Pitbull’s horrific and inaccurate stereotype was caused by media


In the infographic “Pitbull’s are just about the nicest dogs there are,” Alissa Scheller, Huffington Post writer, argues that Pitbull’s are among some of the most tolerant dogs according to the American Temperament Test Society. The thesis of the author states, “Most pit bulls would rather babysit the kids than be forced to fight, which is just one reason breed-specific legislation is a cruel waste of resources.” She supports this by presenting data and statistics from the American Temperament Test Society. In fact, the results show that Pitbull’s passed the low aggression, panic and avoidance test by 86.6 percent. They scored higher than German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. She also states that “80 percent of the hundreds of Pitbull’s seized and killed every year by the Animal Control in Prince George County are only seized because of the ban. She advises people to participate in Pitbull Awareness month. The author wrote this article for a sympathetic and uninformed audience to inform the dangers these dogs face due to bad owners and negative, wrong stereotypes created by media. She wants to help these dogs and educate people about the truth of their behavior. This article extends by prior research knowledge by identifying that there are Shelters with much overflow and it is hard-to-place pits and pit mixes due to the bad image portrayed by people. She helps argue my research topic by using Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. She even has an amazing use of Kairos because the mentions Pitbull Awareness month in the article and the article was published during this month. The author urges people “to consider adopting if you can provide as much love as they have to offer.”

Scheller/ Huffington Post, A. (2013, October 24). Pitbull’s are just about the nicest dogs there are [infographic]

Dogsbite.org.Retrieved from http://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/faq-pit-bulls-dogsbite.pdf

On the webpage “Pitbull Faq,” posted on dogsbite.org, the organization lists various and very informative facts about Pitbull’s. The thesis of this organization is to provide the public with facts and information about the different types of dog breeds. Their mission states, “DogsBite.org is a national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks. We conduct research on the growing, but underreported, public safety issue of severe and fatal dog attacks inflicted by dangerous dog breeds. We champion the rights of victims through our research, education and advocacy,” as stated on the welcome page of dogsbite.org. They discuss the following about Pitbull’s; the definition, facts, history, media, perception, and compare them to other dogs. This webpage supports this evidence by presenting well researched facts and information about the breed from credible sources and their own research findings in a clean and easy to read format and display. They credit the American Kennel Society and dog channel.com. The webpage begins by defining the dog, “The legal definition of a pit bull is a class of dogs that includes the following breeds: American Pitbull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog1 and any other pure bred or mixed breed dog that is a combination of these dogs.” Then goes on to discussing the brief history of the breed and how they became the obsession of public outrage due to people using them to dog fight, which resulted in breed specific legislation against Pitbull’s. “Due to public outrage, bull baiting was banned in England in 1835. Bulldog breeders and owners then moved to the sport of “ratting,” where a number of rats were placed into a pit and wagers were made on how many rats the dog could kill in a certain time period. To increase agility, quickness and prey-drive in the bulldog, ratters crossed the breed with terriers. Essentially, it was the sport of ratting that combined the bulldog and terrier into the modern day pit bull terrier. 1, Progressive pit bull legislation includes the American bulldog in its definition of a pit bull 2, The History of Bull Baiting, by Amy Fernandez, DogChannel.com. DogsBite.org: Some dogs don’t let go. Page 2 on the heels of ratting, dogfighting developed.” The webpage concludes with the following fact, Due to selective breeding for the purposes of dogfighting, pit bulls are highly dog-aggressive. This aggression is not limited to dogs; pit bulls frequently kill other companion pets and domesticated animals. Leading pit bull education websites warn pit bull owners to, “Never trust your pit bull not to fight. The best thing we can do for communities and pit bulls is to regulate pit bull ownership and pit bull breeding. Lowering the pit bull population will reduce the number of serious maulings and the euthanasia of pit bulls. In late 2014, Animals 24-7, a group that tracks shelter killings, estimated that of the 1.3 million shelter dogs projected for euthanasia in 2014, pit bulls accounted for 56%.19 This is true despite the fact that pit bulls only make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population.” The author provided this information to inform audiences about the breed. The website supports and opposes my research topic for many reasons. It supports my research and argument by stating the facts about Legislation oppressing Pitbull’s and the stereotype of them. On the other hand, the article opposes my argument by promoting the negative stereotype and suggesting that the breed is unsafe for the community. The author states, “Ongoing social tension also keeps pit bulls in the news. The pit bull problem is now over 30-years old. 9 In this time, most lawmakers have been “too afraid” to take breed-specific action to correct the problem. Due to this failure, horrific maulings continue to make headlines.” This article does not clarify my previous understandings of my topic and invokes anger and sadness within me.

