It is time to knock it off.
|What a Load of Crap.|
Our dogs need to be treated like dogs. Not like our children and definitely not like fairy princesses.
I am really angry. I am very, very sad. I have also had a reality dose right here at home -- a great big, much needed, slap in the face.
This past week, a family friend has been hit right in the gut. She had to put down her soul mate, the love of her life, her beach buddy and her best friend. He was her teenage pitbull mix.
He was an unaltered male, over a year, but under 18 months. This dog was a delight. He was everybody's friend, obedient and gentle, a walking promo for the "Pit Bulls are Just Like Any Other Dog" campaign.
What happened? Essentially, this best friend, the partying, social, loved-to-death puppy, grew up.
It began with an altercation with another dog. I'm pretty sure it wasn't even started by the pit, or should I call him a "pittie" to make him cuter? The fight was broken up, nobody died, but blood was drawn.
Over the next three days, the love of this young woman's life, went on a whirlwind of violence. He was in two more dog fights, this time initiated by him and resulting in one of the other dogs being seriously injured. He then went home and attacked and almost killed the dog he grew up with, a 14-year-old yorkie. Until that day, the yorkie had been the "pittie's" soul-mate. When the young woman's sister stepped in to intervene she was also attacked and severely bitten.
The next day, the young dog was put down.
What the hell happened here?
In my very angry, and not normal Mugwump opinion, the young woman had no business owning this dog. Absolutely none. I can't blame her, he wasn't the first dog she had ever had, she is a capable and responsible dog owner.
Unfortunately, she didn't understand pit bulls. Just like all the owners of the pit bulls filling our shelters and rescues. She didn't see the little changes coming over him, didn't know the level of control needed to keep him happy and socially acceptable.
Yes, I mean a pit bull. Or, just so I don't get caught up in semantics, a pit mix, an American Staffordshire Terrier, or any dog that fits the type.
What do I mean by type? Any breed which was developed for the purpose of bull baiting, the original use, or dog fighting, the current one.
From what I understand, essentially, there are TWO different breeds, which originated from the same stock.
AKC registers dogs called American Staffordshire Terriers, they are bigger, more muscular, with squarer heads. They are showing dogs, not working ones.
UKC registers dogs called American Pit Bull Terriers. These dogs are tall, slender, athletic, with longer, wedgier heads. They are working dogs.
and APBT originated from the same stock, however, when AKC decided to accept the breed into it's registry, it didn't want to have the words "pit bull" associated with it's organization, so they changed the name to , and later, American Staffordshire Terrier.
Just to get myself completely buried here, I'm going go add ANY dog which has been bred to grab on and kill stuff and weighs over 35 pounds to my list.
Why am I sad? I feel terrible for this young woman. She really loved her dog. She adored him. He was an extremely lovable dog.
I feel even worse about the dog. This was a good, young dog, who, in the right hands, would have grown up to be a great dog. He needed an owner who honestly understood his breeding. Who was capable of handling a powerful dog with hair trigger responses and a high, high prey drive. Better yet, this dog deserved to be owned by someone with the ability to channel those instincts so they never had to be handled.
I am completely confused by the raging war over pit bulls.
These dogs were/are bred to fight and bite. They bite hard and other dogs get hurt. So do people. They have an incredible prey drive and kittens, hamsters and sometimes innocent pedestrians get hurt too.
You can show me all the photos you want of your darling pittie sleeping with the kids. I know and hopefully you know, if the pittie feels the need to protect the family, the yard, his dog bowl,or satisfy that highly developed prey drive, chances are very high, somebody is going to get hurt.
I think people who choose to own dogs that might kill somebody should be required to take a dog handling class, kind of like drivers ed, before they are allowed to own said scary dog. It seems simple to me. The punishment could then fit the crime, and all be heaped on the owners head.
I am not saying pits are mean. I am not saying pits are killers. You see, I like dogs, all dogs. I don't like idiotic dog owners, especially the ones who won't take responsibility for what their choice of dog is capable of. I am saying, unless you are honest about what a pit bull is and are willing to learn how to properly handle one, then you should be fined or imprisoned any time your dog hurts someone.
