[UPDATE] In response to feedback from friends I’m referring to the blogger as Rainbow Bear (Bo).
A week ago I wrote to the author of one of my favourite blogs with concerns about an image they had posted with the caption “A pit bull boxer cross’. This was just days after the Victorian Govt. announced it was setting up their ‘Dob in a Dangerous Dog’ hotline in preparation for a search and destroy mission for pit bulls and pit bull crosses based purely on appearance. The dog in the picture did not look like an American Pit Bull Terrier. I asked that he remove the photo from his blog because it may endanger similar looking dogs.
as you know, innocent family pets risk being seized and killed in Victoria due to their appearance. Dog without any ‘pit bull’ in them are already suffering because Authorized Officers think they resemble a pitbull cross.
You have published a photo with the caption “A pit bull boxer cross”.
How do you know the genetic origins of that dog?
Given many dogs without ‘pit bull’ in may have a similar appearance to that dog, how can you justify putting them at risk by allowing it to remain on your site?
Please do not post pictures claiming to be ‘pit bull crosses’ as this may end up hurting dogs. Please also remove the one you’ve got up there.
I’m happy to discuss if you disagree but please don’t continue to ignore my request for you to remove this image.
A Week Later Rainbow Bear Responded, By Blog Post
A week passed without a response from Bo. Today I noticed he had put together a blog post on his blog defending their refusal to remove the image.
[caption id=“attachment_408” align=“alignleft” width=“150” caption=“Picture changed for privacy reasons”][/caption]
“I chose the image of a smiley, bright eyed, well-behaved dog, BECAUSE it was a smiley, bright eyed, well-behaved dog. We need to have more of these images to call upon, not less if we’re ever to overcome the ignorant, misguided aspersions generated by media hype and demonisation.”
He then went on to put words in my mouth,
“Much better, they feel, that we hide all references to pit bulls for fear of making the situation worse.”
Promoting Positive Images of Actual Pit Bulls
Posting positive images of American Pit Bull Terriers is a great idea. The difference is that sites promoting positive images of Pit Bulls tend to use dogs who at least look like APBTs.
The Victorian Govt is gearing up Council Officers to seize and destroy family pets based on appearance. They’re saying they will declare dogs who fit the new id standard even if they’re obviously not purebred APBTs. Don’t put dogs without any pit bull in them in the firing line by posting photos claiming to be Pit Bull crosses.
Weigh Up The Risks and Benefits
It’s naive to think you can change public perception when an issue is as hot as this. The media and government responded swiftly and in unison following the tragic death of Ayen Chol.
Conversely, posting images of cross bred dogs and saying “there’s one” may well lead to people worrying about their own dog or dobbing in their neighbours. We’re gearing up for the witch hunts over here.
Don’t Give Council Workers More Ammo
Regardless of the genetic history of that dog, I don’t believe posting photos of alleged Pit Bull crosses is responsible. It’s not possible to determine the genetic history of a mixed breed dog by visual examination but this is what our Government is telling Council Officers to do. Don’t give them more ammo.