Pit Bulls as Family Dogs
October 1, 2011

The MSPCA finds forever families for all types of dogs: teacup Chihuahuas and Great Danes, and everything in between.  Pit Bulls are no exception to this rule.  In fact, lots of bully breeds come into our adoption centers, and just like every other animal in our care, they need a loving family willing to give them a second chance.  But LOTS of people are nervous about Pit Bulls, and are surprised to hear that we place them for adoption.  Why is this?

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Pit Bulls – and they get a bad rap.  A lot of people hear that they “turn on their owners,” or that they are a high bite-risk to people.  Neither of these is any truer of a Pit Bull than it is of any other dog breed.  And while many people will say with absolute conviction that Pit Bulls are dangerous, there isn’t ONE scientific study that shows a Pit Bull is more likely to bite than any other breed of dog.  I always tell people that all it takes for a dog to bite is teeth – and most dogs have those!  It’s important to learn how to be safe and appropriate with dogs; not discriminate them based on breed.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media is full of stories about vicious dog attacks that involve Pit Bulls, and many towns and cities have special laws banning Pit Bulls or requiring that they wear a muzzle in public.  At the MSPCA, we feel that these laws should apply to individual dangerous dogs, not an entire breed.

In fact, for a long time Pit Bulls were celebrated as loyal, loving, family dogs.  While originally bred to fight other animals (just as the bulldog was, as well as lots of other dog breeds), this purpose became unacceptable in society a long time ago (thank goodness!).  And while there are still people out there who think it’s okay to train Pit Bulls to fight, we have to remember that this is a PEOPLE problem – not a Pit Bull problem.  It’s not their fault that they are chosen for this cruel sport, and they shouldn’t be demonized because of it.  Those who have adopted a Pit Bull describe their new "family members" as sweet, loving, smart dogs - and at times simply couch potatoes!  We have no shortage of adoption success stories when it comes to Pit Bulls.

Each dog is an individual, and should be treated as such.  Any time a dog comes to the adoption center, her behavior is assessed and we use that information, along with her incoming profile, to find the best match for her.  Most Pit Bulls come to us as active “adolescents:” young dogs whose owners didn’t plan for the time and energy it takes to train a puppy.  The public has a misconception that Pit Bulls from shelters were used in illegal fighting – but that simply isn’t the case.  Just like the other breeds in our care, Pit Bulls need committed families to offer positive training and lots of love.

Three things you can do:

1) Read about Pit Bull myths and other misconceptions about Pit Bulls.

2) Share this new learning with other people.  When you hear someone make a derogatory comment about Pit Bulls, respectfully share with them what you know to be true: that Pit Bulls can be great family dogs, a status previously saved for Labs and Retrievers.

3) Write a letter asking your local representative to support dangerous dog laws INSTEAD of breed-specific legislation (BSL) – which punishes all dogs of a breed because of the actions of a few.

Great websites to visit:

MSPCA

Animal Farm Foundation

The Real Pit Bull