Pit bull owners ::

Studies show that pit bull owners employ strategies to disguise the true nature of the breed by engaging in distortions, denial, overcompensation, and by projecting blame after attacks.

Owners of pit bulls, "outlaw" breeds are different

To understand the experience of owning a negatively perceived dog breed, researchers at the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy did a study on pit bull owners that was published in 2000. The authors found that with "outlaw" breeds, like pit bulls, the human-dog relationship is sociologically more complex than previously known. Owners of pit bulls, they discovered, directly feel the stigma targeted at their breed and resort to various tactics to mitigate it. These strategies include:1

"Passing their dogs as breeds other than pit bulls, denying that their behavior is biologically determined, debunking adverse media coverage, using humor, emphasizing counter-stereotypical behavior, avoiding stereotypical equipment or accessories, taking preventive measures, or becoming breed ambassadors." - Managing the Stigma of Outlaw Breeds: A Case Study of Pit Bull Owners (2000)

The study is sympathetic to pit bull owners and makes unsourced claims, but does show the basis of pro-pit bull propaganda. Strategies identified by the researchers are the same strategies employed by pit bull advocates to stop a municipality from enacting a local pit bull ordinance. For instance, owners will claim that (1) pit bulls cannot be identified; (2) pit bulls are not unpredictable; (3) pit bulls have been demonized by the media; and (4) pit bulls are "just big babies" that want to "lick you to death."

Owners, animal groups disguise breed name

As identified in the Tufts study, pit bull owners frequently pass their dogs off as other breeds to diminish a perceived stigma. They also lie about their dog's breed to confuse the public about the pit bull breed and to evade breed-specific laws. For instance, a pit bull owner might claim his dog is a "boxer-mix" or "labrador-mix" after a pit bull ordinance goes into effect.2 Animal groups, however, are the most to blame for creating confusion about the breed. This began in earnest in the mid 1930s.

  • In 1936, the American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognized the pit bull breed, but only under the name Staffordshire terrier. This was done to distance the breed from its continued use in dogfighting. Thus, the dog breed that descended from bull-baiting and dogfighting, the pit bull terrier, began being registered under two different names.3
  • By 1936, the United Kennel Club (UKC) had already recognized the American pit bull terrier for nearly 40-years. Hence, the original AKC registered Staffordshire terriers all came from UKC stock including champion fighting bloodlines.4-6 Cross-registering pit bulls at both national registries under different names continues today by the UKC.7
  • Prior to the UKC's formal recognition of the breed in 1898,8 and in some regions until decades after, the pit bull breed was called a variety names including: bull terriers, bull and terriers, pit dogs, half and halfs, pit terriers, bulldogs, and according to historical dogfighting documentation, American bull terriers and Yankee terriers, as well.9-12
  • In 1972, the AKC renamed the breed to American Staffordshire terrier to distinguish it from the Staffordshire bull terrier -- a dog breed also included in the pit bull class of dogs. Today, shelters often use the American Staffordshire name when adopting out pit bulls to the unsuspecting public to mask the breed's less palatable name, "pit bull."13
  • In 1996, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals renamed pit bull terriers to "St. Francis terriers." Again, the hope was to make the pit bull breed more palatable to the American public. After much screening, about 60 pit bulls were placed. The program was suspended after several of the re-dubbed pit bulls killed cats.14
  • In 2004, while serving as the director of New York City Animal Care and Control, Ed Boks attempted to rename pit bull terrier to "New Yorkies," also in hopes of making the pit bull breed more attractive to the American public. Boks' renaming effort was unsuccessful, as was his tenure in New York City, which lasted under three years, from 2003-2006.15,16
  • The latest camouflage attempt is the American bully, which is a pit bull "designer" breed. This bull breed comes in four flavors: Pocket, Standard, Classic, and XL. In 2013, the UKC recognized the American bully, yet "UKC registered American pit bull terriers are eligible to transfer to the American bully breed," states the UKC breed transfer form.17-19
  • In December 2023, the UK government banned the American XL bully breed after a disproportionate number of fatal dog attacks.20 In doing so, the UK adopted an official XL bully conformation standard, which was assembled in part from the UKC standard, as no other national kennel club, such as the AKC, recognizes the American bully breed.
  • Meanwhile, dogfighters and pit bull "experts" historically and presently still refer to pit bulls simply as "bulldogs." The American bulldog, derived from the same gene pool as the pit bull, is still unrecognized by the AKC and was only recognized by the UKC in 1999.21 This bull-baiting breed was also called the "American pit bulldog" up until the 1970s.22

The many names of the pit bull terrier over the course of history is why breed-specific legislation defines the pit bull as a "class of dogs" that includes the following breeds and their mixes: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and American bulldog.23 Despite attempts by kennel clubs, animal welfare groups and dogfighters to obscure the breed's name over the last century, well-written breed-specific laws will encapsulate the multiple names of the breed.

