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Do You Think Pit Bulls Get A Bad Rap?

Do you think pit bulls are misunderstood and suffer because of unfair public perception?

Since a pit bull attacked a Riverhead animal control officer in October and was slated to be put down, a debate has emerged between residents on pit bulls as both express their strong opinions on whether or not the breed gets a bad rap.

Riverhead Town animal control officer Jessica Eibs-Stankaitis was mauled by a pit bull and badly injured last month. Last week, the Riverhead town board said she did plan to return to work.

Eibs-Stankaitis was mauled by a pit bull  while on duty at the Riverhead Town animal shelter, Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said.

The ACO, who suffered lacerations to her face, had undetermined damage to her hip, Hegermiller said. "That's where the dog latched on. It wouldn't let go."

Animal shelter staff had no clue the dog would attack. "They thought it was a good dog," Hegermiller said. The dog, he added, was found on Wading River-Manor Road in a crate, on the side of the road. The male pit bull had been at the town animal shelter for a few days. 

"She was walking back to the kennel and the dog just attacked her out of nowhere," Hegermiller said. "She was very fortunate the dog didn't latch onto her neck."

Trying to get the dog off Eibs-Stankaitis wasn't easy, Hegermiller said. "It bad," he said. "It was a battle."

First, he said, after Eibs-Stankaitis screamed for help, a kennel attendant tried to use a snare pole on the animal's hind leg. "It didn't work," Hegermiller said. "Jessica, with the dog still hanging on her hip, was able to get something around its head and break it free."

The dog, the police chief said, was kept in confinement at the town animal shelter and was slated to be put down in ten days.

What do you think about pit bulls? Do you think they are a danger to residents -- or, do you think they suffer from public misconception and an unfair rap that leads to the dogs being put down?

Patch wants to hear from you. Do you have a pit bull? Describe your experience with the dogs in the comments section.

helen evans November 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Anne Marie, my statement to reading and killing dogs was directed at Jean who said I wanted to kill her dogs and ban them. As for my breed of choice if it was attacked it would not bother me. I've been through it with several breeds. What others think about my dog doesn't bother me in the least, and I sure would not go parading it out in public if it bothered others. I read the site that the gentleman linked. Very interesting reading. However one thing did bother me. When they stated that their dogs "knew" when to protect their owners. It is an animal without the same type of reasoning powers of a human. Animals pick up on subtlties not only in strangers but their owners that their humans cannot or do not pick up on. Example. My mom had a Spitz dog that was very protective of her. A neighbor came over one night, drunk. Her dog picked up on my mom's uneasyness and chased the drunk out of the house. He didn't bite, just put on a heck of a show. The dog thought on his own. Was he right or wrong? What if he was a big dog that attacked. Was he right or wrong? What if it was a kid that had come over aelling candy and my mom felt uncomfortable and the dog picked up on it and attacked? I've known a few pitbulls that belong(ed) to friends and aquantances. They seem like nice dogs, and if that's what you want to have I really don't care.
Tony Chliek November 21, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Sometimes people have no sense when choosing pet. I know a couple that own a rather small home and have four large dogs, three pits and a lab. Their yard is so small and they have an above ground pool in it. They do walk the dogs on leaches, but I totally disagree with their owning four such large dogs that can't run around and get the exercise they need.
Jean Richardson November 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM
If you said that you were right--at least if you stopped at that. But you also made comments like this "They don't have a bad rap, just bad genetics. And those genes where selected by people who desired those traits above all others. The truth hurts." I guess I am just to sensitive but I get really angry when I am accused of being a irresponsible person and my dogs accused of being genetically dangerous. And I get really really angry when my dogs are maligned. Helen, I am a long time dog trainer, a board certified behaviorist and I have a masters degree in genetics. Stop trying to blow smoke up my behind.
Anne Marie November 26, 2012 at 10:22 PM
If we were to clean you up the way you would suggest we clean our "type" of dog up, wouldn't you be less of what you are? Or merely a genetically cleansed, sterile, totally souless shell of your former self? Oh wait... soulless... eh, you're already there.
Anne Marie November 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Then have some decency and stop. It's really that simple. If you wouldn't go parading your dog about in the public eye, good for friggin' you... I take care of my dog the way a responsible owner should. It's up to the owner to do right by their animal. Some do and some don't. Have some dignity and stop trying to force your views down people's throats. It's rude, it's indicative of an unresolved issue that you have a personal stake in, and to be frank gets really damn tedious. You say that what people think about your breed doesn't affect you.. good for you. It affects other people differently, WHY, b/c people are different. They think differently, and what people choose to think and choose to do and how they choose to live is their choice and their business. Please don't paint all pitbull owners with the same damn brush and don't judge them... What gives you the right?

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