1. The thought is nice, but the Pit Bull’s genetic dog aggression and gripping bite style is what stops this from happening.

    Diane Jessup tried this before, and even she could not guarantee that her Pit Bulls would not turn dog aggressive after training, having to euthanize some of her own trained Pit Bulls when the switch tripped and they became extremely dog aggressive. Police departments are not a bottomless of pit of financial and time resources, they need to feel certain that the dogs they are using will be viable working dogs upon completion of training and throughout their careers, not one that will become uncontrollably dog aggressive one, two, may five years down the road as what frequently happens with Pit Bulls. Also, as you already mentioned, police departments prefer dual trained dogs, a task that is not suitable for Pit Bulls.

    Estimates have it that there are nearly one million Pit Bulls dumped in our shelters on an annual basis, most abandoned due to various types of aggression, many with bite histories. Most are backyard bred with unstable histories and temperaments. There are not that many police departments in this country to handle the magnitude of this surplus.

    To address you question as to whether a Pit Bull is inherently dangerous, yes. They still teach genetics in high school, and yes, any experienced, knowledgable breeder will tell you that if you breed dog aggressive dogs to dog aggressive dogs, yes, you will get dog aggressive dogs. As you mentioned, Pit Bulls were bred to grip and hold onto their opponent without regard to self preservation. This is a dog fighting breed quality, as normal dogs bite and release, then either bite again or flee, it is a simple survival tactic endowed by mother nature and lacking in Pit Bulls. So, no, Pit Bulls are not like other dogs and should not be treated as such, even those that have not been bred for dog aggression, as the grip is still there.

    As a taxpayer, I take exception to the money and resources that would be expensed and wasted trying to create a venue that would suit the repurposing of Pit Bulls. This is not a local, state, or federal government issue. The problem with Pit Bulls is there are way too many of them, they can be had for next to nothing (poor man’s pedigree dog), and too many people fail to grasp genetics and don’t understand fighting breeds and think they can hug and kiss the danger out of a dog and are completely taken aback when Pibbles matures and becomes violent.

    There are many fine breeds already being bred to do an exemplary job in a dual position K9 capacity. Police dogs are bred, then their natural abilities are channeled for specific tasks suited to their genetics. What would you do with all the fine dogs out there that have already been bred for generations to excel in ta K9 venue? Would you have them stop breeding great dogs capable of dual purpose so that Pit Bulls may survive? Should we let other breeds go to the wayside to preserve Pit Bulls, and at the taxpayers expense?

    I do not put the preservation of Pit Bulls over the safety and welfare of our communities. I have this to say to Pit Bull advocates, there are over 400 plus breeds of dogs, many of them truly loyal, many of them very sweet, and many of them non aggressive. Pick one.

    Final note, I don’t believe in Pit Bull banning, that would be unconstitutional. However, when Pit Bull owners fail to acknowledge the genetics of their chosen breed, they can’t help but fail at self regulating their Pit Bulls, hence, I support BSL explicitly detailing, and enforcing, the micromanagement of the Pit Bull. Somebody’s right to own a Pit Bull does not take precedence over somebody else’s right to be safe from Pit Bulls.

    1. Pit bull bans have been challenged repeatedly in courts and well-crafted pit bull bans have withstood every single one of those challenges. See here: http://www.dogsbite.org/legislating-dangerous-dogs-constitutionality.php

      And here is model BSL that has been crafted using previous court challenges that any city can adopt or adapt to create BSL that can withstand and rebuff any legal challenge. http://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/model-pit-bull-ordinance.pdf


  2. Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    LawDogsUSA, Pit Bull Detection Dog Program, Shuts Down
    October 2008 Closure Notice

    Olympia, WA – Back in April, we reported that a handful of pit bulls seized from the Pima County dogfighting raid were chosen to be “rehabilitated” as detection dogs. Diane Jessup, the owner of LawDogsUSA, was the recipient of these dogs. In October, Jessup shut down LawDogsUSA due to lack of interest from the “pit bull community” and lack of adequate funding.

    “I had dreamed that LawDogsUSA would attract the best and brightest in the pit bull community and be able to grow larger than just me.

