Why are Pit bulls the Most Euthanized Breed in Shelters?

It pains us to say that pit bulls are by far the most euthanized breed” in shelters, as reported by the Save-a-Bull Rescue. While studies vary, according to Arm The Animals,  “[e]ach year, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized, [with] approximately 40% of whom are Pit Bulls.” Save-a-Bull Rescue also noted in 2015 that “[a]bout 75% of municipal shelters euthanize pit bulls immediately upon intake,” meaning that these dogs weren’t even granted the opportunity to find a forever family. 

Arm The Animals has surmised that pit bulls are put down more than any other breed due to the following factors: 

Increased Breeding Rates

Kennel to Couch reported that over the years pit bull breeding rates have gone up, with approximately3 to 5 million Pit Bulls in the United States.” Because shelters have limited resources, the overbreeding of pits directly impacts their euthanasia rates. 

To remedy the issues, owners are encouraged to get their pups spayed or neutered. 

Negative Stereotypes 

It is unsurprising to any pit bull advocate that negative stereotypes surrounding these dogs have devastating outcomes. 

According to a study done by Arizona State University, the stigma surrounding the term “pit bull” is so intense, that even just referring to a dog as a pit may prolong the process of them finding a home.

 “We were surprised how very similar-looking dogs sometimes get labeled ‘pit bull’ and other times as something completely different. These dogs may look and act the same, but the pit bull label damns them to a much longer wait to adoption,” wrote Lisa Gunter, the lead author of the study. 

Breed Specific Legislation 

Various cities across the nation adhere to breed specific legislation or BSL. The Stand Up For Pits Foundation notes that this type of legislation “bans and/or restricts ‘types’ of dogs based on their appearance.” According to the ASPCA, BSL is implemented “in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals” but “[t]here is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals.”

BSL does, however, sometimes force people who are living in cities that ban certain breeds to give up their canine companion. These displaced dogs may spend the rest of their lives at a shelter, where they may eventually be euthanized.

So you may be wondering how you can help. Well, if you are in the market for a dog, we highly recommend adopting or fostering a pit bull. They are wonderful companions and have the most beautiful smiles. 

If neither adoption nor fostering is feasible, we encourage you to take the time to be a vocal pit bull advocate on social media and in your everyday life. 

image courtesy of Barkpost.com


79 comments


  • Matthew R Morrison

    You’re not even raising any points on why we should be adopting these killer, untrustworthy dogs. Why should we take your advice? Why should we play pitbull roulette with our lives and others by adopting one and waiting for the day it decides to get out of the yard and maul the neighbors dog or cat, dragging their intestines out of their bodies? How about Fuck NO. You also lost any respect and credibility you may have garnered when you said “pitbulls have the most beautiful smiles.” Stop anthropomorphising dogs. Pitbulls do NOT smile, nor does any dog. They are not capable of higher reasoning. What you think is a smile is a dog breathing efficiently, or panting BC it is too hot. Seriously. Ask any respectable vet or animal behaviorist. Your dog is not “smiling” at you. Quit being a lunatic.


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