 Greenwood/The Huffington Post, A. (2014, April 24). Douglas Sonders/Not A Bully[Porter the pitbull was found with two broken femurs and other serious injuries, after being abused by his former owner, a D.C. man named Charles Palmer. Palmer was sentenced to 25 months in jail for animal abuse earlier this month. Photo credit: Douglas Sonders/Not A Bully]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/24/not-a-bully_n_5201017.html

 h-not-a-bully-768x768The photographer’s campaign titled, “#NotABully Campaign,” by Arin Greenwood, a Huffington Post photographer, argues that, “Pit Bulls As The Sweet, Loving Dogs, They Are.” The photographers states his thesis by stating, “The whole goal of my campaign is to show that despite the hardships and abuse a pit bull may face, dogs that have every reason to hate and fear humans still serve our communities and families in a positive manner.” He supports her thesis by providing several photos of his Pit Bull Emma. The photos are positive and shed good light on the breed. The author, “is primarily a commercial photographer, not a pet portraitist — started Not A Bully in 2012. He was living in Washington, D.C., had just rescued Emma from a high-kill shelter and was surprised when he “saw the challenges that my new adopted pit rescue and other pit bulls faced in the public eye,” he says. “Neighbors and people on the street would scowl and cross the street at the very presence of my perfectly behaved Emma.” He concludes by asking, “If you want to be involved?”  The author asks fans to tweet their own pro-pit bull pics using the hashtag #notabully. The author wrote this article to persuade people to rethink their perceptions of the breed. It is aimed at a general audience. This campaign extends my prior research topic by clarifying the love these animals can bring humans. Thus identifying that there is a negative perception that needs to be addressed and changed.

Grsmedia. (2013, January 17). This is what a vicious PITBULL can do to a BABY!!! Jameson the Vicious Pitbull [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Ok6XGohwmpk

This video titled, “This is what a vicious PITBULL can do to a BABY!!! Jameson the Vicious Pitbull,” uses Pathos to evoke an emotional appeal upon the audience.  The video shows how loving pit bulls are around babies by recording the interaction of a Pit Bull named Jameson and a 2-year-old boy. The video is cute and heartwarming because Jameson licks the infant and the infant just laughs. The video was produced by YouTuber grsmedia who posts videos about Dogs, Kids, and Disneyworld. And sometimes the videos are of the Pitbulls and Babies together wearing Disney clothes. This video relates to my research topic because it shows just how affectionate Pit Bulls really are. It helps argue against the negative stereotypes cast among the dogs. This video was made to share with the world the life of a Pitbull named Jameson and a little boy. I believe the Youtuber posts these kind of videos to help promote a positive image of Pit Bulls. The video was posted in 2013 and is only 2 years old. The intended audience for this video is Youtubers, general public, baby lovers/parents, dog lovers/dog owners, and Pit Bull fans. I believe the unattended audience could be people with negative stereotypes against Pit Bulls. This video supports my research topic by documenting the behavior of Pit Bulls, specifically how the dog breed interacts with human/children. It expands upon the false accusations of Pit Bull behaviors.

Michael Vick: If only Vick knew a pit bull named Lacee before he ran a dog-fighting ring Orlando Sentinel. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/os-michael-vickpitbullsbrian-schmitz-0902-20150901-column.html

