The Humane Society of the US estimates around 10,000 ‘puppy mills’, or dog breeders concerned with profit over animal welfare, usually breeding in mass quantities, exist throughout the united states. Around 80% of them are not licensed by the USDA.
At the same time these breeders keep producing animals in enormous quantities (and often poor conditions), over a million- MILLION- dogs are euthanize annually (often for no better reason then we lack the resourced to care for them). The number is significantly higher for cats.
Angel is an 3 year old female American Pitbull Terrier mix, currently living at the Capital Area Humane Society of Lansing, Michigan. It would be extremely unfortunate if this beautiful animal were to not only spend much of her life confined in a shelter, spending perhaps 80% of the day within a cage, but die in this situation as well.
Angel faces one very real and very big challenge; her particular breed has perhaps one of the largest and most unfortunate misconceptions in America. Contrary to what is widely believed to be the case, Pitbulls were infact bred specifically NOT to be aggressive toward humans (I will explain further below). This behavior has in fact become instinctual; it is genetically ingrained.
Though is possible for absolutely any dog breed to be trained to be aggressive, multiple studies have been conducted showing Pitts to be friendlier toward humans than even the avg. Labrador.
The history of the American Pitbull Terrier is a very interesting one. First, before I cover the Pitbull, the purpose behind this lineage’s parent breed must be covered.
English Bulldogs were in fact produced to participate in the violent sport of ‘Bull Baiting’, whereby the dog would bait the bull, often actually latching on to the face of the animal while it thrashed around, often resulting in extreme blood loss to the bull (not considering the danger these dogs faced). Of course this was eventually deemed cruel, and outlawed. Consider how big of a deal it is, and rare, that a human bull-rider maintains even 8 seconds.
So what did enthusiasts turn to, other then a similar event- dog fighting. Bred from a mix between the English Bulldog- known for its extreme pain threshold and unmatched strength, and Terriers for their agility, the Pitbull is unmatched in the ‘pit’. This all occurred in the UK, before early immigrants even reached the shores of America.
However, violence toward humans was discouraged during breeding and selection; the idea behind this being handlers able to enter a ring and treat their Pitbulls without getting mauled. Early in American history they were often used as farmhands, as well as children’s companions- entrusted with their care.
Today, Pitbulls are still perhaps the most popular breed associated with the very real issue that is dog fighting. They are also often used as ‘bait dogs’, animals unfortunate enough to adopt the role of ‘punching bag’ for fighters. They are chained up, with no method of escape, while these fighting dogs bite and tear at them to enhance their aggression. They still maintain the instinctual affinity toward humans.
The American Kennel Club rates their Stafford-shire Terriers (basically the same breed, recognized by the AKC in 1936), compared with other breeds, at a 97% temperament with children and 100% train-ability.
Back to Angel
Normally, the Capital Area Humane Society of Lansing requires a $125 adoption fee. Before assuming this is a lot to ask, consider the cost of spaying (she is spayed)- which in itself often runs over $125, and then the additional cost of all the vaccinations she currently has, and the microchip she comes with.
If you are a dog lover like I am, and want to see Angel’s quality of living improve drastically, please share this article. If enough people know she exists, and are made aware of her plight, she will find a home. If you live in or near Lansing, Michigan, stopping in and saying hi won’t cost you a cent.
Lansing, MI 4890
Fax: (517) 626-2560