Pit bulls promoted in Manatee's 'adopt-a-bull' program

August 7, 2012 

What is a pit bull? Most people would say a pit bull is a thick, stocky dog with a square head. But recent research, which has included DNA analysis, has proved that dogs commonly labeled as pit bulls are often a mix of multiple breeds.

With this information from technology, we are learning that identification by appearance alone is misleading and inaccurate.

What do we know about pit bulls? They form strong bonds with their owners. They are very athletic and fun-loving dogs. Pit bulls are social and love attention from everyone. With all the bad publicity these dogs are getting for actions their people should be held responsible for, and for improper dog breed labeling, pit bulls are being persecuted.

At Animal Services, we are stepping up to the plate to help these dogs. We have started a pit bull promotion program, "Adopt-A-Bull." In this program, our dogs will be evaluated, trained and tested for Canine Good Citizen certification which is available through the American Kennel Club. With this program, pit bulls are being promoted and showcased for the wonderful dogs they really are.

The Canine Good Citizen program is designed to reward dogs that have good manners at home and in the community. The program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs that pass a 10-step Canine Good Citizen test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

The Adopt-A-Bull program and its volunteers will train pit bull dogs with the basic obedience skills such as sit and stay. The volunteers in this program will also make sure the dogs have good manners with people and other dogs. The graduates will have a solid obedience education so they will be great companions and responsive to routines. This is a program that can help us assure that the dogs we love will always be welcomed and well-respected members of our community.

Pit bulls have a desire to learn, and challenging them will prove they are very obedient, often graduating at the top of their class. Pit bulls are more active outdoors than indoors, but still could be an overgrown lap dog. By adopting a pit bull, you are saving a dog that needs a home and deserves a family to love. You will need to establish house rules for your new family member that everyone will adhere to. Be a good parent and be sure to show your pit bull the love it deserves. Let others know what great companions they make.

More than a dozen volunteers have signed up to work with the pit bull dogs. We are excited to have this program to help promote these dogs and stifle the enigma that has been a part of the pit bull's demise for far too long.

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions about this program, contact Christina Rios at her email address: Christina.rios@mymanatee.org

If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky too.

Adopt your new fuzzy and furry family member from Manatee County Animal Services today. Don't forget about our August adoption special. Back to school show-and-tell time is here! Adoption fees are only $80 for dogs and $60 for cats, which includes a health check, sterilization surgery, microchip, and current vaccinations, including rabies. The adoption fee does not include the required license certificate/tag fee of $10 for Manatee County residents.

Free and low cost spay and neuter programs: For information, call 941-749-3067.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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