SPCA offers help to Pit Bull owners

January 21, 2008 7:31:54 PM PST
Pit Bulls are a controversial breed. Many believe they are dangerous and too unpredictable to be a pet. Of course, others disagree. Regardless of where you fall in the debate, Bay Area animal advocates say there are too many of them showing up in shelters.

"All of our shelters in our area are very concerned about the number of Pit Bulls we see coming to our shelters," says Eliza Fried, East Bay SPCA.

The East Bay SPCA is taking part in Bay Area 'Pit Fix Week'. It's one of eight shelters hoping to help solve the problem by offering free spay and neutering.

Pitt Fix Week is in direct response to the overpopulation problem of Pit Bulls in the Bay Area. More than 30 percent of all dogs brought in to shelters are Pit Bulls.

"The saddest part about this story is that half of the animals, half the dogs that are put down, are Pit Bulls," says Fried.

Public opinion has swung against the breed. A San Francisco ordinance went into effect in 2006, requiring owners to spay or neuter their dogs and get breeding permits from the city.

It was in response to the fatal attack of 12 year old Nick Fabish. He was killed in his own home by the family's two pet Pit Bulls.

In 2001, 10 year old Shawn Jones was nearly mauled to death in Richmond by three Pit Bulls while out riding his bike. And one time NFL quarterback Michael Vick is now in prison after being arrested in a dog fighting case. He pleaded guilty to dog fighting charges in federal court late last year.

Ten of his Pit Bulls from the dog fighting ring ended up in the Bay Area with a group called Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls --or Bad Rap.

"We're lucky in the Bay Area because dog fighting is not an issue as it is in other cities. If you go to the public shelters, you won't see as many Pit Bulls with fight scars as you will in other areas," says Donna Reynolds, Bad Rap.

However, you will still see plenty of Pit Bulls. Many end up in shelters because landlords don't want them in their buildings.

"The bias that people have about Pit Bulls is that they're vicious. Pit Bull owners who have them in their homes might not be able to keep them. Their landlord might say oh my god you have a Pit Bull. Get that dog out of here. So, landlord evictions are very common with the breed," says Reynolds.

The SPCA is hoping a little surgery for free goes a long way in cutting down the number of Pit Bulls.