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Pitbull Awareness Month

Marianne Caesar
Features Writer

While students gear up for the fall season and Halloween parties, the internet serves as a host for ideas to inspire hors d’oeuvres for a haunting party, or for creating costumes on a budget. Not only do sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest help in sharing these ideas, but they can also promote the existence of political satire on moralities. One example is found within an internet flyer which manages to recirculate every fall, and promoting the negative abuse of animals.

The flyer in question highlights “National Kill a Pit Bull Day,” in which individuals are encouraged to keep their costumes on after trick-or-treating and then proceed to go after pit bulls and “look-alike” breeds with harmful intent. Included within the flyer and videos associated are suggested methods such as “Baseball bats, knives, bricks and poisons.” While Snopes.com quickly confirmed that this advertisement was false, starting in mid-September of 2012, it has raised an increasing awareness of the continual stigma against animals and the fair treatment which they deserve.

Originally intended for Councilman Terry Jordan, of Slater, Missouri, the messages were meant as a prank in regards to pet animal ordinances formed in Slater prior to September. Early drafts aimed specifically towards the breed of pit bulls and later drafts focused on non-specific breeds of dog. The initial specificity of breeds caused individuals to respond quickly and aggressively. “Threats were aimed at the councilman’s family and business, the Slater Police Department, and Slater City Hall,” wrote author Rachel Pawluk.

Cesar Millan helps shatter negative stereotypes with different breeds.
Cesar Millan helps shatter negative stereotypes with different breeds.

With the revisiting of this seasonal post, it is important to focus upon the many positive reinforcements throughout media portraying the proper treatment of animals, especially as October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month (National Pit Bull Awareness day being the Oct. 27 each year). One example is the television program “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” encompassing the lessons and training which Millan educated himself about.

Through his help with owners and their pets, he assists in removing a negative stereotype that dogs of certain breeds are irreversibly aggressive and violent. He has shown how interactions between owners’ attitudes and their interactions with their pets play a larger role in an animal’s aggressiveness.

Animal Planet hosts another show validating the significance of calming the aggression of beings and the stereotypical assumptions created, observed in “Pit Bulls and Parolees.” In this show, the Villalobos Rescue Center shares its rescue missions to reintegrate pit bulls who have been abandoned and abused into foster care homes.

Tia Maria Torres became an addition to the show to assist with the center’s bills, and helped to move the center from California to New Orleans, Louisiana. Staff members include volunteers and employees, many whom are parolees, and Torres’ family members.

As students scan the web for inspirational ideas for any season, it might be of importance to look into the truth of the messages displayed and how the media is expressing them.

While this example was used as a political satire from a pet owner, it proves that what individuals post on the internet is not always what it seems, and can have a lot of power with each “share” it receives. This gives even more reason to put care and caution into what it put onto the web, and to keep an awareness that making assumptions of creatures’ attitudes does not always reflect their true self.