The sensationalism of Pit Bull aggression has replaced the need for truth and Pit Bulls’ reputation is paying for it. Case in point, January 18, 2018, two Pit Bulls were reportedly involved in two attacks five hundred miles away and it was already national news. The dogs did not kill anyone or their pets. However, the dogs did bite one of the owners and his pet. Luckily, none of the injuries were serious or life-threatening. The bias has already started.
Bias Against Pit Bulls Knows No Bounds.
This type of reporting is now the norm. Those with a bias against Pit Bulls use the media to promote their bias by focusing on only the negative things about Pit Bulls. It is difficult to obtain accurate dog bite data because people do not report every incident. Secondly, when people actually do report an incident, they mislabel the dog. In other words, they report any dog that slightly resembles a Pit Bull as a Pit Bull.
A study by the National Canine Research Council reveals biased reporting by the media. The council also elaborates on the devastating consequences for dogs and the toll it takes on public safety.
Consider how the media reported four incidents that happened between August 18th and August 21st:
August 18: A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers. They only reported the incident once in a local paper.
August 19: A 16-month old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed breed dog. They reported the incident twice in a local paper.
August 20: A 6-year-old boy was hospitalized after having his ear torn off and receiving severe bites to the head by a medium-sized mixed breed dog. They reported the incident once in a local paper.
August 21: Two Pit Bulls attacked and hospitalized a 59-year-old woman. They reported the incident 236 times in national and international newspapers. They also reported the incident on major television news networks, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.
This Type of Bias does a Disservice to the Pit Bull and The Public.
“Clearly a fatal dog attack by an unremarkable breed is not as newsworthy as a non-fatal attack by a pit bull,” says Karen Delise, a researcher for the National Canine Research Council.
The public routinely cites media coverage as proof that pit bulls are widely dangerous. The vast majority of people believe that Pit Bulls are more dangerous than any other dog. This fuels the public need for costly and ineffective public policy.
As a result, this biased reporting has become lethal to an entire population of dogs. This type of sensationalism is putting the public at risk. In addition, these media reports are misleading the public about the real factors in canine aggression.
We Need Better Education on Pit Bulls and Aggression Factors.
Ultimately, there are two things that the public needs to understand. First, fatal dog attacks are not a breed-specific issue and any large or strong breed dog can cause serious injuries or fatalities. Second, breed-specific legislation (BSL) is not only ineffective, but it is also obsolete.