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It’s always a struggle to adopt out any animal, but pit bull terriers and dogs that “look” like pit bulls have an especially difficult time. They’re often misunderstood because for far too long they have been labeled as “dangerous dogs,” which is simply dead wrong.

The truth about pit bulls

A number of factors can influence one dog’s, or really any dog’s aggression including their quality of life and upbringing. Unfortunately, for years, pit bulls have been exploited because of their naturally loyal and gentle natures. Since they are intelligent and easy to train, they have become the dog of choice for dog fights, which perpetuate stereotypes of these dogs and harms them physically and emotionally beyond belief.

As the common saying goes, “It is the deed, not the breed” that has made pit bulls out to be monsters in the eyes of the public when they really aren’t. Anyone who has known the love of a pit knows that they are like any other dog, when treated and raised well. It is in our hands to change perceptions about pit bulls by not only treating them properly but also by debunking commonly held myths like these.

The problem with breed specific legislation

Aside from dog-fighting, breed specific legislation (BSL) is a major contributor to discrimination against pit bulls and to their sad fate in shelters across the nation (their euthanasia is extremely high, hovering at a staggering 93 percent).

Defined, BSL is a “blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds completely in the hopes of reducing dog attacks,” according to the ASPCA.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that BSL “does not enhance public safety or reduce dog bite incidents. Rather, such laws, regulations, and ordinances are costly to enforce and harm families, dogs, and communities.”

As an example of the costly measure that is BSL, the ASPCA reports that Prince George’s County, Md., has spent over $250,000 per year enforcing its ban on pit bulls, and a 2003 study conducted by the county on the ban’s effectiveness showed that it in no way improved public safety.

So why is BSL ineffective? For a variety of reasons ranging from the fact that there is zero scientific evidence suggesting that one breed is more prone to attacking or biting than another to the subjectivity of BSL’s very nature, which relies on an undefined breed identification system that harms many more dogs than it might originally intend.

The first ever One Million Pibble March

Thankfully, there are movements now aimed at ending BSL and spreading greater awareness about the wonderful companions pit bulls can be.

The newest addition to this movement is One Million Pibble March, headed by comedian Rebecca Corry and sponsored by her foundation, Stand Up for Pits. It will be the first ever national march for pit bulls and will feature a rally of supporters from across the country along with special guests and keynote speakers.

One of the march’s recently announced special guests will be pit bull Elle, who won this year’s American Humane Hero Dog award.

Corry tells OGP that the goal of the march is to serve as “the voice for millions of voiceless victims and by doing so inspire legislators to end BSL once and for all. We want to offer solutions to ending the dog fighting epidemic and by doing both of these things, create safe and humane communities for humans and pets.”

The march is set to take place next year on May 3, 2014 on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., and all are welcome to attend (but please note: four-legged friends will need to stay home with a dog-sitter).

Corry, a long time animal lover, was inspired to put on the march because of her adopted companion, rescue dog Angel. She was found in South Central Los Angeles with her ears cut off by razor blades or scissors – a home cropping job. Corry also reports that Angel had battery acid dumped on her and that she was once used and abused as a breeding female and a bait dog.

The idea for One Million Pibble March first popped into her head when she was performing in the DC area where she was scheduled to put on her live event, Stand Up for Pits. She decided to visit the White House with Angel and hung a sign on her that read, “Mr. President Be Our Voice.”

Corry started taking photos of Angel with her message, and others visiting that day began doing the same, gathering a crowd of onlookers and photo-takers. That very night, Corry announced to her sold-out Stand Up for Pits show audience that a march on Washington for pit bulls would take place the following year.

“Pit Bull Terriers are voiceless victims and as long as I have a voice, I’m dedicated to being theirs.  They are direct targets of discrimination, hate and ignorance and I want it to end.  I’m determined to do all I can to facilitate that,” says Corry.

The march includes “pibble” in the name to denote affection for pit bulls. As Corry says, the term means “cute, hilarious, love and perfection. Everything a Pit Bull Terrier is.” Corry hopes that in addition to pibble supporters and special guests, President Obama will also stop by for a “high five,” and even sit down to “share a beer and ideas about ending abuse and discrimination” of pit bulls and other animals.

Ways you can get involved to help pit bulls

Right now, the march is in its planning stage, and funds need to be raised to make it happen. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up here and so far $7,090 out of a $40,000 goal has been raised, but Corry stresses that $40,000 is cutting it close and $60,000 would be ideal to ensure success. She encourages everyone to donate just one dollar, because if 40,000 people do so at this low rate, the campaign’s goal can easily be reached.

If you are interested in getting involved with the march directly through volunteer work, you can email Corry through the Stand Up for Pits foundation site and follow her on Twitter at @TheRebeccaCorry for updates. Other updates can be found on Facebook on the March’s event page, regular Facebook page, and Stand Up for Pits’ Facebook page.

Planning to attend the 2014 One Million Pibble March? Be sure to make your pledge to be there by following this link.

If you cannot attend, not to worry, there are plenty of other ways you can help pit bulls. Corry suggests the following:

  • Purchase a One Million Pibble March t-shirt – 100 percent of proceeds (after cost) go directly to the march’s funding
  • Organize local marches on the state, county or city levels.
  • Create foster programs to get pit bulls out of shelters and provide them a better chance at adoption.
  • Volunteer at your local pit bull rescue and/or shelter.
  • Donate to pit bull protection groups like Pit Bull Rescue Central, Incred-A-Bull, and national nonprofits working to end dog-fighting such as the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.
  • Reach out to local legislators and offer solutions on how to end animal abuse, dog-fighting, and BSL.
  • Post positive photos and videos of pit bulls on social media (like these, for example).
  • Educate yourself and others on what BSL really is and politely spread the word about this injustice.

Image source: Steph Skardel / Flickr