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Pit Bulls Are Just Another Breed Of Dog, Says Bully Bark Owners. What Do You Think?

They get a bad rap in the media, and are no more aggressive than any other breed, says Meryl Cohen of Bully Bark.

Meryl Cohen and Nicole Maples are on a mission. Their group, Bully Bark, aims to educate pit bull owners how to handle their animals, and to educate the general public that pit bulls are not the monsters Cohen says the news media make them out to be.

“We want to re-establish the breed as a family animal and a good pet,” Cohen said. “And we fight against breed-specific legislation.”

The two met in college, and found they were both “animal-obsessed,” Cohen said. It was also in college where she fell in love with the pit bull breed.

“They were everything I wanted in a dog. I wanted to make it my mission to re-establish the perception of the breed. They are friendly, outgoing, confident, social and loyal.”

They are also in the news a lot, and not in good ways. Just this past week, there were Bay Area new reports of pit bulls attacking young children.

Cohen admits that there are instances of pit bull attacks, but claims that she sees a “desire in the media not to cover attacks by other breeds. I know of a lab that recently killed a two-year-old, but no one covered it.”

She also claims that, after working in animal shelters, she saw other breeds go into bite wards with equal frequency as pit bulls. She has worked with pit bulls that go to pediatric oncology wards to help ease childrens’ suffering. She said her own pit bulls were recently attacked by two off-leash Malamuts, but park rangers refused to do anything about it.

Originally bred to nip at the heels of bulls in England, pit bulls were brought to America to care for the children of settlers, Cohen said, thus their nickname “nanny dogs.” The bad rap came when the breed got caught up in gambling and fighting.

“I believe that behind every dog bite, you can find a problem with the owner,” she said. “You are responsible for your animal. There is no excuse for a dog to get loose.”

If a dog has a shaky history, it can still be trained, Cohen said. Bully Bark has clients in most central county cities, including Martinez. 

“It’s all about leadership,” she said. “I mostly train the owners. A lot of people with anxiety issues transfer them to their dogs.”

The Pleasant Hill resident has been working with dogs and their owners for the past seven years. She and her partner provide everything but basic training, and they also serve as ambassadors of the breed.

“I’m hopeful because I see the younger generation as more tolerant,” Cohen said. “There’s a rebellion against intolerance, more acceptance toward the breed. I’m hopeful that will mean changes in legislation.”

To contact Bully Bark, go to the website and send them an email.

Do you think pit bulls are the victims of negative media? Tell us in the comments. 

Rob Shea May 12, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Michelle, there are two ways that a comment can be removed. First, as the site's editor I can delete any comment that violates our terms. I have not done that on this comment thread. Second, if enough readers flag a comment it is deleted. If you need clarification or have any other questions, please let me know at robert.shea@patch.com.
Michelle May 14, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Nope - clarification enough. You deleted my comment. I will not be commenting again. Thanks
Rob Shea May 14, 2012 at 11:08 PM
To be clear, I did NOT delete your comment Michelle.
Nicholas May 15, 2012 at 06:22 PM
well it dos not to me the man is not responsiabal so he should be punished not the every singel pittbull this is not the case just cause of some erisponsiable man dose not mean that the hole pittbull race should be wiped out
Nicholas May 15, 2012 at 06:54 PM
pitbulls are not blood thirsy monsters my family have rased plenty of pitbulls and they where loving caring dogs. i am tired of people thinking that these dogs are evil dogs. well just because pitbulls where breed in the 90 for fighting dose not mean that they are blood thirst times have changed now just cause sum ediet dose not close his gate and the dog atackes dose not mean that the hole race should be wiped out.i have had a long history with these dogs to know that ya sum of them are not safe to be around dose not mean that al of them are. there are owners that need to be responsiable yes thay do.i have had a hard history with people who would posien there nabhors pitbulls food just to kill them.i am just 13 years old to know this i have been loved by pitbulls. my family beleves in to PUNISH THE DEED NOT THE BREAD it is not the dogs fault it is mans. but right now there are pitbulls that are fighting discriminations to find a loving caring home. STOP THIS FIGHTING i beleve in the good in these dogs i am glad of what these girls are doing

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