Friday, April 13, 2012

Michigan Humane Society offers free spay-neuter program to reduce pit bull overpopulation problem

Kevin Hatman of MHS with an adoptable pit bull
Does Southeast Michigan have a pit bull overpopulation problem?
You bet it does.
This controversial breed has boomed in population. I remember, before we brought Sensi home nine years ago, I hadn't even seen a pit bull in living color before. We actually went to go visit one of my husband's coworkers who owned one so I could have my first pit bull experience.
Nowadays, it seems like I see more pit bulls and pit bull mixes than any other breeds.
Almost every dog I see while driving through Pontiac on my way into work is a pit bull. But there's hardly a difference when you get to suburbs — I live out in the country, in the very northern reaches of Oakland County — and I'd have to guess that one out of every three dogs I see being walked is some sort of pit.
I think I do understand the attraction to the breed.
For some, owning a pit bull is like a statement of toughness. A living, walking badge of just how bad ass you are.
For others, it's an effort to jump on the pro-pit bull bandwagon and prove to the rest of the world that if raised right, pit bulls can be great dogs.
Now, I'm going to quote a sentence from a recent post about a pit bull mauling in Rochester Hills that sums up what I think of all this: "I may own a pit bull, and love a pit bull, but I'm no idiot. Pit bulls aren't the dog for everyone and frankly, it scares me half to death to think of the powerful breeds, labs included, owned by the masses who don't know the first thing about dog behavior."
That means that whether you fall into one of either of the categories I mentioned above, I'm skeptical whether a pit bull is truly the right dog for you.
Again, quoting my earlier post: "Pit bulls need an owner who holds him or herself to a higher standard of responsibility and understanding of the breed they've chosen to make their best friend."
It's not good enough, not for me, to say that if you love the dog enough and don't abuse it, it'll be a great dog.
Pit bull or not, all dogs need more than love and lack of abuse to be reliably good and well-adjusted canine citizens.
So, I'm tipping my hat to the Michigan Humane Society, which has begun offering free spays and neuters to pit bulls.
One of our awesome interns, Brittany Wright, wrote a story for The Oakland Press and produced this video about Michigan Humane Society's free spay-neuter program for pit bulls.


Wright says that nearly one-third of the Michigan Humane Society's dog population are pit bulls. And because this is a tough breed to adopt out, I have to imagine it doesn't end well for many of the pit bulls that wind up in shelters.
The program is only a couple months old, if that, and already, it's been in huge demand — so popular, in fact, that there's already a waiting list.
Waiting list or not, it's a great program and the type of preventative effort that will make a difference in the pit bull overpopulation problem.
As far as bandwagons go, I hope this one that we see more rescue agencies jump on, and more pit bull owners take advantage of.
This is an excellent program to spend money on and so, I hope it leads to more financial donations for the Michigan Humane Society — hint hint, wink wink.
Way to go, MHS!

FYI
For more information on certificates for the spay-neuter program visit www.michiganhumane.org or call 248-283-1000 Ext. 127.

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