Monday, December 27, 2010

So you want to rescue a pit bull.....

Woadie, currently available for adoption!

It's always awesome to hear from folks who want to rescue any dogs, but it's even more awesome to hear from folks who want to rescue a pit bull. Because of irresponsible ownership, indiscriminate breeding, and breed discrimination and misconceptions, pit bull-type dogs are the dogs most commonly coming into rescues and shelters -- and for the same reasons, they are among the hardest dogs to place.

Pits are wonderful, sweet, affectionate, loyal, fun, and intelligent dogs. They make fabulous companions. Most pit owners can't imagine life without a pit.

Every pit adopted means another deserving dog can be rescued. Every time a pit is adopted, a life is truly saved.

However, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding to adopt a pit bull. By thinking hard before committing, making sensible, informed choices for your family, and doing some pre-planning, you can help turn the pit stereotype around -- and gain a lifelong friend. But remember that by impulsively adopting a pit, even the most well-intentioned adopters are not only letting themselves in for trouble, but doing the breed a disservice -- and are certainly doing a disservice to the particular dog they adopt.

"Moving and can't find a place that allows pits" is probably the number one reason pit bulls end up in shelters.

  • Do you rent? Due to silly misconceptions about the breed, it is MUCH harder to find a place to rent with a pit. It's hard to find a place with any large dog, but it's even worse if your dog is a pit.
  • Do you own? Remember that many insurance companies do not cover properties with pit bulls on them. This includes Louisiana Citizens.
  • Are you in the military? Most military bases do not allow pit bulls on them. Many pits are given up for this reason every year.
  • Do you move a lot or anticipate moving? First, this compounds the problems of finding pit-friendly housing, because you'll have to do it frequently. Also, keep in mind that many towns and cities (including major cities like Denver and Miami) have bans on pit bulls.

  • Do you like to walk, run, or jog? Pits are excellent companions for these activities!
  • Are you more of a stay-at-home type? Many less active folks (myself included!) happily own pits, but it's important to have a plan for exercising your pit, especially if he/she is young.
  • Do you go to dog parks? Some pits and pit mixes do excellently at dog parks; however, many do not. Especially due to the bad rap that pits have, it's important to be very careful with this.

  • Pits are generally extremely sweet with people. Dog-aggression is more common. If you have another dog, be sure that the two dogs get along well, but also be prepared to keep them separately if problems develop.
  • Adopting a puppy with another dog? Although almost all dogs get along with almost all puppies, this does not necessarily mean that problems will not develop as the puppy gets older. Use caution -- sometimes it's better to adopt a slightly older dog so that you "know what you're getting," so to speak.
  • Crate dogs! Until you are 100% sure that the dogs get along well, separate them when you're not there.
  • Use the same caution you would when monitoring play between any two dogs. Remember that pits are medium to large, strong dogs. Dog fights are scary and potentially dangerous.

  • Will your dog stay inside? The vast majority of dogs are healthier and happier inside with their family. However, in the case of pits, their very social nature combined with their short, thin hair makes them very bad candidates for life outdoors.
  • Will your dog stay outside? If so, at a minimum, your dog will need a well-insulated dog house with lots of blankets. No dog should be tethered. Pits are athletic dogs and can jump a high fence.

  • Pits are usually excellent with kids! (Think Petey from Our Gang/Little Rascals.) However, use the same caution you should with any dog/kid combination: don't leave children alone with the dog unsupervised and be sure to carefully teach both the dog and the children how to interact.

  • Pits are active, medium to large dogs that can easily eat $50+ worth of high-quality kibble per month.
  • Heartworm and flea preventative for an average-sized pit cost around $45 per month.
  • Skin issues and allergies are especially common in pits and require additional veterinary expenses.
  • You may need to pay an additional housing deposit for a pit bull.
  • Depending on the neighborhood you live in and the canine demographics there, you might find that your neighbors are hostile to your pit bull. Although we all know this is crazy, you need to be prepared to deal with it by helping your pit be a good representative for the breed (and by being a good pit owner yourself!).
  • What will you do if you neighbors complain? This is important to think about.
  • Finally, remember that, irrational as it is, people are afraid of pit bulls. For the good of your dog and the breed in general, it's important to be an exceptionally responsible owner and to be sensitive to others' fears, while at the same time trying to change their minds.
We certainly hope that you will enjoy a long, happy relationship with your adopted pit bull!

Dogs of the 9th Ward has many adoptable pits and pit mixes available. Please email for more information or see The Sula Foundation is New Orleans' dedicated pit rescue, education, and advocacy group. Please see: Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is a no-kill shelter that is pit-friendly:

Mercy, currently available for adoption!

1 comment:

  1. I just tweeted and facebooked (please retweet and share with fb friends) : New Orleans, LA: Dogs of the 9th Ward: So you want to rescue a pit bull..... #adopt #rescue #foster #pitbull #dogs