For years, Pit Bulls have been a polarizing topic. On one hand, they have a bad rap for being aggressive and dangerous, and have been banned from cities, housing developments and last year, Delta Airlines. On the other hand, there’s a movement to rebrand them as “pibbles,” a nickname created to show a softer — and no doubt trendier — side; a dog fit for a family pet.
In reality, “pit bull” isn’t a breed; it’s a term used to loosely describe American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers: big head, muscular, stocky body. While pibbles may have a way to go before reaching Doodle status, Pit Bull-type dogs have a growing group of supporters combatting breed specific legislation (BSL), which bans or restricts dogs — most commonly Pit Bulls — because they are perceived to be a threat.
Related: 10 Common Misconceptions About Pit Bulls
One New York-based group, Animal Farm Foundation (AFF), which trains Pit Bulls to be service dogs for people with disabilities, is furthering the cause by offering financial aid to people working to end BSL and the people being affected by it.
“Who is really being discriminated against are the owners,” says Nicole Juchem, AFF manager.
A little help
Shelter workers often cite housing bans on specific breeds as one of the top three reasons pets enter the shelter system, according to AFF. This year, the foundation began offering grant money, through its Pet-Accessible Housing Grant, to people and neighborhoods working to change that. The grant funds programs — created by individuals, communities or organizations — that are designed to keep people and pets in their homes. The requirements were intended to be left broad to be as inclusive as possible with funding opportunities, Nicole says.
“It’s open to anyone,” she says. “[It’s about] affecting change in the community.”
Another grant, the Community Impact Grant, is designated for activists fighting against discrimination both at the local or national levels by furthering programs that pair foster dogs with people recovering from addiction, offering reduced or free veterinary services and creating pet accessible domestic violence shelters.
Each dog is an individual
Alongside funding furractive programs, the foundation selects dogs nationwide, mostly from shelters and animal control facilities, to train them for service positions, helping people with disabilities ranging from individuals with hearing loss to others in wheelchairs. After the dogs arrive, the first 30 days are spent getting to know each dog.
“There are some dogs that we can tell in the first few days that they want to be pets and go home on the couch,” says Bernice Clifford, director of behavior and training.
While those dogs go through a more traditional adoption process, the others are put through a series of tests to see how they will react in different settings, such as around farm animals on site and at a local horse sanctuary.
“These dogs have to be excellent in public,” Bernice says. “They have to tolerate all other animals and people.”
The dogs typically train anywhere from six months to a year before being paired with a human. A select few dogs qualify for the foundation’s Detection Dog Grant, where they go through K9 training, learning to detect guns and drugs, and eventually join police forces nationwide.
Paws of Purpose program
Another avenue for those dogs that show they can function in a chaotic environment is to be paired with a select group of inmates at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in the Bronx, who train the dogs under the oversight of a certified professional dog trainer.
“The program is really designed as a human program to help the inmates learn to work with other people,” Bernice says.
Each dog typically has three to five inmates on his team, which is assigned different jobs each week, such as basic obedience training, housetraining, and sitting on the couch and watching TV with the dog, so the dog learns to be calm in a home environment.
Some of those dogs go on to service roles, but the majority get adopted as pets, Bernice says.
#PAWSFORTHISCAUSE: What You Can Do
While the grants have been privately funded, the foundation is now fundraising to further its cause. Go to animalfarmfoundation.org to see how you can get involved.
- Dogs can’t speak up for themselves, so it’s up to you to help: Challenge bans on specific breeds in your community.
- Pit Bulls are the most common dogs in shelters and also have the highest euthanasia rates. Don’t overlook the pibbles in your adoption or fostering quest.
- If you have a Pit Bull, it’s up to you to be a great Pit Bull ambassador. Make sure your dog gets annual training and is socialized well so people see how great your Pit Bull is.
- Keep all dogs — Pit Bull or not — on leash in a public place.
