Pit bulls have a bad reputation. They are usually portrayed in popular culture as vicious and aggressive dogs, indeed bred for the fighting pits. And news like these definitely don’t help improve the breed’s reputation. Neighbors of the school children that were attacked by pit bulls have recounted the deadly incident. One of the children that were attacked died at the scene while the other was left seriously injured following the incident that took place in southwest Atlanta, Georgia.
Police arrested Cameron Tucker, the owner of the dogs that attacked 6-year old Logan Braatz and 5-year old Syrai Sanders, CBS News reported last week. The dogs were also taken into custody by Fulton County Animal Control. Police reported that the incident took place at 7:30 in the morning while the children were walking to school on their regular route. Logan Braatz was killed on the scene while Syrai Sanders was critically injured. Syrai remains in critical condition in an area hospital.
Angelica Braats, mother of the deceased Logan Braats, described the horrible scene.
“We heard the screaming from the house and everybody came running. I saw the one child laying on the ground and then everybody still trying to find the other kids.”
Neighbor Angie Smith recounted finding Syrai in an unconscious state.
“I ran to the baby and said — I looked down at her to see what I could do for and when I looked at her, I knew that it was nothing I could do.”
Other neighbors described more of the horrifying scene and how some children showed great bravery in coming back to the scene and trying to rescue the injured.
“The dogs was still chasing everybody, there was nothing we could do because they kept coming back, kept coming back.”
“Some brave kids. Some kids ran back to the scene to try to pull the dogs off the children that was injured.”
Pit bulls were created by breeding bulldogs and terriers together. They were meant to be fighting dogs for blood sport, and as such were selectively bred to be aggressive and vicious. Today, a few hundred years later, such games are illegal, but the breed lives on, and with a bad reputation. Many people argue that pit bulls are not vicious breeds by birth and it is the owners of these dogs that lead them into becoming vicious. While it is true with any large/working breed of dogs that an inexperienced owner can lead it to becoming aggressive and vicious, incidents of aggression from pit bulls are more commonly reported than with other breeds, possibly owing to a bad reputation.
The United Kennel Club, the second oldest Kennel Club in the United States and possibly the world’s largest performance dog registry, describes the characteristics of the American pit bull terrier as the following.
“The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.”
While many pit bulls are gentle and happy family dogs, incidents such as these have led to several countries around the world and some states in the U.S. to impose restrictions and in some cases outright bans on the ownership of the breed.
[Feature Image by Audrey Lohkamp/Shutterstock]