East Texas animal agencies weigh in on Pit Bull Awareness month
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Many dog owners say one particular breed gets a bad rap. Since 2007, October has been National Pitbull Awareness Month, the goal being to raise awareness and bust myths.
Those who work in East Texas pet rescues say that pit bulls can be sometimes misunderstood and mis-labeled. Deborah Dobbs, president and founder of the SPCA of East Texas has worked in the rescue field for 14 years. She said the breed is sometimes used for the wrong reasons.
“For fighting and/or protection of illicit activities. We see properties that have pit bulls chained to all the trees surrounding a location,” said Dobbs.
Amber Greene is the shelter supervisor for Smith County Animal Control and said a little over half of the dogs they have are pit mixes. When they’re responding to calls, Greene says the dogs can come across as aggressive or territorial.
“But once we remove them from that territory that they have claimed as theirs, their whole attitude, most of the time, changes,” Greene said. “They become much more friendly once they get here.”
According to the American Temperament Testing Society, 870 it bulls had a temperament test and of those, 86 percent passed. Stoy Law Group out of Fort Worth, reports that pit bulls have a much higher fatality rate when they attack humans than other breeds, but they are also the most abused breed in the United States.
“This breed is not any more likely to harm, to bite, to injure than any other breed that gets mishandled as a young dog,” Dobbs said.
Larry Christian is a sergeant with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and said they don’t get many calls about dog fighting in Smith County, but he said he knows it goes on.
“We take those seriously and if we can get probable cause to file criminal charges on any kind of cruelty case, we’re going to file them,” Christian said. “Whether it be dog fighting, whether it be just abusing an animal.”
An interesting fact about the breed, during WWI and WWII, Pit Bulls were used as the nation’s mascot. Throughout wartime the breed’s image of bravery and loyalty was displayed on advertisements.
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