Owners frequently claim: "It's not the breed's fault"

Pit bull owners frequently blame the "environment" after a pit bull mauls or kills a person. A participant in the Tufts University study illustrates this clearly, "If you get some kid that has been beaten all his life, he's going to go out and be aggressive towards people."24 The intention is to assert that an aggressive pit bull must have been beaten or taught to attack by their owners instead of admitting to the genetic traits that define the breed (See: Why do people say that pit bulls "don't let go?")

Pit bull defenders frequently blame a victim's actions after an attack too. Examples include blaming a "sudden scream" or a "bouncy chair" as a trigger for an explosive fatal dog attack. Ledy VanKavage, a lobbyist for Best Friends Animal Society, even blamed a baby crying as a pretext.25 Pit bull defenders say such actions sufficiently explain why the pit bull killed the person. These excuses, however, always fail to explain the disproportionate response by the pit bull to an otherwise harmless activity.

Host: "So I asked her about the tragic death of 14-month old Daxton Borchardt. The little boy who was ripped from the arms of his babysitter by her two supposedly family friendly dogs. Was that 'fake news' too?"

"It is very very tragic," VanKavage replied, "but most of the dog-related fatalities involve unsupervised children. I don't know what happened that day."

Host: "She was holding the child at the time."

"I don't know if the child was crying?" VanKavage said. "I don't know the history of the dogs."

Host: "But if the child was crying?" - The Fifth Estate, CBC News, September 22, 2017

In 2014, after a 20-year old woman was scalped by three pit bull-mixes in front of one of the dogs' owners -- who was helpless to stop her own dogs -- the owner blamed the deadly attack on the dogs mistaking her ponytail for a rope toy.26 The victim's "death sentence" actions included bending down to pick up a ball the dogs were playing with. The "ponytail" excuse was popularized by SeaWorld after "Tilikum," a killer whale with a history of fatal human attacks, killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.27

Klemetti said the day of the attack, his wife, Victoria, was with Morrison, who had looked after the dogs before. When Morrison knelt down to pick up a tennis ball they were playing with, the first thing the dogs went after was Morrison's ponytail.

"I think what happened is that she had a ponytail and she reached down to get something and one of the dogs said 'Hey, this looks like my rope toy' and jumped up," Klemetti said. - Opelika-Auburn News, May 29, 2014

In multiple instances of fatal pit bull maulings, family members have blamed the occurance on the victim suffering a seizure beforehand, triggering the lethal attack. The majority of these attacks are owner-directed, where the pit bull kills its owner. There is an immediate assumption by family members that because the victim suffered from seizures in the past, he or she must have had one, including during the middle of the night, and the pit bull(s) "naturally reacted to it" by killing the person.28

When an attractive female pit bull advocate is killed by their own dogs, defenders of pit bulls unravel even further by fabricating stories. After 22-year old Bethany Stephens was fatally attacked and eaten by her two pit bulls in 2017, the Goochland County Sheriff's Office had to give a second press conference due to the misinformation being disseminated by pit bull advocates on social media. Their many conspiracy theories ranged from Stephens being "murdered" to being "attacked by a bear."29

After 32-year old Darla Napora was killed by her male pit bull "Gunner" in 2011, a blogger for the defunct content farm, Examiner.com, Cindy Marabito, spread the false rumor that Darla "fell off a ladder and hit her head."30 Darla was six months pregnant at the time and an avid supporter of BadRap, a Bay Area pit bull advocacy group. After her horrific death, her husband said he did not blame the dog, and he planned to bury Darla with Gunner's cremated remains in her casket.31

A day after the family's pit bull fatally attacked his pregnant wife, Greg Napora said Friday he doesn't blame the dog. He even plans to bury his spouse, Darla, with their pet's cremated remains in her casket.

"They are the most loving animals I have ever had in my life. Whatever happened right now was not the breed's fault," said Napora, who found his wife dead when he returned to the couple’s Pacifica home from his construction job with plans to take her to lunch Thursday. “It was just a freak accident.” - Mercury News, August 12, 2011

Both Klemetti and Napora also publicly characterized these savage, fatal attacks as a "freak accident" afterward. The term "freak accident" has been used by the owners of vicious dogs -- primarily pit bulls -- to deny responsibility after monolithic maulings and fatal attacks since 1985.32 Statistically, over the 19-year period of 2005 to 2023, pit bulls killed an American every 14 days on average. Thus, fatal pit bull attacks are routine, not a freak animal accident that occurs every 50 years, as illustrated here.

