Pit bull battle: Team Pit-A-Full creates an international petition in support of the breed

Categories: News, Politics

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They don't make Air Bud movies about pit bulls. There are no commercials in which a pit bull licks ice cream from a gleeful toddler's cone of Rocky Road, and only Weimeraners seem to drive cars. In Denver, the pit bull breed is illegal, and it has been for decades. David Edelstein can't change the last part yet, but he's working -- slowly -- on the first two.

The city's history with the breed-specific legislation spans 22 years; it stemmed from a May 1989 incident that provided the impetus for banning the dogs. Edelstein's time with the issue has spanned five, starting when he became the caretaker of his first pit bull, Little Daze, a gentle brown giant later followed by two adopted siblings. All three became the motivation for his nonprofit effort to break down public stigma against the breed: Team Pit-A-Full.

If the name is sad, it's a reflection of Edelstein's feelings about the ban.

pitbull family 2.jpg
Courtesy of Rick Watson
David Edelstein's pit bull companions (Forrest, Little Daze and Mr. Kane) round out Team Pit-A-Full.
In the coming months, the group plans to bark up a different tree than the typical route of city council through an international petition devoted to reexamining the breed's role in Denver. Appropriately named OccuPIT Denver, the petition takes its title from another local movement also led by a dog.

As he shares the group's origins, Edelstein's conversation is punctuated by an occasional bark in the background.

Team-Pit-A-Full's platform against breed-specific legislation in the Denver area focuses in large part on the idea that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Violence on the part of a pit bull can be tracked directly back to its owner and living situation, Edelstein says, and though the concept can be tough to translate to non-dog people, it has to be done. In order to approach any remotely successful change in public perception, Edelstein and his fellow pit bull supporters must make the issue matter with people for whom the dogs don't.

"I try to use comparison and contrast: Imagine you're a homeowner and you have a neighbor who has an oak tree he doesn't trim," says Edelstein, a chef who lives with his dogs in Arvada. "In a windstorm, a branch falls off and hits your house, causes damage and maybe even falls through the house and kills your child. Would you want to see all oak trees cut down in the world, or would you want the owner of that particular oak tree to be punished for negligence?"

More about Team Pit-A-Full below.


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25 comments
Trailrunner9
Trailrunner9

So tragic what has been done to this beautiful breed because of abuse and equally ignorance. "For every problem, there is a simple and wrong solution." HL Mencken, American journalist/essayist  

Pearl
Pearl

we have 3 pitties in our household and all are super with special needs children and the disabled and no they are not specially trained they seem to know and act accordingly. My own pittie has visited a local school and its great to see him cuddle up and give those mushy sloppy kisses and to hear those children laugh and giggle. We are parents here and treat our dogs as children and they are super. In fact my pittie was the one who knew first I had a cancerous tumor by laying his head on it and when I visited the dr sure enough and early detection. Pitties have super senss. I met an elderly lady who had just lost her pittie and she was telling me her dog knew she was going to have a seizure before she knew and would gently nudge her over to a safe place to sit or lie down. He wasn't trained just knew what to do.. P is for proud, i is for intelligent, t is for trusting, b is for beautiful, u is for understanding, l is for loving, and l is for loyal. A pitbull is not bad unless his owner is an idiot. Train your pittie and you have one lovable furkid.  I love my boy so much and he is my constant companion and a lovable faith best friend.

Steve
Steve

Isn't this the pit bull owner's dream?  You have a dog that you can take to an elementary school in order to prove a point while gaining attention for yourself.  Folks like you are misguided.  Do you tell the kid's parent's you are going to bring a fighting breed dog to be around their kids and ask them if that is okay?  I would be very upset if I were a parent in that school.  Dogfighters are actually less of a danger to kids than folks like you, Pearl, simply because they actually know what they own.

siriusdogma
siriusdogma

This article MISSES the real story which is that we are KILLING million of them a year in this country because IDIOTS continue to breed them an NO ONE wants them in anywhere near those numbers.  We KILL more Pit Bulls in this country every year than ALL the dogs registered by the AKC and the UKC COMBINED.  Read >> http://terriermandotcom.blogsp...

