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Pit bulls: with good owners, they're good pets, but with bad owners...

Owners of pit bulls are often frustrated with the way their pets are portrayed in the media. They say their dogs are unfairly characterized as dangerous and most likely to inflict terrible dog bite wounds on people and other animals.

Many experts say the problem with pit bulls is not that the dogs are born mean, but that too often they are raised by people who misuse and abuse the dogs.

You might remember that here in La Crosse, a 14-year-old boy was seriously hurt after being attacked by a pit bull two years ago. The boy had to have surgery after he was attacked while walking down an alley. The dog was owned by a woman whose previous dog had to be euthanized after it attacked two men.

A recent article in Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times highlights some of the problems with pit bulls raised by owners who neglect them or raise them to be ferocious guard dogs and fighters.

What they're finding in Madison and elsewhere across the state and country is that a number of people are choosing to acquire pit bulls precisely because of the breed's bad reputation. What those owners too often discover is that they're really not interested in properly raising the dogs, so the animals wind up neglected, abandoned or in a dog shelter.

The Humane Society in Dane County took in four times as many pit bulls last year as any other breed, a strong indication that there's not only overpopulation of the breed but neglect by owners.

The Capital Times article says that though pit bulls make up a small percentage of licensed dogs, "over the past four years they have been more likely than any other breed to bite people, run loose, attack other dogs, be abused and be abandoned."

Source: The Capital Times: "Pit bulls can make great pets, but some end up in wrong hands" by Steven Elbow: July 27, 2011

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