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Author Topic: So my neighbor has a pit bull...
Belle
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And I may have to kill it.

Yes, I am serious.

A couple months ago, my kids came screaming into the house that a dog across the street was killing Oreo. Oreo was a sweet old black and white dog that lived in the neighborhood and my kids had played with many times. Notice I said was...yeah the pit bull killed him in front my children.

I talked to the police, but nothing happened.

Then, about one month ago my husband and my daughter and I were leaving early in the morning on the way to a college campus visit and the dog was in our driveway. He squared up, started growling and threatening us when the owner came outside and yelled at it, and it ran back to the house. My husband told the owner that dog needed to be put away...and it should never be let out. The owner assured us it would never be out loose again.

Then, just this week my daughter came running in the house telling me the dog was in our front yard and it had Abigail (my youngest) "trapped". I went out front and sure enough, Abigail was standing very, very still while the dog growled and barked at her from about five feet away. Bless her, my child knew better than to run or I'm sure it would have attacked her.

I walked toward it yelling at it to get its attention (I'd rather it attack me than my daughter) and it turned and left.

We talked to one of our neighbors who is a local police officer and he said there is really nothing he can do. There is a leash law but because we're in unincorporated county and there is no animal control it's unenforceable. The police can do nothing until the dog bites a human.

I'm not willing to let that human be my kids. The dog outweighs my twins by probably 20 pounds. It's a freaking pit bull...doesn't matter, it could kill me, much less my children. My kids are nervous about going outside, and with the weather changing and my two younger girls playing softball and soccer they need to be able to go out in their yard and practice.

Then of course I open the paper and read about a two pit bulls that attacked a man and the man is still in the hospital. The only reasone he's not dead is a passerby who was driving down the street stopped, pulled out his pistol, and killed the two dogs.

My husband has already stated that he will shoot the dog if it comes on our property again. I am beginning to think I will do the same, and I've never intentionally killed an animal in my life. We told our neighbor the police officer and his response was that he would shoot it BEFORE it even crossed the street. He also assured us that if we had reason to believe the dog was a danger (and we certainly do) we would be justified in shooting it and not to worry.

Still, I hate being in this situation. I wish I had some other recourse. And what really burns me is the neighbor drives a truck with a bumper sticker that reads "Ban ignorance, not pit bulls." Well, buddy, how about ban ignorant pit bull owners who cannot keep their dog under control?

It's a source of frustration and anxiety for me, not least of which because this is spring break for my kids coming up this week and they will be spending a lot of time outdoors playing soccer and softball. I'll be at work (my school had spring break last week) so I'm understandably worried.

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Lisa
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Kill it. Honestly, the idea that people can put the life of an animal over the safety of a human will never cease to amaze me.
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Nighthawk
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Police might not be able to do anything about it, but Animal Control certainly can.

Pit bulls are illegal in my area because of a couple of ugly situations where the dogs grabbed children and simply would not let go.

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Lisa
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Why do you say Animal Control certainly can? Where I live, Animal Control won't do anything unless the animal is actually in our house. We have a large opossum living under our back deck, and they refuse to have anything to do with it.
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Lalo
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I've never met anyone who loves dogs more than I do, and I agree with you. Shoot it the next time it appears on your property.

I can't understand why so many pit bulls exist -- all the shelters are full of them, and nearly every dog in East LA is a pit bull. Is there just a correlation between people who own pit bulls and people who don't bother neutering their pets?

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Belle
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There is no animal control. Our county does not have any animal control enforcement. We confirmed that by talking to the police.

We've tried talking to the neighbor, and he just insists that he will "keep it penned" but that is not working because it's been out twice since he said that.

The police can't help us, no animal control...I'm out of options.

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BlackBlade
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Belle: I agree you've done everything right, and if that dog gets on your property again you should kill it. You may have already done this, but it's the only thing I could think you might do.

Go visit the neighbor and let him/her know in no uncertain terms, that if their dog finds its way onto your property, even if he's simply sniffing around, he won't be leaving alive.

