It is perhaps not so surprising that states that prohibit breed-specific legislation (BSL) like California, Florida, and Illinois, have seen “pit bull” attacks one after another recently, almost as if they were in someone’s sights to repeal those BSL prohibitions. Why else would the media and elected officials ignore the obvious problems — the gangs and drugs believed to be the underlying causes in these incidents — and focus so heavily instead on the so-called “pit bulls” involved in these incidents as if they were the cause of, and not a symptom of, the real problems? But I bet if these states repealed their prohibitions of BSL, those attacks would suddenly and mysteriously stop, or at least the media would stop reporting on them, before any municipality even had a chance to enact the first breed-specific law. Meanwhile, eyewitness accounts of these attacks will seem to repeatedly differ, people will seemingly be unable to get their stories straight, and there will continue to be mysterious, unexplained circumstances surrounding the events.
We’ve seen all kinds of lunacy coming out of California and other BSL target cities and states in the last month or so. And if you believe any of it, or at least their version of it, well, then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. The first bit of craziness came when we were expected to believe that a pack of so-called “pit bulls” mauled some 240 goats to death at a Stockton, California auction yard. (Look at the photos. Where exactly were these goats supposed to have been mauled? Where’s the blood?) And since this post was first written, the number has magically changed from 240 to 160. Take from that what you will.
I’d sooner believe a chupacapra killed those goats than a pack of “pit bulls.” Really, it’s absurd what you’re expected to believe. And I guess we should just accept it as truth because the media never lies or simply doesn’t report the truth, does it? (Ahem, Benghazi.) So what are people doing out there in Cali, performing ritual sacrifices on goats? 240 goats? Really? And if the ideas of ritual sacrifice or chupacabras are ridiculous notions to you, well, so too is the notion that a “pack” of so-called “pit bulls” could maul that many goats, and maul that many goats without spilling blood.
It’s interesting too that Riverside County, California just so happened to be considering a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for “pit bulls” at the time. And it’s also interesting that at almost the same time that a jogger was mauled by a so-called “pack” of “pit bulls” in Littlerock, California, that a wheelchair-bound amputee was also mauled by a so-called “pack” of “pit bulls” in South Carolina, several people were mauled by a “bunch” of so-called “pit bulls” in the Daytona Beach, Florida area, and a pony and a goat were also mauled, twice, by a so-called “group” of “pit bulls” in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The dogs in the South Carolina mauling were later properly identified as mixed breeds, but no word yet on what breeds the other dogs in the other maulings actually were.
Still, does no one find it odd that all across the country so-called “packs” “groups” or “bunches” of “pit bulls” were purported to have suddenly mauled people and animals to death, and all within several days of each other? In addition to Littlerock, Californian Pamela Maria Devitt, who was mauled by a “pack” of “pit bulls” owned by a man with an alleged marijuana-grow operation, an incident last Sunday where a Barstow, California woman with drug problems tried to run down a Good Samaritan attempting to help a boy injured by one of the woman’s “pit bulls,” and a police dog who was mauled by a so-called “pit bull” protecting a meth operation in Livermore, California, Chicago and downstate Illinois have combined had several so-called “pit bull” attacks that many have likewise pointed to as gang or drug-related. Yet instead of concluding that the “pit bulls” are a symptom of gang and drug-related crime, the media focuses primarily on the “pit bulls” in these incidents as if they were the problems. So then does the media mean to overlook the fact that the gangs and the drugs were the primary factors in these incidents? Last year an infant in South Carolina was dismembered by a Golden Retriever/Labrador mix in a similarly horrific way as Pamela Devitt, and then the infant’s sibling was likewise mauled by a different dog this year, but that didn’t make national news. Gee, I wonder why?
It reminds me of the story out of Pacifica, California in 2011 where a pregnant woman, Darla Napora, either fell off a ladder, cracked her skull, and bled to death, or was mauled to death by one of two of her own “pit bulls,” depending on which story you believe. What isn’t in dispute is that the “pit bull” in question somehow got out of his fenced-in backyard, despite the fact that Napora’s husband had secured him in the yard before police arrived, and that when the police arrived and saw the dog, they shot him dead. And while officially the “pit bull” was blamed for the death of Napora and her unborn child, Napora’s husband planned to bury his wife with the cremains of the dog that supposedly mauled her. Sounds like he didn’t believe the official story either, but then again, it’s absurd the amount of disinformation that is passed off by the mainstream media as truth.
