If, like me, you’ve ever had the pleasure of having one in your life, 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, for the past 13 years, National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is celebrated at the end of October, which also happens to be National Pit Bull Awareness Month.
NPBAD was started in 2007 by Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys, a small, non-profit rescue organization in Tennessee. It was conceived as a way to bring much-needed positive media attention to this often maligned — and, sadly, often banned — breed.
Many people who’ve never had a Pit Bull may be unaware that these dogs (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 these bans are so unfair — not to mention ineffective in increasing public safety — BSL is opposed by 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.”
Denver Could Finally End Its Unfair Pit Bull Ban This Year!
Ever since 1988, Pit Bulls, mixes and dogs that happen to look like Pit Bulls have been banned from living in Denver. The city’s Pit Bull ban is one of the most notorious in the world. It was enacted in 1989 after a 3-year-old boy wandered into his neighbor’s yard and was fatally attacked by an unspayed Pit Bull who was chained to a carport, according to the Denver Post. Three years earlier, another of the owner’s dogs had bitten an 8-year-old boy. Because of that one irresponsible owner over 30 years ago, thousands of Denver residents have had to make the terrible choice of finding a new home for themselves or their beloved dogs, or surrendering their pets to the city to be euthanized.
Fortunately, on November 3, Denver voters will have the power to end the unfair ban. If you live in Denver and love dogs and fairness, I urge you to vote YES on Measure 2J to remove the Pit Bull ban. The owners of these dogs will still be required to register their dogs with Denver Animal Protection, obtain a breed-restricted license, and have no more than two Pit Bulls. Yes, these requirements that single out certain dog breeds are still BSL (and B.S.), but removing the ban is an extremely important first step. Again, Denver dog lovers, please vote YES on Measure 2J!
Pit Bull Fun Facts
Here are a few facts you may not know about Pit Bulls. Please share them with anyone you know who doesn’t like these dogs!
- 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.
- For your reading pleasure, here are a bunch of positive stories about Pit Bulls. Feel free to share them on social media to get the good word out!
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. Those are my late, great snugglebug pitties Larry (1995-2007) and Sophie (1997-2009) in the top photo, and Larry as a puppy in the other photo (those ears!!). Larry, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was my first “Pit Bull” and totally changed my mind about these dogs. Yep, I used to be afraid of them, thanks to all the negative stories in the media.