Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Kudos to the New York Times Magazine for printing this fantastic story about the ethics of breeding the English bulldog. As anyone who knows a bulldog likely knows, the exaggerated features of English bulldogs create breathing problems, skin problems, eye problems and even basic procreation problems (many English bulldogs can't breed or give birth naturally) for the dogs. And even though many breeders see these problems, they continue to breed dogs for the most wrinkles, broadest faces, flattest features, widest chests. Why? Because the breed registry – the AKC – keeps rewarding these genetic mutations in the show ring, thus making the most unhealthy dogs the most prized and valuable.
You'd think that these kinds of issues would discourage other registries from doing the same thing to other breeds. But it's happened in the pit bull world as well. The American Bully, a breed of dog designed based on pit bull and Amstaff stock and characteristics, is headed in a similar direction. Check the website of the American Bully Kennel Club if you want to see what I mean. This registry rewards breeders for creating "pocket" "XL," and "Extreme" versions of the dogs. Here's a direct link to the ABKC's description of the "Extreme" Bully, with an image of what this variation would look like:
Thursday, November 10, 2011
My first reaction, of course, was to be frustrated by the city's policy that refuses to allow any pit bulls or dogs identified as pit bull mixes to be adopted out to people or sent to rescue. But I'm trying to temper that frustration by remembering how horrible it must be to work in a city where you have so many horribly irresponsible owners – so very many – that most of the dogs you get are unsocialized, neglected pit bulls. So I'm trying to remember that there are probably a lot of sad days at Detroit Animal Control, for a lot of people, including the animal control officers.
That said, Detroit could take a page from Baltimore, which used to euthanize all pit bulls that came through the shelter doors. They started adopting them out not too many years back, and though the programs aren't perfect, the city's not any more overrun with wild pit bulls roaming the streets than it used to be. There's got to come a point where animal control departments in cities like Detroit can start to see that the pit bull hysteria is, quite simply, overblown. That dog fighting and dog attacks aren't all pit bulls are about. That, with responsible screening and placement, you can have a successful pit bull adoption program just like you can with other breeds of dog. But screening, spay/neuter and education are key. Maybe someday.
Here's another story on this situation, for more background.