October is Pit Bull Awareness Month.
Pit bulls have been wrongly labeled in the media and within our social construct as somehow being inherently more aggressive than other types of dogs.
This simply is not true, and breed-specific legislation, or breed-discriminatory legislation (BSL / BDL), has taken hold in communities worldwide, causing many dogs to lose their lives simply because of the way they look or are perceived, not because of any wrongdoing. These laws are tearing families apart and are using taxpayer funds to unjustly euthanize dogs. Those of us who live here in Denver, and surrounding communities, are subject to such wrongful laws.
Despite evidence that this type of legislation is not effective in reducing dog bites as it claims to do, politicians and those who view the breed with disdain have been able to keep making and enforcing these laws.
One of the most notorious pit bull cases, Michael Vick and his Bad Newz Kennels, brought national attention to the perception of pit bull fight rings. Michael Vick threw untrained family pets into fight rings and would kill dogs who wouldn’t fight by bludgeoning them, electrocuting, hanging or drowning them. This shows that, despite all the effort he and his cohorts put into training these dogs to be aggressive, they ultimately could not train all of them to be this way. More often than not, they could not. It is a sad example of what we are doing to dogs, that we are targeting the wrong end of the leash.
We here at Delightful Doggies believe it is important to educate about this topic and to advocate for ALL dogs, regardless of breed. When I was growing up, I remember seeing images of rabid-looking Dobermans on TV. Other breeds throughout time have been targeted and labeled as inherently dangerous or aggressive. No dog is born aggressive. Medical conditions and extreme cases of abuse can make some dogs aggressive, but none are aggressive because of simple physical characteristics or their breed makeup. Rather, we believe in effective and consistent positive reinforcement-based methods of training, early and lifelong socialization, and a trust-based bond between humans and dogs will make for a better world for all of us. We also believe that any legislation should be aimed towards humans who are not taking proper care of their dogs, rather than targeting the dogs themselves.
And those of us who don’t own bully breeds may not think this issue affects us, but it does. If discrimination is allowed to any one dog, none are safe.
Tomorrow in Littleton the Mile High for Pits – National Pit Bull Awareness Day Colorado will be taking place. We encourage you to support these events and those who are present at such events, and to contact your own political representatives to let them know you are against BSL / BDL. Learn more from the awesome Animal Farm Foundation and tell others. It’s time we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves!
Owner, Delightful Doggies