An open letter to Tia Torres – By Jennifer Kim 7


Sport KimDear Ms. Torres, (May 8, 2015)

Recently I was invited to be involved in an educational awareness table which was set up in Manchester, Tennessee at an event you were scheduled to attend. As a mother of a child attacked by a family member’s pit-bull, I seize every opportunity to speak with the public about what one bite from a pit-bull looks like, and spread awareness that the breed was NOT bred to look after children while their owners were busy, and that shelter workers/rescue groups  should NOT be misleading potential adopters to believe they are “Nanny Dogs”. This is reckless misinformation that is a contributing factor as to why so many people are dying at the jaws of these dogs.

While in Manchester I was afforded the opportunity to speak with many people, mostly shelter/rescue workers, regarding the breed. I was happy to learn that several of them are well educated about pit-bulls and that we are all on the same page. They understand the strength and many dangers associated with these dogs and realize that they are the most neglected, abused and mistreated dogs for a reason. They don’t deny that pit bulls are responsible for more human deaths than all other dog breeds combined, and agree that this type of dog is stronger and more aggressive than other dogs. These people work tirelessly educating potential adopters PRIOR to placing them in homes and ensure proper containment and handling is in place and understood before consideration. I applaud each and every one of these workers and am proud that they are working hard to make Tennessee a safer place to live. None of us want to see another dog abused, neglected or returned because they didn’t know what they were getting and we certainly don’t want another family to suffer a maiming or death due to lack of proper education.

On the other hand, I met some people who were insistent that pit bulls are the same as any other dog and should be treated as such. One woman went on to say that you, Tia Torres, agree with her wholeheartedly and that she “has proof” to back up her statement. She said “all dogs bite” and we should “watch our children better and get over it already” she screamed at us to “JUST STOP BLAMING THE SWEETEST F’ING DOG IN THE WORLD”. Very hostile and angry behavior. It scares me that THESE shelter/rescue workers are in the position IMG_1703to place these dogs in homes with children, adding to the maiming and death toll that continues to rise annually, right here in my home state.

When the above mentioned woman was asked about her “proof” that you agree with everything she says, she was happy to boast that you were recently on the John Stewart Show and agreed that they ARE in fact “nanny dogs”. I don’t agree that this is “proof” that you agree with her entire reckless mindset, but after seeing the show and hearing you agree that they were “nanny dogs”, it frustrates me.

Ms. Torres, I applaud you for rescuing these dogs from the streets. You are in a unique position to educate the public about the dangers of these dogs and I believe it is your duty as a public figure to ensure the information you are feeding to the public is accurate for the safety of loved ones everywhere as well as your favorite breed of dog. I have read detailed information you have written about the breed where you agree the dog is bred (not raised) to be aggressive (similar to retrievers retrieving etc.) and I agree wholeheartedly. What I don’t agree with is portraying them as a nanny dog or giving misinformation to the public. For this reason I believe there should be a disclaimer prior to your show reiterating that these dogs are BRED for aggression and those considering them should be properly educated prior to owing one and held accountable when their dog attacks.

Since my son was attacked I have sought information about all dogs and educated myself on animal behavior. Through this, I have learned that most dogs show warning signs before attacking, pit-bulls are the exception. Because of this I believe they should be kept out of homes with small children. Again, I 11187226_1069661623074091_4250461609196256074_orealize I cannot make choices for other people and can’t stop a parent from having a certain dog, but I wholeheartedly believe that any person who decides to have one around their child and knows the risks should be held accountable when that dog attacks without warning. These dogs should NEVER be left alone with a child, not even to go to the bathroom. Well raised family pits have been known to kill children in an instant when the parents are in the other room, or the same room for that matter.

The attack on my son was sudden and unexpected and has changed his life in so many ways. The external scars heal quickly despite the many surgeries he will undergo, but the internal damage is much more complicated and harder to treat. These attacks affect the entire family dynamic and are being overlooked and treated as though the parent is neglectful, which is not the case. The real problem is misinformation.

