By: Serach Nissim
Pit bulls have apparently earned themselves a bad rep.
The breed is being charged with biting disproportionately more New Yorkers than any other dog. As reported by the NY Post, Pit bulls bit seven times more people in New York City than any other pooch breed.
As per recent data from the city’ Department of Health, American Pit Bull Terriers and mixes were responsible for 2,610 bites over three years, between 2015 and 2017. That’s 30 percent of the total number of dog-bites. The next runner up was the Shih Tzus, a small toy dog breed, which accounted for a much lower 364 bites, becoming the second worst in NYC. The third place biters were Chihuahuas, having taken 344 bites over the three year period.
Pit bulls, distinctively identified by their square heads, oversized shoulders and muscular bodies, are a descendant breed of the English bull and terrier, originally bred for use in blood sports.
The disturbing NYC data comes as last month a 35-year-old Wisconsin mother had her arms torn off and ultimately died of injuries obtained while defending her 4-year-old son from an angry pit bull. In Somerset, Wisconsin there is a ban on keeping a pit bull.
As of 2010, the New York City Housing Authority banned residents from keeping pit bulls. Pit Bull bites were most common in the Bronx, Far Rockaway and East Harlem, as per the recent data. Those are all areas with a higher percentage of public housing. In the past, NYC as a whole had a ban on the breed, under a 1989 measure signed by Mayor Ed Koch following a series of brutal pit bull attacks. The ban was short-lived though, being revoked in 1991.
Mia Johnson, a co-founding member of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness, said the data against pit bulls is “not surprising.” She said that once when she was out for a walk with her two “little dogs”, “out of nowhere” a pit bull attacked and “ripped apart and killed” one of her dogs. “The teeth are large. They have a way of gripping and trying to tear when they bite,” she said.
“Dogs are dogs are dogs are dogs. They’re all individuals. You can have a litter of six puppies, no matter what they are, they’re going to grow up with different personalities,” countered Michelle Serocki, executive director of Pit Bull Advocates of America, who for more than 20 years has lived with and rehabilitated pit bulls who were bred to fight.