Breed ambassadors, stunt pit bulls & fake service dogs

According to the Tufts University study, the most public way in which pit bull owners managed breed stigma was to become a fierce advocate for the breed. These owners seek to "educate" the public -- often through their own well-behaved pets -- by discounting stereotypes and promoting the finer qualities of the breed. For instance, to help deflect the fear that pit bulls incite about children, one respondent kept a photo handy that showed three children rubbing her pit bull's tummy.33

Since 2015, however, "breed ambassador programs" have been evaporating, including the Nebraska Humane Society's Breed Ambassador Program, which began after Omaha passed a breed-specific law in 2009.34-36 Groups devoted to "educating" the public about pit bulls, like Pinups for Pit Bulls, and "therapy" pit bulls, like Elle, used to indoctrinate children through "reading" programs, have also faded.37,38 Though, "therapy" pit bulls are still used as ambassadors in hospitals and hospices.39

More disturbing, however, are reality-TV style social media phenomena, such as, Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice - L O N G bois and the House Hippos, which showcases a young family and their multiple pit bulls and great danes -- a large breed dog pack -- living, sleeping, and eating among their small children.40 The family sells "House Hippos" merchandise on their website, along with doggie treats. However, the last blog post on their website was November 12, 2020, titled, "Defeated."41

Police K9 Stunt Pit Bulls

Beginning in 2015, a new type of breed ambassador program was started by Animal Farm Foundation, the leading financers of the American Pit Bull Lobby.42-45 The group began paying Bradley Croft of Universal K9 to train "rescued and sheltered" pit bulls as K-9 detection dogs, which the group then gave away freely to police departments.46 The public relations emphasis was on officers that sweep elementary schools with K-9 detection dogs to place these K-9 stunt pit bulls in front of children.47

"Our goal in that was to get good PR for shelter dogs," Coleman said. Her organization would sponsor the care for the dogs and pay for two weeks of training for handlers and their expenses while staying in San Antonio. Animal Farm Foundation contributed $111,750 to Universal K9 in 2016."48

In 2017, they contributed $130,500, according to tax returns.49

The group did not renew their grant with Universal K9 in 2018, citing that Universal K9 wanted to expand the program beyond what they were willing to fund.50 In August 2018, the FBI and IRS raided the Universal K9 facility in San Antonio and seized 26 dogs. Croft was indicted on eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of money laundering in a scheme that defrauded the government to obtain GI Bill benefit payments.51 Croft was sentenced to 10-years.52,53

The public's response to the K-9 stunt pit bulls met with some skepticism. When the Clay County Sheriff's Office announced their K-9 pits bulls in 2017, they stated that both pit bulls "are only single purpose dogs, meaning they are only trained in narcotics detection. They are not and never will be trained in criminal apprehension or bite work. No Pitbull/Pitbull mixes granted by Animal Farm Foundation and Universal K9 will ever be trained in bite work or criminal apprehension."54

Fake Service and Support Dogs

Today, "ambassador" status for pit bulls is often achieved through fake service dogs, due to the loopholes in the American for Disabilities Act. After multiple attacks by emotional support animals (ESAs) on aircrafts, airlines began to tightly scrutinize them, including Delta Air Lines banning pit bulls as service and support dogs in 2018. After seeking comments for a proposed rulemaking change,55 the Department of Transportation issued its final rule in 2020, forcing Delta to rescind the pit bull ban.

ESA pit bulls have been involved in highly publicized attacks, including a $1.1 million dollar lawsuit against the Port of Portland and Alaska Airlines after a support pit bull mauled a child in the face. In 2018, a support pit bull attacked a Delta flight attendant in the face then bit a customer service agent who came to help.56 Also in 2018, a fake service pit bull attacked a passenger on a New York subway. In 2022, a fake service pit bull attacked a security officer at the San Francisco public library.

Lion Tamer Complex, stunt tamers & extreme rescuers

A behavioral trait not addressed in the Tufts University study has been dubbed the "Lion Tamer Complex." Many pit bull owners believe they are superior dog owners and through this superiority can control their "game bred" pit bull by teaching discipline and love. While not all pit bulls are inherently vicious, their genetic history cannot be "loved" out of them either. As demonstrated by numerous press reports of pit bulls attacking their owners, this complex has serious and deadly ramifications.

A classic example of the Lion Tamer Complex involves a pit bull named "Bosco" that was declared "dangerous" in Fulton County, Ohio in 2016 after biting its owner.57 The dog was quickly trafficked out-of-state into the care of Jacqueline Johnson in Arizona, who then worked for Best Friends Animal Society. Johnson began her "lion taming" career after receiving one of Michael Vick's dogs in 2008.58 At the time Johnson accepted Bosco, she also had two former fighting pit bulls in her home.59,60

In early December 2017, Bosco viciously attacked Johnson. A December 5 post on her Facebook stated in part, "I currently do not have use of either hand. However, they were able to re-attach the finger on my left hand, which was severed. I will go in a week from today for major surgery on my right arm as most of the bones are totally shattered."61 A GoFundMe campaign quickly started by her daughter afterward stated, "Both her arms were broken, wrist shattered and nearly lost a finger."62

Stunt Lion Tamers

Due to the volume of pit bulls that exhibit aggression, the pit bull industry always needs lion tamers, which gives rise to "stunt" lion tamers, such as Steffen Baldwin. Starting as a "pit bull breed advocate," then becoming a self-appointed "dog whisperer," Baldwin claimed to rehabilitate dangerous pit bulls then rehome them. Instead, he secretly killed nearly 20 of these aggressive dogs. Baldwin even had fundraisers for the dead dogs, unbeknownst to the donors, and used the funds for personal gain.

