CHICAGO (CBS) – When most people hear about Pit Bulls, it’s usually a story about an attack or dog fighting. That’s a stereotype animal advocates are trying to change. WBBM’s Steve Grzanich reports on one effort – through words and pictures.
“Pit Bulls have been around for over a hundred years and they’ve always been family dogs,” says Ken Foster, founder of the Sula Foundation, which promotes responsible Pit Bull ownership and author of “I’m a Good Dog–Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet.”
Foster says the book is a tribute to the Pit Bull but it’s also an attempt to change misconceptions about the breed.
“The book tells stories that go back into the history of the breed in America and some of the more famous owners like Helen Keller who loved them. Dr. Seuss had one as a boy. The Little Rascals mascot was Petey who was a Pit Bull.”
Foster says Pit Bulls get a bad rap, probably more than any other breed.
“We as humans sometimes make the mistake of believing what we hear rather than believing what we know. And so a lot of times with the horrible cases that make the news, the dogs involved aren’t even Pit Bulls but they’re reported to be Pit Bulls because it’s a bad incident.”
“I’m a Good Dog” features illustrations by Chicago photographer Karen Morgan and shows Pit Bulls in their roles as therapy dogs, athletic heroes, educators and loving pets.
“She’s got people lounging in their bed with their dog, babies getting their toes licked by the dogs. But there’s also a lot of historical photographs.”
According to Foster, we have nothing to fear from Pit Bulls. He says all breeds have their bad apples.
“The way to address safety issues is to address responsible ownership and to encourage responsible ownership and to educate people what the responsibilities are of owning any dog, rather than thinking we only need to look at a dog that is 50-pounds, has a blocky head and a thin wiry tail.”
About his hope for the future of the breed?
“Hopefully we’ll move towards looking at dogs and people as individuals and not having to have conversations about what is a Pit Bull because dogs are dogs and a good dog is a good dog whether it’s a Golden Retriever or a Pit Bull.”
Ken Foster is author of “I’m a Good Dog–Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet” published by Viking Studio.
For more information, visit www.kenfosterbooks.com