The Pit Bull Federation of South Africa reads with great sadness of the death of the little girl in KZN.

The Pit Bull Federation of South Africa reads with great sadness of the death of the little girl in KZN. As an organisation we extend our deepest sympathies to her family.

We would like to firstly go on record saying that the ” well known rescuers” who are being referred to do not have the necessary behavioural qualifications to assess and rehabilitate these dogs. Furthermore any pit bull who mauls a human being should ethically be euthanised. We refer you to Dr Ian Dunbars bite scale.

The American Pit Bull Terrier, when bred correctly is not ever human aggressive. The breeds history as a fighting dog meant that it had to be handled inside of the pit without showing any kind of human aggression. Dogs who showed this trait were culled. The american pit bull terrier shows a propensity for dog aggression but human aggression is a serious temperament fault and should never be tolerated.

So why do these attacks happen? The breed in South Africa is in deep trouble and there are many people to blame.

1: Backyard breeders: We include both the breeder who breeds unregistered dogs, and those who think they know what they are doing by breeding dogs who are merely registered. A dogs temperament is over 60% inherited. That means a dog is born with a set of genetics that predetermined at the time of conception. Sadly these breeders know nothing about genetics, they do not know their dogs lineages or they make them up as they go along. They sell dogs with faulty temperaments to anyone who will buy their puppies. These dogs cannot be changed. Their faulty temperaments cannot be loved or raised away. As an organisation we strongly urge the public to STAY AWAY from buying puppies from anyone who sells online or who can only tell you they issue papers. We as an organisation have an accredited breeder scheme. These breeders are screened, they show and work with their dogs, they very seldom have puppies and most have what is known as a closed yard. which means that they do not sell puppies to the public and their dogs are not available for stud. Alternatively we will refer you to an ethically run shelter who the public can adopt from. But please stop buying from just anyone.

2: Irresponsible rescue, the pit bull advocacy groups and the myths: Through well meaning attempts to clean up the breeds image, have spread many untruths about the breed. There is a common myth that floats around that states that the pit bull was once known as the nanny dog, bred to look after children. This is not true. The American Pit Bull Terrier was bred for one thing only. dog on dog combat in the pit. They do have a very high tolerance and do get on well with children but should never be left alone with a child. Futhermore the pit bull terrier has been portrayed as the ultimate family dog. The dog for every single home. Rescuers irresponsibly place unstable dogs in homes, because they believe all dogs deserve a chance. These dogs then go on to maul children. These dogs are not for everyone. They are a high maintenance, intense breed who is too much dog for the average person or pet home. They require a home that is dedicated to early and ongoing socialisation and force free training. They require non stop environmental management and are a full time dedication. Shelters who have claimed to have rehabbed dogs but who do not work with a behaviourist or who have a behaviourist on staff are not rehabilitating the dogs, they are in effect practicing the “band aid approach”, the dogs behavioural issues are not addressed they are suppressed, like a wound that has a band aid put on it, but is never allowed to heal. Eventually that band aid will fall off and that septic wound will burst, and the results are always tragic. We encourage the public looking to adopt to request their dogs full behavioural evaluation done by an ACCREDITED behaviourist. The PBFSA endorses and recognises the Animal Behaviour Consultants of South Africa as a legitimate, force free organisation, whos behaviourists are ethical and can be trusted. We strongly urge rescue organisations to put away their egos and their need for glory and to to consult with this body.

3: Unrealistic, often irresponsible owners: Owners need to start being made accountable for their actions and need to start becoming honest with themselves about what they expect from the family dog. Before considering the pit bull become familiar with the breed especially its limitations. These are powerful dogs who if not bred, handled and managed correctly can cause extensive injury or even death. Children should always be supervised around the family dog, and should be taught basic dog etiquette. Adults should not expect of the family dog to just tolerate whatever abuse is thrown their way by kids. Every dog has its’ limits. Be responsible. When you have visitors put your dog away. There is no need for your dog to be subjected to the pawings of strangers, TAKE YOUR DOG TO A FORCE FREE TRAINER! This breed needs early and ongoing socialisation and training. If you cannot offer this to your dog, then please do not get a pit bull. In fact do not get a dog.

We invite the media and the public to contact our PRO department should they have any questions regarding the breed. We can be reached at

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