The killing of a 2-year-old baby and a toddler has reignited the debate about whether Pitbulls should be permitted as pets.

Two Pitbulls owned by the Bennard family attacked and injured Hollace Dean Bennard (5 months old) and Lilly Jane Bennard (2 years old) in Shelby County, Tennessee last week.

When their mother, Kirstie Jane Bennard, 30, tried to stop the attack, she was left with serious wounds and “uncountable amount of stitches and bite marks over her entire body, including her face.”

The next day, the two Pitbulls, Cheech and Mia, were euthanized.

The notion that Pitbulls are too dangerous to keep as pets has been a point of contention for quite some time.

A new study published in August showed that 628 children were admitted to Sydney Children’s Hospital due to dog-related injuries from 2010 to 2020.

The average age of a patient undergoing treatment was just five years old, with the pitbull being the most prevalent attacker, accounting for 10.3% of cases. Labradors (8.5%) and rottweilers (6.8%) came next.

On average, each dog bite requires $2968 in medical care.

In NSW, there were 1027 dog bites reported during the first three months of this year, as well as 69 dogs put to death.

When readers learned about the fatal dog attack in Tennessee, many were horrified. Some said that it’s impossible to ignore the statistics when deciding whether the breed is inherently dangerous or not.

Others have said that children and dogs of any breed do not mix.

“Anyone who chooses to have them, especially around children, are fools in my opinion. This is such a sad story, and the worst way imaginable to learn that pitbulls are not a good idea,” wrote one person on Facebook.

The term “killers” was used to describe the breed by another person.

“No dog is completely trustworthy around children no matter what the breed. As much as I love my two sweet French Bulldogs, I still don’t trust them or leave them alone around my grandchildren, you just never know,” another person wrote.

“No dog is trustworthy simple as that! I have dogs and will never fully trust them, natural instincts can kick in at anything for whatever reason,” stated another person.

Some readers rushed to the breed’s defense.

“Always blaming the breed but never the owner. What about all of the heroic ones that have saved their owners and human siblings? What about all the ones that have been raised with love and not violence?” said one person.

“Please don’t start breed of dog hating! Something is seriously wrong here!” stated another.

The family’s pitbulls in Tennessee were apparently never violent before the attack.

“I can promise you those children were her world, and if there was any inkling of danger, she would have never had those dogs near her kids,” Kelsey Canfield, the devastated mother’s friend, said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is opposed to restricting particular dog breeds, stating that “all dogs, including Pitbulls, are individuals” and should be handled as such.

The charity’s position is that the most appropriate action for stamping out dangerous dogs across various breeds is responsible ownership.

The ASPCA says that, no matter how hard we try, there will always be dangerous dogs. They need to have proper care and control so the risk is reduced.

In 2013, former US president Barack Obama spoke out against legislation that would limit the ownership of dogs by breed, with pitbulls being the most frequent target.

“We don’t support breed-specific legislation – research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources,” he stated.

The RSCPA in Australia does not support breed-specific legislation too as it “considers that any dog of any size, breed or mix of breeds may be dangerous and thus dogs should not be declared dangerous on the basis of breed or appearance.”

The Australian Veterinary Association backs this position.

The American pitbull terrier or pitbull terrier, dog Argentino, fila Brasileiro, Japanese tosa, and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario are all restricted dogs in Australia.

Owners in Victoria can face up to 10 years in prison if their restricted dog kills someone, and up to five years if their dog puts another person’s life in danger.