A loyal Pit Bull named Precious ought to have been feted as a local hero after standing guard over her unconscious human, April Newell, when a fire broke out in their home in Prince George County, Maryland. Instead, she found herself being kicked out of town!
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they discovered Precious standing over her beloved human, and knew that she was “scared, confused, and feeling protective. She became slightly aggressive when strangers tried to approach, but was easily frightened off by the sound of a fire extinguisher.” Her obvious desire to keep Newell safe from harm was regarded as deeply moving.
However, Prince George’s County has enacted Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which bans Pit Bulls from living in the area … so when local authorities got wind of Precious and her puppy Molly’s presence in Newell’s home, they demanded that they both be run out of town! Luckily, Newell’s sister Megan Sanchez, who lives in an area without BSL, stepped in and offered to provide the dogs with a new home.
“(Precious) just wanted to protect her mommy, that’s all,” Sanchez said. “I’m glad they survived. We’re animal people.”
While Newell is grateful that her beloved pooches will now be living with family members rather than strangers, she added, “It hurts so much … and I wish she was right here beside me right now”
The incident clearly demonstrates the perils of BSL – which is almost invariably aimed at Pit Bull-type dogs, even when they, just like Precious, have proven that they possess a sweet, loving nature. While the current mainstream mythology around Pit Bulls revolves around the breed’s supposed “viciousness,” it is not as well known that these dogs were once termed “nanny dogs” because of their gentleness and loyalty toward their humans.
BSL has been condemned by groups as diverse as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Bar Association. The laws are regarded as costly to enforce and problematic for civil liberties, and there is little to no evidence that they actually improve public safety.
The ASPCA’s stance is that the most cost-effective way of reducing violent tendencies among dogs of any breed is to simply get them neutered. They have noted that “intact males constitute 80 percent of all dogs presented to veterinary behaviorists for dominance aggression, are involved 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents, and are 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered dogs.” Appropriate training and socialization are also vital to ensuring that a newly adopted dog. Whenever a dog turns aggressive, this problem can nearly always be attributed to cruel treatment, irresponsible guardianship, or inadequate training on the part of their human companions.
Because of prejudices many people have about the breed, Pit Bulls are among the least likely type of dog to be adopted from animal shelters, and the most likely to be euthanized. Luckily, BSL is on the wane, with many U.S. states choosing to abandon it. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before lingering prejudices against Pit Bull-type dogs are fully erased. You can help combat the stigma by checking out the articles below:
- 5 Reasons Why Pit Bulls Are Misunderstood
- Invented Fear and Injustice We Wrongly Place on Pit Bulls
- 10 Facts About Breed-Specific Legislation and How You Can Help Stop It
Lead Image Source: Life With Dogs