Something Has To Give
Every day in our shelters across metro Atlanta, pups like Scout, pictured here, are killed simply because we are overrun with neglected and abandoned bully breeds. We use the word "killed" not "humanely euthanized" because most of the dogs are healthy, loving, and very adoptable. Yet, there are just too many of them. Most people don't spay and neuter their own dogs and that is where the crisis begins. Litter after litter of puppies are being neglected, turned into Animal Control or thrown out with the trash. That last statement is not an exaggeration.
Ignorance simply leads to too many dogs—and often these dogs are pit bull mixes. Why? Many people in cities across the U.S. have come to believe that the "pit bull" is a dog that brings on a certain status symbol. Many of these so called owners are only interested in these "macho" dogs for protection and for fighting—the worst kind of dog owners.
While many Bully breeds were once considered especially non-aggressive to people and often times called the "nanny dog," their reputation has certainly changed—thanks to these corrupt breeders and irresponsible owners who often beat and / or starve the animals to make them more aggressive. These irresponsible owners and the serious cases of over breeding of bully breeds has led to a massive overpopulation of dogs who are placed into shelters where they are then killed. Their plagued image makes them very hard to place in responsible homes.
The The Atlanta ResponsiBully Coalition advocates for the spay or neuter of ALL pit bull mixes because unfortunately many bully owners do not understand the full gravity of the pit bull overpopulation problem in our state and the U.S. in general. Metro Atlanta is killing about 200 "pit bulls" each week. That number does not even include the dogs who die of neglect, are killed viciously by owners, or who die in dog fights.
We do not, however, support ANY FORM of Breed-specific legislation, or BSL. BSL has been enacted in several municipalities in this country. The vast majority have not been able to show an improvement in public safety since passing the laws. In fact, the Platte Institute has stated, "A Pit Bull ban will most likely have no effect on dog bites in the city and cost hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars". One of the reasons that the laws are so ineffective is the difficulty in determining exactly which dogs are included in the law. Among knowledgeable dog people, a "pit bull" is a term commonly used to refer to several breeds of dogs, including the Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier—the Bully breeds!
Moreover irresponsible media coverage of dog bites and dog-bite related fatalities has created the perception that we are in the midst of a "pit bull attack epidemic." Recent research in to media practices proves that events involving pit bulls (or dogs thought to be pit bulls) are far more reported than events involving other dogs. The ASPCA has been told by media outlets that they have no interest in reporting on dog bites unless it involves a pit bull (much of this information gathered from Atlanta Pitbull Parents)
Simply put, something has got to give. We have got to make a difference for these dogs.