Or, pit bull breeding kennels & the Tower of Babel
VAUGHAN, Ontario; CAERPHILLY, Wales; DURBANVILLE, South Africa; OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma––“The solution to pollution is dilution,” industrial polluters frequently persuaded politicians, back in the early days of the environmental movement, long before either pit bull attacks or greenhouse gases became a hot public issue.
In the mistaken belief that “The solution to pollution is dilution,” politicians encouraged fossil fuel-fired industries to build ever taller smokestacks, and allowed cities and factory farmers to discharge both human and animal excrement into ever larger waterways.
Dilution delays prevention
But greenhouse gases will rise to trap heat. If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, they will gradually smother the earth in fumes and steam, even if vented from the summit of the Tower of Babel. (See Genesis 11:1–9.)
And excrement is quite capable of contaminating even the oceans if discharged, untreated, by the present global population of nearly eight billion people, 19.6 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, and close to a billion pigs, along with horses, dogs, other domesticated animals, and wildlife.
What “The solution to pollution is dilution,” the Tower of Babel, and seas of excrement have to do with pit bull attacks was illustrated during the first 10 days of November 2021 by several incidents widely separated by geography, yet linked by the underlying reality that merely diluting a problem, especially with only empty rhetoric, does not make it any less dangerous.
“Overcome your fears”
Reported Sara Jabakhanji for CBC News on November 8, 2021, “A dog who made headlines after being picked up by Vaughan Animal Services in early October––and released after his plight prompted rallies against pit-bull regulations in Ontario — has allegedly mauled a 13-year old,” inflicting facial injuries that “needed more than a dozen stitches” to close.
The victim, martial arts student Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool, told Jabakhanji that “The dog, known as Blu, attacked and bit him at Black Belt World, a downtown Toronto taekwondo studio owned by Blu’s co-owner Tommy Chang.”
Alzghool explained to Jabakhanji that “After wrapping up class, he saw Blu and told his instructor he was scared of dogs. He says his instructor challenged him to conquer his fear.”
Recounted Alzghool, “He told me you have to overcome your fears and if you don’t, you won’t be a taekwondo national champion. So I got closer to the dog and looked at him … As I was looking at him, he jumped on my face and bit it.”
Pocket bullies & pocket knives
Resumed Jabakhanji, “Blu, a one-year-old American pocket bully, was seized by animal services over a month ago on suspicion he is a pit bull, which are outlawed in Ontario. He was released back to his owners on November 1, 2021.”
An “American pocket bully” is, in truth, a pit bull.
Much as a pocket knife differs from any other folding knife chiefly in size, a “pocket bully” differs from any other pit bull, according to most breeders, only in having been extensively inbred for squatty stature.
Some “American pocket bullies” may be produced by crossing smallish pit bulls with French bulldogs, pugs, or Boston terriers, but pit bulls are not purebreds in the first place.
Pit bulls have historically been line-bred to function, not conformation, with occasional out-crosses to accentuate specific characteristics.
The best-known fighting pit bull lines began with various combinations of mastiff and terrier, but have often incorporated some lineage from other breeds, for example German shepherds, to get the specific combinations of size, speed, lack of inhibition, and hair-trigger reactivity favored by the “dogmen” producing them.
This is why the makers of dog DNA tests acknowledge that their tests cannot be used to identify pit bulls, even though the physical and behavioral attributes of a pit bull are as easily recognized by the average person of reasonable intelligence, as courts have repeatedly recognized, as are the attributes of Santa Claus.
Ontario prime minister to defang Dog Owners Liability Act
Reported Liam Casey and Allison Jones for Canadian Press only three days before Blu the “American pocket bully” mauled Alzghool, Ontario prime minister “Doug Ford’s government has eased regulations related to the province’s pit bull ban,” enacted in 2005, “allowing seized dogs who look like the prohibited breed to be released while a breed designation is conducted.”
The Ontario Dog Owners’ Liability Act prohibits possession of pit bulls, defined as “pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and American pit bull terriers,” along with any dog who “has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar” to a pit bull.
The latter phrase was included in the Dog Owners’ Liability Act specifically to preclude attempts to dilute the force of the law by renaming pit bulls, for instance by calling dogs whose “appearance and physical characteristics are substantially similar” to a pit bull an “American bully,” or “American pocket bully,” or any of many other euphemisms for pit bull now in widespread use.
Continued Casey and Jones, racing toward the collision with reality that disfigured Alzghool just a few days later, “Vaughan, Ontario resident Tommy Chang,” the taekwondo instructor, “said he heard from the premier,” Doug Ford, “after his dog, Dwaeji,” also known as Blu, “got away from home in early October and was seized by Vaughan Animal Services.”
Said Chang, “The premier told me they’ll repeal the breed-specific legislation within 120 days.”
