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When it comes to domesticating dogs, almost every breed is considered as a potential pet except for a few unfortunate ones that aren’t favored for the post. And on top of that list is the unofficial feral king ‘the pit bull.’ Although pit bulls do not look wild at a glance, they sure are considered unruly by most people.
If you objectively think about it, no canine “looks” un-tamable; some might become that way if they are abused or mistreated, but that can happen with any dog breed. If a dog is tortured or harmed in any way, it’s bound to act out later regardless of its breed. But sadly, pit bulls have been stigmatized and deemed unsuitable for domestic households due to their propensity for mauling innocent beings.
The baseless misconception about these dogs is prevalent worldwide, but it’s more widespread in America than in any other country. The majority of the American population believes that pit bulls are predisposed to behaving aggressively and harming others.
Despite the adamancy in the propagandist claims about the nature of pit bulls, the fact remains that there is no supporting evidence for those claims. In this article, we separate pit bull facts from pit bull fiction and debunk all the groundless myths regarding the short-haired dog breed.
Pit bulls were not considered vicious from the start. There was a time when they were a part of the family photo of every blue-collar Joe. During World War II and the Great Depression, most people loved keeping a pit bull close by, but in the 1970s, things started to change for the short-haired dog breed.
When the humane movement picked up pace in the 70s, its proponents began propagating misinformation about pit bulls in order to abolish the inhumane practice of illegal dog-fighting. Since pit bulls were originally bred for fighting, they became the face of every ad denouncing dog fights.
Thus, the once-loved dogs became the antagonist of the canine world. And over the years, the false impression of pit bulls consolidated because of all the bad press they received for attacking people. But in many cases where pit bulls are defamed as the wild attacker, they are not the actual perpetrator.
According to Jeffrey Sacks at the CDC, the breed identifications are often not accurate when it comes to fatalities caused by pit bulls. Due to the notoriety pit bulls have gathered over the years, every medium-sized short-haired dog that attacks anyone is lumped into the category of pit bulls.
All this propaganda against pit bulls begs the questions, are they truly born aggressive and un-tamable? The answer is no! These dogs are not innately vicious, and their tendency to get aggressive mostly develops due to abuse and neglect.
The founder of the American Pitbull Foundation, Sara Enos, believes that blaming dog attacks on breeds is wrong and unfounded. No dog is born with a proclivity to hurt others, and it really boils down to how attentive and responsible dog owners are as paw-parents.
Bronwen Dickey, the author of Pitt Bull: The Battle over an American Idol and the unofficial heroine of the pro-pit bull community, said in an interview that she was also one of the skeptics before she started researching about the misunderstood dogs for her book.
Bronwen used to stay wary of pit bulls whenever she took out her Dalmatian for a walk. But her study on pit bulls led her to the conclusion that pit bulls are not the monsters that they are made out to be and that there is a lot more to the story than what meets the eye.
Changing the public perception about anything is equivalent to moving mountains, especially one that has been around for decades. That is why even without any scientific backing, the American public continues to believe that these particular dogs are ferocious animals that live to harm others. Even though many pro-pit bull organizations are now working to wash out the stigma on the short-haired dogs, but most of their efforts go in vain.
In 2013, TIME reported that pit bull owners all over the country are trying to re-brand the breed by insisting that pit bulls can have a softer side if shown love and care. But apparently, that report also fell on deaf ears. One reason behind people’s rigid stance against pit bulls is the plethora of online literature that links most dog fatalities to the ‘bad dog’ breed. All a person needs to do is type in relevant keywords, and they will be bombarded with reports and research papers blaming pit bulls for most canine-related accidents.
According to a five-year review of dog-bite injuries from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, published in 2009 in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, almost 51 percent of the attacks were from pit bulls, nearly 9 percent were from Rottweilers, and 6 percent were from mixes of those two breeds.
Another 15-year study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology revealed that pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds were responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks in the state of Kentucky.
Considering such reports, many states in America have put a ban on pit bull domestication, and if anyone still chooses to adopt these dogs, then they will be liable for any injuries or accidents caused by the inherently dangerous dog. In most cases, one’s Home Owners Insurance will exclude the coverage of a Pit Bull. Such rulings add insult to the injury and augment the misconception regarding this breed of dog.
Although there is a substantial amount of data that puts these dogs under suspicion, there is still no scientific proof that validates the prevalent hypothesis about the said dog breed being naturally dangerous. If you ask pit bull owners, they would tell you that their pup is as lovable as one can be and that it’s only a matter of perspective.
A dog is as ‘friendly’ or ‘aggressive’ as you want it to be. You can come across a mad dog from any breed, but that won’t mean that the entire dog race is disruptive and unsuitable for domestication. Don’t let biased generalizations about pit bulls cloud your judgment and let science lead your way.
We have some staff that volunteers at the rescue Guardian Pit Bull Rescue. This rescue also works to educate the public about the breed and promote responsible pit bull ownership. For more information about Guardian , visit www.guardianpitbullrescue.com
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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