In August 2020, Baldwin was charged in a 42-count felony indictment for animal cruelty, fraud, and theft. The charges were increased in 2021. We detail each aspect of the case in our expose of Baldwin, which explains how a "pit bull activist rose to fame in the no-kill community while simultaneously killing dogs." Our report came after our expose of Baldwin's close pal, Luke Westerman, who became "a sudden pit bull activist," then parleyed that role into an "executive" role at a no-kill humane society.

The role of the "magical pit bull rehabilitator" is unsustainable. Like the sanctuary operations of "reactive" pit bulls that came before Baldwin -- Spindletop63-65 and Olympic Animal Sanctuary66,67 -- Baldwin was headed down a path of fraud and crime. We state in our expose of Westerman, "We have seen a number of pit bull advocates and rescuers rise and sink. The 'emotionally charged' pit bull advocacy and rescue spheres are easily exploitable. Thus, fraud and facades are commonplace."

Extreme Rescuers

Like Johnson and Baldwin, extreme pit bull rescuers covet "saving" pit bulls legally declared "dangerous." Jennifer Romano's "Save Gus" campaign succeeded in getting her serial attacker off death row and sent to Cesar Millan's Dog Psychology Center.68 Upon leaving the center, Gus attacked two people and landed on death row again.69 Seven years later, Romano was charged with two felonies after her serial biting ESA pit bull "Kingston" attacked a child's face and Romano fled the scene.70

Some extreme rescuers pay with their lives. In 2019, Christine Liquori, 52, who was passionate about saving unwanted pit bulls, started her volunteer shift at the Humane Society of St. Lucie County. She took a pit bull out to a playpen and never returned alive. The dog "mutilated" her, reports said. In 2018, Robin Conway, 64, was eager to "save" an out-of-state pit bull on death row, formerly named "Bullet." Two weeks after arriving at Conway's Maryland home, the male pit bull attacked and killed her.

Other extreme rescuers have the people around them pay with their lives. One month after 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida rescued a hulking pit bull-type dog, calling the act a "Divine Intervention," the dog, known as "Gladys from the Glades," killed volunteer Pam Robb. The rescue knew Gladys was dangerous; videos of the dog's behavior were circulated on their Facebook page.71 The rescue also admitted that Gladys "might be out of our hands." Robb's estate sued the rescue.72

Owners fight to get dogs returned after horrific attacks

Behavioral traits not addressed in the Tufts study are narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. Owners of pit bulls and other vicious dogs who fight in courts to have their dogs returned to them after killing a child or a family member fall into the "extreme narcissism" category, in which the self-absorbed characteristics result in destructive behavior that harms everyone around them. The self-absorption also damages the reputation of the owner, though the owner likely remains blind to this.73

In April 2021, two pit bulls belonging to Joseph and Amanda White killed 7-year old Jayden Henderson and critically injured her mother. The two were helping to care for the dogs while the Whites were traveling. The lethal attack occurred inside the White's fenced-in yard. Both dogs, Blitzen and Athena, had their own Instagram pages, where they adorned service dog and ESA vests. This set the stage for an excruciating court battle, pitting the entire neighborhood and town officials against the Whites.

Five months later, Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier ruled that the Town of Garner could determine the fate of two pit bulls that killed Jayden. “This has gone farther than it should have,” Judge Rozier said. “To the parents, I'm sorry you’ve had to endure this.” Judge Rozier also stated, “It’s not appropriate probably as a judge to call someone selfish, but after 15 years of being a judge, this is the most self-focused case I have ever seen in my life,” referring to the owners of the pit bulls.74,75

Attacks During Legal Holds

Attempts to "save" vicious pit bulls also results in shelter staff being attacked while the owners fight "destruction" orders.76-81 In 2019, a pit bull being held in a bite quarantine block at a Michigan county shelter attacked the shelter supervisor. The 17-minute incident was captured on a security camera. Previously, the dog had attacked three family members, causing the quarantine. But the owners wanted "Roscoe" back, forcing a legal hearing. The attack occurred four days before the hearing.82

The surveillance footage shows an animal control officer shooting the dog in the head at close range to stop the attack. After appearing to be dead for 5 minutes, the pit bull stands back up. When the officer realizes this, a second bullet is fired into the dog.

Shelter staff have also been attacked while the owners fight to "retain custody" of their vicious dogs. In 2021, Citrus County Animal Services confiscated 43 dogs from Out of the Box Animal Rescue, which is known for rescuing aggressive death-row dogs. Authorities charged the owner, Robert Schweickert, with 27 counts of animal cruelty. While Schweickert fought to retain custody of his dogs, three hostile ones -- two pit bulls and a hound-mix -- attacked three shelter staffers on three separate days.83,84

Criminals choose high-risk, "vicious" dog breeds

In 2006, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence published a study that focused on Ohio dog owners.85 The results showed that criminals are more likely to own vicious dogs. For the purposes of the study, researchers used agreed definitions of "vicious dogs" found within local ordinances. During this period, from 1987 to 2012, all local ordinances included pit bulls because Ohio state law declared all pit bulls "vicious."86 The study substituted the term "vicious dogs" with "high-risk" dogs for a gentler effect.

