Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pit Bull Awareness

October is National Pit Bull Awareness month and starting Monday October 19th, through Saturday, October 24th, it is officially “Pit Bull Awareness” week at the Tehama County Animal Care Center located at 1830 Walnut Street, Red Bluff, CA.  During this week the Center, in conjunction with P.E.T.S., will be offering all Pit-Bull type dogs for Adoption for the adoptive fee of $45.00 or less.

What is a Pit-Bull and why would anyone want to adopt one?

A Pit-Bull is not a dog breed.  It is an abbreviated term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and any mix thereof.  Breeding bulldogs and terriers together created the Pit Bull, a dog that combined the disposition and agility of the terrier with the strength of the bulldog.

The United Kennel Club’s description of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is as follows:  “The essential characteristics of the APBT are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm.  APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression, and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog.  The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed.  The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers.  Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.  This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.”

We often hear that Pit Bulls are dangerous and aggressive to humans.  In order to understand how this is erroneous, we must again look towards its history.  For well over 150 years these dogs have actually been bred away from human aggressiveness.  Malcolm Gladwell explains this well in his February 6, 2006 New Yorker article.  “Pit bulls were not bred to fight humans.  On the contrary: a dog that went after spectators, or its handler… or any of the other people involved in making a dogfighting dog a good dogfighter was usually put down.  (The rule in the pit-bull world was ‘Man-eaters die.’)”  

What we all must understand is that, with any dog of any breed, under a certain set of circumstances various types of aggression can occur, such as: human, other dog, other animal, territory, and food.  Pit Bulls can form friendships with other pets when given proper introductions and supervision.  Pit bulls are terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers have wrestled badgers and other animals for farmers for years.  This terrier drive in pit bulls has been, and continues to be, exploited by unscrupulous entities against other dogs for gaming purposes.  Like any breed of dog, Pit Bulls can run the gamut from being dog-aggressive to being exceptionally dog-friendly.  Any dog has the potential to fight another dog if mishandled.  Pit Bulls are not recommended for any person who does not understand terrier traits and principal canine behavior.  Ultimately, Pit Bull temperament, like any other dog, is a result of not only genetic make-up, but also how the animal is raised and trained.  Senior A.S.P.C.A Vice President, Randall Lockwood summed it up succinctly by equating dog to human aggression as the “perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions – the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history, in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation.”

So, why would you want to adopt one?  The answer is, because the Pit Bull has been, and continues to be, a loyal, faithful companion.  Pit Bulls excel in practically every canine task including herding, guarding, hunting, and ratting.  They are superb working dogs, and are employed as police and armed service dogs, search and rescuers, and therapy animals.  Strength, confidence, and enthusiasm are characteristics of this breed.  Some of these dogs can be low key, but most need activity to channel their energy.  They are loving pets not only for children, but for adults too.  Properly raised, they are the perfect breed to tolerate a child’s rough play.  Properly socialized, these dogs are quite affectionate and very friendly, even with strangers.

Why not, then, consider one of the many Pit Bulls that are residing in your local shelter when looking for a new addition to the family?

Additional information and other resources regarding “Pit Bull” dogs can be found at Animal Farm Foundation, Inc. ( ) and Pit Bull Rescue Central ( ).


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