Of Mountain Lions and Pit Bulls

I hate pit bulls; absolutely fucking hate 'em. Most dogs I can take or leave, but pit bulls…oh fucking no.

When I was about 15 or so, I knew a family, the Cramers, that kept a mountain lion as a pet. We weren’t especially close— they were friends of a friend—but I visited their house out in the boondocks several times and got to interact with their cat on a number of occasions.

I believe her name was Sheeba, maybe Sheena. She was about the size of a big German Shepherd, only longer. She was a beautiful animal that behaved like one of the sweet ‘lil pussycats she was raised with. It was kind of surreal seeing this big tawny cat, who looked like she had just jumped straight out a nature documentary, lounging around on the sofa, playing with kitty toys, demanding table scraps and behaving like any other housecat.

They’d had her declawed, and her big stabbing Bowie knife-like incisors were kept filed down to slightly rounded butterknives. Not that it was necessary; she was a sweet, lazy, good-natured old beastie who loved company, adored her adoptive human family and seemingly wouldn’t hurt a fly.

The law of the land in north central Texas back then (it may have changed since) was that this type of potentially dangerous animal could not be kept within the city limits, had to be registered, and had to live in an enclosure with steel fencing on all four sides and on top, and a concrete or similar floor that couldn’t be dug through. I want to think that they also had to have a specialized sort of insurance policy, as well.

Even with all of the precautions the Cramers took, they realized that their pet of choice could pose a problem to the public if she got out and was frightened, or hurt, or provoked. They had a perfect “…better safe than sorry” attitude, and a full understanding that laws pertaining to ownership of potentially dangerous pets weren’t about penalizing them for their choice of pet, but about protecting the general public. They never had any problem with the strict regulations surrounding ownership of their sweet, friendly, affectionate—and potentially lethal—pet.

This is a concept 99.9% of Pit Bull owners just can’t quite seem to grasp. Of course most of them have absolutely no intention of trying, either. Pit Bull owners want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to own these big, powerful, potentially dangerous animals, but they go near-apoplectic, stomping and red-faced with indignant rage, when it’s even suggested that maybe certain legal safeguards should be put into effect. They refuse to even enter into a dialog about the subject.

My personal opinion is Pit Bulls— and, just to be fair, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, and any other breeds with a similar track record—should be kept under stricter conditions than most other dog breeds. What sort of conditions? Maybe a registration program, maybe a public muzzle law, maybe regulations regarding the type of enclosure they’re kept in, maybe a mandatory amount of liability insurance coverage, maybe…

I don’t know. I don’t claim to have all—Hell, I don’t claim to have any—of the answers, but I definitely think a dialog needs to be opened up about the issue.

Do owners of these animals have a right to own them? Maybe. Do I have a right not to have my child’s face torn off by my neighbor’s pet? Absolutely. Is it unreasonable to expect that society should be protected, in the form of legislation, from this potential threat? I think it’s a completely reasonable expectation.

An individual’s right to own specific property (no matter how warm, fuzzy and familial people feel towards a pet, most states consider them to be ‘property’) ends at my right, and that of the community as a whole, to be safe.

If you keep a Pit Bull, or a mountain lion, as a pet, the burden of responsibility for keeping it from potentially harming someone should not be on society’s shoulders, it should be on yours.

Agreed. So “society” can’t tell me how I should do it- I have to do that for myself.


I’m not sure if you can do a search but recently there was a very large debate in General Questions about pitbulls. It has informed dialouge from both sides of the pitbull debate. If you were trying to dispense knowledge or learn more about the pitbull it would be an excellent place to start. For sure it would be better then starting a pit thread which will turn into a trainwreck full of personal anecdotes in about 4 posts.

Did you want a dialogue or a screaming match? If you wanted a dialogue, more facts in your OP would help. And why place it in the Pit if you wanted a dialogue?

Another oddity is that you went into a thread on naming a Pit Bull puppy and didn’t seem to have a problem with it, but here you are less than 50 posts later so upset that you (ostensibly) wrote a long screed on the topic.

Your post on naming the Pit Bull puppy:

Please. Pit Bulls, and other kinds of somewhat related and almost-unrelated dog breeds*, are some of the kindest and gentlest animals you can imagine. They are, however, rather dumb. Jettboy does not seem to understand that he himself is basically Pitting the owners, not the dogs.

*Most people seem to think that any breed with a boxy skull is a Pit Bull, including reporters.

