BOOK REVIEW OF: “Wallace” the pit bull, authored by Jim Gorant

The dangers of pit bull activists living among us:

Clara and Roo Yori live in the same city as I do, Rochester, MN. In 1995, I adopted a border collie mix from the same no-kill shelter, Paws and Claws Humane Society (PCHS), as the Yoris adopted Wallace in 2005. I was curious to read their book to get a glimpse of the mindset of people who promote pit bulls as safe family pets and claim pit bulls are just like any other dog breeds.

In 2004, the Yoris adopted their first PCHS non-pit-bull dog that was human aggressive. My first impression was the Yoris seem to be drawn to dogs that are high liability and have aggression issues that they think they can fix and control.

In 2004, Clara Yori started working for PCHS. She was drawn to one of the shelter dogs. Wallace the pit bull who had aggression issues and behavior issues of being too hyper. Roo Yori started volunteering and working with Wallace with weight pulling exercises to release Wallace’s out-of-control energy.

History of Wallace: A backyard pit bull breeder died. The police officers found pit bulls and pit bull puppies on the property. One of the officers adopted Wallace the puppy but after two years he could not handle Wallace anymore. He lied to PCHS said he found Wallace as a stray. The PCHS agreed to find him a home.

PCHS has three colors that helps describe the temperament of the shelter dogs. Green dogs could be handled by anyone. Purple handled by staffers and certain volunteers. Red dogs were off-limits to any but a select group. Wallace was coded as RED which meant only four people were allowed to work with him because of being difficult with aggression issues and behavior issues.

Wallace was a regular topic on the PCHS message board for volunteers expressing their concerns of Wallace’s aggression issues.

Wallace had an incident where he seriously bit a dog in the next kennel. My impression was that the staffer was afraid to go into Wallace’s kennel to get him to release the other dog’s paw, but went into the kennel of the dog being bitten to pull the paw away from Wallace’s mouth.

The PCHS board was getting wind of this and was seriously thinking Wallace is a dangerous dog that needs to be euthanized.

Clara and Roo Yori convinced the shelter board to release the pit bull to another rescue and then PCHS would not be liable.

This is when the Yoris became Wallace’s foster family. The Yoris used a crate and rotate routine with their three dogs since they did not all get along. Wallace had a behavior problem they were continually dealing with: peeing in his crate, which was ruining the floor.

To release Wallace’s excessive energy, Roo used a spring pole. Roo felt guilty using it because it is what dog fighters use spring poles to strengthen their pit bulls’ jaws and neck muscles. Wallace would hang on it for 30 minutes before getting tired. This piece of exercise equipment demonstrates the pit bull’s natural inherited breed trait for bull-baiting and dog fighting. In the eyes of a dog fighter, Wallace would have been a great candidate because of excessive energy, stamina, focus, gameness trait, determination, intensity and aggression towards other dogs. WATCH:

Roo entered Wallace in weight pulling competitions, during which Wallace showed great potential. Roo hoped this would help finding Wallace a new family. No luck.

While playing with Wallace, Roo notice Wallace had potential for catching the disc and started entering him into flying-disc competitions. He did let the organizers of the event know that Wallace does not like all dogs. Word got around that there would be an ‘aggressive pit bull’ at the event. It did bother Roo but he thought to himself better to be safe than sorry. Again, during these events the Yoris were hoping a potential adopter would step forward. Even though Wallace performed well, he garnered no interest. So after the two Disc competitions they adopted Wallace.

Not much later, Clara quit her job at PCHS. The Yoris had a falling out with PCHS board because of the policy of euthanizing dangerous dogs. I consider PCHS already lax on what is consider a dangerous dog. If PCHS does put a dangerous dog down it must be extremely dangerous. There have been so many power breeds re-homed by PCHS. I would NOT want to live in my neighborhood because of concerns for other people’s pets and children.

