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Part of my family is absolutely freaking out that we are keeping one of the pit bull puppies that we rescued a couple of weeks ago. My parents are the absolute worst. They buy into every myth they hear, and I couldn't help but laugh the other day when my mama kept going on and on about how "they all turn and when they bite you their jaws lock, blah, blah, blah..." We live next door to my parents, so I've made a point to take Scarlett with me pretty much every time I've been over there in the last week. I've made it my mission to change their minds. When I told my mom what my plan was, she kind of jokingly said that the first time she "growls or snaps" at someone she'd be reaching for her gun. When I asked her why she hadn't brought out the gun for my sister's little yappy mutt that bark, growl, and snaps at EVERYBODY, she shut it down.

We stopped by my sister's house today too (she lives on the other side of mom and dad) and was talking to my brother-in-law about Scarlett when he asked if she was a pit. When I said yes he kind of winced and said "Ooooh." I asked him why he responded that way he just said, "I just don't like them." So I asked him, "Have you ever met a real, live pit bull in person?" Of course his answer was no, but that he was afraid of them. It was the first honest answer I've heard out of anyone. So I assured him there would be no reason for him to be afraid of her, now or ever and asked that he at least give her a chance.

When we decided to keep Scarlett I knew there was going to be some challenges because of her breed, but it really bugs me that my family is so ignorant about the breed. I ask myself all the time how I ended up such an open minded person when the rest of my family is so prejudice.
 

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A lot of prejudice comes from lack of exposure to whatever or whoever the person is prejudiced against, whether it be someone of a difference race or religion or a breed of dog.

People talk about "breed ambassadors" - basically well trained, well behaved dogs of the misunderstood breeds- who act as diplomats to the world around them. It is true and to a large degree, it works. The more people encounter loving, happy, trained dogs, the more they realize that the media blows everything out of proportion.

I do pit bull rescue. I get to hear a wide variety of comments from strangers, friends and family. Most of them are positive, some are ignorant but still positive and some are ignorant and negative. My parents have never been "dog people" so when I got Chester, it was a big leap for them to get to know him but he's just one of those dogs that everyone loves. Now my father actually asks if he can come visit and take Chester to the park (I live an hour away from them). But Chester is not a "scary" breed, although he has more stamina and more power than many a pit bull.

So when I got my first pit bull foster, my parents were hesitant due to the media/stereotypes but they trust me. I gave them good statistics (like the studies showing how pit bulls are LESS human aggressive than many other dogs, even some classic "family favorites" and discussions on how dog aggression and human aggression are separate things) and really, they just met the dogs. The wiggly, loving, happy, nutty, crazy bundle of energy and snuggliness that was Luna - and is many a pit- won them over. I have a photo of Luna sleeping on my Dad's chest while he's laying on the couch. The guy that never liked dogs (never wanted to see them hurt or anything, just didn't want anything at all to do with them) ended up napping with a "scary pit bull!" :)

Train the dog well, socialize her well, and just plug along at showing everyone how great she is. The flipside though is that you have to be prepared for the people that never will trust her or treat her like other dogs. So you have to be that extra step of cautious about leashes, about a dog jumping the fence, about strange dogs meeting her (she will ALWAYS be the one to blame if anything happens to another dog or person, regardless of the real circumstances) and generally be proactive with your precautions. Know your local leash etc laws and always obey them 100%. Know your rights. Have the proper liability insurance (as in, make sure your insurer covers ALL breeds). Get a CGC.

And then go out and show everyone what a great dog a lovingly cared for pit bull is.
 

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I had the same problem with our two pit mixes we fostered over christmas, and they looked SO MUCH like yours. I live in NC as well and heard so many of the same comments.

With family, you have to be honest and over time they'll change their minds when they realize they aren't bloodsucking vampire puppies, but honestly when we were walking them or in public with them, I gave up trying after about 3 weeks.

"They're black/ chocolate lab mixes!" works wonders. Honest? no. But when I'm just trying to exercise my puppy in the park, it gets tiring to be a constant PSA.
 

