Are certain dog breeds vicious, or is it just a myth? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Are certain dog breeds vicious, or is it just a myth?

(FOX19) -

For years, you may have heard about certain breeds of dogs being especially vicious or prone to violence; dogs that might come to mind are pit bulls or akitas.

 But are those dogs any different than any other dogs?

Kalli Haas, 6, was bitten by an 100-pound akita.

"I was just in the yard, by myself," said Kalli Haas. "The dog just jumped up on me."

She says there was no bark, no warning.

"Just totally, just out of nowhere just jumped up and bites me," said Kalli. "He did not bark, he just jumped right up, he just went for it."

 The injuries were bad. A chunk of Kalli's face was shredded. She was rushed to Children's Hospital where surgeons got to work.

 "The artery was repaired. But the veins were just destroyed, so she had blood going through her face but nowhere to drain," says her father Chris Haas. "They had to put leaches on her and those were on there five days around the clock."

"When they told us she was out of surgery he and I went back there together and you just can't even imagine seeing your child that way," said her mother, Jessi Ballman.

Kalli's parents were stunned. The dog that attacked their daughter was 10 years old and had no history of anything like this.

 "This dog had never attacked anybody before and it just kinda goes to show you that it can happen at anytime," said Haas. "He was probably about 100 pounds and she's only 54, it's almost twice her weight."

 Kalli is still dealing with her injuries and the akita will be put down.

Some dog owners may say the attack doesn't surprise them. Akitas are a dangerous breed of dog prone to violence.

So is the solution to protect children like Kalli to ban dangerous dogs like akitas? Some cities around the country have outright bans on certain breeds of dogs like akitas or pit-bulls.

That's the case in Fairfield; you can't own a pit-bull there. In Northern Kentucky, there are outright bans on pit-bulls in Alexandria, Fort Thomas, Bracken County, Elsmere, Falmouth, and Ludlow.

In Cincinnati, there used to be an outright ban, but it was overturned. Even still, there are very tough restrictions. There are also tough restrictions in Maysville, Newport, Erlanger, and Covington.

Chula is a rescue dog; a pit-bull who happened to be rescued from a shelter the day before she was set to die. In most cases, pit-bulls are euthanized within just a couple of days after getting to a shelter.

Sarah McCane, who already owned a pit-bull, took Chula home.

"You just hear so many stories that are negative and just did a lot of research and found out they were the most popular family dog in the 1920's and that makes you wonder, what's different now," said McCane.

Sarah and her friend Heather Rensal are part of a group that fights what they call Breed Specific Legislation, which are laws that target only certain breeds of dogs; dogs like akitas and pit-bulls that many people believe are prone to violence.

"People will tell you that pit bulls have locking jaws and that is what makes them so vicious because you can't pry them off in a fight," said Rensal. "That is no true; the pit bull jaw is no different than any other type of dog."

 Heather says what is different today than in the 1920's is myths about pit bulls or akitas.

"The American Temperamenting Society actually scores the American pit bull really high, and in some cases, higher than the golden retriever," said Rensal.

 Because pit bulls are so often connected to dog fighting, many people believe they are especially aggressive. But these women say that is not the case. In fact, it's because the dog is so loyal, they are used for fighting.

"People who want to dog fight look for a breed, a pit bull is the most popular because of their size and because of their fierce loyalty and their willingness to please," said Rensal. "They'll get up and keep going because their owner tells them to."

And it's the owners, not the dogs, that Heather says need to be held accountable.

"We don't consider responsible ownership being able to take your dog with you everywhere," said Rensal. "It's knowing the limitations of your dog. A big part of it is knowing the limitations of your dog and telling then what is acceptable and what you expect out of them."

And despite what their daughter has been through, Kalli's mother agrees. What happened with her daughter is not about getting rid of so-called "dangerous dogs," but encouraging responsible owners.

"My sister has a Great Dane and she is concerned because he is so big, but he's very sweet," said Ballman. "I told her, don't get rid of him because she was going to get rid of him when this happened, and I said don't get rid of him, just keep him away when people are around that are strangers outside of the family."

There will be a fundraiser for Kalli on May 28. It's a softball tournament to help her with her recovery. You can find more information by clicking here.

 Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Frankly