All posts for the month August, 2012

What is a Pit Bull dog?

Published August 30, 2012 by Jeannette Louise Smith

Proud to be a Pit Bull!

A member of the National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign Facebook Community was looking for a cute cartoon image of a Pit Bull dog her daughter could draw and take with her to school to share with her friends. I suggested she google Pit Bull cartoon images.

I found this one as an example and shared it all the while thinking how cool it would be to make copies and have everyone in class color in the original white design. As you can see from the photo cover, I decided to follow my own advice and give it a shot.

Yes, I have magic markers and crayons. It’s always a good idea to have these items on hand if friends bring their children – so the grown-ups can do grown-up things and I can color Pit Bull dogs.

Which brings me to the question: What is a Pit Bull dog?

“We don’t know what a Pit Bull dog is,” Stacey Coleman, Executive Director of the Animal Farm Foundation explained at a confrence. “A Pit Bull is anything we say it is.”

Think about it. Have you ever read a story about a dog attack or dog bite and wondered, “How do they know the dog who attacked is – in fact – a Pit Bull?” If you don’t know how difficult it is to identify a dog by breed, try identifying the Pit Bull dogs in this poster.

According to Dr. Victoria Voith, DVM, MSc, MA, PhD, DACVB, one of the first board certified veterinary behaviorists in the country, about 75% of dogs may be misidentified by animal shelters, animal control officers, and law enforcement. Mislabeling can affect adoption rates in shelters and rescues, Breed Discrimination Legislation, and through uneducated media cause harm to Pit Bull dogs.

Shelter software programs force shelters and rescues to choose a Dog Breed. The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, similar to the statement used by the Animal Farm Foundation, uses this crucial statement at the bottom of every dogs’ description:

“AWLA’s computer program requires that we choose a predominant breed or breed mix for our dogs. Visual breed identification in dogs is unreliable, so for most of the dogs we are only guessing at the breed or breed mix. We get to know each dog as an individual and do our best to describe each dog based on personality, not breed label or appearance.”

Shelters, rescues, animal control, veterinarians, behaviorists, positive reward dog trainers, the companion animal industry – Every Animal Advocate – should make an effort to educate the public with a positive public position statement on Breed Discrimination Legislation.

Which brings me to the answer: A dog is a dog is a dog.