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PETA’s Position on Pit Bull Bans
Legislatures across the country are increasingly seeking to ban pit bulls in an effort to crack down on dogfighting and prevent attacks by pit bulls. PETA supports legislation that bans the breeding of pit bulls, just as we support any spay/neuter legislation as the most effective way to combat the tragic companion animal overpopulation problem. We also support pit bull bans, as long as they include a grandfather clause allowing all living dogs who are already in good homes and well cared for to live the remainder of their lives safely and peacefully.
PETA supports such laws because they have the potential to prevent an enormous amount of suffering. In the United States, pit bulls stand out as the most abused of all dog breeds. Pit bull rescue groups are bursting at the seams with victims of dogfighting, abuse, and neglect. Shelter workers across the nation see firsthand on a regular basis the extreme cruelty that countless pit bulls are subjected to. Infected wounds left untreated, eyes swollen shut with blood and pus, broken or torn off limbs left to “heal” with no veterinary care, and ears cropped at home and then allowed to rot are only a few of the unforgettable atrocities.
PETA staffers have personally witnessed thousands of pit bulls who have been subjected to horrendous neglect and abuse, including Rikus, who was found cowering in his doghouse with a wound on one of his legs that exposed muscle and bone and whose face was swollen to the size of a melon because of an infected dog bite; Asia, who was reduced to a fraction of her healthy weight and who was so weak and in so much pain that she could barely move; and Bear, who was permanently chained outside and suffering from several painful conditions, including flystrike and a skin condition that his owners tried to “cure” by pouring motor oil all over him.
Over and over again, PETA rescues pit bulls like these from people who beat, starve, and neglect them; chain them to metal drums as “guard” dogs; or train them to attack people and fight other animals. We remove them from abusive homes and contact cruelty case prosecutors in their behalf. We also speak out against dogfighting, and we subsidize spay and neuter surgeries for pit bulls in the area surrounding PETA’s headquarters in southeastern Virginia. Our doghouse program provides free houses for pit bulls and other dogs who languish outside without any protection from the elements.
Are some pit bulls loving companions? Absolutely. But it is important to bear in mind that nice families rarely come to a shelter seeking pit bulls. The vast majority of people who want pit bulls are attracted to the “macho” image of the breed as a living weapon and seek to play up this image by putting the animals in heavy chains; kicking, beating, and otherwise abusing them into aggression; and leaving them outside in all weather extremes in order to “toughen” them up. When shelters are destroying dogs by the millions, why breed pit bulls―or any dogs, for that matter? There are many, many wonderful dogs in shelters who desperately need homes. PETA urges everyone who can provide a permanent, loving home to adopt one of these animals—and to spay and neuter them, of course.