It has long been known that dog has been man’s best friend. They are always there to greet you when you come home, they never complain about your cooking, and you never have to lend them money. What could be better? Many people have taken dogs into their home and made them part of the family. However, there is one breed that most Americans have turned their back on despite the loyalty and heroism they have proven throughout the ages, the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). The APBT is the most controversial and publicized dog in existence today.
The breed transformed from war heroes to one of the most feared dogs in America. The APBT is not the cruelest breed, rather, they are the most misunderstood breed that has fallen victim to the most inhumane treatment by a society scared by the media. The APBT needs to be brought out of the shadows of fear and become recognized as the loving, brave, and loyal companion they once were to America. According to Bad Rap, an organization dedicated to rescuing, training, and educating people about Pit Bull’s, the Pit Bull was selectively bred in the early 100’s in the British Isles for a sport known as bull baiting.
The name pit bull was derived from putting the dogs in “pits” for “bull” baiting. When bull baiting was banned, the now illegal sport of dog on dog fighting arose. When people crossed the ocean to settle in America, they brought not only their dogs as part of the family, but also the sport of dog fighting (Bad Rap). This lineage of fighting has not plagued the pit bull more than it has in the last couple decades. Within the last twenty years this loyal dog has wrongfully lost its place in society, but more importantly in a family due to the illegal back ally fighting arenas of the struggling class.
The APBT does not have the freedom to choose their home; nonetheless, they stay strong no matter what life gives them. The APBT has yet to give up on humans who have plagued their existence. Why is the human race incapable of giving this breed a loving spot in the family again? The history of the APBT is not just that of fighting. In fact, fighting is only a small portion of this dog’s history in America. The APBT has a history that no other breed can stand up to.
Bad Rap also claims that when the APBT first arrived in America, they were valued for protecting the homestead, working on the farms, hunting, hog catching, and being a companion to the kids (Bad Rap). The United States of America soon was admiring the breed for its loveable, brave, hard working qualities that were worthy of nothing but respect. When WWI rolled around, the APBT became a mascot for the war, being displayed on many of the war time posters to signify the neutrality and bravery of America and its soldiers.
However, posters would not be the only place you would find this breed in the midst of the war, the breed had to stand by their soldiers in the war itself. Sonnet Dashevskaya, a pit bull owner dedicated to showing people the positive press about the APBT, proudly writes articles about heroic APBT’S such as the most decorated war dog in history, a WWI veteran, named Sgt. Stubby. Sgt. Stubby had saved many soldiers lives and also captured a German spy while on duty in France. The war is not the only place the APBT has proven to be courageous. An APBT named Weela had loved being a hero and never gave up on saving lives.
In her most famous instance, when her town had fallen victim to a flood she saw her chance and ended up saving thirty people, twenty-nine dogs, thirteen horses, and one cat. How you ask? For a month Weela would haul up to fifty pounds of food across the water to feed twenty nine dogs, thirteen horses, and one cat that were stranded on an island. She also showed thirty people shallow areas for them to cross the river to safety. However, the list of heroes doesn’t end there, the number one customs dog in America is an APBT named Popsicle. Just how did he get his name?
Well, Popsicle was found during a drug bust in a freezer where he had been left to die after being used as a bait dog for dog fighters. Popsicle was rescued and started working for the government where he helped the feds seize 3,075 pounds of cocaine at the Mexican border (Dashevskaya). In the later years, the breed continued showing off its qualities and never ceased to amaze America. According to the American Pit Bull Registry, the first dog to travel across America in a car was an APBT named Bud. Bud made the long feat with his master Heratio who was the first person to drive across America.
On the trip Bud would help by watching out for big bumps in the road and got just as much publicity as his master. Haratio later donated Bud’s goggles to the Smithsonian. The APBT also became a favorite companion of many famous faces such as President Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, and the loved Pete from the Little Rascals (American Pit Bull Registry). If the APBT has such a rich, golden history with America, then where did it go wrong? Maybe it is not the breed’s fault but the people’s fault. The media seems to be infatuated with reporting APBT attacks.
According to Karen Delise, of the American Canine Research Council, on August 18th, 19th, and 20th, of 2007, there were humans attacked by dogs other than the APBT and sent the victims to the hospital with severe to fatal injuries; nonetheless all of these attacks were only reported once or twice in their local papers. On August 21st, 2007, however, two APBTS attacked a woman in her home and sent her to the hospital with severe injuries. When this attack went public it was reported in over 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as airing on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX news.
Karen Delise states, “Clearly a fatal dog attack by an unremarkable breed is not as newsworthy as a non-fatal attack by a pit bull. ” (Delise). It is hard to ignore the facts because they do not lie. A simple fact is the APBT is not the breed most involved in fatal attacks; nonetheless, they are involved in some. According to Catherine Hedges, from The Truth About Pit Bulls, an organization dedicated to educating people about the APBT, it has been calculated than an average of three people are killed in a year by APBTS, but keep in mind they do not commit the most.
Three people per year sounds like a pitiful number when, in fact, more than two thousand children per year are killed by their parent or guardian due to abuse or neglect. That means a child is eight hundred times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by an APBT. It is also shocking to hear that an average of one hundred and fifty people are killed per year by falling coconuts. Therefore, you are sixty times more likely to be killed by a coconut than by an APBT. However, people are not afraid of coconuts so if they knew the facts maybe they would not be afraid of the APBT either (Hedges).
APBTS are not the only things to attack, when a human attacks an APBT it is usually an inhumane, heart wrenching account. Nobody wants to think of an animal being hurt or killed but it happens all to often to this breed. Too often the APBT is bought by people who selfishly use them for money and vent their madness on them. Karen Delise, from the National Canine Research Council, also states that on “February 18, 2008: A Los Angeles man was arrested for allegedly breaking the rear legs and fracturing the jaw of a young Pit bull dog.
The dog was found lying under a running faucet, drenched in cold water. The horrific injuries to this dog were inflicted apparently because the 22 year-old-man was upset over a break-up with his girlfriend. ” Also on “January 10, 2008: A pregnant Pit bull was tortured to death and left hanging in a Philadelphia schoolyard. She was chained to a fence and then beat to death with bricks. ” In another instance on “January 14, 2008: A malnourished Pit bull being kept in “deplorable” conditions in a basement cage escaped and bit a visiting boy in the arm, inflicting a minor injury.
The boy’s father, instead of seeing to his son’s injuries, took a drill, grabbed the dog by the collar and drilled 12 holes in the dog’s head. The dog died” (Delise). These examples are only a few of over 50 cases published by the National Canine Research Council in less than a year; nonetheless, most abuse goes unreported. In such a short period of time, Americas beloved APBT got kicked to the curb. It is time for people to stop seeing the APBT the way the media portray them. This breed deserves to reclaim its place back in the hearts and homes of Americans. It is time for our forgotten heroes to be recognized once again.