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Pit bull is a term commonly used to describe several types of dogs with similar physical characteristics. Its use in media is often vague and rarely descriptive of specific breeds. There are several physically similar breeds that are often termed "pit bull", including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Perro de Presa Canario, Cane Corso, and Argentine Dogos.These breeds are usually not included by name in any Breed Specific Legislation (see below), but are sometimes included because of a broad definition and confusion as to what a pit bull actually is. [1] All of these breeds as well as many others (including Great Danes, Newfoundlands and Rottweilers) are members of the Molosser family of dog breeds.
The ancestors of modern pit bulls come from the bulldogs and terriers of England. At one time every county in England had its own breed of terrier. Many of these still exist; however, some have evolved into new ones. Such is the case for the English White and the Black and Tan terriers, whose descendants include the bull-and-terriers, the Fox Terrier, and the Manchester Terrier. Terriers served an important purpose in England by killing vermin that might otherwise ruin crops, damage property, or spread disease such as the Black Plague. The development of sports such as rat- or badger-baiting further added to the breeds' importance.
Mastiff type dogs also have a long history in England; they are thought to have been brought by the Celts. It is also known that the Normans introduced the Alaunt. These dogs were used in battle and for guarding, but they also served utilitarian purposes, such as farm work. Specifically, these dogs accompanied farmers into the fields to assist with bringing bulls in for breeding, castration, or slaughter. The dogs, known generally as bulldogs, protected the farmer by subduing the bull if it attempted to gore him. Typically a dog would do this by biting the bull on the nose and holding on until the bull submitted. Bulldogs were bred to have powerful, muscular bodies and the resolve to hold onto a violently struggling bull despite injury. These traits permitted the development and rise of the bloody sports of bull-baiting and bear-baiting. In Elizabethan England, these spectacles were popular forms of entertainment. However, in 1835, bull-baiting and bear-baiting were abolished by Parliament as cruel, and the custom died out over the following years.
The sport of dog fighting, which could be carried out under clandestine measures, blossomed. Since Bulldogs proved too ponderous and uninterested in dog fighting, the Bulldogs were crossed to English White and Black and Tan Terriers. They were also bred to be intelligent and level-headed during fights and remain non-aggressive toward their handlers. Part of the standard for organized dog-fighting required that the match referee who is unacquainted with the dog be able to enter the ring, pick up a dog while it was engaged in a fight, and get the respective owner to carry it out of the ring without being bitten. Dogs that bit the referee were culled.
As a result, Victorian fighting dogs (Staffordshire Bull Terriers and, though less commonly used as fighters, English Bull Terriers) generally had stable temperaments and were commonly kept in the home by the gambling men who owned them.
During the mid-1800s, immigration to the United States from Ireland and England brought an influx of these dogs to America, mainly to Boston, where they were bred to be larger and stockier, working as farm dogs in the West as much as fighting dogs in the cities. The resulting breed, also called the American Pit Bull Terrier, became known as an "all-American" dog. Pit bull type dogs became popular as family pets for citizens who were not involved in dog-fighting or farming. In the early 1900s they began to appear in films, one of the more famous examples being Pete the Pup from the Our Gang shorts (later known as The Little Rascals).
During World War I the breed's widespread popularity led to its being featured on pro-American propaganda posters.

[edit] Pit Bulls and Dog Bite Related Human Fatalities
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association in September, 2000 reports that in the 20 years studied (1979 to 1998) "Pit-bull type dogs" and Rottweilers were involved in one half of dog bite related fatalities in the US[2]. Another study of American and Canadian dog bite related fatalities from September 1982 to November 2006 produced similar results, reporting that Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes were responsible for 65% fatal dog attacks[3]. This study also noted: "Of the breeds most often involved in incidents of sufficient severity to be listed, pit bull terriers are noteworthy for attacking adults almost as frequently as children." and "They are also notorious for attacking seemingly without warning, a tendency exacerbated by the custom of docking pit bulls' tails so that warning signals are not easily recognized."

