Dublin pit bull training initiative

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Dublin pit bull training initiative

Post  celticpitbulls on Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:20 pm

PIT bull owners in Dublin have banded together to try to change the public image of the breed, which they feel has been demonised in the media and by local councils.
They have hired a professional trainer, at personal expense, and organised a special school for pit bulls where the dogs are taught obedience, given confidence-building lessons and agility training.
Now they are pressing Dublin City Council to provide them with a permanent centre where they can develop and expand the scheme.
The initiative was prompted by the council’s recent decision to ban tenants from keeping pit bulls and dogs of ten other restricted breeds, in flats or houses unless they have been neutered and microchipped.
According to council officials the ban is being imposed on public safety grounds.

Wrong target

But pit bull owner Lillian Colgan, one of those behind the new campaign, claims the council has picked the wrong target.
“It’s irresponsible owners that should be banned, not the dogs,” she says. “I’m sick of how the breed is being continually demonised.
“The image from the council’s decision is of young thugs with pit bulls terrorising residents in a flat complexes or council estates.
“But thugs are thugs, whether they have a baseball bat, a gun or a dog.
“Similarly, because some gangs use pit bulls for illegal dog fighting you can’t criminalise all owners of the breed.”
Ms Colgan, who lives in a council house in the Dublin suburb of Artane, grew up with pit bulls as family pets and currently has three, Sasha, Butch and Molly.
Her 13-year-old son, who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair, adores them, and the bond is mutual.
“Every afternoon they sit by the window waiting for him to come home from school, tails wagging in a frenzy of excitement as soon as they see him,” Mrs Colgan said.
“It’s a scene I would like the media and council officials to see – then they would view the breed very differently.”
Ms Colgan has her dogs neutered/spayed and microchipped as required by the council.
Her next door neighbour is in her 80s and has no complaint about the pit bulls.
“In fact, she says she feels safe from burglars because of them,” Mrs Colgan said.
John Ward, the trainer involved in the scheme, has been in the business for some 30 years. He agrees the pit bull suffers for its public image.
“Training centres won’t take the breed and the dogs simply have no place to go to learn to socialise,” he said.
He is enjoying the training course almost as much as the dogs but the centre being used is now under pressure because of liability fears and the school may have to move out.
“We’re hoping Dublin City Council will offer us alternative facilities – it would be a lot more helpful than banning things,” he said

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