Pit bulls

by gm99 • Posted in: Awareness/ PR

In May, I received a copy of THE PIT BULL PLACEBO: THE MEDIA MYTHS AND POLITICS OF CANINE AGGRESSION written by Karen Delise.  She runs the National Canine Research Council and spent over five years gathering research for her book.  You can download a copy for free on their site.

This book sat on my bookshelf for months.  It dawned on me one day, that for being a huge dog lover, I really didn’t know all that much about pit bulls, they just seemed like regular dogs to me.  APA! rescues a lot of pit bulls and I’ve met tons of incredibly great ones and both my sister and my brother have pit mixes.  (Or are they?  Stay tuned for a posting about breed mis-identification.)  So I wasn’t really afraid of this breed, but I didn’t have a good idea of what is fact and what is fiction.

I read the book and also started doing a lot more reading about pit bulls.  I learned a lot and realized that I even blindly believed some of the fiction (ie, “pit bulls feel less pain than other dogs” – there is no evidence to support this).

I learned that pit bulls are indeed just regular dogs.

I’ll be publishing a series of blog posts about what I’ve learned.  My research (and, sadly, my writing skills), however, cannot compare to that of the the real experts.   If you are interested in this subject, and could use some education about it like I did, I urge you to check out the links I provide to their research.

Stay tuned for my first post about dog bite statistics – which numbers are useful and which are not — and why.

Full Series (so far):


8 Responses to "Pit bulls"

  1. Elenisays: October 13, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I’m the proud owner of an APA! pit mix and I had no idea how prevalent the stereotypes were and how much discrimination there was against this breed. (Or combination of breeds, really any dog with a big head and big chest). My roommate was actually denied renter’s insurance because of my dog, who is extremely calm and well-behaved thanks to a great nature, a lot of socialization and training. I’m really glad you guys are doing this post series, there is so much information out there that people just don’t have. Also, for any pit lovers out there, I found this today and figured it was appropriate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FV7aLCrgX0

  2. Amysays: October 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Another of the 20 most traumatized and hardest to place Michael Vick dogs went home from Best Friends today. I think that makes 3 of the 20 dogs to make it through rehabilitation and the 6 month court mandated adoption process. I’m glad APA is doing this series. We get lots of questions about pits from the public because we do have so many (well, mixes or alleged mixes at least) in our program. Here’s a link to Cherry’s story, the most recent of the 20 to go home:

    http://news.bestfriends.org/index.cfm?page=news&mode=entry&entry=4DCCDD4F-FE7A-C660-1BA96D4269DF778E

  3. Ajsays: October 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

    FYI, in case anyone reading this is considering getting a pit/pit mix: though I don’t have dogs at the moment, I’ve very carefully read my State Farm policy, and at least in Texas they’re happy to give renter’s insurance and home insurance to people with pits, rots, and other so-called ‘aggressive’ breeds, without financial penalty!

  4. Freya and Robsays: October 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Some of you may remember Annie (AKA Cashmere) who was rescued from TLAC after having her ears cut off at 4 months old. Well, we’re her parents and have to say she is doing very well and doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body. We’ve found that the most dangerous parts of her body are her tongue and her tail but even at the dog park, she’d rather walk away from an aggressive dog than fight back. She finds new people as a constant source of “hello” and “love me” even before approaching other dogs.

    While we’ve always been aware of the stigma that goes with having a pit bull, we have been amazed at how many people either shy away from Annie because of her breed or look at us with disgust because they think we’re responsible for her scars. Others have been warm and sweet and openly observe that we’re her rescuers. Rob grew up with a great pit-mix who behaved as a big sister while Annie is my first pit. I find it inconcievable that Annie would ever hurt a fly and we both think the stigma of the breed and the whole Breed Specific Legislation being pushed in many places is ridiculous and unjust. It’s like saying an entire race of people have something wrong with them.

    We both hope that with blogs such as this others will realize or come to understand that it truly lies within the people who own the dog, pit or otherwise, and how they care for them. Annie is well cared for and very loved and the fact that she’s a pit bull has no bearing. She has overcome so much already and that, for any dog, is admirable and should be rewarded with love instead of prejudice and threats of euthanasia. I hope everyone is as lucky as we are to have a wonderful, happy, and loving dog like Annie, pitty, or not.

  5. Emilysays: October 22, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I have volunteered at many rehab facilities for dogs and from my personal eperience Pit Bulls and other so-called aggressive breeds are just like any other dogs. I completely agree with Freya and Rob that it lies with the owner. A good family will raise a good dog. I believe they were classified as “dangerous” because of their size, but I can honestly say that I’d much rather work with a doberman than an angry chihuahua. I get the dirty looks and people avoiding me when I am walking my pit, yet everyone loooves my neighbor’s yorkie who will attack-and bite- anyone that comes anywhere near him/his owners.
    It’s a stereotype that I’ve tried to break but when people are so sure pits are skizophrenic it’s hard to get anyone to listen to a counter-argument…

  6. Jessica Mooresays: November 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I am a proud owner of a pit/mix I adopted from Austin pets alive, my pit Princess was a burn vitcim and is no worse for wear. She is the sweetest thing I have ever owned, my land lord was weary at first but once he met her he didnt mind at all having her in one of his rent houses. We live across the street from an elementary school and have never had a problem, this halloween Princess and my husband passed out candy at the fire dept and my scary pit brought a lot of questions is she aggressive or does she bite? and the answer was of course not. She almost shook her tail off with all the loving she got from the kids. she plays well with them and cries when she cant go play with the neighbors kids. People should educate themselves on pits before owning one and there should be more information out there for thoses living under the stigma of a bad breed. My mother mini Dacshaund is meaner than my pit ever thought about being…. I love my pit and hope to adopt another once our son is born… thanks APA!

  7. Rachel - PawPurrry.comsays: December 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I recently adopted a pit mix…I wasn’t even trying to adopt a dog – I was mourning the loss of my last dog – let alone a breed that I have no experience with and a breed that I have a very healthy respect for. Her name is Suede and she is the MOST wonderful dog anyone could imagine. I am particularly interested in the Dog Bite Stats. I don’t know if you are familiar with Judge Joe Brown, but every time he has a small claims action involving dogs and one of them happens to be a Pit Bull he throws up dog bite “stats” which I believe he knows NOTHING about but worse yet he editorializes about how “crazy” the breed is. Rarely does he really address the stupidity of the owners of these dogs. IT PISSES ME OFF EVERY SINGLE TIME…even before I became the owner of one. In fact..the most aggressive dog I ever owned was a poodle….I LOVED that dog…but she was definitely not one to be messed with : ) I am looking forward to reading further.

    Thank you again!

  8. Tarasays: January 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I am hoping to reach out to fellow bully owners and lovers! With all the breed prejudice out there I think we should stick to calling them their true names, american staffordshire terriers or staffies for the bull staffs. Too many people have the image of “pit” bulls as fighting dogs. If you go by the name they are correct. “pit” dogs are dogs that have been in a fighting ring and taught to fight, it is not a breed just a label. Just hoping to reach out and try to stop the fear any way we can! I posted a blog in hopes to get the word out: http://tarastermer.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/“pit-bull”-is-not-a-breed/
    Thanks