Thursday, January 27, 2000 By INGRID NEWKIRK
MOST PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA that at many animal shelters across the
country, any "pit bull" who comes through the front door goes out the
back door -- in a body bag. From San Jose to Schenectady, many
shelters have enacted policies requiring the automatic destruction of
the huge and ever-growing number of "pits" they encounter. This
news shocks and outrages the compassionate dog-lover.
The pit bull's ancestor, the Staffordshire terrier, is a human
concoction, bred in my native England, I'm ashamed to say, as a
weapon. These dogs were designed specifically to fight other animals
and kill them, for human sport. Hence the barrel chest, the thick
hammer-like head, the strong jaws, the perseverance, and the
stamina. Pits can take down a bull weighing in at over a thousand
pounds, so a human being a tenth of that weight is small potatoes to
Pit bulls are perhaps the most abused dogs on the planet. These
days, they are kept for protection by almost every drug dealer and
pimp in every major city and beyond. You can drive into any
depressed area and see them being used as cheap burglar alarms,
wearing heavy logging chains around their necks (they easily break
regular collars and harnesses), attached to a stake or metal drum or
rundown doghouse without a floor and with holes in the roof. Bored
juveniles "sic" them on cats, neighbors' small dogs, and even children.
In the PETA office we have a file drawer chock-full of accounts of
attacks in which these ill-treated dogs have torn the faces and fingers
off infants and even police officers trying to serve warrants.
Today, organizing dog fights is a federal offense in this country, yet
pits are still king of the ring. Humane officers and other law
enforcement agents routinely break up rings in New Mexico,
Massachusetts, Michigan, and Florida. They confiscate dog-fighting
paraphernalia, including treadmills used to build doggie endurance
and drugs used to numb pain from injuries inflicted by opponents and
to "jazz up" the dogs. They find mesh bags in which kittens, rabbits,
puppies, and other small prey are suspended over the dogs to
encourage fighting spirit. Not uncommonly they find what's left of dogs
who have lost their battles. They are not always dead. Those who
argue against the euthanasia policy for pit bull dogs are naive. One
dog that had just been adopted by a family suddenly clamped his jaw
onto the thigh of a 7-year-old boy. Two grown men had a hard time
getting the dog off and the child suffered permanent nerve damage.
Tales like this abound. I have scars on my leg and arm from my own
encounter with a pit. Many are loving and will kiss on sight, but many
are unpredictable. An unpredictable chihuahua is one thing, an
unpredictable pit another.
People who genuinely care about dogs won't be affected by a ban on
pits. They can go to the shelter and save one of the countless other
breeds and lovable mutts sitting on death row through no fault of
their own. We can only stop killing pits if we stop creating new ones.
Legislators, please take note. By Ingrid Newkirk
Ingrid Newkirk is president of People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals. She may be contacted at PETA, 501 Front St., Norfolk, Va.
23501, or on-line at www.PETA-online.org. © 2000 Bergen Record
If you weren't convinced before about PETA's anti Pit Bull
stance, here's a little article written by the founder herself that should
you see the light about this organization with a VERY anti Pit Bull
Note** Newkirk states below that she has been rescuing Pit
Bulls from horrid situations for 25 years. What she doesn't tell you
happens to those dogs after she rescues them - they are
Save suffering pit bulls by curtailing breeding....
By Ingrid E. Newkirk
Updated: 01/28/2009 07:40:38 PM PST
AS someone who has spent 25 years rescuing pit bulls from
conditions we wouldn't visit on our worst enemies, I applaud the city
Lancaster's adoption this week of an ordinance requiring all pit bulls
spayed or neutered.
Pit bull breeding bans truly are needed to protect the
public as well as the pit bulls themselves, probably the most abused
Through no fault of their own, pit bulls have become the dog
of choice for people who don't know or care about dogs and who
particular dog only because a pit is a "macho" possession - a
reflection of the image they want for themselves.
Most of these dogs live on chains - if you can call it
living - attached to a stake, metal drum or dilapidated doghouse. To
make them "mean," they are often starved and beaten. They are not
social, or if they are, they are not to be trusted around children or
especially small ones. They are hardheaded by nature and suffer the
that trait, too, by being treated abominably.
PETA's staff has cared for a mother pit who weighed about a
third of what she should have weighed - her hip, back and rib bones
We euthanized her worm-infested, scared-to-death, unsocialized
young pups. If
someone wants a puppy, there are more than enough other puppies
to choose from
in local shelters - ones who will not have to go through an ordeal to
dragged her wherever he wanted to go on his small chain,
periodically turning to attack her. She was as sweet a being as
ever want, or so it seemed, but she was no sweeter or more
deserving of a home
than all the dogs on Death Row in shelters. Also wonderful was the
male pit we
found in this same yard with his chain embedded into his festering
family had two more pits, and they wished to breed them and sell the
This story was not unusual. We were not surprised. We also
had two huge, strong "bruiser pits," as we call them, in our custody
who were so difficult to handle that only a very strong person could
one at a time.
They came from a yard where they lived on chains, and after
we sterilized them (free of charge in our clinic), they had to go back
They will die on those chains one day, and they are dangerous. They
around adult humans, but they get fixated on any small dog or cat
and work as a
pair if they can, equally excited and unmanageable. This is not
pits. If I said this about a collie or a beagle, it would be surprising.
Please consider this: It is safer for other dogs and for
small children to have a chance encounter with a poodle, cocker
mixed hound than it is for them to have one with a pit bull. Of course,
a generalization, but it's also true.
If you had a Chihuahua or a child and someone said,
"Behind Door A is a pug or a Labrador, and behind Door B is a pit; you
choose which door we will open," which door would you choose? Right.
So, knowing that pits and pit mixes are responsible for more
attacks than other dogs - not just fatal attacks, but ones in which an
limb or self-confidence is lost for life - is it right to suggest that people
should continue breeding this kind of dog? Especially when other
are crying out for homes?.
There are more reasons for pit bull breeding bans, but these
are just a few.