Why Won’t Tazewell ARC Accept Pit Bulls?

From the Director of Tazewell ARC:

We are often asked to rescue or receive a pit bull. Regrettably, bully breeds are like cats in that the problem is so serious and widespread that we simply don’t have the resources to tackle it.

Pit bull puppies are advertised ad infinitum all over the yard sale pages. Pit bulls for stud service, the whole nine yards. Breeders ask from $100 a pup to $1500 a pup, depending on the level of their (and their customers’) delusions. And they probably do sell the puppies. Why am I so sure? Because the 2,800 pit bulls who are destroyed in U.S. shelters EVERY DAY come from somewhere. But when the realities of pit bull ownership sinks in, guess where the puppies go, typically starting at about six months?

None of us here at Tazewell ARC dislike pit bulls. Many of our personal dogs are pit bulls or pit mixes. I (the Director) cuddle every night with an eighty pound pit bull mix who in turns cuddles with a fourteen pound husky/shepherd mix puppy like she’s his teddy bear. Pit bulls are great dogs. Sadly, they’re often a product of their environment. Pits are keenly intelligent working dogs who need strong direction and a job. Owners who fail to provide this are setting their pits up for failure, and failure happens 599 out of 600 times nationwide with a pit bull. Yes, you read that right. Only 1 in 600 pit bull puppies who are sold in the yard sale pages, on Craigslist, on Facebook, and in trade journals ever find a forever home. In American pounds and shelters, the kill rate for pit bulls is 93%. Roughly 75% of municipal shelters destroy Pit Bulls immediately upon intake, without them ever placing them up for adoption.

Part of the problem with comprehension is that these numbers are simply too staggering for our brains to process. When we’re unable to relate to a fact, our minds discredit it at worst, compartmentalize it at best. For example: “I know they kill a lot of pit bulls at the local pound, but I always find good homes for my puppies. I sell all of them, every time. So clearly this problem doesn’t apply to me or my dogs.”

How to even begin debunking that myth.

garbage bagsThe truth about it seems so clear to us who face staggering kill rates daily, who’ve seen the dead dogs in plastic bags being hauled out of a shelter by the pickup truck load and dumped at the nearest landfill. But for everyone who is insulated from this reality, whether by choice or by a municipality that cleverly misdirects taxpayer attention from their kill rates or disposal process, that statement seems not only ignorant, but reckless and stupid on a level that defies description.

Here is what happens when critical thinking skills are applied to the above statement:

First, just because a person completes a transaction and sells a live animal to a real human being does not mean that the animal will remain in the home it went to. What happens when there’s difficulty housetraining? What happens when there’s food aggression? What happens when the landlord finds out their tenant brought a breed of dog home that will result in the cancellation of their property insurance? Until a breeder can assure me that they have microchipped EVERY SINGLE PUP FROM EVERY SINGLE LITTER so they can track their intakes into local shelters, that they make the purchaser sign a contract that the pup has to be returned to the breeder rather than sold, re-homed to God knows who, or dumped at the pound, and that they do home visits and check references to ensure the pup is falling into capable hands. . .then any claim of “finding good homes” for their puppies is complete and total bullcrap, and all of us a community need to recognize it as such and call a spade a spade.

Secondly, one unspayed female dog and one unneutered male dog, and all their offspring, can in the course of six years, produce 67,000 puppies. So until such breeder—whether pit bull or otherwise—can show me proof that every single pup from every single litter they’ve sold has been spayed or neutered by the age of six months, then the sum of the equation remains the same as it was in the above paragraph: any claim of “finding good homes” for their puppies is complete and total bullcrap.

So—that brings us back around to all the hundreds of pit bulls who need rescue and the clearly prejudiced group called Tazewell ARC who refuses to help them.

With any intake, pit bull, Yorkie, coonhound, or cat, we have to consider the outcome: can we get that animal moved on to another rescue or into a permanent home in a timely way. If not, that animal will take up space in our rescue permanently—or at least very long term—that could have been used to save six, ten, or fifty other animals within the same time frame. In plain English, if we fill up with unadoptable animals, we will be unable to help any more animals at all.

Are pit bulls unadoptable? For the most part, yes. In two years, we have successfully placed ONE. Plenty of people who express interest in pit bulls—they’re always a big hit at adoption events–but the application process and a subsequent home check reveal a disproportionately large number of those people intend to confine the dog on a chain or let it “run free,” are renters with no pet policy, and/or own other unspayed/unneutered/unvetted animals. Adoptions into those homes simply cannot happen, for reasons far too numerous to state here.

The other side of the coin is that very few out of state rescues will or can legally receive bully breeds. Even in areas with the general pet population under control, there is usually an underlying problem with pit bulls and dog fighting rings. Local ordinances in some of those areas prohibit the importation of bully breeds. Common sense in other areas dictates a policy very much like ours, which is to intake no pit bulls because the time it will take to place them in forever homes will result in the death of dozens of other highly adoptable dogs in Southern kill shelters. So—if we can’t find good homes for pit bulls and we can’t send them to rescue out of state, what would critics suggest we do? Stack them up like firewood and hope for the best?

Here is a great article about pit bulls and their ultimate fates. I strongly encourage you to read it.



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