"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Sunday, March 18, 2012

BullShit Legislation

It's preeetty safe to say that I have a ridiculously-strong love for Pit Bulls. If you haven't quite figured that out about me yet... well, it's okay. Maybe smarts just aren't your thing ;)

In fact, I've written more posts about "the Pit Bull" than any other dog or animal rescue topic.
I've shared the reasons why I love them.
I've examined the reasons why they're hated.
I've discussed why they deserve to live.
I've explained why they're forced to die.

I've shared the truth about Pit Bulls. I've presented the facts. I've disputed the stereotypes. I've challenged the bullshit.

I've shared from my own Pit Bull experiences. Not from what I've read about. Not from what I've seen on TV. Not from what I've been told.

I've been open and honest... candid and realistic. I've been a lover. I've been a fighter. I've been a friggin-force to be reckoned with.

In turn, I've planted seeds. I've witnessed change. I've made an impact. Slowly but surely, I've opened some minds, changed some perceptions, and righted some wrongs.

In those moments, no matter how small the change... or how tiny the impact... I've been proud of me. Proud of what I was able to do for these dogs. Proud of the hope I was able to bring them. Proud of the lives that may be saved, because I stood up for them... I fought for them... and then, someone heard me... believed me... and did something about it.

However... it doesn't always go that way when I write about Pit Bulls. The response isn't always positive. Readers aren't always open. My words aren't always welcomed, or valued, or even heard.

Instead, I'm often challenged, ridiculed, and bullied by "the other side" ... the Pit-Bull-hater side. This is the side that boasts sheer ignorance, lacking credibility and compassion, and rallying for injustice. It's the side that works against everything I fight for... the side that hopes to ensure the death of every last living, breathing Pit Bull.

People from this "other side" often write to me... just to provide me with a long list of reasons why each of my Pit Bulls deserves to die. And sadly, many people agree with them.

Keep in mind... these are my children they're talking about.

Further, these people are extremely arrogant and combative... arguing to be "right" about a subject that they honestly know little-to-nothing about. They'll deny all logic. They'll skew the statistics. They'll swear-by "first-hand accounts" ... random testimonials they've heard from a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend's cousin, who supposedly was there when it happened... or maybe just saw it on the news.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what they know or don't know. It doesn't matter what you say or don't say. It doesn't matter what this-or-that dog did or didn't do.

Because no matter what, they'll stand firm in their misinformation, with an intense, unwavering, and undeserved hatred for these dogs. Dogs that they've never even met... but wish to see killed.

Sure... these people sound pretty damn ignorant, ridiculous, and evil, don't they? So then... why would I even bother to acknowledge them with this post? Surely no rational person would ever take them seriously, or even consider complying with their cruel, unfounded, kill-those-dogs death wishes, right?

Oh man. I wish.

Maybe you're wondering exactly who is on this "other side" anyway, and why they even matter??

Well... I'll tell you. They are your friends, your neighbors, your landlords, your insurance companies, and your lawmakers. That's who's on the other side.

Does this group of people deserve my time or energy? Well... no.
But Pit Bulls do.

And sadly, it's nearly impossible to fight for these dogs... and work toward the justice they so desperately need and deserve... without taking-on those people from that "other side." Or should I say... taking-down that other side.

Here's why:

For every person who distrusts the Pit Bull breed(s)... a Pit Bull dies.
For every neighbor who complains about their presence, a Pit Bull dies.
For every landlord who forbids their residence, a Pit Bull dies.
For every insurance company who denies their coverage, a Pit Bull dies.
For every lawmaker who bans their very-existence... thousands upon thousands of Pit Bulls die.

The "other side" is responsible for the deaths of millions of Pit Bulls each year. Abuse, neglect, and unimaginable torture are to blame for the deaths of thousands more.

And so... the innocent die. The guilty thrive. Justice takes the fall. Ignorance kills them all.

Yet... few people care to acknowledge this issue. Even fewer fight to change it. And even fewer actually do something about it, by saving at least one... before it's too late. By adopting just one, so another has a chance. By loving just one, so they don't have to die without it.

