How do I keep my pit mix safe on a small island in the UK?
I have recently had to move back to a small Island where i was raised in the north of Scotland after living on the British mainland for several years. but this time i'm taking my Pit Bull/English Bull mix Charlie back with me. He is 16 months old and i have had him for about 8 months but known him since he was a puppy.
I stayed across the street from the man that owned him and once Charlie got a little older he realized he was not a full Pit so decided he did not want him so offered him to me so he could get a full Pit.
I was delighted when he gave him to me as i had always had a bond with Charlie. I knew i could give him a better life as the man encouraged him to bark and frighten people and fight with other dogs, even when he was only a few months old as he thought it was funny, resulting in him having a few noticeable scars on his face.
But he was not a bad dog at all. He was frightened of people as he had been mistreated and beaten. All he needed was someone to love him, give him the positive attention he deserved and proper training needed to bring out the brilliant dog that he is. Now i have complete confidence in him and he wouldn't hurt a fly.
My problem now is that most people on the island are misinformed and quite frankly ignorant toward Pit bulls and related breeds. If its not a small dog or a Lab then its dangerous and should not be on the island.
My dog is brilliant, very obedient, excellent with dogs now, calm for his age and is amazing with children as he was raised around a new born child. He no longer barks at passers by and is very welcoming towards people but most people are not very welcoming towards him as he "looks mean" and is classified as a "bad dog".
I get mixed reactions when taking him for walks with some people shouting that "I should get that dog on a f**king muzzle" or to get "the dog put down or shot". Others thinking he is a lovely dog until i say the breed, then i get a look of disgust and they take their dogs away and of course the typical one
that is taking one look at him and deciding to cross the road.
I'm worried that, although he is legal as he is a cross breed, that the Police will come and take him away from me if anybody complains about the man with the "dangerous looking dog". The Police have no legal grounds to put him down...but as you all know that hasn't stopped them before with other Pits.
I also do not put a muzzle on my dog because he does not need one as he has never attacked another dog under my control and i have full trust in him, otherwise i would put one on him. Also i believe it gives the impression that he is violent and requires it, which he does not.
If i could get some help in having positive steps towards changing peoples views towards these misunderstood dogs and also any comments from people that could help to ease my worries would be very much appreciated.
from Sam and Charlie.Gale's Reply:
Hi Sam--and Charlie
So you're moving to a community where pit mixes are legal, but not necessarily welcome. First off, I would warn you away from feeling you need to change anyone's mind about pit bulls or pit mixes. Your neighbors don't need to accept pit bulls. They just need to accept Charlie--or at least be comfortable enough with him not to make trouble for you.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions:
Keep a low profile about the pit part of Charlie's heritage. If people ask what kind of dog he is, just say he's a mix or an English bulldog mix--both of which are true.
Never leave Charlie outside unattended. When you are gone, keep him in the house. People have been known to tease, abuse and even poison dogs they don't like when the owner is not around.
Another reason it's important to be with Charlie whenever he's outside is that if someone accuses him of bad behavior, you will be able to come to his defense. You can't refute a false claim if you weren't there to witness what happened.
Finally, be friendly with everyone. Be a good neighbor. People will be less likely to make trouble for Charlie if they feel warmly towards you.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to post back here with other questions and to let us know how you and Charlie are doing.