Friday, March 20, 2009

The Realities of the Negative Stereotype

Tuesday, we received an email plea from an individual who's found himself in a very tricky situation that makes me simply shake my head because of how easy it is for others who do not like pit bulls to take away our dogs.

Here's an excerpt from the email, with names removed/modified to protect privacy:

Last Friday the 6th of March, while I was at work my roommate accidently left my door open and Sampson got out. Unfortunately, my neighbor’s dog was right outside and they got in a fight. In trying to get my dog of his, my neighbor stuck his hand inside of my dogs mouth and hot a puncture wound on his hand. I saw it and it didn’t even draw blood and CERTAINLY was not a bite. I want/need to be very clear about that- my dog has NEVER, NEVER even came close to biting another human being. Animal control was called and they explained to me that he had to be taken into quarantine for 10 days and that after that I could get him out. However, there would be certain, strict conditions I would have to abide by. i.e I was the ONLY person that could ever handle him, he couldn’t be around other humans unless I was around, and couldn’t even be in the yard without me. During this 10 day period, they would investigate him and see if he was a harm and a “dangerous animal”. I got a call that night from the officer stating that they had investigated him and found him to be a very friendly animal, which he certainly is and that I would be able to pick him up after the 10 day period.

I was supposed to be able to pick him up on March 16th and I got a call from Officer BM stating that they had reversed their position and were now considering him a dangerous animal. Apparently during the week, they received several calls from other neighbors with fabricated stores. For instance, my neighbor down the street stated that she always saw him running around without a leash terrorizing the neighborhood which is a blatant lie. Then last night I found out the my neighbor whom owned the dog was walking up and down the street last week w/ a picture of his dog’s injuries telling everybody to call animal control. As a result, the officer is considering him “dangerous” and said he could live elsewhere, but not in my street anymore.

Folks, this is why it can be TOUGH owning this breed. This is why you need to be 110% on top of your dogs AT ALL TIMES.

I can't personally speculate that this is 100% true because obviously, I wasn't there. BUT, if the story is true as recounted, let this be a lesson of how much power people CAN have over our dogs for even the smallest mistake.

And when one hateful person employs the power of fear within other people who know not to ask the truth, tell me, what CAN you do? This individual is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rescues are full. Technically, this dog now has a "bite history" even though it may have been a result of the person getting in the way. Many places can't and won't take a dog with a "bite history." This dog doesn't have time to wait. This dog also has no where to go now. All because of fear. All because of lack of knowledge about these dogs. All because some aren't educated or refuse to be educated. This dog will likely die for being a dog. All because of one mistake and a group of people dedicated to his demise.

Let me share another email with you, also received Tuesday. I really want to drive the point home on responsible ownership.

With this next excerpt, we aren't afforded the whole story. There's a lot of grey in this email and it leaves many questions to be answered. However, the one resounding idea we can receive from this is that ONLY YOU can prevent accidents like this from happening in the first place.

My name is *name removed* and I have a problem that I need advice on. My problem is "How to save my dog's life” I have two pit bull dogs that I love and they are a part of my family. On March 10th 2009 my dogs and I were in the yard I live in a rural route area. I had my male pit bull tied to a weighted chain which I use to slow him down other wise I would not be able to catch him. Someone was passing the street in front of my home and my male pit named *removed*, some how got away and attacked the person. Here is my problem, the animal control code enforcement for *location in South Carolina* issued me three summonses for $1500 which I either have to pay or they will euthanize my dog. This would be like killing one of my kids and I cannot allow this to happen is there any help/advice you can render to me and my family to save my dog as I do not have the money to pay the summons. I have a lung disease and do not work.

How did this dog "somehow" get away? Where WAS the owner? It sounds like this dog got loose frequently. Why was that permitted? There are SO many questions to be asked here but one fact remains: the dog was not in control of it's owner and a big accident happened. That one big accident can effectively harm each and every one of us pit bull owners because these attacks fuel the fire under people who want to see our breed eradicated.

We have a lot to overcome by being breed owners and advocates. We must remain a step ahead of the rest. We must put ourselves out there as being the most responsible dog owners around. We have to work together to educate and promote a change in the perception of responsible pit bull owners.

Be vigilant. Be responsible. Be aware. Educate.


cagrowngirl said...

We moved here in the South a few years ago and the FIRST thing we do is put up a fence for our animals and the sake of the neighbors. We want our animals to have boundaries and the neighbors to feel safe in their neighborhood.

Being a responsible owner is the only way to curb the negative conception of Pit Bulls.

Now we are building a dog run for our pups and placing a border between them and the fence. Yes, you have to be creative and think outside the box every one in a while. But my pups are worth it. I have 3 pit bulls.