Maybe you aren't a massive Pit-Bull-advocate-freak like me, but surely you have a good heart, and a solid understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Surely you can see that millions of innocent dogs don't deserve to die for no reason. Surely you can understand that your silence allows it to continue.

Maybe you don't have a Pit Bull. Maybe your friends don't either, and maybe you've never even met one. Even still, this issue should matter to you, and here's why:

Consider your dog... whatever his or her breed may be. Consider how much you love your baby, and how much your baby loves you. Consider the innocence of this special, loyal creature in your life, who wants nothing more than to please you... who lives and breathes just for you. Consider just how much you treasure his or her devotion, and just how deserving your baby is of life.

Now... consider if someone else --who has never even met your dog-- tried to threaten your dog's life... because in their opinion, your baby doesn't deserve to live. Consider that this person's opinion was formed... based solely on the actions of another dog of a similar breed.

Consider that the other dog had been severely starved, neglected, and beaten all of his life --and yet-- the dog was punished for those crimes, and was forced to pay the price for what was done to him.

Then, consider that YOUR dog must also pay the price... he'll lose his life. Consider that your dog has been sentenced to death --along with every other dog who bears his resemblance-- based on nothing more than the actions of another dog, who kinda-sorta looked like him. (I'm not kidding. This really happens.)

Consider the feelings you would have... the outrage, the fear, the pain. Consider how you would stand up and scream: "No!!! Please! You can't do this! It's wrong! Somebody please stop them! Help us!" Consider that no one hears you, no one agrees with you, and no one even cares. Consider what it would do to your heart, and your faith in humanity, if this were your reality.

Consider the pain in your baby's eyes, and the fear in his heart, as he is ripped away from the only family he knows and loves. Consider the confusion, the heartbreak, and the terror he will feel... at the moment he is killed.

Now... picture your baby, laying lifeless in a landfill, beneath thousands upon thousands of other babies, who look just like him... and died just like him.

That's what BSL looks like.

Seriously... ask yourself: what would you do... if this issue affected YOUR dog, in the very-real way that it threatens each of mine? Wouldn't you be angry? Wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you fight for your baby's right to live?

Then, to take it one step further, imagine how you would feel if your friends, neighbors, and co-workers sat back and did nothing to help you? What if you were the only one fighting? What if no one else even cared??

I want you to really allow yourself to feel those feelings... to imagine that level of anger and sadness... to acknowledge the utter helplessness of injustice. Does it feel right to you? Is it okay with you? Can you even believe it's allowed to happen??

Honestly, it's insane that this is allowed to happen, but it's definitely allowed... and it's definitely happening. It defies all logic. It's completely ridiculous. But mostly, it's tragic.

Here's the basic premise of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): When a dog of a certain breed harms or bites a human, let's just go ahead and ban every dog of that breed from existence... just in case.

It just doesn't make any sense...

Regardless of whether-or-not you love, hate, or feel completely indifferent to the Pit Bull breeds... surely you feel a special bond with your own dog. Surely you realize that your baby is distinctly unique in personality, behavior, and spirit. Surely you see the innocence, love, and desire that shine through your baby's eyes. Surely you look at him or her... and see a creature who is so incredibly deserving of life.

Well, that's how I see my Pit Bulls, too. Even if you don't believe in their love and innocence... it's there. It's in their eyes. It's in their smiles. It's in their hearts. It's in their souls. My dogs deserve to live, too. They just do...

In reading this... maybe you appreciate the love I have for these dogs, and maybe you feel sympathy for their pain. Maybe you don't want them to die, and maybe you wish that things could be different for them. Even still... maybe you're thinking that there's just no real reason for you to join the fight for them.

Because maybe you figure... "At least my dog is safe."

And maybe you're right...

But... maybe you're wrong...

Here's the honest truth: all it takes is one bite, from one dog, of one breed, for people to propose a legislative ban against that breed (Breed-Specific Legislation, BSL).

