Myths Vs. Reality In Our Perception Of Pit Bulls
Animal advocates have done a lot of work over the years to try to combat the negative stigma surrounding pit bulls. For a variety of reasons including their size and their prevalent use as attack dogs, guard dogs, or in dog fighting, many people perceive pit bulls to be aggressive dogs and unfit companions. For its part, the mainstream media doesn’t do much to dispel the widely held myth of the aggressive pit bull. From movies to music videos, the image of the vicious pit bull abounds. That being said, the data actually shows that aggressive dogs are taught, not born. And so, pit bull advocates continue their quest to rid society of its pit bull stereotypes.
A YouGov / Huffington Post survey, however, shows that we still a long way to go in convincing the general public that the stigma is misguided. The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 50% of people say they would not consider adopting a pit bull while 30% say they would. Similarly, a slight majority (51%) of the public would actually advise others against adopting a pit bull, such as families that live with small children. Many respondents (40%) do not believe that pit bulls should even be allowed to live in residential neighborhoods.
Interestingly, a similar proportion of respondents (50%) believes that “Some dogs are socialized to be aggressive, but pit bulls are no more susceptible than other dogs.” Though this article does not specify how much overlap there is between responses to one question and another, the results show that advocates need to keep working to counter the public’s negative perceptions of pit bulls. In this study, there were many undecided respondents for most of the questions, suggesting more of a difference can be made.