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Dog fighting to breed banning. Who's next?

Pit given to me emaciated and aggressive. Two months later well socialized and healthy.
Pit given to me emaciated and aggressive. Two months later well socialized and healthy.
Picture (c) Erika Wisan

     Dog fighting has been a nuisance in the dog world since the 1800’s. Since its’ early debut, it has been used as a way to make money and a source of entertainment. Since then laws have been posted and dog fighting has been banned. Dog fighting is illegal and to this day many still try to ignore the laws and cause suffering to certain breeds of dogs. In an attempt to ban dog fighting completely, certain states and areas have banned a breed of dog. The breed is a Pit Bull. Pit Bull is a term used to define several breeds in a catch-all category. American Staffordshire terriers, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any dog with a significant mix of those breeds have been referred to as a “Pit Bull”. Other breeds can also be confused with Pit Bulls, such as Bull Terriers and even American Bulldogs.

     Dog breed banning has become a significant problem with owners that have well-trained family pets that fit into the Pit Bull category. Many of these dogs are therapy dogs, service dogs, and even rescue dogs. One spectacular story is of a Pit Bull Leo who happens to be a therapy dog.

     Michael Vick has become a common household name associated with dog-fighting. One of his fighting dogs has become a source of inspiration and hope among the elderly, juvenile delinquents and children with illnesses. Leo was a former fighting dog forced against his will to please his owner in the ring. His past was horrific and his future is inspiring. Therapy dogs are required to be able to cope in stressful situations, always be calm, and never show any sign of aggression to animal or person. Due to knowing nothing other than fighting and being able to change what is expected of him Leo now offers hope.

     What many people do not realize is that rehabilitating a dog is not always a guarantee. Many dogs cannot be trained to do one thing their entire life and then be expected to do the opposite. Pit Bulls are among the few breeds that are willing to please their owner to such extent that they can be rehabilitated. It is this dying devotion that causes them to be feared and respected. The only goal in a Pit Bulls life is to please, even if that means sacrificing themselves in a dog fight to make their owner happy. They can be trained to be aggressive to please the owner but do not try to obtain the goal without guidance. It has been bred in certain lines and trained by the owners resulting in controversy in which certain lines kept aggression in their genetics.

     The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) conducted a test of many common breeds that would be tested in a majority and receive a percentage of dogs that failed and passed. “The ATTS test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog's instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test is designed for the betterment of all breeds of dogs and takes into consideration each breed's inherent tendencies.” – (ATTS) Out of 665 American Pit Bull Terriers tested, they passed with 85.3%. Only 98 Pit Bulls failed. Golden Retrievers passed at an 84.6%, 111 failed out of 720.

     Breed banning will not stop dog fighting. The only goal a dog fighter seeks is to obtain a worthy fighting dog. If Pit Bulls are banned, nothing is stopping dog fighters from moving on to the next breed available. This could be your loving Doberman, Rottweiler or even a Labrador Retriever if the effects keep banning breeds. The intentions are good, but the path to obtain the goal is misled.


  • Lyn 5 years ago

    Excellent, informative article and bravo to you for rescuing that beautiful bulldog in the photo!

  • Valerie Hayes, Atlanta Animal Welfare Examiner 5 years ago

    Great article, and good point about dog fighters moving on to some other breed in the event of a ban. Breed bans punish only the dogs and the people who actually care about them.