Across the country, 75 different breeds --and mixes of those breeds-- are currently on the list of banned or restricted dogs. It's NOT just Pit Bulls. In some areas, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds are deemed "dangerous," and are therfore banned. If you think small dogs are excluded, well, they aren't. Even breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs are on the list.

And believe it or not... this ridiculous list isn't the useless work of some random Joe Blow, who simply thought it would be cute to list all of the breeds he doesn't like that much.

Nope. This is legislation, people. It's the law. And each year, more and more breeds (and mixes of those breeds) are being added to this list... in more and more areas across the nation. It's complete BULLSHIT.

And we're all just letting it happen...

By the time your dog's breed joins the list... it may be too late. You've got to care now. You've got to speak now. You've got to act now. Write letters. Make phone calls. Rally others to do the same. Just do something.

BSL is real, it's happening, and it's personal. It's life or death.

And it won't end... until we end it. Please join us in the fight for their lives. Not because I asked you to, but because it's the right thing to do.

By Ashley Owen Hill


  1. I might not know you but you mean something to my bluenose baby Bailey and myself. I'm on your side:-)

  2. God Bless you and your love of dogs. We LOVE our rescued pit as well as our other dogs. They are our 4-legged children in addition to our human children.
    Thank you for your voice in standing up for our babies.

  3. Hi,
    I am a pit bull lover myself and I really enjoyed reading your post. You said what I try to say but just come accross as a bitch. My pit bull and my pit bull mix dogs are my life. I have told several people "If you dont like my dogs, I can't like you". They are my angels.

    1. I am right there with you - if someone doesn't like my dogs, then we don't like them either :) We have literally had people walk to a different side of the street to avoid our dogs. They are huge babies and wouldn't hurt a fly! I get so frustrated when people talk poorly of them that I oftentimes come across as a total bitch defending my babies and their breed.

  4. You are awesome!

  5. Your babies are beautiful!!! Thank you for all that you do, from my baby Bella and myself!!! Bella is a 6 year old black pit mix, and she is the sweetest girl ever!!! I love her so much and am so lucky to have her! <3

  6. thank you so much, I will share and share and share cuz our Caliah Blue is a staff and is included....

  7. I love your blog and couldn't agree with you more. I have a rescued pit I adopted hours before she was set to be euthanized. She is the absolute love of my life. She's my first pitbull and I can honestly say she's changed my mind forever about the breed. She's amazing with my cats, 4 year old nephew, my 91 year old grandma and loves every other dog she meets. She's perfect and an amazing ambassador for the breed. The way I look at it, until one has pleasure of sharing some time with a pit, they shouldn't pass judgement stemming from pure ignorance.

  8. I had a Boxer. He was the sweetest most loveable being in the world. Three years ago he lost his battle with cancer. I cannot believe that the BSL exists. When did the USA get so blind and ignorant???? It seems our government doesn't have a clue as to what they are doing in many areas and this one is ridiculous! I haven't owned a Pit .. but some friends do and I credit a pit for saving me from a very unsavory attack many years ago. I applauded what you are doing!!

  9. You are amazing - this article is fantastic!! I love my babies! Tirelessly I fight to defend this breed and will continue to do so. Our voices must be heard and we must demand change! We need to change the mindset of the people on the "other side". My dogs are great with children, the elderly, cats, other dogs, etc. At first my mother was afraid and our first pit changed her mind - my mother LOVES our dogs now. I would die for my dogs, just as they would for me. BSL is bullshit and it's the ignorance of the "other side" that allows this shit to continue. We must not remain silent and fight for the rights of our babies :)

  10. Very well said my friend. Truly i have read a few stories hear and their and i have to say I am glad we fight the same fight. These dogs are one of the most wonderful dog on earth. Just to bad we have all these haters out here that want to scare people and use these dog for everything from fighting to killing chickens to gaurding for security the police use them the military uses them and what do they do. they all teach these dogs to attack and bite and drag and rip and kill then when these people or busineses or the police or military is done with them they give them to people year they get check but in month or years something happens they dog are train to attack and kill and who dose all these people blame the dog truly think about it is this the dogs fault they were trained to attack and kill no it's the people's fault. well people you all have a great day and i have to say Awesome job i havent even made a page hahaha very very nice and right to the point like always nice job. Mike from Stop Pitbull Bans.

