Service dogs provide various types of highly valuable assistance to individuals who suffer from all types of disabilities. And, for the most part, service dogs are well-trained, highly-tolerant animals that are dedicated to their human companion. When it comes to selecting a dog breed as a service animal, some breeds are more common than others, with Labradors and Golden Retrievers being the most common service breeds. However, recent studies suggest that this is due in large part to the fact that these breeds are simply the most common breeds in the United States, and therefore, more people select these breeds as service companions. Studies also suggest that these breeds are considered among the safer breeds as they rarely attack humans.
More recently, people looking for a service animal have started to select pit bulls. However, based on the evidence, pit bulls are generally considered a poor choice for a service animal. Regardless, breed advocate groups have pushed the acceptability of pit bulls are service animals. This raises very valid concerns, not just for those who require the assistance of a service animal but also for members of the general public who may encounter a service animal in places where they wouldn’t normally find a pit bull.
Advice for Those Considering a Pit Bull as a Service Animal
The selection of a service animal is a major life choice that will impact the lives of the individual as well as the dog. Those looking for a pit bull as a service animal are advised to thoroughly consider why they want to select a pit bull. For example, individuals who believe that pit bulls have unfairly developed a bad reputation shouldn’t let that fact alone guide their decision, as they can instead adopt or foster a pit bull as a pet. There isn’t anything wrong with advocating on behalf of pit bulls; however, choosing a pit bull as a service animal isn’t necessarily the best way to do this, as it could put others in danger and may end up contributing to the breed’s already tarnished name.
Second, pit bulls and other breeds are known for their guarding, protection and fighting characteristics and tend to be poor choices for service animals because these animals are exceptionally strong and can be difficult for individuals with disabilities to control.
Third, a pit bull’s temperament is not fully developed until it reaches adulthood, which is about at the age of two. Thus, some individuals have been frustrated by a pit bull exhibiting natural aggressive behavioral traits even after a year or more of training. However, once a dog exhibits aggression—especially towards humans—it becomes unsuitable as a service animal.
Finally, using a pit bull as a service dog can create a social barrier between a person with a disability and society because many will refrain from approaching the individual out of fear of their service animal.
The Risks to Others of Pit Bull Service Dogs
Many breeds of dogs make service animals, and while most breeds are capable of inflicting serious injuries to humans, certain breeds of dogs have a much higher likelihood of attacking. For example, more than 65 percent of all fatal dog attacks over the 13-year period between 2005 and 2017 involved a pit bull. By a wide margin, pit bulls are responsible for the highest number of deaths; however, they also cause the most non-fatal injuries.
There are a few reasons why pit bulls are more dangerous than most other breeds. For example, pit bulls are larger and heavier than many other breeds, giving them the ability to easily overpower children and most adults. Pit bulls have also shown an increased likelihood of engaging in a random, unprovoked attack. Finally, due to their breeding history, Pitbull Terriers are hard-wired to go for vital areas of the body when attacking, such as the face, groin, and neck. There is also evidence that pit bulls tend to latch on once they bite, increasing the severity of a victim’s wounds when they pull their body away from the attacking animal.
Have You Been Attacked by a Pitbull?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a pit bull attack, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated Illinois dog bite lawyers have decades of experience helping victims hold owners financially accountable for the injuries their dogs have inflicted. We command an impressive knowledge of the state’s dog bite laws and know how to effectively bring a case to ensure you and your family recover the damages you need to begin the process of moving on with your life. To learn more, and to schedule a free case evaluation, call Briskman Briskman & Greenberg at 877-595-4878 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.