San Diego Pittie Parents

Positive awareness for the pit bull breed by Anna West

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According to the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls have a temperament passing rate of 86.7%. This is lower than dogs such as the beagle, Border collie, and Chihuahua.

If you’re at all involved in the animal community, chances are you’ve heard the negative stigma that surrounds the breed commonly known as pit bulls. Although most people believe that the term pit bull refers to one specific breed of dog, it is actually a general term that can refer to a number of breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and others, including any “pit bull” mixed breeds.

Regardless of what breed you’re talking about or what you prefer to call them, the bad reputation has followed these dogs for many years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, cities even went so far as to have breed-specific legislation prohibiting residents to own any form of pit bull within major city limits. The negative stigma on this breed seemed to spread like wildfire during that time, and pit bulls are still working to make a full comeback. The reasons include many misconceptions that are not an accurate portrayal of the breed or an identification of actual problems. The portrayal of this breed is complex and, unfortunately, consists of poor public education and a lack of preventive measures. In fact, many organizations have formed to not only challenge the popular image of the breed but also educate people on responsible pet ownership (for all breeds).

In San Diego, one local group—San Diego Pittie Parents—is doing its part to educate San Diego residents on this misunderstood breed.

San Diego Pittie Parents started as a very small social meet-up group that has now grown into a San Diego community-based organization focused on education, awareness, and responsible pet ownership. The organization began in February 2015 by two “pittie parents,” Jolene Figueroa and Kristin Porter. Both owners of pit bulls, Jolene and Kristin were aware of the negative vibe that surrounded the pit bull breed, and the organization was developed with the ultimate goal of helping the breed’s cause.

What They Do

San Diego Pittie Parents creates education outreach programs within the community and creates a network chain among local pit bull network groups. They want to reach as many people as possible to share resources to help owners keep their dogs happy, healthy, and safe. They advocate for adoption, positive reinforcement training, and the necessary spay and neuter of dogs. Above all else, their top priorities are safety and education. Instead of focusing solely on the dogs, they focus on the “other end of the leash”—starting with the owners. They want their members and supporters to understand that every pet is a lifetime commitment.

What They Don’t Do

Even though as dog lovers they would like to save every dog possible, this organization is not a rescue. They are not able to take dogs in and are not responsible for finding homes for stray or unwanted dogs.

The mission of this organization has always been to create a space for pit bulls and their owners to spend time with other dogs in a controlled, safe environment. They also strive to help spread truths about the breed and dispel any myths. San Diego Pittie Parents organizes monthly walks and meet-ups to help socialize the dogs and keep the owners in an active dog community. Because this breed continues to remain in the spotlight in a negative way, San Diego Pittie Parents view it as their responsibility to go above and beyond being typical pet owners, to become “Pittie Parents,” whose dogs display stable, social, positive temperaments.

They also have their 4th annual Pitties in the Park event coming up on Sunday October 7th at Liberty Station. This event is a celebration in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Month, and the organization welcomes all dog lovers, advocates, and dogs (no breed discrimination here!) to this one-of-a-kind experience! More information about this organization can be found at sdpittieparents.org.

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