[edit] Pit bulls as pets

A champion Pit Bull.
In many shelters across the United States, Pit bulls or dogs that appear to be pit bulls comprise a large portion of the shelter's population and may be destroyed due to the stigma associated with the breed (or because of overcrowding). [4]
Although friendliness and tolerance towards humans are traits of the breed [citation needed], there are, as in any breed, those that are dangerous toward humans. It is the owner's responsibility to be in total control of his dog, and it is the owner who, through intentional mistreatment or neglect, is frequently responsible for pit bull bites. Many attacks by other dog breeds are misclassified as "pit bulls" by media reports.[5]
Regardless of who they are, any owner of a pit bull must train the dog well. Lack of proper socialization and strong training can result in a dog with aggressive tendencies. Under the care of an overly-permissive or uneducated owner, pit bulls (or any other large breed) can become very dangerous dogs. [6]

[edit] Banning of pit bulls
This table shows places where Pit Bulls have been banned or where bans were proposed.

[edit] Global
Date Banned
Ontario, Canada[7]
August 29, 2005
Pit bulls are not allowed to be imported into or brought through Ontario. Severe fines are in place for bringing new pit bulls into Ontario. Pit bulls owned prior to August 29, 2005 are grandfathered in. All grandfathered pit bulls of over 36 weeks of age are required to be sterilized immediately. Grandfathered pit bulls must be muzzled and leashed on a leash of less than 1.8 metres while in public. Sale of non-grandfathered pit bulls to residents of Ontario is illegal.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[8]
Pit Bulls are not allowed to be in Winnipeg and all Manitoba by law.
March 10, 2006
Legislation and implimentation dates varies across the different states, but here is the start of a list of the legislation in the various states: New South Wales[9], Victoria[10], Western Australia[11], Queensland[12], Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania.
April 30, 1999
Ownership restricted; non-pure-breed animals resembling pit-bulls are to be surgically neutered
United Kingdom[14]
August 12, 1991
Banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
Banned alongside the Tosa in 1991 along with any non-pure-bred dog where either of the races are among the parent or grandparent animals
New Zealand
Must be microchipped, muzzled in public, and cannot be publicly advertised for sale

[edit] United States
Delta, Utah[15]
Springville, Utah[16]
Miami-Dade County, Florida[17]
Section 5 Code 17: "It is illegal in Miami-Dade County to own any dog which substantially conforms to a pit bull breed dog, unless it was specially registered with Miami-Dade County prior to 1989. Acquisition or keeping of a pit bull dog: $500.00 fine and County Court action to force the removal of the animal from Miami-Dade County."
Council Bluffs, Iowa[18]
Royal City, Washington[19]
January 12, 2007
Denver, Colorado[20]
9 May 2005
First banned in 1980s, but later revoked
Prince George's County, Maryland[21]
Yonkers, NY
November 3, 2006
Springfield, Missouri[22]
April 17, 2006
June 21, 2005
Shelbyville, California[24]
November 18, 2006
New York City, NY[25]
December 28, 2006
Aurora, Colorado[26]
September 27, 2005
Youngstown, Ohio[27]
January 10, 1999
Richland, Washington[19]
December 21, 2006
Tupelo, Mississippi[28]
September 28, 2006
Parker, Colorado[29]
January 17, 2006
Chicago, Illinois[30]
November 17, 2005
Enumclaw, Washington
Garfield Heights, Ohio
September 24, 2007
60 days in jail and or $3,000 fine if owner does not comply with city law.
Enumclaw, Washington
Lexington, Kentucky
October 8, 2007
5 years in jail and or $10,000 fine if owner does not comply with city law.

[edit] Legal issues in the USA
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a study concerning deaths from canine attacks in 2000. Although often cited, the CDC report cautioned that the accuracy of the data "requires complete ascertainment of deaths and an accurate determination of the breed involved, and the denominator requires reliable breed-specific population data (i.e., number of deaths involving a given breed divided by number of dogs of that breed).
However, such denominator data are not available, and official registration or licensing data cannot be used because owners of certain breeds may be less likely than those owning other breeds to register or license their animals."[31]
The issue is further clouded by up to at least half a dozen different breeds being classified as "pit bulls" and comparing these figures to individual breeds, making statistical comparisons irrelevant. Breed identifications were also obtained from media reports, a highly biased and dubious source on which to base policy decions. For all the reasons mentioned above CDC no longer quote breed identifications in dog-bite data.
These caveats notwithstanding, a CDC study detailing dog bite related fatalities in the US between 1979 and 1998 reveals that roughly one-third were caused by Pit Bull type dogs. The highest number of attacks (118) were by Pit Bull type dogs, the next highest being Rottweilers at 67. The full report can be accessed at: [10]
A followup to the study published in 2000 by Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association suggested that "generic non–breed-specific, dangerous dog laws can be enacted that place primary responsibility for a dog’s behavior on the owner, regardless of the dog’s breed. In particular, targeting chronically irresponsible dog owners may be effective."[32]

