An interesting, if short, documentary on the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier. It is always best to combat unjust assumptions with knowledge. There is a full version available for download, but my computer gets temperamental and decides on some days what I can and cannot do on the internet.
However, I do have to disagree with the idea that dog fighters do not love their dogs. Certainly, in a more malicious and twisted way, but they do have affection for these dogs nonetheless. I do believe the desire for money, power, and status overrides any feelings of "love" these people have for their dogs. I am pro - APBT. There are a lot of debates that spark from the topic, but IMO, a dog is what YOU make it, regardless of weight, gender, or breed. When you deal with a dog like the APBT - be prepared to be tested. They are tenacious, like so many of their fellow terriers, and have a high prey drive. Not unlike other terriers, they need an outlet for all their energy, otherwise things WILL go from bad to worse. A firm handler (note "firm", not "mean") is a must. The APBT excels in many dog sports.
Contrary to popular belief, the American Pit Bull Terrier does not have "lockjaw", in which the dog bites down and will "never let go". What really happens is that due to their prey drive and their stamina, an APBT can hold on even when people are yanking at it's face. In truth, the larger an animal's head, the more damage it can inflict by PSI (pounds per square inch). A mastiff has much more ability to inflict damage than an APBT, and an APBT has more capability of causing harm than does a Schipperke.
When we hear the name "pit bull", our mind races over a broad variety of dogs. The only true dogs in the "pit bull" (alias "bull baiting") group are the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Terrier. Many other breeds confused with these guys include the Cane Corso, the Fila Brasiliero, the Presa Canario, the Dogo Argentino, and all other dogs of similar muscular build. It is indeed, hard for the average person to pick out a true American Pit Bull Terrier in the list of lookalikes.
For the record, I have not owned any APBTs. I have met my share of dangerous dogs, none of which fell in the "pit bull" category. I have seen nasty boxers, nasty goldens, nasty labs, nasty border collies, and, of course, a whole brigade of ankle-snacking lap dogs. It requires a special person to own a terrier; someone who knows how to stand their own and show a clear cut path between right and wrong, regardless of whether you're raising a Jack Russell or a full-bodied Gottiline APBT.
Who creates a monster on a leash? Why, the monster holding the leash, of course. All dogs, regardless of breed, must be raised with patience, understanding, and love. Keeping a dog chained is detrimental to his health and his mind, as is smacking him around for being a "bad boy". In the terrier world, this just does NOT fly. You must teach and master the rules of sit-stay-come-lay-leave it and recall. A proper time of socialization, standing from age 6 weeks (8 weeks being ideal for bringing a puppy home) and well up until the dog's first year, is always necessary. Many people like to cut it off around the 6-8 month mark, but learning continues all throughout life.
I have heard many aggressors speak out against the APBT - that it a vicious, vile animal with the will to snap at a moment's notice. APBT owners and lovers are often called out as "irrational". While I've heard the hysterics, I try my best to formally educate, but sometimes there is no fixing ignorance. I do not call it being "brash", or being "over-the-top" when it comes to defending any dog, regardless of breed. There are bad owners - no bad dogs. Because a dog follows commands, regardless of whether they are instructions to attack or instructions to sit, does not make it bad. I hear all too often that APBT lovers are "unreasonable" or "stupid", and that they're just trying to get more people to own a vicious breed, and how it MUST have been staged when they post pictures of a pit bull cuddling a child, or loving on baby chickens. What stand would you make to protect your favourite breed? It must go into account that while some breed lovers may be a bit too fanatic, they are often called out as "insane" for defending their dogs. I have yet to see an irrational response regarding the APBT on the defendant side. Most people try to calmly educate, but are told they're being unreasonable because it's just not possible for an APBT to be safe around other animals, let alone children. Well, there are many, many things and people that could disprove that theory. I'm an unreasonable jackass because I don't advocate killing off an entire breed based on horror stories and looks alone? Touche! Half the videos I've seen of "Pit Bull Attacks 3 Year Old!!!" don't even have a picture of the offending dog. Way to educate and teach tolerance! The mentality that people have regarding APBTs shocks me. How horrible would it be to come home and find that your beloved family pet has to be destroyed because it "looks like it may have Pit in it"? I don't think that's an irrational idea - it can happen, and it has. Breed-Specific Legislation affects more than pit bull owners.
Fortunately, the hooligans involved in the dog-fighting blood sport usually end up caught red-handed thanks to vigilant neighbors and caring SPCA members. This is what gives the APBT a bad name - the reputation to fight and kill, when really, all dogs have the ability. There are even incentives in the form of cash to encourage people to bust dog fighters.
Just a wee bit of information. When I return to school on the 5th, I'll share an anti-BSL report I wrote a while back. It's very informative and eye-opening.
Until then, don't forget to hug your pooch!