Monday, March 15, 2010

Between Two Lies, Lost Opportunity for Pit Bulls


Art by Kevin Brockbank, courtesy of Dogs Today.

From the April issue of Dogs Today.


When it comes to Pit Bulls, two lies are commonly told.

The first lie, exemplified in the U.K.'s Dangerous Dog Act, is that Pit Bulls are as dangerous as wild lions.

Because of this patent falsehood, Pit Bulls can only be kept in Britain with specific permission from a court, and can only be walked when muzzled.

The second lie, told by Pit Bull aficionados, is that Pit Bulls are no different than any other dog. If you disagree with this statement, be prepared to be called a "breed bigot".

Here's the truth: both claims are lies.

In the United States, where Pit Bulls are a common dog, more people are killed by lightning strikes than by Pit Bulls. In fact, more children are killed by their parents than by Pit Bulls.

Does this mean Pit Bulls are just like every other dog in the world?

No. That too is a lie.

In the U.S., where Pit Bulls account for 2 to 3 percent of all dogs, this breed type (it is not a formal breed) accounts for
over 50 percent of all serious dog bites.

And while Pit Bull-related fatalities are low (about 10 a year), for every fatality there are thousands of hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Those who focus solely on the low number of Pit Bull fatalities are lying by omission when they fail to mention the physical and emotional scars left by Pit Bulls attacks.

So, does this mean that Pit Bulls are a problem?

Yes it does.

And part of the problem is that this breed -- like most others -- comes with a code inside it.

Of course, we all know that dogs come with a genetic code.

When we talk about Pointers and Setters, everyone knows these dogs are particularly "birdy."

When we talk about retrievers, everyone agrees this breed is particularly biddable, loves water, and has a desire to bring things to hand.

When we talk about Jack Russell Terriers, everyone agrees they hate rats, and have a natural inclination to go to ground.

But Pit Bulls?

The Pit Bull community wants us to think these dogs are just like any other! Never mind the illegal kennels here in America that crank out line-bred fighting dogs like Pez from a dispenser. Never mind the history of this dog as feral hog hunter, pit fighter, and junkyard protector.

To even suggest that Pit Bulls might have a different genetic code inside them than Pugs, Standard Poodles, Pointers, or Salukies is heresy among many breed-blind Pit Bull defenders.

Of course, canine genetics is only part of the equation. Along with nature comes nurture. In the right hands, even a Pit Bull with a lot of drive can end up being a happy, docile, and extremely playful family dog.

The sad truth, however, is most Pit Bulls in America do not end up in the right hands. This is a breed that tends to attract "the wrong types" to the point that research has shown that U.S. Pit Bull owners are far
more likely to have criminal records than other dog owners.

The predictable result of too many boisterous Pit Bulls meeting up with too many ill-prepared and unstable owners is that the dogs suffer.

And in America, Pit Bulls suffer terribly.

Nearly a million Pit Bulls were euthanized in American shelters in 2009 --
more than the sum of all dogs of all breeds registered by the American Kennel Club last year.

In the last decade, about 8,000,000 Pit Bulls were euthanized in U.S. animal shelters -- approximately four hundred million pounds of dead Pit Bull.

What makes this particularly distressing is that Pit Bull euthanasia rates in the U.S. have been on the rise for 30 years, even as all other canine impounds and euthanasias have been on a steady and steep decline.

What's going on with Pit Bulls?

The problem is not Pit Bull haters.

Ironically enough, the problem is Pit Bull lovers.

After all, it's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are breeding these dogs.

It's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are acquiring these dogs.

It's the Pit Bull "lovers" that are too often abusing the dogs through ignorance and neglect before abandoning them to their death a year or two after acquisition.

You mean Pit Bull "haters" are not the problem?

No, they are not.

The problem is young numbskulls who acquire these dogs in ignorance and haste, discover that they are too much dog to handle, and who then abandon them at leisure.

So what to do?

One of the most obvious ways forward, is to do with Pit Bulls what we have done for hawks, guns, and and cars in the U.S.: require a license conditional upon passing a basic training course.

When "hunter safety" courses were mandated in the U.S., accidental shootings fell to the point that golf and tennis are now deemed to be more dangerous than hunting.