[edit] Urban myths
There are many urban legends surrounding the pit bull, mostly based on the idea that the dogs are physiologically different from other breeds of dog[citation needed]. Many sources propagate the myth that pit bulls have a "locking jaw" mechanism, and that the dog cannot let go once it has bitten. This is untrue. According to Dr. I. Brisbin, a senior researcher at the University of Georgia:[citation needed]

The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different from that of any breed of dog.There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Furthermore, the pit bulls that compete successfully in protection sports such as Schutzhund obviously do not display an inability to release their grips after biting, as releasing the decoy's sleeve on command is an integral part of scoring the competition. [33] Reports of pit bull type dogs refusing to release a bite grip is more likely a function of the breed's gameness—a willingness to engage in a task despite pain and discomfort.
A variant of the "locking jaw" story is told by Tom Skeldon, Lucas County (Ohio), dog warden, who said that an impounded pit bull that had been used in fighting started "going wild," biting at the walls of the kennel.[34] He shot the dog with a tranquilizer, and then left it for five minutes to let it pass out. When he came back the dog had indeed passed out, but not before it had leaped up and clamped its jaws on a cable used to open the door of the kennel. "Everything else was relaxed, the dog was out cold, but its jaws wouldn't let go of that cable, and he was hanging in midair," said Skeldon. "Not even a jaguar will do that." There is a video which shows live action where Skeldon is engaging a pit bull dog, and the judge who viewed the video believed that it showed animal abuse.
However, an incident reported by the Associated Press suggests that other breeds may also fail to relax their jaws when they become unconscious. An Albuquerque police officer was attacked, in October 2005, by a Belgian Malinois, a herding breed with no significant commonality with "pit bulls", other than that which makes them both dogs. The dog bit the officer on the arm. When the officer couldn't shake free, she shot the dog, killing it. Still, other officers had to come to her aid, and pry the dead dog's jaws off the officer's arm.
In addition to the "locking jaw" myth, it is widely believed that pit bulls don't feel pain. However, pit bulls have the same nervous system as any other breed, and they can and do feel pain. Historically, those dogs that would tolerate or ignore discomfort and pain and finish the task they were required to perform were the dogs that were bred and the sort of dogs breeders strove to produce. This is the trait of “gameness” that so many breed fanciers speak of, which may be defined as “The desire to continue on and/or complete a task despite pain and discomfort”. Therefore, the difficulty in deterring a pit bull from its task is in fact not an inability to feel pain but rather a desirable trait in any trained working dog. It is clearly shown in herding dogs which continue to herd despite a broken limb.
Another urban myth surrounding this breed states that pit bulls are the only type of dog that are not affected by capsaicin-based dog-repellent sprays. In fact, many other dog breeds also display this resistance to pepper spray when they are attacking. Documented cases include Bull Mastiffs, Rottweilers and many German Shepherds (including Police K-9's).[35] In the words of two police officers, it is "not unusual for pepper spray not to work on dogs" [36] and "just as OC spray doesn't work on all humans, it won't work on all canines." [37]
It is also untrue that the pit bull is the only dog that will keep attacking after being sub-lethally shot. Rottweilers, Mastiffs and German Shepherds have all exhibited this capacity. [38][39]
Research performed by Goodpooch.com director, the late Marjorie Darby, finds that dogs involved in attacks overwhelmingly have a known history of aggression, even though many dog owners deny or minimize this fact.[40] The neighbors are usually a better source for documenting negative aspects of a dog's history than the owners are. As such, it is further evidence that dogs, including "pit bulls", don't just "turn" on their owners. A follow-up to a CDC report on dog bite fatalities came to a similar conclusion. [41]
Urban myths about pit bulls are well enough established to be spoofed, as in The Onion's mock caption "Heroic Pit Bull Journeys 2,000 Miles to Attack Owner" (Apr 17, 2002) [42] and "Department Of Homeland Security Deputizes Real Mean Dog", a Rottweiler-Pit Bull-Doberman mix introduced to the press corps approvingly by Tom Ridge (May 21, 2003).[43]