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Yep, everyone is probably right. My mom was TERRIFIED of my pit bull mix when we got him. She wouldn't get within 10 feet of him at first and would jump away if he even yawned! But he is such a good boy, she can't resist his big smile now! Last time she was here, she was snuggling with him on the floor and all of a sudden looked at me and said, "I never thought I would be this close to a pit bull!" She now tells everyone about him and what good dogs pit bulls can be. As long as you raise your dog to be a positive example, your famiy will most surely get over their fears. Most people have IDEAS about pit bulls, bit when faced with the reality, they rarely hold on to those misconceptions :)
 

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Here's something to give you a bit of hope about people changing their views... here's my father who once said "no dogs in my house EVER" and Luna the APBT


(oddly cropped photo for privacy reasons)
 

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My mom hates pitties, which makes me sad cause I love them. She also is anti bull mastiffs (an uncle had one that tried to bite her face off) and akitas (her sister had one that bit me pretty badly). The reason she doesn't like pitties is because my dad's friend had one and the dog bit someone (although if I remember I think it was provoked, but I was a kid so dunno). Mom and I have gotten into several discussions about pitties. My gsd helps a lot of people get over their fears of them because his way of saying hi to new people is to lick them and then usually roll over for a belly rub:)
 

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We have had some wonderful 'Pits' around here.
One escape artist used to get loose all the time and we'd round her up.
Sweet sweet dog.
Looked and acted just like Petey from 'Our Gang'
They have wonderful owners.

Then we have had some horrible 'Pits'.
Two of them broke out of their kennel and mauled 3 cats to death.
This in front of the cats' owner who was them penned against a car by the dogs.
She wasn't bitten but was rightfully about scared to death.
The dogs' owner was cited, fined and made to pay restitution.
Also had to remove the dogs from his premises.
(I'm about 1/4 mile from the Cincinnati City limits where they are Banned.
http://www.pittiesplace.com/cincinnati.htm )
And of course they have horrible owners.
Their 'Pits' were from the aggressive fighting lines.
Aggressively trained and by idiot owners.

Sadly it only takes a few attacks to poison a breed's reputation for decades.
Especially w/ the media these days.
And banning is a cheap political fix.
Person gets bitten.... then another.......someone brings up a banning law.......you want to be the politician voting down banning them?
It's political suicide.
 

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My dog Sharky acts as a Pit ambassador! He's a big ol' sweetie who's second favorite thing to do is meet new people(his first favorite being to meet new dogs!). I have yet to come across someone who is actually afraid of him. Actually, sometimes he wears his big black spiked collar to ward off people because everyone loves approaching him, and one time a VERY creepy man put his hands IN the crack in my car window to pet him. Sharky just licked the man's face, and man... You think dogs can tell when something isn't right about someone, but he sure couldn't, and I could! So now he wears a collar to (as my boyfriend's mom would say) 'give him the testosterone he is completely void of'. Haha. He's a sweetheart and just an 80 pound lap dog. Everyone loves him, and actually I have a similar story to the pictures from a previous post! My mom loves my dog, when before she wouldn't allow me to bring any of my pets into her house.

People surprisingly love pits in public, and if your dog seems approachable- people will approach! When I take him with me to Tractor Supply, everyone I see wants to pet him and give him treats! OH! And he would NEVER bite someone! EVER! I haven't tried training him to be a protection dog, because I want him to be the Pit ambassador that he is. Pits really need as many ambassadors as they can get. Plus his collar seems to do the trick for now of averting creepers away, surprisingly enough(he actually loves his collar, its thick and keeps him warm and whenever I get it out, he gets excited). So, whether or not the people you know are positive or negative, you just kind of have to take the good with the bad. But if you have an affectionate Pittie (which I'm sure you do, because most are) you'll most likely get more good than bad. And take your dog in public! The more people that encounter your pup, and have a good experience, the more people will walk away with a (hopefully) new perspective on Pits.

Screw breed specific hate!
 

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Then we have had some horrible 'Pits'.
Two of them broke out of their kennel and mauled 3 cats to death.
Many dogs are cat aggressive, even well treated and well trained dogs can simply have a lot of prey drive.

She wasn't bitten but was rightfully about scared to death.
The dogs' owner was cited, fined and made to pay restitution.
Also had to remove the dogs from his premises.
Rightfully scared? Were the dogs truly a threat to her or was she simply shocked by her cats being hurt? Prey drive and human aggression are miles apart.
Since you mention "remove the dogs from his premises" it makes me wonder if the dogs were on the owner's private property when the incident with the cats happened?

I'm not trying to argue with or judge you in any way, I'm simply wondering if this incident and its description is yet another case where a dog of a "scary" breed gets pre-judged. In my city, if a dog kills a cat on its (the dogs) owner's property, it is basically within its right to do so. Off the owner's property, the dog might be deemed aggressive but the owner isn't required to remove the dog or anything like that as they recognize the difference between aggression to animals and aggression to humans. It comes with restrictions, but manageable ones.
 

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^I just have to say to what's said above... Sadly, I know someone who euthanized three of their own dogs for killing their own cats. All on the property, out in the country where they let their (at the time) six dogs run around freely. So sad... Since this person continues to own both cats and dogs, when it clearly wasn't the dogs fault and none of them had human aggression(apparently one of them was 'questionable' but that's besides the point. and it's not like the dog did any serious damage to anyone). I'm also RELATED to someone who had their black lab escape from his outdoor kennel and kill their cat in the garage. They euthanized the dog for that, too. I hate stories like this. They make me sick.
 

