Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Open Letter to the United Kennel Club

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.

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