Thursday, January 2, 2014

Anecdotal Pit Bulls do Pinterest

Do you need a scientific study to "prove" that pit bulls can make good pets? Or that they can be good at sports, or good working dogs, or safe around kids and small animals and other dogs? No. For that, all you need are anecdotes and experience. 

I've been collecting pit bull related images since I discovered Pinterest last year.

On my board, you'll see pit bulls*

...playing in dog parks
...playing on the beach
...going for leash walks
...going for off-leash walks the woods the city with other dogs
...relaxing with other dogs
...playing with other dogs
...relaxing with other animals
...relaxing on porches
...relaxing on couches and beds

...saving lives
...painted in portraits
...showcased by their breeders
...dying of old age
...protecting livestock
...hanging out with livestock
...being police dogs
...doing SAR 
...being service dogs
...doing agility
...doing weight pull
...doing disc sports
...doing dock diving
...doing flyball
...owned by rich people
...owned by middle class people
...owned by poor people
...with cropped ears
...with natural ears
...with spiked collars and studded harnesses stupid, undignified costumes
...(you won't see many being crawled on by children, despite the large number available, because seeing dogs get crawled on by children makes me cringe)

What do all these anecdotes actually prove? A few simple things:

1) There is no single "pit bull culture". There is no dichotomy (as some haters would have you believe), of either felon-thug-owners or clueless-yuppie-owners. Pit bulls are owned by lots of different types of people and doing different things in different places.

2) Not all pit bull breeders are the problem. Breeding them on purpose can actually be OK.

3) Whether you like it or not, there are a lot of loved pet pitties out there.

I'm willing to accept arguments that there's some kind of "pit bull problem" in the US. Lot's of pit bulls are dying in shelters. They're one of the most popular types of dogs to be owned by dog fighters and criminals. What I don't accept are assertations that I hear all the time: pit bulls shouldn't be adopted out by shelters/to families/live with other dogs or animals/bred/be in dog parks/are ticking time bombs/good for nothing/untrustworthy/unneeded.

I don't have the answers. But I know for sure that, whatever the problem is, it isn't going to be solved by BSL, negative media bias, or magically making them all sterile.

*My definition of "pit bull" in this case is any dog that would be labeled such by your average shelter and/or be targeted by BSL. Therefore, any dog with short hair and a large head could qualify. Hard to define, but you know one when you see one, amirite?

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