has never even broken skin, but I am very upset and apologize and try my best to warn people to “keep back!” until he has calmed down.
Why some people insist, “Oh all dogs love me!” and “I’ll just let him sniff my hand!” (right just put your hand right by his teeth, he likes that), is beyond me. I know if Dingo were a pit bull, he could have done some major damage. His being small has allowed me to be less careful than I would have to be if he were a pit bull.
My skeptic friends will never agree about pit bulls, as they also never agree about GMOs. I tend to try to be in the middle about many issues. GMO’s sound great, Monsanto sounds not so great. Pit bulls, good for security, not for my family pet as I’m too lazy to train the dog as well as it needs to be trained. Middle ground is not always appreciated by skeptics, but seeing both sides to any argument is never a bad thing.
- Proof that pit bulls are actually the best snugglers on the planet (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- Man Recovering After Being Attacked By Five Pit Bulls (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Pit Bull Attacks Prompt Waterloo to Consider New Ordinance (kcrg.com)