Read Next: Breed-Specific Legislation — What All Dog Owners Need to Know
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My grandfather was a veterinarian and we have always had several dogs at one time. One of my current dogs is a pit bull and right now she is resting with a retriever , two cats, and a rooster. Only once in my life was I attacked by a dog and it was a breed thought to be a great family dog. He attacked and nearly killed me. Something snapped. It is not a breed problem. Dos are individuals like people. The dog who attacked me had been badly abused by a previous owner. Do I fear that breed now? Not at all. It was one dog.
Liana Valino – RIP
Both lawmakers and ordinary citizens must perform due diligence on pit bulls. Start by Googling “pit bull attack” and click News for daily bloody mauling occurrences reported in the news. Most all of the accounts will have lines like these:
“After watching the police-worn video with FOX 8, a tearful Rockwell could not explain her pet’s behavior.”
“Greenwood County Animal Control Officer Joseph Brooks said the dogs’ owners had a tough time dealing with the animals’ sudden change in attitude. He said he was told the dogs had recently begun acting differently and that they typically weren’t violent.”
“The boy went to the trailer home with the dogs on a regular basis without any issues, according to police. No issues have been reported in the past with the dogs and officers do not believe there was reason to believe the child was in danger around them.”
“And the relationship was sweet. Davis even has videos of him snuggling with the sleeping dogs and even dancing with them. Union County deputies arrived and shot the pair in order to save Davis.”
See for yourself. Google “pit bull attack” and click News
Google “pit bull background” to understand genetic inheritance. Pointers point, border collies herd, and pit bulls maul by design. Trying to train a pit bull to herd will result in a lot of dead sheep.
Do YouTube “pit bull attack” to dramatically see why pit bulls are banned in all US military housing worldwide.
PIT BULLS ARE THE NUMBER ONE CANINE KILLER OF OUR PETS of all dog breed combined!
You’re sticking up for the breed of dog created specifically to kill other dogs. You can’t call yourself a dog advocate and expect anyone with any sense to take you seriously.
While I feel sorry for pit bulls that they were ever born, the lives of people, pets, and livestock should not be sacrificed on the deluded altar of the pit bull. Pit “advocates”, shelters, and rescues are all complicit in the carnage caused by this breed when they promote pits as pets.
Did you know that 38,000 domestic animals are killed every year by pit bulls (for comparison: 10,000 people are killed by drunk drivers every year)? Our neighborhoods have turned into killing fields for pit bulls. Not only that but many people end up getting hurt trying to save their pet.These devastated people who lose their pets are suffering from PTSD. Absolutely nothing is being done about it by our elected officials. FOLLOW for one month: https://www.facebook.com/pitbullskilledmypet/
Stop it, just stop it ! This propaganda is getting people and pets killed. Why can’t you understand that you are the enemy of the breed with lies and deceit. Only the truth can help the breed. Tell people that this breed was not meant to be a pet, it was specifically and selectively designed to kill other things. That keeps the pit where it belongs, with those who understand this capacity and can deal with it so others aren’t harmed. But no, articles such as this suck in the gullible, the unsuspecting family, and then both fail. But failure with a pit bull means the loss of life, loss of limbs. Stop setting the breed up for failure, and that failure means carnage. YOU are the enemy to the breed.
BSL saves lives, and defending a fighting breed that has done so much damage to society, and specifically to children, is insanity. These dogs have genetic impulses to kill viciously which drives their instinct. That instinct is NOT erased through nurturing.
Pits type dogs are unpredictable and if a person wants to own one, that’s fine, just don’t subject me or my family to your pet and that’s what you are doing when you take your “comfort” dog into public. Have respect for others, because we have as many rights as you. There’s plenty of other breeds that are a much better and safer choice for an emotional support dog. For those who say your Pit type dogs are service dogs, I say untrue. True service dogs are expensive to train and although one group worked to train four Pits for service work, two flunked out early in the program, the other two became dog aggressive after months of training and were cut from the program. The program now uses Greyhounds. There are no Pit service dogs. Keep you comfort dogs away from the public because they have no legal rights, and we are fed up with people pushing their Pits on us.
You’re probably unaware of the previous attempts to rename shelter pit bulls because most people don’t want fighting breed dogs which is why they get dumped in shelters in such extraordinary numbers for at least a quarter century.