    While I received fantastic support from a few, unfortunately the support and funding necessary to continue the program in a meaningful way was not forthcoming.”
    Fate of the Pima Dogs

    The Pima County dogs did not work out either. She had selected three dogs for the detection program: Pima, Tucson and Arizona. Jessup writes on her website (please scroll to the bottom of the page titled: Update August 2008):

    “It is with deep regret that I report that “Tucson” (the male) was found to have developed uncontrollable dog aggression. With no socialization or training to channel his drive during his critical period (21 days to 16 weeks) this pup would never….”

    “Both dogs developed a very aggressive form of demodex mange – common in inbred dogs with compromised immune systems – and were being treated for that when I evaluated them for structural soundness. Both girls were suffering from severe…”

    It appears she euthanized all three dogs. Interestingly, Jessup does not support “no-kill” or dumping pit bulls into “sanctuaries,” which she compares to “above ground pet cemeteries.”

    She writes that the practice “amounts to a boarding kennel” and is the “height of disrespect for our noble companions.” She feels that euthanasia in her own arms is the most humane option.

  3. When you say BSL means “thousands if not millions of innocent dogs would be consigned to death along with the dangerous ones,” you forget that already nearly one million pit bulls are euthanized annually in animal shelters because they are overbred. Further, Breed Specific Legislation does not mean “kill all the pit bulls”. If you look at real BSL, it usually does not include a breed ban, and when it does, existing dogs are “grandfathered” in as long as the owners comply with regulations. Most often BSL includes mandatory spay / neuter to reduce the numbers of unwanted pit bulls (or Chihuahuas), as well as regulations around the care of these dogs, for instance, no tethering, and adequate fencing to keep them safely confined, and public safety measures including insurance coverage, muzzling or micro-chipping.

    I would feel sorry for cops forced to work with shelter-acquired pit bulls instead of well-bred GSDs or Malinois’ but on the plus side of your proposal –

    1) Recently a 2 year old police dog was euthanized for an unprovoked attack on a citizen – law enforcement will not give a dangerous dog a second chance like The Lexus Project.
    2) If cops start using the dog of choice of dog fighters, criminals, animal abusers and celebrity fur mommies, that will seal the end of this pit bull fad because those demographics won’t want to own a breed that is on the right side of the law.

  4. It’s going to be harder than hard to ‘re-purpose’ these fighting gladiators who have been robbed of their pits and falsely re-named ‘pet dogs’ without work being undertaken on their fierce genetics.

    I know they are used for hog-hunting in some places – however, I ‘treated’ myself to a lot of videos of them doing that, and found them to be immensely cruel, violent and disgusting. These dogs didnt just catch and hold – they TORTURED their miserable quarries.

    They cannot be used effectively as guard dogs, as they cannot just simply GUARD, they will KILL what they can catch.

    They cannot be used effectively or with any measure of safety in the police service – livestock-mauling genetics would almost certainly mean a severe face/neck mauling for any perpetrator they were sent after (to say nothing of the immense difficulty of getting them OFF something they are attacking and focussed on).

    That leaves either EATING them or using them where their lives have no meaning, such as bomb disposal work. But I still think they would find a way to roam and revert back to type – these are not smart dogs. These are small-minded bloodthirsty gladiators with intense focus on creating victims/opponents.

    OR, we see a return to the days of dog-fighting as a legalised spectator sport. These dogs belong to THAT much of a niche market. These are the round pegs of history, which people are trying hard to pound into the ubiquitous square holes. From Pit to Pet without ANY work being done on their genetics.

    It doesn’t gel.

    1. Oh, and I must add…. 36 Americans have been killed by dogs so far in 2014.


      Re-purposing fighting dogs is going to need to be more than just ‘renaming’ them (for example we now see them being called mutts, Lab Mixes, or Boxer Mixes, or Terrier Mixes). Their GENETICS have to be worked on, and worked on HARD. A turd does not become a Christmas pudding just because you rename it a pudding, any more than a lump of iron pyrites becomes a chunk of true gold just because you call it ‘gold’.

