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The spokesman for the government said that they intended to "breed them out of existence". The aim is clearly eugenic, but is this semantically accurate? Can one breed some gene out?

Not via "de-sexing" them. No breeding possible, then.

If they left the animals whole, bred them, then only allowed gentle animals to live, and bred those, etc., etc. etc. for many generations, they eventually might "breed out" the dangerous trait.

Jim Lewis
A species has a broader genetic profile than the individual, so breeding in something that exists in that profile would just mean selecting stock that included what you wanted and didn't include what you didn't, no mutations at that point necessarily required.

"That is not true, that is such a lie."
"You must not call everything a lie, Martha, must she?" "Hell, I don't know when you people are lying or what." "You're damn right."
"You're not supposed to."
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The state government reacted by enacting legislation to ban the ... is this semantically accurate? Can one breed some gene out?

Yes but: 1. The spokesman did not say these Australians sought to eliminate the violence gene; he said the aim ... very expensive and very intrusive: which is probably why the law focussed on the animals rather than the genes.

Pit bulls are not a species. Any dog breed can become wild if allowed to run with a pack of feral dogs, for example.

"That is not true, that is such a lie."
"You must not call everything a lie, Martha, must she?" "Hell, I don't know when you people are lying or what." "You're damn right."
"You're not supposed to."
+-Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Recently in the state of NSW, here in Australia we ... semantically accurate? Can one breed some gene out? cheers Chrissy

There are no bad dogs just bad owners. "Pit Bulls" a breed invented by the press is a catch all ... to be viscious thinking that that in turn makes them tough. Any dog in the wrong hands can be dangerous.

The trouble is that all the owners say, He's wonderful with children, and they continue to say that after the dog has mauled a kid or two. Maybe all these owners raised them to be vicious, but I don't think that has been proven.
OTOH, given their reputation, it seems to me they are probably bought by those who at least want the threat of having a vicious dog. If people aren't scared of them, the owners, they like the idea that they will be scared of their dog.
There have been three cases here in the last six months of pit bulls attacking children, and there have been cases in the past of them attacking adults. Maybe more important, I'm told that in just about every case and at least way more than half of the dog mauling cases here, pit bulls have been the attackers. This is so even though they are a pretty small percentage of the dogs.
s/ meirman

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Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
now in Baltimore 22 years
The spokesman for the government said that they intended to ... but is thissemantically accurate? Can one breed some gene out?

Not via "de-sexing" them. No breeding possible, then. If they left the animals whole, bred them, then only allowed gentle animals to live, and bred those, etc., etc. etc. for many generations, they eventually might "breed out" the dangerous trait. Jim Lewis

Actually, what you really want are dogs that are happy and fit well in whatever settings humans want to have them. At the moment, one of the problems is that people breed for appearance or a single feature rather than overall suitability. Why anyone would want a dalmatian in an apartment is hard to fathom. This is a dog that came from a cohort that was happy running 35 miles in a day. Sure it's not going to shed as much as some, but really, unless you really love running along the beach a lot, why have one?
If you live out in the wilds of Alaska by all means have a siberian husky, or one of those samoyed dogs or a malamute, but why in a warm suburban backyard in a warm temperate climate? If you want a symbol, buy one you can hang from your rearview mirror, and leave the actual dogs alone I say.
cheers
Chrissy
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them semantically

Not via "de-sexing" them. No breeding possible, then. If they ... might "breed out" the dangerous trait. Jim Lewis

Actually, what you really want are dogs that are happy and fit well in whatever settings humans want to have them. At the moment, one of the

I think even happy cats like to catch mice. So I don't think it is necessarily lack of happiness that causes some dogs to attack childen and adults.
problems is that people breed for appearance or a single feature rather than overall suitability. Why anyone would want a ... symbol, buy one you can hang from your rearview mirror, and leave the actual dogs alone I say. cheers Chrissy

s/ meirman

If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
now in Baltimore 22 years
them semantically Actually, what you really want are dogs that ... humans want to have them. At the moment, one ofthe

I think even happy cats like to catch mice. So I don't think it is necessarily lack of happiness that causes some dogs to attack childen and adults.

You're right, but it *is* part of dog behaviour to interact with other animals as befits a dog.
Unlike cats, dogs are for the most part, pack animals, and exhibit the behaviours associated therewith. Defending and acquiring territory, according to the pack rules is one of the basic behaviours.

