Humane Society says pit bulls unfairly stereotyped - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Humane Society says pit bulls unfairly stereotyped

(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Some people call pit bulls the best dogs they've other owned. But others label them as dangerous, aggressive and unpredictable.

The Humane Society of South Mississippi is often overwhelmed by the large number of pit bulls.

"We get an awful lot of pit bulls, it's the largest breed that we predominately get in. They are very hard to adopt," said Dawn Boob, HSSM Director of Shelter Operations.

Hard to adopt largely because of a bad reputation that some say isn't necessarily deserved. 

"It really is dependent on how they're brought up. They are great people pets, but if you put them in a yard and don't interact with them, or you leave them on the end of a chain, it's never a good outcome for an animal to live its life on the end of a chain," said Boob. "These are sweet dogs, but they have very, very powerful jaws. They're very protective of the family and so that combination can turn disastrous pretty quickly. "

Casey Harrison says Star is one of two pit bulls she has at home, and she's about to adopt a third.

"They definitely do have a bad rep, and it definitely does hurt, knowing that I own pit bulls and I know that they're really great dogs. I believe it is how they're raised, how they're treated. If any animal is abused or treated badly, then any animal has the potential to bite," said Harrison. 

Dr. Kathryn McAlpin provides care for the pit bulls and other animals at the shelter.

They're being overbred. We have way too many of them. And then they have, I feel like, and based upon the science, they have an unfair reputation as being aggressive and that's not necessarily the case," said McAlpin. "They're no more aggressive than another large breed dog. It just depends on their experience and you're training with them.

Tammy Ronsenet experienced a mother's worst nightmare when her son Jaxson was attacked by a pit bull as he tried to save his younger brother.

The teenager lost his leg.

Though she did not wish to do an on-camera interview on the subject, Tammy Ronsenet told WLOX News Now, "It is my personal opinion that pit bulls are just a dangerous breed of dog as they have been known to turn on their owners and bite, maul or even kill. Both of my boys were very familiar with the pit bull that attacked them."

Deputy Brad Necaise has worked in animal control for 16 years, and is familiar with the bad reputation given pit bulls.

"The stereotype that the general public has given them is a very unfair stereotype. You have a lot of them that are mild, meek dogs. And any breed, not just pit bulls, any breed has the propensity of being a dangerous dog. Any dog that has teeth in its mouth, has the potential to be dangerous," said Necaise. 

Twelve-year-old pit bull Rolex is a registered comfort animal for Army veteran Andreas Zivic, who suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. 

"You've got a lot of people that say that. But honestly, that can hold true for any breed. A dog is just like a child. If you spend time and develop them, and spend time and teach them how to be and you socialize them with people, they're going to know how to act," said Zivic. 

Across the country, hundreds of cities have passed breed specific laws to ban or restrict the ownership of pit bulls. Among the larger cities banning the breed are Miami, Florida and Denver, Colorado.

Pit bulls are also banned by the New York City housing authority and are not allowed on any U.S. military bases.

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