The Biggest Battle
The Epidemic That's Killing The Pit Bulls
'Pit Puppies for Sale!'
Pit bulls today are fighting a very tough battle, and they're losing.
Twenty five years ago they were a rare sight on our city streets and few people owned them. But things sure have changed. Today, their popularity is - quite literally - killing them. This one breed is being produced by thousands of people across the country at a time when very few homes will keep them beyond two years of age. The Net is exploding with ads boasting new puppies, and everywhere you turn someone is building a new website to promote their brand new breeding venture.
The easiest way to see the casualties of this epidemic is at our local shelters where so many young adult pit bulls spend their final days. Every single day, abandoned, lost, and unwanted pit bulls pour into shelter doors; some shelters get as many as 10 a day. Most will never find homes.
BAD RAP estimates that up to 20,000 pit bulls are destroyed in SF Bay Area shelters every year. Number of pit bulls BR is able to save each year: 40-50
This mother pit bull did not survive. Not because the shelter 'doesn't like' pit bulls, but because the shelter needed her cage for other dogs on their way in. BR and other rescues were too overwhelmed to help.
Why is this happening?
The problem is simple arithmetic combined with human nature: Pit bull puppies are popular, desirable and easy to sell. But pit bulls are a tough breed to own and not every home is really prepared to keep its dog for life. That once-cute pup becomes much more work as it matures into its adult size and strength, and homes give up on pit bulls all the time. It may get into its first accidental fight, landlords may evict it, it might become hard to control due to lack of training, it may escape its yard. Many of the cute pit bull puppies sold today will end up in shelters before their second birthday. But before they go, chances are great that these same dogs will breed one or two litters of their own...Next season's shelter dogs. And the tragic cycle continues....
Blue LustBlue coated pit bulls are a current fad sweeping the country. Blues are not rare - they're being bred like crazy!
Unfortunately, breeding dogs just to get a certain color means leaving good temperament and health in the dust. Many blue pit bulls are showing up with health problems (bad skin is really common) and abnormal, fearful temperaments.
The female in this photo was bred again and again for her color, then dumped at the Oakland Animal Shelter when her work was done. Her female puppies will suffer the same fate once they've produced their own big money litters. Sadly, few people want adult pit bulls and she was destroyed shortly after we took this photo.
These young pups are adorable, but were not lucky enough to find homes.
Whose Fault Is It?
The people that claim to love them the most are often the ones doing the most damage. Every single person who breeds and sells an intact (not fixed) litter and/or studs out their male dogs is contributing to the epidemic. This includes big name show kennels, 'Backyard Breeders' (BYBs) who sell puppies through newspapers and InterNet ads, people who breed their family pets and those who have accidental litters. It's all adding up. To make matters worse, not all of these pit bulls being produced have good genetics. This means defective dogs with undesirable traits are getting into the gene pool, hurting our breed even more.
How Will It Stop?
Things will only start to change when enough people decide that pit bulls deserve better. It's taken thousands of people to create this problem, and it'll take thousands to decide that enough is enough. Do you love the breed enough to want to see a change?
What IF?What IF breeders decided to create fewer litters and fixed all the non-show pups before they were sold? (Early Spay/Neuter) ....What IF breeders microchipped their puppies before each sale in order to make sure they came back safely if they're ever lost? ....What IF the registries (AKC, UKC, ADBA) decided to limit the numbers of pit bulls that could be registered each year? ....What IF people who only wanted dogs for pets decided to rescue from reputable shelters and rescues instead of buying new puppies? ....What IF breeders and shelters made sure that homes were 100% prepared to own this breed before giving them a dog?
What You Can Do to Help:
From Bad Rap newsletter
- Please don't breed! Fix your pit bull for free or cheap
- Don't support backyard breeders or show kennels that produce numerous litters
- Learn how show kennels make money off of studding out their dogs. Don't support this mass production of dogs!
- Do some intensive breed research before you get one. You'll learn that they can be a very difficult breed to own.
- If you're ready to buy from a breeder, find out all you can about their reputation. Do they care enough to keep breedings to a bare minimum? Do they health test their dogs before they breed? Do they ask a lot of questions, inspect all homes and ask for references before giving over pups? Will they answer all your breed questions and support you through any behavior issues for the rest of the dog's life? Are they active in local rescue efforts? Will they still be around in five years if you have to give the dog back?
- Please consider the wonderful dogs in reputable rescues or shelters instead of buying.
- Ask Craigslist to stop offering free advertising to BYBs: Write to Craig
- Don't get caught up in fads: Blue coats and large, bulky body frames are unhealthy!
- Beware of kennels breeding white dogs. These dogs are usually deaf.
- If your female gets pregnant, BR will help you find a vet who will give her a problem-free abortion. If you're selling a litter, please spay & neuter the pups before you sell them so they can't be bred themselves.
- Got a friend that wants to breed? Take him through a shelter and educate him about the epidemic that's killing pit bulls.
(Above: BR's 'Who's Yo Daddy' shirts were designed to help spread the word: Stop Backyard Breeding.)