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This page is intended to serve as an educational resource for items mostly related to "pit bull type" dogs. That term is in quotes because, believe it or not - there is no such thing as a pit bull - it's shorthand for a dog that looks a certain way. That being said, Barbells For Bullies helps all dogs in need, regardless of breed.


However, we're named "Barbells For Bullies" with a reason and with an intention - we want to help dispel the myths surrounding the "breed," make people understand that all dogs are individuals, and we should judge deeds - not breeds. Our mission is to help all dogs get into homes, but when BSL exists and pit bull type dogs are getting euthanized in face greater numbers, we need to help where we're needed. 


Interactive BSL Map

Breed Specific Legislation - BSL - is still in effect in over 850 communities in the US despite the CDC, AVMA, and ASPCA all agreeing that it simply doesn't work. BSL punishes dogs for simply having certain physical characteristics (morphology), and fails to identify them as individuals. Moreover, it also places unjust burdens on their human guardians as many apartments, rental properties and HOAs will not allow "dangerous breeds" on the premises. Moreover, some insurance companies will not cover people that have dogs that have been "deemed dangerous" with no evidence or actions on the part of the dog or the owner. 

Academic Papers Regarding BSL: 

Hallsworth, S. (2011). Then they came for the dogs! Crime, Law and Social Change, 55(5), 391–403. 

Linder, A. (2018). The Black Man’s Dog: The Social Context of Breed Specific Legislation. Animal Law, 25(1), 51–74.

Lowrey, W. (2018). “We the Pit Bulls”: The Fate of ‘Pit Bulls’ Under the United States Constitution. Animal Law, 24(2), 373–423.

Pratt, H. K., student author. (2004). Canine Profiling: Does Breed-Specific Legislation Take a Bite out of Canine Crime? Penn State Law Review, 108(3), 855–879.

Swann, K. E., Student author. (2010). Irrationality Unleashed: The Pitfalls of Breed-Specific Legislation. UMKC Law Review, 78(3), 839–868.

Credit: Animal Farm Foundation 


Further Reading


Pit Bull: An American Icon by Bronwen Dickey 

Pit Bull Placebo by Karen Delise - FREE DOWNLOAD

Man Meets Dog by Konrad Lorenz

On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz 

Viewing Dogs As Individuals

It's imperative that we view dogs as individuals, and not as affixed to their breed labels. Labeling a dog a certain breed when it enters the shelter is problematic for a variety of reasons: without DNA testing, visual identification of a dogs breed is exceptionally difficult, even amongst "dog experts." 

Just like with people, judging a dog based on it's physical characteristic - or phenotype - is dangerous and ethically wrong. We need to judge deeds, not breeds. While any dog can bite, dog "aggression" is complex and context must be taken into account. 

The map below shows which shelters in the US are leading the charge by removing breed labels. Many studies have been conducted and removing arbitrary breed labels (which again is only based on a cursory physical examination, not DNA tests) boosts adoption rates significantly because it forces potential adopters to see past their inherent biases or media hysteria surrounding a particular breed. Some of these studies are linked below. 


Credit: Animal Farm Foundation 

Canine Behavior & Language

Canine Ladder of Aggression.jpg
This information isn't meant to be a catch-all for all dog behavior, nor is it a replacement for proper training or a licensed behaviorist. However, these diagrams can help the common person better understand dog body language and how bites occur. In only the rarest of circumstances do dogs bite "unprovoked." There is almost always a warning that comes beforehand; the key is being able to recognize it before it's too late. 

Pet Safety Card 

Keep this card on your person when you are travelling or out of the house.  In event of emergency, it will help others know you have someone who needs you at home and who to contact to care for your pets. 

Pet Safety Card (6 × 4 in) MAY23 (1).jpg
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