In the article titled, “Schmitz: Michael Vick, meet my pit-bull friend”  Brian Schmitz, writer for the ORLANDO SENTINEL, reports about his first encounter with a Pitbull named Lacee and how she changed his perception of the breed. Schmitz states, “I have to admit that this girl scared me the first time we met. I was intimidated by everything I had heard about her. It was an unfair judgment call at the time, but common: I could only think about her reputation as a mauling menace, like Ronda Rousey in a bad mood. Come to find out that this four-legged female with the big brown eyes and rippling muscles is way less frightening than those on two legs I’ve encountered.” He then goes on to argue that “If only Vick knew a pit bull named Lacee before he ran a dog-fighting ring,” he might not have harmed the animals like he did. He writes about his encounter with Lacee, “She drowned me with kisses immediately, never giving me a chance to allow my ignorant stereotype of her breed to take hold. Yes, I came away with all my fingers and toes — and a better sense of pit-bull prejudice. Lacee’s the sweetest, lovingest dog I’ve been around. The mailman’s her best friend.” Schmitz supports his arguments by stating, “Vick has changed his arrogant tune since being incarcerated. He says he’s become an advocate against animal cruelty. “I can’t take it back, but the only thing I can do is to try to make up for it the best I can,” he told Pittsburgh media. I now understand a little better the emotional upheaval taking place in pockets of Pittsburgh, where people are protesting Michael Vick’s latest NFL stop.”  He concludes the article with the following information, “For some, there is no statute of limitations for crimes against defenseless animals. “JAIL TIME IS NOT ENOUGH” read on sign held by a protester outside the Steelers’ practice facility after Vick was signed last week. A petition on Change.org (“Say No to Michael Vick on the Pittsburgh Steelers team”) had nearly 32,000 supporters on Tuesday afternoon. On Facebook, “Pittsburghers Against Michael Vick” collected almost 20,000 “likes,” with T-shirts going on sale with the printed slogan I SUPPORT PITS OVER POINTS.” This article uses pathos to persuade readers into standing up for pit bulls and sheds light on the stereotype many often have on this breed of animals. He then goes on to argue stronger sentencing for people like Michael Vick, who mistreat the animals and feed into this stereotype. The tone is personal and sympathetic as well as emotional. The article was informational due to the fact that he mentions Vicks sentencing and talks about a petition to legislature to change laws protecting dogs and other animals due to Vicks unacceptable behavior. The author wrote this article to help put a stop to animal cruelty and people like Michael Vick. This article contributes to my research topic because it speaks out against animal cruelty and sheds light on how much people care and are fighting against legislature.

Stian., T. (2010, February 10). Pitbull: The Truth [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/DsI_nIy9Kk

The video titled, “Pitbull: The Truth,” produced by Tom Stian uses logos and pathos in inform viewers about the truth of Pit Bull stereotypes portrayed by the media. It highlights news stories in the media and explains that this is what they want you to see and think about Pit Bulls. But this is not the truth! And the video goes on to educate people. It explains that vicious Pitbull’s are trained to be that way by people.  The images use pathos to invoke an emotional response.  This video relates to my research topic because it shows numerous news/media stories about the danger of Pitbull’s. It will help me argue that the negative and bias image of this breed was created by the media and that the media only shows one side of the story. This video was created to inform and educate people about Pit Bulls. The intended audience for this video is Youtubers, general public, baby lovers/parents, dog lovers/dog owners, Pit Bull fans, as well as people with negative stereotypes against Pit Bulls. The unintended audience could be people against Pit Bulls.

Tully/BuzzFeed, K. (2014, September 16). 17 Things Every Pit Bull Owner Is Sick Of Hearing

[Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/kaelintully/17-things-every-pit-bull owner-is sick-of hearing utm_term=.bjEReOd2lE#.idAvAyrKox

In the article, “17 Things Every Pit Bull Owner Is Sick Of Hearing,” Kaelin Tully, BuzzFeed staff writer, lists 17 of the most common stereotypes people have about the dog breed Pit Bulls. Tully supports her arguments against the 17 stereotypes by stating the stereotype and then proving factual evidence and information disclaiming these myths. One common stereotype the author lists is that “Pit bulls are more dangerous than any other kind of dog.” This is actually inaccurate because “according to the National Canine Research Council, “there is no evidence from the controlled study of dog bites that one kind of dog is more likely to bite a human being than another kind of dog… no group of dogs should be considered disproportionately dangerous,” as stated by Tully. Another common misconception Tully argues is “The reason so many pit bulls end up in shelters is because they’re bad dogs.” Which is again inaccurate Pitbull’s often end up in shelter because of legislation acts banning them. “There are an estimated 5,000,000 pit bulls and pit bull-type breeds in the United States. With the overflow of breeding combined with bad reputation, many pit bulls end up in shelters. Since pit bulls are used for fighting, shelters are wary of adopting out pit bulls should they end up in the wrong hands. In addition, due to breed bans in communities and apartment complexes, many families are often forced to give up their loving family pets,” as stated in Tully’s article.  She concludes by listing the 17th stereotype “Some of them may be good dogs for a while…but eventually they all turn into bloodthirsty killers,” and leaves readers with the most important fact of all, “Tons of pit bulls have lived lives as loyal, loving, and happy family pets without snapping on their owners.” The author wrote this article for a general audience, the public, and specifically to persuade citizens to stop buying into the stereotypes created by media to ban Pit Bulls. This article contributes to by research topic because it sheds light on the different stereotypes often associated with Pit Bulls and argues against them by using ethos, pathos, logos, and credible sources.

