Pit Bulls: Fighting a Pitiful Reputation
The pit bull breed is one that always seems to find itself in the middle of some public controversy. Whether it be the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal or a "random attack" on a passerby or neighbor, pit bulls have acquired a reputation as a breed with an inherent tendency to be unpredictable and violent.
However, this reputation is not necessarily accurate.
Many dog professionals agree that pit bulls are not inherently dangerous; rather, it is the environment in which the dog is raised that engenders their vicious and uncontrollably aggressive nature. The environment that breeds a dangerous dog is one full of physical and emotional abuse.
Illegal dog fighting groups exist all across the country, and the most common dog breeds involved in this practice are typically pit bulls, Rottweilers, and other types of bull terriers.
Jay Carlson, a passionate Pit Bull owner from Winooski, Vermont, explains, “The problem with this breed is the “macho factor” associated with the name. Many people train these dogs to attack and kill other dogs right from birth.”
People who raise put bulls to fight instill a kill instinct in the dogs right from birth. They are placed as puppies in cages with older dogs who attack them, teaching them aggression toward other dogs. Often times the dogs are forced to run on treadmills for hours at a time to build muscle and to hang from ropes so their jaws become stronger and more deadly. Additionally, most people involved in the illegal dog fighting community keep their dogs underfed, which can cause them to be agitated and distressed.
Various cities across the United States have gone as far as instilling a ban against the ownership of Pit Bulls. These bans typically arise after reported attacks and are an attempt to placate local residents who are disturbed by the event. In 2004, city officials in Boston passed a law that required all Pit Bull owners to be muzzled in public due to an increase of attacks.
Punish the Deed, Not the Breed
Many people feel the regulations against this breed should be re-focused towards the negligent and irresponsible dog owners. Humane societies across the country urge dog owners to be conscious of their dog’s temperament and to make sure their dogs are trained through proper obedience and behavioral methods.
While this breed will undoubtedly maintain a negative reputation, thousands of people across the country can vouch that their beloved Pit Bulls are a far cry from being confrontational canines. A pit bull owner from Worcester, Massachusetts, explains enthusiastically, “Pit Bulls have the worst reputation but in my experience, they are the best dogs. They are good-natured, loyal and loving. My dog is extremely social and playful with every other dog he meets.”
The issues surrounding this breed often pull on the heartstrings of dedicated dog owners who have nothing but the breed’s best interest in mind. Ignorant people who don’t know how to properly raise a dog are the reason that Pit Bulls have a negative stereotype and are so misunderstood. Punish the deed, not the breed!
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