IMG_1704Ms. Torres, please consider speaking with some of the parents who have lost loved ones or whose child lives with the internal and external scars due to these dog attacks. Take the time to hear the parents whose children were air lifted and will undergo countless surgeries throughout their lives, those who travel hundreds of miles for skin grafting and nerve damage treatments, and especially those who wanted to pick out the prettiest head stone for their beautiful angel, but couldn’t afford it.

Together we can educate people about the truth regarding these dogs and debunk the myths associated with them for the safety of humanity. I’m fortunate to gain a wealth support from a group of hundreds of people who have been attacked by these animals, all living with internal and external scarring, as well as countless people who will grieve every moment of every day for the rest of their lives because they had to bury a family member, most of them innocent children. Please let me put you in touch with these people so we can work together. Please help us to promote the TRUTH about these dogs until it is understood by every shelter worker and rescue group in America. Together we can make this happen.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Kim


Related articles

Manchester, TN – Victims of pit bull attacks make demands to Animal Planet – The “P” Word Tour: Villalobos Rescue Center (Written by Pame Ashley)

A message to Tia Torres – by Roxanne Hartrich

AVOCA – (Awareness for Victims of Canine Attacks)

Print your own Daxton’s Friends fliers!

The Pit Bull lobby – Jane Berkey, Animal Farm Foundation, Karen Delise, The National Canine Research Council, Indeterminate Breeds


American Pit Bull Terrier

APBT 2The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights7,8,9. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets10,11. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers12.

The APBT is of medium intelligence, and it is athletic. They have plenty of energy and exuberance for life. They are affectionate companions are often referred to as a “nanny dog”, which leads many families to believe that they are suitable companions for children. Many can live happily with children and never have an issue, but there are many cases of the family pit bull suddenly attacking or killing a child in the household. The Pit Bull advocacy group BADRAP recently retracted their original “nanny dog” statements (https://www.facebook.com/BADRAP.org/posts/10151460774472399)13In 2013 and 2014, in the United States, 27 children were killed by Pit Bulls and their mixes. Most of these children were killed by family pet pit bulls that had never been neglected or abused and had always loved the child. As with all breeds, the traits needed for their original tasks remain in the dogs – in this case, the sudden explosive aggression that was necessary to survive in the fighting pit. An APBT may never show this aggression, but if it does there will be no warning and the attack will not be easy to stop. Extreme caution should always be taken when this breed interacts with children. They are fun loving dogs that have “clownish” behaviors. Despite, their many positive qualities, this breed may not be suitable for everyone. Their high energy requires a family that can accommodate and appreciate this aspect of their personality. They usually do best with active families. Many American Pit Bull Terriers get calmer as they age and an older dog may work for a more reserved family.

Click here to learn more about the American Pit Bull Terrier


POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG BREEDS

This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.

Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:

potentially-dangerous-dog-300x300Pit Bull Terrier Family

Mastiffs

Rottweiler

Akita

Boxer

Alaskan Malamute

Chow Chow

Doberman Pinscher

German Shepherd

Shar Pei

Siberian Husky

Wolf Hybrid


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7 thoughts on “An open letter to Tia Torres – By Jennifer Kim

