Where do you stand on dog fighting?
Ever really thought about it?
To those who love the American pit bull, it can be an amazingly complex subject! How can you love a breed forged by baiting and fighting - and yet deny that those same forces should be at work today?
It IS a complex issue. And here is where I stand:
The ancestors of the American pit bull were first large game hunters (grippers), then as culture changed they became "butcher's dogs" and their work was the baiting of bulls. Around 1850 bull baiting was banned and the dogs were turned on each other. This was due to pressure from police - it's hard to hide a bull bait.
Was dog fighting ever "noble" or "better" than it is now? The suffering of the dogs was the same, of course, but after speaking face to face with men like Louis Colby and John Foseca I can honestly say that prior to 1970, dog fighters cared about gameness - not betting - and the care of their dogs was significantly better than that given today. The difference was respect. When you compare the career of a dog like "Hunky" (best known for this win in Cuba) compared to the lives of dogs in the inner city today; dogs locked in trunks of cars while their owners drive around until one dog is dead or too severely injured to continue, dogs fought on street corners or playgrounds - there is no comparison.
Read about the REALITY of the conditions these dogs are kept in - especially "big name dogmen" who many hold in respect while knowing nothing of the reality - you can draw your own conclusion concerning just how much respect and care today's dog fighter gives their animals. As Howard Heinzle said years ago, the new generation of dog fighters he called the "Pepsi Generation", wanted only ferocity and care nothing of gameness.
WHO TO BLAME?
It might surprise you who is to blame. Just as the banning of bull baiting brought dog fighting to the front, so changing dog fighting from a minor offense to a FELON Y caused the complete change to dog fighting. Once groups like the HSUS brought in FELONY laws (rather ridiculous in the first place) experienced, compassionate, knowledgeable gamedog breeders like the Colbys dropped out. Whereas in the 1940s you saw layers, doctors, judges, mayors and government leaders participating in the sport, the advent of FELONY laws took this stabilizing element away and left - those who had no issue with being felons; the criminal element, drug users and worse.
As groups like the HSUS and ASPCA put more and more pressure on game dog breeders, and very importantly, as they spread horrific misinformation about "bait animals" and other cruelties unknown before that time, the face of dog fighting changed forever. Those who would fight their dogs no longer had knowledgeable or compassionate people to help them to learn how to condition or treat their dogs. Instead, the only information they had access to was that put out by the "humane groups" who told lurid tales of "bait pets" in order to stir up donations - resulting in far more cruelty than ever their had
The HSUS, PETA and ASPCA have ever been, first and foremost - the enemies of the game dog and bird. First, by making FELONY laws which replaced those who truly cared about the game animals and their welfare with the criminal element.
Second, by spreading horrific misinformation about the training, keeping and conditioning of fighting dogs (and birds!) which - due to the lack of information from knowledgeable game breeders resulted in the criminal element doing the things the HSUS told them "how it was done".
Third, by launching a public attack against the game dog and bird by spreading misinformation about how aggressive (toward humans!) these animals are. By spreading false information about "bait" animals causing a public hatred of American pit bulls as a threat against their pet dogs.
Fourth, by showing that their concern lay NOT with the animals involved, by making ZERO attempt to house or care for these animals after seizure. If the HSUS used just a portion of what they pay their employees for travel they could provide safe, long term housing for seized animals. But they can't do that because the truth about the temperament and character of these animals would come out. The HSUS does its own version of "Shoot, shovel, shut up".
So, for me, the complex question of how to love and preserve the American pit bull comes down to this: the time for dog fighting is gone, just as the time of bull baiting is gone. The challenge now is for pit bull breeders to avoid the pitfall of the show ring, and to come up with unique tests to keep our breed game. And an important part of the challenge that faces us is this: we must police ourselves - not allow extremists who do not even want our animals ALIVE to police us. We, the breeders and fanciers must come up with new challenges for the bulldog at the same time we band together to fight the anti-pet efforts of HSUS/PETA/ASPCA.
The ASPCA has a very dubious genetics program aimed directly at the destruction of American pit bulls. The HSUS fights everyday to erode your rights as an animal lover. PETA has clearly stated that their ultimate goal is the removal of all animals from human ownership.
The American pit bull has two powerful enemies: the "humane groups" working for his extinction, and the modern dog fighter who are producing dogs of dubious genetics and characteristics while keeping them in negative headlines.
Who is the friend of the American pit bull? Those few people who CARE enough to study, learn and understand WHAT an American pit bull is. To understand what gameness is. To understand that new, legal ways must be found to keep him game. Who understand that the so called "humane groups" must not be supported. Who understand that until breed numbers are drastically reduced, efforts to restore the pit bull to its rightful place as the world's premier breed will fail.
So, the following pages will give you information by which to make up your own mind. I deal with the "humane groups" on other pages, so here you will read about the harm done to our breed by today's illegal dog fighters.