Pitbulls are usually in the forefront of debate when it comes to child’s safety when it comes to dogs. Certain people believe this particular dog breed can be dangerous, and poses a threat to the society in general.
Others are praising pit bulls for being affectionate and friendly, and for being a good parent to human children. The dog’s displeasure was demonstrated recently when a father uploaded a video of his child snuggling to a pitbull.
While the video elicited smiles and laughs from some viewers, an equal amount were outraged and scolding of the father. It highlights the age old question about pit bulls as a breed — dangerous or lovable?
Jarad Derochey is a local pit bull breeder for MVP Kennels in Los Angeles, California. He’s a regular poster on the MVP Bullies Instagram account. Much of the content shows Jarad’s kids interacting with pit bulls, including playing, cuddling, and petting.
The video that sparked equal parts outrage and likes was featured on Inside Edition. It showed Jarad’s one-year-old son cuddled with their pet pit bull.
According to the American Kennel Club, the pit bull actually includes several breeds, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bullies, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The breed is labeled as good-natured, courageous, confident, and intelligent. When bred and raised responsibly, they’re trustworthy and social dogs.
Bronwen Dickey is a Columbia University-educated author and lecturer on the subject. She authored Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon, and she spent over seven years conducting research on pit bulls. She says that pit bull is a word that separates opinion, but that they’re “just dogs” and often serve as a “proxy for our own prejudices,” as reported by The Cut.
Within the mythology, supporters and naysayers both get many facts wrong, says Dickey. For example, a pit bull’s jaws do not lock. Likewise, Dickey points out that there’s also no evidence that pit bulls are nannies with children. She further warns against the assumption that a pit bull with scars and injuries doesn’t automatically mean that they’re the victim of abuse; it’s more likely that they suffered an accident.
According to Dickey, banning the breed will do nothing in regards to the people getting bit by dogs, and she points to Multnomah County, Oregon leash laws as an example of positive solutions. The county has a very successful potentially dangerous dog program that allows Animal Control intervention when a dog becomes a menace or nuisance. The agency will recommend training to the dog’s owner and keep contact to ensure things don’t escalate. The result has been less bite occurrence.
Social media posters seem to be split on the video. Some point out that bad dogs are the result of bad breeders and owners and that pits aren’t aggressive unless taught to be aggressive. Meanwhile, others were highly concerned for the kids, even if they agreed with the above sentiments. One poster even pointed out that she had only ever been attacked by pit bull breeds and that the owners had assured her of their dog’s friendliness each time.
Of course, Jarad offers his own defense in this video. He trusts his pets with his children unconditionally.