muzzle_pitYou've probably heard nightmarish stories about Pit bulls and their supposedly dangerous natures. You may even have friends who own dogs but still believe that Pit bulls are unsafe and to be avoided. As animal lovers, we know by now that Pit bulls are not "killer dogs," or monsters more dangerous than any other breed.

 

But it's frustrating to see so much misinformation persist. How did Pit bulls go from being a trusted breed years ago to one that is hated, vilified and feared today? And since 2010, there have been two deaths in Belize caused by the mauling of pit bulls.

 

This weekend our news teams were witnesses to a vicious attack by two blue nose pit bulls in the Louisiana Area upon another dog and it prompted us to wonder what laws are there to protect public safety.  Is the demonization of this breed legitimate or is it time we change the way we view the pit bull? Reporter Maria Novelo followed the story and brings you this report.


Maria Novelo – Reporting


To some people they're great pets. To others - they invoke fear. The controversy has led to a real "dog fight" over a breed of dog - the thickly muscled mass of contradiction known as the pit bull. Supporters say they are sweet, cuddly, loving ... vilified and misunderstood ... a treasure of a dog. But to others they are vicious, aggressive, dangerous ... a ticking time bomb ... a menace to society. Of the reported serial dog attacks on humans over the course of several years, pit bulls (together with Rottweillers) were responsible for 65 percent of them.


Superintendent Dennis Arnold – Officer Commanding, OW Police


“Some of them it just inherent, they just grow up with it but you can train your pit-bull dog the we want them to come, because I from ever since I use to sale pit-bull dogs and none of my dogs were ferocious like that, right, when fellows would buy my dog they train them to become ferocious so these dogs they some of them they inherit that ferociousness but some of them you have to train them to be ferocious.”


Over the weekend, we were witnesses to the vicious beating of a neighbourhood dog by two blue nose pits that had escaped from the confines of their owner’s property. Officer commanding the Orange Walk Police Superintendent Dennis Arnold says that there is a law against unmuzzled ferocious dogs.


Superintendent Dennis Arnold – Officer Commanding, OW Police


“We have a law about un muzzled ferocious dogs especially if it is at large, if the dog attack anyone get bit for whatever cased the person can come to the police station  make his or her report , the person will be given a medical form to go to the doctor so that the doctor can classify the injuries upon returning that medical form then the police will seek the owner of the dog and if the person who is being bitten request court action then that person will be charged for the classification of the injuries the doctor certified.  In the event it attacked another dog and the dog doesn’t die then the owner of the dog can take that injured animal to the vet and that person can come to the police station to make a complaint with a bill to say what is the cause of the injuries his animal sustained then we can charge the owner of that pit-bull also for damage to property and allowing ferocious un muzzled dog at large.”

 

And while these dogs have garnered a bad reputation in the public eye, there have been two major reported deaths on pitbull maulings in Belize; one in June of 2010 of a Hattieville resident and as recent as this year in June of an Independence man mauled by pits. Commander Arnold urges dog owners to enforce all the necessary measures to keep their dogs tied and locked up.


Superintendent Dennis Arnold – Officer Commanding, OW Police


“Since I am here for the past year and a half or so I get one such incident and I think it was in that same area, right, we had told the owner of the dog that was being attacked to come to the station and bring his veterinary bill and so we can see the bill and see what is cost and charge the person for damage to property and charging the person for allowing ferocious dog at large. Keep them locked up or keep them on a chain whatever the case maybe if the owner wants to walk them on the street then they have a mussel for them over their mouth so that they can’t hurt people out there on the street.”


And while not all of man's best friends are created equal. Maybe this strong, proud breed known as the pit bull is caught up in a volatile equation - built-in genetic aggression, plus owner abuse and mistreatment, plus the physical ability to inflict unthinkable harm to humans. Still, Does it add up to a menace? A breed ban? The dog fight rages on. Maria Novelo for CTV3 News!


Of the reported rampage attacks in recent history - that is, attacks on two or more people or dogs - 58 percent of them were pit bulls.

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