The Pit-Bull Predicament

7/26/2010 Update:

Pit Bull owners encounter problems in Hoboken…

Updating this general Pit Bull story from last fall – it seems that if you own one, your choice of living arrangements in Hoboken is slim. Many buildings now have rules against Pit Bulls. Other than finding a brownstone or non-managed dwelling – what advice do you have for Hoboken411 reader Beth who sent this letter in?

Are you an unfit renter if you own a Pit Bull?

“My husband and I have been volunteering our free time for the past 10 months at a local shelter in Jersey City. We spent time walking, training and socializing dogs so that they become more ‘adoptable’. After months of helping out, we fell in love with a sweet, timid pit bull terrier named ‘Honey’ whom we eventually rescued and brought into our own home. She had the initial ‘rescue’ anxiety, shadowing us for a couple of weeks, but soon relished her independence and was happy and content to be home in her new environment.

I’ll cut to the chase: our lease is ending soon, and my husband and I are looking for apartments. Little did I know, that my sweet, 40lb lap dog of a pit bull, whom I call ‘mouse’ because she’s as quiet as one, is unwanted and discriminated against by almost every major leasing/management company in the city of Hoboken.

“Breed Legislation,” they call it. I call it Breed Discrimination.

After a few Web searches, turns out that Curling Club, Grand Adams, Shipyard, all Applied buildings, Archstone, Observer Park just to name a few will not have our monthly rent check, because of our rescue dog.

I cringe when I hear people playing into the whole media thing about how pits with negligent owners ‘maul’ or ‘attack’ someone. I agree that there are horrible people out there that do not properly keep after their pits. Any kind of animal, I don’t care what breed, will act out improperly if not given the proper care, attention and discipline by a caring owner. Pits are very powerful and need to be trained and socialized by responsible, loving people. Unfortunately there are many pit owners out there who acquire these dogs for the wrong reasons, further feeding into the bad rap that people who don’t know the breed well, like to share and use as grounds for breed discrimination legislation. As one of the many Pit lovers out there, I say with a heavy (and exhausted) heart, that I do not believe there is any legitimate reason that my own dog (and in turn my husband and I), are discriminated against when it comes to looking for a new home. ‘Mouse’ loves children, the elderly, doesn’t chew, jump, bite, even avoids the couch where she knows she isn’t allowed. I heard her bark once and it was at a fly on the wall.

I can’t help but think about my last residence, last year at 333 River Street, before we had our dog. Our neighbor had a fluffy yappy purse-sized dog whom loved to chew the interiors of the apartment into saw-dust, unwravel the bedroom carpet, and wake up neighbors in the wee hours of the morning with its high pitched bark. Another neighbor had a toddler who complained of being followed and bitten by the fluffy furball in question. But friends, that’s ok, because the dog isn’t a pit bull, right? I just found out that 333 River Street is one of the most recent management companies in Hoboken to enact a breed restriction within their contracts. Funny, because at least my dog would never chew the inside of their apartments. Good luck with that, Applied.

I find it very ironic that my husband and I, as outstanding citizens of Hoboken, are devoting our time and love to this once abandoned animal, and now are seen as unfit rentors within the city. Which, is completely full of bully dog breed owners. Where are they all living?”

Any advice?

See original story about Pit Bulls getting a “bad rap,” after the jump!

Pit Bulls get bad rap!

11/5/2009:

Pit Bulls (and Pit Bull Mixes) have long had a “bad rap,” from glamorized stories of vicious attacks, to being trained in improper ways. While many responsible Pit owners raise their dogs in a healthy, positive environment – there is still some debate about a specific genetic component of the breed that cannot be undone.

