Monday, June 6, 2011

Tool Box

Revised: Jan 25, 2013; 16:46 GMT

(Note: This is an outdated post and links may be invalid.)

Pit bull advocates are given to misstatement: pit bulls are commonly referred to as the world's most maligned breed.

This is hyperbole. Pit bulls enjoy the services of one of the world's largest and most sophisticated public relations machines, which is constantly burnishing their reputation. Advocacy groups employ staff attorneys, public relations staff, legislative lobbyists, and writers. Pit bulls enjoy the support and prestige of the most venerable humane institutions in the country, and the support of generous donors with deep pockets. They have a slick documentary movie, and TV shows about them. Best Friends, aided by a $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, has recently launched another campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dogs, to combat the perceived "media-driven bad reputation." Animal Farm Foundation has launched the I Am The Majority Project, despite the fact a majority of Americans do not want to live next door to a pit bull. The campaign in behalf of pit bulls may be the largest public relations campaign in behalf of any animal since Dumbo.

This effort presents a glaring contradiction: if pit bulls are as excellent as the advocates make them out to be, if the breed is really deserving of this investment of time and treasure, wouldn't it be self-evident to everyone? Would the campaign be necessary? The pit bull advocates have created a conundrum that turns back in on itself like Möbius strip.

The advocates obviously are investing in this campaign, which has continued without pause for years. Does this imply that there are problems the advocates have yet to overcome? And if there are problems, is the breed of obsession really deserving of all this expertise and effort?

We wonder at the motives for the campaign. Why would any animal welfare society or humane institution support the breed that is responsible for more human deaths than all other breeds combined?* Why would any respected institution promote public policy that is detrimental to the public safety?

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The following list represents a small fraction of the resources available for pit bull advocates.

Best Friends: Tools to Use

Animal Farm Foundation: Community Resources

Partners in Shelter Services: Materials, downloads, pit ed CAMPS, etc.

BSL News: Talking Points page.

Love-a-Bull: anti-BSL page

American Kennel Club: Government Relations Toolbox


Humane Society of the US: Pit Bull Resources

Pit Bull Rescue Center: Anti-BSL resource page

Dog Holocaust:  MASSIVE page of resources

and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other advocacy blogs and websites. These efforts consume resources which are consequently denied to humane services for other breeds.

But there is another tool which every responsible pit bull owner should have:


This device is known variously as a "Break stick" or "Parting stick" and is widely available for sale on the web. It is inserted into the pit bull's mouth behind the molars and pressure is exerted upward against the palete. If you have one handy, and if you can manage it in the midst of a dogfight or attack on a human, it might be of help. It is the only known way to remove a pit bull from its victim. Electronic parting sticks are also available.

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* Statistics are from Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here.

Photo courtesy of Catchdog Release tool.