Wednesday, February 4, 2015

PitOwner Guest Blogger: A Thought On BSL

By Buggycas

Let me get a few things straight here, before you start trying to find out who I am, I am highly intelligent and Emotionally disabled. Before fourth grade I tested at Genius levels and was reading college level books, recently the government declared me emotionally unsound and gave my mother official guardianship (I am 28).

This gives me a unique outlook on life, I see the emotional aspect of things with the eyes of a child, as an artist I create for joy, or pain, I feel every emotion like the stab of a knife, Sharp and clear and immediate. But I see facts as a scientist, Well read and usually impartial, when I research something, I try to separate it from the emotional side of things.

How I got onto the subject of BSL is simple, We got a dog, a beautiful red and white, happy wagging mutt that literally walked into my grandparents store one day while my mom was there and then came home to a family, then consisting of four humans and four parakeets. It was very obvious, by her strong chest and shoulders, sweet face and broad head what she was probably mixed with.

Life went on, we got a cranky turtle, who quickly taught her that sticking her head into buckets while I was cleaning was a very bad idea, we moved from the small trailer, to a big two story house. Two years ago my brother went to the hospital with chest pain and never came back. A year ago I almost got hospitalized myself when I had a nervous breakdown. Coming back from that, I decided to look up groups of dogs, thinking some place I could share my love of Sugar Baby would help keep me grounded. This is when I learned that in some places, My beloved, mourning the loss of her brother, sweet, expressive, smiling or crying depending on mood baby was illegal, and that some people vilified her because of her breed.

Being the person I am, I took the emotion away and did research, But all I found were emotions. Abject hatred and fear, Bias and bullying. When I finally did find research that felt scientific and impartial, numbers did not add up, or they were connected to studies that had the same hatred and fear. I knew the studies couldn't be right. Finally I found something, a study of several different breeds on temperament, and it changed everything. Touting American Pit Bull Terriers as one of the least human aggressive dogs, and leading me to sources I recognized, the AVMA, a site I used to look at quite a lot when I thought maybe if I ever got stable enough I could be a vet, The CDC, the ASPCA. All these credible sites had the same thing to say, it wasn't the pit bull's fault. I of course immediately joined an anti-BSL group.

I took on new research after that, using what little psychology I knew from two years of Child development in high school and 20 years of trying to understand myself (and reading whatever was on my therapists bookshelves) to try and find out what created the hate and fear I saw in the millions of emotionally charged articles I had found initially. What I found was scapegoating.

Reading over dozens of reports, hundreds of screen shots, sifting through insanity that got so bad I couldn't eat peanut butter for months, much less feed any to my dog, I found nothing but blame shifting. People who had done something wrong, and didn't want to admit it. I read the story of a woman who passed on the wrong side of a dog walker without warning the walker or the dog, and then had the dog put down for a reasonable startle response (Watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a proper way to alert to passing “On your Left!”). I read the account of a woman who kept her dogs caged for hours on end, and then when she finally let them out, did so while carrying a child (Who I grieve for myself, No child deserves to die like that) as if she didn't know that any over excited dog would knock whatever is in your hands out and pull it away so they could get your attention (my own has done that countless times, she loves it when we bring leftovers home, but once she almost broke my netbook and that got me mad). I saw countless stories of dogs chained and neglected, and children who hadn't been taught how to treat animals and were left unattended. I saw human error, abuse and neglect, and saw people trying to pass their OWN blame off on an entire breed of dog.

I also saw some genuine insanity, The insane recognize their own better than most, when they know that they themselves are insane.

But mostly what I saw, was the same small group, bullying and blaming, Not wanting their own mistakes to be recognized. I also saw the same three sources of information, thousands of articles on thousands of news sites, but all of it leading back to the same three groups, Daxtonsfriends,, and Animals24/7. Three groups that I have come to learn are headed by people who often post horrific comments, threats, and abuse. Two of which were involved in the human error accidents that I mentioned above.

How these three bullies and trolls got so much power is beyond me, but they have it, and they use it like a weapon. They need to be stopped.

Like I said before, I always try to distance myself emotionally when it comes to facts, because I know I cannot trust my emotions, But I cannot do that here. I see people I have come to think of as friends bullied every day, I see innocent animals threatened, innocent CHILDREN threatened, and I want to attack back. I want to use the facts I have collected as weapons, but my poor memory means I never have the right links, My condition keeps me from articulating what I am feeling when I feel it. I want so much to help, but I live in the middle of nowhere, and my psyche is damaged. I try my best, but when it comes to the internet commentary that these battles are fought online, I sound like a petulant child without all the facts, and it is the facts that are needed. I need help to help.

Which is why I am writing this. Here, offline, alone in my bedroom on my tiny netbook I can articulate what I mean. Once I have it down, it is so much easier to get it out into the world.

I suppose I should put some legal ideas in here, to end it with ways to make the world better that would work better than BSL, but there are thousands of good ideas out there, animal rights activists the world over have good ideas, stricter laws against animal abuse, giving animals actual rights, not treating them in legislation the way you would treat my netbook (Although my tenuous sanity is dependent on both). I don't really think I have the right to say, what with my lack of understanding of how laws, or even most of humanity, works. I know what is RIGHT, Right is treating a dog as family, keeping them with you, not forcing them to be outside alone. Right is taking care of and loving dogs, because that is exactly what dogs do for you, in their own limited capacity. Right is not judging anything based on how it looks, only on how it acts. I understand dogs far better than I understand humans, all most of them, no matter their breed, really wants is love, freedom from abuse, food and shelter, and I know when they get that, They give it back. We should work harder to give it to them.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A bag full of crazy

Any dog, for the most part, is truly a reflection of its owner.

A dog in a stable environment with stable people will, with few exceptions, be a stable dog. The same is true for the opposite. A dog in an unstable environment with unstable people will, again with few exceptions, be an unstable dog.

BSL advocates would like you to believe that any dog coming from specific breeds will be unstable regardless of the stability of its environment and caregivers. It is my firm belief that the vast majority of BSL proponents are unstable people, with this belief being based on their rambling "pit bulls are the devil" and "pit bulls are out to get me so I always carry a (add your weapon of choice here)" writings.

To be fair, pit bull advocates also have more than their fair share of unstable members, and far too many owners are unstable people. This is evident by the stories we read near-daily of loose dogs creating havoc while roaming, dogs being used as weapons, dogs found abandoned, neglected, abused.

One story that recently came to my attention contains the best, or worst, of both worlds, and confirms for me, once again, that it is the owners who make the dog.

Self-proclaimed pit bull-hater, Pamela Kafir Farm Liner, recently appeared in Judge Judy's "courtroom" after filing a lawsuit against a neighbor whose pit bull dog allegedly killed her goats.

I haven't been able to find any info on the dog's owner, but allowing the dog, or dogs, to roam free, does not speak favorably of them. Nor does the fact that they chose to appear on Judge Judy, which isn't too far removed from a Jerry Springer-type television show. How many of these program's guests would you consider to be "stable?"

And Liner? She claims to have owned and rescued pit bulls for more than 30 years -- thirty! -- before "switching sides" because ALL the pit bulls she has had became "unpredictable and attacked unprovoked."

Is Liner, herself, unstable? I don't need to wait for Judge Judy to give me a ruling:

And there you have it.

While my dogs, some of the pit bulls that I have owned and cared for for 25 years that have harmed nothing, sleep peacefully beside me, my beliefs are reinforced.

And, of course, BSL advocates still don't want you to believe it.