A well trained dog sees its primary carer as the leader of its pack, and learns from the pack leader which situations require aggression and which require submission. In a domestic suburban setting, good owners are training their dogs that the territory is safe from intruders, and that no more than a warning bark is necessary when a stranger appears, that strangers may become welcome visitors when the owner introduces them to the pack, that other dogs are not to be engaged with except as provided under the preceding rule, and so forth.
Dogs who escape often find themselves trying to work out which rules apply when their owners aren't about. Elevated effectively to pack leader, if the dog feels challenged, and has not been properly socialised, it may attack another dog or a person. Being challenged (from a dog's point of view) may amount to nothing more than prolonged eye contact, especially at their eye level. There is some evidence that dogs intepret height as conferring dominance. So an adult, especially a tall adult, may be able to get away with more than a child or small adult. A child may well place his or her face up to the dog's face, and try to be friendly, even as the dog interpeets this as a direct challenge.
If the dogs' MO is submissive, then the dog may lower its ears and roll on its back, offering the other "dog" (child) its throat, and if the other dog responds appropriately (perhaps gently stroking it or walking away) things will be fine. If however, the dog is a dominant dog, it may try to put the challenger in his place, and take a nip at him/her. If the nip comes from a small dog, the damage is unlikely to be serious. But a pit bull or other large dog is entirely another matter. A much larger range of people will present as threatening and elicit the aggressive behaviour.
Being unhappy has little to do with it.
FRAN
There are no bad dogs just bad owners. "Pit Bulls" ... tough. Any dog in the wrong hands can be dangerous.

The trouble is that all the owners say, He's wonderful with children, and they continue to say that after the dog has mauled a kid or two. Maybe all these owners raised them to be vicious, but I don't think that has been proven.

Negligence is as culpable as intent, if it results in one of these celebrated maulings. I think the point is that the owner or handler must be held responsible for the actions of the dog. Some individual dogs may have to be put down, regrettably, if they are a demonstrated public danger; but the only way to control the production of dangerous dogs is to punish the people who train them or keep them.

A ban on "pitbulls"* (as has been said above, the term is used of any blunt-nosed dog in trouble) will only prompt a new crop of doberman-crosses trained to viciousness; as successive large breeds are banned, new ones will be found.
OTOH, given their reputation, it seems to me they are probably bought by those who at least want the threat of having a vicious dog. If people aren't scared of them, the owners, they like the idea that they will be scared of their dog.

Yes, and killing all the "pitbulls" in the world will not change these people, and will not cure the negligence of the larger group who take on a large, potentially dangerous dog, don't train it properly, and then don't control it. My dog is a collie-shepherd (Obtopicality: SHEEPdog) mix, and not aggressive. When I take him out in public, I watch him closely, especially around humans, and correct his behaviour as soon as I see anything undesirable starting. Correction can usually be done with a distracting command or, if the matter is urgent, by moving the dog away from trouble.My friend, who often walks the dog on weekends, is an optimist. He assumes his luck will never fail him and doesn't prepare for disaster. On his watch, the dog once tooth-bashed a six-year-old who had been teasing him. (Tooth-bashing is a rebuke that dogs visit on unruly puppies not impressed by lesser measures like staring. The dog clicks his teeth audibly while striking the puppy with the side of his muzzle, teeth exposed. When this is done to a child, the child will often think, as this one did, that she has been nipped; but there will be no mark to be found.) I don't believe the fault belonged to the dog or the child, here.

The child's parents, or my friend, should have prevented her from treating the dog like a pull-toy; and my friend should have corrected the first sign of anger in the dog (probably a stare) and separated him from the child. On this occasion, he and the dog got away unsanctioned. If he had been walking a "pitbull", they might have made news.
There have been three cases here in the last six months of pit bulls attacking children, and there have been ... pit bulls have been the attackers. This is so even though they are a pretty small percentage of the dogs.

The dogs reported on, that is. See above. I agree that some dogs are naturally better equipped for biting and gripping than others. "Pitbulls" are in this group. When my dog and I run into a new one, I watch it even more carefully than I do my own, talking to it and making frequent eye contact if this doesn't seem to provoke it, ready to move my dog away at the first sign of trouble. Of the dozens of these dogs we have met, there was only one who scared me; most of the others were friendly and gentle. Banning them to eliminate a handful of badly-trained, badly-controlled dogs is not only unfair, it's ineffective in the long term.
CDB, who can tell a moral panic by the way it drools and shows its teeth

*Obaue: I prefer "pitbull" or at worst "pit-bull", since the name is a noun-phrase modifying an unspoken "terrier".
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All that does is cause them to get shepards and raise them to be mean. A standard poodle is as dangerous as any dog.

But it is more funny looking.

Only if it has a "lion clip"; a working poodle doesn't look nearly as silly as the ones that are groomed for show.

Odysseus
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