October 26th is National Pitbull Awareness Day (NPBAD). This is a day dedicated to those who own a pit bull (or a purebred American Pit Bull Terrier) and to educate others about these lovable dogs.
National Pitbull Awareness Day is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about bully breed dogs, commonly referred to as “pit bulls,” and their responsible owners.
NPBAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities where these dogs live. It is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The annual event was started in 2007 by Jodi Preis of Bless The Bullys, a pit bull rescue and education group based in Tennessee. The goal of this day is to promote the breed’s truth through positive media attention, education, and advocacy.
The truth can ultimately save lives by preventing pitties from ending up in shelters due to fear, bias, and breed-specific legislation (BSL).
According to Save-a-Bull Rescue, there are between 3 and 5 million pit bulls in the United States and they make up approximately a third of animals being taken into shelters each year. That number is considered a low estimate, as shelters in large cities report pit bulls making up 50 to 60 percent of shelter intakes.
Pitbull-type dogs are often the first to be euthanized in shelters due to overcrowding, lack of adopters, and restrictive breed bans. Nonetheless, they are among the most overbred dogs.
The pit bull is not a breed. Rather, it is a generic term used to refer to a group of dogs based on their physical appearance. This includes dogs who resemble a crossbreed between a bulldog and a terrier, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.
During World War 1 and World War II, pit bulls were crowned “America’s Dog,” with their smiling faces proudly shown as mascots on military recruitment posters. Pit bulls were known for their loyalty, affection, and penchant for children, earning them the nickname “the nanny dog.”
Several pit bulls were well-known symbols in American society, prevalent in advertising and film: you can find numerous photographs of the regal pit bull sitting with young children.
Many decades ago, “bully breeds” were bred to protect livestock because of their strength. In the 1980s, still known for their strength and build, gangs began using pit bulls for protection. Pit bulls unwittingly became a status symbol for people who chose to use their physical attributes as a means of intimidation.
It’s time to put the unwarranted negative perceptions of these dogs behind them. On this National Pitbull Awareness Day, here are some ways you can get involved with helping pit bulls:
- Get to know a pit bull: If you don’t know a pit bull, the easiest way to change your perception about pit bulls is to get to know one. Visit your local animal shelter and ask to meet a pit bull or ask a friend who has a pittie if you can bring a dog treat for NPBAD.
- Show off your pitties: If you have a pit or pit mix, post cute pics on Facebook and tag them with #pitbull.
- Adopt-a-bully and give a home to a pittie who needs one: The shelters are full of pit bull-type dogs looking to find loving homes.
- Search Instagram for #nationalpitbullawarenessday and click to give hearts on all the cute pittie pictures that come up! Or share your own images with #pitbullawarenessday.
- Share your positive pit bull stories: Most people only hear about pit bulls when there is a negative story in the news. You can help turn that around. Contact your local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines, and share your positive pit bull stories.
- Visit StubbyDog.org and check out some of their information: The site has downloadable informational resources to help educate others about pitties! The organization is happy to let you use them as long as you follow their reprint guidelines.
- Write to your city and state officials to end Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): Do you live in a city or state with some form of Breed Specific Legislation on the books? You can take this National Pitbull Awareness Day to write to your mayor or first selectman and city council members asking that they work to change this legislation.
So take some time this National Pitbull Awareness Day to give your pit bull some extra love! Or, maybe take some time to learn more about pit bulls and how you can help your local community.
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