http://www.galesburg.com/news/x16891900 ... -a-concern
By SUSAN KAUFMAN
Posted Jan 04, 2010 @ 11:25 AM
Pit bulls are notoriously hard to adopt, according to Erin Buckmaster, adoption coordinator at Prairieland Animal Welfare Center. And with about half the dogs at the shelter pit bulls or pit bull mixes, that is a big concern for her.
“It is just so sad. We have so many of them and they are just such nice dogs,” Buckmaster said. “People just don’t want big dogs anyway plus these dogs have such an undeserved bad reputation.”
Dogs are surrendered to the shelter for several reasons. “Often, people get these dogs on a whim. They try to breed them to make some quick cash.”
Pit bulls are also known for being a “macho” dog and some owners buy them to be aggressive protectors. Several years ago, the macho breed was rottweilers. Before that, Dobermans were popular.
Buckmaster said pit bulls often attract bad pet owners. “A lot of people should not have pets. Dogs are just like people; some are good and some are bad.”
The pit bulls at the shelter have all been tested for temperance. “All the pit bulls we have are very nice. It is the owners who give these dogs a bad name.” Buckmaster said the shelter only euthanizes dogs that are vicious or too ill. Last month, only one dog was put down — a German shepherd.
Galesburg has a dangerous dog ordinance that allows an owner of a dog ruled as dangerous to register the animal at a cost of $200 and furnish proof of a $100,000 insurance policy. The dog must get a microchip so that it can be identified, ownership of the dog cannot be transferred and the owners would need a permit to take the dog off their property.
If the dog has two violations and deemed vicious, the animal would be destroyed.
Fourteen dogs, all pit bulls, were deemed dangerous in 2008 and 2009 to date. Only one person opted to pay the extra fees to continue to own the dog. The others were either surrendered to the animal shelter, or given away. There are currently two dangerous dogs, one pit bull and one Labrador retriever, that are being kept and paid for in Galesburg.
Pit bulls may be declining in popularity though. According to City Clerk Kelli Bennewitz, out of the 1,083 new dogs registered in Galesburg in 2009, 25 were pit bulls and 13 were Staffordshire terriers — a mix of pit bull with another breed. That number was down significantly from 2008 where 81 pit bulls and 3 Straffordshire terriers were registered out of a total of 1,027 new dogs.
However, that number does not account for owners who have not informed the city that they have moved or no longer have the dog. On the other hand, the figure is for registered and vaccinated dogs only, and city officials are certain some dogs are kept unregistered. The figures also only account for pit bull and pit bull mixes, yet some people will register the dog under a different breed.
“I just wish there was a law that forced owners of pit bulls to have them spayed or neutered,” said Buckmaster. “Then we wouldn’t have so many of these dogs without homes.”
Of course you all can see the inaccuracies in the story, but you get the gist of it. After reading this I realized that not only did I get Celena out of a bad home situation, but had the previous owners taken her to this shelter her future would have been even more bleak. I think she would have been destroyed because of her current health problems.