But, like with any supposed “pit bull” attack, the media parades out its “experts” — like Colleen Lynn of Dogsbite.org infamy (who herself even recently admitted that breed bans don’t actually reduce dog bites), or the following woman who, after the Littlerock, California attack, regurgitated long-debunked urban mythology about that non-existent “breed” “pit bull” to the Los Angeles County Board:
Phyllis Daugherty, director of the Animal Issues Movement, told the board she excludes pit bulls from her efforts to rescue dogs and find them new homes.
“This dog was never designed to be a pet,” Daugherty said, telling two stories about babies killed by the breed and 240 goats recently attacked and killed by a pack of 10 of the dogs in Stockton. “The reason this is persisting is because of the dog fighting industry and the no kill movement,” she told the board. “Strange bedfellows.”
Daugherty’s contention is preposterous. By her estimation, any dog breed that is bred for certain traits (which means every dog breed) would not make a good pet because of their selected traits.
By Daugherty’s standard, Jack Russells wouldn’t make good pets because they are bred for traits that might lend themselves to rooting out moles and rats. Labradors wouldn’t make good pets because they’ve been bred for traits that might lend themselves to being good retrievers. And American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, and American Pit Bull Terriers — dogs commonly and erroneously called “pit bulls” — supposedly wouldn’t make good pets, according to Daugherty, because they were bred for traits that might lend themselves to being good fighters? And what would those traits be? According to the AKC, the American Staffordshire Terrier, for example, is “courageous and strong,” has an “athletic build and intelligence” which “make him ideally suited to many dog sports such as obedience, agility, tracking and conformation.”
So a dog of any breed can be bred for certain traits, like strength and athleticism, but it is the human that trains that dog in its behavior. So, a person with bad intentions could train an AmStaff to fight, or a person with good intentions could train an AmStaff for agility trials, or search and rescue. And that’s why Michael Vick’s former dogs were so easy to rehabilitate; because if dogs can be trained in bad behavior, they can also be trained out of that bad behavior and trained and rewarded for good behavior. After all, dogs don’t know right from wrong; it’s up to their human owners to train them in proper behavior.
Despite Daugherty’s ignorant opinion that “pit bulls” were never designed to be a pet, according to the AKC, the American Staffordshire Terrier sounds like a wonderful family pet:
The Am Staff is a people-oriented dog that thrives when he is made part of the family and given a job to do. Although friendly, this breed is loyal to his family and will protect them from any threat.
Yes, and notice how the “will protect them from any threat” part is what people with bad intentions — like drug dealers and gang bangers — try to exploit. But again, is that the breed’s fault or the fault of the people who have bad intentions? After all, the loyalty of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and even Labradors has been exploited by drug dealers and other criminals in the same way that so-called “pit bulls” have been exploited, which is why we say that when breed bans are passed, drug dealers and gang bangers will simply switch to abusing and exploiting other breeds, because they do!
Like the AmStaff, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is described by the AKC as “a family companion”:
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is extremely courageous and obedient, highly intelligent and affectionate with a sense of humor. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog (emphasis mine).
Likewise, the American Dog Breeders Association describes the American Pit Bull Terrier as, “Gentle with loved ones.” Seems like these breeds were in fact designed to be family pets, and excellent ones at that. So is Daugherty simply ignorant like most people with a prejudice, or does she have an agenda?
In addition to maligning so-called “pit bulls,” you can also clearly see that animal rightists like to finger-point at the No-Kill movement, because of course, the No-Kill movement is a threat to these radicals. The last thing radical animal rights activists want is to find homes for homeless pets. No kidding, really, and I’ll explain why shortly.
