Pit Bulls: Born To Be Mean?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In the last week there were two separate incidents involving pit bull dogs.  In Forrest City a pit bull charged a police officer, and was then shot dead.  The owner was cited.  In a separate incident in Jonesboro on Monday, a man and his wife were fighting when their pit bull attacked the man.

This brings about the controversial question of whether or not these dogs are born to be mean.

"In all actuality, smaller breed dogs do bite more than what the larger breed dogs do. However, the smaller breed dogs, it's a minor bite, where a large breed dog is a more severe bite in nature," said Sgt. Larry Rogers of Jonesboro Animal Control.

It's that reason, dogs like pit bulls are put in a bad spotlight.

"What makes a pit bull a bad dog is a bad owner, or a neglectful owner," said Wanda Turner of Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

Rogers agrees that a dog's behavior is based on how we raise it.

"We need to teach it when it's young as a puppy discipline, we need to train it, socialize it, and bring it up the proper way," said Rogers.

At Jonesboro Animal Control there are several pit bulls.  While a couple are aggressive, the majority are friendly and very playful.

Animal control officers say it's actually a whole lot of psychology that goes into what makes an animal tick, and why it acts certain ways in different situations.

"If you bring a dog up with no training, that has no socialization skills, that has no discipline, that you've not worked with, that you might have put out on a chain in the back yard, then that dog is going to be a dog with a behavior problem of aggression. That's going to be a mean dog," said Rogers.

But Turner explains, the theory of a dog being mean from birth simply doesn't hold up.

"No dog is born to be mean. Now, there is poor breeding, and poor breeding does set up dogs to have some serious issues," said Turner.

But those issues through bad breeding, yet again, fall back on those raising the dogs.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.