I am soooo tired of the pro-pittie folks yelling at me about misunderstanding the breed. No, I don't. I get them. I know all dogs within a breed don't behave the same. I also don't understand the blind eye continually being turned to how complicated and difficult these dogs can be.
If I used the same pro-pittie arguments on another popular breed, say, a Lab, maybe I can get across how STUPID most of the defending arguments are.
"One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making a great family dog. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, it is among the top choices for service dog work. Labs love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs."
"Oooh, you have a Lab, let's go to the lake."
"Labs don't like water."
"Of course they do."
"Labs don't like to fetch either."
"That's what they're bred for."
"No it isn't. It's all a lie. Nobody understands Labs."
"Labs love the water and they're born playing fetch."
"No, they're not. You're breed profiling. My Lab would never get in the water or fetch something. Ever."
"What does your Lab do?"
"She cuddles my children and wears a mean pink bandanna."
"Well, yeah, any dog can do that, but how do you stop her from playing in water and fetching?"
"We never take her outside."
"Never, ever. She doesn't want to go outside."
"Well, I hope that keeps working for you."
"You are nothing but a hater."
Another favorite argument is, "All dogs bite. Chihuahuas bite more people every year than pit bulls."
My answer to anybody who tosses this lame, tired, stupid cliche at me is this:
Yeah, I thought so. Shut up about the chihuahuas, OK?
Here are a few hard core stats about pitties.
I was visiting with a local animal shelter employee and asked about relinquished pit bulls.
"We get more pit bulls turned in, or found as strays, than any other breed. The next largest and most hard to adopt group behind them are young, male dogs, and of course most of them are pit bulls. Once the dogs start to grow up they are too much for most people to handle."
These dogs have proven time and again they can have lovely temperaments. I agree with this whole heartedly. All the years they were being bred to kill stuff they were also being bred to be good with people. They are dogs who will do anything they think their owner wants. It's how they translate their owner's desires and how they behave once out of human control that gets them in trouble.
The sad story about the young pit bull I just shared made me wake up and smell the coffee too.
I adopted Brockle and found out he had the potential to be aggressive. I jumped on it, quickly admitted I had more dog than I knew what to do with and slapped us into training with a pro so fast our heads are still spinning. I don't try to kid myself he's something he's not. I don't dress him up in cute outfits either. I try to keep my eyes open as to who he is.
I still fell into the tar pit of false confidence so many pit owners seemed to be drowning in.
Brockle still has a habit of charging dogs. Not all, not most, but some. He will periodically break away from me, and refuse to come back, when his prey drive gets the upper hand.
I have been working on it, but still letting him out of the house off leash, or out of my car off leash. I mean, I'm careful, I keep an eye out. I know, in my heart he has a good temperament. I know he has no bad intentions. I have been letting my faith in him overpower my common sense.
I can't guarantee he won't jump the poodle up the street when his owner lets him poop on our grass. He can feel my irritation. Brockle's big, he's powerful and he comes from a variety of breeds known to be highly protective.
I can bluster and yell and point fingers at the littering poodle and his jerk owner, but that wouldn't change a thing if Brockle hurt either the dog or his owner.
I need to keep my damn dog on his leash, except under controlled circumstances. Essentially, I need to quit tempting him to get into trouble. Trouble that we can't overcome. Instead, we can collect all that little dog's poop and keep it in a paper bag.When it's full enough, it might just find it's way onto the obnoxious owner's porch, maybe lit up and smoking. We can exact our revenge with Brockle on his leash and my neighbors safe.
I understand how easy it is to forget our dogs are just that, dogs. They react like dogs, they love us like dogs, they're awesome...as dogs. We start thinking they are just like us. That they would never hurt anyone because we wouldn't. It's not fair to anyone. Us, our dogs, or the people and animals potentially hurt by our dogs.
We need to keep them safe. So I will continue to train my dog, bust my butt to be honest about what he's capable of and be sure to learn how to handle him.
Boy, I am still torn up about that poor pit.