For the Love of Pit-bulls!

Teagan Ortense

You can hear the loud and saddening cries, and the clashing of teeth to one another. There is blood everywhere, and yet they still fight. Ripping skin from their bodies, bashing one another into the ground, as men cheer them on. Men are yelling “yeah, rip him apart!”, “Kill him!”, “I’ve got my money on spike!” The cheers from the crowd are so loud, the cries sound nonexistent from these animals. The men depend on it, for their money. They depend on the bloodiness of the dogs and the missing chunks of flesh from their backs and their arms.

The cries for help become even louder as one grips the others face holding it, ripping a hole through the muzzle of the other. There’s blood gushing from Thrash’s muzzle, he’s crying in agony as Spike throws him against the wall, ripping another chunk of flesh from his throat. There’s blood pouring out of Thrash, it’s splattered across the wall, hard to tell which dog it is from. There are puddles of blood on the ground.

Men finally come into the arena and take sharp paddles and knives to rip these blood thirsty animals from one another. Men quickly run to cash out, whoever has bet on Spike will be winning big. When the fighting is all over, these Pit-bulls will not be taken home, bathed, and loved; but they will be killed and disposed of, as if they meant nothing but obtaining money for their breeder.

My reality is a little different, I put the key into my front door and I can already hear the galloping of my 150 pound Pit-bull/ Black Lab mix. My belongings are dropped to the floor, as my Bear hugs me. He will jump up and wrap his paws around my waist and squeeze me, while barraging me with licks to the face.

“I hate Pit-bulls, they are so aggressive and abusive, I don’t understand how anyone could call them a loving animal! I have seen them on the street, they are cruel and nasty.” A woman, who wished not to be named, at the dog park tells me. She has a little Chihuahua with a pink tutu on. Little does she know my Bear, who loves her small dog is part Pit. I ask “Have you been a victim of a Pit-Bull attack?” She responds “No, personally I have not, but my friends dog has been.” She responds in an almost snobbish tone. “The Pit-bull took her Cocker Spaniel by the neck and would not let go. He had to be rushed to the vet and put into surgery right away. Thankfully he is ok now. ” Our dogs have been playing for a half hour now. So I decide to fill her in.

“My dog, Bear, he is actually half Pit.” I say, and her face is a mix between shock and disgust. “Would he change your opinion of a Pit-bull, now that you see how well behaved he is?” I ask. She does not respond, but instead calls her small dog over, leashes it, and leaves.

Often people mistake Pit-bulls as aggressive animals. They underestimate the amount of love these animals are capable of. Vanessa Romero, a kitchen manager at Blue Apron, had some great things to say about pit-bulls, “I am always aware about negative things said about pit-bulls. I know pit-bulls have a very strong ability to please their owner.” She continues on, “A pit-bull is a product of their environment most of the time and how they were raised. If you treat a dog with love and care, despite of the breed, most of the time they turn out just fine.”

The ASPCA’s website has a page called “The Truth About Pit-bulls,” which gives a short description of where pit-bulls came from. Pit-bulls descended from an English bull-baiting dog. These dogs were raised as fighting dogs against large animals. They were taught the “bite and hold” technique that pit-bulls today are commonly known for. Once baiting animals were no longer allowed, people then continued to raise pit-bulls as fighting dogs, so they would not fight the person themselves. Pit-bulls were soon bred with smaller dogs, so that speed and agility were combined with strength and force. People continuously use this or similar information they have heard about Pit-bulls to make their assumptions on these loving creatures.

Felicia Gelman, a personal trainer from Pennsylvania, said, “It really saddens me [that people raise Pit-bulls as fighting dogs]- not just because of my love for the breed and to think of anyone harming them is just horrible, but it gives such a great dog such a bad rep that people are truly missing out on real lovers!”

“People who raise Pit-bulls to fight, are nasty and cruel. They can’t get a real job because they’re too lazy to find one,” said Erica Bussanich, 20, of Cliffside Park. “Rex has never shown any aggression towards anyone or anything. My grandmother, who is petrified of all dogs, sits and feeds my dog treats and lays with him. People need to know their facts before judging any animal, especially Pit-bulls! People who want to adopt a Pit-bull, need to know how to treat them and take care of them. They need to understand that Pit-bulls have feelings too, and if you can’t handle it, then don’t adopt or buy one. “

Adopting a Pit-bull or any other type of dog is a very large responsibility, not just in feeding and letting them out, but in loving them as well. “A drug user came to the Liberty Humane Society [in Jersey City] and asked if he could get 20 dollars for the Pit-bull. They offered to take the dog off his hands, without payment, and find him a good home.” Romero says of her Pit-

bull, Zuko. “When I went to see him, he was very happy to see me and my dog, butters. I brought Butters to see if they get along. Zuko was calm and seemed very well trained. I fell in love with him, he was a gentle giant and butters loved him too I was sold after that.”

Erica Bussanich says “People who want to adopt a Pit-bull , need to know how to treat them and take care of them. They need to know that Pit-bulls, among other animals, have feelings too. If you can’t handle an animal, don’t adopt or buy one!” She continues to say “Don’t adopt if you’re just going to drop them back off at the shelter. You’re hurting the Pit-bull the most. Would you drop your baby off at the shelter because you couldn’t handle them?”

Animals are a product of their environment. Any dog a person raises, is going to act based off of their environment. If a dog is loyal to their owner, that is all it is. It learns from what it is seeing in the household, along with the way the owner is teaching it. The very few fighting dogs that are confiscate from unfit owners, don’t know what it is like to be loved. They understand a caged life with being taught to fight and be nasty. When being taken into a loving home, it takes a lot of time for adjustment and for the dog to trust the owner.

“All of our shelter dogs were in the shelter simply because their owners were unfit. Sadie and Abe were both abused as puppies, but have the most loving and sweet personalities. They are both still skittish, but awesome dogs. Abe was also from an abusive home, but didn’t experience any abusive behavior as his mother had him while in the shelter,” Gelman says of her Pit-bulls. “Abe is super loving and affectionate. Otis and Sadie were the hardest [when adjusting to home life] as they were super skittish and had a lot of nervous tendencies. The hardest part was getting them to trust us and know that they were in a safe and loving home. It took a long time for their “true colors” to show, as now they are your typical, hyper pit and love attention, people and love!”

People say that animals don’t have feelings, but if this were the case, they would not be able to understand when we are sad, which most dogs do. They would be unable to have emotions such as happiness and viciousness. Animals have emotions, especially the ones that are caged for their most of their life and abused. Open-mindedness is key when looking at Pit-bulls, because one is vicious, does not mean all of them are.