“My kids are around pit bulls every day. In the ’70s they blamed Dobermans, in the ’80s they blamed German Shepherds, in the ’90s they blamed Rottweilers. Now they blame the Pit Bull.” ~ Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer)
On October 30, 1938 Orson Wells, during a radio broadcast, performed a fake news cast for entertainment, his adaptation of a science fiction novel, War of the Worlds. A story of Martians invading Earth. This radio broadcast whipped the nation into a state of panic, millions of Americans sat on the edge of their seats, believing the world, as they knew it was being destroyed. People loaded their guns, hid in cellars or attics, with their heads wrapped in wet towels, as protection, from alien poison gas. Parents grabbed their children and grid locked the roads as they ran in panic, with no real destination. Simply running in fear.
They seemed to have missed the explanation at the beginning of the broadcast, explaining the incident, being reported, was for entertainment, it was not real.
That radio broadcast may very well be the first and is definitely, the most memorable example, of how much power the media has over the minds of our society.
Now, fast forward to the present, technology has the grade school children of today, more informed than the adults of the 1930’s, radio shows have been replaced by television, yet the media still has the power to strike fear and panic into the hearts and minds of the public.
Today’s alien of choice…a dog, specifically, Pit Bulls, and they are just as fictitious as those 1930’s Martians. Pit Bull is not a breed of dog, Pit Bull is a nickname, used to single out several different breeds of dog and Pit Bull attack will guarantee public attention.
The lead in for the 5 o’ clock news…
Pit Bull Attacks Kids on Playground
The actual report…a young boy standing in front of the camera, as the reporter tells us of the vicious pit bull attack…the camera pans down to the boy’s leg and the neon band aid that covers the child’s wound. I repeat: NEON BAND AID! The dog involved was euthanized.
The next day, a local woman calls for help to re-home her beloved Pit Bull, a sweet, gentle three year old, spayed, obedience trained, family member. A dog that has spent it’s entire life playing with the children that frequent this woman’s ”In Home Child Care Center.” A dog that has never hurt anyone or shown any sign of aggression to humans or other animals. You see, the broadcast was seen by several of this woman’s clients, their children would be going else where, if she keeps her dog. The woman cannot afford to lose these clients, she tells me, through sobs, that are taking her breath away and bringing me to tears. Her clients heard the media report but seemed to have missed the neon band aid.
This one report not only destroyed the lives of two family pets, it cost countless other dogs in shelters, many mistakenly labeled Pit Bull or Pit mix, a chance for a loving home. They were passed over out of fear.Apparently, in many cases, hearing how dangerous this breed is, from a reporter or newscaster increases ones capacity to doubt their own judgment.
The T.V. news and news papers that edit their stories for sensationalism, or worse, totally misreport because they cannot distinguish a Pit Bull from a Boxer, are causing as much mass hysteria as did Orson Wells.
If we are to believe the media hype then the Pit Bull is the most extreme example of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde our world has ever seen. Thousands of bully breeds live in homes across America as loyal, loving, family pets. The media just doesn’t talk about them.
A classic case in point, Weela, the 1993 Ken-L Ration’s Dog Hero, that saved 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses, and a cat, during heavy floods in Southern California. Reader’s Digest refused to include, that Weela was an American Pit Bull Terrier, when writing their article, depicting her heroic acts.
Okay media, what is it? If you must say something nice, then don’t say anything at all, when it comes to a Pit Bull??
Today, these strong proud animals, are used in a variety of helping functions in society including police work, search and rescue, or therapy dogs in hospitals. Their fun loving, energetic, personalities, high level of intelligence, and athletic bodies help them to excel in all K-9 sports such as agility, dock diving, fly ball, weight pulling, rally obedience, flying disc – the list is endless. Anything, any other breed can do, so can a bully. Because, as the media reports it…….if it’s not a Pit Bull, It’s just a dog. Strong, confident, never give up and never back down, is so much a part of who we are as a society, how did we become so afraid of these virtues?”
People became afraid because the media twists and spins facts into cash, with headlines or lead ins that hold your attention, while advertisers push their products. “Family pet knocks child off bike,” will not stop you from making that trip to the kitchen, the same way “Pit Bull attacks child on bicycle” does.
If a Golden Retriever bites the mailman, it either won’t make the news or it will be covered by local media only. If that same mailman suffers the same exact wound from a dog believed to be a Pit Bull, it will make the national news.
Many believe that the sensationalistic negative press surrounding the Pit Bull breeds all began with this July 1987 issue of Sports Illustrated.
We believe a picture can be deceiving…
CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR TABBY SMILE! Make sure you have your speakers on!
Tabitha is a local American Bit Bull Terrier that lives in a home in Virginia Beach happily and peacefully with her Mom, two cats, and two other dogs, Faith, a Pit mix and Mozart, a Staffordshire Terrier.
Our beloved Bully breeds are not the first dog to be demonized by the media, once they got a hold on the Pit Bull, they let up on the Doberman, the target of the 70’s and bless the Doberman for saving the German Shepherd Dog. We don’t know yet what will replace the Pit Bull, as the next media monster, it could be any breed. It could be your favorite breed. When it happens, and it will, you can believe one thing…as long as people are willing to buy “Demon Dog Attacks”, the media will sell it.
Don’t buy it! Visit a shelter, pet a “Pit Bull” – it will do you both good!
Learn more about Pit Bulls and how they are misidentified and misunderstood!
Bingo with Stormy, Virginia Beach