From Tori Tyree. Questions? Leave a comment or email Tori at [email protected].
I read an interesting book the other day that examined a news story involving a dog attack on a 17-year-old girl. It was reported that she was rocking in a chair and when she had called her dog over to her, the dog lunged at her and attacked her chest, face and arms without provocation. It was later discovered that she had rocked over the paw of her older dog, and in the pain and confusion the dog jumped at her.
What I want you to know about this story is that the article is from 1897, and the dangerous dog in question was a Newfoundland. The publication I was reading is called The Pit Bull Placebo, which basically examines news reports of dog attacks, from the turn of the century to the present, to identify factors in dog aggression and dispel the myth that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous dogs.
At the turn of the century the most-feared dogs were the Newfoundland and the Bloodhound. In the 1920s and again in the 1960s it was the German Shepherd. In the 1980s it was the Doberman Pinscher. Today of course, the title of most “dangerous” dog goes to the Pit Bull.
The media has done a really good job of feeding public fears with half-truths and catchy sensationalized headlines. While it is true that pit bull type dogs do bite, it is also true that all dogs bite and can cause serious injury. If it’s not a Pit Bull though, it’s most likely not going to make the news.