Pit bulls often get very bad press. It's easy for people to find negative articles and news reports about pit bulls and other similar breeds.
Yes, it's true that a small number of pit bulls have been made into dangerous dogs. But that's true for every breed of dog. By and large, the "bully" breeds--American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, etc.--are delightful, trainable, and well-behaved family dogs. By the way, they're called "bully" dogs because they resemble pit bulls or other bull-type dogs, not because they're bullies!
If you are seriously considering providing a loving and responsible home for a pit or another of the bully breeds, a great place to start is with Luv-A-Bulls, a foster-based rescue organization in the Dayton area.
Shari Riggs, one of the foster providers from Luv-A-Bulls, gives these guidelines for adopting a bully dog:
- Start by checking with your local police department or city commission. Some communities have breed-specific legislation in place, and you'll want to know about that right up front. Shari cautions that these laws can come and go, so it's best to get current information. As she says, "Some local legislation even extends to other breeds."
- Next, find out the requirements of the Ohio state breed-specific legislation. This legislation covers pit bulls as well as pit bull-type dogs that may not be pit bulls at all. Here are some of the requirements that Shari highlighted:
- Carry $100,000 in liability insurance. As Shari says, that is easy to comply with: "From some insurance companies, it's as inexpensive as $440 a year, less than a cable bill!" Talk to your insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverage.
- Provide a securely fenced yard (no gaps in the fence) that is locked with a combination or padlock, or provide a secure enclosure (like a kennel or dog run) with a top. Shari strongly encourages the secure fence, rather than the kennel or dog run approach, as a small enclosure can encourage any dog to be aggressive.
- Keep your dog on a maximum 6-foot chain leash at any time that the dog is off your property.
- To find out all the specifics of the Ohio legislation, see this website.
An excellent source of bully dogs for adoption is Luv-A-Bulls. As Shari says, "Our screening process is very strict." She explains that they often keep dogs longer than other rescues or shelters do, because they're "very careful to find responsible, safe, forever homes for these wonderful dogs."
As for other local organizations that you might contact, Shari reports that "Unfortunately, at least one facility euthanizes any dog that looks like a pit bull." She doesn't believe that people always know that when they surrender animals there. Other shelters may be reluctant to accept bully dogs, simply because they can take longer to adopt, and resources are always limited.
For more information about pit bulls and the other bully breeds, see this article.