[edit] Insurance problems
Many homeowner's insurance companies in the United States are reluctant to insure owners of dogs that are considered to be a dangerous breed. Allstate (depending on the state) may not insure homes with pit bulls or even boxers, akitas, chow chows, dobermans, rottweilers, or wolf hybrids[citation needed]. The Automobile Club of Southern California will refuse to provide homeowner's insurance if a dog living in the home "looks like a pitbull"[44]. The CDC estimates that 368,245 persons were treated in U.S. hospitals for nonfatal dog bites in 2001, and that 2% of the U.S. population are attacked by dogs per year. These attacks most often occur on the owner's property. [45]
Pit bulls are also most responsible for the number of fatal dog attacks, when the breed had been identified. [46]
Some insurance companies have taken a compromise position, and will only insure pit bull owners if their dogs have achieved a Canine Good Citizen award. [47]

[edit] Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
In response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving dogs that resemble pit bulls, some jurisdictions began placing restrictions on the ownership of pit bulls, such as the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in the UK, an example of breed-specific legislation. Many jurisdictions have outlawed the possession of Pit bulls, either pit bull breeds specifically, or in addition to other breeds that are regarded as dangerous.

A Pit Bull muzzled.
Pit Bull Terriers are regulated in the United Kingdom under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, administered by the government agency DEFRA. It is illegal to own any of these dogs without a specific exemption from a court. Licensing is done by local governments, dogs must be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, they must be registered and insured, and receive microchip implants. In November 2002, The Princess Royal was fined £500 under the provisions of the Act.
The Canadian province of Ontario, on August 29, 2005 enacted a ban on Pit Bulls. It was the first province or state in North America to do so. [48] The breeds listed in the ban [49] can no longer be sold, bred, or imported and all pit bull owners must leash and muzzle their pit bulls in public. A 60 day grace period has been put in place to allow for owners to have their pit bulls spayed or neutered. [50] Also it left a period to allow municipalities to adjust to the new law. Prior to the bill's passage, the Ontario government cited what it deemed the success of a pit bull bylaw passed by Winnipeg, Manitoba.[51]
Pit bulls were not the #1 biting breed in Winnipeg's dog bite statistics, prior to the ban being implemented in 1990. After the ban, overall bite numbers increased by an average of almost 50 per year for the following decade. Bites by other breeds increased dramatically, including the #1 breed reported for biting, German Shepherds and their crosses, at close to 100 annual bites by 1992.

