The Lucknow incident where a Pitbull dog mauled his elderly female owner to death has created ripples across the country. The dog breed has already been in a bad light for being involved in many similar incidents. India Today takes a deep dive into the problems related to the Pitbull breed’s aggression.

Unlike other thoroughbred pedigrees, the Pitbulls are a relatively new breed. The term ‘Pitbull’ was first used in the year 1927 in the United States of America for breeds of dogs descended from Bulldogs and Terriers. The breed has four sub-breeds—American Pitbull Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bullterrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier—which are identified by the American Kennel Club.

The breed’s traces can be found in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century, where British bulls and Terriers were bred for blood sports, dog fighting, and bull baiting. Pitbulls are considered people-oriented and affectionate with levels of high energy. Pitbulls are being bred in India unregulated, largely for hunting and dogfighting in some states, making it arguably the most misunderstood dog breed.

Abhinav Srihan, a well-known animal rights activist and an animal rescuer from Delhi, has been complaining to the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, and Kashmir, and other state governments about the illegal breeding of Pitbulls and related dog breeds for dog fighting. Once Pitbulls are bred for fighting, their bloodline carries the same aggression and fighting tactics.

“There are over a thousand evidence of illegal dog fighting in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and I have repeatedly complained to the respective government agencies but to no avail. The illegal business of dog fighting is flourishing, leading to such unfortunate incidents,” said Srihan.

Such dogs, used for fighting and hunting, lead to a bloodline of aggressive dogs. Bred anywhere, the bloodline will carry the fighting and aggression genes and it can be triggered by any action, either by humans or other animals. This is leading to unpredictable behaviour of the dog breed, he said.

“We have been demanding a complete ban on dog fighting and hunting using dogs. If it remains unchecked, such incidents will occur again. People buy dogs without checking bloodlines from illegal breeders and then when the dog shows aggression, they dump them in shelters,” said Srihan.

Experts say before adopting a dog, the human must match its temperament apart from a background check of the bloodline. “Like Pitbulls, all pedigrees are bred for a specific purpose. There are different categories of dogs who have been bred for a specific job. Pitbulls and other high-energy dogs are from the guard/working dog category. People need to understand the dog before bringing it home. People need to end buying dogs from illegal breeders. Almost the entire breeding business in India is unchecked and illegal. The government needs to act fast to prevent such incidents,” said Sanjay Mohapatra, an animal rights activist, and rescuer from Noida.

“People should adopt the Indian breed of dogs and strays instead of buying fancy pedigrees,” said Mohapatra.

The chances of any Pitbull, Rottweiler, or any other guard dogs attacking humans are very thin. The cases are rising due to the unchecked breeding that is leading the bloodline of fighting dogs into homes where they don’t belong. Additionally, experts say that a tired dog is a good dog, so dog parents must ensure that their furry friends are properly walked to keep their energy level in control. Adopting them at an early stage and training them thoroughly makes them great companions and that is why they are called humans’ best friends.

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