Today marks the sixth annual National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD), a day of appreciation and education aimed to alter false perceptions and stereotypes about pit bulls and their guardians.
The day was established in 2007 by Jodi Preis of the Tennessee pit bull rescue and education group, Bless the Bullys, in order to restore the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The NPBAD website states, “The ultimate goal of NPBAD is to promote the truth about pit bulls. Knowledge is power, and with education and advocacy, the truth will save lives in terms of negating fear and bias generated by the media, circumvent knee-jerk reactions such as breed bans, and the truth will result in fewer pit bulls ending up in animal shelters.”
However, while pit bull guardians all over the world are celebrating their beloved pets, one anti-pit bull group in Tuscon, AZ is staging an event against the breed.
Members of neighborhood associations, parents, teachers, walkers and joggers, medical health professionals, dog bite injury attorneys, letter carriers and many more are expected to attend the “Walk For Victims of Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs,” the first public event to support and raise awareness for dog bite victims.
Colleen Lynn and Jewel Jade are said to be the main promoters of the event. In June of 2007, Lynn was involved in an unfortunate jogging incident involving a pit bull, thus inspiring the creation of her website, Dogsbite.com, which claims to track dog bite fatalities and statistics.
According to her blog, “It is important to point out that fatal dog attacks committed by pit bulls and their mixes more than doubles the attacks inflicted by rottweilers. It is well documented by experts and humane groups, that pit bulls pose a substantial danger due to their selective breeding for dogfighting.”
Closer studies of Lynn’s dog bite statistics have inspired questions about her blog’s authenticity.
“Colleen Lynn blatantly lies on her website when she claims that pit bulls lead dog bite fatalities,” according to the pro-pit bull website, BSLNews.org. “She gathers all of her information from media reports, no questions asked. Clearly she doesn’t ask questions because most of what is reported in the media surrounding pit bulls and “attacks” is incorrect and has been repeatedly proven to be untrue.”
Lynn has also campaigned for a law requiring pit bulls to wear muzzles in public.
According to the event invitation, police officers will be present “to escort any unruly visitors off the property.” In addition, animal control officers plan to confiscate any pit bulls or “other dangerous dogs.”
There is no doubt that pit bull discrimination can get out of hand. Last weekend, a Pennsylvania event aiming to educate the public about pit bulls and remove the breed’s stigma took a sad turn when someone allegedly poisoned five pit bull puppies. Two died and three others are currently recovering and have already been approved for adoptive homes.
One of the founders of A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue (ADBBR), Ranae Metz, claims, “We were closely monitoring the puppies. We never thought that someone would be hateful enough to poison the puppies, we never thought that could happen.”
In response, the organization will no longer bring puppies to future events. They are also offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators.
“We want to press on and save as many dogs as we can,” Metz said. “This just turned us on to the fact that so many people are hateful and we just need to keep spreading the word that these are not bad dogs at all.”
There is no denying that dogs are capable of injuring people and it is important to understand that this a potential with any dog breed. However, education, rather than breed-specific legislation and discrimination, is the proper answer.
To view a list of National Pit Bull Awareness Day events visit http://www.nationalpitbullawarenessday.org/.
— Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal