We have officially launched our Pit Bull service dog training program. We take rescued Pit Bulls and train and place them as service dogs to assist persons with disabilities. News 10 visited our pilot service dog trainee, Junior, to see him in action and learn more about this innovative program.
Many have heard of the heroic search and rescue dogs that helped find survivors in the aftermath of the September 11th World Trade Center attack, or the War Dogs in Afghanistan and Iraq that have saved the lives of American soldiers. Few, however, have heard about America’s first and most decorated War Dog — Sergeant Stubby. Apparently, even the U.S. military has forgotten about him, because all across the United States, military bases are banning Stubby’s kind.
Born sometime around 1916, Sergeant Stubby was a little Bull and Terrier dog (or, Pit Bull, as we call them today). He served with the 102nd Infantry in the trenches in France for 18 months and participated in four offensives and 17 battles. Stubby learned to warn his fellow soldiers of impending toxic gas attacks and incoming artillery. His captured a German spy by the seat of his pants. When he returned to the U.S., he was invited to the White House and honored as a hero.
Stubby received the following honors and awards for his heroism:
- 3 Service Stripes
- Yankee Division YD Patch
- French Medal Battle of Verdun
- 1st Annual American Legion Convention Medal
- New Haven World War I Veterans Medal
- Republic of France Grande War Medal
- St Mihiel Campaign Medal
- Wound stripe, replaced with Purple Heart when introduced in 1932
- Chateau Thierry Campaign Medal
- 6th Annual American Legion Convention
- Humane Education Society Gold Medal
In the most recent example, Camp Pendleton has banned the breed. Duke is a gorgeous blue Pit Bull that lives on the marine base with his favorite soldier. According to pleas all over Facebook, Camp Pendleton authorities have given Duke’s owner an ultimatum: Get rid of Duke, or he may be confiscated and killed.
The reason for the ultimatum has nothing to do with Duke’s personality or behavior. The reason is because he is an American Pit Bull Terrier.
And apparently, American Pit Bull Terriers don’t belong on American military bases. Perhaps they prefer the German shepherds or the Belgian Malinois. (Don’t worry, I have nothing against those awesome breeds!)
We are sorry, Sergeant Stubby, that our military leaders today have forgotten your bravery and service to this country. We know it’s not very patriotic of them to ban a breed that shares part of our nation’s name. It’s woefully sad that the very breed that inspired the formation of the K9 military corp has now become a victim of the very nation it has served for so many years.
R.I.P. Sergeant Stubby. If you can.
Dear United Kennel Club:
Since 1898 you have been serving the purebred dog community. Your charter dog was the American Pit Bull Terrier. Our respective organizations both love the breed, but we propose to you that it’s time to do what’s right for the breed and change its name to American Bull Terrier.
I’ve personally shown UKC American Pit Bull Terriers with my family since the 80s. I grew up around UKC show and weight pull events. I love the breed. The breed name American Pit Bull Terriers fills me with pride.
Unfortunately, the breed’s name is a small part of its downfall. We recognize the name is not the cause of the problems the breed faces. Names don’t cause owners to act irresponsibly or communities to implement bans, but the name does not do the breed justice in today’s world.
Yes, we know these dogs have, as part of their history, been used for bull-baiting and dog fighting, among other things. We know changing the name is not going to end dog fighting or breed specific laws.
However, the best name for the breed is and, frankly, always has been American Bull Terrier. It’s a name that is straight to the point. These are bull and terrier dogs — derived from overseas cousins and developed on the early American frontier.
Changing the official breed name will have a great deal of positive effects. For one, every breed specific ordinance that refers to the UKC standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier will have to be, at the very least, rewritten. If the UKC doesn’t have an American Pit Bull Terrier standard, than the law becomes vague and ambiguous and likely unenforceable as written.
Additionally, we send the message that dogfighting is not the end-all and be-all of this breed. In fact, dogfighting is a cruel and ridiculous “sport” that we should do our best to banish. Humans don’t need to fight dogs to prove gameness or worth. There are many other avenues for demonstrating a dog’s drive, stamina, endurance, and no-quit attitude.
Chako Pit Bull Rescue has been working with Pit Bulls directly for about 15 years. Our founder has owned, handled, trained and loved Pit Bulls for over 30 years. We love the breed. We know you do, too. We know a rose by any other name will smell just as sweet, and a breed by any other name will be just as wonderful. Changing the name to American Bull Terrier can only do good. At most, its effect will be neutral. At best, it will start a positive upswing for this breed by removing the fighting reference from the breed name and, in one sweep, shaking the validity of breed-specific ordinances across the United States.