October is Pit Bull Awareness Month! I have wanted to write this blog entry all month, but was worried that I wouldn’t do these amazing dogs justice. Here’s my attempt.
I was recently researching doggy daycares outside of Boston for a client who was moving. I read a 1-star Yelp review about an otherwise highly ranked center. The day care center policy stated that “Dogs must be friendly with other dogs.” The user brought his friendly and loving (with dogs and people!) dog to the day care center but was ONLY TURNED AWAY BECAUSE HIS DOG WAS A PIT BULL.
These types of policies help perpetuate the absurd myths that have become associated with pit bulls. “Pits are aggressive killing machines.” “They are a danger to the public.” “Pit bulls should be banned.” “They all eventually turn on their owners.” These lies result in even more pits ending up in shelters. These ignorant statements infuriate me and couldn’t be further from the truth.
FACT: The term “pit bull” actually encompasses several different breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bully and Straffordshire Bull Terrier.
FACT: The American Pit Bull Terrier is less aggressive than the Golden Retriever. On an aggression temperament test, run by the ATTS, 86.8% of the pit bulls passed, while 85.2% of golden retrievers passed and only 82% of dogs passed on average.
FACT: “There is no evidence from the controlled study of dog bites that one kind of dog is more likely to bite a human being than another kind of dog… no group of dogs should be considered disproportionately dangerous.” (National Canine Research Council)
FACT: Breed-specific legislation, such as breed bans, has not reduced dog bites in the areas that they have been enacted. But they have forced some families to give up their pets, leading to even more pits in shelters where, because of the stereotypes, they are less likely to get adopted than other dogs.
FACT: Most of the aggressive pit bulls that make it into the news have been trained or conditioned to be that way. Most breeds would exhibit similar traits if treated this way.
FACT: Pit bulls are the best. Okay, so maybe that’s an opinion, but it’s hard to argue once you know the truth about these amazing dogs!
I LOVE PIT BULLS. That’s probably obvious by now. I have the pleasure of working with three pits and pit mixes. They are three of my favorite dogs that I have ever met. Each one is gentle, kind, playful and intelligent. I love walking them and encountering people with inaccurate views of these dogs because I get to show them first hand how wonderful pit bulls are. Let’s make it our responsibility to educate ourselves, and the people around us, about these amazing dogs.
There’s so much information out there. Here are a few of my favorite resources: