This Sunday is National Pit Bull Appreciation Day. But of the thousands of dogs taken in at Lied Shelter each year, Pit Bull Terriers constitute as much as 75 percent of dog population that is euthanized. Why? Are Pit Bulls bred to be bad or is it the owners who want aggressive and angry dogs? And what can be done about the problem?
Ledy VanKavage, Sr Counsel, Best Friends Animal Shelter
I applaud any effort to advance the adoption option, particularly with the Bully breeds. However, as an executive member of The Animal Foundation, which operates the Lied Shelter, I find it irresponsible for a fellow animal advocate to generalize shelters as callously indifferent to the very real Pitbull challenges Open Admission shelters face daily. The breed represents a significant percentage of the 50,000 animals we receive each year. We must all work together to make the public aware of the challenges we face and their role in reversing the challenges - responsible pet ownership, spay/neuter & adoption. For one group to generalize the role of another is irresponsible. I implore you to visit our facilities and witness the quality of care afforded our animals. I sleep well at night knowing our animals are receiving the highest quality care in a clean and safe environment. Our staff must make difficult but necessary operational decisions every day in order to manage an average daily intake of 136 animals. Educate the public on the causes of pet overpopulation and advance the solutions; don't divide.Andy Bischel –Oct 21, 2011 11:56:19 AM
We adopted our little pit bull mix, Olive, almost a year ago. She's the most loving, sweet, smart, friendly, and loyal dog I could ever hope for.
It's really unfair that the media reports pit bull attacks and bites but by and large ignores the story when there isn't a pit bull involved.
It's clear that pit bulls are just like any other dogs - bad owners create bad dogs, regardless of breed.
I really appreciate that your station is giving our beloved dogs a voice - thank you.Melanie Meyer –Oct 21, 2011 11:41:21 AM
My wife and I adopted a dog named Wallace that many thought should be euthanized. Wallace is a pit bull that went on to win both a national and world title as a Frisbee dog. We also adopted Hector from the Vick case. He is now a certified therapy dog and has been featured in media across the country. Wallace and Hector couldn't have accomplished what they did if the myths and negative stereotypes were true.Roo Yori –Oct 21, 2011 11:20:57 AM
Roo, Wallace and Hector couldn't have accomplished what they did if it weren't for you and Clara! You both gave these guys a chance at life and with your help, they proved alot of people wrong.Leslie Wilson –Oct 21, 2011 12:21:09 PM
As a recent adopter of a shelter pit bull mix, I cannot rave enough about these dogs. My dog has 1 motivation in life (well, 2 if you count peanut butter as one), and it is to make me happy. I couldn't ask for more, and I couldn't have dreamed of finding a better dog. To anyone on the fence about getting a pit bull, head down to your local shelter and look at a few. They'll steal your heart.Adam Moyer –Oct 21, 2011 08:48:49 AM
The "Pit Bull Problem" is caused by irresponsible people, not pit bulls. The flood of pit bull-type dogs in our shelters is a direct result of people not fixing their pets; outreach education and accessible & affordable spay & neuter services would go a long way to address this. Pit bulls are wonderful, loving dogs who are given a bad rap because of people who train them to fight, or neglect and abuse them to the point that they learn they can't trust people. In truth, pit bulls were always known as the "Nanny Dog" because they are so gentle and great with kids.Hillary Strilko –Oct 21, 2011 06:55:33 AM
How disappointing that you are perpetuating the myth that pit bulls are vicious dogs "bred to be bad" or aggressive. After working with many pit bulls in a local shelter and adopting two pit bulls myself, I can assure you the view of these dogs as aggressive and "angry" is entirely misinformed and quite simply wrong. These dogs are uniformly the most friendly, loyal, affectionate, trainable and rewarding dogs I've had the pleasure to work with. It is irresponsible of you to claim they are "bad" dogs, a claim that frightens many ill-informed people who will then pass by these sweet dogs in shelters. Why not focus the conversation on how remarkable shelter dogs can be, and the importance of spaying and neutering ALL pets? Please reconsider your direction here - it is damaging to both the dogs and those who have not had the great pleasure of being around these amazing dogs.Jessica –Oct 21, 2011 06:51:57 AM
My dog- a pit bull mix- has changed my life and so much for the better! I wish that everyone could have an experience like mine. It breaks my heart to see such fantastic pets get discriminated against because of what boils down to urban legends. Ann Coleman –Oct 21, 2011 06:37:27 AM
If you could see how loving and "ordinary" many of the pit bulls rescued from fighting rings become with the care and patience of humane caregivers, you'd realize that every dog has a future that is not necessarily dictated by his or her past. Josie Mattson –Oct 20, 2011 20:33:01 PM
Pitbulls are not the problem. Breeders,spay and neutering,responsible owners don't let there dog run free to impregnate every dog in town, making these unknown mixes that get stamped pitbull.
Anything black must be a lab mix. Spots are Dalmatian's,anything tiny is a chi mix,anything scruffy is a terrier..All these things matter. It matters for these dogs stamped pitbull mixes more. Because it costs there life in most cases, when it could be a bulldog, shar pei,ridge back,etc..
Sad to say, some great dogs get put to death and never make petfinder if they look at all like a pitbull in most cases, in many area's. Not just Nev.Kathi –Oct 20, 2011 20:23:24 PM
"Pit Bulls" are the GREATEST dogs ever! It's a shame that A) The media has helped ruin their reputation as great dogs for most anybody including families with kids of all ages. And B)less then stellar citizens have used "pit bulls" as objects and tools to prove something. "Pit Bull" type dogs (since, you know, the media calls any dog that isn't able to be identified accurately a "pit bull") are so sweet, loyal, and full of love. Every responsible pet owner should have one...from a reputable rescue of course!Josh –Oct 20, 2011 19:51:15 PM
Many questions come to mind when I hear the words "Pitbull Problem." Are they all Pitbulls? Without DNA tests there is no way to tell for sure. I have 4 dogs. All of them have been called "Pitbull" at one time or another. Only one of them is. Veterinarians routinely get the breed wrong and journalists surely are not qualified to make an ID, especially based on hearsay. This not only skews the "statistics," but condemns millions of dogs to death because they have been labeled a Pitbull.
Is the problem that serious? I know, "if one child is harmed, that's enough." Imagine this: If one crackhouse is financed by welfare dollars..... If one Toyota fails... If one politician lies..... Even given that the "stats" are correct,the ratio of bites to number of Pits renders the "stats" insignificant.Mike –Oct 20, 2011 19:16:48 PM
Absolutely! All Bully Breeds have a people problem!Teri –Oct 21, 2011 08:44:25 AM
First, the statistics about how many "pit bulls" are in shelters are flawed by the fact that breed identification, especially of mixed-breed & fad-breed dogs, is highly subjective and there is no standardized way to train shelter workers in breed ID.
Second: the important fact is that there are too many pets in shelters due to irresponsible ownership. We can say that X percent of the cats are tabbies and therefore tabbies are the problem, but that's missing the point.
Pets don't get to make a lot of choices, therefore, we need to look at owners for solutions and stop blaming animals. LauraG –Oct 20, 2011 19:08:35 PM