Monday, June 2, 2008
New York, NY - In February, the ASPCA kicked off a the "Adopt-A-Bull Contest," sponsored by the Animal Farm Foundation, that rewards shelters that adopt out pit bulls. The shelter that matches the best "adopter-to-pit bull" receives $5,000. The website says: "What better way to get the word out that pit bulls can indeed make loving and loyal, delightful and devoted companions?" The contest lacks key elements, however, the most important being safety.
The ASPCA has no obligation to share safety issues about pit bulls with the public. On their "Pit Bull Information" web page, they write: "Sadly, pit bulls have acquired a reputation as unpredictable, dangerous, and vicious." Yet, spelled out in the ASPCA Shelter Guidelines -- designed to protect shelter workers -- are the unique risks attributed to pit bulls. One of them is that they "attack without warning," which is equivalent to unpredictable behavior.
ASPCA: Shelter Guidelines for Pits
There are many guidelines presented in the 19-page document (which appears to be a PowerPoint slide show), as well as a brief history of the pit bull and the results of selective breeding to achieve the "ultimate canine warrior" designation. Some of these results directly correlate to the safety guidelines, such as the pit bull's genetic "unpredictability" (specifically when attacking), dog-aggression and high prey drive. We've listed a few of the guidelines below:
- There are "cases of experienced handlers who had developed good relationships with the dogs over a period of months still being attacked without warning or obvious provocation."
- Pit bulls "ignore signs of submission from other dogs" and "give no warning prior to attack." They add that this is "different than normal dog behavior."
- "Today’s pit bulls" have multiple names including: "Staffordshire Terrier (AKC 1936), American Staffordshire Terrier (AKC 1972, Am Staff), American Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull Terrier."
- "These dogs can be aggressive towards humans and more likely to cause fatal attacks to people than other fighting type dogs."
- "Pit bulls will climb fences, chew up stainless steel food and water bowls, destroy copper tubing of automatic water systems and conventional cages, and attack other animals through chain link fences."
- "Pit bulls can break through conventional cage doors and destroy typical epoxy paint on the floors and walls."
- "Pit bulls require special housing considerations" and "isolation from other animals if dog aggressive or have a high prey drive."
- "Install a panic button in rooms housing pit bulls along with other restraint equipment in any room housing pit bulls."
05/30/08: Pit Bulls in Spokane, Washington Can't Stay Out of the News
05/30/08: Flashback: Surrey SPCA Has History of Troubling Attitude
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| 2/08/2009 11:45 PM |
How hypocritical that the ASPCA actively solicits donations from school children and then spends this money advocating for this vicious breed that will end up injuring child after child. Write to Ed Sayres of the ASPCA and demand an end to this hypocrisy.
| 10/08/2010 9:00 AM |
There seems to be a HUGE push to rehabilitate the Pit Bull reputation. It seems Animal Planet network is devoted to it as well as the ASPCA. Most of the negative press has been replaced with ultra positive stories. I admit to wondering if my initial fear of this breed was misplaced. My husband and I now have a puppy of our own, a gentle little Border Collie Mix, and I worry for her safety at dog parks and just walking on the leash with the huge increase in the number of Pit Bulls I see in our area. It seems like I see almost as many Pit Bulls as Labs, and Labs have always been known as a very family oriented dog. And except for this site, nearly all negative stories you find on the web are from the 90's. Yet where there is smoke there is usually fire, no one is having to fight to rid the world of the fear of "killer Border Collies" or to dismiss the so-called ledgend of the "powerful killing bite of the Irish Setter".
| 7/27/2011 8:09 AM |
I'm with you, M. I honestly had no idea of the frequency of attacks until I started reading this blog. I too, thought the "bad rep" had been misplaced, perhaps stemming from a small number of tragedies.
| 12/11/2013 3:28 PM |
"There seems to be a big push to rehabilitate the pit bull's reputation". That is the crux of the problem-that ONLY the breeds REPUTATION (ei: its IMAGE) is up for reform, not the breed itself.
| 10/18/2016 8:22 AM |
I have been a dog trainer/behaviorist for 27 years. I have yet to meet a pit bull that I would unequivocally state was completely safe. Pointers hunt, retrievers retrieve, and no one is surprised that this is so. But to some, god forbid you should say pit bulls attack people and other animals. Only the seriously delusional say rehabilitate. Rehabilitate what? The dogs have been specifically bred to be aggressive. Their whole existence as a breed was for this purpose. Shame on anyone who tells you different. Nanny dogs? Riiiiight.
| 10/18/2016 8:36 AM |
Pro dog trainer, if you have not seen this post, you should!
Thank You Letter: Experienced Dog Trainer Shares Dog Attack Story & Professional Opinion