Statistically, bully breeds are the most often euthanized dog in America. As backyard breeders pump out litter after litter of puppies to anyone with cash, landfills are being loaded with the bodies of pit bulls whose only crime was being born.
There are many reasons why pit bulls are dying at such high numbers.
One, there are simply too many in this world. Look on your local Craigslist or Kijiji and count how many pit bulls and litters are being sold or given away. Look in the classified ads in your newspaper, or the ads at your Petsmart or Petco. Pit bull after pit bull is being brought into this world by people who "just want one litter", "want to experience the miracle of birth", or just want the money. More of these dogs being born means more of these dogs are being killed. And for every puppy who is placed in a home by a backyard-breeder - usually not fixed or microchipped, with no way of knowing where the puppy truly ends up - there is a pit bull in animal control who is euthanized.
Many shelters are living in the past and believe the myth that pit bulls cannot be adopted out, as they are a liability. They assume that pit bulls with unknown backgrounds are not safe to be adopted out. This is obviously very much based upon untruths. A pit bull with an unknown history being adopted out is no more of a liability than adopting out a Chihuahua, or a Lab, or a Husky with unknown history. For more on adopting an adult pit bull, click here.
Dogfighting VictimsThe Vick case made precedent the idea that pit bulls used in dogfighting COULD be placed up for adoption. However, to this day, there are shelters who continue to euthanize these dogs, claiming that their fighting background makes them unpredictable in a new home. This idea stems from two myths - one, that "fighting" pit bulls are any different than "regular" pit bulls, and two, that dog aggression is the same thing as, or can lead to, human aggression. Both these myths are false (dog aggression and human aggression are two separate genetic traits
Sometimes, shelters get in dogs who are in such a poor condition, the kindest thing to do is end the suffering of that animal. Unfortunately, pit bulls suffer from violence at the hands of humans every day - we firmly believe that pit bulls are the most often abused breed of dog. Shelters frequently get in pit bulls who were set on fire, stabbed, shot, attacked by other dogs, suffering from severe mange, infested with heartworms, and other debilitating, life-threatening conditions. Because of the high-volume of animals taken in and the limited resources that most shelters have, the only thing they can do for these pit bulls is to euthanize them. A humane death in the arms of a shelter worker is often the kindest act that these dogs have ever experienced.
Dog Aggression= DA
Many shelters euthanize Pit Bulls who are dog aggressive (DA). Some shelters perceive DA to be a behavioral issue, which is not always correct. Other shelters euthanize for DA because they realize that finding owners who can deal with DA is extremely difficult, if not impossible. They don't want to risk adopting out a DA dog to someone who is ill-prepared to handle it. The key is education, but unfortunately animal controls are often so overwhelmed they are unable to educate adopters on ANY issue, let alone one as expansive as DA.
PROTECTING THE PITBULL
Pit bull ownership is not for everyone. Pit bull owners need to be responsible, diligent, and dedicated to their dogs. These dogs need owners who realize that dog aggression can be normal in this breed, and to be expected, which greatly reduces the number of suitable homes. Shelters also have very limited resources and often are unable to screen potential homes. Pit bulls can be adopted out, not neutered, to anyone with a drivers license and $60. And with BSL looming over the heads of every Pit Bull owner in the country, some shelters would rather humanely euthanize these dogs than adopt them out to any Tom, Dick or Harry who doesn't understand the Pit Bull breed.
The majority of shelters cannot be blamed. Until people start waking up and realizing that dogs are LIVING, BREATHING creatures - not just disposable, money making commodities - and until the laws are more strict and better enforced towards the people neglecting and abusing them, the problem will continue. These dogs are being born in staggering amounts with no end in sight. The shelter workers rarely have a choice but to clean up the "messes" that society has left behind
However, we can't ignore the fact that some shelters need reform. To label pit bulls as "unadoptable" based on myths alone only gives fuel to the BSL fire.
The exact numbers of how many pit bulls are euthanized is unknown. Shelters often mislabel breeds - purposefully or unintentionally - and some shelters don't break down statistics by breed. However, statistics or no statistics, it's obvious that dogs who fall into the "bully breed" category are the most often euthanized.