Only Humans Have the Power to Change the Pit Bull Stereotype (By Hillary Murphy.)



            Throughout this term, I chose to focus on the struggles and stereotyping of pit bulls in today’s society. This breed is constantly in the spotlight, for mainly negative reasons. There are many pit bull rescue organizations that are working hard to protect the breed, but I believe that more could be done to help. I chose to create a blog in order to educate the public about the truth nature of pit bulls and to refute the myths. I am hoping that if someone who is judgmental of them read my blog, it would open their eyes and may even cause them to reconsider their beliefs.

            The question that I chose to research for this project is: What is the next step that needs to be taken to further diminish the pit bull stereotype? The sources that I provide here suggest a few steps that need to be taken to begin, and in my letter to Angela Adams (the founder of the largest pit bull rescue in Portland) I express my thoughts and ideas on what should be done.

Culminating Project (part 1.) 

                        ASPCA. “The Truth About Pit Bulls.” ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

            This article talks about the history of pit bulls, and the myths that surround them. It also includes educational information about raising pit bulls. The key to eliminating the pit bull stereotype is to educate the public and help people to know what is true and what is not when it comes to this breed. This article pertains to my question because I believe that informing people is a major step in further helping this breed.

            Delise, Karen. “The Media Attacks a “Breed.”” The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression. [United States]: Anubis, 2007. N. pag. Print.

            This book was titled “The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths, and Politics of Canine Aggression.” I read chapter 10 which focused specifically on pit bulls in the media. The chapter reviewed the beginning of the focus on pit bulls in the media, and consequently, the beginning of the stereotypes surrounding the breed. The author of this book understood that in order to change the future, we must understand what happened in the past. This article pertains to my question because the media is a big cause of the problem with the perception of pit bulls, and fixing the way that they are portrayed in the media would be a big step.

            Johnson, Morieka. “A Pit Bull Perception Problem: What’s a Dog Owner to Do?” CNN. Cable News Network, 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

            This article reviewed the problem in Maryland, where pit bulls were recently ruled “inherently dangerous.” The article goes on to explain the hardships that many pit bull owners and landlords face because of this ruling. Pit bull owners are being forced to evacuate apartment complexes, and yet there is a concerning lack of pet-friendly housing where pit bulls and their owners can live. Lastly, the article explains how this twisted perception came to be, and what we can do to fix it. This article pertains to my question because it suggests what can be done to help pit bulls, and also helps current owners be responsible for their dogs, as to not further damage this breed’s reputation.

            Marciano, Jae. “Animal Talk: The Pit Bull Dilemma.” Ramona Sentinel. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

            This article includes current statistics about pit bulls, and their reputation in the media. It then goes on to review some stories of pit bulls shown in positive light, and refutes many of the beliefs that people have about this breed. If there were more news stories like these, and less that portray pit bulls as inherently dangerous, it may help to change this negative stereotype.

Public Writing


November, 27, 2013


PO BOX 304

Sherwood, OR 97140

     Angela Adams,

            I am currently wrapping up the term in my college writing course in which the focus has been on community issues and involvement. I chose to focus on pit bulls and the stereotype that surrounds them. For my course work, I created a blog in order to inform the public about pit bulls. My hope in creating the blog was to educate people about the true nature of pit bulls and to help eliminate the myths. I narrowed my focus specifically to the breed’s exposure in the media, because I believe that this is where many of stereotypes originated. This is what led me to creating a blog, because I know that increasing the news articles and publications that portray pit bulls in a positive light will encourage people to reconsider their judgment.

            I discovered your organization while doing my research online, and I wanted to acknowledge all the great work that you and your co-workers are doing to help pit bulls stay out of shelters. The percentage of pit bulls that end up in shelters and pounds is heartbreaking, but I believe that this can change, and organizations like yours are the first step. Awareness makes all the difference when it comes to animals in need.

            I am hoping to continue to find the time to contribute to my blog, and would love to learn more about the struggles that pit bulls face in the Portland area to write about. I would really appreciate your help with some questions of mine so I can bring more awareness to this breed (specifically the problems in our area.)

  • What problems have you seen pit bulls face in the Portland area?
  • What do you believe contributes to these problems?
  • Do you believe that stereotyping of this breed is strongly prevalent in our area?
  • Do you believe that the media more often helps or hurts the breed?
  • Is your organization taking steps to help pit bulls in relation to the stereotyping?
  • What can people do to help pit bulls in our area if they are unable to adopt or foster?

            Thank you for your work in protecting the future of this breed. What your organization has done and continue to do for pit bulls is truly amazing.


     Hillary Murphy

Author’s Note

           Throughout the research process, I learned a lot about the efforts that are being made to change the pit bull stereotype, as well as what others thoughts were about what more should be done. I also learned more about how this stereotype is negatively affecting pit bulls, and about the struggles of pit bull owners as well.I enjoyed doing the public writing because it gave me the opportunity to express my thoughts and concerns to someone who is already taking action. I will be able to learn more about the struggles pit bulls face in Portland and about what is being done to help. I am also hoping to learn about what I could do to help.



  1. Hillary: You posted so professionally! This looks great!

  2. I love that you chose this topic for your research! I have always loved pit bulls. I am a dog groomer and pit bulls are always so sweet and lovable. I have been bit more times by chihuahuas and dash hounds than pit bulls. I can totally understand how terrible the stereo type can be. I will be grooming a pit bull and a customer will walk in and say ‘How are you grooming that dog right now? are you not terrified?’ I always just laugh.

    I was very interested by pit bulls in the media. It seems that when ever its a pit bull in the news,they go out of their way to say its a pit bull, while other breeds are glossed over. I also think that your letter was very professional. I think that it is very wise of you to reach out for more information from someone who is very experienced.

  3. Hillary:
    On another note, you’ve opened up room for a conversation with other groups that advocate for a cause that is aligned with your own values and interests. You do so professionally and in a way that will allow you to network and to continue your work to support pit bulls. Nicely done!

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