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We Are Wrong About Pit Bulls. Learn the Truth.
With Guest: Ed Fritz, Campaign Specialist for Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog Campaign,
Best Friends Animal Society.

Original Air Date: 10-09-2009

Listen to the show

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During today's episode, you will hear how pit bull's were once esteemed and considered America's favorite and beloved family pet. How and why did this change - to pit bulls being feared by the general public as a dangerous animal and now being being outlawed. Ed Fritz, from Best Friends Animal Society heads up their "Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog"Campaign, and he will tell us the truth about these most misunderstood dogs and shares how Best Friends is fighting to ensure the pit bull's future. (Photo of puppy pit bull.)

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Pit Bulls are actually enthusiastic yet gentle dogs with alot of energy, are loving and loyal, developing strong bonds with their owners, and are known for their love of children.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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A fine example of an American Pit Bull Terrier.
(photo courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike)

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Modern day American Pit Bulls are a blend of Old English Bulldogs that are now extinct and working terriers. This is a depiction of a famous painting of Old English Bulldogs named Crib and Rosa circa 1811 by Abraham Cooper.

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A Jack Russell Terrier burrowing through a tunnel.

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This is an American Staffordshire Terrier. They look very similiar to Pit Bulls Terriers.

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Understanding the true nature, characteristics, and temperament of the breed, learning and adapting to the individual dog's personality, providing proper socializing, training, and taking responsibility and care to meet the dog's physical and mental needs and you can have a great pet. Yes, even with pit bulls!

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A family meets the pit bull, Pinky Bear at the Fall Super Adoption. One can see the love is mutual all the way around.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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Many pit bulls are delighted when around children, licking faces and wagging tails.
(photo by Best Friends Animal Society)

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Pit Bulls have a high degree of working and obedience intelligence. They make very good search and rescue dogs. This is Lucy, who learns tricks extremely fast.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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Pit Bulls need a lot of exersise and good sturdy toys to play with. A well known saying is "a tired pit bull is a happy pit bull." This is not a dog for a person or family who is not or cannot be very active.

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Many breeds have different tolerance levels for interacting with other dogs, from being very social to very aggressive. Pit bulls fall somewhere inbetween and if challenged enough by another dog, can be pushed into fighting. Good management of your dog, means keeping your pit bull on a lease when encountering dogs it does not know. See the website listed below, www.badrap.org for great information about Pros and Cons of owning a Pit bull.

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Pit bulls that display aggression to other dogs or animals does not mean that they naturally, will be aggressive to humans. These are very different behaviors. You may have heard that Pit Bulls were originally bred to be fighting dogs. What you might not know is that Pit bulls were also bred to be affectionate and loving with people. (This photo is actually, two pit bulls playing at a beach.)

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Many pit bulls are highly tolerant of the rugged, pulling, climbing all over, style of attention that children seem to lavish on dogs. See the video of the baby girl playing with the pit bull on the Wild About Pets Show home page on Talkzone.com. You will also see a very cute video of a pit bull with a wild cottontail rabbit.

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Where pit bulls can run into trouble: lack of training or training for aggression, poor treatment, (as in being left alone and chained for much of its life) and abuse from its owner are some of the means that can aggravate unpredicablity and aggession in pit bulls.

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Pit bulls can be victims of bad breeding. Ginger, a Pit bull is blind, as were all of her littermates. Probably a result of overbreeding and/or irresponsible breeding.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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You can see the scars from when this dog was part of a fighting operation.
(photo by Best Friends Animal Society)

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This is Curly, one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's fighting operation and brought to Best Friends Animal Sancturay in Utah.
(photo by Gary Kalpakoff, courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society)

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The number of pit bulls being given up to shelters is staggering. According to the website, www.bulladelphia, some shelters see as many as 40 pit bulls a day.

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Happy Day. It's the first Annual Fall Super Adoption, a collaboration between Salt Lake County Shelter and Best Friends Pit Bulls Campaign. Ten pit bulls were adopted out this day. Pit Bulls have very expressive faces as this "smile" demonstrates.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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Dedicated volunteers at the Fall Super Adoption and Pit crew tent.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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There is something about this dogs face.....the expression in its eyes.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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Does this look like a pit bull dog to you? It is. Sometimes it is hard to tell which dogs are pit bulls and which are not. This means that breed-discriminatory legislation can be very hard to enforce and can target non pit bulls. Can you tell which dogs are pit bulls? Play an interactive game "Find the Pit Bull." Go to the link below, in the additional resources section at the bottom of this page of photos.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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A woman meets the pit bull, Pinky Bear.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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The more you learn about pit bulls, the more you'll be surprised to find out what pit bulls really want to do - offer and receive love.
(photo by Melissa Lipani)

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Formerly a manager of Dogtown, I have taken what I have learned to my role as the campaign specialist for Best Friends “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog,” the Best Friends outreach effort to reclaim the image of the American Family dog. 

Before coming to Best Friends, I managed a popular restaurant in SoHo, New York, for a few years. I then started my own fine furniture/art moving company. It was during a moving job that I was introduced to the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC) shelter. I began volunteering with them, and was amazed at what a difference one person could make in the life of an animal who had been abandoned or abused. 

I continue to relish making a difference in the lives of the animals here at the sanctuary while they await their forever homes. I love getting involved, whether it’s by fostering a special-needs pup or helping to dig holes for fence posts. Best Friends has offered me the opportunity to help companion animals in need on a much greater scale than I could have ever imagined. I was also involved in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and believe that what I learned from that experience will stay with me forever.  

I grew up outside the suburbs of Chicago. I played bass for many years in local bands, and it was this pursuit that brought me to New York City. I was having marginal success when my band broke up, and a chance meeting at a Tom Waits festival introduced me to my soon-to-be wife. I currently live in Kanab with my wife, our four dogs, Scratch, Topaz, Zephyrella and Parker, and six crazy cats, Tivali, Plumpkin, Mr. Cat, Fluffy Feet, Zinger and Slayer. I believe the cats will get along as soon as there’s peace in the Middle East. 

Ed Fritz's Blog Page

Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog Campaign Webpage

Best Friends Animal Society Webpage

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Webpage

Additional Resources

Here are some great websites that have very useful information about Pit Bulls.

www.badrap.org

www.bulladelphia.org

www.pitbullsontheweb.com

Play the game, "Find the Pit Bull", courtesy of www.pitbullsontheweb.com

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