ASPCA: Cash For Adopting Out Pits
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."
It seems unlikely that the ASPCA or shelters participating in the "Adopt-A-Bull Contest" will tell potential adopters to install a panic button in their home or that pit bulls attack without warning.
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