These days, it seems as though the pit bull advocates themselves are one of the primary sources of this information and hysteria.
I did a Google search of the definition of "pit bull" and "fight" and "rescue." Here’s what I found:
(A high pain tolerance? Rubbish! No science has ever validated that claim, most often used by abusers to justify that pit bulls actually LIKE fighting.)
You can see why the Sarge-ster got confused. Let’s consider for a moment the unintended assumptions embedded in the dog advocates' arguments, which fuels the fire of fear and hysteria (and worse....):
(1) Were all, or even the majority, of American Pit Bull Terriers used for fighting? Or were some of them kept as companion animals, working dogs, or other purposes?
(2) Of the dogs who were intentionally bred for fighting, were ALL of them “successful” as "fighters"?
(3) Most importantly (!) , should we be afraid of "fighting dogs" and condemn them to death, or has experience shown that many victims of cruelty have gone on to be cherished family pets -- and in some instances, members of multi-dog households, or even therapy dogs?
IT'S TIME THAT DOG ADVOCATES STOP INADVERTENTLY USING HYSTERIA AND FEAR TO "DEFEND" THE DOGS.
Our inclination to protect the dogs put us all on the same team. But it's time that we realize how some of our words are being used to discriminate against the dogs in our presence today.
More and more, we are seeing mainstream dog owners understanding that regardless of breed or mix of breeds, every dog is an individual. We cannot know or predict anything about how an individual dog will behave based on looks alone. So why rely on old tales from days of yore to describe the dogs in our care today?
Certainly some will argue that such an approach is "naive," or "pollyanna," or "denying the 'traits' that make Pit Bulls' the dogs that they are."
My mind was blown after reading Janis Bradley's article in "The Bark" on breeds and behavior. And I quote:
“If you take more complex behaviors that are actually selected against in the wild, like compulsively fighting other dogs and failing to respond to the doggy body language equivalent of ‘crying uncle,’ for example, your odds of reliably producing the behavior through artificial selection go down dramatically. This explains how so many of the so-called ‘game-bred’ dogs from fight busts (like the ones rescued from Michael Vick’s fighting operation) have gone on to live companionably with other dogs as relative couch potatoes in normal homes.”
As my friend Jim Gorant explained in his book, The Lost Dogs:
“In truth, the pit bull was simply a dog, imbued with all the positive and negative attributes of its kind. Just like any dog, pit bulls could be sweet, friendly, and loving, and they could also be unruly, ill-manned, and prone to doing incredibly stupid things by human standards.”
Last, but not least, I want to close with a quote from someone I've never met, but has been a relentless advocate for the equal treatment of all shelter animals who are the victims of a failed relationship with the humans who domesticated them:
“The past provides lessons on how to harness what is best in humans, as well as how to overcome what is worst, such as the habit of allowing our limited experiences to validate false and misleading dogmas that justify oppression as the inevitable, or natural, state of the world.” - Jennifer Winograd
It's time we stop using the boasts of criminals and the assertions of those "experts" or advocates who believe or embrace them to defend -- and, in essence, to oppress -- the dogs who deserve our unbiased support today.