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A Perfect World?

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Like most children, I grew up believing the world to be a wonderful and beautiful place. I thought that problems only occurred when I, or a sibling, was at the wrong. However, I soon began to realize it was not true.
My Nana had a dog. His name was Harley. I did not know it at the time, but Harley was a Pit Bull, possibly the most misunderstood breed of dog. And if I had known the stereotypes of their vicious demeanor, I would never have believed them to be true for a minute. And how could I, with Harley’s loving heart and slobbery kisses, gentle to the young girl I was? The first time I was introduced to the injustice to Harley’s breed took place when I was around eight years old. We were watching Harley for my Nana while she was away and I had taken him into the backyard. The yard was fenced and, being a large dog, I needed worry for him to slip through the fence. Despite this, my father told me to leash the gentle giant and to always keep his leash on when bringing him outside. Why I asked. I was then told of my neighbor’s fear of Harley and it would be a couple years later when I realized why; because Harley was a Pit Bull.
I cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of discrimination against this breed and I cannot help but wonder why? It is safe to say that not every, single person who dislikes Pit Bulls has owned one in the past. As humans, we have an absurd trust in the media. We hear about dog attacks and dog fights and draw connections, which brings up the topic of dog fights. Dog fighting is illegal and, when busted, dogs in horrible living conditions are removed and often euthanized due to lack of or fear of human contact. And who would blame them? The only human interaction they’ve ever had was to beat and train them to fight. Also it is important to point out, not all dogs from dog fighting rings are Pit Bulls, though many are.
A dog’s behavior is based on how it was raised, so there is the possibility of having a vicious, ill-tempered dog raised by a vicious, ill-tempered owner.
“If someone raises a dog to be aggressive it will be, no matter what breed it is.” (Dr. Ilana Reisner, director of the behavior clinic at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary hospital).
You would not think twice if you heard about a bad Pit Bull but if someone mentioned a nasty, biting Lab, you would question the statement. This is because we do not think of Labs as vicious dogs. There are other dog attacks that do not make the news, ones that we never hear about. Instead, the media choses to depict Pit Bulls as horrible dogs by making their attacks, not blamed on careless owners, a chance to discuss banning the breed all together. BSL, or breed-specific legislation, bans are bans or restrictions on specific breeds and mixes. For example, in Denver, CO it is illegal to own or have a Pit Bull within city limits and if you are found in possession of one, the dog can be taken from you and euthanized. This does not prevent dog attacks from other breeds and rather just punishes good owners. In places with BSL bans, attacks from other “non-threating” breeds still occur and the only real way to stop them would be to ban dogs from the entire area.
The breed is not at fault, but rather those who gave the dog a bad name; the dog fighters and corrupt owners. Pit Bulls are loving dogs and make wonderful family dogs. Why else would they choose a Pit Bull to play the role of the Bakers’ family pet, Gunner, in Cheaper by the Dozen. Or how could they tame a vicious, horrible dog and train him to even play the role for the movies (he also returns in the sequel). Take the time to get to know a Pit Bull before you decide if the breed is worth abolishing. I personally could not adopt one because it would cost over ten thousand dollars a year in extra fines my family would have to pay to keep him. So Pit Bulls sit in shelters while other breeds, without bad reputations given to them from irresponsible owners, come and go. If you are considering getting a new dog, try a Pit Bull. Most shelters will let you “try the dog out” and let you take him overnight to see if the dog would work with your household. And if you can’t adopt, educate your friends and neighbors. The more people know about the breed, the stereotype will begin to fade, such as the timeless one of blondes being stupid.
And so comes the end of my story. My perfect world has been shattered and a new life devoted to seeking justice for a simply wonderful breed. I truly hope that one day, any Pit Bull will be greeted with the same warm greetings those given to a Lab or similar breed. Whether it be in or after my time, it does not matter to me, as long as the Pit will one day run free.



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