Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls

December 20, 2014 at 6:34 am
Little Darling 2By Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin
Photography by Celeste Giuliano

Denver is such a beautiful city. It is filled with so many progressive thinkers, beautiful parks, great restaurants, and has an exceptional focus on the arts.  I would almost imagine moving there if it were not for one distinct problem: my dog is not welcome. It took me nearly a decade to finally visit Denver.  If it was not for a recent speaking opportunity at a pet expo, I may have skipped the visit altogether.

Allow me to give you a little bit of backstory.  I am the President and CEO of a non-profit called Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.  I started this organization nearly ten years ago after learning about Denver’s breed ban.  I found it hard to believe that a dog could be removed from a loving home and then killed simply because of what the dog’s perceived breed was.  This sounded oppressive and unlike something that we could expect in  the United States of America.  The fear that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL, otherwise known as Breed Discriminatory Laws) put into my heart was very real and drove me to seek answers about whether or not one type of dog could be more dangerous than another. Also, it was important to learn whether or not these laws actually kept people safe, since that is technically the purpose of instituting a ban in the first place.

What I learned was astounding; but not surprising.  After spending nearly a decade running Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., I put myself through Graduate School at Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences.  I earned my Master’s Degree last year in Public Policy with my case study focus on breed bans.  Through the use of science-based research, peer reviewed studies, interviews with behavioral experts, breed ban results, and the like, I learned this: not a single peer-reviewed study currently exists that proves that breed bans work.  Not one study that has been peer-reviewed states that one type of dog is more “dangerous” than another. Instead, what I learned (but already knew in my heart) was that all dogs are individuals and the context in which a dog lives will have a major effect on how that dog will relate.

I also spent a great deal of time hearing from my professors about how this issue is not simply black & white, but rather, some people may not care one way or another if breed bans exist.  Well, I do.  I cannot allow fear mongering based on emotions and media scapegoating to kill my best friend.  I do not accept the propaganda  that hate groups will allege about my dog or yours.  What I will do is continue to educate myself as an advocate, I will spend my days educating the public about how to behave around an unknown dog . I will work to make it known that chaining a dog is a safety issue as much as it damages the dog living outside as a resident instead of with the family.  It is not just important because I want dogs to be safe; it is important because we all deserve to be safe.  Knee jerk bans and symbolic gestures of safety will not keep you safe.  Knowing how to behave around a dog and learning how to be a good dog parent will.

All dogs are individuals.  We are their protectors.  Let’s keep them safe from bans and from becoming statistics.

Want to know more? Pick up my new book Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls from The Overlook Press.

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