In Virginia, People Should Not Own Pit Bulls

There was a request from a mother who was upset because her high school student child was told to write a paper for school for a class about why owning pit bulls are dangerous. Students asked if they could write about why owning a pit bull is good and were told no. They asked if they could write the pros and cons and were told no. The mother called the Asst. Principal Mr. Cassady at Osbourne Park High in Virginia who said no, the topic was approved. So she then asked people on the Bully Breed Awareness facebook page to please call the school. I did, but there was NO answer.  Later, I found this information to write to the school board and principal. So if you would like to tell these people what you think, feel free to copy and paste my letter and send it to them or write your own (better if you write your own). Thanks.


Dear Principal Cassady, et al, A few high school students and their parents are upset because they have been required to write a paper on why “People Should NOT own Pit Bulls” and discuss two reasons why owning pit bulls could be dangerous. The students have asked repeatedly to write on a different subject and have been denied.  Mr. Cassady apparently thought that this was just fine and dandy, an approved topic for a paper. What is next? A paper about Why High Schools Should Consider African Americans, Asians, Jews, Mexicans (you name the minority group) are dangerous students?

Discriminating against dogs is different than racism, you might say. Really?

Every day in shelters across our country, countless dogs suffer and die as a result of being unjustly judged by their looks and breeds. These innocent animals are publicly demonized and condemned, stereotyped as “vicious”, “killers”, and “dangerous” based on a very loose appearance-based definition of breed, not their individual behavior. Stories about pit bull attacks are tragic, often exaggerated, and sometimes not even committed by pit bulls. If a dog of another breed commits the attack, it is maybe published in one paper. If it is considered to have been committed by a pit bull (even if it is not), the story gets published in 300 newspapers. Those stories are blasted all over the news to strike fear into the hearts of all those who read them.

Rarely are the heroic tales of pit bulls who save their families, rescue other animals, and work as therapy and service dogs, including the former Michael Vick dogs, are given the same amount of press. I KNOW firsthand as I am a reporter/editor and I rescued a dog who is a Dalmatian/pit bull mix. She does not have a mean bone in her body. She has been attacked six times by other dogs and her response five times was to lie on her back in submission. The last time she protected herself from a dog who made her eye bleed. She has played with more than 600 dogs of all breeds and LOVES kids and people.

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer said “My kids are around pit bulls every day. In the ’70s they blamed Dobermans, in the ’80s they blamed German shepherds, in the ’90s they blamed the Rottweiler. Now they blame the pit bull. Pit bulls get a bad rap because of irresponsible owners…”

It is irresponsible of your teacher/school to teach racism to your students, even if it is “just about dogs.” Dog racism is just as bad as people racism. Violence and abuse against animals leads to abuse and violence against people. It is not responsible to foster / encourage this attitude at your school.

Read below, and write me a paper about why RESPONSIBLE people SHOULD OWN PIT BULLS !

Thank you. And I double dog dare ya to tell me which photo (below Find the Pit) is a pit bull.

Can you Find the Pit?

Evolution of a Bad Rap
A German Shepherd Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), and Rottweiler were tested using a bite sleeve equipped with a specialized computer instrument to measure bite pressure. The APBT had the least amount of pressure of the 3 dogs tested. (Source: Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic)

pit bull therapy dogs,

Know a Pit Bull Owner/Person?

Here is the mom’s request:

Hello Fellow Pit Bull Lovers!

I am writing to you to gain support for my 16 year old son who is being forced by his High School English teacher to write a paper entitled, “People Should NOT own Pit Bulls”.

After my husband died, my family dived headlong into dog rescue, and it was very helpful in the healing process for us. We worked with Bully Paws and often times took in pregnant, abused pits and nursed them and their pups into health and aided in the effort to find them loving Forever Homes. As a pit bull rescuer, and owner of several pit bulls, my family is adamately opposed to writing about this topic as are many kids in the class. And they are not given a choice to write about the opposing views. My son and I have asked several times to write on the opposing viewpoint.

Here is what the teacher says,

“Yes, this is the paper asking students to use the topic “People Should Not Own Pit Bulls.”

When we began this project, several students mentioned that they owned pit bulls. I said

that they didn’t have to BELIEVE people should not own pit bulls, but for the sake of this

four paragraph research experience, I wanted them to use the four articles/sources I had

provided to discuss two reasons why owning pit bulls could be dangerous.”

A whole generation of children are getting their heads filled with harmful, biased “facts” on our beloved breed. Several of us have contacted the school. I just got off the phone with the Assistant Principle, Mr Cassaday, and he said, and I quote, “It is an approved topic and there is nothing wrong with it”. Wow. Won’t you please help and call the school and voice your opinion??

703.365.6500 – ask for Mr Cassaday’s office.

Thank You!

Robyn Horstkamp


Filed under end dog racism, pit bull, polka dot discrimination, Uncategorized

5 responses to “In Virginia, People Should Not Own Pit Bulls

  1. This makes me crazy. As a working journalist, I’ve certainly done my share of pros/cons type of articles. I’ve certainly interviewed people with whom I disagree, and I’ve written the counterpoint to many things. I’m not sure the point of the assignment and the reluctance to let students have some flexibility.

    • ditto, speaking to the choir here … what I think not confirmed but this is Michael Vick country, Virginia, where he had his dog fighting operation. The people there (some hopefully not all) have beliefs about the dogs. They certainly seem close-minded but I was not able to speak with anyone at the school to find out and I have not heard back from them. If/when I do I will update.

  2. Kari

    This is especially disappointing because Virginia is one of the few states that has laws AGAINST BSL. There is a dangerous dog registry, but it is illegal to condemn an entire breed. I thought I was in a safer place as a pit bull person when I returned home to my native Commonwealth. Sounds to me like we need protection from the education system more than from any breed of dog.


  3. I get so upset when people assume pitbulls are dangerous. I defend my Titan everyday against ignorance from people. Its ignorant people that need to be banned, not our pitties! Ugh!


  4. What class did this fall under as an assignment? I find it rather ridiculous that the parent’s request could not be accomadated. While there are assignemments that want children to write in support of an unpopular idea, it is certainly possible to find another topic. This sounds like an agenda that seems controlling for no purpose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s