A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Friday, July 12, 2013

Love-A-Bull, Hug-A-Bull, Kiss-A-Bull!!!

Pit bulls often make up 50% of the resident dogs at the KCMO shelter.  This blog will hopefully give some insight into why and what we can do to help this breed.  There are so many things I want people to know: How they got such a bad reputation, What BSL is and why it’s not effective, how mistreated they are, how backyard breeding of Pit bulls is creating an overpopulation, and how incredibly cute, handsome, loyal, and loving they are. This list goes on, but there are some important things that I want to share and I hope people will pass on...

Did you know that Pit bull is actually not a breed:
The term "pit bull" encompasses many breeds and mixes, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Bull Terrier.
American Pit bull Terrier
There is a huge range of breed mixes that are commonly identified as "bully breeds" or "pit bull-type dogs". Many dogs entering shelters with unknown backgrounds are identified as "pit bull type dogs" and can be a mix of these breeds, as well as a variety of other types such as bulldogs or mastiff breeds. There is no such thing as a "pure bred" pit bull.
Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Terrier

The reason this is so important is because Pit bulls are judged and discriminated against ALL THE TIME. People are judging an entire group of dogs: all three of the purebred dogs, many purebred dogs with similar physical qualities such as the American Bulldog or the Cane Corso Mastiff, and then also including in this group are NUMEROUS mix-breed dogs that resemble either the American Pit bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier or the Bull Terrier.  If we take any dog with a large square head, stocky chest, semi-straight tail, docked OR floppy ears and/or other “Pit bull” characteristics that is a LOT of dogs. There is simply a LOT of dogs out there that can be called “Pit bulls”.

The media is effecting what society thinks about Pit bulls and are doing it on purpose:
The media has helped create a bad reputation for Pit bulls in many different ways. The media is constantly creating a belief that Pit bulls attack more than any other breed of dog.  They continue to only report Pit bull attacks. These attacks are nationwide news making it in to hundreds of newspapers and on nationwide broadcasts. If a Lab or a Golden Retriever attacks it might make it into a news story.  This clearly leads the public to believe that Pit bulls are attacking all the time while no other dogs are.

The media also adds to this by always putting the words “Pit bull” and “Attack” together in the headline.  When people see “Pit bull Attacks” in the headlines they don’t even have to read the rest of the story. They already have an opinion in their head. Once they see it enough times, you start to think that all Pit bulls attack all the time. 

Breed Restriction Legislation (BSL) is absolutely ridiculous:
Breed Specific Legislation is legislation and rules about specific breeds of dogs thought to be “Dangerous Breeds”. This is often directed at Pit bulls and when BSL is in force there can be complete BANS on Pit bulls in entire cities or even states.  REMEMBER - there is no actual Pit bull breed. The word Pit bull describes many dogs with different genetic backgrounds that have similar physical characteristics.

SO...these cities have put in place a blanket ban on Pit bulls to make people feel "safer" in their communities. They don't look at how a dog acts, how a dog is treated, or how responsible their owners are.  Instead they ban an entire GROUP of dogs that may or may not have similar behavioral characteristics, but do have similar looks.  So who decides if a dog is a Pit bull or not if it is based on looks...

This is a huge problem because it gives animal control and city legislators free reign to decide whether your dog is a Pit bull or not.  The biggest problem of all is they aren't targeting the criminals and the bad dog owners. Criminals and bad dog owners continue what they are doing while good, responsible dog owners are faced with either moving, finding a home for their dog outside of the BSL jurisdiction, or hiding their dog knowing that they’re risking the dog being confiscated (like a piece of property) to possibly be put down.

BSL is a ban on Pit bulls that doesn’t really look at what the problems are. Irresponsible backyard breeders with un-altered males and females living together are a problem. Owners that keep their dogs chained and tethered their entire lives are a problem. Dog fighters are a problem. Drug dealers and criminals who have no idea what it really means to own a dog are a problem. BSL makes people “feel safer” but are they?

To find out if your city has a ban, you can check out this website:

Backyard breeders have created a Pit bull overpopulation:
There are SO many Pit bull type dogs in shelters these days and many of them don't make it out alive. This is partly because of breed specific legislation and partly because every irresponsible Pit bull owner on earth seems to think that they need to have Pit bull puppies to make a couple bucks.  Did you know there are some shelters that euthanize Pit bulls the second after they walk through the door. They are not allowed to adopt out Pit bulls therefore they immediately put them down. Thank goodness this is NOT the case at KCMO!

All of the backyard breeding increases this overpopulation problem and continues the mix-breeding of Pit bulls, since remember, there are no purebred Pit bulls. Because of their size and typical good health Pit bull type dogs tend to have a lot of puppies, often as many as TEN puppies in one litter! Because Pit bulls are often bred by inexperienced people and irresponsible owners, females may be bred too young and too often, and the puppies likely won’t get de-wormed or be given any vaccines. Then they are sold to people who will continue the process. 

If people would adopt Pit bull type dogs from the shelters, instead of buying them from backyard breeders, we could decrease the numbers of Pit bulls euthanized every day (2800 Pit bulls are euthanized a day) and maybe this would give backyard breeders less of an incentive to keep breeding.   Also, Pit bulls adopted from shelters are already spayed or neutered, so even if an owner is irresponsible and lets their dog roam or the owner thinks that having puppies would be fun the adopted dog CAN’T reproduce.

Pit bulls are wonderful loving dogs and deserve a second chance:

One very important characteristic of a Pit bull, is their amazing love of people. 
They are companion animals who have enhanced the lives of many through their devoted people-loving natures, bravery, and intelligence.  They love physical affection and attention and are eager to please.  With the right owner a Pit bull can be the most loyal and loving dog in the world.

If you bring a Pit bull into your life, you’re taking on a big responsibility. Many people have never met a Pit bull. As a responsible Pit bull parent, you have the power to educate the public and change people’s minds about this misunderstood breed. The best way to accomplish this is to have a well-controlled, well-socialized, well-behaved dog at your side.  If you’re knowledgeable about the breed, you can help people understand what great dogs Pit bulls can be.  There are resources everywhere.  We really need people to step up and learn more about this breed and understand them.  Laws need to be changed.  Please check out the below and make yourself knowledgeable about Pit bulls.  Help these dogs get the second chance they deserve...