Jennifer Smith Comp 102 (2:25) Carmody 21 October 2012
Although pit bulls used to be the most popular breed for American families and considered the “true American dog”, lately their breed is being discriminated against just for the behavior of some, compared to the behavior of all. The media covers more attacks by pit bulls than any other breed, usually because the attacks are more fatal, but also because people do not really care if a smaller breed attacks someone: it usually does no damage. That is the big difference between the pit bull and other breeds. They are more powerful than most, so they are the most dangerous. Although they can be dangerous, this is only if they are raised and owned by people incapable of caring for an animal that can be dangerous in certain circumstances. These people are also not responsible enough, and either do not assess the consequences of owning a dog like this or only own a pit bull for all the wrong reasons. When the dog goes and attacks someone, it seems like it only creates a bad image for the breed instead of the owner, where most of the time it is the owner who should take responsibility. If the owner realizes they cannot handle it after they already have the dog, it is usually going straight to an animal shelter. Some animal shelters do not even put their pit bulls up for
adoption, they deem them unadoptable just because they are pit bulls, and they have concerns about what will happen to them after adoption because they are pits (Schultz). Even though some do put them up for adoption, their breed is still the most common in shelters. The national average percentage of pit bulls out of all dogs in shelters is thirtythree percent. There is a very high overpopulation of these dogs, yet breeders (or puppy mills, for that matter) still breed and sell pit bulls. Another aspect of the pit bull discrimination comes from state and local governments, which have banned pit bulls outright. Some don’t go to that extreme, but they set restrictions on the owners of pit bulls. It is even possible to get dropped from insurance if you own a pit bull. The most common type of insurance to be dropped from is renters insurance, because the pits are thought of more destructive than other dogs (Hill). This discrimination against just one breed of dog is not right. All of the misconceptions about this breed is because of lack of knowledge about why these dogs are set so far apart from other breeds like the German Shepherd or Rottweiler. Pit Bulls can be caring, loyal, and harmless as a family pet, but many people are fearful of them, so they don’t consider them a good addition to the family. It is about time we have taken a look into the reasons for these behavior problems instead of just blaming the breed. One of the greatest factors of understanding a breed is its history, and many people seem to forget how much the United States used to adore this breed. The pit bull was first seen in England in the 1800’s, where breeders mixed Olde English Bulldogs and terriers together. The original purpose of Olde English Bulldogs were to “bait bulls”. In bull baiting matches, the objective was for the dog to immobilize the bull. Bulls were tied to a stake, which let them move about 30 feet. Before the match, it was
common to blow pepper into the bull’s nose to get it enraged. One at a time, different bulldogs would attack the bull, and a successful attack would be a bulldog holding onto the bull’s snout (Luca). Needless to say, it created animal pain for human enjoyment, and many bulldogs were seriously injured or killed for the pleasure of the onlookers. It was common to gamble on these matches as well. In 1835, when the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed, bull baiting was considered inhumane and illegal (Luca). Eventually, dogfighting took its place. The reason pit bulls were bred into existence is because of the dogfighting, to make Bulldogs more small and...