"When differences in criminal convictions and traffic citations between the owners of HRC (high-risk cited) dogs and owners of LRL (low risk licensed) dogs were examined, owners of HRC dogs had significantly more criminal convictions and traffic citations in every category. Relative to owners of LRL dogs, owners of HRC dogs were 9.1 times more likely to have been convicted for a crime involving children ... 3.0 times more likely to have been convicted on a charge of domestic violence ... 14.1 times more likely to be convicted of crimes involving alcohol ... 7.7 times more likely to be charged with drug convictions ... 7.1 times more likely to have been cited for a major traffic violation ... and 5.8 times more likely to have been cited for a minor traffic violation." - Ownership of High-Risk (“Vicious”) Dogs as a Marker for Deviant Behaviors, by Barnes et al., Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2006

There is no denying that dangerous people are attracted to dangerous dog breeds. These same people also have a higher likelihood of being irresponsible owners. Pit bulls are the dogs of choice for people who engage in crimes and are often used in drug and gang-related activities.87 Police officers are often forced to shoot dangerous pit bulls when serving search warrants.88 The combination of criminals and pit bulls exponentially increases the danger these dogs pose to communities.

  1. Managing the Stigma of Outlaw Breeds: A Case Study of Pit Bull Owners, by Twining H, Arluke A, Patronek G, Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy, Society & Animals Journal of Human-Animal Studies, Vol. 8 Number 1, 2000.
  2. Animal People [Chapter 7: Vicious Circle], by Meghan Ann Brown (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14646. Iowa State University Digital Repository (dr.lib.iastate.edu)
  3. The registration process began in 1935 and completed in 1936. Thus, both dates appear in reference to this. For example, the Tufts study vs. the AKC's American Staffordshire terrier history page.
  4. The Great Book of Bulldogs, Bull Terrier and Molosser: Part I Bulldogs and Bull Terrier, by Marlene Zwettler, Google eBook, February 7, 2013.
  5. Pit bull expert Dianne Jessup, "The UKC allows American Staffordshires to be registered as 'pit bulls' ... For the most part, UKC and AKC registered dogs cannot be differentiated, as they carry primarily the same blood." History of the Pit Bull, by Diane Jessup (workingpitbull.com) (Accessed: March 5, 2017) (Archived by the Wayback Machine).
  6. Bobbie Morehouse, a member of the National American Pit Bull Terrier Association. "I believe the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier are the same breed because all the American Kennel Club-registered American Staffordshire Terriers were bred down directly from the United Kennel Club, registered American Pit Bull Terriers,” The American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, by Eve Adamson, DogChannel.com, September 13, 2012 (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  7. Today, AKC registered American Staffordshire terrier can also be registered as UKC American pit bull terrier (dual registration). See the UKC application for American Pit Bull Terrier Single Registration (Accessed: May 19, 2024). But the AKC "does not accept any UKC registered dogs as AKC registered." | Dual-registering AKC AmStaffs as UKC APBTs, UKC Forums, March 3, 2010 (forums.ukcdogs.com)
  8. American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook, by Joe Stahlkuppe, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., Page 55, 2000.
  9. Diane Jessup (workingpitbull.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine).
  10. The Final Round - A Law Enforcement Primer for the Investigation of Cockfighting and Dogfighting, The Humane Society of the United States, Revised 2004 (wildapricot.org)
  11. AKC Celebrates All-American Breeds, American Kennel Club Communications, June 18, 2003 (akc.org)
  12. Pit Bulls for Dummies, by D. Caroline Coile, Phd, Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2001;12.
  13. In the Tufts study, two of the 28 respondents returned their pit bulls to the shelter. Of the two, one left the shelter without realizing she had adopted a pit bull because she did not know that an American Staffordshire terrier was a pit bull -- the shelter intentionally disguised the breed name.
  14. Bring breeders of high-risk dogs to heel, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, January-February 2004 (animalpeoplenews.org) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  15. Apple Renames Pit Bull 'Yorkies, by Heidi Singer, New York Post, January 5, 2004 (nypost.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  16. Ed Boks served as the Executive Director of ACC from July 2003 to January 2006. Artope v. Center for Animal Care Control, Inc., 05 CV 9283 (KMW) (RLE), (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2009)
  17. American Bully breed standard, United Kennel Club (accessed: May 20, 2024) (ukcdogs.com)