Knighthorse
Knighthorse

Yes, overbreeding - in this breed and ever other without regard as to what will happen to these puppies. It is the animal behind the leash not the dog. That is the point - education and better owners taking responsibility.There are children shot and killed by other children every day. I don't see that stopping humans from over breeding either.I feel sorry for you. You obviously hate the breed and it shows. Bragging -  which it is what it sounds like when you say - " We KILL more Pitt Bulls in this country every year ". Well maybe it is way past time when people only care about money and not about responsible pet ownership.I am tired of the labeling and finger pointing. I trained for over 20 years and had more issues with cocker spaniels and poodles than I ever did pit bulls or bull terrier mixes.So, I think you need to do is examine your anger and look at whatever underlying cause their really is for it and work on that.

Steve
Steve

Your anecdotal evidence as a dog trainer loses appeal when you compare the track record of violence for poodles and pit bulls.  I can't believe anyone dares make those silly comparisons anymore.  It removes you of all credibility.  Education will have no effect because the problem population of humans are impervious to education.  Just look at the NE USA, there is an overpopulation problem with no other breeds and in places like Boston there have been many programs just for pit bulls and their owners, yet little improvement occurs.  As far as better owners taking responsibility, you simply need to deprive the irresponsible with their dog weapons of choice by making pits unavailable or prohibitively expensive.  Responsible people will never adopt pit bulls in droves simply because it is a fool's errand, and this is apparent to most people, hence the problem.  Your strategy will not work because it relies upon the irresponsible to become responsible and the responsible to own a dog that a responsible person would not want.  

As far as kids hurting kids and this being a point about not breeding humans, this proves that you have almost ZERO ability to think critically or to do anything but employ emotional rhetoric.  It is a horrible point to anyone who knows anything about: 1. human population growth in the US, 2. the difference between animal and human breeding and the laws that apply, and 3. how to make decisions based upon net benefit and the probability of various outcomes. 

Knighthorse
Knighthorse

Steve -

I do not believe I am nearly as gifted for rhetoric - you've got me hands down on that.

I stand by the statement that in " my " experience as a trainer. I did run into behavior problems with other breeds. Practically none, with any Bully breeds. I do not require that you either agree with me or share my observations.

Yes, I am encouraging responsiblity for overbreeding and education - someone has to...

As to change, no it will not occur - not until people choose to take responsibility for their own actions and deeds.

I am simply tired of people blaming the animal for the idot owners problems.

If you were half as passionate about doing something positive about this instead of continually spitting venom. There would be less issues overall.

I also do not require your blessing or acceptance of my abilities as a trainer or as a human being.

Having said that - I certainly hope you are of a better frame of mind tomorrow for Christmas.

What a joyfull soul you must surely be to spend time with.

Nazmun-tgtree
Nazmun-tgtree

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Steve
Steve

""I would like to see tourism dropping, small businesses moving out of Denver, homebuyers looking elsewhere, travel through DIA going down," he says. "

This is very selfish.  To accomplish his goals, he would like to hurt the economy of Denver and the people that live there.  What a tool.  Most of what he says is pit bull advocate boiler plate "no bad dogs, just bad owners" and that you can always trace anything bad back to a person.  I trust anyone able to parse issues successfully will see his words as a willful oversimplification and poor framing of the issue.  Pit bull owners will love it and agree wholeheartedly, however.

siriusdogma
siriusdogma

YEP, VERY SELFISH.  You will note that there is NOT ONE MENTION of the thousands of Pit Bulls that have NOT been killed in Denver because there is NOT a massive breeding population in the city anymore.... and NO mention of the fact that there has NOT been a Pit Bull fatality in Denver since the ban.  See the numbers here >> http://terriermandotcom.blogsp...    INSTEAD WE GET THE OLD WHINE about property rights... NOTHING about responsibility.  Very little about the dogs.ONE MILLION PITS BULLS ARE KILLED in this country every years... bred by people who say they "love the breed" ... and then acquired by people who say they "love the breed" .... and then ABANDONED to their death.

