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Change the World for Pit Bulls

By Jasmin Singer — April 26, 2011

If you don’t yet know a pit bull, then I will make the bold assumption that your life is not as fulfilled as it could be. As the proud human companion to the sweetest pit in the Big Apple, I can attest that these gentle, loving animals are among the true underdogs in our society. But thank dog, there are starting to be huge shifts in the dismal and misguided stereotypes that deceive so many people about the true nature of these darlings. That is most certainly because of the advocacy efforts of groups such as BAD RAP, Best Friends Animal Society, Pinups for Pitbulls, as well as millions of pit bull lovers throughout the world. And, of course, pit bulls themselves are true ambassadors for their kind, always being the first to demonstrate their affable affection to passersby, working quite naturally to debunk the sick and sordid myths that are so far from the truth. In fact, once nicknamed the “nanny dog” because of their gentleness and ease with children (remember Petey, the pit bull from The Little Rascals?), pits are totally devoted to their human counterparts, are incredibly intelligent, and are frequently low-key and remarkably well behaved.

Me and my sweet pit bull, Rose.

Here in Our Hen House, we have approached pit bull issues and advocacy many times, including interviewing, for our podcast, the manager of animal fighting issues at HSUS, John Goodwin, all about the horrors inherent in dog-fighting and how to end it for good; documenting through video a pit bull vaccination clinic in Oakland California that BAD RAP was organizing; speaking with Best Friends’ lawyer Ledy Van Kavage all about breed discriminatory laws and how people can work to put an end to them; reviewingThe Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption; and publishing a variety of blog entries aimed at providing opportunities for animal lovers to get further involved with pit bull advocacy. Some of my favorite blogs we’ve published on that subject include Art for Pitties (featuring a NYC-based fundraising initiative that partnered with pit bull lovers and artists to create an animal-friendly art show to raise awareness); How to PACK a Punch (featuring a club comprised of kind-hearted volunteers who regularly run adoptable shelter dogs from Washington Humane Society’s adoption centers); and, of course, Rescue Chocolate (a totally vegan chocolate company that raises money for animal charities, with a strong bent toward pit bulls, as is evident from the gorgeous pit bull who graces the package of every Rescue Chocolate chocolate bar).

Now, a film that is due to come out this winter is next in line for shaking things up  in the pit bull activism world, doing its part to advocate for these precious creatures. “Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent” is a new documentary created by River Fire Films that nobly touts the tag line, “Putting an END to Breed Discrimination.” The question raised on the film’s website is one that I hope anyone not yet enlightened to pit bull issues, and the gloriousness of these dogs, will consider: “Do we have a dangerous dog breed problem, or do we have dangerous laws targeting dog breeds?”

Check out the trailer below, and then stay tuned for this film’s distribution coming this winter. It will clearly be yet another tool for us to use to end violence, cruelty, and ignorance regarding pit bulls. Of course, the fact that this particular tool comes in video form makes me beam, since film is perhaps the strongest communicator for anyone working toward social change. As this film will hopefully demonstrate, the only thing dangerous about pit bulls are the misconceptions that surround them.

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(13) Readers Comments

  1. April 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Thank you..Thank you to all of you who put your time in to helping these beautiful animals

  2. People For Pit Bulls
    April 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    We have a petition available to ask the legislature to create a bill that will no longer allow Breed Discrimination...taking it from the hands of the States and Cities into the Federal Realm.. Also working on The Million Bull Walk..Hopefully for the Fall..

  3. April 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for writing this awesome article. We're honored to be listed among such fine projects and organizations! Bully-love, Beretta Fleur, Creative Director, PFPB, Inc.

  4. staci.i love red noses
    April 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    i love pits!!! all my friends have them and i have offcialy turned my families opinions on them because of how loving ym dog truely is thank you for the work you do!!! and spread the word!!

  5. April 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Great article and can hardly wait for the release of the movie. As a professional, a mother and a grandmother who once "bit" into the "bull" until she was lucky enough to have had these dogs come into her family 20 years ago, I look forward to the real truth getting out there. I hope this movie does some good. Time for this 21st century witch hunt to end. Bad stupid politians and media hype instead.

  6. May 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I just adopted the worlds greatest dog. She a one year old American pit and is the sweetest thing. Some people are so stupid to call this dogs vicious.

  7. May 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me... when I hear of people hating pit bulls or being skeptics of the breed... They have no personal experience to base their views on. Everything they know they "heard on the radio" or "watched on the news" or "my friend told me". When revealing the sad fact that the American media typically doesnt report the truth or facts... the look on their faces is like a deer caught in the headlights. The problem with pit bulls or dogs or animals in general is not them themselves, rather the ignorance and stupidity of humans.

  8. May 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I admire everyone on here and linked to this website for taking a stand. I am personally not an owner of a pittie, but my roomate is. Her pitbull is very friendly and loving, acts more like she is a cat really. I watch the video above and i cannot help but be angry at all the skeptics. AND the owners that mistreat their dogs, in my opinion, leading the dogs to destructive actions. Who's to say that a poodle is more friendly than a pit bull? Some dogs may be born more aggressive than others, even in the same breed, but arent us as humans just as aggresive too? Every living thing is different, may depend on WHERE the animal has resided or the environment its born into, HOW the animal is raised and trained. You teach your dog to fight, or even hunt, their going to do so. There is that natural instinct in animals to chase a squirrel or a rabbit and such, but there are leash laws and others to keep order. If your dog, any breed, is considered dangerous because of a fight with another animal or attack on wild rabbit, how far can people go as to blaming the dog itself? If pitties are running the streets wild and attacking everything in its path i can understand, but that isnt the case, not around where im from, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to find ANY housing that will accept pits. Even the humane societys list of pet friendly homes is NO HELP!? Where is the JUSTICE FOR THESE CREATURES!!!

  9. May 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Our American pitbull terriers are the best. I have two that were rescued. I love my pitties.. they need to make stronger rules against the humans .

  10. Kaligaclark
    May 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I have owned 3 pits in my life and they are wonderful dogs!! All of mine were lapdogs!! My first pit/staff (she was actually a staffordshire terrier) is to this day, my soulmate! We were dog and human, we were one being. I miss all my animals I have had and lost, but my Kaliga has a special place in my heart and is part of my soul forever! I appreciate what you guys do for this wonderful breed! I now own boxers, which are VERY similar! The biggest difference is there are no restrictions in towns, states, and HOAs !

  11. June 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks! 11 years ago,my life changed when I stopped for a dog running in traffic in a major intersection. There was no thought to what it was but only for the sheer panic on her face. That day, I became a voice for the pit bull community! I brought her home, knowing my animal control would put her down, posted flyers, and googled pit bull info and came across my local BadRap. They cyberally held my hand while I made my decision to add her (now Bailey) to my menagerie! I chose to ignore my family and friends who claimed she would eat my cats, tear my face off etc! And WOW! What an amazing animal even after an awful 2 year start to her life! BEST BEST decision I ever made ! She has made me a pit bull lover for life!

  12. October 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Unfortunately, there is no truth to the story that pit bulls were ever widely referred to as "nanny dogs." The earliest recorded use of this term was in the early 1970s, when Lilian Rant, President and magazine editor for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America referred to the Staffy she had as a child as a "nursemaid dog." Somehow this story grew to become all pit bull-type breeds and magically got the "turn-of-the-20th-century" pedigree. It's a nice story, but the "nanny dog" is an urban legend.I like your website and fully support AR, but I also support double-checking information to ensure our arguments are always accurate.

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