Positive Thoughts on a Negative Situation

By now, most of you know about last Friday’s court ruling about “pit bulls” in MD. Because of this ruling, all pit bulls are now “inherently dangerous” – no matter their behavior, personality, or actions.

I think we all felt the same way when we first heard the news: Disbelief. Heartbreak. Horror. Complete shock. Then came the confusion. What does this really mean? What are the consequences going to be? Who does this really affect? Then came the anger. The frustration. Feeling defeated and infuriated all at the same time.

After the news broke and we all spent a good deal of time letting off steam to deal with those initial feelings, the internet immediately blew up with thousands of, “What can we do??” comments.  News stations started picking up the story, and it spread like wildfire. Luckily, things began popping up that kept us busy at the very least attempting to counteract the tone that this ruling set. Station polls needed to be voted on saying NO, pit bulls are not inherently dangerous, petitions needed to be signed, and law makers needed to be contacted.

I have to admit – while this ruling is obviously one of the last things pit bull advocates would ever want, we should pause for a minute and admire what has transpired in our community this past week. Thousands of people have sprung into action, no questions asked. One of the best responses I’ve seen numerous times now is people urging pit bull type dog owners to make sure their dogs are the best dogs they can be. They’re right – this is the time we all need to step up and make sure our dogs are model canine citizens. In fact, I know many people aiming to do just that: get their dogs CGC certified.

What a remarkable way to fight back, no? Instead of kicking and screaming – like I know many of us want to do – the pit bull community is responding in a way that will speak volumes to the part of the public that knows nothing about these dogs. I’ve already seen some rescues and shelters referring to their adoptable dogs as “Pit Bull Ambassadors” in an attempt to show the public that they have faith these dogs are fit to be great members of society. The truth is we are conscious of the fact that each dog is different – some dogs are great for anyone, others have things they need help with, and some are just not ready to face the world – and responsible owners know which category their dog fits into.

It’s scary to watch the consequences of this court ruling play out. Anyone who owns, fosters, or loves a pit bull type dog is on the edge of their seat at all times waiting for something to change – good or bad. But I think we all need to realize that we’re in this together, and we’re all in it until the end. We will continue fighting the good fight and explaining to anyone who will listen why we don’t agree with this ruling, and we will do it using education, facts, and logic – not bullying, slander, or disparagement.

If you want to know more about this ruling, what is currently going on, and what can be done, check out Animal Farm Foundation’s statement, stopbsl.org’s overview, or HSUS’s call to action.