Yesterday, TV host Kelly Ripa of ‘LIVE with Kelly and Michael’ made damaging remarks against America Pit Bulls. She stated that ‘Thugs’ and ‘Gangsters’ own Pit Bulls. Were her comments Scandalous? Yes. Were they true? Absolutely not!
Pit Bulls, or more specifically the breed, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) were bred from Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Bulldogs. They have always been working dogs, and later became extremely popular as family pets due to their kind, loyal and gentle nature towards humans and especially children.
Sadly this breed has been under attack for years now, if you have ever tried to rent an apartment, you may have seen the small print on the contract ‘No Pit Bull, Cane Corso, Rottweiler breeds etc.’ Over a period of time certain dog breeds have been deemed dangerous and vicious, and law makers have even gone as far as banning them from certain counties and cities around the country.
The most vulnerable trait of the America Pit Bull is the loyalty they show to humans. Because of their love and devotion to their owner, this trait is abused and taken advantage of by irresponsible ownership. Because of the strength and agility of the America Pit Bull, underground dog fighting rings use this breed as fighting dogs. Dog fighting is not only illegal, but it is a horrendous activity that causes awful suffering and bloodshed to these animals. Dogs are trained to fight to the death for the profit of their owners.
But are the majority of Pit Bulls owned by dog fighters? Is every Pit Bull owner a thug or a gangster? NO, NO and NO! However that is what the news and media expose us to, the extreme situations, the shocking headlines, the type of news that makes you want to cross the road the next time you see a Pit Bull. Why does the media not choose to highlight Pit Bulls that are therapy dogs that lay next to and comfort children who are dying from leukemia? Or the Pit Bulls that have saved entire families from house fires? Or Pit Bulls that are trained drug sniffing dogs? And what about the fun stories? Like surfing Pit Bulls, or Pit Bulls that regularly attend schools to read with children. Or mascot dogs that raise huge amounts of money for charities? Where are those stories? We aren’t told those stories because they aren’t shocking enough and they will not get the rating that TV and media desire.
“A Pit Bull is no different to any other dog. All dogs can be trained to guard your property, or to fetch a ball. All dogs despite their size, breed or characteristics can be trained to some level, so it is purely down to the owner than determines the outcome and fate of the animal.”
When I hear damaging comments from people of influence, or anyone that have the power to shape opinions like TV personalities, it infuriates me. I personally sent Kelly Ripa a message yesterday asking what grounds her opinion was based on. Had she owned a Pit Bull? Has she had extensive interaction or experience with Pit Bulls? Sadly I already know the answer to both of my questions, and it would be NO, she hasn’t. But I still send the message because you have hold peoples feet to the fire and make them accountable for their actions, especially when that message is being broadcast to millions of viewers. I hope that my message and the thousands of other messages that have flooded the show’s Facebook page will bring attention to the fact that celebrities are influential, and they should be educated prior to running their mouth on a subject they have absolutely no experience or knowledge on.
I personally endorse the Pit Bull breed, I have owned an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier (see picture below) I have worked with countless Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, and Staffordshire Terriers through my work at shelters and rescue groups, and so I can talk from a position of experience about these breeds. I encourage anyone that may have mixed feelings about the breed to go and meet a Pit Bull before you form an opinion based on what you watch on the news, or something you have heard third hand from someone else. Go to your local shelter, visit an animal rescue group and hug-a-bull! You never know, you might just fall in love with their gentle, loyal and loving ways and make them part of your family!