Yesterday I read a distasteful opinion article entitled “Denying Reality Won’t Make Pitbulls Any Less Dangerous”. It is another hatchet job, masquerading as truth. For the most part, I’ve tried to stop fighting these battles on-line. It does no good, and it’s bad for my blood pressure. But something about this smug article, with its defamatory title tic’d me off. So, I responded:
Do you know why animal people were so incensed with Michael Vick? It was because of the cruel and abusive way he killed dogs. Why did he kill them? Because they wouldn’t fight. He killed any dog who wouldn’t fight. And there were a lot of them. Dog on dog aggression is not natural, for any breed. Most of this type of issue can be fixed by leaving puppies with their mothers for 12 weeks instead of 4-6. Those extra weeks are critical socialization windows. This is when a puppy learns the social skills necessary to be a happy, balanced dog. He learns bite inhibition. He learns dog body language. Many pit type dogs are bred by irresponsible people who want their money quickly, and sell puppies much too young. I understand and used to share your discomfort around pit like dogs…until I started working with them. Until I got to know that a well-trained, well-socialized, well-treated amstaff or staffie can be the most loving and loyal of companions. Until I met and fell in love with a little brown fighting dog from a notorious fight bust. That dog lived his life trying to recover from what was done to him. He was the victim of a crime, not the implement. He died without ever hurting anyone.
First thing this morning I discover the author has published the exact same article on another site and is now calling it “The Cult of the Pitbull” (one word…sigh). Same drivel, same tired-ass DBO supporters gushing and thanking him for have the courage to speak the “truth”. Let me tell you something: if you can’t tell the difference between fact and opinion, you are one of the problems in this country. People like this are why we have an issue with “fake news”. Truth matters. It matters a lot. And if we ignore it, as this author is asking us to do, it will cost innocent dogs their lives.
Here is my response to that second article…..
Pit bull terrier like dogs are the #1 most abused dog in the country. Pit bull terrier like dogs often appeal to bad, lazy or stupid people who want a dog for show or other nefarious purposes.
Pit bull terrier like dogs often have owners who abuse them, chain them up, don’t fix them, allow them to run at large, and encourage threatening behavior.
Pit bull terrier like dogs are often bred by ignorant backyard breeders who are in it for a buck, and sell puppies at 4-5 weeks, instead of the critical 12 weeks puppies need to stay with their mothers to learn bite inhibition, dog body language, and critical socialization skills.
Pit bull terrier like dogs are encouraged to behave in aggressive ways by idiots who want a tough looking/acting dog.
All of these are people issues, not breed issues.
A large, powerful, high energy dog of any type can be dangerous. We need to pass laws that are going to actually make us safer, not demonize one breed, which actually encourages punks to own them. Offer low cost (or free) easily accessible spay/neuter services. Offer dog safe training classes for kids (have been proven to reduce bite incidents by more than 50%) Enforce leash laws, outlaw chaining or 24/7 kenneling. Offer low cost or free puppy socialization and dog training classes. Enforce existing abuse/neglect laws. Hold bad owners accountable. In my mind, allowing a large, untrained, unsocialized dog to run at large, attacking a human or other dog is no different than getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car, and hurting someone.
My profile picture is of Bubba G….an amazing dog who was found in an alley in Denver, dying from dog fighting wounds that ultimately cost him both ears. At 90 lbs he could easily have ended up being extremely dangerous. When he came to me he was mouthy and unruly. Earlier this year he completed 18 months of training to become my service dog. He has flown the country with me. He meets thousands of people every years. He is 100% American Staffordshire Terrier (we had his dna tested). This is a true pit bull terrier type dog, and he throws all of your hysterical, unscientific assertions out the window. These are dogs, just dogs. But powerful, high energy dogs who need regular exercise and training. People cause their problems, and people should be held accountable.
My purpose in responding to this jerk is not to change his mind. That is impossible. It is to try and mitigate some of the damage this type of article does to pit bull reputations, especially with people with limited or no personal experience with these amazing dogs. It is rather like trying to fill a bucket with no bottom…..a waste of resources and energy. My secret weapon for changing people’s minds is asleep at my feet. He expects to be adored and it shines out through his eyes. He is changing the world, one person at a time.