Pit bulls are under attack. In 2014, the Huffington Post reported that more pit bulls are euthanized in shelters across the country than adopted, citing a figure of 800,00 to one million each year. The reasons are varied, but most are based on myths and misinformation. If you’re leery of adopting a pit bull, here are some of the leadings sterotypes about them, and the actual facts that should make you think again.
- Pit Bulls Are Born Vicious. WRONG! Pit bulls—a catch-all term that describes pretty much all blocky-headed dogs, mostly American Pit Bull Terriers or Staffordshire Terriers—are individuals, like people, each with its own unique temperament. Incidentally, the American Kennel Club does not recognize “pit bull” as a breed.
- Pit Bulls Are Bred for Fighting. FALSE. Most pit bulls (again, a general term rather than a specific breed), are mutts, and are found rather than bred. But even dogs that have been trained as fighters can turn into well-behaved pets once they’re separated from an abusive environment.
- Pit Bulls Need to Be Banned for Public Safety. INCORRECT. The American Bar Association examined the results of “breed-specific legislation” in the United States and abroad and determined that such laws were not effective in reducing the incidence of canine attacks on humans.
- Pit Bulls Have ‘Locking Jaws.’ MYTH. No such mandible exists among dogs, and pit bulls have regular mouths like other dogs. Several breeds do have stronger bites, however. More significantly, the shape of the dog’s head and jaws tells you nothing about how likely it is to bite.
- Pit Bulls Aren’t Safe Around Kids. NOT TRUE. Some pit bulls make wonderful, loving companions for children at any age. Others don’t, but it is impossible to generalize. This is as true for spaniels as it is for terriers. What’s important is to teach children how to interact with dogs safely, read their signals and avoid aggressive challenges.
If you’re looking to adopt a dog, cat or other companion, Kids That Do Good lists a variety of places that can help you, as well as places that can use your help. In the spring of 2017, one of our featured causes is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest sanctuary for companion animals in the nation.