Why Do Pit Bulls Have Such a Bad Reputation?

Pit bull

Pit Bulls: Eating children and attacking innocent people for no apparent reason for centuries. Worst animals ever. That pretty much sums up what the media wants the world to think about pit bulls and their aggressive, horrible, people eating ways; but it’s not true. For one, there is no such thing as “pit bull,” and even if there was, they’re not aggressive dogs. The entire concept of a pit bull being a baby eating machine that kills and maims and hunts humans for sport is absolutely asinine. These are animals that have been given a bad rap because of their unfortunate association with (some of) the least desirable people in the world; illegal dog fighters and drug dealers.

Pit bull is actually a very general term for a number of different dog breeds, including the Staffordshire terrier and the American pit bull terrier; even the bulldog sometimes. The general consensus is that these are dogs that have short legs, huge heads and a big bark. What most people don’t bother to take the time to learn, however, is that the pit bull’s bark is much worse than his bite because this is actually one of the most loyal, protective and gentlest dogs you will ever come across.

Unfortunately, it’s also a dog that has a very intimidating look and stature, and that’s made him a very popular breed with what many of us like to refer to as ‘undesirables’ or the people who need dogs to guard their drugs or use to fight one another. Those dogs are mistreated, abused and neglected, and they are often taught to be very aggressive and to attack anyone or anything that comes near it (I mean, drug dealers do not want to make their homes or places of…business…seem welcoming to anyone who might find out what they’re doing so a big, scary dog that seems as if it might eat your face off if you get too close is a cheap security system).

They’re a choice dog for a bad lot; and that might be precisely why these beautiful dogs have garnered such a bad reputation in the past few years. In fact, did you know that the pit bull was actually once referred to as the nanny dog because it is so gentle and so good with kids? How did that dog turn into a dog that is banned in many areas of the country and has many other areas of the country looking to ban it as a breed?

The Turn of the Pit Bull

Sadly, the 1980s brought with it the return in the illegal and very unpopular sport of dog fighting. Horrible people felt that this is a great sport that provides a great deal of entertainment, and they began fighting dogs again, using pit bulls as their dog of choice. That was enough to start making many people believe that these dogs are aggressive and awful – but wouldn’t you be if you were raised chained to a pole, given very little to eat, abused and unloved and then forced to kill other dogs so that you could stay alive?

It didn’t help that this was a time in which drug dealers began using these dogs to guard their crop. In 1987, a two-year-old child was killed by a pit bull when he wandered too close to one that was guarding a marijuana crop. That was enough to make sure that the more than 30 proposed laws to ban these dogs in many areas were all passed. People were terrified hearing of a pet attacking and killing a child so small – and very little was said about the fact that this was a dog raised and taught to do that despite the fact that this is typically against the dog’s nature. When a New Mexico town passed a law that said police officers are now legally able to kill and seize pit bulls without any warning to their owners – as they are a banned breed there – people became even more terrified.

The Media

In the past few decades, it’s become quite common for the media to show the stories of pit bulls that kill others, that attack and harm innocent people. The fear and the mass hysteria that’s been caused by these dogs and the misconception that they are mean and aggressive dogs has caused even more people and municipalities to ban the breed and make them illegal in their areas. It’s an epidemic, and it’s not something that anyone is proud of.

Animal experts are in agreement that it’s not the dogs to blame for these attacks. All dogs are taught how to behave, and all dogs learn from their training and their owners. Some dogs are naturally more aggressive than others thanks to their breed history and their heritage (when was the last time you heard of a tea cup Chihuahua attack and kill a child or a horse?) but that doesn’t change the fact that they are easily trained to be wonderful pets.

The Houston Chronicle once published an article with a quote from an unknown source that read, “Many of the pit bull attacks are due to a skyrocketing number of poorly bred and badly trained dogs raised by backyard breeders who are trying to cash in on the pit bull’s growing reputation as a cheap, but deadly effective guard dog, particularly in urban areas.” This is the truth; these are not dogs that decide that they want to kill people for sport; they are dogs that are instinctively kind and loving to humans and want and crave the affection of humans. However, when they are trained as deadly dogs, they are more likely to become deadly dogs. You can ask any  normal person with a pit bull if their dog is kind and sweet to their kids, and they will tell you that they would trust their dog’s with their children’s lives at any time.

The belief that pit bulls are deadly dogs by nature and should be banned is ignorant, and it’s one that needs to be educated and proven wrong.

Photo by Getty Images


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