Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Softer, Safer Pit Bull

The softer side of pit bulls has been in the advocacy lexicon for years, but 2014 was the year the phrase achieved iconic status.

Articles, books, and photo essays depict pit bulls in soft light with glowing auras, or in studio settings with pastel backgrounds. Or the pit bulls are dressed with accessories such as scarves, tutus, and bandannas, or adorned with flowers. They're shown sleeping with children or frolicking like any normal dog.

We rarely if ever see other dog breeds portrayed with such fawning attention but it has become the norm to portray pit bulls with a cloying sentimentality. Perhaps pit bull advocates, authors, journalists, and photographers should engage in a virtual co-therapy session, which might lead them to the self-discovery that they are over-compensating for something.

Soft pit bull articles or photo-essays appear routinely as part of the on-going effort to alter public opinion. But a recent article published by the Newark [OH] Advocate came during the campaign by local pit bull advocates to repeal BSL, and must be recognized as an attempt to manipulate the Newark city council at a delicate time in their deliberations.

In 2014 pit bulls killed a human at least once every two weeks, and they kill over 40,000 domestic and companion animals a year, so it is peculiar that anyone can imagine pit bulls as soft. A peculiar world view is necessary to view pit bulls as soft. Pit bulls are undeniably bigger, stronger, faster, harder, and they are, IMHO, not attractive.

Listed below are a few recent articles and photo-essays about the Softer Side of Pit Bulls.

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Local Ad Campaign Seeks to Soften Pit Bulls' Dangerous Image
   by Kathryn Flagg
   Seven Days Vermont; June 26, 2013

Pit bulls given 'hippie' makeover to soften their dangerous image with families
   by Joshua Hammond
   Mirror (UK); August 7, 2014

The Softer Side of Pit Bulls; a Reviled Breed Gets a Makeover
   by Paul Tullis
   Photographs by Jeff Minton
   Time Magazine; July 22, 2013

Pit bull owners show the softer side of 'bully breeds'
   by Emily Maddern
   Newark Advocate; January 11, 2015

The Softer Side of Pit Bulls
   by Nan Talleno
   CBS Philly; February 19, 2013

Pit bulls show their softer side
   Photographs by Douglas Sonders
   ABC; Undated

Photographer poses pit bulls to show their 'softer' side
   Photographs by Sophie Gamand
   ABC7 Eyewitness News; August 8, 2014

'Not a Bully' Project Shows Public Softer Side of Pit Bulls
   Fox17 WZTV Nashville; Undated

Heart-warming campaign shows pit bulls' softer side
   Health and Wellbeing; Undated

Attitudes and laws against pit bulls soften
   by Bill Draper
   Associated Press; March 11, 2014

Efforts to soften the image of the pit bull
   LA Times; March 1, 1986

Pit bull dogs are family; Undated
(Campaign renewed January 21, 2015)
   We are grateful to Best Friends Animal Society for a generous grant for this campaign, which is designed to increase the number of pit bull dogs adopted from Louisville Metro Animal Services.

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Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 32+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

Record 33 fatal pit bull attacks & 459 disfigurements in 2015

Pit bulls killed 24,000 other dogs & 13,000 cats in 2015

2015 Dog Bite Related Fatalities (Daxton's Friends)

Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

Today's pit bull attacks

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.