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February 04, 2011




We got our first American Pit Bull Terrier in 1982. My husband's great aunt and great uncle had pit bulls and Bostons. My mother in law used to help her uncle feed the pit bulls in the kennels. She still has all of her fingers and she's about 84.

In 1982 it was the "senior citizens" that loved the dogs because they grew up with them. Terriers of all breeds were extremely popular in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. I can remember walking my dog and it was always an elderly person that approached me to pet the dog and tell me some story about a pit bull from childhood.

In the early 80s we went to an estate sale to buy a desk. The couple was easily in their mid-70s and they were downsizing. We took our dog with us and the woman just went crazy over the dog - she said she had a pit bull as a child and it killed some of the neighbor's chickens. She said she could still remember her dad writing a check to the neighbor for $25, and that was a lot of money during the depression.

Thirty years ago it was the people OUR age (we were young at that time, LOL) that thought the dogs were dangerous - and it looks as though that hasn't changed! they all got older and they still think the dogs are dangerous. The early 80s was when HSUS's initial campaign to demonize the breed for fundraising purposes began.

Colleen Kelly

I appreciate your viewpoint but bet you don't live in the 'hood and have not dealt with the mentality of folks who breed aggressive dogs ... I am definately a senior and have loved and rescued many dogs ... did not think this way until I lived in and compared life in the 'poorer' neighborhoods with the life I had experienced in the middle class neighborhoods.

It is the fault of the people, no argument, but when you can not walk through your neighborhood without dogs bodily bouncing off the fences or hear barking for 12+ hours a day ... you might have a bit of a different viewpoint. Colleen Kelly



Thanks for the comment and I think it illustrates, exactly, my entire point and almost the point of this whole blog. First, let me note here that I live in the city in Kansas City, and my particular zip code has 34% of it's population living below the poverty line -- and 18% that are more than 50% over the poverty line. So I have a bit of perspective on this. But two things about your comment:

1) It's been my experience that most people of low-incomes can be really good dog owners and most love their dogs dearly. Just because you see a poor black man with a pit bull doesn't mean the dog is aggressive or mean (although a lot of people I've found just assume that).

2) If you have someone hell-bent on having an aggressive dog, an intimidating dog, a guard dog, or a status dog, eliminating a particular breed of dog will not change the situation at all. There are countless breeds that could qualify nicely if this is what a particular person wants. I've seen it in my neighborhood, and honestly, not once has it been a 'pit bull' type dog.

And FWIW, dogs of all types of breeds bark a lot and will jump against fences when people walk by. As we go by our neighborhood we get "aggressively" barked at by a Rottweiler, a couple of labs, a pointer, a Golden Retriever, a couple of "shepherd" type dogs, a group of Waimeraners, and a group of Corgis and a whole host of other dogs. It's sort of what back yard dogs do...


Colleen - What in the world does where I live have to do with my viewpoint? I would have exactly the same viewpoint I have right now about pit bulls if I lived in the 'hood.

The idiots in the 'hood aren't going to change the way I feel about my breed of choice. The idiots in the 'hood only make me dislike Randall Lockwood and HSUS even more.

News flash - there are stupid people everywhere. One of our neighbors had a Belgian Sheepdog that he turned loose every evening at 5:30. I lost count of how many pizza delivery men I rescued from the roofs of cars. The dog was finally killed by a fast moving automobile.

We had another neighbor that had a Beagle they allowed to run at large. The first time I heard the dog I thought it had its foot caught in a vice. The dog died young from some weird stomach problem - thank goodness, because holy cow, you could not have your windows open when the dog was running loose.

We currently have a GSD in our neighborhood that barks NON STOP and charges the fence when you walk past the house, and the guy next door to that house (a friend of ours) is trying to figure out how to deal with the problem without calling animal control, because they will give the owner a ticket and he will go to court, and our friend doesn't want to start a neighborhood war. I realize most major cities/urban areas don't take action - they merely pass more laws that only affect the owners that are already acting responsibly instead of enforcing the ones they already have on the books.

However, Brent does in fact have the luxury of living in the 'hood ;-) so perhaps you'll appreciate his comments.

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