      Given that Pit Bull owners are immensely reluctant to spay/neuter their gnarly canines, that is going to be nigh-on impossible. The ONLY way these dogs can be genuinely re-purposed is for serious mandatory Pit Bull spay/neuter legislations to be applied and implacably enforced, and for ONLY approved breeders who are willing to breed the aggressive traits OUT of the dogs to be permitted to breed them. APBT breeders will admit that dog-aggression is a DESIRABLE TRAIT in their animals, so even locating these specialised and determined breeders is going to be the devil’s own job.

      Realistically, these dogs have had their day. Their true work (gripping livestock for open-field butchery and dog-on-dog fighting) is no longer needed OR legal, yet they STILL remain among us, unchanged, as joyously violent as they ever were; in the hands of absolute fools and ignoramuses who think that they are a dog just like any other dog. AND, in spite of killing more children per annum than all other breeds or types of dogs COMBINED, there STILL persists pockets of lunatics who would call this dog a ‘nanny dog’ and ‘safe around children’. Magical thinking does NOT a reality make.

      36 dead Americans, 2014. Dogs killed them. Horribly, painfully and cruelly. Pit Bulls killed 24 of them. And 12 were American children.

      Good luck with re-purposing the most dangerous ‘pet’ dog that ever crossed the threshold, and even better luck with re-purposing a dog whose ‘work’ is no longer legal or required.

      1. Spelling error above; 2nd paragraph; apologies – “And of the 23, TWELVE WERE INNOCENT AMERICAN CHILDREN” should have read “And of the 24”.

  5. Melissa Weaver is right in her assessment of pit bulls. And when the author describes german shepherds as being naturally suspicious and protective and “bark first ask questions later” That’s true and he’s talking about being protective of its human family – not even necessarily aggressive. “Bark first, ask questions later” isn’t appropriate for a guide dog, but in pets, it is eminently safer and preferable to the pit bulls’ “attack first, no need for questions” genetic tendency.

    When the author or anyone talks about how they are sickened at the prospect of euthanizing pit bulls is a solution – WE ARE ALREADY DOING THAT – Is he not sickened that almost a million are killed every year already? And that’s just in shelters. That means we are killing between 2,000 and 3,000 every single day of the year. EVERY DAY. Doesn’t he find that sickening? We won’t need to kill any more than than we are already killing. We just need to ban them and prohibit breeding and we will quickly – and I mean within a year – be killing far fewer than we are right now. Because to sustain our obscene rate of killing pit bulls in shelters, 2,000 to 3,000 pit bulls a day are killed which works out to between one and two pit bulls killed every single minute of every single day of the year, that many must be produced each each year. That is to say, just to maintain their population (some believe the population is growing) – between 2,000 and 3,000 pit bull puppies are are born every single day of the year. EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR. Now, how does taking a few to be police dogs (if that were workable, which its not) going to put a dent into 2,000-3,000 pit bulls born and killed every single day of the year. BANS WORK. The author should have done his due diligence and researched the effectiveness of bans.

    Here’s a list of Large and small cities with successful BSL. Please note, these are NOT interest groups; these are CITY LEADERS, POLICE CHIEFS, ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS, and MUNICIPAL LAWYERS who are saying that BSL is a proven success, these LAWS WORK, are AFFORDABLE, and provide an IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE for citizens. Every single listing is cited and sourced if you have an doubts.


    These studies show that pit bull bans keep people out of the hospital and the morgue!

Effectiveness of Breed-Specific Legislation in Decreasing the Incidence of Dog-Bite Injury Hospitalisations in People in the Canadian Province of Manitoba, by Malathi Raghavan, Patricia J Martens, Dan Chateau, and Charles Burchill, Injury Prevention, Published Online First, June 30, 2012. 


    Decline in Hospitalisations Due to Dog Bite Injuries in Catalonia, 1997–2008. An Effect of Government Regulation?, by Joan R Villalbi, Montse Cleries, Susana Bouis, Víctor Peracho, Julia Duran and Conrad Casas, Injury Prevention, 2010;16:408-410.


In addition there is this account of the Denver ban:

One City’s Experience: Why pit bulls are more dangerous and breed-specific legislation is justified.


