“All dogs should be recognized as individuals,” but what of the victims?
Last week (and practically every week) a prominent animal welfare group talked on Facebook about how nearly all shelters now agree that all dogs should be recognized as individuals and no breed is inherently aggressive.
Really? Humans have been breeding dogs for specific traits for a very long time. Herding dogs’ herd. Retrievers retrieve, etc.
Humans breed cattle, horses, dogs and cats, as well as other species, for traits that are desirable. Genetics are a real thing.
When a dog type is bred for fighting, or for aggressive guarding, that becomes part of their genetics.
“Big organizations want us to ignore the science”
Big organizations want us to ignore the science. Every dog should be judged like people – as individuals, they tell us.
But we haven’t been breeding people for aggression and to kill other people for at least 500 generations, which in the case of humans would take us back 9,000 years, almost to the last time when all humans alive today shared a common ancestor.
A dog bred to fight or aggressively guard has a larger jaw, more strength, and more “gameness” than a normal dog. Fighting dogs are bred not to show a threat until they attack, typically without warning and without hesitation.
“How can a responsible animal welfare association promote these dogs?”
A bully-type dog can take down a bull or a bear or another dog, and this is what they were bred to do.
Is this the dogs’ fault? No, humans bred them to do that.
Do ALL of them act this way? No. Not all of them. However, they can take down an adult human. They can and do kill people on a regular basis and almost every single time the owner says the dog never showed any aggression. Until it did.
Killing livestock and other dogs and cats is a sport to these dogs. Pit bulls kill approximately 38,000 other animals per year. They kill more people and seriously maul more people than any other breed type.
How can a responsible animal welfare association promote these dogs for families? Or for households who have other animals, domestic pets, and livestock?
And why would they do such a thing?
“Follow the money”
Money. Follow the money. Promoting poor misjudged dogs makes a lot of money. This is a multi-million dollar industry. It trickles down.
The big organizations with the huge donor bases offer grants to your local shelter based on their live release rates. If the small shelter doesn’t have the same basic no-kill agenda, it will not even get to apply for the grants.
As most shelters have mostly pit bulls and pit mixes, they have to promote adopting these dogs out in order to apply for the grants they need to survive and grow, in a highly competitive fundraising environment.
Local shelters also depend on local donations. With the large groups advocating bully-type breeds on television and through sponsored local events, again, the local shelters have to go along or lose money.
Fired & black-balled
People in animal welfare who believe this is unethical and object, get fired and black-balled in their profession. Dogs who have a bite history get transferred or sent to a rescue to be “rehabbed.”
Excuses are made for the dog attacks. Victims are blamed for their own injuries and the mauling deaths of their pets. The attacking dogs are said to have had bad puppyhoods, have been abused, and not raised right. Children are alleged to have gotten too close, the dogs are said to have been protecting the neighborhood, the victims purportedly had seizures.
There is always a “trigger” claimed for dog attack mayhem. And it is never that the dog is dangerous.
John Doe Public believes that the big animal welfare groups tell the truth, and believes animal shelter employees are experts. In actuality, quite a few shelter employees are minimum wage employees with little training, other than classes taught by…. You guessed it…. The big organizations.
When did this become all right?
The fact that more than a third of fatal and disfiguring pit bull attacks are committed against family members, by pit bulls who had often lived in those families for years and never shown any aggression, is ignored.
Since when did any animal, any dog, become more important than our children?
When did any animal become more important than the safety of our neighborhoods and people, as well as all other animals?
When did it become all right for a neighbor’s dog to break into another person’s yard or home to kill their neighbors’ pets?
Or kill or maim their livestock?
“Common sense must prevail”
Pit bull advocacy spends millions on lawyers to fight for the lives of these animals, while the victims face the deaths of family members, their pets and livestock, and enormous hospital or vet bills. Not to mention often having to live their lives with disfiguring scars and disabilities.
Anyone who knows me knows I love dogs. Basically, other than spiders and poisonous snakes, I like anything that moves! But common sense must prevail.
Since our shelters are full of bully-type dogs, how about having mandatory spay/neuter for them, plus fines for breeding them? And mandatory microchipping, so owners can be identified.
If you really care about these breeds, how about lowering the population so they do not keep overcrowding our shelters? Of course that wouldn’t make millions, now would it?
Any group advocating for pit bulls by making false statements should be ashamed of themselves. It is criminal to make a profit by making bogus claims that put both people and other animals at risk.
