Why Are Pitbulls Banned in Some Places? and Where Are They Banned?

The term Pitbull encompasses some of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and all over the world.

Although Pitbulls tend to make loyal and loving companions to many families, they garnered quite a reputation for being aggressive which caused them to get banned by law in some places.

So, why are Pitbulls banned in some places? Pitbulls are banned in some places because they’re deemed too dangerous. They are thought to be aggressive as they were originally bred to fight other animals. They’re also responsible for many fatal dog attacks. The main purpose of the ban is to reduce the number of Pitbull attacks on humans and other animals.

Keep reading to learn more about why Pitbulls are banned, where they are banned, and whether they are actually dangerous.

What Is Breed Specific Legislation?

pitbull on a muzzle to answer why are pitbulls banned in some places

The term Breed Specific legislation (BSL) is used to refer to all laws that regulate or completely ban certain dog breeds in certain places.

Not all of the laws are complete bans as some places might require owners to register their dogs while others limit the number of dogs owned to 1 or 2 per household.

This legislation applies to any dog breed that is deemed dangerous by the government and both the owner and the dog will face some consequences.

Its main goal is to reduce or prevent dog attacks on humans, dogs, and other animals before they happen in order to improve public safety across communities.  It can also help discourage dog owners who participate in illegal dog breeding practices and dog fighting rings.

When Is A Dog Deemed Dangerous?

According to Breed Specific legislation, a dog is deemed “dangerous” when it commits a violent action without being provoked. Legally, the term is usually applied to any dog breed after there has been an incident.

 However, keep in mind that the interpretations and implementations of this term can vary from one place to another.

In some places, the term “dangerous” is used to refer to any dog that causes injury to a person or domestic animal. While in other places, it’s used to refer to any dog that causes injury to a person or kills another dog.

Also, keep in mind that the only dogs that are excluded from this law are police dogs who might cause injury to a person or another animal in the line of duty

Which Dog Breeds Have Bans?

Dog breeds that have bans against them vary from one place to another as it depends on what governments deem dangerous. However, you’ll notice that Pitbull breeds are often the most banned in the world,

Check the following list for some of the dog breeds that are commonly deemed dangerous and banned in most places:

  • Pitbulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Dobermans
  • Chow chows
  • American bulldogs
  • German Shepherds
  • Cane Corsos
  • Akitas
  • Mastiffs
  • Huskies
  • Bull terriers
  • Malamutes
  • Rhodesian ridgebacks

Which Dog Breeds Are Considered Pitbulls?

Pitbull is more of a blanket term used to refer to several dog breeds including The American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

The breed that’s usually most associated with the term Pitbull is The American Pitbull Terrier. However, you can easily recognize a pitbull breed as they are all very close in terms of physical appearance and temperament with very slight differences depending on the bloodline.

When it comes to their physical appearance, the majority of pitbull breeds share similar square-shaped heads, fleshy noses, and big almond-shaped eyes. As for the coloring of their coats and noses, it will vary depending on their bloodlines.

They are all athletic as they have similar muscular builds. However, some breeds may be deemed more athletic than others with some of the dogs being shorter and bulkier in build, while others being taller and leaner.

Where Are Pitbulls Banned?

There are legislations against Pitbulls in various places in the United States and worldwide.

Most of these legislations do not completely ban Pitbulls. As mentioned before, some places might only require owners to register their Pitbulls while other places limit the number of Pitbulls owned to 1 or 2 per household.

So, make sure to check with the local authorities about the specific laws and regulations of pitbull ownership if you plan to live in or bring your pitbull to visit any of the places where there are legislations against them.

If you live in the United States, check the following list for all the states that have bans or regulations against Pitbulls:

IdahoMissouriOhioNorth Carolina
MontanaArkansasWest VirginiaSouth Carolina
North DakotaNew MexicoKentuckyMaryland 

Similarly, if you’re traveling abroad, check the following list for all the countries that have bans or regulations against Pitbulls:

BelgiumFinlandThe NetherlandsPoland
BrazilFranceNew ZealandSweden
DenmarkCanadaNorwayPuerto Rico

Why Are Pitbulls Banned?