[edit] Constitutional challenges to pit bull legislation in the United States
As early as 1921, courts have upheld breed specific ordinances in municipalities as a legitimate exercise of police power.[52] These have not been without their Constitutional challenges. A 1991 Colorado Supreme Court case outlines the basic arguments against pit bull specific legislation. It incorporated cases from Arkansas, Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, et al. and several federal district courts, which upheld similar statutes. The case has become federal precedence for what classifies a constitutionally acceptable definition of a "pit bull" when the statute cites the United Kennel Club as the standard for defining the characteristics of the breed.[53] The Constitutional issues raised by the case cover the quintessential arguments against pit bull targeted legislation.
In Colorado Dog Fanciers, Inc. v. City and County of Denver[54], the Supreme Court of Colorado reviewed en banc claims that the 1989 "Pit Bulls prohibited" city ordinance was unconstitutional. The ordinance made it
unlawful for any person to 'own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull.' § 8-55(a). The ordinance permitted an owner of a previously licensed pit bull to keep the dog only if the owner (1) annually renewed a 'pit bull license' (2) proved that the dog had been spayed or neutered and had been vaccinated against rabies, (3) kept the dog confined or securely leashed and muzzled, and (4) maintained $100,000 in liability insurance. § 8-55(d).
The ordinance defined a pit bull as
Any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying a majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.
The trial court held that the ordinance on its face was unconstitutional as a violation of due process rights because it placed the burden of proof on the dog owner that his animal was not a pit bull for purposes of the ordinance. Furthermore, the trial court severed the licensing requirement as lacking a rational basis. It judicially modified the ordinance and ordered a 120 day notice to affected owners to comply with the provisions of the modification. Both parties appealed the decision.
Petitioners opposed to the ordinance made several constitutional challenges:
Owners were not afforded sufficient due process when the animal would be impounded for an alleged violation of the ordinance
Ordinance violated due process rights by creating a legislative presumption of criminal culpability of knowingly and voluntarily possessing a pit bull
Ordinance violated due process rights by permitting a finding that an animal fell within the definition of a pit bull without expert testimony
Ordinance was vague and overbroad for treating all pit bulls and substantially similar breeds as inherently dangerous
Ordinance violated Constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection under the law by targeting pit bull owners while omitting owners of other presumably dangerous breeds
The Supreme Court rejected each of these claims. It found that pit bull owners as a class were not constitutionally suspect when identified in a statute (as opposed to race, ethnicity, and natural origin). Furthermore, the ownership of an animal was not a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, but a liberty interest to be safeguarded. Consequently, the court required only a rational basis test for the constitutionality of the ordinance. It held that state police power held a "significant state interest" in public safety and welfare, and that regulation of dogs was a proper exercise of that power.[55] The court adopted the trial court findings that "pit bull attacks, unlike attacks by other dogs, occur more often, are more severe, and are more likely to result in fatalities. The trial court also found that pit bulls tend to be stronger than other dogs, often give no warning signals before attacking, and are less willing than other dogs to retreat from an attack, even when they are in considerable pain."[56] However, the court did not cite any scientific sources for this legal conclusion.
The Supreme Court did affirm the lower court's ruling that the burden should fall to the state in proving whether an owner's dog was a "pit bull" for purposes of the ordinance. Given the case's federal citations for due process claims, this is particularly significant to those statutes of other states which place the burden on the owner in contrast to the Colorado ruling. Pit bull owners facing prosecution who hold the burden of proof for their dog could challenge the statute on due process grounds under the reasoning in Colorado Dog Fanciers.
The Colorado case did not address expert findings that specific breeds should not be banned from municipalities. Other jurisdictions have deferred the weighing of scientific evidence to the legislature, but do not accept expert testimony to the contrary if the legislature has a "rational basis for public health and safety."[57]
Subsequent to this ruling, a 2004 law passed by the Colorado General Assembly prohibited breed specific laws. However, it was overturned in April of 2005 after the city of Denver challenged the law on constitutional grounds. Over 260 "pit bull type" dogs have been seized from their homes and euthanised since this date, resulting in national protest by dog owners and animal rights lobbying groups. [58] Since 1989, Denver authorities have confiscated and destroyed over 1100 pit bulls from city residents who have violated the ordinance. Dog owners continue to bring pit bulls into the city.
No such ban on other dogs deemed dangerous has been enacted, and the number of pit bull related bites has changed little since the city reinstated the ban.[59]

[edit] Legislation and judicial opinions in opposition to pit bull specific legislation
Ohio became the first state jurisdiction to find its breed specific legislation unconstitutional on due process grounds. In Toledo v. Tellings (March 3, 2006), a 2-1 decision, the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals struck down breed specific legislation that restricted pit bull ownership in Toledo, Ohio. The law had relied on a state definition of a vicious dog as one that has bitten or killed a human, has killed another dog, or "belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog." The court held that the legislation was void for violation of a pit bull owner's right to due process, because the owner could not appeal a designation of his pet as a vicious dog. For the majority, Judge William Skow wrote: [60] "Since we conclude that there is no evidence that pit bulls are inherently dangerous or vicious, then the city ordinance limitation on ownership is also arbitrary, unreasonable, and discriminatory." The court found no rational basis for the law. The case is currently before the Ohio Supreme Court and a final determination on the constitutionality of the law is due between October and December of 2007. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled on this case, they supported or upheld Toledo's Ban [61]
The State of Virginia now has Anti-BSL laws prohibiting cities and counties from banning a dog of certain breed or cross breed.
The State of Florida, Statute 767.14 [62] forbids local governments in Florida from enacting breed specific laws unless the law was in place before October 1, 1990. Several communities, including Miami-Dade County, Florida had such laws in place before the law took effect and pit bull ownership is banned there.

