Blog: Finding My Voice

The Bully Syndrome

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.  ~Martin Niemöller

     The word bully has many connotations, most of them negative. A bully is a person who purposely tries to hurt others. Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person. Bullies like to instill fear and trepidation in their targets. This gives them power and feeds their self-esteem. Cyber bullying is the misuse of email systems or Internet forums for sending aggressive flame mails.  And then there is the Bully breed dog which is any dog having bulldog lineage. Unfortunately, many people believe these dogs to be mean, aggressive and dangerous.

     We are becoming a nation of bullies. We are quick to attack and rush to judgment with little or no proof of wrongdoing. Once Pandora’s box has been opened, it is difficult to sort through all the fabrications and determine who is the perpetrator and who is the victim.

This dog is Dominic. DOMINIC WAS BEGGING FOR A CHANCE. He was a black dog and one of those “bully breeds”...and that meant a lot of people would not want him. He was a young boy, barely two years old. Dominic was euthanized.

     Dogs like Dominic are killed in shelters every day. They are demonized because of their breed, which is unrelated to their temperament, and they are the target of breed specific legislation. Previously, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Huskies, Great Danes, Boxers, St. Bernards, and many other breeds were declared to be dangerous and ownership was banned in cities throughout the country. The result of this stigmatization is that sweet, adoptable animals are being relinquished to shelters and killed. In cities where bully breeds are banned, these dogs cannot be adopted out and their only way out of a shelter other than a body bag or trash can is rescue.

     Animal behavior is learned...just as children are born innocent and are taught to hate. If people want to prevent dog attacks and aggressive behavior, they need to focus on the cause of the problem: humans. Banning specific breeds is punishing good dogs and good owners for the wrongful actions of others. The type of people who breed and own aggressive dogs are usually dog fighters and criminals...and they are not deterred by breed specific legislation.

     The media has to shoulder much of the blame for stigmatizing these dogs. There have been cases where a Pittie has been reported as involved in an incident when it was another breed. According to testing of 122 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society, the American Pit Bull Terrier achieved a passing rate 85.3 percent of the time. Golden Retrievers 83.2 percent, Collies 79.4, Beagles at 78.2 percent, and Standard Schnauzers, a surprisingly low 63.5 percent. Check out this link to see how your breed did:

     A form of bullying can be seen in some animal shelters. Many small towns are controlled by people who act like mini-dictators because of their position or social status. Management of animal shelters is given to friends and/or relatives or their off-spring who have no background in animal care and who, in many cases, do not like animals. These shelters are poorly managed, the animals get minimal care, and there is little or no effort made to find homes or rescues. These shelters are warehouses for animals awaiting slaughter. Many people don’t realize that an animal relinquished to a shelter can be killed IMMEDIATELY or that their stray cat or dog will not be taken in by a Good Samaritan or find a forever home with a loving family. It is more likely that these animals will be held for the minimum time required by law and euthanized.

     Shelters are traumatic places for animals. They are noisy and crowded. Animals that in other circumstances would be adoptable become stressed, depressed or aggressive...which moves them to the unadoptable category. There are people who try to save shelter animals. In many cases, these people are from outside the community. Their efforts are often thwarted by politicians, dog wardens, and shelter managers who view outsiders as a threat to their authority. They use the helpless animals as leverage to intimidate those trying to help. They ban rescues at whim and refuse to make changes that would improve shelter conditions and reduce the number of animal intakes. These bullies seem to take pleasure in killing animals instead of finding solutions to the problems of animal overpopulation and shelter overcrowding.

     There are also bullies in the animal rescue community. Instead of working with others toward a common goal, there are some people who believe they are the sole authority on the subject. These self-appointed despots of rescue are constantly patting themselves on the back when something good has been accomplished and are quick to go on witch hunts when they perceive they are being threatened...without considering the consequences of their actions. Their usual course of action is to take a grain of truth and create a mountain of lies to demonize a group or individual, much like the accusers in Salem, MA so many years ago.

     It is too late for Dominic. The bullies of the world made him and others like him unadoptable. However, there are dogs and cats on the Help Me-CENTRAL website, posted on the website’s Facebook pages, and in shelters who are in danger of becoming another sad statistic. They need your help. Please don’t let the bullies of the world win. Become a voice for the voiceless.

All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

~Edmund Burke



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