Yesterday, (5/2/15) two other nurses, a professional dog walker, the mother of a child severely mauled as well as the child and his sister, set up a table with public safety education pamphlets about the dogs responsible for the most severe injuries and deaths. This was at the Manchester, Tennessee, meet and greet. The dogs responsible for the most severe injuries and deaths are pit bulls and other fighting breeds. The sources are resourced and documented. Photos of many of the attacking dogs verify the data as well.
Our purpose was to provide information to prevent severe dog attacks and deaths by pit bred dogs. Our only reason for coming to the event was to educate the people attending since they are pit bull fanciers to the potential danger their chosen breed presents to their children, pets, family members and neighbors. We did and will continue to bring this information to events aimed at promoting pit bulls as safe family pets.
We did not choose pit bulls to target, pit bulls targeted us. We are gathering together in a force to share these horrific and preventable attacks with people who have been misled into thinking pit bulls are no different than any other breed. The many parents in our support network whose own pit bulls mutilated or killed their children were often fans of Pit Bulls and Parolees and Cesar Milan. They trusted the advice given by Ms. Torres on the show resulting in the mutilation or death of their children.
Instead of letting their grief paralyze them, these wonderful people want to prevent other parents from experiencing the hell a pit bull attack brings to their families. Some of the survivors have medical expenses in excess of $1,000,000. Many have life flight expenses regardless of whether the child lived or not. No loving human being wants another to experience the pain, suffering and grief of a pit bull attack.
At the Manchester meet and greet, despite the graphic pictures of the child attending with us, we were met with angry outbursts, accusations of being haters and racists. We were called protesters. One woman, blonde in a pink shirt, said repeatedly that human and dog have the same DNA, that we are no different. She said that parents should raise their children to recognize dog behavior and live their lives around the dog. She said that every single dog attack has warning signs that parents ignore, then they blame the dog when it is always the parent or child’s fault. When I pointed out to her that we know the circumstances of all our network’s attacks and that many many pit bulls showed zero warning before mutilating or killing, she adamantly told me there were ALWAYS warning signs. Maybe an ear infection or other unseen illness, but it was NEVER the pit’s fault. I told her we knew different. She told me to get educated. She even came back to repeat her stance. When the mother of the mutilated child present told her there was no warning before her son’s attack, the blonde said the mother couldn’t see behind the sofa. There had been no mention of any sofa at all. The mother asked if the blonde was there and the blonde accused the mother and eyewitness of lying. The delusions this woman had indicate a serious psychological illness, yet she is a pit bull rescuer and adopts them out.
Another man became belligerent and saying we were racists and saying we needed to be training dogs better, we were haters, and we were trying to kill the breed. I told him we weren’t there to train dogs, but we were there to support victims and prevent attacks. He continued to say we were supposed to be training dogs. As he was walking back into the conference center, he screamed, “Fuck you!” A purple haired woman was videoing with her phone during this exchange. I am sure an edited version of the exchange will appear to push for more hatred toward pit bull victims and our efforts to educate the public.
When we first arrived and were setting up our table, we had parked across from Ms. Torres’s RV. It was overheard a woman shouting that this was her event and “they” needed to go. A man told her they had a permit and could not be told to go. It can’t be determined who the voices belonged to or where exactly they came from other than the direction of the RV. We hoped Ms. Torres would come talk with us and take some of our literature so she could incorporate some pit bull safety information in her show to prevent unprepared parents from taking pit bulls home with no knowledge of the severe attacks that frequently occur, or how to stop a pit bull attack. Parents who own pit bulls should also know medical first aid including how to obtain homeostasis and perform CPR. These are potentially the only hope for survival following severe pit bull attack.
Ms. Torres did not communicate with us, but her son took pictures of us.