A conversation has come to surface recently, suggesting that once the “door has been unlocked” in a particular Pit Bull – regardless of how normal the dog’s temperament is – that perhaps the dog in question avoid the relatively small dog runs when other dogs are present. Upon hearing of a surprising & unfortunate incident with a friendly and well-liked rescued Pit-mix, Hoboken411 reader Leslie reached out to a friend, Maire, who is a very well informed and responsible rescue pit owner (With a lot of open space in CA vs. the limited parks in Hoboken) asking, “Should we welcome into small Elysian off-leash dog run an otherwise friendly little pittie girl who snapped, attacking another dog?”

pit-bulls-get-bad-rap-marie_monte_badrapshirt

How to handle the Pit-Bull problem?

“My friend Marie, who lives on Treasure Island in SF Bay with her gorgeous and smart Pit buddy, Monte, advises …

“Ummm… dog parks… sigh.
Small dog park… bigger sigh.

Unfortunately due to the politics involving Pits, I wouldn’t recommend a dog park for political reasons, above and beyond the behavioral issues.

The ‘problem’ is other breeds often start things, but a Pit will finish it. You can’t ignore the breed’s genetic make up, which many Pit owners do. It is for this reason, I don’t recommend dog parks, let alone a *small one,” to Pit owners. (Arrggghhh… too many clueless owners who think it is the place to give their dogs a taste of freedom, before they have a decent recall/basic obedience.)

If you see [the aggressive Pit] there again, I’d mention the issues with the breed, politically, and that it might not be good idea to take his/her dog to a dog park.

I’d also question the age of the dog as being a possible reason for a ‘change’ in behavior. As Pits mature, they can become Dog Aggressive (DA) which does not correlate to Human Aggressive (HA). If the dog is about 3 years old, its owner may notice a change from Dog Social to DA.

I’d be concerned that the dog now knows what an adrenaline rush feels like… It can take only one good fight/hit to create an addict.

Here’s some info:
pbrc.net/socializing.html
badrap.org/rescue/dogpark.cfm

And if the owner says he/she plans to keep coming to the dog park, show him/her this: pbrc.net/breaksticks.html and ask him/her to have one in their physical possession if they plan to have their dog at the park. It might save a life.}

Marie”

In summary, though I’ve never felt threatened by our local rescue Pit friends, thought Marie’s advice was sage nonetheless, especially since Marie is such a fan of and good trainer of Pit rescues.

What are your thoughts about Pit Bulls these days?

57 Responses

  1. la-di-da says:

    If I were you, I’d much rather not have to deal with a major management/leasing company and all their cookie-cutter places. Not to mention all the neighbors in a big building who aren’t going to like you dog. Why not just find a garden-level apartment in a brownstone that may even have a small backyard?

  2. theins says:

    First of all, it doesn’t matter how good of an owner or how much training you give a dog, any and all dogs have a chance of snapping. Repeat ANY AND ALL DOGS. Dogs while domesticated over hundreds of years, are still animals and as such you can’t full predict how they will act in any given situation. How many dog attacks (not just pitbulls) do the owners think it would never happen?

    Back to the point at hand, i understand why some management companies are willing to ban certain breeds of dogs because at the end of the day some breeds of dogs can do more damage then other dogs. Plain and simple. The pit bull attack here in Hoboken show that.

    If you owned a building with multiple tenants, would you want to take the chance or the liability of having a pit bull snap and attack people in your building. With the way lawyers are nowadays, you would msot likely get sued along with the owner of the pit bull for allowing the dog in your building, no matter how much protection you have.

    These property companies are doing what they feel necessary to protect themselves, you can’t fault them for that.

  3. emarche says:

    Judging by the amount of blood in the hallway as a result of the…what was it? oh that’s right: pit bull attack…I can clearly understand why the Shipyward (or any other building, for that matter) banned pit bulls from their buildings. I’m glad they did. And let’s be clear about something: the pit bull involved in that attack was by many accounts “harmless”. Didn’t stop it from severely injuring not one, but several people. It’s not ‘breed discrimination’, it’s common sense.

