In Defense of Pit Bulls

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Ignorance
leads to fear. And because of their ever-desperate battle to remain
relevant and look busy, politicians love when their constituents
fear something.

This is especially
true when it comes to the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), commonly
referred to simply as the Pit Bull. No other breed has been so unfairly
maligned. No other breed has been the target of so many sensationalized
media frenzies. And no other breed has been as big of a target for
snarling, self-righteous politicians.

Targeting
Breeds Doesn’t Work and Ignores the Problem

In many areas,
due to general ignorance of the breed, Pit Bulls and their owners
are victims of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) or Breed Discriminatory
Legislation. Severity varies from county to county. Usually there
are laws against breeding, heavy fines for extra registration, more
strict leash laws where a muzzle is always required, and even the
requirement to keep the animal in cage, even if the yard is fenced.
And sometimes owners must post a “Beware, Dangerous Dog” sign, with
no regard to whether the animal in question is actually a threat.

In the most
extreme cases, dogs can be rounded up by thugs, over the screams
and pleas of the owners, and taken to be murdered.

All of it unwarranted.
The only benefit: the local champion of the BSL gets a few pats
on the back for “getting something done.” As with most laws, the
intended purpose is never accomplished. The number of dog bites
or attacks by dogs are not reduced. In fact, a decade after the
UK passed the Dangerous Dog Act of 1997, dog bites were up 50%.
Spain passed a similar act in 2000, and statistics remained unchanged.

This is because
they fail to recognize the root cause of 100% of dog incidents:
stupid and irresponsible humans. 85% of all attacks come from dogs
who are in abusive or neglectful home. And all could have been prevented
if the proper precautions had been taken when certain signs exhibited
themselves. People are always responsible and should be always be
the ones held responsible.

But every time
there is a news story that comes out about some Pit Bull attack,
it seems another “champion” arises to take advantage of the situation.
If a Cocker Spaniel or Poodle was involved in an attack…who cares?
No one has an unreasonable fear of those breeds. People
would rightfully laugh at a politician who demanded the euthanization
of all poodles in the area.

If I may bastardize
the quote of Stalin: “A bite from a Poodle is a statistic. A bite
from a Pit Bull is a tragedy.” Never mind that American
Pit Bull Terriers consistently score in the top 5 of all breeds
in temperament tests administered by various organizations.

The truth is
that few dog breeds bond so well to their human companions, or show
so much unreserved affection. In fact, Pit Bulls actually make horrible
guard dogs, because they always want to make friends first, and
ask questions later.

Common Myths

Myth
#1: Pit Bulls are Naturally Aggressive.

While it’s
true that a Pit Bull that is not properly trained and socialized
can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs, this never translates
to people. Most dogs will attack and try to kill some kind of animal.
That’s what they were originally bred for. Where do you think coonhounds,
foxhounds, and wolfhounds got their names from?

Pit Bulls are
typically submissive to all humans and love children. As mentioned
above, APBTs actually make horrible guard dogs for this very reason.
Do you know how easy it is to steal a typical Pit Bull from an owner’s
yard? Almost as easy as taking candy from a baby.

The temperament
test administered by the American Temperament Test Society, measuring
confrontational situations that produced negative reactions, discovered
that Pit Bulls passed 82% or better. The average of the general
dog population? 77%.

Remember the
Vick case? 50 dogs were rescued from the situation, most Pit Bulls.
One of them now
visits hospitals for a living
.

The truth is
that any breed can be dangerous if owned by someone irresponsible
or not trained properly.

Myth
#2: Pit Bulls have stronger jaws then most breeds, and can lock
them.

Pit Bulls have
lower jaw pressure than Rottweilers and German Shepherds. These
rumors likely came from newspaper articles without any factual evidence.
And biologically, Pit Bulls have jaws that, proportionally to their
size, are no different than other breeds.

Myth
#3: Pit Bulls are only good for fighting.

Anyone who
has owned, or even been around a normal Pit Bull, knows this is
false. The APBT is one of the most intelligent and compassionate
breeds you will ever come across, and their desire to please their
owner is near fanatical. Its innate physical ability is almost unsurpassed

For these reasons,
Pit Bulls have been used in search and rescue operations, competed
highly in obedience and agility trials, always excel in weight-pull
competitions, and serve as therapy/service animals.

What they excel
in most, it seems, is being a loving companion. They
make great family pets
.

Breed Fears
are Cyclical. Politicians Looking to Advance Their Career are Constant

First, they
came for the Pit Bull, and I didn’t care, because I didn’t own a
Pit Bull…

And you know
the rest.

Sadly, Pit
Bulls aren’t the first breed to be discriminated against based on
fear, and they won’t be the last. Mastiffs and German Shepherds
have had their day. Dobermans have had a turn.

BSL and over-zealous
politicians are simply bad for all dog owners, and the public in
general. It’s short-sighted, uses tax money for no measurable benefit,
authorizes Gestapo tactics against private property, and makes criminals
out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. All bad precedents.

Don’t get caught
up in the fear. All you’re doing is helping some power-grabbing
politician step up the ladder where they can do even more damage.
So don’t support BSL.

Matt
Robison [send him mail] is
a Web Architect and Micro-Entrepreneur who offers marketing and
development through Propdrop.
He owns a Pit Bull/Lab mix named Bauer, and runs an owner community
dedicated to Pit Bulls.

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