Hopes for a misunderstood dog breed



By Marisol Martinez Garcia, SPANISH EDITOR

Coming in contact with dogs can be scary for people with cynophobia, a fear of dogs, especially if the dog is of the pitbull breed.
“The pitbull terrier originally bred to ‘bait bulls,’ the breed evolved into all-around farm dogs, and later moved into the house to become ‘nanny dogs’ because they were so gentle around children, according to DogTime, and educational website for new dog owners.
BAD RAP, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit organization, is helping fight the stigma against pit bulls. They have helped community shelters, dogs and dog-owners by bringing national attention to resources that can help the breed.
“We hold many events giving the opportunity for dog-owners, the uneducated public, and dogs, to be trained, medically helped, and rescued.” said Director of BADRAP, Donna Reynolds.
Reynolds directed the nationally recognized breed ambassador Pit Bull Hall project at the East Bay SPCA from 2005 to 2008 and also directed the AmbassaDog Project at Oakland Animal Services from 2008 to 2010.
Opinions about pitbulls vary amongst some dog owners because there are misconceptions that the dog breed is dangerous.
“With many unfortunate incidents happening with this specific breed it is not surprising that they [non-pit bull owners] are afraid,” said Yareli Gomez, 29, resident of San Leandro.
As dog bite incidents increase and the misconceptions of the dog breed continue to spread, this has led to new policies and restrictions for the breed and its owners.

“They have helped community shelters, dogs and dog-owners by bringing national attention to resources that can help the breed.”

Pitbulls are often prohibited by homeowner insurance policies, county restrictions or state laws in parts of the United States. Iowa, Kansas, Denver, Miami and Missouri currently have pitbull bans, according to dogsbite.org, a national dog bite victims’ group.
New York currently has the largest public housing authority with a ban on pitbulls and in 2017, 21 states passed provisions against the breed, according to Best Friends, an organization against discrimination of animals.
“I wish people would understand that it’s not the dogs fault, sometimes they bite and get into fights because of the owners and them not taking care of the dogs,” said Rebecca Schmidt, an employee at the Contra Costa SPCA. “They also die because we humans are stupid and don’t take care of them. When I see those commercials for the SPCA, I get so sad, I wish I could help them all. That’s why I volunteer.”