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Dogs Don't Bite People, Bad Owners Do

In: Social Issues

Submitted By AmiA
Words 1146
Pages 5
Title: Pit Bulls Don’t Bite People, Bad Owners Do
Speaker: Amelia Auerswald
Specific Purpose: To persuade people to my belief that pit bulls are not bad dogs.
Thesis Statement: Pit bulls have lived – and died – under the stigma that they are vicious as a breed for decades, when in truth it’s owners who have used them in cruel ways that have given them such a heinous reputation.
Before we get started, I want to tell you a story. This is a picture of my pit bull, Honey. I rescued her several years ago from my ex-husband’s brother, who was abusing her. Despite Honey’s bad youth, she was a sweet dog. When my oldest daughter was a baby, she would lay on the floor with her and let her chew on her ears. But Honey had a bad habit. She would jump the fence into my neighbor’s yard to play with her dog. One day, while I was at work, my neighbor called animal control and claimed that Honey had ripped through the screen in her kitchen door and attacked her. So animal control came to my house, took my dog while I wasn’t home, and put her down. All I received was a notice in the mail a week later, which I had spent looking for my dog. The funny thing is, there was no damage to my neighbor’s door, and she never had a mark on her. She was put down on the word of a cantankerous old woman simply because of her breed.
My name is Amelia Auerswald, and today I hope to show you that pit bulls don’t bite people, bad owners do. First, we will look at some myths and facts about the breed, then we’ll talk about some of the atrocities that pits have gone through to gain the reputation they have, and finally I’ll tell you how you can help change the world for these dogs.
Transition: So here are three of the most popular myths about pit bulls, and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Everyone’s heard this one. Pit bulls have locking jaws and can bite down with 1600lbs per square inch of pressure. Truth: According to and the Canine Journal, there’s no truth to this. Pits have an average bite of 235lbs per square inch, and the hardest bite in the dog world belongs to the Rottweiler at around 328 per square inch.
Myth #2: Here’s another popular one. They can snap for no reason and attack at any time.
Truth: Dr. Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Center of New York says this is no more likely to happen than with any other breed of dog. In fact, according to the pet section of and the ASPCA’s website, pit bulls are, “one of the most delightful, intelligent, and gentle,” breeds of dog.
Myth #3: Pit bulls bite more people than any other breed of dog, are inherently vicious, and hate children.
Truth: In his article, The Tragedy of America’s Dog, Jake Flanigan states that you’re more likely to be fatally attacked by a Chow Chow than a pit bull. He also quotes a study done by the University of Pennsylvania that discovered that small breed dogs such as Chihuahuas and Jack Russell Terriers were much more likely to bite indiscriminately than a pit bull. And while pits do have a tendency not to like other dogs, they generally love children, and in fact once garnered the nickname of nanny dog.
Just as a free fact, all of these myths are regularly touted on the media as truth.
Internal Summary Now that we’ve debunked the myths about a pit bull’s bite, mental instability, and inherent viciousness, I hope you can see how out of control the media really has become on this subject.
Transition So let’s look at why they have such a crappy reputation. In the 1980’s, dogfighting became extremely popular. Pit bulls were widely used because of their muscular athleticism, obedience, and the breed’s past history with bull and bear baiting in the 19th century. After years of abuse, neglect, and vicious fighting, these dogs, just like any dog, became very vicious, though rehabilitation has proven effective in some cases.
A new problem is that the widespread beliefs of their aggressiveness lead to thugs, drug dealers, and gangsters to start using the breed for intimidation and posturing. Unfortunately, their new-found popularity as attack dogs in lower class neighborhoods caused a population explosion in urban areas, which also created a huge problem with stray pit bulls in large cities, fighting for survival.
Pit bulls are also one of the most targeted breeds for abuse in the dog country. reported that by July in 2012, there were 10,728 cases of reported canine abuse, and 77.5% of those were cases involving pit bulls. 3% of pit bulls in the US are believed to be involved in dogfighting, which is defined by the ASPCA as being “intentional torture presented as entertainment.” And any dog in an abusive situation can become vicious, regardless of the breed.
Internal Summary Now you know some of where the pit bull’s reputation for aggression came from.
Transition Here’s how you can help.
#1 Get yourself educated. Always do the research before you believe anything you hear. There are a number of websites, such as,,, and a slew of others, that can answer a lot of questions. You can also call the ASPCA and speak with someone there.
#2Talk to your local shelter about their euthanasia policies. Find out if they have educated themselves on the myths and facts about pit bulls. If not, petition for them your local government about it.
#3 Adopt a pit bull! Of course, be sure that you have researched the breed to see if it’s a good lifestyle fit for you first.
Internal Summary After hearing about how you can get involved by educating yourself, talking to your local shelter, and considering adoption yourself, I hope that you will find the time to do so.
Transition to Conclusion Let’s recap.
You now know that most of the things that “everyone knows” about pit bulls are myths with little to no basis in reality. You’ve also learned where pit bulls got their bad rap from. And you’ve heard about three different ways you can get involved. Maybe now there will be fewer dogs like Honey being killed simply for existing. Thank you.

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