It's no secret that people in the animal welfare field disagree on topics related to training, favorite breeds, preferred collars. As 'pit bull people,' we're used to having frank discussions about our breed, and we welcome respectful disagreement, intelligent debate and solution-based brainstorming. After all, the media has set a dire tone, so we recognize that we're working within a very fearful belief system. We wear thick skins and stay loaded with facts, statistics and years of experience. We've become accustomed to dissecting breed myths (Locked jaws? No. Born to turn on you? Please). We work daily to share our experiences, present our dogs, offer our perspectives. We remind ourselves: Stay patient, stay calm ... Educate by example.
Recently, I received a troubling email from someone we know and respect. She explained that she was aiming to highlight the "dark side" of pit bulls and, as a non-advocate, felt that she was in the unique position to do so. As part of her goal, she is sharing a training hand out that describes pit bulls as "undesirable" and "anti-social." Strong language; stronger opinions. Because the author is a reputable leader in her field, the statements sent shock waves in our group and out in broader circles.
Link to: The Hand Out
We had lengthy internal discussions in BAD RAP about a best response. The stated opinions have the potential to be misunderstood and to bring very negative consequences to our dogs, and at a time when they're most vulnerable to those who would wish them harm.
We made a decision to go forward with an online response, and we're opening this discussion up to the public discourse in order to educate, enlighten, and create a larger dialogue on the very important subject of pit bull behaviors and temperament. The author has been alerted and if desired, can use this blog as a place to defend, discuss, dissect the opinions offered.
Viva Public Discourse!