Pit Bull Prejudice
In this day in age the most hated and feared dog breed is the pit bull, without question. Pit bulls have had their reputations dragged through the mud; they’ve endured years of being the targets of a modern day witch hunt. What does that mean? It means that we are looking for a monster that does not exist.
But society has not come to this conclusion on its own. The media is largely responsible for the prejudice against the pit bull breed. Did you know, when a non pit bull dog attacks someone the story usually appears in 1 to 2 articles (depending on the severity of the attack) in the local newspaper. When a pit bull attacks someone (regardless of the severity) it is reported over 300 times in national newspapers and news stations. Due to this reporting habit, it only appears that pit bulls attack more often than other breeds because we are hearing about it more often.
If you look up dog attack statistics you will likely find that pit bulls contributed to a majority of those attacks. But this information is highly inaccurate. Many other breeds (around 24) are often misidentified as pit bulls, so when any of these breeds attack the numbers are all lumped together in the “pit bull” category. See the picture below for the breeds that are most often confused for pit bulls, and see if you can identify the real pit bull (there’s only 1!). I am proud to say that during an animal rescue meeting I was able to identify the pit bull immediately; I love the breed and find them to be beautiful animals!
Many harsh regulations have been put into place to punish these dogs and their owners. These regulations are known as Breed Specific Legislations, they are put into place to either ban or highly regulate “bully” breeds, and they are the government’s solution to handle this situation. But they are absolutely the wrong solution, and I will explain why they’re ineffective.
First, they turn otherwise responsible owners into “criminals.” BSL’s set almost impossible restrictions on owners, and rather than get rid of their beloved pets owners have turned to hiding their dogs. This can really have a negative effect on a dog’s well being because the owners restrict outdoor exercise and socializing and they quit licensing and taking their animals to the vet. This not only threatens the dog’s health, but also public safety.
Another problem with BSL’s is that they make the targeted breeds more attractive to criminals. Throughout history, when a specific breed was outlawed, their numbers in the criminal world increased. The number of pit bulls owned by gang members and other criminals rose in the 1980’s, when the first round of breed specific legislations began. Did you know before the 1980’s pit bulls were known as “America’s Dog?”
While breed specific legislations don’t work, there is a PAINFULLY simple solution that would not only help end the pit bull prejudice, but it could also drastically reduce the number of dog attacks world-wide. Did you know that over 90% of all dog attacks (not just pit bulls) were done by an unaltered (not spayed or neutered) animal? That means that of the 38 fatal dog attacks in 2012, there would have been just 3 or 4 if strict spay and neuter regulations had been in place.
Image Credit » Photo By Me