Deborah Turner is a recently retired career humane worker who holds certifications as an animal control officer, cruelty investigator with advanced training in responding to cockfighting and dogfighting, and anesthesia and euthanasia technician. She has served as shelter supervisor and/or executive director for multiple nonprofit animal shelters around the U.S., and for a horse sanctuary.
Great article! I also have been fired and blackballed by the rescue community for refusing to lie.
When I started the business you had to have some sort of animal experience. By the time I left we were hiring people who had zero animal experience but just “loved animals” Then we called these people experts and let them control the direction of the shelter. They fought to fire anyone that had any knowledge or experience because being honest and realistic meant you did no love animals enough. Animals must always cone before public safety or you were just a “hater”. Most did not have kids and had a venom towards them.
Glad to see there are more people like me out there! Thank you for speaking out!
Deb Turner says
I am so sorry you had to go through this.
I was actually fired for reporting a bite to animal control once. It’s insane.
I hope more people start to speak out against the craziness. I am very grateful for Animals 24-7 for all that they do. I was not able to say anything until I retired for fear of losing my job. So sad that the truth is suppressed and people suffer as a result.
I started speaking out at the end of my animal career. We were just telling parents insane and unsafe things and I couldn’t be quiet anymore. I am pretty much black listed in my area, so I am pretty much retired now. While I miss the work, I don’t miss the nasty people.
I am very thankful for the Cliftons. When I discovered them and some others, I no longer felt so isolated. It was good to know other animal people shared my views and thoughts. What I was seeing was real and happening everywhere.
Keep on speaking out!
I guess I need to unload, and this is the only place I feel I can do so safely.
I recently rescued a stray cat. I already have multiple companion animals, and absolutely cannot afford any more. So I worked my tail off to rehome her, and found a very sweet, kind person who wanted, and could care for, a cat. When I took the cat to her new home, I was overjoyed for all involved. Every time I would see the person in the ensuing months, I would ask about the cat, and was so happy to see the skinny, dirty stray’s progress into a well-loved companion.
Well. I just spoke to the person again. There is now a pit bull in the house–it seems to belong to a boarder/roommate. The cat’s owner described the dog as a “psycho.” “Oh no,” I said, horrified. “Don’t let the dog hurt (cat’s name)!” The person said, “Don’t worry, (cat’s name) is way too smart for that dog.” I think the cat’s owner thinks of dog-on-cat-aggression as like something out of Looney Tunes, where the dog makes a fuss and chases the cat but never actually hurts them.
Ever since hearing this development, I have been absolutely sick. The neighborhood I rescued the cat from has multiple bully breeds–including at least one that the owner never bothers to leash. I knew the cat was at risk. Now I feel I have put this sweet animal out of the frying pan and into the fire. But there’s nothing I can do…I can’t ask for the cat back. I can’t tell this person I barely know to kick out their roommate. All I can do is hope the person sees the risk before it’s too late. I guess I just needed to talk about this with people who would understand.
Balmy Jones says
Stories of pit bulls killing cats common. Recall the recent case of a couple of pit bulls tearing through their enclosures at a shelter to kill 29 cats. (See 2 pit bulls, 29 dead cats, but Dothan changes topic to fundraising.)
Deb Turner says
I’m so sorry. I know exactly how worried you are.
Hoping for the best!
Yes you can tell that person to evict the boarder unless they get rid of the pit. Why do you feel you can’t tell them? I don’t understand. You were responsible for saving that cat and it will be all for nothing if you don’t at least communicate how lethal it is for that cat to live in a house with a pit bull (and the owner too). They owner won’t kill you. Be strong. Do the right thing. That’s all you can and should do
The owner might need to be reminded that many home insurers won’t cover any damage done by a pit bull in the home.
For those who may be curious about my situation, I’ll provide an update.
I messaged the person and offered my help. I received no response. Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me. As much as you and I might disagree with it, animals are legally property, and as the person who feeds, houses, and cares for the cat, they are the cat’s legal owner. I was just a person who rescued a stray cat and rehomed her. No adoption contracts or anything were involved (not that a “no pits” clause would have happened with any of the shelters or rescues in my area, which are all big pit boosters.)
Nor do I have any standing to demand the person evict their roommate. They probably see it as a “helping out a friend” gesture, or maybe they need the help with utilities/mortgage. I’m not going to pretend to know the situation.
