Incensed at Reporter Over Pit Bulls
I saw and was incensed at your photo propaganda leading into what surprisingly actually sounded like a nearly intelligible article.
While I applaud the use of terms like "irresponsible breeding" and "often poorly handled, often poorly bred and poorly treated". What could have been more intelligently researched was the editorialized opinion "often nasty by nature" this is so untrue!
I urge and encourage your staff to do a bit more research and help the plight of these animals as a breed by not engaging in scare tactics. The audience I believe that you're hoping to engage with will only form more judgmental and uneducated opinions.
I agree, the failed animals sparking this story are languishing and suffering-but inciting fear among the less informed is no way to fix the problem.
Please, look into some pit bull type dog resources for the next time you need to report on these very loving and often misunderstood animals.
Pitbull article - seriously ???
Have a hard time with the article. Not regarding the city, that's easy, dumb, wrong, stupid. Let's not help out, let's spend money somewhere else and fix nothing, typical. The idea of a "slow kill shelter" seems accurate, dumb mind you but this is Niagara Falls.
Pitbulls are not bad dogs as your article portrays. By the numbers they seem bad but that's the problem with the numbers. Increase the population of one subset and the numbers are slanted in the direction of the subset. That's the problem with the portrayal, its sucks statistically because of the volume, but it's not the breed.
I own a Pitbull, he was aggressive when we got him from the abuse he suffered beforehand. Took a couple months of learning how to work with the triggers he had but once we understood, he melted his hard guy act and now he's just another dog.
I have also owned others types of dogs, Mutts, Labs, Beagles, they would have been more likely to bite than my Pitbull. BUT, if they would have it would only be to protect the wife, kids or themselves, as a good dog should be expected to do. Their family and they protect family.
They also smile, wag tails uncontrollably and lick the face as a means of affection (therapeutic at the end of a bad day).
Abuse them, mistreat them, be mean and aggressive to them and yes, like any other dog they will bite. And serves you right for being that stupid.
Pitbulls (Terrier mixed breeds actually as thats what they are) have been used for their strengths over the years by those with no respect for them or fellow human beings. As the favored dog for criminals, they become the statistical bad guy. All dogs bite, can bite, will bite, but only Pitbulls take the heat due to statistics.
For a dog that was an American favorite on TV (Our Gang), given the name of "American" Terrier, considered the "Nani" dog due to parents trust with children, something is wrong. The statistics paint a terrible picture but in the case of Pitbulls the artist is lacking all the colors needed to properly paint the portrayal.
It would be nice, and i think proper, to finish the story. We need a solution to the issue of abuse, not just overcrowding from a favorite mixed breed which is not a dangerous dog.
And perhaps a good idea of how the city expects to benefit from a competing shelter.
Ian S. Stirling
No Kill Decreasing Adoptions
I can imagine how much their adoption rate has decreased since the SPCA became a no kill shelter.
I have been interested in adopting another dog for the last year or so and check their web site every so often. All I ever see are pit bull mixes. I cannot own a pit bull because they are prohibited in the mobile home community I live in. Also, knowing what I know, I would never want to own one.
I worked for an insurance agency for several years and know that if your homeowner's insurance company finds out you have a pit bull they will cancel your policy because it violates their contract.
After dealing with about 20 companies this independent agency dealt with, only one would offer a contract and it was only on condition of a specific dog exclusion, which applied to all dogs in the residence. Any insurance company can do this, but they won't, because when sh-t hits the fan they will be dragged into court and sued, regardless of what is not covered and they will incur a ton of legal fees regardless of the outcome.
That being said, I have also seen photos of the damage the most sweetest of these dogs can do. They have turned on their owners and family in a heartbeat causing serious life long deformities. Not just the aggressive ones beaten by the drug dealers, I'm talking about the sweet family pet who has never shown anything but love and just suddenly snaps and takes the face off of a 5 year old girl who was playing with him in the backyard.
I don't know the right answer to the pit bull problem. I just know they shouldn't be in homes with innocent children and with all the dogs who need adoption its sad that my local shelter never has any of a different breed. Your story reports 85 dogs are at the Niagara County SPCA. The adoptable list is currently 40. Where are the other 45 dogs? I guess they are pits sitting in a cage waiting to die.
As of this morning there are 40 dogs available for adoption. 31 of them are clearly stated as part pit bull. Four others are visibly part pit bull but disguised under the name of Staffordshire mix or terrier mix. One other, probably 2 is a pit bull mix just by looking at the facial features.
A few months ago I also found out that since the SPCA has become a no-kill shelter they now have to inspect your home before they will let you adopt. Maybe that's the right thing to do but I'm a private person and don't like people in my space, going through my things, inspecting me, judging me. It feels degrading. Maybe I'm wrong but I would guess some people being turned off about a stranger inspecting their home.
