Most people are under the misconception that pit bulls are a breed, when actually there are several breeds that fall under the term “pit bull” as a category of classification. The most common breeds that have been classified under the pit bull category are: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog and Bull Terrier.
The Humane Society raid on July 8th in southwestern Missouri this week has resulted in felony dog fighting charges against Jon P. Stingley and Keith Owens of Blue Eye, Missouri. Seven adult pit bulls and eight pit bull puppies were rescued during the raid, bringing the pit bulls under the media spotlight once again.
Everyone loves the happy ending of hearing that the dogs and puppies were rescued and that their abusers are facing charges. If the media does follow up stories on the dogs, the community may even help out and volunteer to help foster and adopt some of these orphans.
The sad, cold reality of the situation of it is that there really is no happy ending. Pit bulls make up between 20-35% of shelter populations. There are currently over 3,700 pit bulls up for adoption today. One third of the shelters have a no-adoption policy on pit bulls – some because of ordinances within their communities and others are concerned where the dogs will ultimately end up such as the dog fighting ring. The shelters with the no-adoption policy will not even adopt out the puppies, and most pit bull puppies do not even make it out to the public view and are euthanized quickly.
Overpopulation will continue to be a problem within the shelters that will adopt out pit bulls due the negative media attention the pit bulls have garnered over the years. Irresponsible and abusive pet owners, along with the media are more of a problem than the breed itself. Misconceptions about the breed will continue to sway people away from considering them as good pets until more attention is put on pit bull awareness.
This is not to suggest to go out and adopt a pit bull because they are the right fit for every family. As with every breed, the breeds that fall under the term “pit bull” have characteristics that would not necessarily be the right dog for each household. If you are a laid back person with a sedentary lifestyle, you wouldn’t want to go out and adopt an Australian shepherd. Australian shepherds are high energy dogs that require a lot of exercise. The suggestion is to do your research and make an educated decision on which breed would be a good fit for your family and lifestyle and not to overlook the pit bulls based on media hype.
To see the dogs available for adoption, check with Petfinder at http://www.petfinder.com/index.html