Is this a new 'sport'?!!
Imagine one day you come home and find that your best friend - your dog - has been shot and killed by a police (or animal control) officer. There is nothing you can do - as they are calling the murder 'euthanasia' because they deemed your animal 'vicious'. This nightmare is sadly becoming reality for thousands of people across the United States...
These officers, who wrongfully 'euthanize' these animals, rarely see any consequences for their actions. Most of the dogs never posed a threat, much less bit or harmed anyone. But, because the officer felt threatened - or worse, shot simply because of what the dog 'looked' like - a dog is dead.
I was once told that animal control officers didn't have time to determine whether or not a dog was going to bite, and that to shoot first was best... My answer to that is that if you are too afraid or uneducated in dog behavior to evaluate a dog in such a situation, then you are in the wrong field. You wouldn't like having your dog shot, so why do it to anyone else - without undeniable reason?
We believe a big part of the solution lies in better officer training.
There is a free training booklet that is available for download titled "The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters." And the National Canine Research Council has produced four training videos titled "Police & Dog Encounters". The videos cover assessing a dog's body language, tactical options for dealing with dogs, and the potential legal ramifications of shooting dogs.
Even just throwing a ball or stick, or giving a firm, "Sit" command could be all it takes when encountering what they deem an 'unfriendly' dog. But some officers don't even want to try...
One segment of the Police & Dog Encounters videos is designed to teach officers how to quickly size up the potential threat presented by dogs. To our dismay, the majority of police and animal control officers seem to be anti-pit bull. However, as any trainer or dog behavior expert will confirm, you can't just eyeball a dog, decide that it looks like a pit bull and decide it's dangerous.
But, unfortunately, all the training in the world will not end all shootings of dogs by police officers. While we don't condone officers shooting dogs without reason, we do understand that it is sometimes necessary. Like some humans, some dogs just aren't "wired right" - but that isn't breed-specific.
Pit Bull: Term vs Breed
Everyone thinks they know what a 'pit bull' is. But they do not. Most people these days think that 'pit bull' refers to a multitude of breeds of dogs (or any dog that they think looks like it could be one); and that there is no 'pit bull' breed. This is only true in the media and the general, uneducated public's mind - it is not true in the dog world.
There are very few educated and responsible breeders left of the original, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). Most of what you see these days that people label 'pit bulls' are in fact mutations of the original Pit Bull (APBT) - and are bred for color, huge heads, stocky build, larger size. Those dogs are not bred with the knowledge necessary to provide quality, outstanding dogs. If one utilizes inbreeding specifically to create dogs with a certain colors, looks, or traits, etc., then they are - in effect - establishing (or attempting to establish) a new 'breed' of dog.
What infuriates me beyond belief is when an incident occurs with these mutated dogs and the Pit Bull gets blamed. My answer to the ones that yell the loudest is... Get that dog DNA tested... I would bet my life it's not a PIT BULL.