If they know you have every intention of going in that direction to resolve the conflict, they can't complain that your response is beyond what they were expecting if such an unfortunate event transpires.

I think there are just certain breeds of dog where if you want to own one, you should be required to take some sort of training course. Too many people buy breeds like Pit Bulls who CAN, and I cannot emphasize that enough, be fantastic family pets, and instead, fail to understand the breed's needs, and because of their terrible habits as an owner, let the dog become something that is unsafe for human society.

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FoolishTook
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I think owning a pit bull is part of a status thing.

This dog should never EVER be loose, especially since it's already killed another dog. As a dog-lover, this breaks my heart. [Frown]

And it's apparent that his precious pit bull is NOT the non-aggressive type. He's claiming--via his bumper sticker--that pit bulls aren't dangerous? Then why are your children terrified? Non-aggressive dogs don't kill other dogs, especially a calm, passive dog like this.

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scholarette
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I agree with BlackBlade about warning the neighbor first, perhaps with a reminder of his promise earlier and that he failed to do so and pointing out h,ow the dog terrified your kid. Knowing you are serious and what the consequence will be might make him more diligent.
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theresa51282
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What a sad situation! I would be terrified if I were in your shoes. I have a little girl too and I have had to work hard to teach her that some dogs aren't friendly. I do my best to teach my child not to go up to dogs they don't know and to ask before they pet. This owner is certainly not doing his fair share of taking care of this problem. If you have a lawyer friend a nasty letter about the potential liability of this dog might be enough to get the owner to take action.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I agree with BlackBlade about warning the neighbor first, perhaps with a reminder of his promise earlier and that he failed to do so and pointing out h,ow the dog terrified your kid.
No, don't tell your neighbor how the dog "terrified your kid". Tell the neighbor that you fear for your children's safety, and that is why you will shoot it if it comes on your land again.

And if you do shoot it, I'd make sure that it's on your land when you do.

And if it were me, and I did end up shooting it, I wouldn't then go talk to my neighbor about it. I'd take it out back and bury it. If he asks, I'll tell him, but I wouldn't seek out that confrontation.

[ March 21, 2010, 03:49 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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Drifter
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Use the old rural maxim for nuisance dogs SSS....
shoot, shovel, shut-up.
If asked plead ignorance. 'Yes I did shoot a dangerous dog that was threatening my children. No of course it wasn't your dog! You assured me that your dog would be penned or under your direct supervision, so it couldn't possibly have been your dog *grins*

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LaneyDMD
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Did you speak with the owner since the last two incidents?

Well bred pit bulls really are good dogs, but many these days have been poorly bred, and so they have behavioral problems. Add the way some people treat their dogs and you have a recipe for trouble.

Remind the neighbor that if a child is bitten, the lawsuit will be swift and expensive. Unless your neighbor is a real moron, he will realize he cannot afford the trouble.

I'm also disappointed your police neighbor wasn't more help. If you have a dog that injures another person, there are laws in some states that would expose the owner to prosecution - which reminds me to say that you need to document everything.

Good luck.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
The police can't help us, no animal control...I'm out of options.

That's not necessarily true. There being no animal control doesn't make what your neighbor is doing not illegal.

But if your county really is so stupid and/or podunk as to not have animal control, then yes, be prepared to shoot it the next time it gets on your property.

However, do not listen to the people who are telling you to do it and then deny involvement.

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Belle
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Oh I wouldn't deny involvement. I'd call the police immediately - I'm not going to shoot off a firearm in the neighborhood and then try to cover that up.

And we do live in a semi-rural county, and when I checked the county website for animal control information it referred me to city animal control but I live in unincorporated county, so there is no animal control available to me.

And probably one reason the cop wasn't much help is he has a dalmatian he lets roam free. People don't tend to believe in fencing and containing animals around here, I guess.

Here's the link to the story I mentioned:

No charges in pit bull attack

So this guy has two dogs who attack and severely injure a 50 year old man...to the point that a neighbor with a gun has to kill them to save the man's life...and there are NO charges filed?

