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.
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.
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