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Pit bulls wrongly judged

A police officer shot and killed a pit bull in Glendale, Ariz., last week after it attacked a woman.

Pit bulls get a lot of attention, regarding the debate whether they are killers or pets. This debate should not even be occurring. Any dog at any time, if raised a certain way, can have the same behavior that only pit bulls seem to get called out for. Yes, they are tough, extremely strong animals and have a higher pain tolerance, but they are also very sweet and loving if they are raised in the right atmosphere and by the right people. The answer to this debate is that they are indeed loving and fun pets.

People who fear pit bulls have often witnessed an attack or base their feelings on what the news says about the breed. Summer Gardner, a biochemistry freshman, said she witnessed an attack firsthand, and that it made her feel uneasy around these dogs. But if it had been any other breed, she may be afraid of that one instead. This occurrence is the kind we all are always informed about on the news. We never hear about their heroic actions or how sweet they are at heart.

Any dog breed can be raised to be fighters and killers, pit bulls just so happen to be the most known for the killing aspect. German Shepards are a popular breed trained by police to attack criminals if needed, because they can be trained to be vicious. However, the German Shepard breed is mostly recognized for the saving lives part of their job.

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Organizations in the country, like Out of The Pits — a nonprofit organization that travels with therapy dogs to educate people about pit bulls — are working to restore the breed’s reputation. Tough Love Pit Bull Rescue, an organization founded by UA alumni, rescues pit bulls from overcrowded shelters to place them in caring homes. At the Pima Animal Care Center, staff members said about 15 percent of the dogs there were pit bulls, or pit mixes.

“There is no clear-cut evidence that physiological traits exist among different dog breeds which would contribute to aggression,” said Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of Forensic Science and Anti-cruelty Projects for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in an interview with KGUN 9 News last year.

How trainers bring up their dogs is a major influence on behavior.

“I’ve dealt with over a hundred pit bulls in my life, and none of them have ever shown any aggression toward me. Like any dog, especially powerful dogs, they need to be socialized and trained from an early age,” said Sky Sobol, a pre-neuroscience freshman. “I think it is also a testament to the breed that four of Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs, after a lot of rehabilitation, became certified therapy dogs.”

These dogs, thanks to people abusing them and publicizing only their vicious side, have developed a sad reputation in society. People should remember that even though there are violent individuals, judging an entire group for a few bad apples is unfair.

— Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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Updated April 10, 2021