When falconers were required to serve two-year apprenticeships, the longevity of captive birds soared, and concerns about raptor abuse plummeted.

And, of course, driving courses and driver's licenses have been in place since the beginning. Do accidents still happen? Sure, but no one argues that driver's license enforcement is not Step One to improved highway safety.

With dogs, however, the assumption is that everyone knows everything they need to know about dogs at birth -- and never mind if that is demonstrably wrong, especially for large game-bred breed like Pit Bulls.

And the consequence of this crazy idea?

Millions of dead dogs.

What is bizarre here, is that you would think there would be a natural constituency for a simple Canine Safety and Responsibility Course.

After all, teaching such a course could be a small money-maker for sponsoring groups such as the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, the RSPCA, and dog-activity clubs.

Would a Canine Safety and Responsibility Course solve every Pit Bull (or dog) problem in the world?

No, of course not.

But it would solve a lot of them, and it would also serve as the "edge of the wedge" when it comes to tackling the human problems that too many dogs face -- ignorance about costs, responsibility, health, and training.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

  • Shortly after I wrote this, the Labour government in the U.K. moved to require all dog owners to carry liability insurance on their dogs. This idea does not have strong legs so far as I can tell.

  • As for abandonment of Pitbulls in the U.K., while is not quite as common as it is in the U.S. (thanks to a virtual ban on the breed), it still occurs in numbers large enough to get newspaper coverage.

  • Finally, there is a nascent move here in the U.S, to mandate a kind of "Canine Safety and Responsibility Course." The first tripping effort seems to have occurred at Camp Pendleton and other Marine Corps bases where existing Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Wolf hybrids (and crosses of the same) and are now required to pass an AKC "Canine Good Citizen" test or some other behavioral evaluation if they are to stay. Liz Palika notes that as the April 1 deadline looms at Camp Pendleton, not all dogs may make the grade. She says: "Now we’re seeing the dogs who have known — to their owners — behavioral problems. Far too many owners tell us their dog never leaves the house or backyard because they can’t control him. We’ve had a few walk into our training yard so aggressively we can’t deal with them at all."
    .

23 comments:

Holly said...

"The problem is young numbskulls who acquire these dogs in ignorance and haste, discover that they are too much dog to handle, and who then abandon them at leisure."

that is .part. of the problem. Another, serious, component is that the "nice" dogs aren't being bred....it's the dogs with the hair trigger temperament that are in demand for fighting. If there are 9 puppies in a litter and 5 go to fighting homes, that leaves 4 still and if *those* go to pet homes....and add in ignorance...you have a real problem.

Sue Sternberg found a huge difference in the NYC pit population and the dogs she encountered in rural NY state. It was what was being bred.....

Anton said...

Actually, the true bulldog enthusiast, as they were called by the dogman of old (although old: dog fighting wasn't illegal until 1970's in the USA). Would most definantly agree that there is a different genes in a true apbt. That is its gameness.
Its the "petbull" owners (as they are referred to by the those that refer back to the old gamedogs pre-76) are a problem because they deny the fact that pitbulls are not meant to go to the dogpark with.

I am not a bulldog owner, just a student of the breeds history as I happen to own a staffordshire bullterrier, the stock that the irish used to create the APBT.

I cannot agree with you more then that the owners of pitbulls and related breeds are the biggest threat the dogs have. So many stupid, ignorant, ego driven, in denial bunch.

I'm all for some age profiling on responsible ownership. Also, a lot of parents are incredibly stupid to leave any kind of dog alone with their child, vast majority of dog attacks happen when the kid was left alone for just a second. bla bla bla. See the onion link you posted before.

The Doubtful Guest said...

An excellent piece. Probably your best to date, in fact.

You are absolutely right that the "pit bull lovers" often deny the breed's genetic propensity.

And I do believe that is where a lot of the problem is coming from.

Every single time there is a story in the news about a pit bull causing mayhem, the "lovers" are out in force, claiming that "my Poopsie wouldn't hurt anyone, and pitbulls are not dangerous."

The first part of that statement does not matter one whit in the discussion, 'cuz I'm fairly certain the article was not about Poopsie.

The second part of it is only partially true, and they can't seem to ever make this distinction. Though not all pits are dangerous, the breed is bred to be tenacious in its quest to kill other dogs.

