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Ban Pitbulls

Now relax, it’s not what you think.  I love pit bulls with every part of my being but even families that love them do not have an easy road when it comes to having a pit bull as a child. Whether its having to always be on high alert worrying if someone will steal their beloved pet or worrying if an uncontrollable off lead dog comes charging at them, knowing no matter what happens the big bad pit bull is going to get the bad rap. You have to be living under a rock not to understand the plight of the pit bull.

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And here is South Africa we at least don’t have bans on dogs because of how they look and yet we are still faced with insurmountable problems.
Add to that the current situation in our country also sees a mass exodus from South Africa at a rate of knots and where does this leave our dogs ? People are realising they can’t always take their pit bulls with them because so many countries do have a ban on pit bulls. So sadly, even loving, well socialised and trained pit bulls are being abandoned at an alarming rate.

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We were extremely grateful this past week to Chappies family. A family that was moving to Miami where a pit bull ban was in place. They asked us to keep her till they could find somewhere they could live, where she could be with them. We weren’t very optimistic, we’ve heard that story so many times before, but they did it, she flew out to them this week and we could not be more thrilled.
But sadly she is one in a thousand that get that happy ending, many others will be left behind hoping with all their being that they can get a second chance at a loving family and not just pit bulls, so many dogs, everyday are abandoned by their families who flee to safer shores.

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My biggest problem with Pit bull bans is that they don’t take every dog at his/her own merit, it’s a one size fits all situation not to mention the fact their judgement is based on if they THINK your dog is a pit bull type. And what’s even more frustrating is an aggressive dog of any other breed that is not on the dangerous dogs list has no pre – judgement set against them. So you see where this is flawed, right ? The dangerous dog acts have not decreased dog bites at all. But how would they ? They are not attacking the real problem they are presuming only certain dogs attack. Which in all my years of working with dogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one size fits all when it comes to animal behaviour. I watched a programme the other day where a girl was woken up and her dog taken away from her with probably 15 policeman involved in the “raid” for one dog. Had the dog done anything ? No, it was purely because she was a pit bull. The young lady actually had a permit for her pit bull but what had happened was her insurance had lapsed and she was struggling to get the insurance renewed which is a condition for her to be allowed to keep her.  My heart broke for her as they took her fur child away in a van. Basically she was told, if her dog shows any aggression what so ever during the time they have the dog, she will be put down. Now I don’t know about your dog but if any of my dogs were to be carted off with 15 strange men I wouldn’t be very hopeful that my dog was not going to react in some way and I have little brown dogs. Thankfully her beautiful dog did just fine but was kept away from her for 2 weeks in holding cells, like a hardened criminal purely because of how she looked.
I don’t know if I could have a pet that I was always worrying about them taking away. I barely sleep now.

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Now I really do believe it’s unfair to judge a dog purely by how it looks and not by the behaviours it presents to you . It breaks my heart knowing dogs that people think are pit bull types are at the brunt of this legislation. I mean the dog may not even have any terrier in its genetic make up but if its got a blocked head and broad shoulders it can fall into some peoples judgement as a pit bull type. I’m devastated, everyday for “pit bull types” in our own country, because even though there is no law against them, the stigma is there.

Every loser wants one to look tough and every rescue wants to make them out to be total harmless cuddle bunnies. None of them are taking into account the dog itself. It’s all about what the dog does for them emotionally. I think the pit bull suffers this human emotional need the most out of any breed and to be honest in our experience they generally love their human family like no other (again not all but enough have come into our care to make a generalised comment). They along with staffie types are the breeds that give the most gut wrenching cries when they are abandoned by their families and they are the ones that struggle in shelters to find another family. Yet the breeders keep churning them out like a sausage factory. As one is born probably 10 are losing their lives, in fact it’s probably in the hundreds if not thousands, it just doesn’t make sense.

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So I’m not going to lie, sometimes I deep down wish they would put a stop to the breeding of pit bulls because they are the most maligned breed and do not deserve the kind of life so many of them fall into. Some of the most horrific, heart breaking rescues we’ve done have been pit bull type dogs. It’s not that I don’t want pit bulls to exist. I say this because I don’t want them to brought into this world to be abused and judged.  Now before you shoot me understand I’m coming from the love of the pit bull. There are simply abandoned pit bulls everywhere we look at the moment. I do not see the situation getting any better.

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I have no solution, I just want their suffering to stop. There are very few families out there that truly understand the breed type and can meet their needs and are willing to go through the persecution of having one. Pit bull enthusiasts will say the ones in shelters are not pure breed, which they are totally correct but at sometime along the way a pure breed pit bull was in the mix.

And to make matters worse we are now experiencing pitties being mixed with breeds that should never be mixed. The worst we are being flooded with right now is the pittie and boerboel mix. Now let that sink in, in the wrong hands, in the wrong environment, we’re heading for trouble but there is no governance whatsoever about breeding. There are simply not enough responsible homes and they are saying in the media that people leaving SA is at an all time high. People are moving into smaller more secure housing estates. So with so many easy going little pooches looking for a loving home in shelters around the country what chance do our big dogs have 🙁 What chance does an abandoned, unsocialised pittie have in finding that forever one dog home. But Dogtown is here for the misunderstood the throw away dogs. The dogs who need people who understand their needs. We’re here to make sure they have an enrichment plan, an exercise plan and that human emotional bond that they crave.

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But we are working to our fullest capacity we have ever had in years and the abandoned and abused are coming in quicker than we can find loving homes. There’s got be a way of getting on top of this. We sterilse, sterilse, sterilse but those out there making money are not worried about the dogs in the shelters as long as they can sell one more puppy for a nice profit they are happy. My dream would be that as long as there are dogs in shelters needing homes, no more should be coming into this world until every shelter is empty. I can dream cant I ? We spend every day saving lives and making dogs dreams come true for our dogs, surely we deserve our own dream to save more lives. Will you help us ?