DENVER is not much of a player in that drama, however, because they chose to SELF-CENTERE MADNESS.

Denelleergh
Denelleergh

Breeding bans for Pit Bulls may be necessary due to the way they have been overbred and bred for aggression by criminals, but to accuse them of being vicious based on statistics is rough, mainly because they are statistically proven to not be any worse than other breeds. This is also true of breeds such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, Akitas, Huskies, German Shepherds or any of the breeds most affected by the BSL bans. It's time to start holding men responsible for their actions and not killing dogs for them. If people in Denver can't own Pit Bulls because they don't know how to own them without turning them aggressive, fine, they don't deserve them. However, don't keep lying about the breed when there are so so so many people who own them as PETS, don't overbreed them, don't fight them, and don't see what you apparently do for whatever reason. And I'll bet your reason includes something such as having bred them to fight or being a past member of some group who exploited them for whatever reason. Those are the only people who like BSL because it lets the dogs pay for their wrongdoings. No one is fooled by the people who support BSL.

Chef David Edelstein M
Chef David Edelstein M

Why is it that the Jr McCarthy's always boast Denver as this entity like no other? You believe the scum bags are no longer breeding in Denver? Yeah, And Im a professional Ice Cream Salesman ane my primary market is the eskimos. Irresponsible, backyard breeding still goes on here in Denver. Anyone who believes it does not is just a fool. As long as humans look for the easy way out (the quick buck) and the scum bags continue to be uneducated/ still need an income... backyard breeding will continue... UNTIL generalized animal control laws make it illegal and that law is stringently enforced. As for lack of recent bites and attacks in Denver... maybe you might want to poll all the major emergency room attending physicians before making such a false statement. Dog bites and attacks ARE still occuring in Denver... just by other breeds. And no... that fact is not OK... but will continue until generalized animal control laws and generalized dangerous dog laws are in place and hold ALL DOG OWNERS accountable.

Steve
Steve

But obvious the pit bull population is severely lowered in the area.  You are against a law that targets the main source of the problem, fighting breeds, partially because you say it is too expensive, and now you want generalized laws that would cost more as they are enforced on a much larger population.  I see this as being due mainly to your warped sense of doggie fairness.  You think that judging a breed is just like racism, don't you?  Admit that so that everyone can see you are brainwashed and move one.  

Siriusdogma
Siriusdogma

Citable data on the one side and rhetoric and typing on the other.  Gee, who to trust? 

Chef David Edelstein M
Chef David Edelstein M

More over... "To accomplish his goals, he would like to hurt the economy of Denver and the people that live there."

Are you aware of what the city of Denver spends annually to enforce this law that... for 22 years... they cannot prove its effectiveness? I am aware: $803,170 annually.

Are you going to try to tell me or other haters/ skeptics like yourself that that expediture isnt already hurting the economy in Denver? I will state the fact: Denver city employees are forced to take UNPAID furlough days to offset payroll issues while city leaders deal with a $120m budget crisis.  Police and Fire protection has been cut due to funding, School programs have been cut due to funding issues, Libraries have had their operating hours cut due to lack of funding... shall I go on? Oh wait,  I forgot to mention my very favorite: The city council actually discussed their own pay raises in the middle of this economic crisis.

With our plans, their is a point of termination in targeting the economy in Denver. Can city officials make that same claim? Last time I checked, the city of Denver had absolutely no intentions of discontinuing the ban and its over 3/4 million dollar annual expediture.

Sing it with me now Steve... "Who again is truely the  selfish party here?"

Steve
Steve

"Debating" you here is the farthest I'll go.  You and most of your ilk are impervious to realizing you are wrong, so I won't waste my time.  You've admitted you want to hurt the economy of Denver to get your way in regards to a dog breed.  Everyone except pit nutters will see this as idiotic.  The ban actually helps pit bulls by creating an area where their breeding is depressed.  So called "haters" like myself are more a friend to these dogs than nutters like yourself.  These dogs should be extremely rare, so they will no longer glut shelters.  The plan of folks like you to rescue/adopt/educate out of the fact that the majority of dogs euthanized in this country are pits has had little to no effect.  You are quite literally killing them with your supposed kindness.  But it's obvious in most of these stories that it is more about the people than the dogs.  

