Advice- BIL and their pittbull

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10 Years
Mar 26, 2009
Southern Utah
We live next to my DH family. His parents are next to us and in our backyard to the side is his brother and his family. Last summer they got a pure-breed Pitbull pup. They chained it up at the back corner of our adjoining yards. I asked them to move it to their yard as I have children 1, 5, 8 and 10. The only interaction they had with the dog over the last year was to take it food at night. I started seeing the dog take a very aggressive stance when my 1 year old was outside. Feet spread apart, neck down low but head looking up. Scared me to death, so we told the BIL and SIL and they said they didn't care because they 'knew' their dog wouldn't hurt my kids. They then started to play with their dog. The dog would come into our backyard and grab my adult black lab and hold him down by the neck. After that I told DH we had to have a fence PERIOD. We installed a 6 foot chain link fence around our whole backyard.

Well now when my 1 year old goes in the back and walks the fence line that pitbull snarls and growls at my baby. The BIL, and SIL don't care. They take the dog off the chain about once a month. Yet they have no control and it runs rampant. My kids are all instructed to stay inside if their dog is off.

Problem is our garden and front yard are not fenced, I live in fear that, the dog will get me our my children. My lab is protective but no match for size and strength of the pitbull. We have tried talking, but they just tell us we are crazy. They both work full time and are never in their backyard to even see how their dog acts.

DO I have to wait until something tragic happens? Do we have any rights? I called animal control and the city and they both said I only could file charges if it attacked my children or my dog. If it goes after my chickens by law I can shoot it, but my chickens are in the pasture with 2 fences around them.

Please tell me there is something I can do to keep my family safe...
Some states ban pitbulls. Some you have to have a special permit. I would look into that. Do not trust a pitbull around a toddler ever. Too many stories are on the news about babies being killed in Detroit because of a loose pitbull. Pitbulls need constant supervision, and proper training. I would not trust that dog, if it isn't being cared for properly.

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This is going to turn ugly real quick. (You can't blame the breed of dog, it is how the dog is raised.)

I think I would videotape the interaction of the dog with your child and show it to your B & SIL. After that..... put both you AND the dog out of misery.

Good luck!
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Not all pit bulls are bad. I hope everyone realizes that.

That said, I've seen both extremes of behavior in these dogs. I have one who is such a pansy, he brings me baby bunnies like they are HIS babies. He loves everything, cats, chickens, kids, BUNNIES. On the other hand, I just had to put a dog down who came from a back yard breeder. He was dog-aggressive, protective of the house and of me, had separation anxiety, and was totally neurotic. There was nothing we could do to train it out of him, try to avoid his triggers, etc. The poor guy was just not right. So we had him put down. He's the perfect example of why responsible breeders should go though extensive temperament testing and health testing of the parents. It's too sad to see a dog turn out like this to no fault of his own.

No one will ever know if your BIL's dog was a bad egg to begin with or became one after being treated like poo. Nonetheless, it is entirely irresponsible to keep a dog with that temperament, especially in a situation where other pets and children are nearby. As much as I had a hard time realizing this with my poor dog, having him put down is the right thing to do. You need to call the police or humane society and report a vicious dog.

Sadly, this is why the good pit bulls get a bad name.
I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, it sounds like they have already reported the dog,and were told that nothing can be done until the dog hurts someone. I agree with videotaping his aggressive behavior and showing it to BIL. Aside from that, I'm at a loss.
This is a case of neglect and abuse of this dog. Unfortunately, the dog will pay for it with his life eventually and I pray no one is hurt before that happens. Anyone who chains a dog away from human contact out in the weather is criminal, IMO. And the breed isn't the crux of this, really, though the fact is that it is a bull-strong breed of dog and by their failure to socialize it, he's dangerous to your family. This could be any large breed of dog. If it was me, I'd report the dog to Animal Control as being neglected. Family holds no special place in my heart if that is how they are. I trust NO one's dog around a toddler.
Leaving a dog chained up makes it mean. The people are idiots. Film the dog. Show the owners. People like that shouldn't own pets or have children. It probably could have been a nice dog and they ruined it. If you show them a video of the behaviour and they still take no action, disown them. Get the other relatives involved. Maybe if Grandma and Grandpa think that one of the grandkids might get killed, they will talk to the idiots. If Grandma and Grandpa don't care either, just pray that your kids haven't inherited the bad genes. I know it's hard when it's family. I look at some relatives and think, "How on earth can I be related to that?"
I know not all pitbulls are bad. The ones that are dangerous are the ones that aren't being cared for properly, constant training, etc. THOSE pitbulls are very dangerous. From the description the OP gave on the situation, It sounds like that pitbull is not getting proper care at all. You can't stick that type of dog on a chain in the backyard, and not interact with it. It makes for a very dangerous situation for not only the neighbors, but the owners too.

Call the Dog Wisperer!!!
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