The controversy surrounding Pit Bulls and their behavioral predispositions has been a hot topic for years, with some states even choosing to pass laws prohibiting the ownership of the breed within the confines of their borders. We understand that our readers may hold varying opinions about this breed, so we have compiled a short history of the Pit Bull so that we can better understand how their reputation has developed over the centuries.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the modern Pit Bull is the descendant of the English Bull-baiting dog, whose job was to bait and hold large animals like bulls, bears, etc. When this practice was outlawed in the 1800s, they were bred for two different qualities: fighting ability and companionship. Unfortunately, it is true that some Pit Bulls were bred to fight other dogs, however this does not mean that they will unpredictably attack humans. In fact, it does not even mean that they will attack other dogs. Pit Bulls have been great family pets and protected their owners for centuries. Because of random breeding--the process of creating offspring without regard to specific behavioral traits--modern-day Pit Bulls have a wide range of traits, and should be treated as individuals.
The truth is that the treatment of the dog is often what creates an aggressive animal. If a dog is poorly treated and taught that humans are untrustworthy, they may have problems with people in the future. That is not a Pit Bull specific problem; it's an animal abuse problem. A Pit Bull who is cared for, socialized, and loved will be just as loyal and gentle as any other breed. Luckily, Willie & Roo supports the efforts of DaisyCares, a non-profit in San Antonio that, among other duties, focuses on educating both the youth and previous animal abuse offenders on the proper ways to treat an animal. Hopefully with a better understanding of animal care, we can begin to repair the reputation the Pit Bull has been assigned. For more information on the history of Pit Bulls, listen to author Bronwen Dickey's NPR interview on the subject of his book, Pit Bull.
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