Chef David Edelstein M
Chef David Edelstein M

Steve... would like to debate the issue first hand? Im a vailable 24 hours a day/ 7 days week, any location. It is people like you who based ill-founded views on lack of information and lack of personal hands-on experience with an issue. Ive been dealing with this breed for about 20 years now, dealing with BSL for about 5-6 years. Every single sensationalized story people hear in the media about "PIT BULL ATTACK" can be traced back to two different origins:1) Blatant irresponsible ownership (aka the individual dog was railroaded into failure by way of abuse, neglect, lack of training and/ or socialization, failure to contain, trained to fight, over-breeding, etc)or, more common:2) the story didnt even involve a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix at all. Which headline is going to grab your attention more: "Golden Retreiver knips child in face" or "PIT BULL MAULS CHILD"? "Pit Bull Goes to Dog Park" or "Pack of Wild Ferocious Pit Bulls Stock and Kill Neighbor"? And let us not blame the media, rather the community who keeps buying into the false and sensationalized information.

What was not mentioned in the article is my first hand experience in dealing with a media sources not reporting 100% accurate information. Fox News Los Angeles: From January 2010 - June 2010, Fox News LA was busted three times for reporting "Pit Bull" incident when not one of the stories actually involved a Pit Bull at all. One story was a Labrador Retriever, Another a full bred Boxer, and the third was an Unknown Breed. How do I know this? I did the leg work. I did the  research with LA County Sherrif's Dept and Animal Control. Fox ONLY backed off the PIT BULL ATTACK band wagon because I suggested taking the discrepancies to the Los Angeles Times, have them run a story and let the community judge Fox.

Again, If you would like to debate this breed, the failures of Breed Specific Bans and/ or Restriction, the history of the breed, what they were ORIGINALLY bred for, etc... Im available anytime. Contact me through www.TeamPitAFull.org

Kim Wolf
Kim Wolf

Actually there are hundreds of tv commercials, movies, etc from recent years that feature "pit bull" dogs in a positive light as family pets. Even Fortune 500 companies are using "pit bulls" to charm the customers into buying their products! Here are just a few examples: http://www.facebook.com/profil.... These are the images that Denver politicians need to see! America has spoken: "pit bull" dogs are cherished pets that are here to stay! It's time for Denver to get with the times.

Steve
Steve

Actually, most of America distrusts fighting breeds (and certain guarding breeds) more than any other.  Not a weird coincidence that these same breeds are the ones that fatally maul the most people each year.

Denelleergh
Denelleergh

Steve,

Most people know what dogs have been studied and proven to be the most likely to bite a person are............. labs/retrievers.  Yes, labs. And many are loved pets of families, like Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls are shown to be less likely to bite than about ten other breeds. To starve, abuse, exploit, and torture an animal to make it fight is reality. Fantasy is asking the dog to pay for it. America needs to wake up and stop letting the victims pay for their abuse. Jail the men who teach the dogs to fight. Jail them, fine them, make them be put on an animal registry so they cannot own animals. Make them the criminals they are and warn decent people when they are near them. Don't let our society have to live without Pit Bulls and punish the deed, not the breed. We don't kill all men because one turned out to be a serial killer, arsonist, molester, armed robber, etc., so we have no excuse for killing all those dogs for the actions of a few who were probably turned into aggressive animals by men intentionally.

Chef David Edelstein M
Chef David Edelstein M

"are the ones that fatally maul the most people each year. "and which statistical data did you base this view on? can you provide a source or link to that information? or are you basing your opinion on what you read in the paper/ saw on the 6'0'clock news?

Steve
Steve

Umm....that information is extremely readily available.

Guest
Guest

"Fighting breeds" huh? And who exactly makes them the fight? That would be people.

Steve
Steve

They were selectively bred to fight.  That is why they have characteristics like gameness and dog-directed aggression.  Behaviors can be instilled genetically, or have you never been around a bird dog?

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