Comple agreement with bandit here. Pit bulls themselves are just like any dogs, only uglier than sin. My brother in law is raising one and he’s quiet, calm and playful (the dog, not the brother. Well, both really :slight_smile: ).
The problem isn’t the breed, it’s their owners training them as attack dogs, or purposefully treating them like crap to turn them into meanass beasts. Can’t do anything about that I’m afraid, except treating them like the barbarians they are (the owners, not the dogs. Well, both really :wink: )

That’s what leash laws are for. When you take your dog out in public, he’s supposed to be on a leash. You hold the other end of the leash in your hand.
I’ve had a purebred American Pit Bull Terrier for ten years. He’s from a line of former fighting dogs. He’s never displayed aggression to a human being, let alone ripped the face off a child. No more dangerous than a poodle, pomeranian or pekinese.

So you honestly think that dog breeds shouldn’t include behaviour in their descriptions? All breeds are exactly the same? A pit bull is just as likely to make a good guide dog as a Labrador Retriever? Or they could be herding dogs just as easily as a Border Collie?

Actually pitbulls excel at and some are used as service and therapy dogs.

In their descriptions… where ? What the fuck are you talking about ?

Although the OP does profess a hatred of pit bulls which will cause backlash from pit bull lovers, I think the more interesting aspect of this thread is the attitude toward responsibility.

The mountain lion family seemed to realize that they are not the center of the universe, and had to follow the rules even if they didn’t like them. That’s a mature attitude, one that I wish were copied in many other areas of life.

Wish this had been a GD thread.

Well, that not exactly true. When a golden retriever, beagle, irish setter, collie, spaniel get angry and go into attack mode, maybe someone winds up with a few stitches. When it happens with a pit bull, someone winds up as a headline in the paper and a funeral is held. There’s no doubt that a pit bull can be raised to be a great, sweet pet, but I agree with the OP that the greater inherent threat that lurks in the dog due to it’s musculature and the way the breed has been bred calls for a greater degree of responsibility for the owners.

What the fuck am I talking about? Are you saying you’ve never read breed descriptions? Bizarre.*

Here’s one:

"The gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever from Canada continues to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC® registration statistics. "

OMG! The breedists at the AKC are saying all Labs are gentle and family friendly! My buddy’s brother’s co-worker raises attack Labs so that’s completely full of shit!

*ETA: Unless you are obliquely referring to the fact that Pits aren’t a recognized breed. Pretty weird way to get that point across if so.

I can’t say this loudly enough.

You’re a willfully ignorant idiot. I mean that in the nicest possible way, and if you get to know me you’ll understand that it isn’t an insult. But you’re showing a level of ignorance akin to… well… something very ignorant. :wink:

You say Pit bulls are “Big” dogs, right?


What you think of as a pitbull is nothing of the sort. They’re typically bastardized versions which have been inbred and crossed with more aggressive lines, and aren’t pits by an intelligent persons definition.

Pits are bred to be human friendly, and most educated K9 officers will tell you flat out, they can’t use them as police dogs because they’re almost impossible to get to show human aggressiveness without abusing the animal.
ETA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pit_Bull_Terrier

Read that, that’s what a true Pit Bull is, what is commonly referred to as a Pit Bull is a media portrayal.

No, that’s not correct. My former-lawyer (now teacher) wife did a paper on dog bite laws and breed specific legislation a number of years ago. I assisted in her research and had open access to all of the data used. You can certainly call me an asshole if you’d like (you wouldn’t be the first, trust me), but I’m far from an ignorant asshole.

One of the better sources of data was the infamous-among-pit bull-owners ‘Clifton Study’ (Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006), in which a gentleman named Merritt Clifton amassed and sifted through a huge amount of dog bite statistics. He analyzed all of the data on a breed-by-breed basis, and came to the following conclusions:

Clifton’s data establishes that Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes were responsible for 74% of attacks in the study, 68% of the attacks upon children, 82% of the attacks upon adults, 65% of the deaths, and 68% of the maimings. Clifton also states:

***“If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a Pit Bull Terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed, and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.”

“Pit bulls and Rottweilers are accordingly dogs who not only must be handled with special precautions, but also must be regulated with special requirements appropriate to the risk they may pose to the public and other animals. If they are to be kept at all.”***

It should be mentioned that Merritt Clifton is the editor of Animal People, a magazine published by Animal People, Inc., a nonprofit, charitable corporation dedicated to “exposing the existence of cruelty to animals and to informing and educating the public of the need to prevent and eliminate such cruelty”. Full details of the Clifton study are available to anyone online.

