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Philadelphia's Pit Bull Problem

On second thought, I don’t want to know because the reality is, they are not dogs. They are something else. They are pit bulls.

Philadelphia is pit bull heaven, although it used to be that only the grungiest people owned them, like drug dealers, the corner tough guy or people who just didn’t know any better. Pit bulls were associated with crime and filth and people with little or no class. Then there was a transformation. The pit bull’s inherent ugliness (all jaw) was suddenly perceived as something beautiful. This reversal game reminds me very much of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984 standing for its opposite, the Ministry of Lies.

I have a neighbor who has three ferocious pit bulls. These dogs are not gentle. They growl in his backyard. They chew and eat everything. One time they ate through a wire fence.  When this neighbor of mine walks his pits, three at a time, they storm the street ahead of him, growling, snarling and racing as if possessed by demons.

I don’t know how my neighbor deals with these animals. The pits are so uncontrollable he has to walk them very late at night. If he walked them too early in the day they would lunge at people passing by on the sidewalk. These pits will attack anyone and everyone. At night sometimes I hear them growling and chewing through rubber and wire.  When I am on my patio I hear them in my neighbor’s house growling and clamoring to get out so they can attack me.

These pits sometimes appear in my nightmares: Twenty charging pit bulls in a pack howling like wolves in Germany’s Black Forest. There’s nowhere to escape. In these dreams I see people running into their houses.

The pits are coming. The pits are coming.

What happened to the wonderful Collies of yesterday?

As an animal lover, I have a hard time with pit bulls. I like my dogs to be graceful and sleek not barrel-shaped with bulbous round heads and eyes that are always defensively on edge, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s eyes. I like a dog’s face not to be all jaw. The all-jaw look is a giveaway: this animal is about violence and death.

A friend of mine insists that the odd disappearance of feral cats in the neighborhood has something to do with the popularity of pit bulls.

City feral cats slip in and out of my backyard patio and then they walk into my neighbor’s patio. Before he was forced to keep his pit bulls indoors because of all the damage they were causing, they roamed the patio and attacked and devoured feral cats. It was much like the fly going into the spider’s web.

“It’s not the breed it’s the people who raise the dogs,” pit bull enthusiasts say. “Remember this the next time you read an awful story about a pit attacking a toddler on the way home from school. It’s the fault of the owners, the people who trained the pit, not the pit.” In other words, it’s comparable to a teen boy who bullies people. Blame the parents. The kid wasn’t trained properly. He’s innocent.

Pit bull lovers are like people who belong to religious cults. They have lost the ability to reason and think rationally. The pit bull to them is a golden calf, an idol that must be protected at all costs.

On the Pennsylvania SPCA website, most of the dogs up for adoption are pit bulls with names like Machiatto and Brown Sugar. The underlying philosophy of the SPCA is that pit bulls are beautiful and loyal pets and they are just like any other dog—the regal Greyhound, the cute as pie Chihuahua, the hot dog or Dachshund or the supremely benevolent Collie. The SPCA has become part of the pit bull propaganda machine when they spout mantras like: Don’t blame the pit bull if it turns violent, blame the awful person who taught the pit how to be an indiscriminate fighter or growler.

Yet we never read how five Collie’s mauled a Philadelphia toddler to death, as was the case in August 2018 when Newsweek reported that five pit bulls killed a toddler.

In January of 2019, Philadelphia police shot pit bulls attacking a woman in her Northeast neighborhood. These same pit bulls had attacked the woman on a previous occasion.

Like the Pennsylvania SPCA, ACCT Philly, the largest animal care and control service provider in the region, hosts countless pictures of dogs up for adoption. Ninety percent of the dogs are pit bulls with names like Bahama Mama, Dobby, Star, Chase, Marathon, Harper and Chance. The name Chance is appropriate. You take a chancea with a pit bull. Many pit bull attacks occur after the dogs have been relatively well behaved for long periods of time. Then something snaps. That something is called the breed; it’s called genetics.

Pit bulls are not "mean" or “aggressive” when they maim and kill any more than labs are mean or aggressive when they retrieve; pit bulls simply maul and kill because of genetics. Denying the truth won't reduce the killings by these intentionally bred blood sport animals.

There is only one solution: Spay and neuter pit bulls to extinction.

The propaganda campaign currently underway to get the public to believe that pit bulls are either beautiful or “just like any dog” has the same fanatical feel to it as the brainwashing engineered to get people to believe that gender is not God-given but something that can be chosen. The pit bull propaganda machine might also be compared to the “Islam is just like any other religion” campaign.

The breeding of pit bull traits into the larger classic dog population has essentially destroyed the dog world. Dogs with half pit bull traits are now as common as the Cocker Spaniel was only forty years ago.

Pit bulls were practically unheard of when I was growing up. There were only Collies, Dachshunds, (real) Boxers and Shepherds, although the term junkyard dog (breed unknown) made the rounds from time to time, referring to ill-mannered ugly dogs who were so nasty they would attack their own tail.

Perhaps the most infamous dog in my family was the black French Poodle, Monsieur Faux Pas.

Monsieur Faux Pas was an indiscriminate, shameless cad. He loved legs, all sorts of legs, young and old, even leggy furniture stumps. As a teenager, I would walk Monsieur Faux Pas all over the streets of West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was well behaved during these walks but he showed his Jekyll and Hyde side at family gatherings as the adults sipped cocktails in the living room.

That’s when he would go on a leg romp. There’s nothing in life that brings one down to earth faster than having a dog greet you with a leg hump.  My venerable grandfather, dressed to the nines, would suddenly be jolted forward on the sofa as Monsieur wrapped his beastly paws around his argyle socks.

“No, no, no!” grandmother would interject

Monsieur, undeterred, would proceed to Aunt Dora—silk stockings always made the grade—then proceed to grandmother herself, and then after that to each of my siblings, going down the line.

“He needs to be locked in a room,” Aunt Dora would say, and so Monsieur would be ushered upstairs until the terrible spell that had possessed him had passed. In an hour or so he could be released into polite company.

But had Monsieur been a pit bull he would have eaten his way out of that room and then punished us all with certain death.