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Monday, February 15, 2010

Outlook Not Good

I was planning some educational blog entry for today, because nothing really inspired me to rant. That is, of course, until I scrambled onto the Queens-bound N train and found myself looking at a 4 month old pit bull pup. There are a whole lot of reasons this rant ensued.

First of all, there are laws in NYC about animals on the subway. They are in place for several reasons, and I'm sure safety is at the top of that list. Sanitation is probably up there, too. Dogs are supposed to be confined in some way (crate/carrier) to prevent any dangerous encounters and of course, to prevent pooping on the train. This little "blue nose" pit was wearing a collar that was just a tad too tight, and his owners had him on a chain leash. That's it. I watched other straphangers watching him with caution because, as I've mentioned, pit bulls are a maligned breed here in New York. I'm sure they were imagining scenarios involving blood and snapping jaws.

Another reason I'm so riled up is because the dog was CLEARLY stressed out. He was yawning up a storm, his tail was low and between his legs, and at one point his whole body was shaking. The subway is a scary place for just about anyone. There are people running and moving and invading your personal space. Now imagine if you had to experience that from just 2 feet off the ground. It's terrifying. Dogs don't understand why the ground beneath them is vibrating, or why there's a deafening roaring sound as the train speeds through the tunnel. His ears were probably popping from the pressure change, and no one could gently explain to him why. At least if he had been confined to a bag or crate, he could have felt safer. But no, he was out in the open, surrounded by agitated travelers.

The last thing that upset me is probably a bit more controversial, but this is my blog so I get to say what I want. The two kids who had the dog could not have been older than 18. They were a young couple, and young kids with baby pit bulls always make me nervous. These dogs have a bad reputation because  people raise them wrong. The chances of this dog having a positive upbringing are limited, and just watching how these two handled their dog made the outlook even bleaker. He was nervous and tense and reluctant to walk when they changed trains, so they literally dragged him down the station stairs by his neck. They took turns holding the leash, and they wrapped the thin chain around their forearms until he had barely enough leash to keep his front paws on the ground without choking. If someone got too close, they yanked him by his throat to reposition him out of the way.

I just have this awful feeling that some day soon I'm going to see these people trying to surrender their dog over to the shelter because he's too much for them to handle. I know pit bull puppies are cute. I played with a particularly delicious one just before I left the shelter tonight. But they grow into big, strong-bodied and strong-willed dogs who need hours of exercise and consistent training. All too often that cute, wiggly little puppy grows into an unmanageable beast who ends up on death row simply because his owner thought it would be 'cool' to have a pit bull, but never really understood what she was getting into.


  1. Not a day goes by I don't restrain myself from stepping up to strangers and thrashing them, shaking some compassion and sense into them or simply taking their dogs away from them.

    Having a dog is a privilige, not a right and I wish the screening processes for adopting were more stringent so those scenarios would be the exception rather than the rule....

  2. sad thing is... most of those dogs aren't adopted. they're purchased. from "reputable" breeders. it's all a big mess, if you ask me. I hope my degree comes with some sort of card or badge I can show people to let them know that I know more than they do.

  3. As old as this blog is it is ecen more important for the blogger to actually read nyc dog laws what was going on inthe story he told was legal