Pit Bulls Are Just Another Breed Of Dog, Says Bully Bark Owners. What Do You Think?

They get a bad rap in the media, and are no more aggressive than any other breed, says Meryl Cohen of Bully Bark.

Meryl Cohen and Nicole Maples are on a mission: their group, Bully Bark, aims to educate pit bull owners how to handle their animals, and to educate the general public that pit bulls are not the monsters Cohen says the media makes them out to be.

“We want to re-establish the breed as a family animal and a good pet,” Cohen said. “And we fight against breed-specific legislation.”

The two met in college, and found they were both “animal-obsessed,” Cohen said. It was also in college where she fell in love with the pit bull breed.

“They were everything I wanted in a dog. I wanted to make it my mission to re-establish the perception of the breed. They are friendly, outgoing, confident, social and loyal.”

They are also in the news a lot, and not in good ways. Just this past week, there were reports of pit bulls attacking young children.

Cohen admits that there are instances of pit bull attacks, but claims that she sees a “desire in the media not to cover attacks by other breeds. I know of a lab that recently killed a two-year-old, but no one covered it.”

She also claims that, after working in animal shelters, she saw other breeds go into bite wards with equal frequency as pit bulls. She has worked with pit bulls who go to pediatric oncology wards to help ease childrens’ suffering. She said her own pit bulls were recently attacked by two off-leash Malamuts, but park rangers refused to do anything about it.

Originally bred to nip at the heels of bulls in England, pit bulls were brought to America to care for the children of settlers, Cohen said, thus their nickname “nanny dogs.” The bad rap came when the breed got caught up in gambling and fighting.

“I believe that behind every dog bite, you can find a problem with the owner,” she said. “You are responsible for your animal. There is no excuse for a dog to get loose.”

If a dog has a shaky history, it can still be trained, Cohen said. Bully Bark has clients in most central county cities, including Martinez. 

“It’s all about leadership,” she said. “I mostly train the owners. A lot of people with anxiety issues transfer them to their dogs.”

The Pleasant Hill resident has been working with dogs and their owners for the past seven years. She and her partner provide everything but basic training, and they also serve as ambassadors of the breed.

“I’m hopeful because I see the younger generation as more tolerant,” Cohen said. “There’s a rebellion against intolerance, more acceptance toward the breed. I’m hopeful that will mean changes in legislation.”

To contact Bully Bark, go to the website and send them an email.

Do you think pit bulls are the victims of negative media? Tell us in the comments. 