    • lhoward222 says:

      Funny, how soon we forget that horrible incident.[quote comment=”195065″]Judging by the amount of blood in the hallway as a result of the…what was it? oh that’s right: pit bull attack…I can clearly understand why the Shipyward (or any other building, for that matter) banned pit bulls from their buildings. I’m glad they did. And let’s be clear about something: the pit bull involved in that attack was by many accounts “harmless”. Didn’t stop it from severely injuring not one, but several people. It’s not ‘breed discrimination’, it’s common sense.[/quote]

    • esw7178 says:

      Some of you keep stating that it’s not the dog but, the owner… Well, how am I supposed to know if you are a good owner? How do I know you trained your dog well and that it’s not aggressive? The author of this letter stated that the dog came from a shelter. Why was the dog in the shelter? And, what was the dog’s life before the shelter? Unless, you know the owner and the dog’s history there is no way to be 100% positive that the dog will not be aggressive.

      I know how strong their jaw muscles are; and, what kind of damage they can do. Since, there is no way for me to know if you are a good owner, or that your dog wasn’t abused in some sort of capacity then, I would prefer not to place myself into a situation where I am near a Pit. I am very happy that my building does not allow Pits.

      Also, 333 River is owned by the same management company that owns the Shipyard, where that “harmless” Pit attacked 3 people. They have banned a few larger breds from all of their buildings. [quote comment=”195065″]Judging by the amount of blood in the hallway as a result of the…what was it? oh that’s right: pit bull attack…I can clearly understand why the Shipyward (or any other building, for that matter) banned pit bulls from their buildings. I’m glad they did. And let’s be clear about something: the pit bull involved in that attack was by many accounts “harmless”. Didn’t stop it from severely injuring not one, but several people. It’s not ‘breed discrimination’, it’s common sense.[/quote]

      • Easy-E says:

        What’s with people making excuses for animal behavior? Especially the one’s that have had the benefit of being domesticated? “Oh, you can’t blame the dog, he’s just doing what comes naturally!” My question is simple: What if your dog is just an asshole?

        Humans have a range of behaviors too, but you don’t see many people say, “Well that’s just Joe, I’m sorry he grabbed your boob and ate fries off your plate and sexually assaulted your leg while biting you, he’s just following his instincts!”[quote comment=”195087″]Some of you keep stating that it’s not the dog but, the owner… Well, how am I supposed to know if you are a good owner? How do I know you trained your dog well and that it’s not aggressive? The author of this letter stated that the dog came from a shelter. Why was the dog in the shelter? And, what was the dog’s life before the shelter? Unless, you know the owner and the dog’s history there is no way to be 100% positive that the dog will not be aggressive. I know how strong their jaw muscles are; and, what kind of damage they can do. Since, there is no way for me to know if you are a good owner, or that your dog wasn’t abused in some sort of capacity then, I would prefer not to place myself into a situation where I am near a Pit. I am very happy that my building does not allow Pits.Also, 333 River is owned by the same management company that owns the Shipyard, where that “harmless” Pit attacked 3 people. They have banned a few larger breds from all of their buildings.

        [/quote]

  4. xyzpdq says:

    I see two kinds of Pit Bull owners in Hoboken. The first is your stereotypical urban Pit Bull owner sporting pants that sit well below the waste. They gets a kick out of watching people crap their pants and cross the street to get out of the way of their barking attack dog. The other type is the Hoboken yuppie who thinks they’re saving the world by adopting a dog that is bred to be aggressive. When their sweet little lapdog attacks they blame the victim. If I owned an apartment building I’d ban Pit Bulls too.

    • escaped68 says:

      Yes there are 2 different types of pitbull owners the ones that have been bit and the ones that haven’t been bit–yet.[quote comment=”195074″]I see two kinds of Pit Bull owners in Hoboken. The first is your stereotypical urban Pit Bull owner sporting pants that sit well below the waste. They gets a kick out of watching people crap their pants and cross the street to get out of the way of their barking attack dog. The other type is the Hoboken yuppie who thinks they’re saving the world by adopting a dog that is bred to be aggressive. When their sweet little lapdog attacks they blame the victim. If I owned an apartment building I’d ban Pit Bulls too.[/quote]

      • Furey says:

        Isn’t that there’s two kinds of Republicans: Republicans and Democrats who haven’t been mugged?
        [quote comment=”195076″]Yes there are 2 different types of pitbull owners the ones that have been bit and the ones that haven’t been bit–yet.

