Star’s case is far from unique. In my years of working to protect abused and neglected animals, I have seen with my own eyes that pit bulls are the dogs that suffer most in the hands of humans. More than any other breed, they are sought after and exploited. Their muscular physique, large jaws, “tough” appearance, and willingness to do anything to please their guardians make them targets for dog hunters, drug dealers and others with cruel intentions.
This is exactly why people who love pit bulls – and by “love”, I mean who really have the best interests of pit bulls at heart – should support the laws regulating the acquisition and care of these dogs. including requiring them to be sterilized or sterilized.
PETA field workers routinely find pit bulls suffering from heartworm, internal and external parasites, and / or bites. They wear themselves out with heavy chains or wade through small makeshift enclosures, kept outside 24/7 in all weather extremes.
Storm, another chained pit bull, was only 4 years old, but years of neglect and over-breeding had left him in the physical condition of a much older dog. Her owner eventually returned her after the PETA investigator discovered that her collar was deeply and painfully sunk into her neck. Storm suffered from terrible arthritis and other serious and incurable health problems, and euthanasia was the nicest thing that could be done.
When I was an animal control officer I encountered countless pit bulls that were scarred everywhere. Their owners admitted to chaining the dogs to “fatten” them and “make them mean”. One man even told me that his pit bull had been fed gunpowder and that he was “never right after that”. He was a huge, beautiful dog who was eventually shot by a policeman because he attacked another dog and didn’t want to let go.
It’s no surprise that these dogs – who were bred to kill each other in a pit and are disproportionately neglected and abused – often go on a rampage, attacking other dogs or humans, sometimes fatally.
But legislation can save lives: In San Francisco, the number of pit bulls euthanized by animal control fell 24% 18 months after the city passed a pit bull sterilization ordinance, and officers Animal Control officials reported that the pit bulls they encountered were calmer and better socialized. – a result of sterilization.
Pit bulls are the # 1 breed allowed in many animal shelters, and countless more survive on the streets. Some 70 million homeless pets struggle to survive every day in the United States, so why raise more dogs of all kinds?
PETA’s mobile veterinary clinics have sterilized pit bulls for free – 1,797 since the start of 2020. But we cannot solve this national crisis alone. Communities must take action, passing meaningful animal care laws.
Restricting and regulating pit bull ownership protects dogs like Star and Storm by keeping them out of the clutches of those who seek them out specifically to exploit and abuse them. People who shout “Discrimination! Should ask themselves if they care about the best interests of animals, their own selfish desire to own a certain type of dog, or a mistaken sense of “justice” which has harmful and even fatal consequences for dogs that they claim to love.
Not all pit bulls are abused, and the lucky ones who are cared for by loving and responsible guardians should be allowed to live their lives with their families. PETA has always supported laws that grant vested rights to pit bulls who are sterilized, kept indoors, and treated as individuals, not as security systems or status symbols.
Preventing more pit bulls from being born into a world where so many are exploited, abandoned or tormented is not breed specific discrimination – it is breed specific protection. Pit bulls are bred, fought, abused and neglected because of their breed. It is not only fair but also essential to protect and regulate them according to their race.
Teresa Chagrin is responsible for animal care and control issues in the Department of Human Cruelty Investigations for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (peta.org), headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.