Though many pits won't ever kill or harm another dog, or a person, one cannot blithely say "they are not dangerous dogs" without qualifying that in some way.

NOW, before I am hunted down and flamed by rational, reasonable pit aficionados, I'll admit I like pits who meet good pet criteria just fine. They are easy to train, they are generally very sweet and loving to people, and they have huge hearts to go with their huge, blocky heads.

But owning them must be a conscious act. One cannot get away with lackadaisical training. One cannot pretend that all (or even most) pits are perfectly fine to go to dog parks with clueless people, or be walked on retractable leashes in neighborhoods with lots of dogs, or worse, to be off-leash in said neighborhoods without superior training and the owner nearby. It's unfair to the breed to say "they are just like other dogs." Because that means any Joe should be able to have one, and they are not for everyone.

But even saying the above is seen as heresy, or a vote for BSL, which is ridiculous.

Until rational, reasonable people admit that pits are NOT like other dogs, the war on the breed will not end. And much of the war is about public perception.

It stinks for the dogs, but it's still there.

Fabuleslie said...

Very thoughtful post. And responses too! Thanks for the good read. I love how fair and accurate this is. It's rare that I read something about pit bulls that accomplishes that balance so nicely.

ruthcrisler said...

I am always grateful to encounter sensible remarks about pit bulls, a breed for whom I have a good deal of respect and affection. The breed is obviously not well served by either of the competing myths, both wholly false, that you point to; but ultimate responsibility for the pit bull's dilemma lies with those that claim to love them, not those that want them muzzled in public and their owners insured to the hilt.
Confusing dogs and people is a lousy idea as a rule. And comparing breed specific legislation to racial profiling, as is often done in an effort to cast BSL as unfair (which it largely is in my opinion), is both a specious argument and one that misses the point.
It is frequently a certain human demographic that is the real target of BSL, dogs being merely the mechanism by which law enforcement hopes to train its scope. BSL empowers police to profile in those cases, using pit bull ownership as a proxy for race.
But breed discrimination is not the same as racial profiling for the same reason that crating your new puppy is not the same as crating your kid: because dogs aren’t people.
Breed does make a difference, even if it is ultimately not the defining difference in most cases.
Among dog people, it seems relatively easy to agree that pit fighting and criminally negligent ownership is the real scourge. It should also be agreed that pit bulls ain't for everyone, and that the fact that you're a good person, doesn't mean your pit bull is going to be a good dog.
The insanity of marketing pit bulls as if they were no different from Yorkies (at least given enough love) frankly boggles the mind, and does the breed no favors.
I also appreciate your addressing what has always seemed to a common misunderstanding with regard to dog fatality statistics. Leaving your one-year-old alone with your boyfriend's pit bull is not bad dog ownership in the first order: it is bad parenting.
For the record, I really like the breed, at least in a number of its manifestations, and was relieved recently when proposed BSL failed locally.
I think licensing and mandatory education is a sound concept in theory, but I am awfully skeptical as to its practical execution.
Anyhow, thanks for the post.

ruthcrisler said...

I am always grateful to encounter sensible remarks about pit bulls, a breed for whom I have a good deal of respect and affection. The breed is obviously not well served by either of the competing myths, both wholly false, that you point to; but ultimate responsibility for the pit bull's dilemma lies with those that claim to love them, not those that want them muzzled in public and their owners insured to the hilt.
Confusing dogs and people is a lousy idea as a rule. And comparing breed specific legislation to racial profiling, as is often done in an effort to cast BSL as unfair (which it largely is in my opinion), is both a specious argument and one that misses the point.
It is frequently a certain human demographic that is the real target of BSL, dogs being merely the mechanism by which law enforcement hopes to train its scope. BSL empowers police to profile in those cases, using pit bull ownership as a proxy for race.
But breed discrimination is not the same as racial profiling for the same reason that crating your new puppy is not the same as crating your kid: because dogs aren’t people.
Breed does make a difference, even if it is ultimately not the defining difference in most cases.
Among dog people, it seems relatively easy to agree that pit fighting and criminally negligent ownership is the real scourge. It should also be agreed that pit bulls ain't for everyone, and that the fact that you're a good person, doesn't mean your pit bull is going to be a good dog.
The insanity of marketing pit bulls as if they were no different from Yorkies (at least given enough love) frankly boggles the mind, and does the breed no favors.
I also appreciate your addressing what has always seemed to a common misunderstanding with regard to dog fatality statistics. Leaving your one-year-old alone with your boyfriend's pit bull is not bad dog ownership in the first order: it is bad parenting.
For the record, I really like the breed, at least in a number of its manifestations, and was relieved recently when proposed BSL failed locally.
I think licensing and mandatory education is a sound concept in theory, but I am awfully skeptical as to its practical execution.
Anyhow, thanks for the post.

