“Must look at reality if we are to help pit bulls”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2004:

Thanks for addressing the need to address the burgeoning pit
bull terrier problem realistically. Trying to perpetuate the myth
that pit bull terriers are “just another dog” is not only naive, but
is a buy-in to the dog fighters’ agenda.
Organized fighters have historically openly paid attorneys
and lobbyists to assure that only generic “dangerous dog” legislation
is passed. That way no one interferes with their breed-specific
“sport,” and they continue to exploit pit bulls as their victims.
It is untrue that other breeds would automatically take the
place of pit bulls in dogfighting. No other breed has the “gameness”
and blind loyalty of the pit bull. No other breed will drag his
bloody body on three broken legs across a ring to continue combat.
No other breed will continue to try to attack when his face is
completely ripped down to the dental structure or his entrails are
falling from his belly.
No other breed has the stoicism that will keep him from
biting a human in the pit when his flesh is hanging from its body,
and he is screaming in agony.

Also, no other breed will live (often by the dozens) at the
end of a chain, trained not to bark or cry, hidden and frequently
starved to death in dark tenement basements or in backyards, without
complaint. No other breed will lick his owner’s hand as he is set on
fire or skinned alive because he lost a fight.
This is the real truth about the lives of most pit bulls. Yet
they remain the victims of the misplaced emotions of a “humane”
movement that refuses to look at what is really happening to pit
bulls because responding might require politically incorrect courage
and action.
Do we prefer to continue to let pit bulls suffer by the
thousands so that we can publish an occasional warm and fuzzy
“rescue” story to boost our own egos?
The truth is that this breed of dog is genetically
animal-aggressive and is now being deliberately bred to be
human-aggressive. Unlike other breeds, pit bulls do not stop an
attack when the victim surrenders. No other breed has a statistical
record of killing 15 human caretakers in one year, exclusive of the
actions of dogs specifically trained to fight, and it would be very
hard to find a golden retriever who would chew the arms off a 91-year
old woman who was trying to feed him, as recently occurred here in
Los Angeles.
The “humane” world must look at reality if we are to help pit
bulls. Curtailing the endless flow of pit bull puppies might not stop
every dogfighter, but it would certainly make a major impact on the
overall problem.
For once let us act cohesively and without compromise to
demand local and nationwide special protection permits for pit bulls:
require spay/neuter, plus mandatory microchipping and regular
inspections of how they are kept.
Let us stop the increasing costly liability to shelters
caused by insisting upon the adoption of dogs with aggressive
temperaments. We must do this for both the breed and for the public.
If we continue to insist that all dogs are the same, the insurance
and mortgage companies are justified in not accepting the liability
for any dog, and all breeds will suffer–as is already
occurring–from the resulting shortage of homes.
We have no problem being specific when there is “species”
endangerment. We now have a growing problem of “breed endangerment.”
Easily 90% of pit bulls who are owned are kept under inhumane or at
least neglectful conditions. The average life expectancy for this
breed is less than two years. Pits and their mixes constitute easily
up to 70% of the incoming dog population at many animal shelters all
over the U.S., where they wait to be euthanized or possibly adopted
into further abuse or fighting.
There is no reason not to be breed specific, for the
protection of pit bulls as well as other animals and the public. We
don’t have to get into identification wars-if a dog looks like a pit
bull, let us protect it. The rules for owning and maintaining pit
bulls should be strict, specific, and responsible.
That certainly should be acceptable to all who truly love the
breed. It would definitely bring out the dog fighters and abusers in
opposition. They are very “breed specific.”
–Phyllis Daugherty, Director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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