Owning pit bulls is legal. Owning pit bulls in homes with other pets and with children is legal. I can offer to take the cat back while the dog is still in the home, but the owner has no obligation to listen to me. All I can do is keep the channels of communication open, and hope that no one–human or animal–gets hurt.
Balmy Jones says
Thx for the update. I feel your emotional pain. You tried to find a good home for the cat, did the best you could.
Albert Schepis says
THANK YOU for printing this and all the information that you have done about bully type dogs.
Thank you for this. I hope you’ll submit it to some major newspapers, since their own reporters won’t touch this topic.
Thank you for reporting this! I’m in Virginia, and we have had multiple fatalities by pit bulls in the last few years and no one seems to care. Last month, a woman was killed by her own pit bull in Hampton, VA. A year ago, a pit bull rescue with a multiple bite history killed the elderly mother of the adopter the very day it was brought home from the rescue. Prior to that, a young female was killed and eaten by her own pit bulls in Goochland, Virginia. In 2018, Virginia enacted law SB571, requiring dog bite history disclosure, and yet rescues still don’t disclose! The adoption ads are veiled language, “exhibits play behavior with cats, so cat free home needed”. I have been so disillusioned by rescue organizations I will never go that route again! They can rant about “adopt, don’t shop” all they want, but they are keeping their pit bulls when it comes to me and anybody else that I can educate.
Jamaka Petzak says
Hate to say it, Merritt and Beth, but the “common sense” you refer to is in short supply everywhere, as is abundantly clear.
And hate to say this because I’m sure to draw fire, but spaying and neutering pitbulls being warehoused in most ACCs and shelters would be like ensuring universal access to birth control — so that all of those greatly loved unborn babies won’t be born to sicken, starve, and die, being largely ignored by the “Pro-Lifers”. I love kids, too. I don’t want any of them to sicken, starve, and die. I don’t want any of them to be victims of domestic violence, as is more and more common. And dogs? Not a huge dog-lover, but I certainly don’t want dogs to be mauled and killed by other dogs bred for generations to do exactly that. That’s just common sense.
Jamaka Petzak says
*Oh, and reply to “Anonymous” — you absolutely can and you MUST ask for the cat back. Any caring and responsible person would do so, immediately. Responsible and caring adoption organizations do likewise. If upon doing a home check, any kind of potentially dangerous, abusive or neglectful situation is found, the cat is taken back. It is part of all responsible shelters’ and rescue organizations’ adoption contracts.
Heather Warner says
A pit bull rescued from a drug house just maimed 3 people in New Carlisle Ohio. Pawsitive Warriors Rescue got the pit bull from a kill list in another state, then within days had this unknown dog in kennels with children. One woman was care-flighted and hopes to recover the feeling and movement of her arm. Its not just the dog, but also negligent and greedy shelters who try to put dogs into homes as fast as they can.
I still believe it is not the animals’ fault, it is the human fault, and lack of taking responsibility and knowing the history of the type of breed. I agree pit bulls should spayed/neutered, to cut the population. They do overrun shelters. With the type of breed, and why they were bred that way, would it not make sense to use them in military, police etc? Use them for who they are. I don’t promote any animal fighting at all.
Merritt Clifton says
Dogs used for police and military work must be willing and able to release anyone they bite immediately, on command. Pit bulls notoriously “go pit bull” and become indifferent to human commands once engaged in an attack. For this reason, pit bulls have been excluded from U.S. military work since the origin of the first U.S. Army K9 Corps in 1942, and have historically been excluded from police work as well. Very recently, the pit bull advocacy organization Animal Farm Foundation has sponsored the training of several pit bulls for police use in work which does not involve contact with possible suspects. Bradley Croft, 47, the primary trainer hired by the Animal Farm Foundation to prepare pit bulls for police work from 2012 to 2017, is soon to be tried in Texas on multiple fraud charges. (See Trainer who pushed pit bulls for police work indicted for fraud.)
“Do ALL of them act this way? No. Not all of them. ”
KEEP THAT IN MIND. . .
Merritt Clifton says
Keep in mind that not every landmine detonates the first time or even the first hundred times that someone walks or drives over the mine. Many landmines do not detonate until years, even decades after they were planted. This does not make walking or driving through a minefield a good idea.
Deb Turner says
Unfortunately you can’t tell if or when they will trigger. And it’s part of the breeding for fighting to not give a warning. This makes the breed dangerous as is shown by so many owners after the dog has mauled or killed, stating how the dog has never shown aggression before.
AMA studies show these dogs are not safe with children. Why take the chance?