Posted: October 17th, 2013
Against Pit Bulls Ban
Against Pit Bulls Ban
Pit bulls are not a specific breed of dogs. The term pit bull refers to several dog breeds, which include the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier. It is hard to identify pit bulls because they are a mixture of several dog breeds (Harbolt, 2010). Pit bulls originate from bulldogs, which were used as fighting dogs. People started breeding smaller dogs, which could compete in dog fighting competitions. They did this by combining different breeds of dogs. As more people moved to America, they brought some of the breeds with them. Since the practice of dog fighting was not common in the country, people began to use the pit bulls for other purposes such as pets, family dogs, and farm dogs (Medlin, 2007). Pit bulls should not be banned because they are just like other dog breeds, whose qualities and characters are largely determined by their owners, they are good and loyal family companions and aggressive protection dogs if they are kept well and trained appropriately.
There are varying opinions concerning the exact definition of pit bulls, and the definition is largely subjective. Pit bulls differ from other dog breeds because of the strength they possess. They are stronger than other dog breeds, and many people prefer keeping them for defense purposes because they are good fighters (Harbolt, 2010). Pit bulls have been around for many years. However, there have been increasing media reports concerning the aggressive nature of pit bulls. The media has highlighted several cases of pit bulls attacking children. Because of these reports, many people have called for the banning of pit bulls, and some communities have even implemented the bans (Cohen & Richardson, 2002). Several reports in the media should not be used to determine a ban on pit bulls.
Pit bulls are ordinary dogs, and people keep them for the same reason they keep other dog breeds. They are good family dogs, and they enjoy the company of their keepers. They are easy to play with, and they are friendly. This is the reason why many families prefer keeping pit bulls compared to other types and breeds of dogs. Many people keep them as family companions because they find them easy to handle. The dogs are loyal to their keepers (Medlin, 2007). A dog has feelings, and this is displayed in the dogs’ ability to display emotions. Dogs react with happiness and joy when they experience pleasant situations such as when they meet their owners, or when they receive a favorite meal. They display sadness when they experience a loss. Dogs that have lived with cruel owners who mistreat them will show an aggressive nature since they have to defend themselves, or they will show fear of humans.
There have been some recorded accounts of impressive pit bulls, which have managed to attract the attention of many people, because of the admirable qualities of the dogs. For instance, many people admire the pit bull, Patsy Ann, in Alaska. The dog used to wait for ships, and welcome and greet the people as they reached the port. Another pit bull, Stubby, served as a therapy dog for the soldiers during the First World War. Many soldiers admired and liked Stubby because of his ability to locate wounded soldiers, thereby saving many lives. He saved the soldiers one night when there was a gas attack. The dog received recognition for all his efforts and hard work during the war (Medlin, 2007).
Many famous people, including Helen Keller and President Theodore Roosevelt kept pit bulls as their companions (Medlin, 2007). Many families that have kept pit bulls as family companions can tell of the services they have offered. The dogs might not have been as brave as Stubby or as impressive as Patsy Ann, and their keepers might not be recognized leaders and famous persons. However, the pit bulls continue to serve many families, and they continue giving people the companionship they need.
Owners determine how their dogs behave, and dogs are often a reflection of their owners. Pit bulls require proper training, to enable them to live well with humans. Their owners need to teach them the right way to behave. Responsible owners take the time to understand what their dogs need. They make sure that they provide them with enough food and that they give them a warm home. They also take the time to understand their dog breeds, and note any special training or requirement that the dogs need, and they provide their dogs with this training. If the dog owners are not responsible, then their pets suffer because they do not receive the necessary attention they need. They do not receive any training, and because of this, they will tend to behave in their wild form. Training makes every animal adaptable to living with humans.
Some of the owners train pit bulls using cruel methods in an attempt to encourage the dogs to become aggressive. Some of the owners of the high risk or vicious dogs, such as pit bulls, have faced a number of convictions, including aggressive crimes, drugs, violence, fire arm convictions, and crimes involving children (Barnes, et al., 2006). Many criminals prefer pit bulls because of the aggressive nature of the dogs, and they train and use the pit bulls for terrorizing other people and aid them in crime (Palika, 2006). All animals under human care require training so that they can learn how to stay with humans. This applies to all dogs, and not just pit bulls. However, since the pit bulls are naturally aggressive, they tend to exhibit the wildest form of aggressiveness if they are not well trained. Pit bulls should not be banned because of being aggressive, since they are only following their natural instincts. However, care should be taken when finding the right owners for the dogs, as this will ensure that the dogs get proper treatment and the right training.
Human behavior continues to define the type of dog breeds available. Humans are responsible for producing different kinds of dog breeds. Some people continue to desire strong, ferocious, and aggressive dogs. They use these dogs for different purposes, which include guarding homes and dog fighting. In the nineteenth century, people bred pit bulls for bull baiting. This game involved bulldogs attacking bulls in the pits. The game was cruel, and it led to the suffering and death of the animals involved. People bred the pit bulls so that they could make them suitable for the game. They looked for qualities such as aggressiveness and a high tolerance of pain. Even after the games were banned, people continued to use these qualities when breeding pit bulls, as they used to use them in dog fighting. The dogs are bred to be aggressive to other dogs, but not to humans (BBC, 2007).
