It’s horrible that KFC kicked out that 3-year-old girl, but let’s focus on the real problem: pit bulls are bred to be violent
The social media universe became furious at KFC this week after an employee asked a three-year old victim of a dog attack to leave one of their restaurants because “her face is disrupting our customers.”
But it wasn’t KFC employees who broke down the door to Victoria Wilcher’s grandfather’s house and mauled the toddler until half her face was paralyzed and she lost the use of one of her eyes. Three pit bulls did that.
Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal cruelty prevention.
Another report published in the April 2011 issue of Annals of Surgery found that one person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, two people are injured by a pit bull every day, and young children are especially at risk. The report concludes that “these breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated.” That report was shared with TIME by PETA, the world’s largest animal rights organization.
Even PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world, supports breed-specific sterilization for pit bulls. “Pit bulls are a breed-specific problem, so it seems reasonable to target them,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations. “The public is misled to believe that pit bulls are like any other dog. And they just aren’t.” Even the ASPCA acknowledges on their website that pit bulls are genetically different than other dogs. “Pit bulls have been bred to behave differently during a fight,” they say. “They may not give warning before becoming aggressive, and they’re less likely to back down when clashing with an opponent.”
Opponents of sterilization argue that it can be difficult to determine which dogs are pit bulls, and that breed-specific efforts are unfair to certain dogs. “When you discriminate against a breed, you’re also discriminating against good dogs as well,” Enos said. Setter of Pit Bull Rescue Central opposes breed-specific sterilization because she says it’s ineffective, because the laws don’t target irresponsible owners.
But Nachminovitch said that PETA stands by breed-specific sterilization as a common-sense solution to what has become a human safety issue. “These dogs were bred to bait bulls. They were bred to fight each other to the death,” she said. “Just because we’re an animal rights organization doesn’t mean we’re not concerned about public safety.”