'The APBT is a breed that is loyal to friends and family, and is generally friendly towards strangers. People have been known to be afraid of them because of their bad reputations. Nonetheless, an APBT can be a very congenial pet. Proper training can make the dog obedient and have a high desire to please. Without proper guidance, though, the breed can become dominant and destructive. According to the UKC, "aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable." A study done by the CDC showed that "pit bull type" dogs accounted for the majority of dog related fatalities in the United States between 1979 and 1996, though the study admits some limitations in its data. These attacks were proven to be by pit bulls that were highly under-socialized.
The American Temperament Testing Society shows a pass percentage of 84.3% for American Pit Bull Terriers. Still, a firm, even hand and early obedience training are best. They generally have a lot of energy and high prey drive ; they need exercise and stimulation in order to channel their energy properly and not become frustrated, bored, and destructive.'
Yes, Pits can become aggressive more so then some other breeds of dogs, but if you socialize one (which is something any responsible pet owner should do to any pet) correctly and do not let the dog "boss" you around they are as great a pet as any other dog. It is all in being a RESPONSIBLE pet owner. My son has had 2 pits, and either one I would trust whole heartedly around my grand daughter. The current Pit is called Sweety and she definetely shows this characteristic. He worked with her as a pup, and didn't let her run wild and had a firm hand with her. And yes, chaining a dog will make it more aggressive, probably allot of this comes from the fact that most dogs that get chained have very little socialization by their owners.
I am not near you all down there, but my heart does go out to the family for their loss, being not responsible dog owners does not lessen the loss they have undergone. If anything good could come out of this hopefully it is that anyone that reads thru this thread is considering getting any pet they take it seriously and realize it is a big responsibility.