The Herald Bulletin

September 7, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Pit bulls a misunderstood breed


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Just before 8 a.m. last Sunday I received a phone call. The caller left a message saying he was appalled by my column in The Herald Bulletin that glorified Lola, a pit bull, a breed known to kill babies and toddlers. He went on to say that on the other hand he is glad I did because it proved I am no smarter than he thought I was. I hope he is more tolerant and less judgmental toward people than he is toward dogs.

To be clear, I am and this column is an advocate for animals and the people who love them and understand that how we treat animals is a reflection of who we are morally and spiritually. It is a gauge of our compassion and humanity. I believe that it dictates how we treat our children, the elderly and those in our society whether animal or human who do not have a voice.

So let's talk about pit bulls. Can pit bulls kill babies, toddlers, humans and other animals? Yes, some of them are aggressive but so are labs, dobermans, German shepherds, fottweilers, basically dogs regardless of the breed. Should everyone who wants a pit bull have one? No, but this can be applied to the breeds of greyhounds, cattle dogs, chihuahuas, min pins, collies, German shepherds, border collies and the list goes on. It is best to get a dog who fits your lifestyle and your dog skill level. When was the last time you remember the media reporting a dog attack that involved a dog other than a pit bull? Personally I can't. This is certainly not because no other breeds bite.

Pit bulls, through no fault of their own, have been chosen as the dog of choice for gang members and dog fighters. They are abused and are given steroids to increase aggression and these owners do everything they can to bring out the worst in the breed. The pit bulls who do not show aggression are used for bait. Pit bulls can be the most affectionate, loyal, gentle and loving of dogs. I know this for a fact, I have one and I deal with them every day at the Animal Protection League.

What species on our planet has the most propensity for violence, abuse, rape and kills indiscriminately? That would be humans. Are all humans bad? No. Are all pit bulls rabid killers of babies and toddlers? No. Should you leave any dog unattended with a baby or toddler? No.

For those of you who think pit bulls are all bad, I have lots of folks who have chosen pit bulls as companions and they would love for you to meet their dogs so you can see the "other" side of the breed. What is the worst that can happen? That you find out that you misjudged these wonderful dog?

Come to an event celebrating pit bulls and the people who love them. Project Bully's Pittie Family Reunion Picnic will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 at the main shelter house at Shadyside Park.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.