Archive for April, 2011

BSL: What is it?

Posted in Pit Bulls with tags , on April 10, 2011 by spidahgrl

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in basic terms is a ban or restriction of a certain type or breed of dog. Dogs that are perceived as “dangerous” according to the ones that make the law(s). Often times many dogs are targeted solely because they may look like a particular banned breed. At no time do they take into consideration how it was trained, raised, or treated. They don’t even take into consideration that every dog (and breed) is different and so too is their behavior. This can be compared to racial profiling that we as a society have dealt with for years.

BSL is based on discrimination, lack of education of the breeds involved, and knowledge. Lets take for example the “Pit Bull” which is a type of breed. It’s actually a term used to categorize three different breeds. (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Terrier) There’s many breeds (and mixes) that have the look of a Pittie but are in fact a different breed totally. Sadly these breeds would also be targets.

These bans can and usually require the targeted breed to be removed from the restricted area. Often the dogs are then sentenced to death. Other times there are regulations (often costly) that an owner must follow. This depends on how the laws are worded. Unfortunately not all owners can follow these rigid rules and are forced to give up their beloved dog. This adds burden to shelters that are already struggling with the animals in their care.

Examples of BSL restrictions:

  • Dogs are to be spayed and neutered.
  • Muzzled in public.
  • Housed in a kennel that meets their strict requirements.
  • Specific sized leashes of a specific material are to be used.
  • Owners must purchase costly liability insurance.
  • “Vicious” dog signs must be posted at the dog’s residence.
  • Must wear something that identifies them as “vicious” dogs.

Why BSL does not work effectively:

  • Cost. (Requires people to enforce the laws, identify the dogs, and follow through with the punishments.)
  • Focuses on the dogs and not bad owners. (Who allow dogs to bite, terrorize, and wreak havoc.)
  • Bad owners are not reprimanded. (Therefore it does not improve public safety, prevent dog bites, or other issues that the laws were set up for in the first place.)

Makes the “banned” breeds become more desirable to unsavory people aka criminals and bad owners.

Many anti-BSL supporters believe the best alternative is education. Also set reasonable rules for all dog owners to follow. Focus on better dog ownership as a whole and less on the types of dogs.

“Punish the deed not the breed…”

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Being ambassadors of the breed

Posted in Pit Bulls on April 10, 2011 by spidahgrl
Currently Maine is not one of the states that has BSL.  Lets fight to keep it that way.   Strive to be the best owner you can be.  Here’s a few ideas on how you and other Maine Pit Bull owners can continue being ambassadors of the breed.
Spay/Neuter – There’s many benefits to spaying/neutering.  They should also be current on their vaccines and have the proper paperwork and tags.
Exercise – Pitties are generally high energy.  Be sure they get plenty of time to burn that energy.  Remember a tired dog is a good dog.
Positive Training – Obedience class can be a great way to help train, exercise, and socialize.
Socialize – Sooner the better.  Be sure they‘ve had their puppy vaccines and enroll them in puppy classes.  Or you can set up play dates with other good mannered dogs.  Socializing shouldn’t be strictly with other dogs. They should also be familiar with other animals, people, and surroundings.
Supervise – Never leave them alone. Even if it’s in your “safe” fenced in backyard this can lead to problems.  Remember not everyone loves your Pit Bull.  Sadly there’s many stories out there of dogs being stolen.  Often it’s just that couple minutes you ran in to get something.  Or they found a way to jump the fence, open the gate, dig under, whatever.  Sadly this opens you and your dog up to a world of problems.  An unattended dog is not a safe dog.
Leash – Always have them leashed.  A leashed dog is much safer and easier to control then one that has free roam.  It only takes a second for a distracted dog to have a horrible accident or be caught in a situation that could have been prevented.  Again, remember not everyone loves your Pittie like you do. The less chance of an issue the better for everyone.
Educate – We need to be patient with those that don’t understand our passion for Pibbles.  Stay calm, don’t be rude, and simply inform them of the facts.  They won’t all agree or listen.  However, if we can sway just one then we’re doing our job as Pittie owners.

Why Spay/Neuter?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2011 by spidahgrl
Search anywhere on the web about spaying and neutering and you’ll find the reasons and statistics on why it’s so vitally important.  Remember as a Pit Bull owner you want to help them be an ambassador of the breed.  One of the best things you can do to ensure that is make sure they’re spayed/neutered.
Benefits:
  • Live longer, healthier lives.
  • Usually more docile which results in easier training.
  • Spaying greatly reduces the risk if breast cancer and eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • Spaying eliminates the heat cycle and everything associated with it.
  • Spaying helps rid the incessant crying, howling, and nervous behavior.
  • Neutering prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.
  • Neutering can also help reduce other serious health problems like hernias and anal tumors.
  • Neutering at a younger age reduces dominance or aggression related behavior issues. (possession, food guarding, territory marking, dog aggression, and “humping”.)
  • Neutering relieves that urge to search for a female in heat.
  • Neutering can also help prevent that urge to roam which can result in getting lost, injured, or killed.

Puppies vs. Adults

Posted in Pit Bulls on April 10, 2011 by spidahgrl

You’re seriously considering adopting a Pit Bull.  Now your question is do you want a puppy or an adult dog?

Some feel puppies are the better choice.  Puppies should be considered a work in progress.  Many things mold the way a puppy will turn out.  Often you won’t see a dog’s true colors until after they have reached maturity.  However, if you understand this and have the time and patience this may be the choice for you.  Often people don’t always have the kind of time to commit to the ongoing training of a puppy.

In that case an adult dog may be better suited for you and your life style. They typically show their true personality.  Their likes and dislikes.  Whether it is friendly with others, whether it’s got behavior issues or quirks are often more evident.  Also something else many don’t realize is adults are less likely to be adopted out.  After all who can resist a cute puppy face?

Something to remember when considering shelter dogs young or old is all will need a transition period.  Their housetraining, leash manners, and behavior in general may need some extra attention.  Also don’t forget Pit Bulls aren’t for everyone.  They are usually a high energy breed no matter the age.  You have to be prepared for that.  Be sure to express your wants, concerns, and needs to the shelter workers.  Being open and honest about what you are looking for can help match you with the right dog for your family.

Note – As an adopter of both young and older dogs I find either experience has it’s challenges and rewards.  I don’t look at the age as much as I look at the chance at saving another dog’s life.

Are shelter Pit Bulls safe?

Posted in Pit Bulls on April 10, 2011 by spidahgrl

For many years there was certain stigma about shelter dogs.  Some people even today think that “pound dogs” are the worst of the worst.  However, many of these Pit Bulls are often in the shelter for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with them.  The list of reasons or “excuses” are long. Just ask the shelter workers that have to hear them each and every day.

It’s important to know that these days there’s usually strict procedures in place to help protect everyone.  Pit Bulls are tested using a variety of methods.  If these dogs are deemed unsafe and rehab is not an option they are not adopted out.

Many adopters feel adopting from shelters is the safest way to add a dog to their family.  Reputable shelters usually leave lines of communication open.  If something comes up down the road they will help the adopter.  Training and other helpful information is often available.  With the proper screening of both dog and adopter they can live happy lives together.  Some of these Pit Bulls even go on to work in fields like service, therapy, government, or military.

Take all that into consideration the next time you’re considering another family member.  You can save more then one life.  When you bring home your new family member you open more space in the shelter.  Perhaps that buys the next dog enough time for another like you to come along and save another Pit Bull.

Note – Being a Pit Bull adopter and foster I can say there is something special and unique about saving them.  It’s almost as they know you saved their lives and they will devote their lives to thanking you.