Pit Bulls Are Just Another Breed Of Dog, Says Bully Bark Owners. What Do You Think?

They get a bad rap in the media, and are no more aggressive than any other breed, says Meryl Cohen of Bully Bark.

Meryl Cohen and Nicole Maples are on a mission: their group, Bully Bark, aims to educate pit bull owners how to handle their animals, and to educate the general public that pit bulls are not the monsters Cohen says the media makes them out to be.

“We want to re-establish the breed as a family animal and a good pet,” Cohen said. “And we fight against breed-specific legislation.”

The two met in college, and found they were both “animal-obsessed,” Cohen said. It was also in college where she fell in love with the pit bull breed.

“They were everything I wanted in a dog. I wanted to make it my mission to re-establish the perception of the breed. They are friendly, outgoing, confident, social and loyal.”

They are also in the news a lot, and not in good ways. Just this past week, there were reports of pit bulls attacking young children.

Cohen admits that there are instances of pit bull attacks, but claims that she sees a “desire in the media not to cover attacks by other breeds. I know of a lab that recently killed a two-year-old, but no one covered it.”

She also claims that, after working in animal shelters, she saw other breeds go into bite wards with equal frequency as pit bulls. She has worked with pit bulls who go to pediatric oncology wards to help ease childrens’ suffering. She said her own pit bulls were recently attacked by two off-leash Malamuts, but park rangers refused to do anything about it.

Originally bred to nip at the heels of bulls in England, pit bulls were brought to America to care for the children of settlers, Cohen said, thus their nickname “nanny dogs.” The bad rap came when the breed got caught up in gambling and fighting.

“I believe that behind every dog bite, you can find a problem with the owner,” she said. “You are responsible for your animal. There is no excuse for a dog to get loose.”

If a dog has a shaky history, it can still be trained, Cohen said.

“It’s all about leadership,” she said. “I mostly train the owners. A lot of people with anxiety issues transfer them to their dogs.”

The Pleasant Hill resident has been working with dogs and their owners for the past seven years. She and her partner provide everything but basic training, and they also serve as ambassadors of the breed.

“I’m hopeful because I see the younger generation as more tolerant,” Cohen said. “There’s a rebellion against intolerance, more acceptance toward the breed. I’m hopeful that will mean changes in legislation.”

To contact Bully Bark, go to the website and send them an email.

Do you think pit bulls are the victims of negative media? Tell us in the comments. 

John Barry May 10, 2012 at 05:07 PM
"Racism"? Get a dictionary.
Karen Batchelor May 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Perhaps you can explain the very recent deaths of children and infants involving a Pomeranian, 2 Huskies (in separate events), a Lab x Retriever, a Mastiff x Rhodesian Ridgeback, and just last Tuesday a Jack Russell? The breed is not relevant. In ALL of these incidents the children were left unsupervised by parents/grandparents who don't realise that dogs will by dogs.
Mary M. Webster May 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM
James, sorry but you're wrong. Not all pit bulls are bred that way. To think so is foolish and lacks any basis in fact. If you raised a lab and a pit bull together in a kind manner, are you seriously going to say that the pit bull would still have the "prey instinct" as you describe it? I know some pit bulls that would wind up starving to death if they were out in "the wild" simply because they lack that "prey instinct". You can't throw a blanket over the whole breed and spit speculation and claim it as fact. You just can't.
Mary M. Webster May 10, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Race... Breed.... the same mentality applies - how about you get yourself a dictionary and learn what "nuance" means.
Karen Batchelor May 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM
You explained the reason your husband was 'attacked' yourself. The owners were afraid of their own dog - so who's in charge in that dog/human relationship? They obviously have no command on that dog, certainly no recall, but let me assure you that if that dog really wanted to hurt your husband he would have been no match for it whatsoever. 2 kilogram lap dogs kill people (see 1984 Cincinnati Law Review). It is the nature of the incident (the intent of the dog) that dictates the severity of the injury - not the breed of the dog. You've seen for yourself that Pit Bulls in the hands of knowledgeable competent owners are perfectly fine family pets. Your warning about breeders and owners is quite right and applies to all breeds.


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