There have been a number of similar studies, among them a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, with similar conclusions; Pit Bulls and similar breeds may not bite the most often, but they undoubtedly cause the most damage and the most deaths.

Toys that have killed as few as 3-4 children are immediately pulled from store shelves. Prescription drugs that have killed a mere handful of people are taken off the market at once. According to www.dogsbite.org, in 2007:

• There were 32 human fatalities as a result of dog bites.
• 44% of the attacks occurred to adults over the age of 18, and 56% occurred to ages below.
• Pit Bull type dogs were responsible for 69% of fatalities, the next closest breed was the Rottweiler at 13%.
• Pit Bull type dogs attacked adults as often as they attacked children (11, 11), a trait not shared by any other breed.

First off, let us dispense with the myths so that this thread can at least wreck without spreading ignorance around.

There is absolutely no skeletal, muscular, physiological, or psychological difference between a pit bull or any other mastiff type dog, and any other member of Canis Familiaris. Depending on line, and individual, as well as training and diet can produce a heavily muscular dog. The difference in is the tightness of skin, level of subcutaneous fat, and type of fur that makes one visual different from another. No dog has “locking jaws” or is impervious to pain, etc. Not that anyone has started with that here, but it’s better to nip that in the bud than battle it later.

What is different between many breeds is prey drive. APBT, along with many other working breeds have a high prey drive coupled with a high energy level in general. There are always exceptions to the rule. This makes for a dominant dog that requires a patient, experienced, and firm owner who understands the needs of the breed. The vast majority of all attacks by Pit bulls or other Guardian breeds come from owners who either encouraged aggressive behaviour in their dogs, or failed to socialize them entirely. Occasionally you will hear about an attack that makes no sense at all. These numbers are consistent among breeds from what little, and unreliable information is available about them. Pits and pit mixes are extremely popular and common dogs in certain parts of the country, and failure of authorities to make a proper breed ID is one of the major reasons we have so much trouble with this breed. Many people will ID anything from a boxer to a mastiff as a “Pit bull” because they simply don’t know what they are looking at.

As to the people who owned the cat. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Big cats are NOT pets, and filing fangs and cutting off the first joint of their feet to make them less dangerous do not make them so.


I own a pit/mastiff cross bitch. Despite being starved and left alone in a yard as a young puppy, she has a pleasant, happy disposition and is fine around dogs, cats, and children. She likes to lick babies’ toes espescially. I trust her as much as I would any other dog around children, and far more than most that I run into.

The conclusion of this study states explicitly that it could not make a definitive conclusion on this matter and that it was NOT reliable.

Huh. So you had some facts but just decided to leave them out of the OP. What could be the reason for that? :rolleyes:

I generally don’t resort to calling people names, but well, uh. . . yeah.

The BBQ Pit forum seems to be the place for ranting, bitching, flaming, ruthless arguements and posts that begin, “I fucking hate…” I wasn’t aware that ‘facts’ were required in my bitching. Is that a rule? Could you enlighten my dumb ass by showing me said rule?

The research data posted was in response to the “You’re just ignorant!” claims from the peanut gallery that also seems to be around on this subject, and always seems to claim, “…they just’ like enny other dawgs.”

Let me preface with…

Did you take a class on how to use fallacies or something?

I mean, seriously, I couldn’t have written a better example of how best not to argue a case. It’s like watching someone try to paint a wall with a toothbrush.

Yes, yes it is correct.

Appeal to (or in this case, from) Authority Fallacy.

I didn’t call you an asshole. I called you an idiot.

Informally, a stupid person. Ignorant because you’re espousing obviously incorrect ideals – so much so that a simple google, or visit to wikipedia (admittedly not the end-all-and-be-all of sources) could correct ot.

First, the Clifton study was based off of faulty evidence, so any conclusions it draws are inherently faulty.

The faulty evidence being post de facto breed determinations. A person is more likely to classify an animal as a Pit Bull (or “Pit bull Type”) if they believe the dog has been involved in an attack.

Appeal to Probability fallacy.

Appeal to (or in this case from) Authority.

Both Incomplete and Inconsistent Comparison Fallacies.

What, exactly, is a pit bull type dog?
Any dog that looks remotely like an American Pit Bull Terrier and attacks a person or dog.
Boxer, Mastiff, mutts, etc. It doesn’t matter - your perception of Pit’s is painted left and right with bias.
Tell me, is this a pit?