Should Pit Bulls Be Illegal in Montana?
Lately you may have noticed people debating whether or not pit bulls should become illegal, that's because last week a Tennessee family's own two pit bulls killed a baby and a toddler, they also severely injured the mother as she tried to save her children.
I'm a dog lover and I always have been. I'll play and snuggle with any breed of dog, even pit bulls. As a physically fit man in his 30s, I don't have much to fear. That said, I'd feel uneasy if my mom or little sister adopted one. That's because from 2005 to 2017, pit bulls were responsible for 66% of human fatalities due to canine attacks, according to dogsbite.org. That's particularly alarming when you consider that pit bulls made up less than 7% of the US dog population through that period, again according to dogsbite.org.
Though pit bulls can be aggressive, they don't have the strongest bite. Their jaws have a potential bite of 235 psi (pounds per square inch) according to breedingbusiness.com. Compare that with kangals, which have the highest potential bite of all dog breeds with 743 psi. It's not true that pit bulls have locking jaws, but that myth might've been started by people who were surprised by the determination of these animals while attacking. Even the pit bull advocacy group Love-A-Bull admits that pit bulls were bred for fighting, though they also claim the breeders usually culled dogs that bit people.
In Montana, pit bull attacks are less common than in other states, but they still happen. In 2017 a woman from Bozeman was mauled to death by two pit bulls while standing in her yard. Last year, a University of Montana student said a pit-bull mix killed her dachsund at Jacob's Island Dog Park in Missoula.
If the state of Montana wants to prevent pit bull attacks, it could prohibit the ownership of pit bulls the same way it prohibits ownership of hyenas. Pit bull advocates claim that "it's not the breed, it's the owners"— if that's the case, perhaps it's appropriate for the state to give harsher penalties to owners of dogs who hurt or kill people, or their pets.
I know a ban would be heartbreaking to pit bull owners, and the idea of any good owner's dog being taken away is a very sad thought for me. That said, after a brutal killing like what happened last week, I think it's ok to ask ourselves if there's anything that can be done to prevent these kinds of tragedies as much as we can.
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