Monday, June 4, 2012

RSPCA 42 Teeth Campaign

Hello everyone! 

First of all I'd like to wish a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my very charming friend Corbin the Pit Bull.  Corbin has very generously helped me out with today's post and we'll be hearing more from the Birthday Boy later...

Pictures of Corbin kindly provided by his Mom!
As you may know, The idea behind Pitty Post Day is to try and dispel the negative thinking about Pit Bulls and other so called "dangerous dogs". 

By happy coincidence I was contacted  by a a very nice lady called Helen, who is the Online Community Manager for the RSPCA here in the UK, and asked if I would support their 42 Teeth Campaign by writing about it on my blog. Then I heard about Corbin's Pitty Post Day..... Perfect timing!

There is a lot of information on the RSPCA  website about the campaign, so I'll try not to go into too much detail here, but I think a bit of background might be helpful.

The Dangerous Dogs Act has now been in force for 21 years and has failed to address the issues of dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners. The coalition government (that'll be my mate David again....) has announced proposals to update the Act, which the RSPCA believes are woefully inadequate. The 42 Teeth Campaign has been brought about to highlight the shortcomings of the Act and new proposals, make clear what changes do need to be made and to give UK citizens the opportunity to get their opinions heard by the government. 

Perhaps one of the most controversial parts of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)  There are four specific breeds of dog that are banned in the UK. Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. However, if any dog matches the characteristics of a Pit Bull it may be a  "banned type". A dog type is not a breed. Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name. Now that isn't me being cynical. That is a direct quote from a government website. So you can see what the RSPCA and all responsible owners are up against. I'm a greyhound and nobody expects me to be vicious, but if I was hurt and tormented and beaten, I certainly could be. But because I'm tall and skinny with a long nose, I'm fine as long as I behave. If I had a blocky head and a big barrel chest and was the sweetest guy in the world, it's possible I could loose my life.  Ridiculously unfair isn't it?

One of the RSPCA proposals is putting and an end to BSL. They believe there are now more Pit Bulls in the UK than there were before legislation came in in 1991, so even if it was a good thing, it hasn't worked!  

As the campaign says, all dogs have 42 teeth (well I know some of you haven't, but you get the drift, right?!) and all dogs have the potential to be dangerous in the wrong hands. That's why the RSPCA believes that legislation should focus on the other end of the lead; the owner not the dog.It should focus on targeting irresponsible dog owners, who allow and even encourage their dogs to be aggressive and abuse or abandon their dogs. Dog owners need to be held accountable for their actions, including taking responsibility for their dogs’ behaviour and training. Other proposals are as follows:

  • Most dog attacks happen in the home, but current legislation doesn’t cover private property, so many irresponsible owners are not held accountable for attacks.
  • Emphasis on prevention by education and engagement.
  •  Compulsory microchipping and dog registration are vital, but details must be held in a centrally held government database which is kept up to date if it is to be effective.
  •  A comprehensive approach to tackle irresponsible dog ownership that prevents serious incidents from occurring rather than waiting for them to happen 
I think (I hope) that any caring responsible dog owner will want to support the RSPCA's campaign, but in this country breeds like the Pit Bull have been demonized for years. Given the trend in many cities  for "status dogs" whereby irresponsible owners are actively encouraging powerful dogs to be human aggressive - often by torturing them - it's little wonder that a lot of people are scared of Pit Bulls and the like.

Soooooo, if you don't know him already, let me introduce you to Corbin the Pit Bull. He may just help some people change their mind!

Vicious Pit Bull attacks his Mom!
"Hi, my name is Corbin and I'm a dog. When I was 4 months old, my owners brought me to the local shelter and left me there. They said I had too much energy and they didn't want me anymore. Wasn't I a puppy? Wasn't I supposed to have energy? Anyway, I was banned to the back of the shelter where there were a lot of other dogs that looked like me: big blocky head, wide chest, energetic wiggles. They called us Pit Bulls.

I stayed in a cage in the back for what seemed like forever, but it was really just a month or so. After that month, my day had come. I was on the list to enter that scary, dark, cold room and meet the Rainbow Bridge without knowing the love of a human, the joy of a game of fetch, the friendship of another dog. I wasn't given a chance. My picture never made it to the shelter website, adopters weren't allowed in the back where my cage was, I couldn't even put my charm on the employees because I was always so excited to see them, they labeled me misbehaved.

You see, I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be able to have a blog of my own. I shouldn't be able to share my stories. I shouldn't be able to be a foster brother to those who once held the same fate as me. I shouldn't be able to meet people and change their views on the vicious dogs the media makes my breed out to be.

But I'm here. I was saved. I was one of the lucky ones.

Two rescue volunteers, Heather and Jen, came to the shelter that day. They put a leash around my neck and they said "Come on, let's go!" Well, they sure didn't have to tell me twice. I dragged them out of there and my front paws barely hit the ground! I stayed with Heather for 10 days before I met my mom. My mom wasn't planning on bringing a dog home the day she met me at the adoption clinic, but Heather said I needed a new foster home or I'd have to be boarded for the holidays. My mom is a sucker, so she said Ok. Well, my dad was a little less than thrilled, considering my mom said she wouldn't get a pit bull, or a young dog, or a big dog. Well... I was all of those things. BUT, I was just a foster dog... or so they thought.

You see, I'm quite a charmer and I'm very smart. So, my parents taught me how to be well behaved hoping it would help my chances of adoption. Of course, no one wanted me because everyone just knew I had my very own home already. So, after two months, mom and dad threw in the towel and I was completely theirs. I fit in so well and I loved them so much, they didn't have any other choice!

So, there I was. Corbin: Adopted. Since my adoption 2 years ago, I have been a big foster brother to 22 dogs, big, small, male, female, pitty, non-pitty. I've earned my Canine Good Citizens certificate last year and some day plan on getting certified as a therapy dog. I've started my own blog and I've changed a few minds about judging a breed as a whole based on the improper actions of a few mean humans. I've learned how to be a boating dog. I've won over the hearts of strangers. I'm a goofy boy who can make you laugh on your darkest days and warm your lap on the coldest nights. I'm a living, breathing soul with love in my heart and kisses on my tongue. I am a Pit Bull."

......and attempts to kill another dog!
There's really not a lot more to be said is there?! If you are a UK citizen, then please visit the RSPCA website and respond to the consultation on the governments proposals.

You might want to watch the RSPCA 42 Teeth Campaign video. However, please be warned that it contains acts and results of extreme cruelty which you might find upsetting. 

If you feel you can share this post on Google+ Facebook or Twitter (even if you're not in the UK) I'd be really grateful. Thanks for your time.

Deccy x