National Pit Bull Awareness Month
People are scared of walking past them on the street, laws seek to separate them from their beloved owners, they have the highest euthanasia rate and they are being passed over in shelters again and again. They are the American Pit Bull Terrier. In 2007, Jodi Preis, a member of the Tennessee based rescue Bless the Bullys, began National Pit Bull Awareness Day on October 6. What started out as a small idea was so widely accepted and popular, that four years later, it was extended to include all of October. This will be the 10th year of National Pit Bull Awareness Month. While attitudes have shifted to people becoming more informed about Pit Bulls, there is still a long way to go.
Breed specific legislation, also known as BSL, targets primarily bully breeds, making it illegal to own a Pit Bull unless proven that the dog isn't a risk. In many cases, BSL punishes responsible pet owners and good pets. But it wasn’t always like this, back approximately 120 years ago, when the American Pit Bull Terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club. In fact, they were known then as a perfect, “nanny dog,” because of its friendliness and loyalty. According to the ASPCA Pit Bulls were, “once considered especially non-aggressive to people.” It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the Pit Bull got a bad rap. That needs to change, and there are passionate people who are working to change people’s attitudes towards this breed.
How can you help? If you are willing to open your heart and home, adding a Pit Bull to the family is the best way. Pit Bulls are devoted, affectionate and will make their pet parents laugh at their silly antics. If not able to adopt, you can still volunteer with the breed. Shelters are overrun with Pit Bulls, and because they were originally breed to bond with people, it makes it hard when they don’t get as much attention in the shelter as the others. You can help them by sitting with them, giving them affection and playing with them. Have photography or writing skills? Offer to do a photo session with available Pit Bulls at the shelter, or try your hand at writing a witty adoption profile. What we all must do is educate others about the current stereotypes of Pit Bulls. We need to pass down facts and engage people in conversation and offer facts and research on the breed instead of listening to opinions. Good resources to give to people who want to know more about Pit Bulls is the book The Adopted Dog Bible and Pit Bull Rescue Central at http://www.pbrc.net/breedinfo.html. Only with education and acceptance will Pit Bulls be more accepted in society and have a higher chances of finding a family who will love them forever, quirks and all.