The practice of dog fighting is illegal in many countries, since it is a violation of animal rights. However, some people continue to engage in this practice because they gain financially from it, and it gives them a level of prestige. Because of this, they continue encouraging the breeders to breed dogs that will ensure them of a win in dog fighting competition. If, in turn, the owners of these dogs do not keep the dogs well, then the dogs will act according to their nature, which is violence and aggressiveness. They will attack whoever is nearby since the owners have trained them for fights and not for human companionship. The practice of breeding pit bulls for dogfights is contrary to the practice of breeding dogs for human companionship, a practice that was more common some time back. The decline of breeding and training the pit bulls for human companionship has contributed to the increase in cases of pit bulls attack, which began in 1980s.
People’s perception of pit bulls is based on stereotypical views. The media has especially been influential in passing on negative messages of the pit bulls. The only time that the media mention pit bulls is when there has been an attack. This has served to influence people’s perception, which is that pit bulls are dangerous dogs. Some people tend to think that all dogs are supposed to behave the same way, regardless of their type. They expect the dogs to be the best in play and human companionship. They do not consider the fact that every dog has its own unique characteristic. Some dogs might be good for human companionship, and they might get along well with humans, but other dogs are meant for providing protection. Most pit bulls belong to the latter category. Therefore, people have to understand the different characteristics of dogs. People should not base their opinion and form stereotypical views of dogs based on popular opinion, but they should take the time to understand every dog.
The case of pit bulls ban seem more likely like an individual perception, akin to individual perception of race or ethnicity. This is because it involves the idea of banning a dog based on his character. People are different, and this difference is displayed in their physical as well as emotional characteristics. There are different races, but this does not determine a person’s character. The idea of banning a dog because it belongs to a certain breed is like supporting a ban of a particular race because a person in that race is aggressive and violent. These qualities are present in people of different races. People should use the same measures they use to rehabilitate violent criminals and people of aggressive behavior. They should train the dogs into developing the kind of behavior they want to see in them.
Some people argue that pit bulls should be banned because of the high number of attacks on humans, especially on children. Pit bulls were responsible for 45 of the 145 fatal dog attacks reported from 1999 to 2007 (Medlin, 2007). The number of pit bull attacks might seem higher if viewed from a single perspective. However, it is essential to note that this number represents the many different breeds of pit bulls. There are millions of pit bulls, and if one were to concentrate on a specific breed of pit bulls, this number would not seem so high. Moreover, the fact that the pit bulls were responsible for such a relatively low number of attacks, means that other dog breeds attack people, as well.
If the perception of the people is to ban animals based on their level of attacks, then it follows that they should ban other dog breeds and other animals that have attacked people. This reasoning does not seem logical, and it should not apply to pit bulls. In addition, it is important to consider the conditions for the attacks. This includes observing factors such as the level of responsibility of the owner, the events that led to the attack, and the purpose of the pit bull to the family. Most of the victims of pit bull attacks are children. The children are not in a position to understand animal behavior. This is especially the case with children who do not have any pets. Pit bulls that are not used to human contact and play will misinterpret the children’s actions and will seem threatened. This forces the pit bulls to attack the children, whose only intention might be engaging them in play. It is necessary for adults to supervise the children during play, to minimize the risks of attacks from the pit bulls.
A ban on pit bulls is not a fair option for the dogs and for the responsible owners who treasure the dogs and consider them as part of their families. The media has largely been responsible for the people’s negative perception regarding pit bulls. The pit bulls are just like other dog breeds, and they are friendly and loyal to their owners if trained and kept well. Pit bulls should not be banned because they act according to their nature. The nature of pit bulls is very much dependent on human behavior. This is seen clearly in the influence that human beings have on animals. The pit bulls become aggressive if the owners train them and breed them to become aggressive. Pit bulls are high order animals, with the ability to display emotions. The number of pit bull attacks is not statistically significant because it is extremely low. Other dog breeds attack people, yet the media do not focus on these attacks. Acts of violence and aggression are a sign of behavioral problems, and this is mostly the responsibility of the owner and not the dog.
Barnes, E. J., Boat, W. B., Putman, W. F., Dates, F. H., & Mahlman, R. A. (2006). Ownership of high-risk (“vicious”) dogs as a marker for deviant behaviors: Implications for risk assessment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21 (12), 1616-1634
BBC. (2007). Dog control laws and pit bulls. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6222689.stm
Cohen, J., & Richardson, J. (2002). Pit bull panic. The Journal of Popular Culture, 36 (2) 285-317
Delise, K. (2007). The pit bull placebo: the media, myths and politics of canine aggression. Anubis Pub
Harbolt, L. T. (2010). Bridging the bond: The cultural construction of the shelter pet. Purdue University Press
Medlin, J. (2007). Pit bull bans and the human factors affecting canine behavior. Retrieved from http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arus56depaullrev1285.htm
Palika, L. (2006). American pit bull terrier: your happy healthy pet. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
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