In 1996, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Called their pit bulls “St. Francis Terriers.” But they were still pit bulls with another name and were returned in droves because of their propensity to eat cats.
In 2004, NYCACC renamed pit bulls New Yorkies, but New Yorkers weren’t fooled.
Just this year a study came out showing that breeding for a specific behavior changes the dogs’ brain structure. One of the unique brain structures identified was that of fighting breeds bred for sport aggression. They are unique and their brains are specifically wired to enjoy inflicting lethal attacks for fun. Changing the name, putting them in tutus, clown collars and flower hats won’t change the fact that they were bred for sport aggression and will attack and kill for fun.
I arrived at this site by clicking through a link in the email set to me through my subscription to your daily newsletter. It was annoying to be presented with a modal dialog box that does not have a CANCEL option. It did not happen when I tried it again, but I thought you should know.
And that has absolutely nothing to do with breed discrimination, you couldn’t leave your comment in the correct place?
I think she was saying that this article Mae her want to cancel her subscription.
Most people who love their pets would be happy if pit bulls were regulated or banned.
Proper socialization and obedience training is the key to success with any breed.
Not according to recent studies by actual scientists. https://www.animals24-7.org/2019/09/09/dog-brain-study-refutes-every-major-claim-of-pit-bull-advocacy/
So you still are pushing fake information from HSUS, I see? Might want to start calling Clifton the liar he is and found out to be. His studies are bogus andabsolutely NOTHING verifies cliftons findings, by either his WIFE or HIM.
I love the fact you animal right psychos are all over animal’s pertaininig to ownership. YOU HARVE, “family of dog fighters” LMAO. yeah okay.
All of your studies have been debunked. Your pediatrician’s are all tied to gether and marusinec is a freaking joke with Golinko, bini, cohn and all the others combined. Do you really think “dr. sterling penn” is worth their weight in salt on that CDC report? LMFAO. Let me know when you believe the media for politics yet you believe it for dog. Hypocrite. Sit, old hag. It’s time you retire officially
First, Clifton didn’t pretend to do the research, he’s just reporting on it. Second, who has refuted all these peer-reviewed medical studies? Just saying peer-reviewed medical studies by credentialed medical professionals have been “debunked” doesn’t make it so. And pit bull rescuers saying, “LMFAO” at dozens of peer-reviewed medical studies, and canine brain physiology studies does not mean these dozens of studies have been refuted or “debunked” in any way. It is time for you to take a seat and stop pretending that calling your betters names carries any weight with anyone.
Really? You think that is all? Recent scientific studies refute that when it comes to pit bulls. The studies show that when it comes to pits, ‘raising them right’ has nothing to do with it. One third of the attacks these days are coming from beloved, raised right, pampered pit bulls who maul or kill the loving owner or family. Genetics rule and the genetics of the pit bull is to kill other things.
I am so glad to see that this breed is finally getting the recognition it has so needfully disserved. I was raised from birth owning and raising many of styles in size of this breed and in my town they are banned from being adopted from the shelter. I can’t help financially, but I will definitely be a voice for our loyal breed.
Loyal breed? Are you serious? Dogs that live peacefully for 11 years and then kill their owners? Pits are getting recognition every day for mauling and maiming. Low IQ dogs with even lower IQ owners, it appears.
I am the author of Pitbulls for Dummies, and articles like this about “pibbles” saddens me as they set people up for failure and disaster. They are pit bulls, and they were bred to fight. When you neglect that and pretend it’s all a misunderstanding you end up with bad placements, dogs in shelters, dead neighborhood dogs and dead people. Pit bulls can be great dogs, but they need owners who understand they are PIT BULLS, not pibbles,
Oh and that makes you someone special? I’m sorry. when did book writing about a dog “for dummies” become a thing of factual intellect or resemble a commodity of common sense? Never. You’re nothing and no one to look up to because you wrote a BAD, HORRIBLE, no good book, about a dog breed, you hate that your book literally had lies in.
Liana Valino – RIP (her mom ‘n dad thought they were pibbles?)
Stop with your ignorance. You don’t breed a dog to fight you must train it.
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