I have talked about this many times before, breed discrimination in dogs. I'm sure you have all seen it's ugliness or heard it and for some reason in the last two weeks it has presented itself to me vividly, so I needed to address it here. Breed discrimination is just as ugly as any other form of discrimination or prejudice, it is just directed towards dogs.
About two weeks ago I was on a walk with my dog when I passed another man and his little dog and there was a Pitbull walking toward us. This Pit was not doing anything, just walking. Honestly, better than my dog was walking. But the man said nothing to me about my dog, rather, he said "Better be careful of that dog, he is one of those that will get you." I responded with " He looks in control, I think we are fine, but thank you." I passed the dog with no problem, neither of our dogs even seemed to care about the other. I put that incident out of my mind thinking maybe he had a bad encounter with that dog or a dog that looked like that one.
But then in the next 7-10 days following that, I have been out with my dog, out with Pit clients or Shepherd clients, heard clients grievances and overheard things as I walk through the city that made my skin crawl. While with clients I've heard everything from "Don't EVER put a harness on a pit! Are you trying to kill someone?" to "Get that man eating filth out of our neighborhood.". My clients that own Pits have told me about all the harassment they go through on a day to day basis, the scared looks, hateful comments, people standing next to a building until they pass and so on. It is ridiculous!
Meanwhile, you have Chihuahuas that are extremely aggressive getting laughed at, small terriers that literally nip ankles and other dogs faces and the typical white dog from the shelter that is barking at every moving thing, but nothing is said to them. It is just cute or people feel sorry for them.
This makes no sense to me! This has to STOP!!
First of all, there is no reason a Pit cannot have a harness on! Second, none of these dogs should be call man eaters unless in fact they have committed that crime, and none of the PETS I work with have! Third, just because a dog is a certain breed, does not mean you have the right to harass their owner. And Fourth, when you see a dog walking toward you, no matter the breed, there is no need to clear a path in any other fashion than to make room for dog and owner to pass.
Hate breeds hate! For all the people that have issues with the Pit breed specifically, try to understand that they have a bad wrap. That doesn't mean they are all friendly and without problems, but then again, there is no breed I can say that about. ALL BREEDS have dogs that have aggression and fear problems with both people and dogs. This is NOT THEIR FAULT! It is due to an abuse, mistreatment, neglect or an unfortunate life of no exposure to anything in the world. Why on earth would anyone equate that to bad, to me it is sad and calls for further understanding.
All dog breeds have the ability to love unconditionally, give loyal friendship and undying companionship. So the next time you pass a dog you think is "mean" or a "bad" breed, try to remember the love, loyalty and companionship they are giving their owner. Maybe you can see them differently. If we become a world of love and acceptance, think about what we could do. Not just with dogs, but with humans too.