Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another dead pit bull

If you live in the Denver area you might have heard of the part pit bull dog named Chloe who was shot five times by a Commerce City police person last week. A neighbor videotaped the shooting and from any aspect it looks like the shooting/killing was completely unnecessary.

The story was incredibly sad.

Pit bulls have a bad name in Colorado, not unlike many places around the country. In Denver, there is a ban on pit bulls. What this means is that hundreds of pit bulls have been killed in Denver and shelters outside of Denver are packed with pit bulls. And of course you can purchase pit bull puppies online on Craigs List.

In Lakewood, where Mike and I live, and just 1.5 miles from the Denver dead zone for pit bulls, they are safe. Our city council has talked about a ban and decided that the city and our citizens would be better off without a ban.

To be clear, I do not know a lot about BSL, or Breed Specific Legislation. I am not even sure if I have the correct words for BSL. I try to read what both sides have written regarding bans. For me, I get to see what happens because of a ban. I see many dogs killed for one reason only, that they are a pit bull, or one of the similar breeds. And then I see shelters around cities with a ban have many pit bulls for adoption, in some shelters pit bulls are more than half of available dogs for adoption. There is no way that all of them can survive in the shelter, so inevitably they are put down.

My history with pit bulls comes from Geronimo, our past next door neighbor. His head was bigger than all of our dogs except for Miguel. Geronimo LOVED playing with all of our dogs and would run the fence with them every day. He was a gentle lover. When our neighbor moved, I totally missed Geronimo.

I am one of those who believes that a companion dog acts a certain way because of how he or she is treated. I also believe that even if any companion dog is one who is uncomfortable around strangers, that their human companions can keep them and the strangers safe.

I look forward to the day when in Denver being a pit bull does not mean that their family has to move or a death sentence for the dog. How many more dogs will have to die before the powers that be realize that killing dogs is not the answer?

Meanwhile, I mourn with Chloe's family and anyone who loved her. Perhaps once she got out of her house that day she had no chance. And perhaps those of us who love pit bulls or who love dogs in general can change what is happening to a breed who gets a bad rap.

I don't have the answers. I'm just sick of seeing all of these beautiful dogs being killed.

Thanks for reading!


  1. It is so sad how certain breeds have been stigmatized by horrible people who do horrible things to them. I always wondered why it isn't the people that become the bad ones, but the dogs.

    I adopted my two mixed breed pups from the shelter; one had been left in a busy street to die and the other was abused and never let out so had been seized. They are the most amazing and intelligent, gentle creatures.

    It always shocks and saddens me when I hear other people (who have breeds of dogs they bought from a breeder) say things like "Oh I would never get a mixed breed; you never know what you're getting." or "Oh I would never adopt a shelter dog, those dogs all have problems." The level of willful ignorance is just astounding. You never know what you're getting in any case. It reminds me of people who could adopt an orphan (of which there are literally millions), but no, instead, they have a baby, bring another being into this overpopulated world. It makes no sense to me and I actually find it really obnoxious. It's basically like saying, "Well, screw the orphans! Let 'em die!"

    I hear other dog people all the time saying things like "Pit bulls shouldn't be in the city; they are too aggressive." And no matter what I say, they don't care, they really want to believe that some dogs are just "aggressive" (i.e., bad) when I know it's just not the case. You would think that people who own dogs would at least be a little more wise. And then I was reading on a supposedly pro-dog website that said "what to do if a dog bites" one of their "answers" was to have the dog euthanized. Sigh.

    It just never ceases to amaze me.

  2. My older sister has an Akita, 3 years old now. She's a purebred rescue. My sister spent the first year with her, training her and socializing her. Everyone I meet is like, "Oh my god, Akitas? Aren't they vicious? Isn't that in their nature?"
    It drives me absolutely nuts that people only seem to be afraid of what they don't know. People shy away from her until she walks up and licks you!
    Killing is never going to be the way of learning, or understanding. I hope the world grasps this soon.

  3. I watched that video and totally agree that it looked like a completely sensless killing. I am very thankful that the neighbor recored the whole incident and I sincerely hope the policy of how officers deal with animals is looked at. Sadly, from what I read, this is not the first type of incident with Commerce City police; the department actually brought in someone a few years ago to train offiers in proper, non-lethal interactions with loose pets after a similar incident.
    I don't know much about Denver's BSL but I do know that just about any dog can be considered a 'bully breed' if they have any semblance of a pit bull, which include Bull Dogs. All bulldogs I've ever met have only had one interest in mind; relaxing. Some like to ride skateboards.
    It's so sad that dogs are still judged on antiquated beliefs. Everyone was so quick to say that the Vick dogs should all be put down because there was no way any could be rehabilitated; the dedication of Best Friends employees and other shelters who took the surviving dogs in proved that so very wrong. Anyone who wants to argue that should read Jim Gorant's book The Lost Dogs.
    I don't know what it will take for people to understand that it's the owner that makes the dog. I do truly feel for those who have lost loved ones due to dog attacks but no dog ever acts violent just for the hell of it, unlike humans.

  4. Visit This young man, Tino, is doing such a good job for these babies.. advocating for pit bulls, educating people about pit bulls, training them. And his dogs are adorable!