Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | July 25, 2007

Pit Bulls Get Bad Rap

Hi my name is Pluto.  I am a 3 year old American Staffordshire Terrier mix here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter awaiting an adoptive family that will love and understand me for who I am.  Who am I you ask?  Well like many of the Bull breeds (which includes 6 breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier) I am erroneously classified under the breed “Pit Bull” and labeled as a vicious and dangerous dog. 

A “Pit Bull” is not a breed but a categorization or nickname that people use for dogs that look like me.  But when you think of the typical stereotype of a Pit Bull (you know the scary snarling thing that hates all dogs and will eat your children), that is not me.  I am an athletic, energetic, loving, affectionate, eager to please, loyal, and playful dog.  I am not a natural fighting dog and I am not a guard dog.  I like people and dogs too much to be either. 

Because of my breeding, however, I need an owner that understands that in my genetics we were bred to fight and as such my adoptive parents need to be very responsible about not putting me in situations that would lead to fighting.  If we are socialized properly we are very playful and friendly with other dogs.  This is the kind of dog that I am. 

I took the helm of the Pet Column this week because of the disturbing issues on the news lately about dog fighting and the severely inhumane treatment of dogs who are trained to fight other dogs.  I am sure you have heard of the federal indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for charges of horrendous dog abuse and dog fighting. 

Due to people like Mr. Vick (and am I correct in that he is still being allowed to play pro football and maintain a celebrity status?  You humans baffle me…) I know it will be more difficult for me and other dogs like me to find a good home.  I know this because when people come in to the shelter they look at me and, with an anxious and fearful tone ask, “Is that a Pit?” and want nothing to do with me.  I don’t blame them, I blame people like Michael Vick, the media, and all the irresponsible and inappropriate owners of my related breed over the years.

I have never been involved in dog fighting but I agree with Ed Sayres, the President & CEO of the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that, “Dog fighting is probably the worst violation of the human-animal bond; a bond that is known to have lasting and beneficial effects on animals, people and society as a whole. It is unacceptable at any level, especially in a society that claims to have humane attitudes towards animals.”

So the best weapon I have to fight all the misnomers about my breed is education.  I urge you to learn more about my representative breeds before condemning us to the “vicious dog” category.  I have met poodles that I would consider more vicious than me.  Not that I want them labeled in that way either but the point is – we have to be considered individually and in consideration of the treatment we have received from humans.  Familiarize yourself with our positive qualities such as intelligence, ease in training, potential in such sports such as agility, obedience, weight pulling, and Frisbee competitions, and jovial natures. 

 A Bull breed, with proper temperament, like myself, makes a devoted and loving family member. You will often hear a Bull’s owner tell you that after owning one, they will never own any other breed.  Do your homework, check out websites that promote the truth about Bull breeds, get involved in the movement to end the “sport” of dog fighting, come meet and play with me, open your minds and hearts – our lives depend upon it.

 Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about  the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance & Rebate Program, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other pet questions.  For more information on SCHS, or to visit our shelter pets online, go to: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Questions for next week’s column can be sent to:  vol-ed@secondchancehumanesociety.org

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