Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bad Press - And What Would You Do?

Lately, I feel like all I hear/read/see in the press regarding pit bulls is bad news.  It's always been the case to some extent, but recently it seems to have increased exponentially.  Although there have been silver linings (like the community bonding together in peaceful and adorable photographic protest against that McDonald's radio commercial, Ohio HB 14 passing the Senate and the Buehrle family's potentially successful struggle against BSL in Miami), most of the press has been just plain bad.  With so many people already ignorant and fearful when it comes to our beloved breed, the negative coverage as of late is sure to have some lasting effects and force us all to fight even harder when it comes to housing and public acceptance in general.  I fear it is a battle we are losing.

Last night after work, I picked up Maisie from daycare and we drove to our new pet store to stock up on a couple weeks of her raw food, which thankfully I've been able to have special ordered since we moved to Massachusetts.  While we were there, one of the clerks began mooning over Miss Maisie and mentioned that she had adopted a rescued pit mix as well.  She then proceeded to tell me a story.

Apparently, the girl (she looked to be in her early 20s) was out walking her very friendly dog when a seemingly nice man approached and asked if he could pet the pup.  The girl said yes without hesitation.  As the man was petting the dog, he asked "what kind of dog is this?"  The girl replied "a pit bull mix."  The man immediately took a step backwards then with no warning, leaned forward and smacked the dog in the head, saying "these are horrible, aggressive dogs and you shouldn't have one."  Again, this was the SAME dog who had been the happy recipient of this man's affection just moments ago...but now this dog was a pit bull.  The girl was so shocked and frightened that she simply took her dog and walked away.  In recounting the story, she expressed extreme regret at not speaking up or handling it differently.  I tried to reassure her that she did the best thing she could...she removed herself and her dog from a potentially dangerous situation.  But it got me thinking, what would I have done?  I understand that there is a time and place to educate, but I also realize that when it comes to the welfare of my dog I tend to act first and think later.  I hope that I would have been able to remain calm, but I can't say with confidence that I wouldn't have sunk to this man's level by screaming my head off or even shoving him away if he laid a hand on Maisie.

What would you do???
 

 p.s.  for more frequent Maisie updates and pics, please "like" our Facebook page if you haven't yet!

14 comments:

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

This is an awful story. Wow. I think never know how to act in situations like that, and removing Havi would be my first priority. No one should ever put their hands on someone or something else that is not theirs. However, I also realize that you can't educate people who are staunchly opposed to your view...

Froggy said...

I have learned that I am not a good educator in those moments. Instead of calmly explaining what an ignorant piece of sh*& that man was in a polite, educational and clean way I usually revert to yelling, swearing and insanity which is REALLY inappropriate and not helpful to anyone.

Nancy said...

I am stunned! I very possibly would have told this person that it is unlawful to go around hitting other beings, dogs, children, adults or anything else. Then I would have informed him that he could go to jail for doing just that. This happened at the dog park one day where a man hit someone else's dog and the park rangers were called. He was expelled and banned from the park and the owners of the dog had the option to have him arrested ( which they did not choose). Ohhh this makes me sooo mad!

Just Bren said...

It's hard to say what I would do without actually experiencing it first hand but I would pull my Titan away from him and then give the man a piece of my mind. No one is going to touch my boy without "THIS" pit bull momma lashing out. What a very rude man! This is one of the reasons I don't allow anyone to pet my boy, besides the vet and the techs. When they find out they are "pits", you never know what they will say or do. So sad

Sarah said...

Wow! What an awful story!!

As much as I'd like to pretend I'd take the high road and utilize every experience to present a calm argument for the breed, if ANYONE touched my Sadie like that, I would kick them in the balls, say a few choice words about their breeding and run like hell.

K-Koira said...

Wow, that's bad. I have had very similar experiences with Koira, with people either backing away or freaking out and yelling at me, but none of them have EVER hit my dog.

I would call the cops, probably. Even if I had nothing more than a description of the person, I would make a police report. But, I would walk away at the time.

Mayzie said...

She absolutely did the right thing. The person who did that was obviously unbalanced (and FAR more dangerous than the dog).

Me...I'm pretty sure I would've let my emotions get the better of me. I could totally see myself turning into a screaming tasmanian devil if someone did that to Mayzie. I mean, seriously...there might be blood drawn.

I understand what you mean about feeling like we're losing the battle. I feel that way sometimes, too. But education happens very slowly - one dog and one person at a time. I try to focus on the good stories. The (many) places that are overturning BSL or rejecting it entirely. The companies that are using pit bull-type dogs in their advertising more and more. The positive "pit bull hero" dog stories that are actually making it into the media now. The many, MANY pit bull blogs and websites like Stubby Dog who are working to get the word out. Pit bull-focused shows like "Pit Bulls and Parolees." These grass-roots efforts are starting to take hold. Change won't happen quickly...but it will happen. Keep the faith!

MayzieMom

Mel said...

Honestly? I would have called the cops and hoped that the media got wind of it.

We hear time and time again about the so-called viciousness of pitbulls -- but what about the abuse these poor dogs suffer because of governments who think it is okay to label them as aggressive and destroy them (at least here) at will.

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Oooooh I would not have handled that well. Not well at all. I can only imagine the deranged ninja I would become in a situation like that.

sprinkles said...

My jaw dropped in reading that story! Honestly, I don't know what I would've done. I do think you're right -- that the lady did the right thing by walking away.

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

That is shocking to me. I've definitely had some people say nasty things to me, but no one has ever laid a hand on Zoe. I think I probably also would've been shocked and walked away... it's hard to know. That's just awful. Poor sweet pup and his owner! :(

Waggy Tails said...

So....Unfortunately, Lila would have taken his hand off. It's sad just thinking about the repercussions because there would be no defense for her because she's a pit dont ya know.
Terrible story!

Nola said...

That's a terrible story! I shudder to think how I would react if someone did that to Nola (even though she is a Dachshund). I have a really quick temper and a smart mouth, not a good combo at all. Under most circumstances I can educate calmly (got a ton of practice with then when I had mastiffs), but in a situation like this I probably would have gone on a tirade of what an ignorant piece of sh*t he was and then have called the cops(yup quick tempered).
Something similar happened (though thankfully not quite as extreme) with Nola a few months ago and now I do not allow strangers to touch my dog.
Dachshund Nola's Mommy

A Confessed Pit Bull Addict said...

That is an awful story! I feel so sorry for that girl and her dog! Generally, I try to be uber positive and educational, even to the neighbor who said to me that I seemed like a nice lady but that my dogs should be killed...as his tiny, ill-tempered dog snarled and snapped at me from his arms. However, if anyone ever dared to lay a hand on my dogs, I would likely let unleash hell's fury on him. That said, I think leaving the scene was the safest call. I know someone who was out with his rottie one day when an older man asked to pet the dog. The dog's person said yes and then watched in horror as the man pulled out a can of mace and maced his dog before running away. Better to be safe. (I guess I should work on remembering that.)