Pit bulls and Baltimore: a unique story

Pit BullsBaltimore is known for many things.  It’s home of The Domino Sugar Company, the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, famous for Inner Harbor and where Babe Ruth began his baseball career.  But what many Baltimorians are not aware of is Charm City’s distinctly unique relationship with the pit bull breed.

“About 10-20% of the dogs that we have available for adoption at any given time are Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes,” said Deborah Land, Public Relations Coordinator for the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The MDSPCA is just one of the many shelters in the Baltimore area, and it is safe to assume this percentage can be applied to all adoption centers in the area.

“It usually isn’t difficult to find adopters for the pit bulls in our adoption program, but on average they probably take a few days longer to adopt than some of our other dogs,” said Land.  “The adoption process for pit bulls is more involved than for our other animals because we want to make sure people are well-informed about the breed and prepared to take good care of them.”

With the common misconception that pit bulls are overly aggressive and, as a direct result, are amongst the most un-favored dogs to adopt, Land explained MDSPCA takes the necessary precautions with the pit bulls at the shelter, as with any other dog that comes into their care.

“We behavior test all of our animals, including pit bulls, in an effort to prevent the placement of an aggressive animal in a home,” said Land.

Amongst the adoptive community, there are many individuals who are set on pit bulls when looking to adopt.  This could be the result of favoritism of the breed or genuine compassion for pit bulls and the negative stigma attached to them.

“Some people definitely come to the MDSPCA looking to adopt a pit bull,” said Land, but “Some cities and counties, such as Montgomery County, prohibit the adoption of pit bulls.”

Bill Neidhardt, the owner of two female pit bulls, hasn’t ever witnessed a “bad pit bull encounter.”

“My dogs are pretty docile,” said Neidhardt, “We’ve never had a problem with other people or other dogs.  I think pit bulls are a great breed for individuals or families; it all depends on how you train them.”

For more information on Pit Bull rescue and adoption, visit Pit Bull Rescue Central.

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