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 media makes 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 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 who 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. 

Alex Cortlund May 24, 2012 at 02:40 AM
After all is said and re-said, it seems obvious that dogs can present a danger to others in the community. Some dog breeds have a greater potential, for various reasons, to cause unprovoked injury than other breeds. It also stands to reason that responsible dog owners who properly train and control their animals, reduce the risk greatly. Unfortunately, many people who choose to own the so-called "most dangerous breeds", are not always the most responsible, nor do they adequately train and/or properly control their dogs. I do feel that the larger issue in this public safety concern is how can we do anything to see that socially responsible people fulfill their obligations as pet owners to their pets, as well as to the rest of us in the community.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Once you go pit, you'll never think bit. Another glob of folks who don't know bull about what they speak. "Look at me, look at me" is not a reason to comment on this subject, anymore than a dog wagging its tail because its master is home. "Pit Bulls" are the most human empathetic breed there is (so says the academic texts). It is humans that teach them or torture them into being otherwise. Pit bulls are a litmus test of our society. Once the "family dog", now the media black sheep. And you, public, of course forfeit the best pet for media hype. Hype instead of love. Sad. And all the more reason we need piteous bulls in our midst. --owner of a 12 year old fighting reject. God give me 1 or 2 more years with this person who is better than most people.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:23 AM
of course, its your friend.
Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 06:25 AM
The very first full face transplant is the result of a Labrador Retrievor biting off its master's face. This occurred in France.
Hope Savage June 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Ha ha, "piteous bulls"!


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