The main reason Pitbulls are banned in some places is that their attacks can be fatal to both humans and other animals. Also because some irresponsible owners still train them to participate in illegal dog fighting rings.

According to police reports, Pitbulls are responsible for about 72% of fatalities caused by dog attacks in the United States for the past sixteen years.

Their attacks are so dangerous to others because they have extremely strong bites. The force of their bite can measure up to 235 PSI which is considered to be the strongest bite force of any domestic dog.

Even though their teeth are not very sharp, their bites can still cause serious injuries such as tearing through muscles and breaking bones. That’s mainly because they have powerful jaws muscles that allow them to hold on to their prey even if it was moving at a great speed.

As a result, of course, there are a lot of people out there thinking that Pitbulls are vicious dogs that have no redeeming qualities. Of course that’s not the truth. You can learn more about this in my post on are pitbull puppies really aggressive here.

What Happens If You Own a Pitbull Where It’s Banned?

The legal consequences of owning a Pitbull in a place where it’s banned vary from one place to another according to the laws and regulations stated by the government.

Some places might only charge owners a fine for every day that they keep their dogs. While other places have more severe consequences such as demanding that the owners either send their dogs to rescue organizations outside the area or send them to animal services to be spayed and tattooed.

Are Pitbulls Really Dangerous?

Advocates of pitbull ownership believe that Pitbulls are no more dangerous than any other dog breed as all dogs are likely to attack when provoked.

When Pitbulls were first brought to America from England, Scotland, and Ireland, they were loyal family companions who mainly served to watch over cattle and livestock. Later on, they were bred and trained to bait bulls and fight with other animals which caused them to become aggressive.

Their history of dogfighting is what mainly earned Pitbulls their bad reputation. However, this reputation is very much underserved as it’s mostly based on misconceptions fueled by media reports that try to discourage many pet owners from keeping Pitbulls.

Pitbulls are not inherently aggressive. Just like any other dog breed, they are a product of their environment and living protection. So, any aggressive behavior the dog might display is likely due to irresponsible ownership.

 If these dogs were provided with good living conditions, proper socialization, and training early on in their lives, they will always grow to be loyal, affectionate, and friendly towards those around them. In fact, Pit bulls are instinctively good-natured and caring, so much so that Pit Bulls actually make great service animals.

Will Pitbulls Attack Their Owners?

Pitbull will never attack or turn on their owners without a reason.

The main reason they might attack their owners is that they were never properly socialized or trained when they were young, so they never learned how not to be aggressive.

Another reason they might attack their owners is that they were provoked or threatened, so they will attack to defend themselves. 

Wil Pitbulls Attack Intruders?

Pitbulls will attack intruders to protect their territory as well as their owners.

These dogs are known to be very loyal, protective, and territorial so they will become aggressive and attack if they sense a threat from intruders or if they were provoked.

There are also some owners who train their Pitbulls to attack intruders on command.

Are Pitbulls Safe to Have Around Children?

Pitbulls are safe to have around children as long as they have received proper socialization and training. However, parents still need to be aware of the risks that come with leaving children alone with any kind of animal because sometimes accidents happen.

At the start of the 19th century, Pitbulls actually had a reputation for being the best dogs with kids so much so that they were used as nanny dogs.

It’s highly recommended to supervise all interactions between the children and the dog, and also to be on the lookout for any signs that the dog becoming aggressive toward the children or that the children are unknowingly harming the dog.

Are Pitbulls Good with Other Pets?

Pitbulls are good with other pets as long as they have received proper socialization and training.

If Pitbulls were raised around other pets from a young age, they will likely get along with them just fine. However, if they were not introduced to other pets until later on in their lives, they may react badly and become aggressive.

Do Bans Against Pitbulls Actually Work?

Although the main goal of Breed Specific Legislations is to reduce and prevent attacks from dangerous breeds like Pitbulls in the community, it’s hard to say that their efforts have actually succeeded.

The main issue with Breed Specific Legislations is that there’s no proof that these laws have made any improvements to public safety as there’s no significant drop in the percentage of attacks from banned breeds, including Pitbulls after enforcing the ban.