[edit] Debate
The extent to which banning a particular breed is effective in reducing dog bite fatalities is contested. Some people maintain that pit bull attacks are directly attributable to irresponsible owners, rather than to any inherent defect in the breed itself. Other people believe that the Pit Bull Terrier is a breed that, although not inherently dangerous, needs a particularly knowledgeable and committed handler and should not be freely available to novice owners.
Pit bulls are said to be popular with irresponsible owners, who see these dogs as a symbol of status or machismo.[63] This type of owner may be less likely to socialize, train, or desex their pet. It is known that unneutered male dogs account for a disproportionate amount of all fatal dog attacks. Some say that many of those who do not believe in altering male dogs also believe that having and training an aggressive dog "goes with the territory," so to speak. Irresponsible ownership can have a great impact on how a breed is represented in attack statistics.
Some people[attribution needed] argue that banning the pit bull will simply result in irresponsible dog owners seeking to own other large or intimidating breeds, such as the Dobermann, Rottweiler or German Shepherd Dog, resulting in an increased occurrence of dog bites from these breeds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which maintains the United States' database on fatal wounds inflicted by dog bites, does not advocate breed-specific legislation, instead encouraging "Dangerous Dog" laws that focus on individual dogs of any breed that have exhibited aggressive behavior.[64] The CDC study is also admittedly flawed due to a large number of dog breeds being unknown when the study was compiled. It bears mentioning that using newspaper reports as evidence is hardly the most valid data available.
Huntsville, Alabama police raided a dog-fighting arena on Feb 28, 2002 and seized 10 Pit Bulls. The city's attempt to legally euthanize four pit bull puppies, never trained to fight, was stopped by Madison County Circuit Court Judge Joe Battle, who ruled that the pit bull puppies were not dangerous by virtue of their genetics alone (AP Wire; Apr 6, 2002).
Huntsville appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, which affirmed (City of Huntsville v. Sheila Tack et al., 1010459, S.C. Alabama; Aug 30, 2002) the Circuit Court opinion by a 6-2 vote; the written dissent addressed procedural matters of legal status of the parties, not the nature of the dogs. The puppies were adopted. Animal Rights group PETA sent the Judge a letter calling for the execution of all the pups. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, officially advocates the euthanasia of pitbull dogs brought in to animal shelters, as well as a ban on their breeding.[65] It should be noted however that PETA's position on dog breeding in general is that it is an unnecessary practice, and is not limited to pitbulls.[66]
American Airlines banned "Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and any mixed breeds containing one or more of those breeds" in August of 2002 following an incident involving an American Pit Bull Terrier puppy that escaped from luggage into the cargo hold of an airliner, causing damage to the cargo hold. The American Kennel Club lobbied the airline to lift the restriction, arguing that the incident was merely one of improper restraint, and could have involved any dog breed.
The restriction was lifted in May of 2003 after a compromise was reached that requires portable dog carriers in the cargo hold to employ releasable cable ties on four corners of the door of the carrier.

[edit] Dog fights
Pit bulls are often used for dog fights, due to their strength, courage and widespread availability. Although dog fighting is illegal in the United States, it is still practiced, and is sometimes accompanied by gambling. In the United States Commonwealth of Virginia, for example, it is a felony to organize, promote, be employed by, or wager on a dogfight, whether one is physically present at the fight or not. Laws vary in other states, but most states have some laws to address dogfighting.
Most people who own these breeds direct their dogs' plentiful energy toward nonviolent athletic tasks. Some people train their pit bulls for dog agility. Others involve their pit bulls in weight pulling competitions, obedience competitions or schutzhund. The pit bull often excels at these sports. Out of the 25 dogs who have earned UKC "superdog" status (by gaining championship titles in conformation, obedience, agility, and weightpull), fourteen have been pit bulls[citation needed].