Seahorse said...

Once more, I've been put in a position I should never have been put in, and I will be charged with bringing some "solution". I've been watching an American Bull Dog that will be soon moving in next to my small farm. I've been watching him, waiting for him to see my horses. Fast forward...yesterday, he did. Twice he attempted to attack my horses, and the only thing that kept him from fully accessing them was ME, and two rows of my fencing. The second time, after young, clueless owner had a face-to-face chat with me and still didn't watch his dog, the dog nearly got all the way into one of my pastures. One of my horses began trying to strike the dog before he got all the way in, I'm screaming for dumb ass to grab his dog as I was on the wrong side of two fences (no collar, the owner seemed completely unaccustomed to handling a dog), it was ridiculous. Today, the Sheriff was called in by me (our Animal Control is under the Sheriff's Dept.), he talked to the owner, was assured young dude "gets it", and tonight dog is loose without supervision again. This should NOT be my burden, but it is. I have been cleared to use lethal force if necessary, as per state law. Do you have ANY idea how I don't want to do that, and how I WILL do it if I must? I ask again, rhetorically, WHY is this my burden AGAIN??? I've been through this for many years, much court time, all convictions (six cases), and a new dumb ass becomes my problem. UGH.

Seahorse

Shannon said...

The other thing that Pit Bull defenders should be doing is immediately sterilizing any animals that show any hint of aggression beyond the normal dominance behavior of dogs.

And informing the purchasers of pups from that animal that their dog has a distinct possibility of genetic aggression, and recommending that the owners sterilize the animals immediately.

Aggression has been bred into these dogs, it can and should be bred out of them.

--Shannon

PBurns said...

Seahorse, thet Sherriff needs to hear that he did not do his job and that tragedy will come as a consequence. Ask him to come to your place and sign a piece of paper that says he has come to that house twice to give the owner a warning, because when that dog gets shot, that will make an intersting bit of paper for the courts to look at. You don't have to say that last bit -- it will sound like a threat to the cop, but in fact what you are doing is protecting yourself.

As to sterilizing aggressive pitbulls, that is not going to happen for the simple reason that anyone with brains is sterilizing ALL pitbulls and breeding none. With nearly a million pitbulls a year being killed (most of them dogs with no serious issues other than the fact that they are no longer puppies and need training), is there anyone who thinks we need more? The folks without brains, of course, keep producing dogs and could give a damn if a third or more of them will die at the pound. Many of these folks *want* an aggressive pitbull (or think they do until it eats their couch).

A previous comment about "pitbulls vs. Pet bulls" illustrates the dicohotomy within the breed every bit as real as the folks who get a Jack Russell and are surprised when it kills the family parrot. They got a dog bred to track and kill small animals and then were surprised whe/n it did??! Now think about pitbulls. Same thing. Yes, many jack russells end up as fine family pets, who are OK with cats and rabbits. But not all. There is always the code within the breed, and to ignore it is disaster. This is true, to some extent, for all dogs, but it is more true for stock working dogs, hunting dogs and guarding dogs. And yes a Pit fis within two of those catagoies.

P

Bombadil said...

Instead of making a course on dog ownership mandatory, give a significant break on licensing fees to anyone who has taken a course. The reduction in the license fee, perhaps over two years, should be more than what the course costs. This is similar, though not exactly the same, as waiving a traffic citation if the person takes a safe driving course.

3Laiki said...

Bombadil - A good theory in incentivization but likely to fail. How many (ir)responsible dog owners actually license their dogs? Both approaches present enforcement potholes.

Viatecio said...

Out of all the pit bull posts you're written, this is perhaps the one that says the most with the least amount of words. Great job.

Seahorse said...

