National Pit Bull Awareness Month
They are beloved in their families, they serve communities as police dogs and therapy dogs, yet people still change sides of the street to avoid them. We’re talking about the American Pitbull Terrier, or as their fans have lovingly called them, Pitties. In 2007, Jodi Preis, a member of the Tennessee based rescue Bless the Bullys, began National Pit Bull Awareness Day. 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 11th year of National Pit Bull Awareness Month. Another day this month, October 28th, is also dedicated to Pit Bulls. 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 parents and good pets. But it wasn’t always like this, back approximately 120 years ago, when the American Pitbull 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 attitudes towards Pit Bulls began to change to fear. While attitudes have been slowly more accepting of Pit Bulls and continues to advance, this breed continues to suffer from unfair treatment.
So 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 bred 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. Got 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 profile for their adoption profile.
What we all must do is educate others about the wrongful stereotypes of Pit Bulls. We need to pass down facts and engage people in conversation who are scared about Pit Bulls to have them do some research on the breed instead of listening to others opinions about them. 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 educating people and more acceptance will Pit Bulls be better accepted in society and have a higher chances of finding a family who will love them forever, quirks and all.