Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where will they all go?

In July, over 400 pit bulls were confiscated from a dog fighting bust in the mid-west. A month later another hundred pit bulls were confiscated from another alleged dog fighter in Indiana, and just today August 20, another 35 pit bulls were confiscated from yet another dog fighting operation in Georgia. That is over 500 pit bulls confiscated from dog fighting in the last month and who knows how many more are out there waiting to be rescued from this horrible life.

It seems as though the media circus surrounding the Michael Vick case may have caused some changes in the public’s opinion of dog fighting. Most did not even know that dog fighting was still practiced, and certainly didn’t understand the epidemic proportions that still exist in this country. It’s hard to say if the authorities are doing more to stop the fighters or if it’s just that there is more media attention now. Another change that occurred after the Vick dogs were rescued is the public’s opinion of the dogs themselves. Suddenly, dogs confiscated from fighting rings aren’t facing an automatic death sentence, in at least some cases there may be a glimmer of hope that some of them could actually find there way into homes and onto a happier life.

But these changes raise a new question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Where will all these dogs go? Take a look around at your own home. How many dogs do you have; one, two, maybe even as many as five? Now imagine trying to find homes for 100 times that many dogs, many of whom have never lived in a house before, may not get along with other animals and may have expensive health problems. And that is just the ones confiscated in the last month. That doesn’t count the literally thousands of pit bulls and pit bull mixes that are currently in shelters and rescues waiting for homes of their own.

What can we do with all these dogs? Many people don’t want to adopt a pit bull, maybe they’re afraid of the reputation, maybe they just can’t handle a dog with the energy most pit bull’s have. Many others can’t have a pit bull due to breed specific laws in their neighborhood, a landlord that won’t allow it, the difficulty in finding homeowners or renters insurance with a pit bull, and forget it if you’re in the military since they are now banned from base housing! That rules out a lot of potential homes for these dogs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting these dogs not be evaluated and placed up for adoption if they can be, I’m just wondering how we are going to find homes for another 500 pit bulls when there aren’t enough homes for the many thousands of pit bulls already waiting.

~ Amanda Clase

Thursday, August 20, 2009


No, not the dog end...the human end? An oft repeated sentiment is the fact that, as pit bull owners, we have to be better than the owners of other breeds. In addition to protecting the lives of our own dogs, we do have a responsibility to the entire breed. Everything we do, every decision we make, can impact many. It seems that often there are people who ask for advice and then when someone responds, pointing out dangers or mistakes, the seeker makes the issue about them, not their dogs, citing a variety of "special circumstances" that they feel prevents them from following the advice given them.

The bottom line is that whatever variables go into the equation, the resulting sum has to equal one of a responsible pit bull owner. Some of us have equations that have a few negative digits going in that have to be made up for by positives to ensure that grand total is a positive one. Maybe you have the additional burden of a multi-dog household (-) which requires you to practice crate and rotate to keep everyone safe (+). Perhaps you live in an area ramp
ant with irresponsible owners letting their dogs run loose (-) and you have to drive to a less populated or more responsible area to walk your dog (+). Your personal situation might include a temporary or permanent illness that keeps you from exercising your dog (-) and you have to reach out to friends, family or even assistance agencies to find the help you need to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy (+).

The bottom line is that whether it is something in your control (adding more dogs to your home) or something for which you are not directly to blame (others' dogs running loose), the responsibility to ensure that positive total at the end still falls to you and you alone!
Whatever your personal equation, it is up to each of us to do whatever is necessary to make sure our pit bull balance sheet is always operating in the black. There are a few things, that no matter how many positives you add back into the equation, can not only put you permanently in the red, but can bankrupt the entire industry in your area. In this example, the "industry" is the right to own pit bulls. Some of those things might include, but are not limited to:
  • Leaving your dogs loose together unattended
  • Going to dog parks or taking your dog to a doggie day care with a group environment
  • Leaving your dog in your back yard unsupervised (whether you're home or away)
  • Chaining your dog
  • Having an intact dog (96% of all dog attacks are committed by intact dogs)
  • Allowing your dog to roam off leash
  • Yourself being a law breaker or inconsiderate neighbor (messy yard, loud music, etc.)
  • Taking on more dogs than you can adequately care for - both financially and physically
  • Rescuers who release dogs intact, untested (both health and temperament) or to unscreened adopters
  • Rescuers who do not do follow-up checks or provide ongoing support for those who adopted their dogs
No one says that to own a pit bull you have to be an accountant, but you do have to be accountable - to yourself, your dogs and others who love this breed. Take an inventory of your end of the leash. Are you operating in the black?

If you are in need of a bail out, get the help you need by utilizing the valuable training resources available at or joining an online support community like Pitbull-L. The help is there, but only the owner can reach out for it. It must come from your end of the leash.

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~ Lynn Lynde