[edit] Media coverage

A Pit Bull
Positive press
Although negative information about pit bulls is widespread and, when a negative news story occurs, highly publicized, there are also many positive stories. Some work in hospitals and care facilities as certified therapy dogs, many are well-loved family pets, and some have even saved people's lives. There are many incidences of pit bulls being productively employed by U.S. Customs [67], as police K9s.[68]
Often pit bulls have been reported to "adopt" other species of animals (such as kittens or squirrels), which some attribute to the breed nickname, "nanny dog".[69] It is more widely accepted that the breed nickname, "nanny dog" comes from Pit Bull type dogs innate love and tolerance of children.
A rescued pit bull called Popsicle is a United States Customs dog, and is famous for sniffing out one of the biggest cocaine busts in history. [70]
In February, 2006, New Yorker magazine writer Malcolm Gladwell published an article surveying the research on pit bulls which concluded that legal attempts to ban the breed were both crude and unnecessary. [71]
In February 2007 a pit bull named "Chief" rescued his family of humans from a spitting cobra by dashing in front of the attacking snake and taking the deadly bite himself. Chief subdued the snake but died of the venom 30 minutes later. [72]
In April 2007, columnist John Canzano of The Oregonian newspaper wrote a favorable piece on Hollywood, the pit bull that formerly belonged to NBA player Qyntel Woods. [73] Hollywood, renamed Stella, was adopted by a loving owner and reformed from a fighting dog to a lap dog.
News reports of injuries and fatal attacks
News media stories of "pit bull" attacks involving disfiguring injury to humans and other animals, the latter very often also fatally, ranging in size from attacks on smaller nonpitbull dogs[74] [75] to horses[76] [77] [78] [79] [80] [81] can be found globally.[82][83] The pit bulls involved were not always loose and off the owner's property, but sometimes were inside the home of the owner, who, or a family member or visitor, was the victim of the aggression. Fatal pit bull attacks to children and adults have been reported by the English-language news media in the United States and United kingdom. Of course dogs are frequently misidentified as "pit bulls", either through ignorance or prompting by overly zealous media and/or law enforcement.[84] [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] [95] While many of these incidents surely do involve a Pit Bull, the Pit Bull has been shown to have no less acceptable temperaments than most other dogs[96]. Dogs are also frequently misidentified as "pit bulls", either through ignorance or prompting by overly zealous media and/or law enforcement.

[edit] Other facts
The pit bull is the only dog to have ever appeared on the cover of Life Magazine three times. [97]

[edit] Famous pit bull owners
Notable Pit Bulls owners include:
Jessica Alba[98]
Michael J. Fox[99]
Alicia Silverstone[100]
Jessica Biel owns three pit bulls[101][102]
Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson have a pit bull named Penny Lane.[103]
Big Boi from hip-hop duo Outkast is a registered pit bull breeder.[104]
Radio host Ira Glass has a pit bull.[105]
West Coast Choppers owner Jesse G. James owns three pit bulls.[106]
TV cook Rachael Ray has two pit bulls.[107]
Comedian Jon Stewart has 2 pit bulls, named Monkey and Shamsky.[108][109]
Author Andrew Vachss, a vocal opponent of pit bull fighting[110] and breed-specific bans, has a pit bull named Honey.[111]
NFL star quarterback Michael Vick has owned dozens of pit bulls. He has been indicted for breeding them for the purpose of dogfighting. [112]
Rapper DMX (rapper) has known to own many and has been arrested twice on animal cruelty charges.

[edit] Working pit bulls in the news
Bandog Dread was an American Pit Bull who won multiple titles in conformation, competition obedience, Schutzhund, weightpull and herding, making him the most titled dog of any breed ever.
Dakota is a pit bull who, during her career, was one of the most active search and rescue dogs in the country and was called to work some very high profile search efforts such as the search for Laci Peterson and the search effort to find the remains of the astronauts who lost their lives in explosion of the space shuttle Columbia.
Neville is a pit bull originally from Ontario. When the provincial pit bull ban went into effect he was rescued to Washington state, where he is now a police dog.
Popsicle, named after police found him in a freezer during a drug raid, is now famous for sniffing out drugs for the DEA.

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