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In the Middle or on the Outs: Pit Bulls in Maryland

  

Pit bulls can indeed be trained or bred to be aggressive: They were responsible for 66 of the 238 human dog-bite-related fatalities in the United States from 1979-98, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Rottweilers had the second-highest number of bite fatalities, with 39.

In Montgomery County alone, the Department of Police Animal Services Division recorded 17 pit bull bites so far this year, out of 250 attacks.

Many proponents of a pit bull ban note the dog's strong jaw, which locks shut on prey. Because of this, pit bull attacks tend to be more harmful than attacks by other dogs. 

Signs like the one at left, spotted at the Montgomery County Humane Society, are sometimes found on cages of dogs involved in attacks.

Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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