I don't have answers but I hope people can come up with them because this whole situation is wrong.
In Defense of Pit Bulls
I'd like to start by saying that the term "pit bull" is used far too loosely. A "pit bull" is not a breed. It is an umbrella description for several breeds including the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier to name a few.
So it should go without saying that the "pit bull" bite statistic used in the "Bite Statistics to Sink Your Teeth Into" article is simply penalizing pit bull type dogs for having a much higher population based on this grouping. It takes the bite statistics of several different breeds and combines them together into one super-statistic demeaning these types of dogs.
I am a responsible pit bull type dog owner. My dog is well cared for, he is neutered, his bad behavior is quickly corrected and he gets regular stimulation in the form of exercise and walks. If these types of dogs are managed properly, they behave just like any well-managed dog. Through no fault of their own, however, many of these dogs end up in the hands of irresponsible owners and are not treated the same as other breeds of dogs.
These "tough looking" dogs are found attractive by people trying to project a tough image for themselves. German Shepards, Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers all had their day as the breeds that were wanted because of their tough looks. Now it is the pit bull types' turn.
The same people looking to portray this image are generally the same people to neglect or abuse the dogs, breed the dogs for money, be unaware of health and behavioral issues that arise from not spaying/neutering, or not have/want to spend the money to spay/neuter. And where do these people generally live? You guessed it, poverty-stricken cities. This is a recipe for heavy overpopulation of a small group of dog breeds in a dense area that the SPCA is left to deal with.
So what is the REAL problem that the SPCA and the city of Niagara Falls face? The answer is poverty. With low income often comes low responsibility. Irresponsible dog owners then become commonplace. These owners are the ones seen neglecting their pets, surrendering their pets once they are beyond the cute adolescent stage, breeding pets for money, or choosing not to spay/neuter their pets which results in overpopulation and behavioral issues.
Pit bulls are NOT the problem. The overpopulation of pit bulls is simply one of many circumstances of poverty. Let's work on fixing the real problem.
Pit Bull Ruined Marriage
After reading the vitriolic letters to the editor of the Reporter I can only say that I am not surprised. As I have written in peer papers and published studies the pit bull breed is known for its angry and unpleasant owners. In fact the owners are more unpleasant than their four legged "friends."
Which brings me to the point: pit bulls are the most dangerous, most prone to biting, most prone to inflicting mortal wounds, of all dog breeds. This fact escapes the pit bull fanatic and serves to drive their anger. Just as a pit bull will not release once it has bitten, the pit bull owner will not "release" until it has verbally attacked and beaten the anti pit bull source into submission.
In 2007 I delivered a paper at the Lisbon, Portugal "Pit Bull Symposium" in which I carefully laid out the problems in my paper titled: "Pit bulls are the absolute pits!" At the podium I was subjected to hisses and catcalls from fellow animal psychologists. One week later the organizer of the symposium suffered near fatal bites to his genitalia from "Scotty" his faithful and loveable "bully."
I will never forget that symposium organizer - as he described the ghastly attack he suffered at the jaws of his pit bull, an animal he loved, fed and housed for five years prior to the bloody attack. After being deprived of sexual congress, the man's wife filed for divorce and left him in emotional and financial ruin.
For those interested in research into this subject I refer them to my well-known papers: "Pit bulls: ownership as a measure of male impotence," "Do all female pit bull 'lovers' hate all men?" and "Whose nastier: pit bulls or their owners?"
Reporter Accurate About Pit Bulls
I am so grateful to see the article from Jonathan Macready. It was dead-on correct about the state of things in so many cities across the U.S. No-kill activism and pit bull activism go hand in hand, as pit bulls are THE number one type of dog to occupy animal shelters in most municipalities. The only exception is the deep southern states. In the South, spaying and neutering of non-pit bull breeds has not attained the level of success seen elsewhere, so shelters fill up with non-pit bulls as well as pit bulls. The leaders of the "no-kill" movement do not focus on spaying and neutering (which is the only reliable preventative measure); rather, they prefer a hands-off approach -- leaving unwanted dogs and cats on the streets, promoting an anti-animal-control agenda, and pretending there is no overpopulation issue. The folks who support "no-kill" policies must somehow lack the ability to reason and to absorb simple facts.
I live in a rural area in Connecticut, and even the tiny dog pounds in this area (one for each little town) are filled with aggressive, unwanted pit bulls. One town has had resident pit bulls in its "care" in concrete pens for over seven years. Another non-profit pit bull "shelter" houses dozens of dogs that will never make it out and into a home. It's nothing but a glorified hoarding situation and should be shut down.
If this no-kill/pit bull trend continues, we will see more and more cases of human and pet maulings and killings, as we have already seen a remarkable increase over the past six years. It truly is a dire situation for public health.