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National Pit Bull Awareness Month Hoped to Defeat Stereotypes

When people think about dog breeds that tend to be aggressive, one that commonly makes the list is the pit bull.

Although the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize the breed, it is a type of terrier that includes American and Staffordshire mixes. Even some boxers and bulldogs are included.

Although pit bulls and rottweilers were responsible for over 60% of canine-on-human attacks from 1979 to 1998, the reporting shows that 25 breeds were involved in these incidents. Since three-quarters of dogs in shelters are mislabeled as pit bulls, it is difficult to identify one single breed as being problematic or dangerous from the data. [[1]]

Each October, National Pit Bull Awareness month works to change the societal stereotypes that have come to follow these dogs.

Just 50 Years Ago, the Pit Bull Was America’s Favorite Dog

From World War I posters to the sight of Nipper representing the RCA Victor label, the pit bull used to be the epitome of how dogs were “man’s best friend.”

Everything changed in 1990. Multiple features showing American life conveyed these dogs as being weapons. It created an environment where parental caution and excessive fear drove how people saw them, along with how a small few were breeding them for dog fighting purposes.

As with any dog, pit bulls need a loving environment with plenty of praise. When they have this space, they can do some incredible things! Here are a few examples.

1. Ember the Pit Bull

Ember was adopted from a pit bull rescue organization by her family. They had a 10-year-old in the home, and the dog immediately latched onto him as a “brother.” She would sleep at the foot of his bed each night. [[2]]

One evening, the family woke up because Ember was making a strange sound in their son’s bedroom. They opened the door to find her pacing. She indicated that the family should follow her, so they did.

They found their son in the bathtub, having a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital, received the needed treatment, and came home to a loving, wiggly pup.

2. Kilo the Pit Bull

Justin Becker thought the man coming to his home was a delivery worker. It turned out that the guy was a burglar trying to enter the property without authorization. Although Becker attempted to defend himself, the attacker had a gun. [[3]]

That’s when Kilo sprang into action. The pit bull attacked the burglar, saving Becker. The firearm was discharged during the fight, with the bullet striking the dog in the head.

They rushed to dog to a local veterinarian, discovered the bullet hadn’t penetrated the skull, and now lives a comfortable life with his best friend.

2. Lily the Pit Bull

The train engineer saw something moving in the darkness on the tracks ahead. As he got closer, he realized it was a pit bull frantically trying to remove someone from the train’s path. [[4]]

Lily was rescued from a local facility and went to live with Christine Spain, who was struggling with alcoholism. On the night of the incident, she’d had too much to drink and passed out on the tracks.

He slammed on the brakes, but it was too late at that point. Although the human was saved, Lily was struck by the train. Despite massive injuries, she refused to leave Christine’s side until she knew she was safe.

Lily had to undergo several surgeries, and eventually lost a leg. Her actions also prove that dogs are too good for us humans.

4. Baby the Pit Bull

The Westenberger family found themselves having a pit bull alarm clock one morning. She was jumping on them and barking. It didn’t take long to discover the house was filled with smoke and a fire was out of control. [[5]]

Once the humans were safe, Baby went back into the burning home. Five other dogs were trapped inside, but she dragged them out to safety.

Is a Pit Bull Appropriate for Your Home?

Charles Brown is the Executive Director of the Terre Haute Human Society. He says that now is the time to leave the stereotypes about pit bulls behind and see them how they used to be seen in the United States. [[6]]

“They can definitely be a challenge to adopt, and now always because of their temperament,” Brown said. “People can have preconceived notions, but getting over those is possible by seeing what good companions they make – what a great family dog they make.”

If you’re interested in adopting a pit bull or another dog, please visit your local animal shelter or chapter of the Human Society to find your new best friend.

 

References:

[[1]] https://petpedia.co/pit-bull-statistics/[[2]] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzN6hVJPiNg&feature=emb_imp_woyt; [[3]] https://dogtime.com/trending/10465-pit-bull-takes-a-bullet-during-home-invasion-saves-owner[[4]] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VtE0ySQwhE&feature=emb_imp_woyt ; [[5]]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gunQWnQ-YU&feature=emb_imp_woyt[[6]] https://www.mywabashvalley.com/news/local-news/national-pitbull-awareness-month-hopes-to-end-stereotypes/