Villabos Rescue Center. (n.d.). Blog : Villalobos Rescue Center [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.vrcpitbull.net/dog/category/blog/

The blog titled, “The Bully Blog,” was created by Villalobos Rescue Center to generate more awareness about their organizations missions, keep their audience informed with the latest news, and to interact and engage with others supporting their mission. Villalobos Rescue Center is a rescue, rehabilitation and placement facility for abused and abandoned Pit Bulls. The center is well known by many from its reality show “Pitbull’s and Paroles, “on Animal Planet. The overall theme of this blog and site is their advocacy of saving, rescuing and finding homes for Pit Bulls. It is unknown how many followers they have on this blog but they do have a strong social media presence on Facebook with 123,928 likes on their page. Unfortunately there are only 9 total posts on this blog since its first post on February 7, 2011. The last post was posted on December 23, 2011 but the website overall is a great advocacy for the positive image of Pitbull’s in the media despite its forgotten blog. The intended audience of this blog is dog lovers, Pitbull fans, viewers of the show and people looking to adopt a dog. The unintended audience could be people against Pit Bulls or people looking to adopt Pitbull’s for harmful and inhumane reasons. This blog was intended to interact with the audience but seems like it did not work due to the fact it is no loner current. However there were many likes, shares and comments on some of the majority of the blog posts. Most people responding to the blogger were fans of the show and people who support the work of the organization. The writer seems to have a very sympathetic audience and there were no conflicting replies.The blog is linked on the organizations website and has various social media links such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. The blogger seems to write to the same audience among all social media venues. On all social media platforms the blogger promotes her show, dogs for adoptions, success stories of adopted dogs, and information about dogs.The Blogger has a strong ethical appeal due to the bloggers following on Facebook, other social media sites, her reality show on Animal Planet, sponsors, and community outreach programs. The numerous amounts of dogs rescued and adopted out by her organization speaks for itself. The controversial tone is appropriate and ethical. All writing is grammatically correct and well written. Her personality shines through her writing. You can really tell she cares about these animals and loves what she does, which is important for the bloggers overall goal.The bloggers strongest and most used means of communication is definitely pathos because what she promotes is a humanitarian cause, which is fueled by human emotion causing the audience to feel empathy.  She shows images of happy, sweet, cute, loving dogs. She talks against animal cruelty and promotes merchandise to help the animals. She uses a videos on her YouTube channel to show the work she does and to help persuade people to adopt and love Pit Bulls. So yes her blog is argumentative against animal cruelty and messed up stereotypes. Take a look at this amazing video https://youtu.be/cra_au5ajUQ . It brings out strong emotions and is so nicely done.  The blogger has little to no use of logos. I found no statistics, sources, data, or studies that I see on the blog. Although she is supported by Animal Planet, which is an extremely credible source.  She probably uses logos in some of her other work. But really pathos is her strongest tool for promoting her cause. In conclusion the Blog does not seem to be effective because it is has not been updated since 2011. However the Website that hosts the blog is very effective and informative. I would recommend this website to my friends and family. Although the blog did not take off her television show is successful as well as her work. She has dedicated her life to saving these dogs and has helped thousands of dogs.

Annotated Bibliography
Pitbull’s horrific and inaccurate stereotype was caused by media
By Brianna Kessler / Texas Wesleyan University
MCO 2342 Rhetoric and Writing  / Dr. Johnson-Gerendas
Prepared September 2015, Updated October 2015
Click to download Word document: Brianna Kessler annotated Bibliography

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