Personally I wouldn't object to banning them altogether, but if not, then everyone who owns one should have to carry a liability policy that will cover medical charges if they injure anyone AND if they injure someone the owners should be criminally liable.

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Rakeesh
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Much sympathy for you here, Belle. For what it's worth, I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with the decision to kill the animal, should you decide to follow through with it. In fact, given the circumstances this is one of those times I think it might be wrong not to kill, y'know?
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scholarette
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You might want to document your concerns again with the police- just so that if the neighbor throws a fit, you have a record that way.
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Kwea
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For the record, most of the so called "pit bull" attacks are not made by pit bulls, and pit bulls are not any more dangerous than any other medium to large sized dog. Most of the reported attacks are made by mixed breed dogs, some of which do not even have any pit bull terrier blood at all. Pit bull terrier's jaws do not lock, they do not instinctively want to hurt other animals or people, and in fact have they been bred to be more tolerant of people than a lot of other breeds of dogs. Like any terrier, they can be dog to dog aggressive if not trained properly or socialized at a young age.

Pit Bull terriers are used in pit fights because they have powerful jaws, and they often have a strong need to dominate other dogs. In the wrong hands they can be trained to hurt or kill other dogs, but these poor dogs are the victims of these horrible people. It is not their normal nature to be aggressive to people....in fact they are usually huge babies. They love to be touched and petted and can be one of the best dogs for a family to own if raised properly.

That being said, ANY dog that did what this dog has already done is a danger, regardless of breed. Bigger dogs actually bite people less often than smaller breeds, but because they are so much more powerful the injuries tend to be worse.

If I were you I'd shoot it too. Given the choice between allowing my kids to get hurt or killing a rogue dog, the kids win every single time. Let the owner know that you will be defending your family, and consider their dog to be a risk to your children. Then, if he allows it out again it is on his shoulders.

However, please don't think it deserves to die just because it is a pit bull. My dog may be part pit, and he is being trained as a service dog. I am taking him into schools and nursing homes, and other than being really, really excited, he is the best dog I have ever seen for this type of work. He loves people, and can't understand why some people won't allow him near. We were told he was Rhodesian Ridgeback/ Shar Pei, but he looks like an American Pit Bull Terrier. Not surprising since Ridgebacks and Pit Bulls share a common ancestors.

[ March 21, 2010, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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Kwea
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A link to Newsweek about the breed.
Cal-Berkley's solution to the Pit Bull "problem".
Outstanding video on the issue.
Here is some info on dog bites.

[ March 21, 2010, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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CaySedai
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My suggestions: contact the county supervisors or whoever runs the county. Tell them there is this situation and because the county has no animal control, there is the likelihood of a lawsuit if a child is injured. Contact an attorney to verify your rights. Then contact the neighbor and inform him that the next time you see the dog outside of his property, you will shoot it.

I don't know if this will actually work ... my idea is get the legal aspects taken care of and then, if necessary, kill the dog to protect your family.

Oh, and pictures or video of the dog being on your property would be helpful to prove you have a problem.

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Shanna
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I echo the sentiments that its the individual dog, not the breed, that is the problem. I almost lost my arm as a child when I was attacked by a black lab, a so-called "family friendly breed."

i couldn't imagine shooting an animal but then again, I don't own a gun or have children.

I'd harass the daylights out of the police. Call them everyday if that's what it took. Do you not have a fenced-in yard where the children could play during the day? Or maybe a park where there'd be more people around?

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Nighthawk
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Another option is to contact the local paper, and let the community's ensuing outrage be your weapon.

Then again, you probably don't want that kind of press in such a seemingly backwater area (no offense).

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Why do you say Animal Control certainly can? Where I live, Animal Control won't do anything unless the animal is actually in our house. We have a large possum living under our back deck, and they refuse to have anything to do with it.