The false information, the denial of pit bulls’ role in severe injury and death, and the hatred aimed at people trying to inform others of the facts regarding fighting breeds, are just enabling more and more preventable tragedies to occur. We are demanding Animal Planet either remove Pit Bulls and Parolees, or that they include a pre and post show notice that pit bulls and fighting breed dogs are consistently responsible for the worst injuries and deaths of all dog breeds in the world combined. That extreme supervision should be exercised at all times with life saving education should an attack occur. We will not stop attending events with the data on fighting breed danger. We will contact victims of pit bull attack to determine the influences of Pit Bulls And Parolees on the pet choice and whether the show provided pit bull safety education adequately.
The lives of our precious children far outweigh fighting breed dogs. Some of the pit bull fanatics actively cyber stalk pit bull victims and their supporters and even write to their jobs, licensing boards demanding termination or revocation of licenses. Shows such as Pit Bulls and Paroleee may encourage these threats. I report all personal threats to me to local law enforcement and the FBI. I had to invest in a costly security system because of death threats.
Animal Planet shares responsibility in this dangerous and threatening situation.
Pame Ashley (RN)
American Pit Bull Terrier
The 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)13.In 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.
Pit Bull Terriers need regular vigorous physical activity. They crave mental and physical stimulation. Regular long walks and plenty of play time can be ideal ways to burn energy. If their exercise needs are not met, they can develop destructive behaviors. They can often excel at physical activities, such as jogging and weight pulling. Some clubs admit them to agility and fly ball; others don’t because it is dangerous to have APBTs off leash near other dogs and the clubs don’t want to bear the liability in the event of an attack.
The American Pit Bull Terrier needs early socialization and training. Since they are active dogs, they can become unmanageable quickly. They need a firm and consistent handler that can maintain control at all times. They are eager to please and can learn tricks if trained patiently. They are very active both indoors and outdoors. Despite proper training and socialization, many dogs may be hard to manage and can still have unwanted behaviors.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history and bloodline deep rooted in the blood sports of animal baiting and dogfighting. As with all breeds, they retain their original traits. They often to do not accept other animals, especially dogs, and can be extremely aggressive towards them. They may accept animals they are raised with, but have been known to kill other family pets even after years of living together happily.
Most APBT puppies get along fantastically with other animals, including dogs. Puppies often love to play with and have companionship with other animals. This often gives owners a false sense of security. As the APBT matures, their relationship with other animals can change drastically. Often dog aggression issues emerge from 1-3 years in age, but some dog’s exhibit aggression as early as 6 months of age. They often will actively seek out other dogs to engage in fighting with and have broken their collars, crashed through windows, and torn through fences to do so, and one recently leaped from an apartment 2nd story balcony, to get to a dog. They can get along with other dogs at times, but things can escalate quickly and they can attack suddenly and for no apparent reason. They often redirect onto humans who try to break up the fight14. Extreme caution should be used with all animal interactions and owners should never be completely comfortable. They can be unpredictable and a dog that plays nicely with dogs for years can suddenly change. Many owners have been shocked to see their beloved pet’s fighting instincts suddenly surface. It is highly recommended that the APBT is separated from other animals in the household when they cannot be supervised15. This is not a breed that is suitable for interactions at off leash dog parks16.
It is recommended that American Pit Bull Terrier owners have and carry a break stick17. A break stick is a device designed to open a Pit Bull type dog’s mouth while it is engaged in fighting. Pit Bull type breeds have a very distinctive fighting style and often will latch on their opponent and not let go. They usually will shake the other animal violently when they are latched on. This can cause horrific damage quickly. The break stick was designed by dog fighters to be inserted into the Pit Bull’s mouth and release his grip. The original purpose was to safely end a dog fight. The break stick often is the ONLY thing that will release the dog’s grip. People have been known to hit Pit Bulls with objects such as a bat or even shoot them and the dog still will not let go. Bully Breed owners should always have one handy in cause of an emergency. The break stick is not safe to use on other breeds of dogs and is only recommended for dogs in the Pit Bull family that were once used for dog fighting purposes.