Pit bulls aren’t the misunderstood animal that some dog lovers claim.

They are a dangerous breed, and blaming owners alone for vicious attacks by pit bulls does a disservice to public safety. Pit bulls account for the vast majority of fatal dog attacks, causing 71 percent of fatalities between 2011 and 2017, according to the victims group, DogsBite.org. That’s up from 56 percent between 2005 and 2010.

Meanwhile, many pit bull owners claim these animals make great pets. They downplay pit bulls’ physiological features, which make them adept at tearing flesh. Their powerful necks and jaws are a lethal combination, and some people have resorted to using crowbars and knives to pry open their mouths.

It’s no wonder many insurance companies refuse to provide homeowners and renters coverage for pit bull owners. As Gazette reporter Catherine Idzerda highlighted in her story Monday, pit bulls make up a large percentage of dogs at local shelters. They linger there good reason, and any family who adopts one is taking, in our opinion, an unnecessary risk.

Some pit bull advocates allege a conspiracy against this breed and say many of these dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly. They argue it’s nearly impossible to distinguish pit bulls from other breeds and say dog-attack statistics have been manipulated. In their minds, the pit bull is the real victim. If it mauls a child, the pit bull owner is at fault.

Is the owner even to blame when the pit bull turns on its owner? Was it Bethany Lynn Stephens’ fault when her two pit bulls mauled her last year during a walk through a wooded area near her family’s property in Virginia? When she didn’t return, her father went looking for her and discovered the two dogs guarding what the father thought was an animal carcass.

How grisly was her mauling? “We spent a lot of time there at the scene and made some observations that, out of respect for the family, we’re not releasing,” the Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew told the Washington Post.

What Chihuahua, poodle or border collie is capable of doing that kind of damage? None, obviously.

Closer to home, friends and family mourned the death of Daxton Borchardt, a 14-month-old mauled by two pit bulls at his babysitter’s home in the town of Walworth in 2013. Investigators found no indication of why the dogs attacked.

Pit bulls were bred to fight and are like having a loaded gun in the house, except this gun can go off without anyone touching it. A quick Google search—type in “pit bull”—will reveal just how unpredictable and vicious this animal can be.

Pit bulls are popular in Janesville, with nearly 280 licensed. That’s not a good thing, in our opinion. Efforts to keep these animals out of housing or parks should be applauded, not made into “dog discrimination.” Nobody should have to apologize for working to protect people, children especially, from pit bulls—or any dangerous dog, for that matter.

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