As the author of Dog Bite Law (dogbitelaw.com), dog laws enacted in the US, and a lawyer who since the 1990's has represented only the families of people killed by dogs as well as victims who have been disfigured or disabled by dogs, I have studied pit bull violence in great depth. This type of dog is the number one canine killer of people, having brutally slaughtered almost 300 Americans in the past dozen years. When it attacks, its victims usually are its owners, the children of its owners, and the parents of its owners. For this reason, I no longer believe that pit bulls should be regarded as dogs, because dogs are "man's best friend" and not an animal that would kill the man, kill his children, or kill his parents.
I find it deplorable that owners of pit bulls have chosen to mislead the public about this breed rather than take effective measures to stop the violence. When you own a dog like this, and you remain silent when people falsly say it is a "nanny dog" or some other such nonsense, your silence when you should speak out makes you just as much of a liar as the one doing the talking.
The first step toward recovery from any problem is acknowledging it, which is precisely what pit bull loyalists fail to do. For the past 20 years, I trusted that pit bull lovers would do what the Doberman and Rottweiler fanciers did, which was to breed the violence out of their dogs. I counted on the pit bull community to do the right thing to protect the breed as well as their own families, friends and neighbors. After all, it would be in their own best interests to do so.
Instead of doing the right thing, however, the pit bull crowd in the United States did exactly the opposite. They have failed to take any measures to breed the violence out of the dog, have bred literally millions of unwanted pit bulls per year which have to be euthanized at public expense, and have maintained a campaign of misinformation about the breed which falsely proclaims that the animal is safe around people, a "nanny dog" for children, and good with other animals. Each of those claims is the opposite of the truth. For goodness sake, the dog that kills the most number of children every year is no Mary Poppins!
It is not the case that every pit bull is vicious, but that every one of them presents an intolerable risk of a person or pet's death, disfigurement or disability. Intolerable risk is why we have all but banned tobacco smoking even though only a small percentage of people die from it. Intolerable risk is why we banned the public from owning machine guns even though murdering someone with one of them would be the fault of the doer and not the machine gun itself. Intolerable risk is why products are recalled even when just a few children or adults are killed by them.
When I began writing Dog Bite Law 20 years ago, I took the position that breed specific laws were unreasonable, but the deceit and intransigence of the pit bull community in the USA, combined with the huge and annually rising number of dead and maimed Americans and cruelly slaughtered pets, has convinced me that the only solution to this horrific problem is to completely eliminate pit bulls -- to stop adopting them, stop breeding them, and make the breed extinct.
At the very least, restrictions must be placed on who can own a pit bull, how it must be maintained (i.e., muzzled, neutered and properly cared for), and the amount of damage that any one dog can do before it is confiscated and euthanized. If necessary, let people keep their pit bulls but outlaw further breeding of them. Let people keep pit bulls in their homes and walk them in public but never without muzzles. All pit bulls must be microchipped so we can identify and euthanize the vicious ones. No pit bulls should be adopted out of shelters; humanely euthanize them because for the most part they are unwanted and too many have proved to be vicious. People who violate animal control laws must be prevented from owning pit bulls forever. Courts and animal control departments which declare particular dogs to be vicious must be charged with euthanizing them instead of the current practice of sending them to other cities where they are likely to continue inflicting damage, or to private rescue groups which are free to adopt-out the dogs to unsuspecting families.
We cannot allow a shrill minority of misinformed or deceitful dog owners to prevent the enactment of long-overdue laws that will protect Americans from the unacceptable risks presented by pit bulls. For this reason, I ask all Americans to support restrictions on pit bulls now, including the measures I have suggested.