  11. I currently have a golden retriever living next door. He is the best behaved dog I have ever met. He knows when not to jump up on me because of my problems of keeping my balance. I use a cane when walking. He will sit and allow me to pet him. The only problem he has is a skin problem.

  12. Awesome article. Written from the heart of a true animal lover. I may seem a little extreme, but I would seriously defend my pit with my heart and soul, my LIFE!!! She is the most loving dog I have ever owned and would NEVER give her up to some bullshit legislation! Thank You so much for this piece, so very touching.

  13. Thank you for your help and energy. Please carry on!
    I hope my donation will help.
    Best wishes from Germany, Hagen

  14. I am so with you Ashley I have a pitbull mix and I can tell you that the the pom next door is more a pain in the ass and more aggressive the my pitbull it has already biter my dog in the face and I was afraid to call anyone thinking they would take my dog instead. Now how can that be my dogs bleeding fro his nose and I was worried about them taking my dog instead of the pom. Unfair to usI am so with you on this anything I can do Let me know jennifergillen8@aol.com

  15. I'm in! I have a red nose and he is the most precious being in my life. I love him with every ounce of my energy and I felt every word you wrote. I can't imagine NOT fighting for such a wonderful creature. I constantly tell people that NEXT it will be humans they ban. For every crime a certain race commits, that race will be punished, either directly or indirectly. Its all the same. If people can just step out of the box they live in and THINK, FEEL and UNDERSTAND, this would be a much better place.

  16. excellent article. The State of Ohio is coming around to the "vicious" adjective. I am hoping Florida (where I live) and other states take notice. There are many times I really HATE the media, the insurance companies, politicians, and whiny neighbors!

  17. Powerful, excellent article! I don't own a dog but I love them. My niece owned a sweetie-pie pit bull (until she moved and was forced to give him away), and from knowing him and witnessing her complete love for him, I am convinced that you are 100% on the side of rationality and justice. Thank God that these beautiful, faithful animals have you as their ally and voice! (re-posted on Facebook, Ruth Burrell Norton)

  18. Very good article, and everyone should read it. I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and he is my life.This bread also gets such bad press and its such a shame as they are amazing dogs. I have reposted your article on facebook .

  19. Argh. I just typed a long comment on my phone that got erased because my spouse helpfully texted me to ask what I wanted for dinner. =( The short version is that I used to think pitbulls were all dangerous and should be euthanized so that innocent pets wouldn't be put at risk. Then I unknowingly adopted a dog that looks like a pit mix, learned more about pitbulls, and realized that BSL is what's putting innocent pets at risk.

  20. So thank you for sites like this that teach people what pitbulls are really like!

  21. thank you for your passion in saving the bully breed. i used to raise staffordshire terriers. bully's are a wonderfull breed. i had rescued a fighting dog, he loved people. my girlfriends (at the time) 3 year old daughter could crawl all over that dog, and all he would do is lick her to death. now i'm a rescue dog transporter, and i help rescue dogs of all breeds. but my main love is for the bully breed.

  22. Please be advised that Waterbury CT is the latest in the list of haters trying to ban pit bulls. A local lawmaker's mother was attacked by two loose pitbulls who were shot...one while running away. (Because, y'know running AWAY is a sign of aggression. /sarcasm)

    The story of the attack does not make sense at all, but I won't even go there.

    Anyway, now this guy is making statements and trying to get local laws passed saying that pit bulls are worthless and should not be allowed to exist.

    I am a foster mom to pit bulls pulled from the notorious NYC ACC. Pit bulls are not evil.

    Those that hate them must be stopped.