The Negative Effects the Media Has on the Pit Bull Breed

The Negative Effects The Media Has On The Pit Bull Breed Did you know that for over one hundred years the Pit Bull was called the “Nanny Dog” by Americans, and was the breed that symbolized our country? One of the most famous Pit Bulls was Petey from The Little Rascals. For generations people got a Pit Bull to keep their children safe because these dogs were the most trustworthy of any breed with children and adults. Now the Nanny Dog is being persecuted by the media, and being called the hellion breed that frightens people. Even though plenty of other dogs bite people, they only publish stories about Pit Bulls. Poodle bites man” is not a very eye catching headline. The media publicizes crazy myths, and they label any dog a Pit Bull even if it is not. The media also zeros in on the specifically negative and extreme incidents; they often do not provide the circumstance surrounding the incidents, and also neglect to mention important statistical information and comparisons to other similar incidents. Being a Pit Bull owner, and having many friends who own them as well, I know that the media is incorrect in their portrayal of the Pit Bull. They are the most loving and gentle breed I have ever known.
The media had labeled certain dog breeds as bad breeds for a long time. The Pit Bull is just the most recent victim of the media’s criticism. Before Pit Bulls it was the Rottweiler, before the Rottweiler it was Dobermans, and before Dobermans it was German Shepherds. Each breeds being deemed as vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Every time there was uproar of the public for bans and restrictions on owning them. It is painfully ironic that the media has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter.
In temperance tests (the equivalent of how many times your kid can poke your dog in the eye before it bites him) of all breeds the most tolerant was the Golden Retriever. The second most tolerant was the Pit Bull. I am sure anyone has heard of the Pit Bulls locking jaw, this is a myth. Pit Bulls jaws do not lock; in fact they do not even have the most powerful bite of dog breeds. Pit Bulls are not human aggressive, in fact studies have shown that Pit Bull puppies prefer human company to their mother’s two weeks earlier than any other breed. Also, another common myth is that they don’t feel pain.

They feel just as much pain as any other breed. These are the myths that the media is drilling into the public’s heads. Now this tolerant, patient, and gentle breed of dog is embarrassingly being portrayed as the most dangerous. Now sadly 6,000 Pit Bulls are put to death every day, by far the highest number of any breed to be euthanized. Mistaken identity is a huge problem in the media nowadays as well. There is countless times where headlines claimed that a Pit Bull had done wrong and then later on find out it was not a Pit Bull at all, or they just say Pit Bull because the dog resembled one.
And even if the media corrects themselves the damage had already been done, people already have the image of the Pit Bull in their mind doing wrong. For example, a story from October, 2007 has as a headline “Lynn teacher mauled by Pit Bull. ” Then the story goes on to identify the dog as a Lab/Rottweiler mix. The term Pit Bull should never have been used. Another story March, 2006 headline “Pit Bull attacks 12 year old. ” However the picture shown of the captured dog is not a Pit Bull, and does not even appear to be a Pit Bull mix.
After complaints to the news station regarding the mistaken identity and the use of the term Pit Bull, instead of correcting their mistake, they took down the photo and just left the story up written the same way. These are just a few examples of hundreds of falsely identified Pit Bull stories. Now there may well be some stories where a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix was correctly identified, but many times they do not mention the circumstances that the attack happened, or the statistical comparison to any other breed of dog attacks.
The Humane Society of the United States says that it is imperative that the dog population the community be understood. To simply pull numbers of attacks does not accurately represent the breed. For example, by reviewing a study that states there have been five attacks by Standard Poodles in a community and ten attacks from Pit Bulls in the same community, it would appear that Pit Bulls are more dangerous. However, if you look at the dog population in that community and find there are 50 Standard Poodles and 500 Pit Bulls, then statistically the Pit Bull would be the safer breed.
The media turning them into this bad vicious dog is making the wrong people want to own them. Drug dealers and felons are seeing them as protection dogs, or using them to make some cash by breeding. As a result of over breeding, many communities have much more Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes than any other dogs. With the over population of the breed, people’s fear of them, and breed restrictions many of these dogs end up in shelters or euthanized. On the positive side recently I have seen some great stories about Pit bulls. Many people re starting to get educated that this breed is no more dangerous than any other dog. A story from May 9th of 2012 headlines “Hero Pit Bull saves owner from train tracks. ” This amazing story goes on to explain how the woman fell unconscious on the tracks and Lilly, the eight year old Pit Bull, managed to drag her out of harm’s way. Risking her own life Lilly was badly hurt by being struck by the train. After needing her leg amputated, many surgeries and physical therapy she is still just as happy as ever. The Pit Bull can go through so many traumas and still bounce back and be just as loving as ever.
Pit Bulls that have been used as fighting dogs and bait dogs get adopted and act like none of it ever happened. Though the media has already caused so much damage to the judgment of the Pit Bull breed, I am hopeful that people will wake up and realize these dogs are one of the best companions you could ever have. My Pit Bull wants nothing more than to be loved; he is an 80 pound baby who sleeps under the covers in my bed. Maybe the Pit Bull will one day be known as the symbol of America, and the “Nanny Dog” again.

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