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YV, Pit Bulls Attack, Canine Aggression and Genetic Control

By   /   August 21, 2011  /   6 Comments

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James Sharp reports today that  “Juanita is actually doing very well.  She was up and  walking around yesterday. My grandson and I went to the hospital and spent the day with her — had a picnic in the grass at the hospital where she is allowed to go outside and  she is able to carry her pump in her right… .

An angry pit bull dog. The control of different behaviors is a complex process that is influenced by both genetics and environmental factors. (Credit: Google Images)

Many California town, cities and some Counties (including  San Bernardino County) have adapted pit bulls neuter and spade laws. It’s understood these laws not only minimize the number of homeless pit bulls and drastically reduce the numbers that are euthanized in public shelters, but they also save money in the long run.

Where is the Yucca Valley Town Council on this? How many pit bull attacks and public safety issues may it take? Surely, it’s too early to make any judgments as to what town leaders will do to promote public safety on the streets and roads in town.

The town needs to show leadership and courage in implementing a pit bull neuter and spade ordinance  –  just ask Mr. and Mrs. James and Juanita Sharp — medically speaking, Juanita nearly lost her very life while in harms way by those two vicious,  flesh-eating pit bull man killers.

Many other towns and cities continue to hold to the false view that animal aggression is purely an issue of  environmental cause and effect. While environment is a factor in behavioral problems in dogs, some dogs are inherently dangerous. 

Case in point: My neighbor since moved to Texas — a state where the economy is healthy and where jobs are available.

He owns a mastiff/bull.  When his dog was a puppy, our dogs would have fun playing in the yard. As “Champ” grew older, his behavior unintentionally became way too aggressive.  The problem with Champ — in spite of his good home — was that he simply couldn’t distinguish the difference between play and survival. During playtime with Champ’s owner’s father’s dog, Champ would just snap and instinctively go for the throat and not let go.  His master struggled to break Champ’s canine death hold. Consequently Champ could never be allowed to play with any dog.  Champs genetic mix confused him in terms of disguising between play, survival and aggressive behavior.

The following article deals with a study in which throws light on interesting connections between canine aggression and genes that are involved in neurotransmission in the brain

[UPDATED 2:06 pm, TODAY]

Canine Aggression and Genetic Control

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2010) — The control of different behaviours is a complex process that is influenced by both genetics and environmental factors. A new study throws light on interesting connections between canine aggression and genes that are involved in neurotransmission in the brain.

For his doctoral thesis, Jørn Våge has studied genetically controlled behavioural aspects in dogs, with particular focus on aggression.

Behavioural problems in dogs, particularly aggression towards people, are often the reason why otherwise healthy dogs are put down. Aggression and anxiety-related behaviour also has a negative effect on animal welfare because stress influences both the mental and physical health of dogs.

Different breeds of dog with various forms of specific behaviour act as genetic isolates and are therefore suited for use in studies of complex characteristics such as behaviour. Similarities in diseases in dogs and humans also provide good opportunities for comparative studies in the field of medical genetics and dogs can therefore be valuable genetic models for various human disorders.

The central nervous system and its neurotransmitters and intricate networks of receptors play a key role in this study of behavioural genetics. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters in the brain and have an important function in the control of behaviour. Many of the medicines that are used for the treatment of psychological disorders have an effect on these neurotransmitters.

The neurotransmitter systems have many different receptors and enzymes that regulate the production and breakdown of psychoactive substances. All stages of these reactions are controlled by genes and can be potential sources of behavioural changes.

The doctoral study has revealed a variation in genes related to serotonin and dopamine in dogs. Våge used these variations as markers in the study and discovered connections between individual variants of genes and aggressive behaviour in dogs.

The thesis also covers studies of genetic activity (expression studies) in different areas of the brain in aggressive and non-aggressive dogs respectively.

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

6 Comments

  1. Cora Heiser cora heiser says:

    I think the same could be said of people.

  2. Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

    Branson. Thanks for posting this story. I was deeply affected when I read the horrific account posted by James. Thankfully Pit Bulls are not a desirable pet where I live. Before I heard the account by James, I unfortunately dismissed this problem as irrelevant. I am now keenly aware and have changed my perceptions of not only the dangers of this breed but the lack of caution that seems to be prevalent with their owners. :)

    • Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

      You’re welcome, Paparazzi.

      Btw, I overlooked your smiley face on your comments last week. Sorry for the oversight.

      • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

        Not a problem. Understanding our past contentious relationship and the fact that it’s so hard to replicate tone, I put that in there as an attempt to let you know I didn’t have my finger on the trigger as usual. :) BTW, when I was writing this I remembered a similar time that I never readdressed. Often my sarcastic style is mistaken. Someone was dismissing you because of the alias. I responded with some sarcastic rambling in your defense about that evil guy Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons) to point out the folly of such an argument. I respect your desire to bring things to light. Like you, I’m not a Democrat or Republican. I am thankful we have both parties to inspire public debate to inspire us to use our right to free speech. Same goes with your opinions.

  3. Branson Hunter says:

    In just six generations one male and one female pit bull can reproduce two times a year, can be responsible for the birth of 62,000 puppies.

    Following is a partial list of communities in California that have either mandated spaying and neutering, breed-specific regulations or a ban on “pit bulls instituted differential licensing, or placed restrictions on breeding:

    Berkley
    Holister
    Beaumont
    Belmont
    City of Clearlake
    Hesperia
    Laguna Woods
    Los Angeles City
    Los Angeles County (see above for Los Angeles City) – This law covers the unincorporated areas of the county.
    Pacific Grove
    Sacramento
    San Mateo
    Santa Cruz County

    • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

      Ok, now you’ve got me on my knees. How can it be that I agree with this policy initiated and implemented by some of the most liberal cities in California? Oh dear, what have I become? I’m going to have to seek counseling. Where did I go wrong? How could this be?
      I know, I can blame it on no more Glenn Beck on Fox!
      Whew, now that I know the cause I feel better! Maybe I’ll have to tune into Rush to get back on the other side of the track. Forgive me…

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