        [/quote]

  5. Stabone130 says:

    I have a pit and the neighbors in our building love him — he doesn’t bark, cause trouble, chew on anything…..we had renters move in last year with two yappie Yorkies. It got to a point where the landlord had to kick them out — every unit had complained about their non-stop barking. Yes, pit bulls are terrible.

    • getz76 says:

      Pit bulls are dangerous from an underwriting standpoint. That is different than being terrible. Yorkies are annoying, which is different than being dangerous. The statistics (which are used for underwriting and pricing) show pit bulls cause more maiming and deaths than any other breed.

      Skydiving is inherently dangerous, which is why you will notice that your life insurance policy likely excludes death or disability claims for injuries which occur during skydiving (and sometimes base-jumping).

      A landlord that is allowing pitbulls knowingly likely has no idea how much exposure he is open to if there is an event. There are a couple of carriers that do not have pit bull clauses (I think Chubb is the only big one in NJ). Even then, the rates are going to be higher.[quote comment=”195070″]I have a pit and the neighbors in our building love him — he doesn’t bark, cause trouble, chew on anything…..we had renters move in last year with two yappie Yorkies. It got to a point where the landlord had to kick them out — every unit had complained about their non-stop barking. Yes, pit bulls are terrible.[/quote]

      • HOB424 says:

        landlords have a right to state they don’t want pets on their property. Safety is an issue, but also noise. When you leave the dog home, noone wants to listen to it bark. You have another option, buy a place and you can make your own rules.[quote comment=”195083″]Pit bulls are dangerous from an underwriting standpoint. That is different than being terrible. Yorkies are annoying, which is different than being dangerous. The statistics (which are used for underwriting and pricing) show pit bulls cause more maiming and deaths than any other breed. Skydiving is inherently dangerous, which is why you will notice that your life insurance policy likely excludes death or disability claims for injuries which occur during skydiving (and sometimes base-jumping). A landlord that is allowing pitbulls knowingly likely has no idea how much exposure he is open to if there is an event. There are a couple of carriers that do not have pit bull clauses (I think Chubb is the only big one in NJ). Even then, the rates are going to be higher.[/quote]

      • HansBrix says:

        Property damage too. Dogs can wreck a place.

        I knew a golden retriever once that reenacted Shawshank Redemption on the front door and adjacent wall. [quote comment=”195097″]landlords have a right to state they don’t want pets on their property. Safety is an issue, but also noise. When you leave the dog home, noone wants to listen to it bark. You have another option, buy a place and you can make your own rules.

        [/quote]

  6. wiskeytango1 says:

    pit bulls dobermans ratwallerdogs were cross bread for a reason…Satan cross bread. kiddies during ww2 these dogs tore apart us pows trying to escape as well as jewish people in the death camps..before they made it to the electrified fences.. intelligent people should not keep these dogs in a confined apt duplex condo or other wise…I forgot a dog named german shepphard..same chit.The weight limit in the shipyard and constitution bldgs is around 40lbs?? I see water buffalos dropping turds that a front end loader can only pick up..kids play in the grass..thats up to the health dept dog off leash report it..will not learn untill a tragic incident… Of course just my silly opinion.be damed if i take my grand kids for a walk on the waterfront..wisen up health dept..two dogs shot already when the owner had them under control..i have a bridge i can sell you..these animals belong in the country.. :roll:

  7. wiskeytango1 says:

    pits dont get a bad rap ..take a walk to the west side most of you reformers fear to thread and see how many to protect the drug dealers..bad rap? knock on any door in one of these suspected bldgs … :mrgreen:

  8. pawzclawz says:

    I was petting and playing with a pit bull at the downtown farmers market last evening. I can’t say for certain if it was the same dog as in the picture. It certainly looked like it was. In any case,I can’t state enough how sweet that dog was. I know the reputation that pits have. I’m aware of the damage they can cause. I used to stop and pet and play with Giant as well,whenever I saw him. He never showed any signs of aggression towards me. Giant snapped because his owner was abusing him. Whomever Giant’s owner is deserves the same treatment,he was giving Giant. I’m just trying to say that any dog will snap if they’re being abused, and if they are treated with love,they will respond with love.

