Friday, December 27, 2013

Locking Jaws: II

Revised: Dec 28, 2013; 20:45 GMT
Revised: Dec 28, 2013; 21:55 GMT

To Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin,

We understand that you have studied the jaw mechanism of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), and are considered by many to be an expert on this subject. Numerous animal welfare institutions, pit bull rescues, and other pit bull advocacy groups often refer to your research in their materials. In one excerpt, which is widely available on the internet, you state that pit bulls display no evidence of a locking mechanism:
The studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that , in proportion to their size, their jaw structure, and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any other breed of dog of comparable size and build. Further, there is no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaws and / or teeth of pit bulls.1
We would like to bring to your attention a recently published account of a pit bull attack on a 3-year old champion horse. The article summarizes the efforts of a neighbor to stop the attack:
[Zamora] picked up a nearby semi-rotted piece of plywood laying on the side of Gladiola Ave. and smashed the board across the body of one of the biting dogs, but to no avail, he said.

After I hit them, they didn’t budge,” Zamora said. “They would not release (the horse)."

[He] then grabbed several four-inch thick dry fire logs stacked in his front yard and wielded them at the pit bulls, but the dogs would not release their mouths, jaws tightly clenched around the horse’s legs and mouth.

[He] then ran to retrieve a child’s pink BB gun from his nearby garage, and whacked one of the canines with the butt of the children’s rifle, but the weapon only cracked in two places, and the stubborn pit bulls only continued their assault.

[He then] grabbed another piece of random side-of-the-road scrap wood, and struck one of the dogs across the skull.

The horse was so panicked that . . . ran over to the driver’s side of the vehicle, and as the driver opened the cab and attempted to exit the vehicle, the horse stuck its head inside and front hooves into the vehicle in an attempt to get away.

[Zamora] believes one of the two dogs that he struck across the skull died as a result of his injuries.
* * * * * 

This account describes in unembellished terms the tenacity pit bulls are known for. You might agree that dogmen (ie, traditional dogfighters) would refer to this trait as gameness. Journalists describing attacks, as well as victims of attacks, have sometimes used the expression "locking jaws" while describing such attacks. I think we can all agree it would be churlish to quibble over terminology in the face of such attacks.

The trait itself is undisputed, whatever we might chose to call it. I assume this trait is one of the reasons you use pit bulls to hunt hogs.

* * * * * 

Your record of service as an expert witness in judicial proceedings has earned a certain renown for you, both among advocates of pit bulls, as well as among those who would impose restrictions on them. And as you have made your services as an expert witness publicly available,2 you may therefore have valuable insights to offer on the recent attack on the horse in Montgomery County, Texas.

We therefore offer to meet with you to discuss this attack. To guarantee that the outcome of our discussion will not end in dispute we propose that our exchange be held before members of the press.

In addition, Miguel Zamora, the good Samaritan who saved the horse, should be present, so we can understand more clearly the behavior of the attacking pit bulls and Mr Zamora's efforts to save the horse. And finally, we will request the presence of the owner of the horse, who will doubtless be able to comment on the relevance of the term locking jaws.

* * * * *
1 The American Pit Bull Terrier
2 American Canine Federation Expert Witness List

Neighbor fights off dogs' brutal attack on horse
   The Courier (Montgomery Cty, TX); December 21, 2013
Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin offers expert testimony in defense of dogfighting videos

Related Post:
Locking Jaws: I

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US