Are they really monsters?


A few days ago, a co-worker comes into my office and starts to shoot the breeze with me. The topic of dogs comes up which moves on to me mentioning volunteering with dogs, pitbulls in particular. His immediate response was:

“Oh pfft! Those dogs are terrible and attack people all the time”

To which I reply-probably too emphatically: “Pit bulls aren’t necessarily bad, it’s certain people who buy them and don’t socialize/train them/secure their yard properly and who abuse the dogs who are bad!”

He says that he reads all the reports of attacks and asserts that there is something “genetically” wrong with the breed. We continue to argue (Yah, I’m stubborn!) until he gets fed up and says “Well I gotta go. See you later”

I’m not big on having heated debates at work and am really not a fan of unnecessary conflict, but when the topic of pitbulls and animal welfare in general come up, I have to speak my mind. Now, I am not a certified dog expert, but there is one thing of which I am certain- If you neglect/abuse/bait an animal-any animal-dog or human-there is a strong chance that they will develop severely anti-social tendencies and hurt others. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens with many pits, many of whom are also forced into dog fighting. Then when they escape and wreck havoc, they are euthanized and their breed banned. Why is it that the dogs are punished so severely and not the asshole owners? Why is it that (before the ban) any Joe Blow could buy a large and powerful dog like a pitbull?

Truthfully, not everyone can handle pits. They need a LOT of work, socializing and stimulation and yes there is a possibility of animal aggression. (Like with any other breed) Plus-Pits have high pain thresholds and are physically very powerful. My co-worker is right about one thing though-Originally, pits were bred for dog fighting which genetically might put some of their descendents at a higher risk for aggression, but they were also used as babysitters for children around this time. Their origins also pose another question:

How can we punish all pitbulls when they are something we created through inter-breeding? How is that fair to the animal? Rather than banning and killing them, shouldn’t we be trying to improve them?

Anyway, I should also mention that the happiest, most affectionate dogs I encountered while volunteering at the shelter were pitbulls. Their energy was infectuous, their smiles were heart warming and their kisses slobbery. Despite being abused by humans, these pits forgave and forgot and just wanted love and direction.  One of my favorite pits-Sharky-is a great example of the breed. He happily lives with a bunch of other animals in Texas.


17 thoughts on “Are they really monsters?

  1. Chris

    Hatred is something that is learned. Plain and simple. People are cruel to their animals and thus the animals become angry.

  2. XUP

    The problem with pitbulls is not only that they were originally bred as fighting dogs, but that they have continued to be bred largely, by irresponsible people, to be aggressive dogs. I’m sure they can be socialized and in a few generations of careful breeding they can be almost completely harmless. But right now, they and some other breeds, are still a bit unpredictable. And, as you say, every animal can be dangerous when provoked. I got my cat as a feral kitten and the wild animal in him is always close to the surface. He can be very aggressive if someone starts wrestling with him – scary. So, all that to say that it would naive of us to categorically say, BAH, pitbulls are fine as long as they have nice owners.

  3. hannah78 Post author

    Chris-Exactly! Now why can’t more people realize that?
    Dr. Monkey-It really is a sad reality. Insecure scumbags with no respect for life of any kind, buy these animals to make them look “tough” and don’t take care of them. These morons should be banned or sterilized!
    JustJP-I agree and its good to hear from a pitbull owner. 🙂
    Lacochran-LOL. I hope not! There’s another video of him with baby chicks too and he licks them as well. 🙂

  4. hannah78 Post author

    XUP-Yep, poor breeding and socializing is exactly the problem. There has to be greater restrictions and punishment for people who breed these dogs for nefarious purposes. Yes, I agree it would be naive for us to assume that they would be fine as long as they have nice owners-They need more than compassion, they need boundaries, training and proper socializing. 🙂

  5. quackattack

    I grew up with “Pitbulls” – well, actually, a purebred (recognized by both the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs) American Staffordshire Terrier. He was the sweetest, most well-behaved dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I understand why people have misconceptions, but I think it’s incredibly narrow-minded to paint anything with such a broad brush. I think, only with an open mind, will we ever be able to work together to get past any such prejudice.

  6. hannah78 Post author

    Quackattack-Again-great to hear from someone who has lots of experience with the breed directly. I agree-We need to be more openminded and not lump them all together with the ones who have attacked animals or people.

  7. bevchen

    I would never actually want a pit bull as a pet. But I think any dog that isn’t looked after properly will end up becoming aggressive. They can’t tell us when they don’t like something so all they have is teeth and claws.

  8. Marie

    I’d say humans are faulted when it comes to breading, training and teaching dogs to do pretty awesome or pretty horrid things.

    At the same time, like humans, dogs do have their own individual personalities and sometimes even a Lab could attack someone.

    But there’s no reason why people should treat them with such cruelty (it sickens me that they do) and train them to do such horrible things.

  9. hannah78 Post author

    Bevchen-I might get a pitbull, but only after many years of dog training and research. Plus-I’d prefer it if I could spend more time with them. 🙂
    Marie-Many people are selfish and are more concerned about how much money they can make off dogs (ie. through dog fights or backyard breeding) But luckily, there are also a lot of people out there who want a healthy, well adjusted animal.:)

  10. slyde

    i agree with you. most people who buy pitbulls, are really the wrong kind of people to OWN pit bulls, and they get a bad reputation because of their owners..

  11. hannah78 Post author

    Slyde-Exactly! While there are some great pit bull owners out there, many of them unfortunately are not the kind of people who should have such a demanding animal.

  12. Wandering Coyote

    OMG – don’t get me started on this after what I witnessed this past weekend with my dog-sitting escapade! The owners are indeed the bigger problem than the breed and it’s the dog that suffers in the end. As the one I sat on the weekend – they’re thinking of surrendering it because of its behaviour.

    Like I said, don’t get me started!

  13. kitkat

    I’m with you 100%. It’s just common sense. Humans aren’t that much different. It’s like saying “All Muslims are terrible and attack people all the time!” It’s just plain stupid and thinking this way ignores the much more important issue of the environment that creates violence. I don’t enjoy confrontation either, but I think it’s good that you didn’t back down.

  14. hannah78 Post author

    Wandering Coyote-I’ve been reading your ‘dog sitting escapades’, you have my sympathy. Those dogs sound like a handful! Most dogs are indeed a reflection of their human handlers and that reflection sometimes isn’t pretty. I hope your neighbour tries to train their dog instead of giving it away.
    Kitkat-Generalizations about race or breed are indeed a dangerous and mostly unfair thing. People wouldn’t want to be lumped in with the worst examples of their ethnic group, so why do it with dogs in regards to their breed? Its crazy.

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