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1/17/2013 4:19:00 PM
Pit bulls in recent attacks both had history of violence
6-year-old Kaylynne Byrd was attacked by a pit bull on Jan. 14 and received 10 stitches in her foot (pictured) and lost a piece of her ear (pictured below).
+ click to enlarge
6-year-old Kaylynne Byrd was attacked by a pit bull on Jan. 14 and received 10 stitches in her foot (pictured) and lost a piece of her ear (pictured below).
Kaylynne Byrd's ear after being bitten by a pit bull on Jan. 14.
+ click to enlarge
Kaylynne Byrd's ear after being bitten by a pit bull on Jan. 14.
Brian King
Staff Writer

Greenwood County was rocked to its core when a woman was killed by a pit bull on January 8. Less than a week later, on January 14, another pit bull attacked a 6-year-old girl, who received 10 stitches and lost part of her ear as a result. Both dogs have reportedly had a history of violence, according to officials with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office.

The latter incident occurred on Belle Oaks Drive. The dog was taken to the animal shelter and quarantined. It had a microchip, but the owner listed on the microchip was not the current owner of the dog. Authorities contacted the owner listed and discovered that the animal had previously bitten another child.

The former owner told authorities that he had given the dog to another woman, but she gave the animal back after it bit her daughter. That incident was not reported to authorities. The man says that he then gave the dog to its current owner. The current owner had no knowledge of the previous incident.

The January 8 attack on 65-year-old Betty Anne Chapman Todd was by a family pet. Initially, authorities believed that the animal had no previous history of violence, but officials say that, through the course of the investigation, they discovered that the pit bull responsible for Todd’s death had killed another family pet, a siberian husky, just four months prior to the attack on Todd. Authorities say that, following that incident, the dog’s owner had the dog neutered the first week of January to take away its aggression.

The statistics for dog maulings by breed leave little doubt that a pit bull is a dangerous animal. Many believe that pit bulls have a bad reputation because of their size and that other breeds bite just as frequently. Statistics from the publication Animal People tell a vastly different tale.

Animal People was founded in 1992 and, according to their website, their mission is a "charitable corporation dedicated to exposing the existence of cruelty to animals and to informing and educating the public of the need to prevent and eliminate such cruelty." They have both printed and online publications and maintain the only continuously updated database on dog-related incidents, commonly referred to as the Clifton Report.

The Clifton Report has data compiled from September 1982 through December 31, 2012, and lists all deaths and maulings by dogs according to breed. You can view the document in its entirety by clicking the link at the bottom of this article.

According to the Clifton Report, pit bulls and pit bull mixes are responsible for at least 2,383 deaths and maimings. Those numbers do not include numerous other incidents where a pit bull was involved, but not directly linked to a death or injury. Such attacks not reflected in the numbers include a man who had a heart attack while being chased by a pit bull and a 14-year-old girl killed by a car while running from a pit bull that rushed her at her bus stop. By comparison, there were only 1,508 deaths and maimings by all other breeds, including rottweilers, which comprised 525 of the total by other breeds.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals calls pit bulls “sweet and loyal family dogs” on their website and attributes the negativity surrounding the breed to media bias against pit bulls. Prior to Byrd’s daughter being bitten by a pit bull, he had previously owned four pit bulls, with his last one passing away just three months ago.

In general, pit bulls aren’t aggressive with people but are “less tolerant” of other dogs than many other breeds, says Pamela Reid, PhD, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Center in New York. They also have “great tenacity. They put their mind to something, and they do it. That’s what makes them great dogs for sports like weight pulling. They are very strong, athletic animals," Reid says.

While animal activists argue that negative media attention has brought an unjust perception to pit bulls, the evidence clearly shows that pit bulls are far more dangerous than any other breed and, for two local families, the effects are very real.

The Clifton Report

Related Stories:
• Director of Shelter Defends Pit Bulls
• GPD investigating shooting
• Girl attacked by pit bull
• Quarters that Cure
• More details released in fatal dog mauling
• Woman dies after being attacked by dog

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Barron Stone

If owners were held accountable for their pets actions....I mean truly held accountable, people would think twice about taking on the responsibility/risk of owning a pet, similar to a Pit Bull that can severely harm and kill a human being.

For example, if a pit bull killed a child or an adult and the owner could be and was charged with voluntary manslaughter or murder, that type of action I believe would cause people to I want to take that risk on? That is what it is going to take to make these types of incidents go away or be minimized.

I read one article that said if they were not up-to-date on their shots, it could cause them to become violent, and later in the article, it noted recent attacks by Pit Bulls where they were current on their shots and had never been violent (according to their owners).

What happens now when someone is severely harmed or killed is the dog gets quarantined and eventually put down, and the owner is not held accountable for the harm caused. That seems to put animal rights over human rights and I do not know how anyone could argue that should be the case, with a straight face.

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article comment by: Myra Cablin

Seriously, the Clifton Report? Merritt Clifton has repeatedly been exposed as a hack. He is the editor of his own publication "Animal People" and is vocal hater of "pit bulls." He collects newspaper articles about pit bulls and then cooks his own statistics. He has NO animal (i.e., canine) credentials and he is certainly NOT the only entity collecting dog bite statistics. (Please see the National Canine Research Council for accurate information on dog attacks in the U.S.)
Additonally, Mr. Clifton has been implicated in a scandal involving the misuse of funds for a Romanian rescue in which he was the treasurer and paramour with the agency's founder.
How embarassing for GWToday to be citing this ridiculous "report" by a man with a very obvious agenda and with NO methodology or experience with dogs or dog breeds, just his personal scrapbook of what he calls "pit bull" articles and his manipulated "statistics."

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article comment by: R Walden

S. Smith if you know the owners so well why was the dog even out or around anyone if it has aggressive tendencies? I own a pitbull and i can tell you for a fact that any dog can be trained! my father happens to be a vet and there are inbreed dogs that can not be trained but in my opinion any dog can be trained with the proper knowledge and training skills, obliviously a pitbull isnt a breed for everyone and the owners should be well educated before they get this breed and should know how to train a dog and have the time and energy to spend training it! all these horrible accidents can be prevented if the owners did a better job training there dogs! i hate to see all these awful things happening but the truth is people give these dogs a bad name most pitbull owners should not be allowed to own any animal. these breeds take a lot of time training!

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Mr. Gary

This would be a dead dog if he bites my child or me, I will blow his head off and then whip the owner!!!

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Julie Temple

I agree, Wayne Gibert. The problem is the breed. But the biggest problem is that people don't know what breed they have. Many dogs that look like a pit bull are actually not a pit. They are a mixture of many types of dogs and the outcome is the look of a pitbull, mostly having some boxer dna. This can only be determined by dna testing. IMO, the people that say their pitbull is a good dog and gentle may not even have a pit, but because of looks, think they do.

In one case, a dog named Lucas was thought to be a pit bull and a local city was going to put him down because of a ban on pit bulls. Lucas is predominantly a boxer/bullmastiff mix, with a few other mixed breeds thrown in. But the dog doesn't have any American Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier in his lineage, according to a Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel Insights DNA test,

People do not know what they have and the only way to determine is through DNA testing. So, maybe we could say the owner is the problem because they do not know what dog they have.

The many attacks by "pits" is just that....attack by pits and something needs to be done. People, please do not think that your dog is a gentle pit bull, but take the time to find out what you have.

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