PIT-BULL attacks in Canada, England, and the United States have been widely publicized in the past several years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that 42 percent of the 157 confirmed dog-bite deaths that occurred in the United States between 1979 and 1988 involved pit bulls. In Britain the media have referred to vicious pit-bull terriers as “Devil Dogs.” Equinox magazine calls the dog “a superb killing machine.”
In the illegal blood sport of dogfighting, the pit bull is considered “the Cadillac of killer dogs,” because of its strength, agility, tenacity, and ferocity. The Globe and Mail of Toronto, Canada, states that ‘the pit bull has been bred to kill other dogs.’
“Its vise-like jaws can inflict terrible damage on other animals and humans, especially children, unable to defend themselves,” comments The Toronto Star. Gruesome accounts of attacks include that of a nine-year-old girl who required five hours of plastic surgery to her face after she was mauled by a pit bull. A 13-year-old needed treatment for bites to the face, torso, legs, groin, and buttocks. One 21-year-old model suffered a badly lacerated face, requiring about 70 stitches, when her friend’s pit bull responded to her attempted kiss with a bite. In England a 54-year-old man was mauled by two of these “Devil Dogs” and had his nose bitten off.
Kathleen Hunter, executive director of the Toronto Humane Society, once believed that with proper training the pit bull would be just like any other pet dog. However, she now admits that “a pit bull has a genetic code that makes it a very unpredictable animal. It’s truly an aggressive dog . . . , bred to attack without provocation.”a The general manager of the animal control services branch of Toronto’s Public Health Department, Jim Bandow, notes: “The pit bull is a time bomb. You can’t be sure when it’s going to go off.”
Lawmakers are trying to resolve the problem by instituting and enforcing a variety of regulations. Pit-bull owners in Edmonton, Canada, are required to carry a minimum $500,000 in liability insurance and pay a $100 license fee. In Winnipeg, Canada, no new pit bulls are allowed within the city limits, and owners must leash and muzzle their dogs and show proof of $300,000 liability insurance. The British Parliament passed a bill with similar obligations for pit-bull owners. Violation could result in a fine and a jail sentence.
According to God’s Law to ancient Israel, dangerous animals had to be kept under guard. If a dangerous animal was allowed to run loose, the owner shared responsibility for the damage it caused. Should the animal cause the death of a human, the owner would be bloodguilty, and that could cost him his life. (Exodus 21:29) In view of what is stated in God’s Law, it would be the course of wisdom for Christians to take the necessary steps to keep aggressive, unpredictable dogs under control or decide not to keep them.
a For a more detailed coverage of this, see Awake! of March 22, 1988, page 25.