DALLAS – After the 8-year-old family pit bull attacked and killed Brayden Wilson, 2 months old, in the home they shared, many are left wondering what could have been done to prevent his death.

The pit bull named Grady had grown up around two other Wilson children. Until that day, they’d all seemed the best of friends. They played together, slept together. So why did Grady snap? And can pit bulls ever be trusted?

This isn’t the first instance of a loving family pit bull turning violent, and in fact, there are countless cases of the very same incident.

  • Family’s pit bull attacks son.
  • Police killed a pit bull to stop him from attacking his own owner.
  • A family pit bull went into a violent frenzy and attacked the family and landlord.
  • A pit bull who’d grown up around children attacked a young boy, Jahvon Harrington, grabbing the boy’s head in his mouth and shaking.
  • Family pit bull attacks 4-year-old, severely injuring his face.

There’s a lot of controversy around pit bulls especially when Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) enters the mix. We’re seeing more and more dog parks, dog daycares, pet stores and apartment complexes ban bully breeds from entering, and there are entire cities that prohibit people from owning aggressive dog breeds at all.

Though well-intentioned dog owners try to fight these bans, the truth is this: pit bulls are considered dangerous for a reason. They were specifically bred to fight. Their short stature, muscular bodies and “hold and shake” bite style aren’t an accident; in the 19th century, they were cross bred from a Staffordshire bull terrier and another (now extinct) fighting dog to create the “ultimate” fighting dog. It’s for this reason that pit bulls tend to be more aggressive than other breeds – it was bred into them.

Many pit bull advocates would have you believe that “It’s the owner, not the breed,” but this debate is outdated and ignores the genetic history of these animals. While environment does play a role in a dog’s behavior, it’s a dog’s genetics that leave dog bite victims with permanent and disfiguring injuries. Furthermore, pit bull’s genetic traits aren’t disputed; many courts agree that these dogs pose a danger to society. Some genetic traits that courts have identified include tenacity (the inability to give up a fight), unpredictable aggression, high pain tolerance and the “hold and shake” bite style.

Some have proposed a ban on pit bull breeding; let pit bulls live out their days, but stop creating more. Then, others argue in favor of pit bulls. For now, it’s a debate that will continue.