Pit Bulls, the Ultimate Urban Dog

The scene was Hollywood-ready: On a gritty New York street, a homeless man is having a seizure on the sidewalk. At his side, his unleashed pit bull. When police approach, the dog rises to defend her master, barking as it charges them. The cops shoot the pit in the head, leaving it in a pool of blood in the street.

It’s the aftermath that breaks the stereotype. The dog, Star, somehow survives and is taken to a shelter, where she’s given extensive medical treatment. Instead of being vilified in the press as a ruthless killer, Star is by and large depicted as a loyal and even adorable dog who reacted in a normal doggie way. As it stands now, it’s not clear whether Star, who lost an eye and some hearing but otherwise seems to be doing well, is suitable to be put up for adoption. But the entire incident displays a remarkable reversal in what was for years a reflexive reaction to any pit bull anywhere: It’s vicious. Kill it now.

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