Pit Bulls-Misunderstood dogs face uphill battle to change public
When one sees the words Pit Bull in a headline of a newspaper article the immediate thought is negative. These dogs have been on the wrong side of the media for a long time, and it doesn’t seem like they will shed their notorious reputation any time soon. But what is it about these dogs that make them such a target for negative press?
In all honesty, these are some of the most loyal and playful dogs that one will find, and they are fantastic with children. For a long time, they were known as “Nanny” dogs in the UK, and many Victorian posters depict these misunderstood animals overseeing his or her chubby baby. This image is a far cry from the ferocious and blood-thirsty portrayal of today.
Unfortunately, these animals have a slight mismatch in terms of body and personality. All that joyful energy gets packed into a rock-hard body that has the potential to do some severe damage. Due to their strength and tenacity, they were historically bred for dog fighting and trained to be more aggressive than playful. Truth be told, some Pit Bulls are more prone to aggressive behavior than your typical Labrador or Boxer. However, it can easily be managed, and these dogs are more than eager to show their underlying soft-natured spirit.
There are numerous rehabilitation stories which are a testament to their ability to shed their blood-thirsty nature and take on their friendlier environment. One such story that made headlines is the rehabilitation of many Pit Bulls which got seized for Brad Mews Kennels, the dogfighting ring that was run by NFL quarterback Michael Vick.
These dogs are subject to some of the worst torture that humans can produce. Chained and beaten in the woods and forced to fight for survival. These dogs were trained to kill or get killed. The unfortunate losers were torn apart and dumped in mass graves. However, thanks to public outcry and a stern Judge, nearly $1 million was put aside for the dogs’ rehabilitation and adoption into new homes. These former ‘killers’ have now found homes in schools, elder-care facilities, and other urban households.
One of the Brad Mews victims, Hector, was adopted by Roo Yori. Yori is best known as the guardian of Wallace, the national flying-disc champion. He now spends his days playing with his housemates, a Rat Terrier, a Black Lab and an Australian Sheppard, together with Yori’s wife. If it weren’t for the deep scars on his chest, it would be hard to imagine that Hector was once a fierce and deadly fighter.
Pit Bulls have a bad reputation and generalizations are as bad for these k9s as what they are for humans. There is still much work to be done to change the public opinion of these mislabeled animals. Animal shelters are overrun with Pit Bulls and other dogs that share the same label, and there aren’t many homes who are willing to adopt. Consequently, the majority of them don’t survive. Hopefully, more and more pro-Pit campaigns will turn the tide for these unfortunate creatures and help open homes to adopt a goofy, lovely and friendly Pit Bull.