  • D.A. Rivard

    The real problem with the issue of pit bull attacks is that BOTH sides of the issue use irrational defense and assertions, and often devolve into the kind of shouting matches that the author of the open letter described. SOME of the comments have a similar passionate rather than reasoned nature. The info/faq section of VRC’s website gives an excellent description of the breed, and treats both its positive side AND its negative problems caused by breeding by humans to make these dogs into fighting dogs. I disagree with both the letter and some comments here that because some pitbulls have attacked children or adults EVERY pitbull is liable to lash out violently without any warning. The claim that pitbulls show no sign of hostility or, more likely, the fear-aggression that drives most dog bites of ALL breeds, before attacking is simply false and unsupported. Nevertheless, the way some pit bull owners (including Tia Torres) minimalize the reality of this problem in SOME dogs is also invalid and they should never be called “nanny dogs”. But when both sides are quickly reduced to impassioned cries of “kill the witch [dog]!” or “Pit Bulls are awesome and you suck for attacking them!” both sides and the general public lose out. But the biggest losers are the dogs themselves, who did not ask to be bred the way humans irresponsible, even cruelly, and do not deserve to be killed on the spot by police or shelters or armed vigilantes UNLESS THEY ARE ACTIVELY ATTACKING A PERSON. Pit Bull owners who say “My dog is gentle and loving, he’d never attack or he’d never do what you said he did” are making a foolish mistake, i.e. confusing the behavior of their dog towards them and their family (the dog’s “pack” for lack of a real pack) with how the dog will respond to a stranger, especially one the dog believes is violating the dog’s territory. I personally have been attacked by a pit bull whose owner was either irresponsible or ignorant and did not install adequate fencing to keep his dog in his own yard, and it got out and attacked me, and terrorized an elderly woman who was a neighbor of both me and the dog’s owner. This owner angrily denied his dog would ever attack someone; but he removed the dog somewhere after I called Animal Control on him, though I had wanted to just calmly resolve the problem without removing or killing the dog.

    Sometimes Tia in her love for the breed does seem to lose focus and forget that there can be very legitimate reasons for some people to fear pit bulls. But if we “put down” (kill/euthanize/murder or whatever term you want to us) every dog that has the potential to attack, all dogs should be euthanized. Especially German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Great Danes, ALL of whom are ranked above pit bulls in the danger of dog bites / attacks.

  • Tena

    They should put people away longer for animal abuse it all starts with the humans fighting the animals and the abuse take care of the main problem . It is not ok to fight the animals what do people expect that they will react in that mater, even cats and small dogs can attack I have been bit by both.if I had kids I would train both .my sister daughter mother in law has a pitbull and was letting her grandson bit and lay on the dog instead of moving the dog out of house,she told the kid no that’s it 15 mm later did it again and got attack ,that was the people fault by not taking charge of the citation, and moving the kid ,he had to go to emergency but he lucked out a dis ok .they should be counted for that ticked or something of course the dog suffers know he has it in his blood dumb humans.i think Tia Torres is great and great of what she does maybe people should watch her program more and read more on pit bulls ,and dogs, befor they get a dog for there family ,sorry for the poor little fictims,and God bless all .

      • Jess

        It’s about how they are raised. You think they are safe so you do not give them the heiarchy or boundaries they require. If you do not establish a pack heiarchy with you as the leader, they will challenge for positions. All dogs descend from wolves, and require a strong leader. How about stop treating dogs like humans. I love Pitts, never attacked by one and grew up with them. But I was taught how raise and interact, they do not think like humans. I’m sorry for the loses but let’s focus on the real issue.

  • Liz Marsden

    Jennifer, your letter is powerful; you are a hero for going out of your way to warn others about the dangers these dogs present. Thank you for trying to educate people about this horrific problem.

  • Julie

    All pit bull adoptions should come with a mandatory warning label like cigarette boxes. “Pit bull type dogs are the number one canine killer of children, people, other people’s beloved pets and livestock of all other dog breeds combined and of all time. All pit bull owners should own a break-stick and know how to use it. Temperament is not the problem with pits; they are generally pleasant to be around when raised well. The danger is the unprovoked aggression, gameness, and physical ability, that has been bred into them from day 1. This cannot be trained or loved away, and you never know when it will appear until its too late.” Learn more: http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities.php

  • frederic rizzo

    your letter is well written, considered and logical. however, emotion is more effective than logic in changing hearts & minds. i recommend you use the photo of the child that was attacked as the introduction and centerpiece. the photo and bloody and torn face says everything about the problem, and is more effective than logic. owners of fighting dogs don`t respond to logic.