Educate, Don’t Discriminate.

There was a really sad story in the local paper the other day. A 74-year-old woman was attacked by daughter’s dog. Without giving you the link [I promise, I’ll give it to you in a bit], can you guess what kind of dog it was?

Okay, most of you were probably correct. It was a pit bull.

I felt awful reading the story, because it’s never a good thing when someone is attacked by an animal. But via the quotes they attributed to the owner, I could tell she probably wasn’t educated about her dog. And I know myself well enough to know I shouldn’t have read the comments on said article.

I did anyway.

I then proceeded to go on a tirade on twitter. Sorry, followers.

It’s just that . . . regardless of what the media tells you about pit bulls, they’re generally well behaved dogs. Yes, you will get the occasional bad seed, but that happens with any animal. I hate when I see stories about children being attacked “completely unprovoked” by a dog. I bet you that kid did something the dog didn’t like, especially if the dog was eating. I don’t like when people discriminate against a dog breed because they don’t research, but blindly follow what the news says.

For instance – do you know there are dogs more likely to fail a temperament test than pit bulls? Click on that link. You’d be surprised which “family friendly” dogs fail more than pitties. [FYI, the President’s dog has a higher failure rate than a pit bull.]

I am a firm believer in responsible ownership. If you want to own a dog, do some research before you get one. Adopt when you can. Dogs in shelters may have had a hard life before you found them, but they can be real sweethearts. I used to volunteer and work at a local no kill shelter. My boss routinely went into the next county to rescue pit bulls from their SPCA. They did basic tests on them to see whether they’d make good Breed Ambassadors, for The Pit Stop Program, which is an education, outreach, and intervention program. They offer free spay/neuter services to owners of pit bulls in our area, as well as training for how to handle their dogs.

Read this story. It’s an incredibly touching story about one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s compound in Virginia. Please, try not to get me started on how much he says he’s “reformed.” I don’t believe it for a minute, and I don’t believe he regrets what he did, only that he was caught. I personally know one of the volunteers with the Pit Bull Awareness Coalition. They were the only rescue in the Tidewater are of Virginia to get one of Vick’s dogs. Piper – the dog that story is about – is now a therapy dog. Pretty awful, right? She helps kids learn to READ! The horror!

Please, please, please inform yourselves before you bring any animal into your home. If you want to bring a pit bull home, please read the information available at badrap.org. Look at the Pit Bull Awareness Coalition web site. Read the myths about the breed and edcuate yourself before you look like an idiot on a newspaper’s web site.

Please don’t think I’m saying pit bulls can’t be dangerous. They can be, if their owners aren’t educated about their animal. But that’s just it. In the end, dogs are animals. Any responsible dog owner will never say “My dog doesn’t bite,” because the truth is they don’t know their dog doesn’t bite, only that their dog has never been put in a situation where they feel provoked enough to bite.

We can’t have dogs because M is allergic. But if we could? I’d adopt a pit bull in a heart beat, even with Butter and Little Bear in the house. But I’d know about the dog before I brought it home. And in the end, it would be my responsibility [and M’s] to be aware of the dog and our children. It would be up to us to educate our children on how to behave around the dog.

2 Replies to “Educate, Don’t Discriminate.”

  1. Awesome article and thank you again for being their VOICE! The world needs more people like you! As a Pit Bull “mix” Mom I know how these animals “can be”. I rescued mine August 2010. Titan gets trained EVERY day! He has a ROUTINE that we need to stick to. These animals, I say “pit bull” not American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT, which is the breed), need a structured life. They NEED routine and they NEED training enhancement every day. My Titan has done a complete 360 since I got him. Am I afraid of him? No, did it take me almost 20 minutes at the pound before I would even stick my finger through the kennel cage? Yes, I spent another 1.5 hours there talking to him, taking him outside, etc., before I even agreed to adopt him. Is he a lot of hard work? Absolutely! Does he restrict me from doing things I’d normally do? Yes. Am I constantly defending him against the ignorance of the world? Absolutely! But when push comes to shove, Titan is only out to please me, his Pack Leader. Protect me and my husband….til the death, his death. It truly is how you raise them and they do need training…..always. I don’t regret a day since I rescued him. He is my son & I will defend him as long as he lives.

    I rambled but I am so passionate about APBT and pit bull “likes”. They are misunderstood and given the chance, can be great companions. Don’t get me wrong, ANY dog can turn on it’s owner….Pit Bull incidents are just more publicized because the media loves to keep the FEAR in us!

    ~Proud Pit Bull Mom!

  2. My Molly was a “disgrace to the pit bull race” – a cheeky way of saying she wouldn’t hurt a fly. She was rescued from a pit bull fighting ring on the post close to my hometown, and she was the only one in her litter to pass the temperament test. I had to constantly battle against ignorance from my friends and family and society in general on owning a pit bull. But once they got to know her they realized what a sweet animal she was. I only had one incident where her “animal nature” was provoked, and it wasn’t with another human, but with another dog. After that, when we took her to dog parks we decided to use a muzzle – not as punishment for her, but as a safety precaution. We never had another incident. It is all about responsibility. You adopt these animals – ANY animal – and you see them through to the end. You don’t give up on them. You train your children – train your animals, too. They’re another part of your family.

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