Yori’s line of thinking is out of line with the rest of society. The rest of us do not want to live next to your rehab dangerous dog that you think you have fixed and can control. Dangerous dogs are zero-mistake dogs and people make too mistakes. I do consider this a public safety flaw in people who rescue dangerous dogs.

Even though Wallace was a successful and accomplished athlete and won competitions and became a world champion disc dog, it does not inspire me in the least to go and get a pit bull as a pet. Wallace’s story reaffirms my opinion that pit bulls do not make safe, easy going family pets. Wallace was an overwhelming project during which constant supervision over his behavior and liability concerns were constant thoughts for the Yoris. This is not what normal families are looking for in a pet. People do not want to have to worry about their pet every moment, worrying they might be sued for their pet’s misbehavior.

I read the first printing of the book in September 2012. On page 166, Roo repeated two falsehoods about pit bulls: 1) In the early 1900s, pit bulls had been all-purpose family dogs known for solid temperament, and 2) Pit bulls were considered nanny dogs in England. I sure hope if this book has been reprinted that these falsehoods are retracted or in the future the Yoris could face legal consequences.

There are still too many pit-bull advocates repeating the nanny myth. It was started by a pit bull breeder to soften the image of the breed and as an advertising gimmick in the 1990s to sell more pit bulls. UPDATE 5/21/13: Two years and nine months after the Nanny Dog Myth Revealed was first published, BAD RAP, a major pit bull advocacy group publicly announced that it will no longer support the Nanny Dog myth because it endangers children. While it is too late for many children, hopefully many will be saved in the future.

From Bad Rap: “Did you know that there was never such thing as a ‘Nanny’s Dog’? This term was a recent invention created to describe the myriad of vintage photos of children enjoying their family pit bulls. While the intention behind the term was innocent, using it may mislead parents into being careless with their children around their family dog – A recipe for dog bites!”

197 children killed by pit bull type dogs.

In my opinion, the nanny dog myth ALONE should be enough to sink the entire pit bull advocacy.

The Correct History:

I hope you will read the entire breed bio for the American Pit Bull Terrier on our website to have a better understanding of why pit bulls disproportionately kill more humans and animals than all breeds combined. I will give you a few paragraphs, but it will be up to you to click on the link and read the entire thing.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights7,8,9. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets10,11. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers12.

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history and bloodline deep rooted in the blood sports of animal baiting and dogfighting. As with all breeds, they retain their original traits. They often to do not accept other animals, especially dogs, and can be extremely aggressive towards them. They may accept animals they are raised with, but have been known to kill other family pets even after years of living together happily.

It is recommended that American Pit Bull Terrier owners have and carry a break stick17. A break stick is a device designed to open a Pit Bull type dog’s mouth while it is engaged in fighting. Pit Bull type breeds have a very distinctive fighting style and often will latch on their opponent and not let go. They usually will shake the other animal violently when they are latched on. This can cause horrific damage quickly. The break stick was designed by dog fighters to be inserted into the Pit Bull’s mouth and release his grip. The original purpose was to safely end a dog fight. The break stick often is the ONLY thing that will release the dog’s grip. People have been known to hit Pit Bulls with objects such as a bat or even shoot them and the dog still will not let go. Bully Breed owners should always have one handy in cause of an emergency. The break stick is not safe to use on other breeds of dogs and is only recommended for dogs in the Pit Bull family that were once used for dog fighting purposes.

Read the full breed bio:

Pit bulls have been selectively bred for high aggression for hundreds of years for blood sports. They are not safe or appropriate pets and should never be considered as such. Not all pit bulls will maim or kill but predicting which ones will is impossible.

Pit bull type dogs make-up 6% of the U.S. dog population but they kill more than 95% of the 50,000 people, pets and livestock killed every year in the U.S. If you take the time to read these tragedies most of the pit bulls that killed came from loving homes. From 2005-2015, 231 people killed by pit bull type dogs.

How many animals killed by pit bulls: