Pit Bulls: Just Another Dog
By Rebecca Shipman
I’m sure you’ve all seen an increase in Pit Bulls and ‘Pit Bull type’ dogs coming into your boarding and daycare facilities. People who have experience with, or even own these dogs, may welcome them with open arms. But people who don’t have much personal experience with them may cringe when the client on the phone says they are bringing in their Pit Bull for the weekend. The opinion of the latter is typically formed by the negative press or one bad experience. But how many times have you been bitten by that small mixed breed dog whose owner insists that she is the sweetest?
“All dogs are individuals. All dogs have teeth, they can all bite. And just like every other new dog that you welcome into your playgroups at your facility, they should be evaluated before being introduced to other dogs,” states Deirdre Franklin, founder of Pinups for Pit Bulls, a non-profit organization group who educates, advocates and supports rescue of, not only pit bull type dogs, but all dogs.
There’s a reason for the increase in Pit Bulls in shelters, but there’s also a reason for the increase in their adoption rates. In a recent test done by The American Canine Temperament Testing Society (ATT), Pit Bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%, passing 4th from the highest of 122 breeds. That’s better than Beagles, passing at 78.2% and Golden Retrievers passing at 83.2%. The average passing rate for ALL breeds is 77%.
A report from the AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) included the statement, “Breed alone is not predictive of the risk of aggressive behavior. Dogs and owners must be evaluated individually.”
Even if you aren’t a Pit Bull lover, you’re at least a dog lover and would probably agree that BSL (Breed- Specific Legislation) is the equivalent to racial discrimination. BSL is a law that bans OR restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs. BSL may affect your facility if your property is within the limits of a city that has BSL in place. Otherwise, you are in control of your four legged customer base. Rejecting certain breeds from your facility may do more harm than good. One angry person that you turn away because of perceived breed could ruin that wonderful reputation that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Deirdre Franklin commented, “Owners should know their dogs well enough to be able to make the decision about whether placing them in daycare, or an off-leash boarding facility is a good idea or not.”
So next time you see that short-haired, muscular dog with a big head and an even bigger smile come through your door, remember to remain open minded. He might just become your new favorite four legged customer!
Be on the lookout for Deirdre Franklin’s new book, Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls, due to hit shelves this October. The book is a celebration of Deirdre’s hard work of advocating for the dogs and also of the dogs themselves that continue to inspire her every day. For more information, visit www.pinupsforpitbulls.org.