Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WARL, Ward 4, and the pit bull dilemma

I've become fond of Dr. Gary Weitzman's Huffington Post DC blog. Weitzman is the CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League, which is a haven for homeless animals here in Ward 4 (one which you should really visit, if you've never done so). Yesterday's post hit close to home for me, as it focuses on a rescue effort of pit bulls from Baltimore's animal shelter, and my own girl happens to be a pit rescued from Baltimore by WARL.

"Any pits?" I asked our shelter director, Maureen, when she got back from the Baltimore shelter with the transfer animals and was parking our rescue truck in front of the shelter.

She smiled sheepishly at me.

"Oh, no. A bunch of lab mixes and a mixed shepherd or two. And the cutest puppies you ever saw."

I knew what that meant. She had a truck full of pit bulls.

There are two reasons for this: One, we're an urban shelter north of the Mason-Dixon Line. And two, Maureen, like me, loves pit bulls and knows they need our help more than any other animal in this country. Because of the public's misperception of this often gentle, loyal, and intelligent breed -- and due to the absolutely unconscionable breeding for criminally inhumane uses that this breed has endured by the most irresponsible humans among us -- there are just so too many pit bulls for the system to absorb.

Backyard breeding of pit bulls is such a deeply ingrained part of many peoples' lives in Brightwood (and in many other places, of course). A woman on my block told me that she was reluctant to get their family's pit neutered because her son wanted to breed him at least once. Another neighbor stared at me incredulously when I told him that my dog was spayed. "You mean you don't want her to have puppies? Why not?" he asked in all seriousness. I refrained from explaining that she was spayed because I didn't want to contribute to the pet overpopulation problem; it didn't seem as though he would have easily understood that point of view.


  1. hate to be pedantic, but this geographer can't let this one go.

    both baltimore and DC are south of the mason-dixon line. :)