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"Dog the Bounty Hunter" fury misses the mark

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The 200th episode of the popular A&E reality TV series "Dog the Bounty Hunter" has caused an uproar in the pit bull community. In this episode, Dwayne "Dog" Chapman and his team encounter a pit bull at a home during a search for a fugitive. Some viewers are protesting what they see as an anti-pit bull rant from Dog. As someone fighting breed-specific legislation in Texas triggered mainly by one horrifically irresponsible owner, I see something else.

The episode was filmed in the Denver area, a world-famous hotbed of breed bans. If I lived in Colorado, no one would ever see or hear my dogs, and they would be venturing outdoors dressed as Standard Poodles because I would be terrified of losing them. I don't know if pit bulls are legal in the city where this episode was shot, but if they get banned there, now we know why.

Instead of exercising reasonable caution, the owners had a pit bull tied to a tire in an unfenced front yard, which even on a quiet day is a bad idea for any large dog, especially one targeted by bans.

When a bunch of cars and camera crews showed up, the prudent thing would have been to take the dog inside immediately. Instead, the dog dragged the tire effortlessly down the street and tried to bite Dog's crew, which from the animal's perspective is quite reasonable. The dog is thinking, "A bunch of people are running around yelling at my family and carrying strange objects! What the heck is happening?"

However, if your dog finds himself in an agitating situation, it is your responsibility to keep him safe and get him the heck out of there. Your dog's life depends on it.

Instead, when Dog and his crew returned to the house several times that day, the dog was still outside tied to the tire. The exception was when it was completely loose, with the whole neighborhood, including kids, outside on the streets watching the spectacle. The dog was extremely agitated, barking and snapping at the strangers, and although he seemed to be calm with his family, anyone could have sustained an accidental or misdirected bite.

In most cities in Texas, that dog would be declared dangerous even without biting anyone because: 1) It behaved in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe an attack was imminent. 2) It was not restrained or in an enclosure. 3) It was in the street. A dangerous dog declaration, unless you have an attorney and the means to comply with the restrictions, is a death sentence for the dog.

I wish Dog had made disparaging remarks about the owners rather than the dog. However, I have probably seen every episode, and while they encounter pit bulls all the time (some tethered, some not), I have never seen him say anything other than "watch out for the dog." This was the first episode I have seen in which a pit bull acted anything other than curious and alert, which is quite a testament for the breed considering that the dog is being filmed while a bunch of noisy strangers invade his territory.

Instead of directing our anger at Dwayne Chapman's heat-of-the-moment comments, let's hope that the owners have learned their lesson and now keep the dog properly confined. He didn't seem like a bad dog that deserves to die for trying to protect his family.

Comments

  • RPoling 3 years ago

    Blame the owners not the dog. What an interesting concept (that is sarcasm by the way). Great article! Shared on FB -

  • Profile picture of Laura Dapkus
    Laura Dapkus 3 years ago

    It sounds like this dog was being overly exuberant and friendly. An accidental scratch and a bite isn't the same thing at all and I don't see what is wrong with having the dog in a residential neighborhood. However, responsible owners need to keep our dogs from jumping on people and keep their nails trimmed so that they don't scratch people. Sounds like some obedience training is in order here.

  • Profile picture of dallanta
    dallanta 3 years ago

    First off, it is the owner and not the pit bull that is the problem. The pit bull pays the price though.
    An afterthought, I never watch dog the bounty hunter. He and his bunch might be legal, but they are nasty looking and acting people looking for a place to get shot.

  • Profile picture of Dannydel
    Dannydel 3 years ago

    I' am sick of hearing: "She is the sweetest little thing...", particularly after a pit bull has ripped apart another child. Pit bulls, Rottwielers and Pressa Canarios are responsible for 74% of dog bites in the U.S. People who have a child and a pit Bull, might as well let the child play in the street. These people are usually of a specific type, tattoos, not highly educated. If they don't have the intelligence to realize the risk they are putting a child in, the state should step in and protect the child.

  • Profile picture of Laura Dapkus
    Laura Dapkus 3 years ago

    I have to disagree with this because "statistics" such as these are based on media reports, which are notoriously inaccurate due to bias, sensationalism and incorrect breed ID.

    The CDC says: "There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."

    In the 15 years I have had these dogs I have known hundreds of people raised with American Pit Bull Terriers (some in their 70's) and people raising kids with these dogs but they are responsible. Any dog can bite or kill a child.

    That being said, I get angry when someone says after their dog maims someone, "He was a perfect angel and never bit anyone before." They are lying. Unless there is a medical issue, animal behaviorists say there are always other incidents or signs leading up to a serious bite. People either don't read the signs or are in denial.

    If a parent has a dog that bites, snaps, growls over food or toys, the parent needs to see a vet to get help. If you cannot get help and cannot keep the dog safe from others and your own kids, I am sorry but the dog needs to be euthanized. Don't hand the problem off to someone else.

    The dogs that killed Justin Clinton bit three times before (that we know of). Had the owners exercised reasonable caution and kept the dogs in kennels or crates during the day, the child would still be here.

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