Interesting too, isn’t it, that Daugherty mentions dog fighters in the same sentence as No-Kill? One can hardly think that’s by accident. Yes, of course dog fighters are criminals and merit punishment for their crimes, but the warning signs of dog fighting that radical animal rights groups distributed about dog fighting actually turned out to make excellent primers for dog fighters looking for the best ways to train dogs to fight, which I have to believe the radicals knew would happen. So, in that way, the radicals were the cause of and “solution” to the very problem they had created, or to put that another way, they had created the very problem that they claimed to be the only solution to. What were those “solutions”? Breed-specific laws and bans, mandatory spay/neuter laws, mandatory microchipping laws, the incorrectly-named “puppy mill” laws, etc. In other words, these were laws that adversely affected law-abiding pet owners by negating or diminishing their rights, and in many instances resulted in the deaths of countless perfectly loving and adoptable animals.
The truth is, animal rights organizations like PETA and the “Humane” Society of the United States have historically pushed for breed-specific legislation, with PETA and the HSUS even lobbying to have all of Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs killed. As the country came to learn through the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal, “pit bulls” once trained to fight can go on to be rehabilitated, and surprisingly easily, and adopted back out to make perfectly pleasing family pets. Perhaps Ms. Daugherty, PETA, and the HSUS in their “expert” capacity failed to read the countless articles about the successful rehabilitations of former fighting dogs that appeared in the media before and after Michael Vick brought attention to the crime of dog fighting. Information about how almost all of Vick’s former dogs were rehabilitated was only everywhere including the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and Parade Magazine.
It may seem odd to the general public when radical animal rights activists seek to kill perfectly loving and adoptable animals. It doesn’t seem to make sense does it? Why would animal rights activists who appear to be sympathetic toward animals disparage “pit bulls” or badmouth the No-Kill movement for trying to save more pets?
Perhaps a disdain for “pit bulls” and the No-Kill movement isn’t all those pushing to eradicate “pit bulls” in California are hiding. For instance, many animal rights activists are seldom if ever forthcoming with the public about the fact that they adhere to a movement called nativism which, as Nathan Winograd pointed out in Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America, could mean the elimination of domestic animal ownership. Winograd defines nativism as the,
“…belief that the value of an individual animal comes from lineage and that worth as a species stems from being at a particular location first” (79).
In the minds of many environmentalists and animal rights activists, since you cant set domestic animals free (after all, they are, according to them, unnatural human creations), you must necessarily kill them.
In these radicals’ view, in order to return to the natural order of things, indigenous species should take precedent over human encroachment, which they define as human domestication of animals, because wild (i.e. natural, indigenous), animals were there first. To these radicals, domesticated animals are, as Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States put it, “creations of human selective breeding” and as such, animal rights activists have, “…no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals” (Animal People, May, 1993). Another way to put that is, some animal rights and animal welfare organizations, as adherents of nativism, may not have an interest in saving pets lives, but may in fact be willfully seeking to exterminate them because pets are domesticated, not wild. But don’t expect to find that information in their brochures!
Nativism is most likely why you’ll often hear or read Ingrid Newkirk of PETA infamy describing PETA’s high kill numbers (90%!) as the result of giving supposed unwanted and sick animals a “dignified, merciful” death, which I guess for some of them means dumping their corpses in a dumpster. Of course it’s pretty easy to figure out that you can’t find a pet a home if you never look for one, which might explain why “90% [of the animals] were euthanized within the first 24 hours of [PETA’s] custody” according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture.
In addition, why are these radicals seemingly so preoccupied with death? Some of these people romanticize death as if it were almost mystical. Does this morbid preoccupation with death not indicate a kind of sickness or a pathology of some sort? Well, perhaps that’s another blog post entirely, but it makes you wonder about them. And maybe we should be asking more questions. For instance, if these animal rights groups continue to claim moral authority on animals, why do they kill or abuse so very many of them?
The question that Californians (and Floridians, and Illinoisans) need to be asking right now is: Do radical animal rightists in their state have plans to exterminate “pit bulls” via a push to repeal the state prohibition of BSL using innocent human and animal victims as fodder? Hopefully after reading this post you will conclude that, Yes! Of course they do! In fact, when did that agenda ever change? And if they are not successful this time, well, you can be sure they’ll keep trying. But for those pet owners in these states (particularly California since it’s been specifically brought up there), who may soon be victims of this extermination campaign by the likes of animal rightist radicals, it would serve you well to know the real agenda and to fight these radicals’ legislation whenever it is introduced. The best way to fight their lies is to tell the truth. I suggest Californians opposed to breed-specific legislation prepare to do just that.