Pit Bull

Pit Bull

The Battle Over An American Icon

Book - 2016
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Investigates how the affectionate and loyal dog breed once popular on movie sets became feared, hated, and brutalized through urban dog-fighting rings.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307961761
Branch Call Number: 636.7559 D551p 2016
Characteristics: xvi, 330 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Feb 18, 2018

Dickey never really confronts any of the hard evidence against pit bulls her this book. She draws upon mostly historical information on the phenotype, and her remaining sources are primarily the pit bull advocacy movement. She interviews very few victims.

I do have to give her some credit for refuting the "Nanny Dog" myth, as well as the myth that pit bulls perform so phenomenally well on the ATTS test, acknowledging that the average pit bull owner does not take their dog for shutzhund training.

Dickey avoids any discussion of the voluminous data available in such public health databases like Pubmed. She's a resourceful author to be sure, so I can only wonder she was unable to locate and refute the following evidence-based studies that suggest that a majority of dog bite hospitalizations are attributed to pit bull phenotypes, often after analyses of decades worth of data:

"Effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in decreasing the incidence of dog-bite injury hospitalisations in people in the Canadian province of Manitoba"

"Ocular Trauma From Dog Bites: Characterization, Associations, and Treatment Patterns at a Regional Level I Trauma Center Over 11 Years"

"Morbidity of pediatric dog bites: A case series at a level one pediatric trauma center"

"Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998"

"Fatal dog attacks, 1989-1994"

"Dog bite-related fatalities: a 15 year review of Kentucky Medical Examiner cases"

"Fatal dog attacks in Canada, 1990 – 2007 (Includes references to bite incidents that immediately preceded the implementation of BSL in Ontario)"

"Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs"

"Dog Bites in Urban Children"

"Dog Bites of the Head and Neck"

"Effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in decreasing the incidence of dog bite injury"

"Periorbital trauma from pit bull terrier attacks"

"Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution"

"Pit Bull attack causing limb threatening vascular trauma -A case series"

"Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting"

"Dog bites in a US county: age, body part, and breed in pediatric dog bites"

Oct 28, 2016

Really enjoyed reading this book! Even as a long-time animal shelter volunteer and pit bull-type dog lover, I learned many things about this breed and the dog welfare movement in general. Fascinating.

JCLHelenH Jun 03, 2016

This book is about so much more than dogs. "Animals in deprived areas can easily be affected by the same cycles of desperation, poverty, and violence that plague their human caretakers."


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JCLHelenH Jun 28, 2016

“The people they claim to be advocating for, they deserve better than that,” Dickey said. “They deserve somebody hanging out at city hall, not in the comments section.”


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