Patrick,

I'm seriously on it regarding my current dog problem. Affidavits filed, county commissioners helping, badgering of Animal Control daily, etc. Sadly, all this does is document, it does not prevent. I've had to spend significant dollars already in my own "prevention" strategy, and that presupposes I'm on the scene should a threat materialize. This creates a garret mentality that is unfair to me and my husband, but that's where we seem to be. Armed and caged. Yippee.

Seahorse

Avolonpossum said...

This post hits it. It's the least bias of most things I've read on-line concerning pit bulls. Not soft nor nuts.

I had a similar case to Seahorse, though it was more ridiculous than serious. A neighbor's older kid brought home a pit mix. The puppy was at least three motnhs juding by size and it was frisky and partially trained. One day I get ready walk the family dog, a "full" pit bull, when I see said pup loose at the end of the street. Before I can get my dog up the porch before she sees it, the pup runs up to her and a minor altercation occurs. It was mostly jumping and "posturing," but I wasn't risking it. By the time my dog gets in the house, the pup runs INTO the house and runs out a few seconds later. Family dog is not liking this.

After things settle down, my father and I bring the pup back to the house, where someone sitting for the kid takes the dog. Four minutes later the pup is back in the neighborhood. The same thing again happened in the evening only this time the pup sees my dog staring at it through the screen door and runs back to its house. For the next few days my dog stared intently in the direction of the house to watch for the "ntruder." I got wary that the pup was going to do this every time I walk my dog.

Two months later I didn't see the pup anymore. (The kid was kicked out, for different reasons.)

There couldn't be a bigger difference: the boy's family was too busy or the other kids too young to properly watch the dog, I almost never saw it on a leash, and I don't know if it had any vaccinations. It felt like the dog was acquired by impulse. When my sibling brought his dog home, the whole family took part in caring for her, including the training, feeding, walking, playing, watching her, and researching on the breed. It was a commitment we were all willing to do. And in the end, it was frustrating that I had to watch my leashed pit's back to make sure she wouldn't have a REAL altercation with the neighbor's loose pit mix. How ironic!

Logosh said...

I don't really understand why people seem to think you have some sort of pit bull hate going on. Personally I don't think you do. At any rate:
I would like to clarify that "pit bull" is not a breed of dog. Rather, it's a catch all term for any dog that looks a certain way. Some breeds ( like the English Staffordshire)labeled as such have little to no record of attacks on human beings. So on that note, I'll be referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Any responsible bulldog (that's how I prefer to call them. Not to disassociate, but because it's actually a pretty common name) owner will tell you that they are not like any other dog. I find that an unbelievably stupid thing to say. Most dogs are not like other dogs. I don't expect a Jack Russel to behave like a Bichon any more than I expect him to behave like a Golden Retriever. Because he is not. Same with the bulldog. He is a medium to large high energy high prey drive dog and should be treated as such. If he were, I highly doubt there'd be so many in shelters. The next thing you'll see a responsible owner tell people is to get another breed of dog. While these guys can be great family pets, they can only be so if people are willing to meet the right requirements and most people simply aren't up to the task.

But I will disagree on some things, the first of which being that haters of these dogs do not present a problem. They do, for the simple fact that they play up the "forbidden fruit" angle of a dog like this. Now if you were an unscrupulous egotistical idiot looking for a penis extension, which dog are you going to choose? The German Shepherd that people seem to love or the "pit bull" type that seems wild and dangerous? Exactly my point.

I also personally feel that requireing a course like this is going to cause some breed crossfire. A proven fact is that people have trouble determining the difference between what is considered a "pit bull" and completely unrelated dogs and mixes. This includes professionals. So dogs such as American Bulldogs, Boxers, Curs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Cane Corsos, Dogos, Labrador Retrievers, and thier mixes may be required to go through courses as well simply because of how they look. I'd much rather there be some course for all dogs and required licensing, which would cover all bases and let us put some honest statistics on the table rather than what people assume a dog to be.

I also think we should go back to doing what should have never stopped being done and by that I mean euthanizing dogs that show human aggression. And I do mean human aggression. The APBT is not a breed meant for protection against humans, it was a breed meant for work and bloodsport, the latter of which is illegal in the U.S. But a bulldog considering your small pets critters moreso than housemates is not an unnatural part of the breed and it seems like people forget that. I'd like to restore this dog to it's original form: The high energy, high drive, hard working human lover that it was before. This is a breed of dog where some more obscurity would be most welcome.

