Steve Dale, of Steve Dale’s Pet World, has written an op-ed piece thanking Michael Vick for bringing a nationwide focus on the horrible crime of dog fighting.
Before Vick, Dale said that dog fighting was a national epidemic that was rarely talked about.
Now that Vick’s dog fighting case is receiving nationwide and even worldwide coverage, local authorities are cracking down on dog fighting operations. Numerous arrests have been made, hundreds of dogs have been saved, and animal shelters and programs are raising money to help local authorities with their efforts.
Historically, Dale explained that public officials either ignored dog fighting or would blame the dogs and banned specific breeds like pit bulls or any dog that looked like a pit bull. He added that this solution of banning breeds has not solved anything because dog fighting cases continue to increase.
Dale also said the true victims of dog fights, the dogs, are rarely focused on by the media. He hopes that public officials and others who stereotype pit bulls as a dangerous breed will see that pit bulls are not bad dogs but instead victims of bad owners.
The press has added to the fear of pit bulls, said Dale. They tend to report dog attacks on humans that involve pit bulls. Meanwhile, there are also attacks on humans by other breeds that aren’t considered dangerous like the Golden Retriever. But, the media doesn’t talk about these attacks. So, the public begins to fear pit bulls because of what they hear on their local news channel.
Dale said that some pit bull owners love the stereotypical perception of pit bulls. They want to have a “bad” dog or want a dog to guard them or attack someone. They want a dog that will intimidate others and cause fear among others. Their dog is a status symbol.
These dogs may be chained, and the males are never neutered. This increases the likelihood of any breed of dog to attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and American Veterinary Medical Association.
Studies have also shown that certain mammal species that are raised without nurturing does impact an animal’s social demeanor.
What can we as a society do to stop dog fighting?
Dale suggested: “For starters, the American public and elected officials need to stop blaming the dogs. In fact, the humane answer is to attempt to find increasing ways to find homes for adoptable Pit Bulls-type dogs. Hopefully more of these individuals will become ambassadors for the breed-type, and this will start the process of resurrecting their images.”
Dale also said that we need to increase school programs, so kids can understand how to live with and respect animals.
He also supports the suggestion of the American Humane Association which is challenging the NFL and their players to launch a campaign against dog fighting.
Not long ago were the days when the nation’s image of a pit bull was lovable Petey from the Little Rascals.
Source: Steve Dale’s Pet World
Photo: Pit Bulls on the Web