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E Brown
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Family and friends are asking how they can help, please consider donating to help the family with medical expenses and missed time from work.  This happy time for Kristin and Joey has become a challenge that no one should endure.  Sweet baby Easton will likely be in the hospital for a bit longer.  Please help them with any amount you can.  Please keep the whole family in your prayers as well.
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It Ain't Easy Being a Pit Bull Owner
 
The American Pit Bull Terrier is not an aggressive breed. The problem is not with the Pit Bull, but with irresponsible ownership and media bias. In recent times the dog has come under scrutiny, due to the breed’s increase in popularity. This dog has been deemed as an aggressive breed and many states are trying to ban the dog and dogs with similar traits. The Pit Bull has had a distinguished placement in the history of the United States. With proper owner education and dog training, this dog can still prevail over all of the negativity.
 
Over the past two decades the American Pit Bull Terrier has gained much popularity. This increase has resulted in a negative bias from the media. This negativity has put both fear and misunderstanding into the public altering the general population’s perception. “We listen to their reports, which we believe to be objective, and then assimilate the information into our lives and make decisions based on it. The reality of the situation is that almost all news outlets have a hidden agenda, and are nothing more than vessels for propaganda disguised as accurate information” (Valley). The media and news find opportunities to boost ratings. The media selects which incidents will get better ratings and which images would best depict the story. “For them, violence is what appeals to the majority of their readers, and so they flood the mediums with as many reports as they can muster”(Valley). 
 
The public does not want to hear about a family’s Golden Retriever brutally mauling a toddler to death. It is much easier for most to understand how a Pit Bull running loose could attack and injure a woman and her dog while taking an afternoon stroll than for America’s favorite canine to kill a child. According to the ASPCA mainstream media has no interest in reporting attacks other than by Pit Bulls. A four day study conducted by the National Canine Research Council shows four dog bite cases. Three of the cases were attacks by mix breed dogs, one attack being fatal. All three attacks were reported no more than twice by the local news. The fourth attack was from a Pit Bull, and was reported by major networks and in more than 230 articles. This attack was not fatal (“Pit Bull Bias in the Media).
 
The Center for Disease Control has conducted studies concluding that behavior cannot be breed specific, that there are other factors that determine the temperament of the dog. Studies conducted by the American Temperament Testing Society, which check for a “Sound mind in a sound body”, conclude that 86.4% of American Pit Bull Terriers tested passed with a good temperament. Only 84.9% of Golden Retrievers passed, 81.9% of Cocker Spaniels and a meek 79.9% of Collies passed ("American Temperment Testing Society"). There is also no national tally of dog bites, and many bites occur under different circumstances, such as playing or a dog being hurt and scared (National Canine Research Council). Only the law makers, media and general population have deemed the Pit Bull as an aggressive breed. There are no studies or scientific evidence that can back up suggestions this breed is harmful or a danger to society. 
 
The recent popularity of the American Pit Bull Terrier has spawned public fear, and many officials are calling for BSL or Breed Specific Legislation. These laws can be as simple as stating that to own a specific breed they must be spayed or neutered or as devastating as city officials confiscating and euthanizing all Pit Bull and dogs with similar traits. Many states have adopted BSL, as well as military bases. Studies conducted in other countries that have had BSL for many years show that the laws are ineffective and do not reduce dog bites. The laws punish responsible owners and law biding citizens, those that would be the first to relinquish their dogs. People who have the dogs for illegal purposes are going to be the last to obey any laws put forth on restricting breeds. The people who own the dogs for the wrong reasons such as fighting or other illegal activities will begin to utilize other breeds. This has been proven in the past with other dogs that have been deemed aggressive such as the German Shepherd, Rottweiler and Doberman Pincer. Breed Specific Legislation is a waste of both time and money, from the time spent passing the bills down to the money spent by the city on killing innocent dogs, especially when it is proven not effective (Campbell).
 
