Pit Bulls… Pit bulls were not always perceived and feared as they are now. During the first half of the 20th century, the American Pit Bull Terrier was the closest thing the United States had to a national dog. (Petey the pup, American Staffordshire Terrier, Little Rascals, circa 1930. www.flickr,.com) Pit bulls were the dog of choice for many famous people such as Helen Keller, Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie), President Theodore Roosevelt and even the Little Rascals. (www.flickr.com) Since the American pit bull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club 114 years ago, the breed was seen as the perfect “nanny dog” for children because of its friendly nature, loyalty and stability. Pit bulls were “once considered especially non-aggressive to people” according to the ASPCA. (Holland) Pit bulls weren't originally bred for fighting. But then things changed… According to the United Kennel Club, sometime in the 19th century European breeders began crossing various terriers (euthusiasm) with bulldogs (strength and stamina) resulting in a breed that is extremely energetic, muscular, and tenacious. (Holland) (www.flickr.com) The new (Pit bull) breed’s characteristics were exploited by people in the brutal act of dog fighting. Because of this, the Pit Bull has an extremely bad reputation as a breed that’s more aggressive than others. (www.flickr.com) The negative portrayal of pit bulls has led to Breed-specific legislation (BSL) also known as breed-discriminatory legislation. These are laws and ordinances that restrict or prohibit keeping dogs of specific breeds or mixes of the specific breed. The objective is to protect the public from future attacks before they possibly occur by limiting public exposure to what some people think are dangerous dogs. (www.aspca.org) (www.flickr.com) The above and below are pictures of just one load of dogs that Denver (Colorado) has rounded up and killed as part of their breed ban. These were dogs that had homes, they were owned dogs that got picked up and killed for what they look like; not for anything they did. (www.flickr.com) Underneath this pile of dead dogs, but not shown, were some puppies that were not even weaned yet. The photographer wanted to show them, but didn't have the heart to move the bodies of the adults around to show the puppies. (Maher) (Adrianna Guzman) This is how a breed ban manifests itself--in the rounding up and killing family dogs. (www.flickr.com) You may be surprised to know that the Pit bull breeds have as good or better temperaments than many other breeds… The Staffordshire bull terrier has a rating of 90.7%, the American pit bull terrier has a rating of 86.8% and the American Staffordshire terrier has a rating of 84.5% according to The American Temperament Test Society. (www.atts.org) (Adrianna Guzman) (Adrianna Guzman) Will Breed specific legislation or discrimination solve the problem? Or is it punishing specific dogs and the responsible dog owners that love them? Pictures used are copyright free from flickr.com and I was given the pictures from Adrianna Guzman with her consent to use. "Dealing with Reckless Owners and Dangerous Dogs in Your Community." n.d. www.aspca.org. Web. 26 March 2015. Holland, Joshua. "Pitbulls Used to Be Considered the Perfect "Nanny Dogs" for Children -- Until the Media Turned Them Into Monsters." 30 January 2013. www.alternet.org. Web. 26 March 2015. Maher, Jared Jacang. "Leaked: photos of pit bulls killed due to Denver ban." 7 October 2009. www.westword.com. Web. 25 March 2015. www.atts.org. 14 February 2013. Web. 6 March 2015.