Possums are cute though, and besides, how can you really tell if its dead and not playing possum?
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Kwea
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There has been study after study done about breed specific legislation done, and the overwhelming evidence is that it doesn't work. In some cases the number of bites went up after the laws were passed. And pit bulls are the "gateway" dog for these types of laws. Once you allow a specific breed to be banned, it is easy to add to the law and ban other breeds.

I am training my dog as a service dog in part to get around those laws. If he is a service dog I can have him regardless of any breed specific law, and cannot be denied an apartment because of him either. I won't discuss why we need a service dog, but he really will be one once his training is done.


As far as this situation, I hope it all works out for you. Do what you need to do to protect your family, but be careful.

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BelladonnaOrchid
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Belle, I am so sorry that you are being faced with this situation.

I do not live in a rural area in an unincorporated county (oddly, though, my Mother does), but am facing a similar situation with my neighbor. I would not hesitate to shoot an animal to protect my family and although I know that you are emotionally torn about it, I do hope that you decide to do the same in the event that it becomes necessary.

Our next door neighbor has two Jack Russell Terriers that they let run loose on our street. It is a mother and a male pup that she had early last year. The male Jack Russell in the last year has grown increasingly aggressive. 4 months ago it attacked another small dog that a fellow street resident was walking down the road on a leash, minding his own business. The other dog was not injured and the owner called animal control, but nothing happened from it. The male dog barks and chases Moms pushing strollers down the street (including myself and Calista), bike riders, mail carriers (ours don't get out of the car), delivery men and a host of all sorts of people. He actually sits in the brush that separates ours and our neighbor's house and when we are getting in the car will jump out and start growling (a low, threatening growl) and barking at us.

I have called Animal Control multiple times to report that the dog is out and they have 'talked' to my neighbor about the issue before, but they can't actually issue a citation unless they catch the dogs loose without a leash on themselves. I don't know how they've managed to avoid seeing it unless they just aren't coming out when we (and our neighbors, who are also calling) call to tell them about it.

We really worry that this year as he heads into adulthood that this un-neutered male dogs aggression will escalate to the point where he bites a human instead of just other dogs. This is a serious concern because of past issues and because this breed of dog left unchecked is one of the top ten most human aggressive breeds. Even over pit bulls.

Anyway, I really hope that this situation resolves itself soon for you (without harm coming to your family), either on your own action or with a very serious chat with the dog's owner. As a St. Bernard owner myself I have to say that it's unfortunate to see such an ignorant owner perpetuating breed misconceptions through his own treatment of his animal.

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Kwea
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You could get some of the dog control spray and use it on him first to see if you can clear him out and get him to stay out of your yard as well. They hate it....
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The Rabbit
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I am not a dog lover. My husband was attacked by a pack of dogs last year and rather badly injured. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to kill a vicious dog that was threatening children.

That said, my brother in law had an American Staffordshire Terrier (pit bull) that was the sweetest friendliest dog I've ever met. She got along well people, including total strangers, and their entire zoo of animals include other dogs, cats, pot belly pigs, hedge hogs, llama's and I don't remember what else. The most dangerous thing about her was her tail which she never stopped wagging. So I have to agree with those who've said that pit bulls are an unfairly maligned breed.

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katharina
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You have already warned the neighbor. The dog got out anyway. It's proven to be happy to kill other animals, and your babies are just another animal to it. If it comes on your property, shoot the dog.

I'd be tempted to get rid of it before it does come on your property, but that's too far. Once it does, though, after its owner being expressly warned about it and then the owner breaking his promise to keep it away, then you need to protect your family.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
You could get some of the dog control spray and use it on him first to see if you can clear him out and get him to stay out of your yard as well. They hate it....