This would mean that Ontario has abandoned any serious attempt to prevent the fatal and disfiguring attacks that are often claimed by pit bull owners to be the first signs of aggression from their dogs.
Ontario would thereby be dismantling legislation which has already prevented fatal pit bull attacks for 15 years.
10-year-old killed at friend’s home
Meanwhile in Pentwyn, Penyrheol, Caerphilly (pronounced “carefully”), Wales, 10-year-old Jack Lis on November 8, 2021 visited a friend after school. The friend’s family dog, described by police only as “large and powerful,” detonated, killing Lis while his friend escaped.
Police shot the dog at the scene.
“At this point Gwent Police have not ascertained whether the dog was a banned breed in the U.K.,” reported Jonathon Hill for Wales Online.
Jack Wright of the Daily Mail, however, forthrightly identified the dog who killed Lis as an “American pit bull.”
Wright added that the pit bull, “nicknamed ‘Beast,’ was sold online less than two weeks ago after its previous owner feared it would attack other animals.
“Detectives investigating Jack Lis’ death have questioned three people and arrested a 28-year-old woman from Caerphilly,” Wright continued, “on suspicion of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death. She was later released on conditional bail.
“Two men,” Wright said, “a 34-year-old from the Mountain Ash area and a 19-year-old from the Caerphilly area, voluntarily attended a police station and were also quizzed on suspicion of the same offense before being released.”
“Staffordshires” exempted from Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned pit bulls and the Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino crosses of pit bull with mastiff. Also banned was the Japanese tosa, a fighting breed resembling a pit bull.
But “Staffordshires,” historically recognized as pit bulls, were –under pressure from a coalition of Staffordshire breeders and humane organizations — exempted from the Dangerous Dogs Act definition of a pit bull.
Thirty-nine pit bulls as defined by the Ontario law have participated in killing the 39 British victims of fatal dog attacks since 2007, along with 14 dogs of other breeds, seven of them also of “bully” breeds (bull mastiff, Doge du Bordeaux, cane corso, Rottweiler.)
Of the 39 pit bulls, 18 were “Staffordshires” and another four were identified by other euphemisms for pit bull.
(See Dog attacks surge 76% in England in 10 years, coinciding with exemption of Staffordshire pit bulls from the Dangerous Dogs Act, The RSPCA recommends you & your pets for a pit bull’s dinner, and How the League Against Cruel Sports is defending dogfighting.)
In South Africa, a pit bull is a pit bull
Such euphemisms are seldom invoked in South Africa, which has no breed-specific legislation of note.
Thus, when on November 5, 2021 two pit bulls escaped from a yard in Goedemoed, Durbanville, breaking through the gate of a 66-year-old man’s yard to attack his two smaller dogs, killing him when he tried to intervene, police named the breeds of dog to media days before identifying the deceased.
Later that same day, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a jury found Antwon Demetris Burks, 36, alias Twon Moore, not guilty of second degree manslaughter in connection with the April 6, 2017 pit bull mauling death of Cecille Short, 82.
The attack strikingly resembled the Goedemoed fatality.
Short and her small dog, a Papillon named Taylor, were killed after Burks’ two pit bulls smashed through an allegedly poorly repaired fence to run amok through the neighborhood.
Central to Burks’ defense was describing the two pit bulls who killed Short as “American bullies,” as if an “American bully” is anything other than a pit bull bloodline descended from the fighting dogs bred for more than thirty years by John D. Johnson.
Pit bull owners, breeders, and advocates, including far too much of the humane community, which has historically purported to protect all animals and children, continue to behave as if “The solution to pollution is dilution.”
But muddying the waters with ever more excrement is scarcely protecting anyone, including pit bulls themselves.
Extreme & bizarre shapes
Even if the toll of Americans and Canadians killed by pit bulls over the past 40 years were divided by four, among the four most common pit bull euphemisms, all four would still have accounted for more deaths than Rottweilers, the next most often lethal breed type.
Even if the toll of Americans and Canadians disfigured by pit bulls over the past 40 years were split a dozen ways among common pit bull euphemisms, each of the dozen would still have accounted for more disfigurements than any of the runner-up breeds.
Pit bulls, however, are also victims of the rush to disguise their identity by inbreeding them into extreme and bizarre shapes that allow owners to claim they are something else.
Hippos & jackasses
Pit bulls exhibiting severe congenital deformations, such as short stature and exaggerated width and head size, call to mind a phrase borrowed from the horse breeding industry:
“There is no such thing as an inbred jackass.”
Meaning, it is not possible to breed a jackass for extreme traits.
A jackass, being normally sterile, remains a hardworking, useful, and usually friendly animal.
The same cannot be said of the breeding accomplishments of people who want a dog to fight, to intimidate while evading legal restrictions, or to combine fighting instincts and ancestry with the appearance of a hippopotamus.