It Should be Pit Bull BEWARE-ness Day

On October 26, the Montreal SPCA and Pit Stop Montreal are celebrating "National Pit Bull Awareness Day."  Pit bulls may seem like an odd topic for a conservative journal, but as the (now) old saying goes, "the personal is political," and nothing that affects our emotional lives in this heavily politicized world is exempt from the rule.

Anyone who owns a dog, or knows someone who does, understands that dog attachment can be a deeply emotional phenomenon. And one of the most emotionally-charged issues in the canine world today is fuelled by an ideology I call multicaninism because it springs in spirit from the ideology of multiculturalism, and is peddled by a well-organized political advocacy movement.

The crux of the ideology was enunciated in a remark by Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA in the press release detailing the events of National Pit Bull Awareness Day. Ms Devine states, "All dogs, no matter their appearance or heritage, are individuals and deserving of love and compassion." If you took out the word "dogs" in that statement and substituted the word "children," the statement would be both true and laudatory.

But as it stands, it is a lie. Unless they are mongrels – and in this context, they are not, Ms Devine is warming up for her pitch to rehome pit bull type dog breeds specifically—dogs  are not individuals in the same sense that human beings are. Human beings breed randomly. As line-bred, artificial constructs, dogs are bred to conform to a stereotype in which specific, predictable traits express themselves.

Genetics play an enormous role in dog breeding and, once bred in, dominant characteristics are notoriously difficult to breed out. Greyhounds were bred for speed, and even the slowest greyhound is faster than the fastest bloodhound. Moreover, like all breed dogs, greyhounds take pleasure in doing what their physical nature suits them for.

Pit bull type dogs—like  the American Staffordshire, for example, whose neutral name belies the fact that he is genetically 100% pit bull—are endowed with a genetic trait called "impulsive aggression," and have never been bred for anything but inflicting pain on other animals and humans.

Their typical attack mode is relentless, their instinct to inflict massive damage with little regard for pain incurred in the attack. They are genetically programmed to seek opportunities to exercise their impulse to fight. Which is why dog fighters will not use any other breed of dog for their loathsome "sport"; no other breed of dog can be made to engage in fighting with such savagery. And it is also why, when you look at statistics, the rates of maulings, maimings, dismemberments and fatalities are so preposterously skewed to pit bull type dogs that any explanation other than genetics is simply untenable.

Yet pit bulls, once a tiny fragment of the breed population in people's homes, have over the last two decades risen dramatically in numbers. At about 6%, they are only surpassed in popularity by Labrador Retrievers. And as their popularity waxes, so too do the rates of maulings and killings. According to investigative reporter Merritt Clifton's ongoing reports,1 the pit bull now represents 3000% the actuarial risk compared to other dogs. Hundreds of jurisdictions have banned them for that reason.

All dog industry people know this, but in the last three decades, virtually all dog industry people have conspired to ignore that reality. The Montreal SPCA is typical of the shelter community in aggressively "pushing" pit bulls, marketing them as lovable family pets, even though pit bulls are five times more likely to kill a family member – usually a child - than all other breeds combined.

Why the wilful blindness? The simple explanation is that when the pit bull was associated with white dog fighters – the Ku Klux Klan financed much of their operations through dog fighting – the breed was rightly feared, despised and shunned. But in the 1970s, as the KKK morphed into garden-variety gangs, members of the black criminal class took up the slack in dog fighting, as well as using the dogs to guard marijuana grow-ops and to intimidate people generally. Now white liberals had a problem. How could they despise a breed that was the darling of "racialized" youth? They couldn't! So instead they embraced the pit bull as himself a victim of the same prejudice that afflicted blacks.

The same theorists who gave us the canard that all cultures are equal in value, and any discrimination based in cultural judgment is unacceptable, projected this notion on to dogs. Pit bulls are to dogs what Blacks, natives, women and aboriginals are to multiculturalists: the Victim of a racializing, sexist, imperialist society. Read the pit bull advocacy movement literature, including academic theses by Phd candidates who are now flocking to the subject of the pit bull as a media victim, and you see words like "rights," "racism," "hate," and "stereotyping," words that are intellectually untenable in connection with creatures that emblemize the very word "stereotype."

And here are the trickle-down fruits of all that theorizing: humane shelters whose personnel know very well that pit bull type dogs present a high risk to other animals and humans, but are pushing them anyway. There is already a lot of blood on the humane movement's hands, and if they do not own up to the reality of pit bull genetics, there will be much, much more.