Jeff Songster May 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Right on Randy!
Hope Savage May 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM
This is an anti-pitbull website and by no means are they reporting facts. Try the humane society: http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/stop-animal-abuse/fact-sheets/dog-bites.html More specifically, check out:http://www.scribd.com/doc/10150239/Breeds-of-dogs-involved-in-fatal-human-attacks which has a table showing the statistics of reported dog bite incidents by breed which directly contradicts what dogsbite.org claims.
Hope Savage May 10, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Tony..."the majority"?? Really? I walk dogs on a daily basis for the last 25 years and see very few people trying to bully others with their pitbulls. If it was a majority I'm pretty sure I would have noticed. What I do notice is that an inordinate number of small dog owners seem to feel that they should not have to control their dogs' agressive, hostile behavior because they are small. ALL dog owners have a responsibility to control their animals at all times
Dena R May 11, 2012 at 01:08 AM
dogsbite.org is an actual non-profit dog bite reporting website. Pit bulls arent' the only dogs reported on there, they just happen to bite/maim/kill the most people. A pit bull killed my friend's 19month old son so I happen to think they are dangerous...
Randy Merrell May 11, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Everyone here has a personal dog story or two, or maybe many. But all of these examples are purely anecdotal. They mean nothing, speaking from a strict statistical point of view. You also need to ignore virtually ALL studies about dog BITES! All dogs bite. For many reasons. Some bite as a warning, like a German Shepherd. Other bite when they are playing, which often involve children and panicky parents, and some dogs bite with the intent to do serious harm. The only meaningful statistics in this discussion are Deaths By Dog Bite. And these studies show that the most aggressive dogs are Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Everyone knows somebody who has a sweet Pit Bull. I am not saying ALL Pit Bulls are bad, just that the breed has the most DBDB, by far. It's not really even close.
Jeff Songster May 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
They need to be restricted and regulated... all pits and presa canarios owned by inidviduals need to be spayed or neutered... All breeders must be located outside populated areas and must keep $1 million bond on deposit to pay for 'accidents' caused by their animals. Failure to follow this should be punishable by losing animals and licenses. Any dangerous animals in city limits should be eliminated or forever removed from cities.
Randy Merrell May 11, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Brandi, German Shepherds are commonly used as police dogs because they are smart, obedient, easily trained, intuitive, protective and intimidating. But they are not inherently aggressive. That is why they ALSO are used commonly as guide dogs. Do you think that being a guide dog is a good role for a dog that is "one of the worst"? Don't think so. Come on Brandi. Think about it. German Shepherds are exceptional dogs.
tony May 11, 2012 at 07:19 PM
If you don't think that Pit Bulls have been superbred to fight you are swimming in the river of Denial. Unfortunately it will take decades to clean up the blood line and the I.Q. of far too many of the owners wish to see the breed go the other way.............I love dogs as well and have owned Boxer's, Boston Terriers, and hope to someday get an English Bulldog. All gentle breeds.As far as an attacking and or biting Pit Bull..............I believe you need to do away with the dog and then the owner, not necessarily in that order.
Meryl May 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Dogs are dogs. Regardless of breed. I am saddened to see such a close minded response to such a great article, in a supposedly "progressive" part of the country. All I can say is to my fellow pit bull and bully breed owners, I will continue to fight for us and our dogs. It is my life's work and passion, and there is nothing that will stop myself, Nicole, or the rest of us. Here are truly unbiased, scientifically based dog-expert related pages with a lot of good information. Education is the key to combating ignorance. These are the TRUE facts regarding pit bulls, aggression, and the key to safer communities. http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dog-legislation/ineffective-laws/ http://atts.org/breed-statistics/statistics-page1/ http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/facts/statement_dangerous_dogs_breed_specific_legislation.html http://www.aspca.org/About-Us/policy-positions/breed-specific-legislation-1 http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/nov00/s111500c.asp
Randy Merrell May 11, 2012 at 11:56 PM
MaryC, these links provide excellent and interesting information. Unfortunately, they provide little insight into the real issue here. One can't simply site stats on dog bites. There are thousands of dog bite each year and yet only roughly 20 are fatal. Of those, Pit Bulls account for between 33% and 66% of the fatal attacks each year. Yet the represent less that 5% or all dogs. Say what you want about being progressive or having an open mind. You won't find too many progressives that keep rattlesnakes as pets, yet Pit Bulls kill more people. Do what you want, but when you see me walking my dogs down the street, wave, and I'll return the friendly wave, and cross the street.
Hope Savage May 12, 2012 at 12:18 AM
At least the statistics she's citing are based on factual information compiled by multiple, reliable, unbiased sources. You seem to be making yours up, Randy.
Chris Kapsalis May 12, 2012 at 12:22 AM
It is not ignorant to know owning a pit bull is different that owning some other types of dogs and potentially more dangerous. Comparing a Pit bull and say a Beagle is like the difference between owning an Eagle and a Parrot. Both can bite you or claw you, but the Eagle can be much more dangerous if in the wrong hands. Progressive thinking say maybe we need special rules for Pit Bulls and their owners. a permit maybe. We do for other potentially dangerous things and animals.
Randy Merrell May 12, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Hope, I've sites my sources, but you can do yor own research. You'll find that I am right.
Meryl May 12, 2012 at 01:42 AM
There is a reason that EVERY SINGLE EXPERT FIELD IN THE DOG BEHAVIOR INDUSTRY SUPPORTS MY CLAIMS and the statistics that go against any type of breed specific legislation. end of story.
Paul L Wilson May 12, 2012 at 03:28 AM