Moochies Mother said...

Seahorse,

You are spending alot of energy trying to placate your neighbor who obviously has no consideration for you or your livestock (or your family for that matter). My method is to shoot immediately any dog that is interfering with my livestock and drop it down a mineshaft. I don't go to the neighbors and tell them, it creates too much badwill. I just eliminate the problem quickly, without further ado and never have to worry again about said animal. When the neighbor gets another one, they may learn to keep it at home or it will turn up missing again.

Scribo Ergo Sum said...

This is the most reasonable and balanced post I've read about APBT's. Finally, someone who isn't a Pit Bull nutter OR a Pit Bull fear monger gives a balanced assessment of the breed. It's the ONLY one I've read to date. Thank you!

Wendy Browne said...

If "pit bull" is a breed type and not a shortened version of an actual recognized breed's name, such as calling a JRT a "jack" or a Doberman a "Dobie", then why do my UKC and ADBA registration & pedigree chart paperwork say my dogs have been registered since 1898 as "American Pit Bull Terrier"? Wouldn't calling any short coated, block headed dog a "pit bull" go against the whole function follows form NOT form follows function argument, as most of the "pit bulls" haven't seen organized dogfighting since my greatgreatgrannie wore a corset and petticoat each day? Not trying to be argumentative, just stating that it chafes my undercarriage to hear what is a recognized purebred dog's name thrown about to cover every similar looking cur/hybrid/what-have-you, usually when the dog being labeled as a "pit bull" is a nasty son of a gun. I have owned, shown, done dog activities,rescue/rehomed APBTs since 1990 and agree that the issue killing the breed is the breed LOVERS who produce so many freaking pups (seen craigslist lately) and who rescue dogs of borderline temperament and put them in positions/places where they lose their minds due to their owners lack of handling skill and recognizing and treating behavioral problems. I respectfully disagree that all APBT owners need to take some sort of certification class, as I and many other like-minded APBT owners go out of our ways to socialize, put CGC/TT on our dogs as well as seek positive public outlets for SELECT examples of the breed, such as service dogs, Therapy Dogs (I have one of those too), and I do mean SELECT as not all individuals of any breed/mix/background are meant for public events. Meanwhile, craigslist is full of people with registered and unregistered APBTs just banging out pups to those wanting to bang out pups of their own for profit and "love of the breed", who wouldn't bother spending time or money on certification classes. Restricting ownership to those who comply would mean more dogs seized and killed by the city/state, wouldn't it? If you look at my city's pound, http://www.countypets.com , you'll see mixed "pit bulls" as well as the typical and in some cases nice conformation dogs along with the trendy massive American Bullies lined up to die, as the Houston city shelter doesn't adopt out anything it thinks is a "pit bull" or mix of. Which of course means anything block and short haired or a lab mix, you know. Of course *I* would comply for certification, but the crematorium will have to do double duty to handle all the seizes "pit bulls" whose owners won't, which is most of them. Peer pressure doesn't seem to work as far as spay/neuter/train, so I'm at a loss for how to help my favorite breed, which I NEVER deny as having some of the best & worst traits one can find in a dog. I apologize for rambling. I do not apologize for always wanting a Patterdale but never owning the right home it could be a real terrier in, thus haven't had one yet. :)

PBurns said...

Wendy, the names for the dogs are not the dogs. With terriers, I always say there are two basic types, those that work and those that don't -- in three general colors and three coats.

As for Pit Bulls or Am Staffs, or Butcher dogs, the history is here and you probably know it. >> http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-hell-is-american-staffordshire.html

Note what I say about function and form reL sports cars witout engines, etc.

A post about JRTs as being similar to Pits can be found here >> http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2009/10/pit-bull-rights-verus-pit-bull.html

P

Lauren Paytes said...

I have only one comment. I am a "pit bull lover". I rescue them advocate for them and educate as much as possible. I am not, however, a breeder. Not ALL pit bull lovers are breeders. There are many "lovers" that want nothing more than for this breed to get the respect it deserves. I agree with everything you said, except lumping al pit bull lovers into a group that equals breeding. It's simply not true. All of my dogs have been spayed or neutered except my 3 month old puppy.