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^I just have to say to what's said above... Sadly, I know someone who euthanized three of their own dogs for killing their own cats. All on the property, out in the country where they let their (at the time) six dogs run around freely. So sad... Since this person continues to own both cats and dogs, when it clearly wasn't the dogs fault and none of them had human aggression(apparently one of them was 'questionable' but that's besides the point. and it's not like the dog did any serious damage to anyone). I'm also RELATED to someone who had their black lab escape from his outdoor kennel and kill their cat in the garage. They euthanized the dog for that, too. I hate stories like this. They make me sick.
I don't understand putting a dog down for preydrive.

I will say, though, that I'd have a hard time keeping a dog in my house after it had killed MY cat, though. Especially if I was doing the appropriate things to manage and one of those freak accidents just happened to make it fail.
 

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I don't understand putting a dog down for preydrive.

I will say, though, that I'd have a hard time keeping a dog in my house after it had killed MY cat, though. Especially if I was doing the appropriate things to manage and one of those freak accidents just happened to make it fail.
The problem is, is that they weren't doing appropriate things to avoid this. The dogs were free-ranging outside and killed their indoor-outdoor cats. And I, also, would have a hard time keeping my dog if he killed my cat. But I would just send him to a home where there were no cats, not end his life. All the dogs I was talking about, had no idea what they did was wrong. And now they're dead for their mistake.
 

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The problem is, is that they weren't doing appropriate things to avoid this. The dogs were free-ranging outside and killed their indoor-outdoor cats. And I, also, would have a hard time keeping my dog if he killed my cat. But I would just send him to a home where there were no cats, not end his life. All the dogs I was talking about, had no idea what they did was wrong.
Yeah, like I said: I don't think i could bring myself to KILL THE DOG for being a dog. I also don't see keeping dogs and cats without some precautions in place (like, oh, supervision, a baby gate, and dog crates). I just occasionally run into people foaming at the mouth for someone rehoming a dog for killing or mauling a cat, and as much as I'd like to think I wouldn't knee-jerk to rehoming... I likely would. I don't think it would be fair to THE DOG, if I couldn't get over myself.
 

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(I'm about 1/4 mile from the Cincinnati City limits where they are Banned.
http://www.pittiesplace.com/cincinnati.htm )
And of course they have horrible owners.
Their 'Pits' were from the aggressive fighting lines.
Aggressively trained and by idiot owners.
My cousin was one of the reasons for the Cincinnati ban on pit bulls. When he was a kid back in the early 90's, he was seriously hurt, almost killed, by a pit bull that had been taught to be a "guard dog" by an idiot owner. Basically, they made the dog very people aggressive and when he broke free one day, he attacked my cousin and some other kids who were walking along a sidewalk. My cousin and his Mom have testified at some of the breed ban hearings. Of course, the dog breed takes the hit, not so much the idiot dog owners who mistrain and mistreat their dogs.

My thinking is that there are very few really bad/dangerous dogs but there are a significant number of otherwise good dogs who've been negatively shaped by bad life experiences and improper training, including lack of training. I don't think breed bans are effective since they don't do anything to address bad owners. Like you said, it's a quick political fix.
 

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Shell no judgement taken.
LOVE the shots of Luna and your Dad!
And sadly Pits have become the focus of this Thread.
Here are a few more facts.
The two dogs slipped the kennel and were across the street and several houses down when the cat incident took place.
The owner came out of her house and tried to get to the cats. Who were in their own front yard.
They then turned on her and barking , growling and snapping they penned her against her own car.
Luckily she wasn't bitten.

The dogs' owner came running out and corralled them. Lead them off and back to his yard.
Police got there several minutes later.... Animal Control was then called.
The dogs' owner was cited on a 'leash law' violation as the first step, then the courts took over.
These dogs are definitely NOT representative of the Breed.
The are the product of bad, but selected, breeding for aggression and fight training.
Dog fighting is still big here unfortunately. That's where they ended up I'm sure.

I merely cited this incident as I can actually see the house where the attack took place from where I am sitting.
Breed Bias usually has a basis in fact..... might be an over-blowing of the facts on a slow news day ......but also is usually the owners fault.

I love Pits. Not my cup of tea but beautiful and I certainly have no fear of them.
Unfortunately forums like these are populated w/, by and large, responsible owners.
The bias comes from the irresponsible ones.
Google 'dogs NFL' you get links to some cool doggie gear for your dog.
Google 'Pit Bull NFL' and you get Micheal Vick, Derrick Burgess, etc.....

