While visiting a local book store’s magazine section I ran across a title I had never seen before nestled amongst all the dog magazines. I had never seen a copy nor had ever heard of “Atomic Dogg”. I turned to the first page of the magazine and was instantly disappointed. It was a full page ad from a pit bull breeder.
With trepidation I began thumbing through the rest of it, finding more and more to dislike with each turn of the page. There were pictures from various “bully events” that all had a similar theme to them. Tough guys in their best gansta poses holding their pit bulls that I guess were supposed to look similarly “gangsta”. Most were heavily muscled with cropped ears. Many were wearing collars with long metal spikes. There were a few pictures of dogs doing dead weight pulls.
What was even more disturbing were the breeder ads. They all boasted of things like their dogs being from “Gotti” and “Razor’s Edge” breeding lines and impressive pedigrees. This is the same kind of breed prejudice that produces the slanderous attitude that shelter dogs are somehow inferior.
Sprinkled throughout the magazine were a couple of phrases that might sound good to the rescue community, “helping to dispell the myth” and “stop BSL”. But not a word about “shelter” or “rescue”.
Even the pictures of the dogs themselves were disturbing. All the adult pits had their ears cropped and were all so heavily muscled they looked like they were all on steroids. Clearly, the owners of these dogs have gone to great lengths to give them a sinister appearance. It was particularly hard for me see pit bulls that looked that way. There are two things I love about the way pit bulls look. In addition to their big goofy smiles their ears are just the right length for them to give them the absolute perfect-looking ear flop. Seeing all those cropped ears just made me cringe.
Out of a morbid curiosity I visited their web site. (I’m not going to put a link to it.) The home page has videos that start playing automatically when the site comes up. The videos themselves were uninteresting. More tough guys in gangsta poses, more roided out pits with cropped ears. What did pique my interest is that one video began by saying it was being sponsored by “Killinois Kennels”.
What? I looked again. I did see it correctly the first time. “Kill”-inois. At this point I had to know. It’s that same kind of curiosity that keeps you staring at a train wreck in spite of the moral part of your brain that tells you to stop.
Sure enough “KILLinois Kennels” were based out of Springfield, Illinois. On the home page they tell us “Our dogs will possess immense strength for such activities as weight-pulling, along with quickness & agility, as well as non-stop determination & drive. Our dogs do not sit in kennels all day; we have a very large yard and our dogs use every bit of it: they have 200 foot zip lines to run on all day and get the exercise they need.” Of course, there’s a disclaimer near the bottom of the page they’re not bred or sold for illegal purposes but who are they kidding? Hmm, what kind of person needs a dog that “possess immense strength”, and needs to have quickness, agility, non-stop determination, and drive? We’re certainly not talking about ones that are going to be taught to catch frisbees. And maybe they didn’t realize that outside of the dog fighting community telling us that they’re chained dogs is not you should be boasting about.
Did I say dog fighting? I’ve been dancing around that term the whole time just like this magazine does. They might as well call this rag “Dog Fighting Illustrated”. At best it’s dog fighting culture they’re promoting.
Another cute catchphrase they used was, “protecting the breed”. This is what these people use to justify their activities as breeders. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re doing something noble. These people are the rescue community’s worst enemy. It’s not bad enough that they’re breeders, but they’re breeding pit bulls. Aren’t our shelters filled enough with unwanted pits?
Let’s be frank about why they are on the same side as us when it comes to BSL. They don’t care about the injustice of breed prejudice like we do, it’s because it would hurt their pit bull breeding businesses. For people like us BSL is an issue compassion and justice, for them it’s all about protecting their bank accounts.
If you should happen to see this piece of trash magazine at your local book seller or newsstand please encourage the owner to stop carrying it. I’ll publish a copy of the letter I’m sending to Barnes & Noble.
And just FYI, frisbee-catching pit bulls do exist. One of them is named Wallace, and he’s incredible! And guess what? He’s a rescued shelter dog. Wallace’s owner also fosters Hector, a Vick dog