    • whineanddineinhob says:

      The only thing to say is that you “lucked out”. These pit bulls don’t always their aggression 24/7; there are times they just “freak out”. I wouldn’t push my luck. Your next response my have a different outcome.[quote comment=”195142″]I was petting and playing with a pit bull at the downtown farmers market last evening. I can’t say for certain if it was the same dog as in the picture. It certainly looked like it was. In any case,I can’t state enough how sweet that dog was. I know the reputation that pits have. I’m aware of the damage they can cause. I used to stop and pet and play with Giant as well,whenever I saw him. He never showed any signs of aggression towards me. Giant snapped because his owner was abusing him. Whomever Giant’s owner is deserves the same treatment,he was giving Giant. I’m just trying to say that any dog will snap if they’re being abused, and if they are treated with love,they will respond with love.[/quote]

      • pawzclawz says:

        To quote you, I have “lucked out” quite a bit. I was playing with another pit on Washington St.last week, again a very sweet dog. I got off work one night. I was by The PATH station. A man was with his children,he was wating for someone. He had a pitbull puppy next to him. The puppy was leashed. The owner wasn’t holding the leash. He should have been. The puppy walked over to me and sat down by my side. I’ve had worse experiences with the smaller dogs than with pits.
        A few years ago,I was walking a Golden Retriever by the uptown waterfront. A man was sitting having coffee. He had two lap dogs with him. The one lap dog takes off after the retriever I was walking and bites him on the leg. I will be fair and acknowledge the ONE bad experience I had with a pit. I was asked to house sit once for a few hours with a lap dog and a pit. This pit was adopted from Liberty Humane Society. He was very aggressive toward me. I’m sure it was because he was abused in the past. I did not do that petsitting/housesitting job. [quote comment=”195143″]The only thing to say is that you “lucked out”. These pit bulls don’t always their aggression 24/7; there are times they just “freak out”. I wouldn’t push my luck. Your next response my have a different outcome.[/quote]

      • whineanddineinhob says:

        Not sure if it was a pit bull, but Dave (the owner of Madison Bar) bent down to what seemed like a friendly dog and it took a chunk out of his lip that required plastic surgery. Sometimes the dog doesn’t have to be bred to attack, sometime it’s just a defense mode that kicks in. I’d be careful. I’m a dog lover too, but kind of wary.[quote comment=”195144″]To quote you, I have “lucked out” quite a bit. I was playing with another pit on Washington St.last week, again a very sweet dog. I got off work one night. I was by The PATH station. A man was with his children,he was wating for someone. He had a pitbull puppy next to him. The puppy was leashed. The owner wasn’t holding the leash. He should have been. The puppy walked over to me and sat down by my side. I’ve had worse experiences with the smaller dogs than with pits.
        A few years ago,I was walking a Golden Retriever by the uptown waterfront. A man was sitting having coffee. He had two lap dogs with him. The one lap dog takes off after the retriever I was walking and bites him on the leg. I will be fair and acknowledge the ONE bad experience I had with a pit. I was asked to house sit once for a few hours with a lap dog and a pit. This pit was adopted from Liberty Humane Society. He was very aggressive toward me. I’m sure it was because he was abused in the past. I did not do that petsitting/housesitting job.