  18. Request for Breed Transfer to American Bully Breed, United Kennel Club (accessed: May 20, 2024) (res.ukcdogs.com)
  19. Brown, 112 (2015)
  20. Dangerous Dog Offences, Code for Crown Prosecutors, UK Government (Accessed: May 20, 2024) (cps.gov.uk)
  21. American Bulldog, United Kennel Club, (ukcdogs.com) (Accessed: May 20, 2024)
  22. American Bulldog, molosserdogs.com (Accessed: January 31, 2010). As recently as 2005, the two primary "preservationists" of the American bulldog, John Johnson and Alan Scott, sounded off about the history of the breed's name. (Accessed: April 30, 2013)
  23. Progressive pit bull legislation includes the American bulldog in the definition of a "pit bull" dog.
  24. Twining, Arluke, et al., 2000.
  25. Pit Bulls Unleashed: Should They Be Banned?, The Fifth Estate, CBC News (cbc.ca), September 22, 2017 (youtube.com)
  26. Owner of dogs involved in fatal Phenix City attack speaks out, by Drew Taylor, Opelika-Auburn News, May 29, 2014 (oanow.com) (Accessed: September 4, 2019) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  27. Ex-SeaWorld Official: Trainer Made Mistake, CBS News/Associated Press, February 20, 2010 (cbsnews.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine) | Sea World of Florida, LLC v. Thomas Perez, (2014) | Court upholds ruling against SeaWorld over trainer safety, by Lawrence Hurley, Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2014 (chicagotribune.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  28. Owners and family members killed by a family pit bull during an alleged seizure include: Javon Stokes, 25-years old (Toledo, OH, 2021), Emily Kahl, 31-years old (Toledo, OH, 2021), Miguel Ángel Aguilar, 18-years old (Saltillo, Mexico, 2020) Dustin Bryan, 21-years old (Modesto, CA, 2019) Melissa Astacio, 44-years old (Somerset, MA, 2019), Homer Utterback, 52-years old (Uniontown, PA, 2019); Teena Mawhorter, 74-years old (Mount Shasta, CA, 2018); Della Riley, 42-years old (Cleveland, OH, 2018); Jamie Owsley, 21-years old (Quincy, IL, 2017); Daisie Bradshaw, 68-years old (New York City, NY, 2016); Susan Shawl, 60-years old (Conifer, CO, 2016); Charles Hagerman, 44-years old (Chicago, IL, 2012); Tonia Parks, 39-years old (Rockford, IL, 2011); Kelli Chapman, 24-years old (Longville, LA, 2008); Brandon Coleman, 25-years old (Morgantown, WV, 2006); Lorinze Reddings, 42-years old (St. Louis, MO, 2005) and likely others.
  29. Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew's Second Press Conference, December 18, 2017 (facebook.com)
  30. Pacifica dog mauling ... what really happened?, by Cindy Marabito, Examiner, August 12, 2011 (examiner.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  31. Pit bull mauling of pregnant Pacifica woman remains a mystery, by Joshua Melvin and Lisa Fernandez, Mercury News, August 12, 2011 (mercurynews.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  32. Pit Bulls: Part Terrier, Part Terror, by Leon Daniel, United Press International, May 15, 1985 (chicagotribune.com) Wally Roberts, who first used the excuse "freak accident," also stated, "I thought at first she had blown her head off with my pistol." Wally Roberts later became Wally Ghia and was profiled in a 2017 Bicycling article, "One Last Shot." (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  33. Twining, Arluke, et al., 2000.
  34. "Beginning January 1, 2009 Omaha city ordinance will require Pit Bulls, Cane Corsos, Presa Canarios, Dogo Argentinas, American Bulldogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and predominant mixes of these breeds to be muzzled whenever they are outside and not in a securely fenced yard. However those dogs who are exceptionally gentle and under the control of their owners can get a muzzle exemption by following certain requirements and passing a Canine Good Citizen Test. The following classes are geared toward acquiring Breed Ambassador Status." Breed Ambassador Program, Nebraska Humane Society (accessed May 20, 2024 on an unsecure, "HTTP" page. The program has been so sidelined, it never even made it to an "HTTPS" page) (support.nehumanesociety.org)
  35. Breed Ambassador Archives, Save a Bull, last post: January 12, 2017 (accessed: May 20, 2024) (saveabull.com)
  36. BadRap's Pit Bull Hall program, which BR-owned dogs rotated through the shelter’s kennels as an example of ambassador dogs, closed at the end of 2008. BadRap's Ambassadog Project, a partnership with Oakland Animal Services, closed in 2010. (Accessed: September 1, 2019) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  37. "Tail Wagging Tales" Therapy Dog Reading Program with Elle the Pit Bull, Brewer2006, YouTube, March 7, 2012 (youtube.com) | Baltimore children practice reading with dogs, learn compassion, by Talia Richman, The Baltimore Sun, December 26, 2017 (accessed: May 20, 2024) (baltimoresun.com)