PBurns said...

.I never said all people who love pit bulls are pitbull breeders. What I said is that everyone who breeds pit bulls says they ate a "pitbull lover" and all the people who acquire pit bulls and then abandoned them to the pounds also are self-described "pitbull lovers". No one who truly loves these dogs is breeding them, not when nearly 1,000,000 a year are going to the death chambers.

AndellaBella Mia Bella! said...

I have had my pitbull terrior since birth and he was raised with love and kindness. He has the sweetest and most gentle temperament of any dog that I have ever owned. He is a lap dog, loves other animals, all children and all people. He has been trained, and I am responsible and never, ever leave him off leash, not because I am afraid of what he will do but out of respect for others who do not know him and are afraid because of their unfortunate reputations. I agree that mass breeders must be stopped and that dog owners of all breeds, not just pitbulls need to be responsible. A golden retriever 2 doors down from me has bitten more people and been more aggressive in the neighborhood and nobody even complains because after all, he is a cute little golden retriever. He does it so often that my dog is actually afraid of him and won't even walk by his house. It's not the dog or the breed. It's how they are raised. I know another golden retriever who chases after cars, joggers and people on bikes but nobody even blinks, but if it were a pitbull doing the chasing it would be a whole different story. I am protective of my dog, not for him, but because of the hatred I encounter for this beautiful breed and the misguided people who don't understand the difference between a dog who is trained and loved and a dog bred for gang members who use them and abandon them to be sadly euthanized through no fault of their own. These are the people who should be banned from owning any breed of dog, not responsible people like me.

Sparkle said...

Hi, thank you for this well written piece. I live in the mountains of NM and have a fenced piece of land that I use to rescue and place animals. New Mexico has a ton of pit bulls owned by irresponsible, stupid, uneducated people who are breeding pits to sell into the fighting circle. Yes, dog fighting is illegal. Does it stop criminals from doing it? NO! It's is a huge problem and authorities seem to have their hands full with more important issues. But the madness doesn't stop there! These sick people use non pit dogs as bait dogs to train their dogs to kill. When America lose their morals and human decency?

That being said, people like me who try and rescue these animals find themselves in a bad situation. On one side, yes families can be found for these animals, but I have had a few pits placed with wonderful families, just to have the dog stolen! So now these animals are again in the wrong hands. Yes, I hear all the time "my poopsie wouldn't hurt a flea" and I feel sure poopsie would never hurt anyone, but what happens when poopsie falls into the hands of criminals? I feel that re education is the key to help this beautiful kind breed. This breed is being ruined by some very demoralized people.

That brings up my opinion on breeding! Don't do it folks, don't do it at all......EVER! Too many pits are being killed in the shelters, starved or dying from being in the fighting ring. This is the problem, when responsible people get a wonderful pit, they spay or nuter it. When dog fighting criminals get a pit he/she knows only cruel hate from day one, aggressive traits are favored and that aggressive animal is now used to make more aggressive animals and so on! Yet sweet loving Poopsie's traits are being eliminated. Don't get me wrong, don't breed poopsie, please! But I think every one understands what I mean.

All dogs have the potential to bite, all of them. Upbringing and genes play a big roll in the chances that a dog will bite, but all dog can and will bite! On the flip side, I have rescued some dogs in awful conditions and going in I was expecting to get bitten......and never was! Never have I been bitten by any of the pits I've rescued! But let me tell you some of the smaller breeds have messed me up! Does that mean I would allow these rescued dogs around my kids? NO! I don't allow them to play with poison, rattlesnakes, guns or razors either! Are they allowed to be around the pits that have been raised and trained with love and kindness? Of course! ALL Dogs have the potential to bite, there environment creates the potential and chances that they will actually bite someone.

My kids have always wanted to own a small dog, so a few months ago I got them a shih tzu. Sweet little doggie bit my daughter in the face after a week. This dog is now in rigorous behavior training and will be a fine family dog for us. However this bite from the shih tzu didn't make the local news or even the newspaper. Why? If it had been our family pit bull, we would have been on the evening news!

Training, education and introducing morals to the humans that own animals is the key to ending the animal abuse problems!