Don’t blame the breed – Pit Bull Terriers

I recently read an article that made me sick.  Lennox, a six year old American Bull Dog Lab mix pictured as a puppy here, has been on death row for the past 20 months, living in a dirty kennel just waiting to be euthanized.  Lennox was wrongfully seized from his northern Ireland home on May 19th, 2010 by Belfast City Council Dog Wardens.

As I continued to read this article, my initial thought was maybe he attacked a person or another dog, but as I read on my heart sunk.  Lennox was seized simply because he resembled a Pit Bull Terrier.

I have been in the pet industry long enough to identify victims of the media upon meeting them – Pit Bull fearing humans.  Inevitably, every time I bring a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix to the dog park, five or six fearful dog owners immediately leash up their dogs and leave.  It’s a completely different story if the dog I bring to the park happens to be a Lab or a Shepherd type.

I’m curious to know where this fear comes from?  I would like to see a direct source, something that can inform me as to why so many people fear this breed?  The only source I can see is the tainted media – news reports of Pit Bulls biting their owners and others.  But what I don’t see is the Pittie’s story.  I’m sure if these dogs could talk their answers would be “I was scared”, “I was starving”,”They abused me”, “I did not receive proper training” or “I wasn’t loved enough”.  Under no circumstance should any dog be discriminated against by it’s breed.  If I recall correctly I believe there’s a word for that – racism.

I have been working with dogs for the past 8 years of my life. I volunteered at an animal shelter, worked at a pet store, and now provide in home pet sitting services.  As anyone who works with animals should know, there’s a good chance you will be bitten at some point, whether it’s your fault or not.  I’ve sustained five bad dog bites over the years working with animals, and not one of them came from a Pit Bull Terrier or Pit mix and I’ve worked with plenty of them.  Three of those dog bites came from Labrador Retrievers, the most popular breed in America.

Softball sized dog bite two days after the incident.

I’m not saying we should all go out and fear Labradors now, but what I am hoping is to help others realize the real source of the problem – irresponsible dog owners.  The above picture was taken in January of 2011.  I was out for a walk with a clients dog when I hear barking coming from my left.  When I turned to look I saw a chocolate lab running across his front yard, unleashed and unfenced while his owner, who was also outside, lazily called his name, which I think was his attempt to control the lab. I immediately began yelling at the owner to please control his dog because my clients dog, who was properly leashed and secured, did not like other dogs.  Unfortunately my calls fell on deaf ears, and the owner did nothing but continue to to lazily and cheerfully say “Hershy, come here boy, come back.”

The dog fight broke out within seconds.  I desperately tried getting the dogs apart by body blocking my clients dog behind me, but during the all chaos, the Chocolate Lab bit my thigh three times in the same area.  Finally the owner of the lab came over and pulled his dog off me, and pulled him to the house by his collar, not saying a word to me, but muttered to his dog “You need to listen to me better.”

This is a typical case of “No sir, you need to be a better, more responsible dog owner.”  Keep in mind that this happened in January, it was freezing that day so I was wearing a pair of tights, leggings, and jeans – I couldn’t image what my leg would have looked like if it was summer out and I was wearing shorts.  This incident would have never happened if the Chocolate Lab had been properly controlled.

People tend to forget that dogs are animals.  They need proper training, quality nutrition, and most importantly boundless amounts of love, because they are always willing and ready to give it right back.  So I ask of you not to fear the breed, fear the negligent irresponsible owners instead.  Do not believe the medias push to terrify people into thinking certain breeds are dangerous.  And please, help Lennox find his way back to his owners by signing this petition.  Lennox did nothing wrong, this is the fault of an unjust fear.

Article written by Melissa McVeigh of Fur-Endly Pet Care
Visit our blog for more news, tips, and articles that will keep your tail waggin!

(My clients dog was not harmed, thankfully, just a bit shaken.  I checked him over when we got back to the house.)

Post Tagged with , ,
  • Joseph Alfaro

    Please help save this dog’s life. Thank you

  • Stephen Wisebaker

    Truly amazing and sad story. I own a Bull Terrier myself named Snoopy. He is the most loving dog/animal I have met, just as much as my German Shepherd. Both have been given bad reps in certain areas due to not the amount of bites, but due to the amount of damage they can inflict with a single bite. This being due to the strength of their jaw muscle’s and tendons, and the size of their and strength of their teeth. That being said, both breeds that I own make up for the least amount of bites to humans each year. Paling in comparison to Lab bites each year. I have been bitten a few times in my life. One time by my German Shepherd just last week on accident when it was trying to protect me from another animal, and twice by Labs that I was working with and without any warning or cause, they each attacked me. I later found out both of the dogs owner was known for beating his Labs. We rescued them both two months later, and I can happily say that both found good homes and their has been no cases of them biting anyone since they were removed from their original owners home.

    I just want to let anyone out their know that if you are looking for a Dog/Lifelong Friend, then Bull Terriers (Pit Bulls) are on the best choices you could make. Also many cities are finally taking them off the vicious animal list each and every week. Which I believe is one of the few steps forward on the right path that I hear about each day. My Snoopy loves me and everyone that comes into my home. Showing them more love then any other dog has ever shown them. I am always told “Wow, your Pit Bull is so loving and playful, how did you get him to be so calm?” My answer “Love and Patience.”

    Like with anyone in life, be it human or animal, respect is earned, not a right. If you respect someone, show them support and love, it will always be returned.

  • Jim Beck

    My wife and I have talked about this.  We just started fostering and after doing some research, realized that pit bulls aren’t the vicious beasts so many people believe them to be. Yet I will admit that, while I’ve never taken a pet away from a situation where a pit bull was nearby, due to the stories I’ve heard, there is a tendency to be cautious.  You find yourself automatically becoming alert.  Yet every pit bull I have come across has been friendly and very loving.  

    It’s not really about the media, per se.  The real reason is that pits are so powerful that when there is an attack, which is actually very rare, it typically doesn’t end well.  Weiner dogs and chihuahuas are the two most vicious breeds when it comes to biting, I believe.  But when someone is “attacked” by a weiner dog, the person isn’t mangled or killed, so those stories go unnoticed by the media.  Which means that a thousand weiner dogs could bit children, but then ONE pit bull bites and leaves a person in the hospital or worst, and that one dog is the one everyone’s writing about.

    What’s even worse about Lennox is that the court won’t even allow for DNA testing to prove he’s not a pit.  And while this might sound VERY wrong to say, I’d tell the court that even the Nazis made sure a person was Jewish before sending them to a concentration camp.  That’s right … Hitler was better than the North Ireland court system.