3 March 2013
Pit Bulls: Misconceptions and the Truth
Pit Bulls, one of the American societies famous bully breeds is too often stereotyped as malicious animals, but that stereotype is false due to evidence that pit bulls can be just as loving as the iconic golden retriever. According to the American Temperament Test, which is a test that focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, friendliness and self-preservation in the face of a threat shows that Pit Bulls have a temperament of 86.8%, (American Temperament Test Society) a much higher percentage than other breeds which justifies that these animals can withstand a higher tolerance of aggressiveness. If this is the case, why are Pit Bulls one of the most discriminated dog breeds in today’s society? Due to irresponsible owners, Pit Bulls have been labeled cruel and violent animals, leading people to be frightened for themselves, their children, and their pets. By experience and owning a pit bull for oneself, people would begin to understand something entirely different. Pit Bulls are a misunderstood breed; they are one of the most loving and loyal breeds that deserves a fair chance just like any other dog would, but because of irresponsible owners, and their negligence toward teaching their pit bulls the right mannerisms this may never happen. The reputation of the Pit Bull has taken a dramatic downfall in the past few decades due to negative publicity. Originally, Pit Bulls were considered to be “American darlings”; during WWI they were claimed to be the sweetest and most loving dogs a person could own, but in the 1980’s the view of the “American darlings” changed due to an illegal “sport”, dogfighting. Although dogfighting is illegal in all fifty states, inhumane persons who participate in the sport choose pit bulls because of their strong physique and loyal personality, which contribute to the stereotype of all pit bulls being violent due to the public only viewing them as fighters. A famous example of this is the widely known scandal around NFL player Michael Vick, who was convicted of running Pit bull fighting kennels in Smithfield, VA. The outcome of this case brought on more discrimination toward Pit bulls in general. Although Pit Bulls were viewed badly, people still used them as the preferred guard dog not only for the bad as in drug houses and gang members, but also as one would get any dog, to use them as protection for their property. In 1987 an incident regarding a Pit Bull and a two-year-old sent red flags up for this prestigious breed. A pit bull that was under the care of an irresponsible owner had the dog guarding an illegal marijuana crop, in California, when a two-year-old boy who was unsupervised was wandering around and fell victim to the pit bull. This attack was immediately publicized because of the pit bull being involved as the main concern, which made the reputation of Pit Bulls sink even lower. People began to think that Pit Bulls were heartless killers, due to the mis-training of their owners. The public was misinformed; they did not know that the child was wandering around unsupervised in an enclosed area. This situation would create a threat to any guard dog, not just a Pit Bull, and the outcome would have been the same. Because of that horrible mistake, the Pit Bull was killed. In a situation like this, it is in no way the Pit Bull’s fault; he was merely doing his job. Rather, it is the owner’s fault for not clearly training him and the parent’s fault for being careless with their child. This was brought to the courts attention and soon thoughts of a ban against Pit bulls were raised. The public was outraged by this attack and proposed a ban on Pit bulls. This ban was granted throughout 39 or more cities and states without the consent of any animal professionals or the owners of this breed. These bans...