After reading and hearing numerous sad stories of dogs being used to fight and dogs that are put down just because they are labeled a fighting breed, I think it’s time I voiced my opinion on the following issues:
Aggresive breeds/BSL (Breed-specific legislation) and Dog Fighting
For starters: I don’t believe, but I KNOW that there is no such thing as a Fighting Breed. Nature didn’t make fighters out of these dogs, people did! Yes, there are dog breeds that will respond quicker with aggression and are more dominant than other breeds, but those dogs aren’t the ones responsible for this, the owners are. No healthy dog is born a killer, not a Labrador nor a Pitbull.
These dog breeds are not born fighters or born unstable. Humans create this unwanted behavior in them. Yet, somehow we still judge our dogs on their breed and looks … even in law.
There are several countries where a number of dog breeds are forbidden just because of their so called bad reputation. Not only do they use this to ban certain types of breeds, they also have rules such as;
- Every pitbull has to wear a muzzle
- No stafford or bully breed is allowed off leash in the dog parks
- Dogs with simalar characteristics to a bully or pitbull breed and don’t have the right papers are immediately put down for no other reason than their looks
Simple question…What has been learned from human history?
Do not judge on skin color, looks, religion or background, judge people on their actions … Should we not do the same for our animals?
These laws were made by people who do not know much about dogs and who are responsible for a lot of animal and human suffering which is totally unnecessary. With these laws they are claiming to protect humans from these ‘killing monsters’ … when in reality they are letting the real monsters go, the dog owners and animal abusers who are responsible.
As I wrote before, I would like to stipulate dogs are not born fighters or born unstable. It is humans who create these unwanted behaviors in them. If you look at it that way, it is heart-breaking to hear when they put dogs down for what their owners did to them. It is like putting down a victim of abuse, just because of the fact that they were abused they now no longer fit in, because of their unsocialized character or unwanted behavior.
You would think that after all the opinions of animal experts, dog owners, breeders and kennel organizations, and the TV hit the Dog Whisperer, these opinions and laws would have been changed by now. You would think that people would have come to the conclusion that it is not the dog or the breed but the owners that are to blame, and furthermore, that no matter how bad the behavior seems … these dogs can be rehabiltated to be a loving socialized pets.
People have reputations, dogs don’t. It’s the humans who gave dogs a reputation. This is part of the problem, but I think also a part of the solution. Changing the reputation of these dogs is so important. The English Bulldog was initially bred for fighting, but nowadays a Bulldog would rather walk away from a fight and will ignore aggressive behavior. Also, most people nowadays will describe an English Bulldog as a funny and cute dog. They have been starring in films, on postcards (Zelda Wisdom), etc., and not as a frightening dog, but as a family dog.
Now if you ask for an opinion about pitbulls, you get totally different answers; I will never let my kid near such monsters, those aren’t dogs .. they are killing machines, etc. I don’t think a pink ribbon around a pitbulls neck will change the worldview about these dogs, but I do think more dog owners could show their dogs in a more loving way. When you have a big dog and put chains and spikes around its neck, most people will turn away from you and your dog. Don’t blame those people for judging, even if they are, that is just fear. So why not help them and your dog by showing your dog to the public for what they really are; loving dogs and part of your family.
With that said, I think there are also a lot of dog owners who own pitbulls or other larger “fighting breeds”, but don’t have the experience to handle such powerful and dominant breeds. Yes, all dogs and all breeds can be loving dogs, but only with the right guidance. So some might have very good and loving intentions but are incapable of handling the breed and these stories usually end with the dog in a shelter, or worse, put to sleep.
I think the answer to this problem is education, which hopefully will create more responsible dog owners.
Dog Fighting and Animal Cruelty
Dog fighting has been going on for ages. Sadly, a lot of dogs are still used for this horrible form of human entertainment. Most of these dogs are forced to fight till death and when they do survive and are to injured to fight again, the owners will kill the dogs themselves and just buy a new one. Stray puppies are pulled from the streets, they tape their mouths shut and use them as live bait to practice their fighting dogs. These horrible stories are not an incident. This cruelty happens on a daily basis and needs to stop! Instead of decreasing numbers they are increasing! More dogs suffer. Dogs are taken from shelters, or are even stolen from there homes and used as bait or to fight.
What can you say about the people who commit these horrible crimes? Most, when caught, will claim a difficult childhood or bad circumstances. But in my opinion, these people are seriously mentally ill. They have a sick need for violence and use animal torture to entertain their sick minds and get rich from gambling on death. It is a form of violence and aggression that can only be labeled as cowardly. They need this violence to compensate for their own cold hearts and narrow minds, and use dogs to compensate their own character flaws. (Or as I like to simplify the little brain & d… complex.) People who use violence against children or animals are in my eyes the lowest of the human race. Attacking the weaker ones and enjoying the suffering and torture should not only get them prison time, but also get them mental health care.
People like Michael Vick (NFL player) and DMX (rapper) are convicted animal abusers and still act like they are the victims themselves. Michael Vick, who tortured, executed, electrocuted, hanged and burned his dogs alive was found quilty and sent to prison for that. After he got caught he claimed to come to his senses and was making a crying statement to never do it again. Those tears were crocodille tears. He did not feel sorry at al. He was only sorry he got caught and the public opinion turned on him, causing him to lose his job, his sponsors and a lot of money. For more on Michael Vick, Mos Def and Chris Rock and dogfighting.Check out the links at the bottom.
Same story with rapper DMX. In all of his songs, his favorite line is: Where my dogs at? Well, after the police raided his home … We can now all answer that question with; Starved or Dead and buried in his own backyard!
Claiming he pled quilty just to make a deal and still not taking responsibility for his actions and ownership of these dogs only makes it more obvious.
These are just two examples that got more media attention because the owners in these cases were famous. But on a larger scale this happens daily and probably in your own neighborhood to.
What can You do about it?
- Education is the key I think … teaching kids that dogs and other animals are not there for us to use and abuse, but to love and cherish
- Change laws on animal welfare, making better laws to protect dogs from these dog fights
- Give the police and animal welfare organizations more time and money so they can solve these animal cruelty cases
- Change the law so people who have been convicted of animal cruelty can be banned for life from having any pets
- Make the abusers pay: When people let their dogs fight, they have no feelings for animals. So when you have to set up a punishment for their cruelty make them pay in money.
The money can be used to rehabilitate the dogs that have been abused and to pay the vet bills.
- Give the offenders imprisonment and give them mental health care. I think when you commit these kinds of cruelty you have to be mentally ill. No normal human could enjoy suffering and torture so imprisonment is not enough. They should only be released when mentally sane.
For more information on how you can report suspected dog fighting and animal cruelty read Help to Stop Dog Fighting
Changing the views of people, changing the laws … it might seem like waiting for a miracle, but it all starts with one person! So for those of you reading this, don’t look away! Take action! Everyone can help, just by sharing your opinion on dog fighting and animal cruelty in general with the people around you; giving more dogs the benefit of the doubt and give more pitbulls and other breeds some love and attention; sharing this blog; starting small in your own town; write to politicians who can make a change on these subjects; put up posters; save dogs from animal shelters …
Most of all, just love these dogs and they will show us, in return, what love is really all about. In turn, it will help change that public opinion from being killers to loving and loyal dogs.
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