There are other options available that are more humane to control not only the Pit Bull breed, but all breeds. Laws that govern the sale of dogs, as well as educating and making spaying and neutering accessible to everyone. These laws are effective in lowering the amount of homeless dogs, but also the sale and trade of dogs for fighting and illegal purposes. There are so many Pit Bulls that do not have homes due to current BSL, as well as insurance rules for housing. There are people selling Pit Bulls online and on street corners looking to make a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars. These puppies go to any home without proper background knowledge of the owner. There is a need for owner education and an understanding of the breed when obtaining a Pit Bull. Many people get them as a family pet, only to find out their apartment will not allow them to keep the Pit Bull, or that their homeowners insurance will drop them. Many get the dogs not understanding the breed. Some get the dogs for all of the wrong reasons. Very few of the owners take the time or have the funds to spay and neuter their Pit Bulls. There are currently organizations that raise money so that Pit Bulls can be spayed or neutered free of charge, for all income levels. Many of these organizations are mobile and go from neighborhood to neighborhood to make it convenient. Enforcing leash laws and raising the fines should be a priority. Dogs that are kept secure are not as likely to attack as those running free. Enforcing the fines would not only keep both dogs and people safe but would also create revenue for the city, as opposed to spending the money to euthanize. In more extreme measures where some feel that singling out the Pit Bull breed is necessary, there are good citizen tests that are given and guided by the AKC. Pending good results the dog would be awarded a vest to wear in public, to prove he is obedient and not a threat.
 
Changing the public’s view of the American Pit Bull Terrier is ultimately in the hands of the owners. Responsible ownership is the key to raising a good dog, not just Pit Bulls, but any breed. Specifically, Pit Bull owners need to recognize the problem at hand and present their dog in a manner that is acceptable and to educate others. These dogs need to be socialized with other animals and people. They have a dominant personality and need an owner with that same quality. They are a strong active breed, and need the nutrition and exercise that will promote their health and well being (Bering). Responsible owners make sure to have control and to ensure the Pit Bull is restrained at all times. It is important to have the dogs spayed or neutered ("National Canine Research Council"). This not only prevents what could potentially be hundreds of unwanted puppies, but also minimizes the risk of testicular and ovarian cancers. These dogs are very loyal, very loving, they possess a strong will as well as a strong body. They should be treated with respect and they will return the favor. The goal of the owner should be to walk this gentle giant, and destroy fear in people by allowing others to experience how friendly they are and how much they enjoy being petted and loved on.
 
This breed is making slow strides to overcome the prejudice that the media and society has placed on them. There have been several major network programs with the focus on rescuing and educating on the breed, such as Cesar Milan’s The Dog Whisperer, Pit Bulls and Parolees and Pit Boss. These shows are allowing the public to see firsthand the love that this breed has for people. The Breed is also being utilized as service dogs, both for the general public as well as veterans. “Pits for Patriots is the first Chicago-area group to train pit bulls as service dogs, but Yearwood said she knows of two similar groups elsewhere that have been successful, in Florida and in New York” (Roberts, . This breed is easy to train and has the strength and stamina to help support someone with a disability who may need to put extra pressure on them (Roberts, . These programs are making great efforts in paving a new path for the Pit Bull, and showing this breed is still a hero.
 
Bad ownership and media are responsible for the bad name given to the American Pit Bull Terrier. This breed is no more aggressive than any other breed. It is all in the way the animal is raised. So many are making attempts at making this country a more friendly place for the breed, but for every good effort, someone fights their dog, lets him off the leash or breeds her to make more homeless Pit Bulls. The media has the responsibility to inform the public, but a huge responsibility should also be to educate. One day with the correct knowledge the fear will lessen. People can change what people have created. As for right now, the dog is an innocent victim of human nature.______________________________________________________-References:"Breed Statistics." American Temperment Testing Society. N.p., 11/7/2011. Web. 16 Nov 2011. <atts.org>.</atts.org>
 
Valley, B. "Media Influence on the American Perception of Reality." Associated Content. N.p., 01/21/2007. Web. 16 Nov 2011. <http:>. </http:>
 
Morral, Timothy. "History of the Pit Bull." PitBull411. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov 2011. <http:>.</http:>
 
Roberts, B. “Pit Bulls Used As Service Dogs For Wounded Veterans.” CBSChicago.com. CBS Local Media, 10/01/2011. Web. 23 Oct 2011
 
"Responsible Pet Ownership Laws." National Canine Research Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov 2011. <http:></http:>.
 
Bering, J. “It Ain’t Easy Being a Pit Bull Owner.” ScientificAmerican.com. Scientific American INC., 07/09/2009. Web. 23 Oct 2011. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=it-aint-easy-pit-bull-o...
 
“Pit Bull Bias in the Media.’ ASPCA. N.p., 2011. Web. 23 Oct 2011.http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/advocay-center/animal-laws-abo...
 
Campbell, D. Pit Bull Bans: “The State of Breed-Specific Legislation.” GPSolo. July 2009. P 36-41
 
“A Brief History of the American Pit Bull Terrier.’ PitBulls.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct 2011. http://www.pitbulls.org/article/brief-history-american-pit-bull-terrier
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