I strongly recommend against this option. Dog control spray is a good for training a dog that is young and with which you have a relationship. It is not good for repelling a vicious attacking animal. A pepper spray designed to repel attacking bears might be effective but typical dog control sprays use a lemony substance that isn't potent enough to do more than piss off an already angry animal plus you have to very close to the dog to get it on their nose or it won't work at all.
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Uprooted
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Add me to the voices saying a) Do what you need to to protect your family from this proven threat and b) I know really sweet harmless pit bulls, too. My brother has one. They adopted him after he terrified my SIL by (she thought) charging at her and their dogs when they were out walking, but turned out he was just running gleefully towards what looked to be friends. The only problem they've ever had with him is that he's too big to be a lap dog, which is all he wants to be.
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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
And it's apparent that his precious pit bull is NOT the non-aggressive type. He's claiming--via his bumper sticker--that pit bulls aren't dangerous? Then why are your children terrified? Non-aggressive dogs don't kill other dogs, especially a calm, passive dog like this.

A couple of notes:

1. A dog that attacks or even kills another dog or other small animal is not necessarily a dog that is human-aggressive at all. Some breeds are naturally dominant towards other dogs and/or have a high prey instinct towards critters. I own a Malamute, which is one of those breeds. He's named Panda because he's basically a living, moving, cuddly teddy bear - to humans. However, we have to watch him carefully with other dogs (& certainly no dog park visits) because he can become aggressive, depending on the dynamics of the interaction. And heaven help any cat or small animal that gets into our yard, because he sees that as moving food.

This sort of behavior - including the extreme friendliness to all humans - was deliberately bred into the Malamute breed, and is not the sort of thing you can train out of them. I'd be horrified if Panda got out of our home and killed a neighbor's pet - and we do our very best to make sure this won't ever happen. But if it did occur, it would be wrong to view him as a threat to children or adults.

2. Many dogs can seem aggressive on their own territory, but this can be because of guarding instincts, rather than a true aggressive personality. Our German Shepherd mix has a strong guarding instinct, and will bark and growl at people she does not know who try to enter our house when we're not home (we've had friends stop by while we're out...). She's never bitten anyone, and I'm not sure if she would if someone actually went into the house, but she seems capable of it. For us, her guarding behavior is a feature, not a bug. She does not act this way if we are around, or if she is ever off our property - if she did, that would a sign of an aggressive personality that needed an intervention. (We've actually had a dog behaviorist come out to evaluate her, for other issues related to her being a rescue, and have been told she's an extremely unaggressive/submissive dog - just one with normal GSD guarding behavior.)

3. Clearly, the neighbor's pit bull doesn't fall into either of these categories, and is instead a human-aggressive dog. I, too, would not hesitate to shoot it if it escapes from the owner's yard again. My two dogs play-wrestle with each other in a way that would seriously hurt a human - if a dog truly wants to attack a person, it could turn deadly very, very quickly.

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BlackBlade
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I agree with Jhai on the point of dogs being aggressive towards other animals but not to humans. We had a black labrador and she was the most amiable animal I've ever seen. Not a hint of menace towards a human being ever. But if a cat got into our yard, we'd find it disemboweled the next morning. It happened about once every one to two months. Once when I was 10 she was about to get another cat, I physically grabbed her and pulled her back, not once did she turn that aggression towards me even though she was absolutely savage in her behavior towards the cat, who fortunately got away that time.

I plan on getting a German Shepherd when my living circumstances change alittle bit, but I have no illusions that I'll just automatically have a people friendly dog. Maybe I will, but I might actually have to do some rearing while he/she is a puppy to get the desired result. Even then, there may be aspects or quirks to its personality that cannot be adjusted, that have to be considered as unalterable.

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Kwea
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Yeah...pit bulls were bred to be dog aggressive, not people aggressive. Not that they can't be FORCED to be people-aggressive, but anyone who claims pit bulls were bred to be dangerous to people obviously has no clue.

Uprooted and Rabbit are both right, in my experience. They DO want to be lap dogs despite their size, and their tails are painful. My dog broke a glass on a coffee table with his by being too happy to see us. He didn't knock it down and break it....his actual tail broke it as it stood.

It's bony, with no extra flesh on it, and when he hits you with it it feels like being smacked with a roll of nickels. [Big Grin]

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