Memphis Struggling with Growing Pit Bull Population

MARCH 6, 2007 - Posted at 7:12 a.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - A growing number of pit bulls in Memphis is largely fed by a subculture of dog owners attracted by the worst traits of the powerful breed.

Memphis Animal Services, which runs the city pound, is forced to kill close to 2,000 stray pit bulls a year.  Officials are urging the city to consider tighter dog-control rules, such as banning the unregulated sales of puppies from street corners or at flea markets.

While properly reared pit bulls make loving pets, the breed is often portrayed as tough and fearsome, and that makes it attractive to the wrong kinds of owners.

Looking into the growing popularity of pit bulls in the city, the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper found that street-corner dog breeders easily make up to $1,000 a litter for their pups, with little business overhead and no taxes.

Pit bull attacks reportedly accounted for almost 40 percent of all dog bites in Memphis last year.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)