  6. My first reaction was this is a ridiculous suggestion. My second thought was even more negative. Now I am going to explain my reactions as my blood is boiling at your suggestions. First you need to ask yourself why is that police departments all over the world use a shepherd type dog for police work? I do realize that many police forces in the US use the Belgian Malinois, and that is because of bad breeding issues in the US of the German Shepherd — dysplasia being one problem, the breeding out the work drive another. The shepherd is a herding dog, one bred to work with people and livestock. They do not use guard dog breeds or terrier breeds as they are more independent and not bred to work with people and follow directions and commands, The best working Shepherds (either German or Belgian Malinois) are responsive, obedient and have a strong work ethic. Even if they are suspicious and protective those are traits that work well with the responsive nature. Those dogs will protect their handler. Terriers in general are persistent and stubborn and tenacious. You yourself mention that pit bulls have an aggression issue. Most reputable pit bull type dog sites mention that dog aggression is normal in pit bulls — the UKC even mentions that is a trait in APBT. Can you train that out of a dog? Most police dogs are in situations where they are around other dogs, particularly in New York City. A dog that is distracted by its own dog aggression is not going to be focused on the work. A police dog must obey verbal commands or hand signals to chase and subdue a suspect and to stop biting upon command. How would that work with the tenacious nature of a pit bull type dog? Why does Customs and Border Patrol use the Malinois? The Malinois is used for drug and explosive detection, amongst others tasks. Agriculture uses beagles. They are sometimes in the same area, sniffing luggage for drugs or agriculture in the international arrivals. I remember one year when I flew in to Miami from the Caribbean, in the same arrival area where planes from South America were arriving. To get to US Immigration, we had to go down escalators. On each side of the escalators were two shepherds sniffing people for drugs and explosives even before we got into the lines. While drug sniffing dogs are important what matters most to me are the explosive sniffing dogs. I fly between 40,000 and 70,000 miles per year. I travel internationally a lot mostly in and out of Kennedy airport in NYC, where ICE exclusively uses the Malinois for detection. There was a Malinois I used to see a lot as she worked the terminal (Terry, since retired). And let me say that I had some reassurance knowing that there was a well bred dog (they come from working lines in Europe where breeding is more regulated) on the job, doing all they could to prevent any dangerous person or substance from getting on the same plane as me. When I was younger (late 20s) I used to travel to what were then difficult areas of the world (this was before 9/11 which changed everything for me) and I remember one area that was under terrorist threats from separatists. The airport would not tell passengers which plane was theirs on the tarmac. We got bussed around the tarmac before being taken to a plane, every plane had the army guarding it. The army even searched the bus and used undercarriage mirrors to make sure the bus was safe. Every passenger and luggage (after xray) had to pass by shepherds before allowed to get on the plane. I would not have stepped on that plane or any other plane if there were some random rescue pit bulls doing the screening. Earlier this year I had to do jury duty in NYC. On my way to court I had to pass the Federal Court for the Southern District where there was a major terrorism criminal trial (google it and see how serious it was). What dogs were on the street with the NYPD to protect all those around the courthouses? Yes, purpose bred working dogs, of the Shepherd family. I urge you to rethink your proposal. I will not let my safety in the air or on the streets be compromised by some sort of social experiment to save shelter pit bulls. Oh and I volunteer with an all volunteer animal rescue so it is not that I do not like animals. I donate thousands of dollars a year to animal causes. No sane person who actually travels would support your proposal. No one wants to risk being blown up in the air because you think that there are too many pit bulls being killed in shelters (how about mandatory spay/neuter) and that they should be “repurposed”. Shepherds have a proven track record in explosive detection — why do you think they are used by the military and police worldwide? The world is a dangerous and difficult place and the US is still a target. Why on earth would you make a proposal that would jeopardize the security of the public? I notice that you are suggesting that some these shelter pit bulls go into the Guide Dog program. Why is that? Did you not think of the risks of plane blowing up over a densely populated environment like New York City? Does the law enforcement and the public of the USA not deserve the best in canine genetics to protect our lives? My answer is that we do and I am shocked that you are advocating for anything less than the best to protect our soldiers, airports, police and the public from those that do harm. Thus endeth the rant.

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