  38. Sometimes these breed ambassador efforts go awry too. In 2015, Bill Melugin of Fox 46 Charlotte led a crusade against Novant Health for proposing prohibiting the breed from its therapy dog program due to their "negative public image." Due to the backlash Melugin whipped up, Novant dropped the proposal. Five months later, 86-year old Bessie Flowers is killed by her daughter's two pit bulls in Charlotte after she "tripped" on the dogs' bed. In 2014, outrage on social media erupted after Virtua Hospital rejected a pit bull therapy dog's application because it was incomplete and the dog had not been through their "lengthy" application and screening process. (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  39. Meet Theo, the therapy dog, WTAE-TV, February 2, 2024 (youtube.com)
  40. Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice - L O N G bois and the House Hippos, (accessed: May 21, 2024) (facebook.com)
  41. Defeated, Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice Blog, November 12, 2020 (accessed May 20, 2024) (dogsandadvice.com)
  42. Looking Back On 2015: Service, Play, And Innovation, by Regina Lizik, Animal Farm Foundation Blog, December 7, 2015 (animalfarmfoundation.org) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  43. Translation: Pit Bulls - Five Part Series, by Marie-Claude Malboef, La Presse, August 13, 2016 (dogsbite.org)
    1. (Part 1: Archived in French) Malboef, "Pitbulls: Qui Veut Sauver Les Pitbulls?," 2016 (plus.lapresse.ca)
    2. (Part 2: Archived in French) Malboef, "Pitbulls: De Quel Côté Penche la Science?," 2016 (plus.lapresse.ca)
    3. (Part 3: Archived in French) Malboef, "Pitbulls: Ce qui n’a pas été dit au gouvernement," 2016 (plus.lapresse.ca)
    4. (Part 4: Archived in French) Malboef, "Pitbulls: Comme chiens et chats," 2016 (plus.lapresse.ca)
    5. (Part 5: Archived in French) Malboef, "Pitbulls: Niveau maximal d’agressivité atteint par divers gros chiens lors d’un test de tempérament," 2016 (plus.lapresse.ca)
  44. Animal Farm Foundation, Wikipedia (accessed: May 21, 2024) (wikipedia.org); Animal Farm Foundation's subsidiary, National Canine Research Council, Wikipedia (accessed: May 21, 2024) (wikipedia.org)
  45. Brown, 127-128 (2015)
  46. Single Purpose Pit Bull Grant Program, Universal K9 (universalk9.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  47. New Breed of Police Dogs: Pit Bulls, by Tawnell Hobbs, The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2017 (wsj.com)
  48. Northwest Side school that trains veterans on dog-handling raided, by Guillermo Contreras and Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, August 9, 2018 (mysanantonio.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  49. 2017 Universal K Nine tax returns (guidestar.org)
  50. Guillermo Contreras and Patrick Danner, August 9, 2018 (mysanantonio.com)
  51. Universal K-9 owner could face up to 42 years on 14 charges in vet fraud case, KENS, August 23, 2019 (kens5.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  52. USA v. Croft, No. 21-50380 (5th Cir. 2023), No. 21-50380 (5th Cir. 2023).
  53. Bradley Croft, the operator of Universal K-9, sentenced to 118 months in federal prison, KENS 5, May 3, 2021 (kens5.com)
  54. From New York and Texas to Clay County, 2 new Deputies hit the streets, by the Clay County NC Sheriff's Office, March 15, 2017 (facebook.com)
  55. Comments of DogsBite.org, Incorporated, Traveling by Air with Service Animals, April 5, 2020 (Docket No. DOT-OST-2018-0068, ID: DOT-OST-2018-0068-18935)
  56. Comments of Delta Air Lines, Submitted July 10, 2018 (DOT-OST-2018-0068-4141), Dated May 23, 2018 | Docket No. DOT-OST-2018-0068.
  57. Judge rules ‘pit bull' Bosco dangerous, by Alexandra Mester, Toledo Blade, March 1, 2016 (toledoblade.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  58. What pit bull advocates don't learn from their own maulings, by Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7, December 10, 2017 (animals24-7.org) (Accessed: September 7, 2019)
  59. After A Harrowing Journey, Bosco The Pit Bull Has Finally Gone Home," by Jacqueline Johnson, Bark Post, April 2016 (barkpost.com) (Archived by Archive.is at https://archive.is/2iEJa)
  60. Over-Coming Anxiety for Bosco, by Jacqueline Johnson, Ray The Victory Dog, April 4, 2017 (raythevicktorydog.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine).
  61. Screenshot of various statements of Bosco's attack from December 5, 2017. On December 2, 2019 -- essentially the two year anniversary of the vicious attack -- Jacqueline Johnson wrote about the attack for the first time since, "We Cannot Save Them All-Nor Should We Try." Johnson reveals in the post that Bosco had previously attacked her too, but she was "directed to try nutritional supplements" instead of humanely euthanizing the dog. "Bosco should have been humanely euthanized the first time he bit me," Johnson states. (Archived by the Wayback Machine).
  62. Jacqueline Johnson's medical fund, GoFundMe, December 4, 2017 (gofundme.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  63. Dog Rescuers Shocked and Worried after Spindletop Dog Refuge Raid, by Craig Malisow, Houston Press, July 18, 2012 (houstonpress.com) (Archived at Wayback Machine)