        [/quote]

      • pawzclawz says:

        I remember hearing about that.I’m not sure if it was a pit myself.It really stinks that happened to Dave. I’m not trying to blame him but there are ways to approach an unfamiliar dog and bending down is not one of them.If the tail is wagging and the dog appears friendly,offer the back of your hand. [quote comment=”195147″]Not sure if it was a pit bull, but Dave (the owner of Madison Bar) bent down to what seemed like a friendly dog and it took a chunk out of his lip that required plastic surgery. Sometimes the dog doesn’t have to be bred to attack, sometime it’s just a defense mode that kicks in. I’d be careful. I’m a dog lover too, but kind of wary.[/quote]

      • emarche says:

        Excellent point re: approaching an unfamiliar dog. Given the notion that ‘any dog can bite’, it’s surprising to see just how many people saunter up to unfamiliar animals and expect a warm reception. A couple of weeks ago I got on to our elevator with a mother and her child. Two floors up, a guy got on with his golden retriever and the child immediately rushed the dog, arms wide open. Two things happened, one worthy of praise and the other worthy of a shiny new “World’s Worst Parent” medal:

        1. Man w/ dog immediately immediately put himself between the dog and the child.

        2. The mother said, “Oh it’s no big deal – don’t worry about it.”

        Some people get it, but unfortunately most people don’t.
        [quote comment=”195152″]I remember hearing about that.I’m not sure if it was a pit myself.It really stinks that happened to Dave. I’m not trying to blame him but there are ways to approach an unfamiliar dog and bending down is not one of them.If the tail is wagging and the dog appears friendly,offer the back of your hand.

        [/quote]

      • hoboken411 says:

        @emarche – great point. I can’t tell you how many times I have Oscar chained outside a bodega or coffee shop that people walk up to him like it’s a frickin FREE PETTING ZOO.

        I don’t go walking up to people, babies or other dogs and start touching them, lay your hands off my dog when he’s unattended – and you’ll be fine. Otherwise it’s your risk for any injury you might receive.

        I mean, rabid animals exist in the wild, as well as the city – raccoons, skunks, beavers (or whatever they’re called), even those feral cats all over Hoboken. Just because a dog is “domesticated,” on a leash and has a fruity collar – doesn’t change the rules about animals.

        Common sense, folks.[quote comment=”195153″]Excellent point re: approaching an unfamiliar dog. Given the notion that ‘any dog can bite’, it’s surprising to see just how many people saunter up to unfamiliar animals and expect a warm reception. A couple of weeks ago I got on to our elevator with a mother and her child. Two floors up, a guy got on with his golden retriever and the child immediately rushed the dog, arms wide open. Two things happened, one worthy of praise and the other worthy of a shiny new “World’s Worst Parent” medal:
        1. Man w/ dog
        immediately put himself between the dog and the child.
        2. The mother said, “Oh it’s no big deal – don’t worry about it.”
        Some people get it, but unfortunately most people don’t.

        [/quote]

      • getz76 says:

        Good on the dog owner.

        God, the mother is the reason I hate people.[quote comment=”195153″]Excellent point re: approaching an unfamiliar dog. Given the notion that ‘any dog can bite’, it’s surprising to see just how many people saunter up to unfamiliar animals and expect a warm reception. A couple of weeks ago I got on to our elevator with a mother and her child. Two floors up, a guy got on with his golden retriever and the child immediately rushed the dog, arms wide open. Two things happened, one worthy of praise and the other worthy of a shiny new “World’s Worst Parent” medal:1. Man w/ dog immediately put himself between the dog and the child. 2. The mother said, “Oh it’s no big deal – don’t worry about it.” Some people get it, but unfortunately most people don’t.

        [/quote]

  9. hoboken411 says:

    Most people forget that any dog can bite you. They all have teeth. Sure, some dogs like pits are stronger, and may have a “reputation that precedes them,” and hey – perhaps it is “built into the breed.”

    But as previous commenters mentioned, much of (any) dog’s distemper is based on the owner, his environment, and training.

    All dog owners need to assume the “alpha” position, no matter how cute and precious. The dog must know who the leader is. If the dog doesn’t respect the owner, you have potential problems down the line.

Leave a Reply