What is the primary cause of the death of Pit Bulls (and other breeds) all over the US? Us. Humans. Dogs are being bred indiscriminately by so many people for so many reasons (the number one reason being cold, hard cash) and the Pit Bull is the most prevalent resident of shelters at this time.
The fact of the matter is that all puppies are adorable and desirable, but adult pit bulls can be difficult to own - not only because of their strong-willed nature, but because many housing associations and insurance companies won't allow them. It's common sense - puppies grow into adult dogs. In the case of Pit Bulls, they grow into strong adult dogs who are feared by the general public and reviled by landlords and the media. If you are not prepared to make an investment of time, love and training for the life of the dog, you should not own one.
Puppies, Puppies, Puppies...
You only have to glance through the pet section of the local paper, The Packet, Tradewinds, or Craigslist to see how many puppies are available for sale, mainly by BYB's (Backyard Breeders). The reality is that very few of those puppies will remain in the same first home for the rest of their lives. Anyone involved in rescue will tell you how heartbreaking it is so see so many Pit Bulls in rescue ... and at one time, all of them were cute puppies...
They are being mass-produced by people to make a quick buck - little attention if any, is paid to temperament or genetic medical issues. Mostly it is a female being bred to a male who is owned by a friend and then the profits are split... The chances of these puppies being spayed or neutered before leaving their parents is incredibly small, so most of the puppies will end up having litters of their own... and the vicious circle continues....
Who is to Blame?
It's hard to say whether ignorance is really to blame, but at the heart of the overpopulation crisis and the mass-euthanasia of any breed are the following people.....
- People who for whatever reason do not spay/neuter their pets and end up with an accidental litter.
- People who allow their dog to have 'just one litter' before spaying/neutering their dog.
- People who breed their dogs and then sell the puppies without spaying or neutering them.
- People who breed their dogs without any care or concern for genetic defects or temperament.
- People who rehome 'rescues' without spaying or neutering them.
The word "people" above can be read to include private pet owners, backyard breeders, big name show kennels and 'rescuers'. If you don't care about where those puppies end up, who ends up with them, or how many there are out there already, you don't care about the overpopulation issue.
The glaring fact is that there are too many puppies available, and not enough people who will put the effort into training, loving and keeping them. Although many adult dogs in shelters do not end up finding homes, many puppies die in shelters too....... and someone somewhere is to blame for their deaths....
Note that the shelters are NOT the ones to blame. While they often have to make hard decisions once the dogs are dumped on their doorsteps, they did not make the irresponsible decision to breed and breed and breed again. They did not make the decision not to spay/neuter the puppies so that each one of them creates 10-50 more unwanted puppies in their lifetime. They did not make the decision to give up on the litter before finding good homes for them all. They did not sell the puppies for a profit and dump the mom in the shelter when she was past her prime. They did not make the decision to put those puppies in the shelter on top of the hundreds of thousands of other dogs/puppies being brought into overfull shelters every day. We are all limited by resources, both human and monetary and do the best we can with an overpopulation problem that irresponsible and selfish people place at our feet.
What can YOU do?
At this point the focus must be on education and prevention. There is absolutely no logical reason why people are still breeding dogs. Money, as usual, seems to be the key motivator... We need enough people who care about dogs (and this breed in particular) to help prevent the insane breeding. There are many ways...
- DON'T BREED YOUR DOG! Get him/her fixed inexpensively.
- Don't support backyard breeders or show kennels that produce numerous litters.
- Learn how show kennels make money off studding out their dogs. Don't support this mass production of dogs!
- Do some intensive breed research before you get one yourself so that you are not one of the people who ends up giving your dog up because they're too active or too strong or you can't bring them with you everywhere you'd like.
- Please consider all the wonderful dogs in reputable rescues or shelters instead of buying.
- Don't get caught up in fads: Blue coats and large, bulky body frames are unhealthy! Choose a dog with a good temperament over a fancy coat or nose color.
- Got a friend who wants to breed? Take him/her through a shelter and educate him about the epidemic that's killing not only Pit Bulls, but other breeds.
- If you rescue a dog - have it spayed or neutered before rehoming it.