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Do pit bulls face unfair scrutiny?

7:23 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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LEBANON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A 12-year old girl who police say was attacked by two dogs in the town of Lebanon on Saturday is now back home from the hospital.

Police say the she suffered more than a dozen bites when two 7-month old pit bulls attacked her in her mother's yard.  The dogs are owned by her mother's fiance, Rory Downs.

A neighbor came to the girl's rescue when he heard the girl and her sister screaming.  He reportedly beat the dogs off with a broom.

Dr. Sandra Mitchell from Animal Medical Associates says while we hear of more "pit bull" attacks than any other breed, there are many factors that play into that, including mistaken identity.

She points to a website showing 25 different breeds of dog that are often mistaken for pit bulls.

She says, overall, it comes down to keeping up with the care of the dog, socializing it, and training.

In their investigations into fatal dog attacks over the years, the National Canine Research Council noted that oftentimes, the dog is neglected, either left outside, or sometimes abused.

George Phillip Quinlan owns All About Dogs Behavior & Training Center and has been training animals for more than 40 years.  He says any dog can get aggressive, that's why training is important. However, another trainer we spoke with off camera says it is important to remember what pit bulls were bred for, saying simply, "genetics play a roll in the behavior of all species." 

George Phillip Quinlan owns  and has been training animals for more than 40 years.  He says any dog can get aggressive, that's why training is important. However, another trainer we spoke with off camera says it is important to remember what pit bulls were bred for, saying simply, "genetics play a roll in the behavior of all species." 

Quinlan agrees that any dog can snap, but that's why training plays a key role... mostly so an owner can control the dog when it does go into a frenzy.  "The average owner is not able to call their dog off when they get to that frenzy. That's where training is critical."

Bottom line, both Quinlan and Dr. Mitchell say: labradors attack, chihuahuas attack, pit bulls attack, but it's the owner's duty to teach their dog that teeth to skin contact is never okay. 

NEWS CENTER

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