September 12, 2008

 The pit bull

Forget about the pigs for a moment. Sarah Palin called herself a "pit bull with lipstick."

Pit Bull terriers and crossbreeds killed well over 40 children in the USA in the 20 years up to 1998. Their total victims were 76, "of whom most were children". Source CDC. The next most dangerous breed, the much larger Rottweiler, was responsible for 44; German shepherds and huskies were only other breeds responsible for more than 20 deaths. The paper doesn't cover the certainly larger number of traumatic injuries, including facial bites requiring plastic surgery.

The experience is shared by other countries.

The ownership of pit bulls is banned in the UK, Denmark, and severely restricted in France, Italy, and Ontario. This looks right to me. It's only fair to point out that the CDC doesn't recommend breed-specific bans; breed identification is fuzzy, and the kind of yahoos who get a kick out of owning a killer dog can find or train one from another breed. Even spaniels, Labradors and collies have been known to kill, though very rarely. The fact stands that the pit bull is an inherently dangerous breed.

Credit here.

You have to be sorry for dogs. Their genome is unusually plastic and responds to the whims of breeders. The ratio between tallest and shortest is under 2:1 in normally developed humans and 3:1 in unlucky individuals; it is 5:1 in horses and 6:1 in cats, though most of either species lie within a 2:1 range; but 10:1 in dogs. Pedigree dogs are tragic victims of human vanity. The chief vet of the British RSPCA has described the annual dog show at Crufts as "a parade of mutants".

The pit bull is only one example of genetic abuse. But unlike other breeds it was designed for fighting. That's why it tends to be aggressive, and is especially damaging when it is.

What sort of person chooses to identify with a dog that kills children?


One of the American jurisdictions that does ban pit bulls is Miami-Dade County. I bet many of those Jewish retirees in Florida already worried about Palin's connection to "Jews for Jesus" wackos are also worried about savage dogs. Can't you see an attack advert:

Sarah Palin is proud to call herself a "pit bull in lipstick". Pit bulls kill American children every year, that's why they aren't allowed in Miami. Would you trust your grandchild's life to a pit bull dog? Do you trust your grandchild's life to a pit bull in lipstick?

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