Mischa Lazar – Living in fear after a pit bull attack

IMG_2247We had decided to walk across a high school’s empty football field to get back to the car, after taking our two terriers for a walk through the forest. Little did we realize what was awaiting our little group of four when we emerged from the trees. When we were about 20 feet into the field, and still about 500 feet from the car, an unleashed, unmuzzled pit bull came tearing across the field at top speed, making a beeline for our little dogs. I thought – ‘Is it coming over to play with them?’ In about a second the growling started, and I realized no, it was not. It grabbed our little Mischa by her neck, and tried to shake her as my fiancé flew into action, grabbing the thing by its neck and hauling it up into the air. I froze in terror, unsure of whether the pit was going to attack my fiancé as well. Mischa’s cries rang out across the field, and tears sprang to my eyes, as I realized that I was, horrifyingly, reliving what had happened once already, fourteen years ago.  A terrifying memory of my dear old Beagle Buttercup being lifted up by the neck by a pit bull flashed in front of my eyes. How could I have been so foolish as to think that a pit bull would run over towards a dog like that to play? It certainly didn’t want to play last time.

Fourteen years ago I had been unsuspectingly walking my senior beagle down a busy city street. Suddenly an unleashed, unmuzzled pit bull came racing towards us, and grabbed my sweet old dog by her neck. Buttercup made a pitiable cry, and the owner, who had lost her grip on the dog while trying to put its leash on, ran over to try to stop it. Little did I realize at the time that this was not the first time this had happened, nor the second. This unprovoked attack on another person’s pet was happening for the eleventh time. Somehow the owner managed to get her pit bull off of my beagle, and I wept and collected my dog.

IMG_2287Both of my dogs lived. Buttercup received stitches, Mischa received staples. We were lucky, and I thank God. If it hadn’t been for my fiance’s adroit wrestling of the pit bull that attacked in the field, Mischa might not have made it. Who knows what would have happened to our other terrier.

Now I can’t go back to that park without feeling fear. I’m terrified if I see a pit bull on the street. I’m always looking over my shoulder now when I’m walking the dogs. What happened to my peace?

IMG_2288It has been stolen by the extraordinarily selfish behavior of a group of people who seem to think that their interest in a particular hobby – raising pit bulls – is more valuable than public safety. Apparently, it’s more important for them to pursue their interest in the kind of dog that can kill other people’s pets or even other people – than for others to be able to walk their dogs in safety. I’ve now suffered through two traumatizing dog attacks in my life, and both by the same breed. It’s terrifying. It’s not a “mislabeling”, as pit bull advocates are so fond of saying. It’s not “a coincidence.” It’s not “bad ownership”. What it is, is a dangerous, unpredictably vicious breed of dog that desperately requires a ban.

I’m furious that this incredibly dangerous dog is mostly unregulated in the US.

Here’s an article about the success of pit bull bans in Toronto, the city where I live: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/10/03/pit_bulls_were_torontos_biggest_biters_before_the_ban.html

Only 13 bites last year due to legislation requiring muzzles and neutering! The ban has been in effect for 10 years, and it’s clearly working.

Please write to your local politicians, wherever you are, and urge them to maintain, implement or reinstate your area’s ban on pit bulls. Mischa, Buttercup and countless other family pets will thank you.

Alison Lazar

American Pit Bull Terrier

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 APBT 2often 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.

Research is advised before selecting an APBT as a pet. They are often on the list of dogs that many landlords/property management companies do not allow. There are many American towns that have breed specific legislation or restrictions on certain breeds, including theAPBT. There are also many countries that have enacted restrictions or bans, such as the United Kingdom, that include the breed.  It is wise to make sure your pet will be allowed into your community.

Breeds in the Pit Bull family are the most common surrendered and stray dog breeds in the animal sheltering system. They are also the most commonly euthanized dog breed. Owners are often unaware and unprepared for these breeds. While many families own bully breeds successfully and have only positive experiences with the breed, there are families they are not suited for. Because shelters are so full of APBTs and other Pit Bull types, it’s important to neuter your APBT rather than breeding it – for the sake of the APBTs themselves18. No dog lover wants to breed any kind of dog only to have it quickly end up in a shelter after it’s sold!

The American Pit Bull Terrier requires a minimal amount of grooming and only sheds lightly. They are prone to several medical issues such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, allergies, and heart disease. They usually weigh between 30-70 lbs and their average lifespan is about 12 years.

In North America, from 1982-2014, Pit Bull breeds and mixes have seriously attacked 3,595 humans that resulted in 2,233 maimings and 307 deaths

Click here to learn more about the American Pit Bull Terrier

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