A new book on pit bulls and the great American dog war

bronwen dickey pit bull

Three years ago, I received an email from a writer who wanted to interview me on what I knew about the history of bulldogs and bull and terrier types.

I have received several emails like these over the years.  They usually go nowhere, but when we were able to talk  on the phone, I was actually  quite surprised.

The author had actually read my blog very carefully, and the questions showed that she had done quite a bit of research on the topic. When you write these sorts of blog posts, you often wonder if people are actually paying attention to what you write.

She obviously had done her homework. She asked me something about Cuban bloodhounds, a defunct breed of dog used to catch runaway slaves. I hadn’t written on Cuban bloodhounds for many years. She asked about the ancient alaunt dogs, whether pit bulls had essentially become an urban landrace, and how society came to understand this concept of breed.

The author who contacted was Bronwen Dickey. I didn’t know it at the time, but she is the daughter of the great Southern poet and novelist James Dickey. And as I came to find out, she is a very fine writer in her own right.

In April 2013, she was delving deeper into the research around pit bulls. She was writing a book on the story of the pit bull type dog in America. Pit bulls, as we all know, are the most controversial dog breed in America. Many, many claims are made about them, but whether these claims withstand objective scrutiny is quite another thing. There is a widespread belief that these dogs have locking jaws or that they suddenly turn on people without warning. There is also a belief that a pit bull is a super canine that can readily dispatch  a feral hog on its own and then curl up with the kids as the “Nanny dog.”

Both advocates and detractors have created an image of this sort of dog. What Bronwen wished to figure out is which parts are true and which are parts of contrived to the point of being pure fantasy.

It turns out there was quite a bit.

Now, this book isn’t out yet, and it’s already being attacked.

Pit bulls are so contentious that I stopped writing about them quite a while ago. Of all the issues I’ve seen dog people invest emotional time and energy into fighting over, pit bulls are truly an outlier. Dog people fight over just about anything trivial, but when it comes to pit bulls, there is a whole other dimension:  If a pit bull mauls someone, there will be a group that wants them all executed. If a pit bull mauls someone, there will be a group of people who want that dog’s life spared at all costs.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this in dogs. Indeed, the only other topic that riles people up more online is whether feminism destroyed video games or not.

In one week (May 10), Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon will be released. There are people whose minds will never be changed on both extremes of this debate, but for that great middle, who really wants to know what the pit bull is and what it truly means to this country, Bronwen Dickey has produced a nuanced analysis that is well worth reading.

And she’s a good writer.

When she had me review a few chapters of her drafts, I found them to be quite fascinating in deed.

But if you really want to know– and are brave enough to have your assumptions challenged– buy a copy. Only a few more days to wait.

 

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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I’ve Moved

I decided to move my blog. You can now find me at www.crazyandlittle.com.

Hope to see you there!

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Does anyone know anything about Pet Playgrounds Fe…

Does anyone know anything about Pet Playgrounds Fence system? I am considering this type.
BAD RAP Blog

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Four of the Michael Vick dogs went on to become ce…

Four of the Michael Vick dogs went on to become certified therapy dogs. I wish that could be mentioned in every article about these dogs.
BAD RAP Blog

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America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest halted due to cyber-bullying: Finalists to be honored collectively

Reported in AVMF NEWS, the following was announced:

“America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest Halted Due to Cyber-Bullying – Finalists to be Honored Collectively”

“The 2015 America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest has been halted, and we have declared all 20 finalists “America’s Favorite Veterinarians” following a vicious cyber-bullying attack which disrupted and contaminated the final election process. Activists opposed to cat declawing “hijacked” the contest, resorting to cyber-bullying the majority of the contest finalists. The attacks were reprehensible and undeserved, and have undermined the spirit of the competition and caused the contestants undue harm. Read the press release for more information.

“We thank you for your interest in the contest, and we are truly sorry for what has happened. Our contestants deserve the utmost respect for what they do every day as veterinarians. We ask that those who are bullying these contestants immediately stop. Please join us in honoring these veterinarians with the respect they deserve.”