  64. While your pit bull gently weeps: Leah Purcell, dog-aggression, rescue and abuse," by Craven Desires, August 4, 2012 (cravendesires.blogspot.com)
  65. Breaking News–Spindletop Owner Arrested On Animal Cruelty Charges, by Scott Engle, Montgomery County Police Reporter, July 16, 2014 (montgomerycountypolicereporter.com)
  66. It’s Been 7 Years Since the Rescue of 100+ Dogs from the Olympic Animal “Sanctuary”, by RPregulman, December 31, 2020 (seattledogspot.com)
  67. 'Sanctuary of Sorrow' founder guilty for not documenting $360K, by Jeff Burnside, April 7, 2015 (komonews.com)
  68. 'Dog Whisperer' Blamed for Pit Bull Attack, by Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service, February 5, 2015 (courthousenews.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  69. Montgomery County dog saved by Cesar Millan trainers is on death row again, by Heather Alexander, My San Antonio, October 28, 2014 (mysanantonio.com) (Archived by WebCite at https://www.webcitation.org/6ojI8DpI4)
  70. Owner arrested over dog's attack on 3-year-old girl in Spring restaurant, by Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, February 9, 2021 (houstonchronicle.com)
  71. Woman loved working where rescued dog killed her, wife says, by Janine Stanwood, WPLG, February 18, 2022 (local10.com)
  72. Complaint for Damages and Demand for Jury Trial, Angela Anobile v. 100+ Animal Rescue, Inc, Broward County Circuit Court (No. CACE-22-011020), July 27, 2022 (browardclerk.org)
  73. The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age, by Joseph Burgo PhD, Touchstone, September 22, 2015.
  74. Timeline - Jayden Henderson Fatal Dog Mauling, by DogsBite.org (dogsbite.org)
  75. 3-Dogs that killed Garner 7-year-old put down, by Amanda Lamb, WRAL, September 10, 2021 (wral.com)
  76. Dog attack prompts major policy changes at Oakland County Animal Shelter, by Mark Cavitt, The Oakland Press, January 2, 2020 (theoaklandpress.com)
  77. OKC Animal Shelter worker mauled by dog, shelter to cut days open, by Dylan Brown, KFOR, August 4, 2023 (kfor.com)
  78. Seized dogs attack shelter worker, volunteers, by Mike Wright, Citrus County Chronicle, August 3, 2021 (chronicleonline.com)
  79. Another Pit Bull Attack at LA Animal Services 'No Kill" Shelter ... Increase in Dangerous Dogs, by Phyllis Daugherty, City Watch, July 30, 2018 (citywatchla.com) (Archived by the Wayback Machine)
  80. Pit bull in Bayonne mauling of senior citizen attacks shelter worker: official, by Charles Hack, The Jersey Journal, December 21, 2009 (nj.com) (Archived by Wayback Machine)
  81. Pit bull put down after second attack in a month, by John DeSantis, Houma Today, November 13, 2009 (houmatoday.com) (Archived by Wayback Machine)
  82. Pit bull shot to save the life of Oakland animal shelter worker, by Bill Laitner, The Detroit Free Press, January 4, 2020 (freep.com)
  83. Owner of Out of the Box Rescue arrested, faces multiple animal cruelty charges, by Fred Heirs, Citrus County Chronicle, January 15, 2021 (chronicleonline.com)
  84. Seized dogs attack shelter worker, volunteers, by Mike Wright, Citrus County Chronicle, May 22, 2021 (chronicleonline.com)
  85. Ownership of High Risk ("Vicious") Dogs as a Marker for Deviant Behaviors: Implications for Risk Assessment, by Jaclyn E. Barnes, Barbara W. Boat, Frank W. Putnam, Harold F. Dates and Andrew R. Mahlman, Journal for Interpersonal Violence, 2006; 21; 1616.
  86. Celeste Gets Bills to Control Vicious Dogs, Regulate Thrifts, Toledo Blade, July 1, 1987 (news.google.com) | Chapter 955: DOGS, Code of Ohio, effective pre-May 22, 2012 (codes.ohio.gov)
  87. A sampling. There are far too many dangerous pit bulls shot by police in drug raids to list.
    1. Police: Salisbury officer bitten by pit bulls during drug raid; two arrested, WBTV, February 22, 2022 (wbtv.com)
    2. Vero Beach police officer bitten and dog shot during narcotics arrest, WPTV, October 2, 2019 (wptv.com)
    3. Essex County Sheriff’s Officer Shoots Pitbull That Attacked During Newark Drug Raid, RLS Media, December 27, 2019 (rlsmedia.com)
    4. Officer bit by pitbull during Middletown crack bust, The Middletown Press, October 3, 2014 (middletownpress.com)
    5. 84-Over $35,000 in marijuana, four guns and $21,000 cash seized, along with two pitbulls, by Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, November 22, 2013 (snpnyc.org)
    6. Narcotics detectives shoot 2 pit bulls they say attacked them to prevent drug search of Jersey City home, by Ron Zeitlinger, The Jersey Journal, July 20, 2012 (nj.com)
    7. Police seize cocaine and heroin, officer shoots pit bull during drug raids in Kalamazoo, Mlive.com, February 3, 2012 (mlive.com)
    8. Pit Bull and Cock Fights Used as Networking Tool for Drug Traffickers, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, August 9, 2010 (justice.gov)
  88. Google Search: "Pit bull", shot serving "warrant" | Report: U.S. Police and Citizen Shootings of Pit Bulls 2008, by DogsBite.org, June 3, 2009.