Just lost a Shar-pei (#1 Mailman Biased Dog) at age 11 last year and currently have an Akita which we adopted 3 months ago.
Big prey driven dogs.
In my 60 years I have owned dozens of dogs from many many Breeds and many Muttleys.
Also we have had cats since the day I was born.
We have never had an incident w/ the cats and dogs.
I'm not a big fan of the 'Prey Drive' defense.
To me it's a kind of 'Dogs will be Dogs' thinking and which in turn leads to more bias.
"Oh our (insert breed name) was just chasing/mauling the cat because (insert breed) do that...."
"Oh he knocked your kid down when he was running because.....etc..."
Notice I didn't add a Breed there but if it's a Heeler, Collie, Shar-pei, GSD, Lab (and we've been owned by all these breeds) the person affected will.
And the Breed Bias starts.

Our dogs are socialized from day one.
Cats, kids, other dogs, other people, we don't stand for any nonsense here at home or out in public.

I agree w/ Sharky and you Shell.
If you have a Breed that is suspect in the Public's Mind then it's up to you to change some minds.

Raise it responsibly, socialize the hell out of it and get it out there where you can change people's minds.
People are AFRAID of Pits, but respectful of Rotts, GSD's, and Dobbies.
And Pits are by far the least people aggressive of all of them.
I have come to realize that people want to pet our Akita.
Luckily he's so big they ask first, so far.
It's our job deal w/ that to train him to that fact.
If he bites someone it's on us.
But the Akita breed will ultimately get the blame.

Cool discussion!
BTW my Breed Bias is against Dachshunds.
At age 10 I got a chunk of my heel removed when one, whom I'd known since birth, darted out from under a car and nailed me.
She had just had pups under there.
Not the Breeds fault but I don't turn my back on the little buggers.... LOL!
 

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bgmacaw we cross posted.

Sorry to hear about your cousin.
I remember the incident well and hope he's OK.

Right about that time a friend of ours, a UPS driver, was face mauled by a Black Lab out in Georgetown.
And trust me most delivery people know how the read dogs as their health depends om it.
He bent down to pet the tail wagging dog, just like he had several times a week for months, got a face full of teeth.
Seriously injured but oddly that sweet cuddly breed wasn't brought up in the discussions.

There's reverse Breed Bias too.
 

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As far as my family goes, if it's big, it's a pit, if it's brindle, it's a pit, if it's ears are cropped, it's a pit, and if it looks like it might bite you, it's a pit, and if it actually does bite someone it's a pit BULL and should be killed.

Being somebody that loves their look and their craziness, it's hard to live in a house full of nay-sayers, especially when I was caring for a APBT puppy which I had found (we did locate the owner). Despite the fact that Luna (actually called Mercedes :S ) was an absolute joy, not too many people would even touch her. The first thing out of my mom's mouth was "well, when she mauls you she's getting killed". Oh yes, this five month old puppy is surely gonna eat my heart out. Children would walk her and play with her, their parents loved her, then when they asked of her breed or recognized it, they all but called the police on me.

Living with a pit is a joy and also a great struggle. On the one hand you have a potentially wonderful dog and good opportunity to educate, but on the other you have to live day in and day out with the infuriating, and sometimes dangerous, ignorance and bias against your dog based solely on bullshit the media feeds and the way your dog looks.
 

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English Proverb:
"Give a dog a bad name, and hang him.
The virtues of the dog are his own, his vices, those of his master."
 

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We have had some wonderful 'Pits' around here.
One escape artist used to get loose all the time and we'd round her up.
Sweet sweet dog.
Looked and acted just like Petey from 'Our Gang'
They have wonderful owners.

Then we have had some horrible 'Pits'.
Two of them broke out of their kennel and mauled 3 cats to death.
This in front of the cats' owner who was them penned against a car by the dogs.
She wasn't bitten but was rightfully about scared to death.
The dogs' owner was cited, fined and made to pay restitution.
Also had to remove the dogs from his premises.
(I'm about 1/4 mile from the Cincinnati City limits where they are Banned.
http://www.pittiesplace.com/cincinnati.htm )
And of course they have horrible owners.
Their 'Pits' were from the aggressive fighting lines.Aggressively trained and by idiot owners.

Sadly it only takes a few attacks to poison a breed's reputation for decades.
Especially w/ the media these days.
And banning is a cheap political fix.
Person gets bitten.... then another.......someone brings up a banning law.......you want to be the politician voting down banning them?
It's political suicide.
The dogs bred from true fighting lines are among the most gentle with people. Human aggressive dogs were always culled out of fighting lines. A well known fact that human aggression and dog aggression are two different things.

Look at the rescued Michael Vick Dogs...They have all done great.
 
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