Lori , I’ve Got the ‘Scoop’!, LLC

2015 National Pet Sitting Business of the Year Recipient, NAPPS

2015 Best Pet Sitter & Dog Walker Burlington County, Winner of Best of Burlington County Times

www.IveGotTheScoop.net 


PetsitUSA Blog

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I am a veterinarian that worked with one of the sh…

I am a veterinarian that worked with one of the shelters housing some of the Vick dogs, some of the pit bulls and quite a few of the beagles used as bait dogs. Sure a shelter isn't an ideal place, and it would be great for the court procedures to be processed quickly. But the dogs at the shelter I worked with were cared for. I saw and treated a lot of them for various health issues. All shelters are not created equal.
BAD RAP Blog

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We must work on legislation to improve situations …

We must work on legislation to improve situations post seizure. Many times abusers are convinced to surrender these animals. It should be a law that evidence of abuse automatically means the dog is relinquished to proper shelters for adoption.
BAD RAP Blog

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INSTAGRAM CUTIE: PYPER PLEASED WITH HALO AND CHEWY

pyper1prettypyperaussie Instagram:

“Can you tell someone totally loves her new @halopets wild salmon treats!?As soon as Pyper sees a @chewy box she goes bonkers knowing the delicacies inside are for her. In this box we received @halpoets treats and we have never tried this brand before. I’m happy to say Pyper and I are both very pleased!

Since Pyper is raw fed, these 100% freeze-dried wild salmon treats are absolutely perfect! We also love that they are made in the USA.

There is no hiding these delectable treats though…you can definitely notice the salmon smell right away, but that doesn’t bother us. We would definitely purchase more @halopets treats in the future!

Not to mention, @chewy has been apart of our lives for a long time, and we are proud to say that we have almost never purchased any of our doggie essentials anywhere else. How can you resist amazing customer service, free 1-2 day shipping (over $ 49), and an amazing food policy?!?”

Thank you prettypyperaussie for sharing this great picture of Pyper!

Halo

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This is Why I Now Wait in the Car at School Pickup

pawcurious5

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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TRACIE HOTCHNER: HELP END DOG FIGHTING IN CALIFORNIA BY MAKING IT A CRIME TO GO WATCH

newtraciepic2I want to ask you to do one small thing to make the world a better place for dogs forced to fight each other in California. I’m going to guess that – like me – you thought dog fighting had been outlawed in the United States and nobody was doing it anymore – or if they did, they’d be prosecuted and sent away to prison for it as Michael Vicks was.

The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA lobbied and won in Federal court to make dog fighting- even being a spectator – a felony.

However, a legal loophole remained in many states: the people who came to watch dogfights could do so without penalty or legal risk. As long as people faced no consequences for going to a dog fight they continued to cheer on this horrendous blood sport, place bets and keep the dogs fighting. State by state people rallied and bills were passed to make it illegal.

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166California is one of the last states where it remains legal to watch a dogfight. By signing this petition we can help stop the cruel “sport” of dog fighting and make life livable for the poor pit bulls who are bred for fighting and forced to live a violent and brutal life – and many of them to have a horrific death – all to “amuse” some pathetic humans.

I just signed the petition “Make being a spectator at dogfights a felony” and am asking you to help by adding your name. It will only take a moment of your time to help legally stop these barbaric events.

The goal is to reach 150,000 signatures and more support is needed. Please pass this on to anyone you know who loves dogs and believes that the state of California should offer protection for all animals by outlawing the brutal impulses of people who want them to fight to the death. You can read more and sign the petition here:

As pit bull protector Ken Foster says (and do many in the vast rescue community): “Pit bulls are lovers, not fighters.” Please help make that a reality in California at long last.

Tracie began her fascination with dogs and cats by turning her eye as a former investigative reporter on every aspect of living with them, resulting in her encyclopedic resources THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and then the THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. Before long, Tracie was established as a leading pet wellness advocate as her all-encompassing books covered everything from medical issues to behavior, nutrition and environmental enrichment.

Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires).

RPLN-NewLogo-ProudSponsor175x197DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo

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