The misrepresentation of Pit Bull breeds in the media has been reflected in American culture. As these dogs were incorporated into World War I propaganda, they were perceived as symbols of courage and strength, the archetype of American dog breeds5. When, in the 1920s and 1930s, American Staffordshire Terrier “Pete the Pup” starred in the comedy Our Gang, later known as The Little Rascals, Pit Bulls were considered “nanny dogs” and family-friendly pets7. When the media focused heavily on illegal dog fighting rings and gang culture in the 1970s and 1980s, Pit Bulls were called demonic and unpredictable. Through their many roles, they have shown versatility and resilience, and lately they have suffered greatly.
Pit Bulls have been looked upon as a very aggressive breed of dog since the 1980’s, but what many people don’t see is the other side of Pit Bulls. Unfortunately, Pit Bulls are judged by the actions that are seen all over on news channels, but the news channels don’t do the breed justice usually as many stories they are involved in dog attacks. The idea that Pit Bulls can be loyal and family dogs does not resonate with many people as some people can’t look past the fact that there seems to be more Pit Bull attacks than any other breed. People do not do all their research about the breed though which can lead to say otherwise about Pit Bulls.
Currently, pit bulls have been reported by the media with very horrific and disturbing news of having attacked a child or being shot by a police due to aggression while some are reported to have been abused or neglected by its owners (Forderer and Unkelbach 534). And because the reports keep coming with heated discussions, more and more people have forged a frightening image of pit bulls even to the extreme of refusing to take care of such breed. Pit bull advocates claim that the dogs get a bad reputation considering that people should learn the dogs are not inherently aggressive. What the pit bull advocates would like to point is that the owners of the pit bulls should be considered guilty for mishandling of their own dogs. There are owners of pit bulls that even encourage the dog to be aggressive in order to fight and protect them in a wrong manner and wrong degree of training (Forderer and Unkelbach 536). Pit bull advocates claimed that a well socialized and well trained pit bull would be very intelligent and could be one of the gentle dogs imaginable.
The world seems to believe that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a vicious breed of dog, violent and ruthless by nature, and that they should be treated as such. However, what if this stereotype about the pit bull that modern society bases their opinions off of, is an improper representation of the breed? The pit bull faces much hatred and neglect in this day and age, but in their prime, the pit bull was considered to be the perfect dog. Although bred for physique and stature that was perfect in the dog-fighting world, the pit bull grew in popularity and became high demand as a man’s best friend. However, that reputation that once made the pit bull one of the most popular and iconic breeds of dog, seems to have been forgotten over the years, and replaced with the idea that they are ruthless attack dogs bred to kill. This stereotype and the specifics that go along with it have brought the name of the pit bull down to it’s knees, making the breed vulnerable to neglect, abuse, violence and many other awful acts that are deemed inhumane, but seem to go unnoticed and unreported because of the breed that is subject to these despicable acts. What if all the incidents and accidents and attacks you hear and read about in the news are only snippets of the true story? What if the breed is nothing like the monsters many believe they are?
Audience: • Uninformed people who believe in the stereotypes of “aggressive” dogs. • Parents of younger children because they are protective. Purpose: • Convince people that the stereotype of Pit Bulls being inherently aggressive is completely misrepresentative of the breed. • Convince parents that Pits are loving and a good family dog and not the vicious animal that people are led to believe because of media influence. • I want to open the eyes of others to the fact that any dog can be aggressive.
An increasing number of pit bull attacks have occurred over past decade. People who are attacked by pit bulls always suffer serious injuries because of the pit bulls’ sharp teeth and strong muscles. In October 19, 2009, Dr Hugh Wirth who is the RSPCA’s Victorian president renewed calls for American pit bull terriers to be bred out of Australia. The current laws require owners of pit bulls to register their pit bull. While some people are satisfied with the laws because they think that they are safe, others disagree. From my own perspective, the laws should be improved. The government should ban these fierce dogs and wipe them out instead of just registering them. In my opinion, there are three reasons why I am in favour of Dr Wirth’s proposal.
Denver and Miami are among the more than 300 municipalities that ban pit bulls (Tullis 54). One reason that pit bulls are being banned is because of the false ideas that they are violent dogs by nature. Another reason is people’s associate pit bulls with dogfighting and vicious attacks. Although it is true that many people have been attacked by pit bulls, it is unfair to say that pit bulls are the only dogs that attacks people. Debora Bresch of the ASPCA says “laws against individual dog breeds unfairly punish countless dogs that have never caused any trouble”(A Fierce Dog Debate
Owning a pit bull in today’s day and age has one of two reactions: Either the person loves them or is terrified of them. There are so many myths about Pit Bulls and they are just that. Myths. Some of the myths that surround pit bulls are that they have “lock jaw” and they have a killer instinct that does not stop at just killing other animals. Pit bull advocates, such as myself, know that Pit Bulls have always been known as the “nanny dog” throughout history because of how much they love children and their loyalty to their families. Mean or vicious dogs come from ignorant, irresponsible owners. The bottom line is that not all pit bulls are bad.
Americans have been debating the morality of euthanizing animals for decades, including an impassioned argument about the quickness to kill the Pit Bull breed. Advocates that support euthanization of pit bulls use their aggression and danger to justify the killings. The perception of danger is not based in reality, but rather comes from media exposure. Most pit bulls do not exhibit aggressive behavior and those that do are trained to do so by irresponsible owners. Euthanization is disproportionately higher for pit bulls, and similar breeds, despite a lack of evidence that they are more aggressive than other dogs. Euthanization of pit bulls is not justified because pit bulls are not naturally aggressive, have an inaccurate reputation from media coverage, and do not present any greater danger than other dog breeds that are euthanized at lower rates.
Many people will argue that the pit bull breed should be banned due to their vicious and unpredictable nature. There is a belief that they are inherently evil creatures and that they have a genetic predisposition to be destructive killing machines. In many states and cities this has brought about breed specific legislation. Breed specific legislation bans or regulates the ownership of specific breeds of dogs, which almost always includes pit bulls.