Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pit bulls get bad publicity

From The Republican

No type of dog is more misunderstood, mistreated, or maligned than the pit bull.
These loyal, loving, intelligent dogs bear the burden of bad publicity.
From sensational media stories about dog attacks to discriminatory insurance regulations to legislation restricting their ownership, pit bulls and their people are frequently on the defensive.

While commonly associated with the criminal underworld of dog fighting and gang violence, most pit bulls today lead happy lives as family pets. Sadly, while pit bulls represent only 3 percent of dogs living as companions in the United States, they are the most common type of dog surrendered to both municipal animal control agencies and private adoption centers like Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.
Most dogs commonly referred to as "pit bulls" are some combination of a variety of breeds, often sharing the characteristics associated with Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and other similar breeds of dog.
The characteristics people love about pit bulls - their athleticism, loyalty, intelligence, and trainability - are often the exact characteristics that appeal to people wishing to mistreat these dogs or use them for criminal gain.
What this means for the average pit bull-loving adopter is that he will need to be sure his dog is an exceptional ambassador for the breed in a way the average Labrador retriever adopter does not.
At Dakin, we place pit bulls up for adoption after carefully screening them for the types of behaviors that make them good neighbors. We pay close attention to their friendliness to people and their ability to enjoy - or at least peacefully tolerate - the company of other dogs. Just as we do with all Dakin dogs, we start our pit bulls off on the right foot by including six visits to Dakin training classes as part of every adoption.
Please join us at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society Adoption Centers as we partner with the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center to recognize the unique qualities of pit bulls on Pit Bull Awareness Day on Oct. 23. Learn more at www.dpvhs.org Leslie Harris is the Executive Director of the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. Dakin provides shelter, education, advocacy, and assistance to animals and people in need. Send questions or comments to lharris@dpvhs.org

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