Local News

Dog trainer tries to change perception of pit bulls

Posted January 14, 2011 8:59 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2011 10:43 a.m. EST

— Dog lovers often blame the media for making pit bulls out to be vicious, mean dogs, and certified dog trainers and even animal control officers say there are no bad dogs – just bad owners.

“To judge a whole entire breed on one dog’s actions is discrimination. Just like judging a whole race in the human world on one person’s actions,” certified dog trainer pit bull owner Paige Burris said Friday.

Burris said the media hype on dog attacks only makes it worse for the dogs.

The latest North Carolina victim was 5-year-old Makayla Woodard, who died after being attacked by two pit bulls in Union County on Wednesday. Her grandmother was injured while trying to save her. 

“My heart goes out to that family. It’s terrible, but that can happen to any breed,” Burris said.

In a lot of these attacks, “the owners are negligent and never commit to training the dog,” Burris said.

Burris said pit bulls are like any other dogs. They need room to run and want to be included in the family. Owners should also enroll the dogs in obedience training and encourage socialization.

Burris started a non-profit called The Positive Pit Bull, offering pit bull education seminars and organizing weekly dog meet-ups.

“That’s what we’re trying to fight, trying to change perception of these dogs because they really are fantastic family dogs,” she said.

Cary Animal Control Supervisor Shelly Davis said potential pet owners need to do their homework.

“Pet owners basically, bottom-line, need to do research before getting any kind of animal, and that also means before you purchase a pit bull,” Davis said.