When ever I see a person walking a Pit Bull I usually will go back inside of my home and close the metal screen security door and wait for them to pass down the street. I have seen people walking these dogs and some time it appears to me that they are not in control of their animals. These are very powerful animals with enough power pull arms out of their sockets. Pit Bulls are just not for me.
Randy Merrell May 12, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Hope has a link in her first post, up top. She says it contradicts the claim that Pit Bull account for more fatalities associated with dog bites. Actually, I went to the site, and what did I find? It actually does confirmed that by far Pit Bulls are first, then Rottweilers for a majority of the years studied, just as many here have said. So, Hope, maybe you should read your own web site sources a little better.  It doesn't really matter though. All of the studies that I have been able to find that have researched dog bite FATALITIES confirm that Pit Bulls are the most common killers.  They represent, in Hope's reference, about 25% of all deaths. Another study I read indicated they only represented about 2% of the dog population. So what does that tell you? They can kill and do it more often than any other breed. Who cares if it's due to handler error. When I see one of these powerful dogs being walked down the street, I honestly don't even stop to consider if the owner is a responsible pet owner. I avoid any possible interaction with that dog. I know that the Pit Bull type dog has been severely over-bred and their aggressiveness has been encouraged. That is unfortunate. Because clearly there are thousands of examples of these dogs who are gentle and loyal. They are beautiful dogs as well. It's simply top bad that the breed has been ruined in this way, both in reputation and in fact.
tony May 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Hope is blinded by the obvious. But I get it. I Hope a pit bull does not bite me. I Hope the pit bull does not kill a small child. I Hope the dog does not turn into the Savage he was bred to become.......
Jim Caroompas (Editor) May 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Ok, folks. We're getting personal here. I would ask everyone to weigh in with their points of view, without attacking another's, or calling out people by name, please. Let's all try to keep an open mind and keep this conversation from devolving into accusations and name-calling. Thank you.
John Yuresko May 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM
My pit bull was bitten by a collie yesterday.
John Yuresko May 22, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Dogsbite.org is a nonprofit organization run by a person who gets paid salary to promote fear of a dog breed she dislikes.
John Yuresko May 22, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I think all your statistics are wrong. You need to study the facts instead of reciting bogus statistics put together by the people trying to get rid of the breeds they're scared of. All the true studies and dog testing shows pit bulls act like any other dog to people.
John Yuresko May 22, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Yes. They are victims of media as well as violent owners, fear, and ignorance. Of over 60,000 severe dog attacks only a fraction of 1% are reported with most of them being refereed to as pit bulls. Lets face it, a pit bull is a term used for most dog breeds people would find scary. Look at the statistics in areas where pit bulls were banned. The severe bite numbers don't go down and often go up because animal control and police are busy chasing down pit bulls instead of the dogs people TRAIN to be aggressive.
Randy Merrell May 22, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Sure! If you say so. You must be an unbiased expert because you have a Pit Bull. I read two separate articles IN THE LAST WEEK about people who were KILLED by a Pit Bull. And I wasn't even looking for these articles. This one an infant: http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/05/18/Infant-dies-after-attack-from-family-dog.html And this one a toddler: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/05/09/news/16monthold-girl-killed-by-pit-bull-in-las-cruces.html And here's one where a dog was killed by a pit: http://www.klewtv.com/news/local/Passerbyer-saves-women-and-dog-from-Pit-Bull-attack-151460935.html And another dog: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/crime/dog-killed-by-pit-bull-at-soccer-game I could do this all day. I haven't found any where a pit bull was killed by a collie though.
Hope Savage May 22, 2012 at 09:34 PM
That's because it wouldn't have been reported. Nothing spells news story like PITBULL
Randy Merrell May 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Maybe that's because there really is a problem with the breed. I happen to love these dogs. But people have a legitimate reason to fear them. You own them, so you are comfortable. But many people have reason to worry.
Alex Cortlund May 24, 2012 at 02:40 AM
After all is said and re-said, it seems obvious that dogs can present a danger to others in the community. Some dog breeds have a greater potential, for various reasons, to cause unprovoked injury than other breeds. It also stands to reason that responsible dog owners who properly train and control their animals, reduce the risk greatly. Unfortunately, many people who choose to own the so-called "most dangerous breeds", are not always the most responsible, nor do they adequately train and/or properly control their dogs. I do feel that the larger issue in this public safety concern is how can we do anything to see that socially responsible people fulfill their obligations as pet owners to their pets, as well as to the rest of us in the community.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Once you go pit, you'll never think bit. Another glob of folks who don't know bull about what they speak. "Look at me, look at me" is not a reason to comment on this subject, anymore than a dog wagging its tail because its master is home. "Pit Bulls" are the most human empathetic breed there is (so says the academic texts). It is humans that teach them or torture them into being otherwise. Pit bulls are a litmus test of our society. Once the "family dog", now the media black sheep. And you, public, of course forfeit the best pet for media hype. Hype instead of love. Sad. And all the more reason we need piteous bulls in our midst. --owner of a 12 year old fighting reject. God give me 1 or 2 more years with this person who is better than most people.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:23 AM
of course, its your friend.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:25 AM
The very first full face transplant is the result of a Labrador Retrievor biting off its master's face. This occurred in France.
Hope Savage June 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Ha ha, "piteous bulls"!


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