If you’re the pet parent of one, you’re already well aware of the awesomeness of Pit Bulls. Now we just need to get the good word out to the world. That’s why National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is celebrated on the last Saturday of October every year.
NPBAD was started in 2007 by Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys, a small, non-profit rescue organization in Tennessee, as a way to bring much-needed positive media attention to this often maligned — and banned — breed.
Pit Bulls (along with Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers) are frequently the victims of breed-specific legislation (BSL), laws that single out a particular breed instead of placing responsibility on dog owners. Because it is so unfair — not to mention ineffective in increasing public safety — BSL is opposed by President Obama and virtually all major animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA, AVMA, HSUS, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
“When Bless the Bullys introduced the idea of a nationwide Pit Bull Awareness Day, the response was overwhelming!” says the official NPBAD website. “It was immediately recognized as an opportunity to educate, change minds and bring about positive media attention to Pit Bulls across the country, all on one day.”
Among the many NPBAD events taking place today is the 6th Annual National Pit Bull Awareness Day Parade & Celebration in Littleton, Colo. Littleton is about 9 miles south of Denver, a city that has the dubious distinction of having what’s regarded as one of the strictest Pit Bull bans in the world.
Here are a few facts you may not know about Pit Bulls:
- In tests by the American Temperament Test Society, Pit Bulls score higher (i.e., they’re less aggressive and friendlier) than Beagles, Border Collies and Yorkies — breeds that are rarely considered “dangerous.”
- The most decorated U.S. military dog in history was a Pit Bull mix named Sgt. Stubby. Sadly, Stubby would be banned from U.S. military bases today because of his breed.
- A Pit Bull named Popsicle (he was found abandoned in a freezer) became a narcotics-sniffing dog and made the biggest single drug bust in Texas history: 3,000 pounds of cocaine.
- Really cool celebrities like Jon Stewart and Kevin Bacon are proud pet parents of Pit Bulls.
- For your reading pleasure, here are a bunch of positive stories about Pit Bulls.
As the NPBAD website says, knowledge is power — “and with education and advocacy, the truth will save lives in terms of negating the fear and bias generated by the media, circumvent knee-jerk reactions such as breed bans, and the truth will result in fewer Pit Bulls ending up in animal shelters.”
Photo credit: Laura Goldman. That’s a puppy picture of my late, great Larry (1995-2007), an American Staffordshire Terrier, aka “Pit Bull,” who totally changed my mind about these dogs. (Yep, I used to be afraid of them, thanks to all the negative stories in the media.)