In fact, 90% of the reported attacks were from dog breeds that were not on the list of banned dog breeds.

Another issue is that these laws have done nothing to address the core social problem behind the dog’s aggressive behavior which is irresponsible ownership.

According to Best Friends Animal Society, there are three mitigating factors behind most dog attacks and they are due to irresponsible ownership.

  • In 97% of the attacks, the owners had not sterilized their dogs.
  • In 84% of the attack, the owners had abused or neglected their dogs.
  • In 78% of the attacks, the owners were keeping the dogs as guard dogs or breeding stock instead of keeping the dogs as pets.

So enforcing these laws is not going to reduce the number of dog attacks as they are only punishing the dogs and leaving the owners who were responsible to raise more aggressive dogs.

Finally, Breed Specific Legislations laws are expensive to enforce. It’s been reported that counties spend up to $500,000 annually on the enforcement of the law, related vet and shelter care costs, euthanization and disposal costs, and legal fees.

This cost may seem too steep given the fact that Breed Specific Legislation is not succeeding in solving the problem of dog attacks.

Can Bans Against Pitbulls Be Changed?

All laws, including Breed Specific Legislation, can be changed if you’re willing to take a step and work with your local governments.

At the beginning of 2021, Denver, Colorado lifted its 30-year ban against Pitbulls when activists and citizens rallied to sign a petition to repeal the law on the November 2020 ballots. The repeal passed with 65% of the voters in favor of lifting the ban Pitbulls and 35% of the voters in favor of upholding the ban.

It may seem like an intimidating task, but if you are interested in getting Breed Specific Legislations repealed in your area, there are various organizations that can help you such as the Repeal BSL Organization.

How to Make Sure Your Pitbull Is Not Dangerous?

There are some measures you can take when training your pitbull to make sure it is not dangerous to you or others in the community.

Socialize Your Dog

Socialization is an important part of your dog’s early training as it teaches the dog not to perceive humans or other dogs as a threat which will help prevent it from developing aggressive tendencies when it grows up.

To properly socialize your dog, you need to introduce it to different scents and sounds. You also need to allow it to interact with other humans and dogs in a safe environment.

Use Proper Discipline Methods

When training your pitbull, you need to use proper discipline methods to encourage or punish certain behaviors.

If you want to encourage good behavior, you need to use the positive reinforcement method. This involves identifying the things that motivate your dog the most, like toys or treats, then presenting your do with any of those things to your dog whenever it displays good behavior.

If you want to punish bad behavior, you must avoid using aggression such as beating your dog or yelling at it as this will only make it feel threatened and provoke it to attack in self-defense.

Instead, it’s more effective to stop giving your dog attention whenever it displays bad behavior because all dogs crave attention from their owners and dislike being ignored.

Look Out for Signs of Aggressive Behavior

You need to have a good understanding of your Pitbull’s body language so you can predict how it’s going to behave in certain situations and act accordingly.

Some of the signs that you need to look out for are:

  • Grinding and baring its teeth
  • Barking and growling excessively
  • Lowering its head and avoiding direct eye contact
  • Pulling back its ears completely
  • Raising its tail in an upright rigid position
  • Moving its back and forth rapidly

If you notice any of these signs in your dog’s body language, you need to keep your dog away from others and give it some time to calm down, otherwise, this behavior will escalate to aggression and it will start attacking.

Related Questions

Do Female Pitbulls Attack More Than Male Pitbulls?

Female Pitbulls might attack more than male pitbull because they tend to be more protective over their territories, especially if they have a litter of puppies. If female Pitbulls sense any threat coming toward them or their puppies, their maternal instincts will drive them to attack.

Are Pitbulls Hard to Train?

Pitbulls are not hard to train. They are smart and always eager to please their owners which makes them more likely to respond to commands. However, keep in mind that the training process will go more smoothly if you start early in your dog’s life.

Helpful Resources 

Breed-Specific Legislation

What Is Breed-Specific Legislation?

State Dangerous Dog Laws

Brief Overview of Dangerous Dog Laws

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