We don’t generally see a lot of love expressed in the New York State legislature.
And it’s probably safe to say that no lawmaker in history has ever described, on the floor of the assembly chamber, how he once stuck his head inside a dog’s gaping maw. Nor do politicians typically quote the Bard of Miami himself, Pitbull, when doing the people’s business.
But all three of those things happened yesterday when the assembly passed a resolution in support of Pit Bull Awareness Month (the kind with fur, not dark sunglasses).
You can watch the video below for the full effect, but the resolution calls for something of a reform of the popular image of the breed, because no type of dog gets quite as bad a rap as the pit bull. Maligned as vicious, unstable killers, it seems like any time a pit bull so much as lifts a leg in the wrong place it’s front-page news. Just last month a pit bull made news in New York City after attacking an NYPD horse.
The stigma is a problem not just because it’s unfair, argued assembly member Kenneth Zebrowski, who sponsored the resolution, but also because it means many dogs die unnecessarily in shelters for want of willing adopters.
“We have a crisis of euthanasia across the state and the country,” said Zebrowski. “About 900,000 pit bulls are euthanized each year — that’s 2,500 per day.”
Zebrowski also pointed out that pit bulls didn’t always have such a fearsome reputation. They used to be known as nanny dogs because of their easy temperament with children.
The resolution urges Governor Andrew Cuomo to designate October as Pit Bull Awareness Month, part of a national effort by a Tennessee-based nonprofit called Bless the Bullys. Among other things, the measure declares that “pit bulls are a loving, kind breed of dog” and it’s only a small fraction of dickhead owners who are responsible when things go wrong.
Making his case in support of the resolution was Assemblyman Steve Katz, a veterinarian in Westchester County who said that of the thousands of pit bulls he’s seen over the years in his practice, only a tiny percentage have been aggressive, no more than any other breed. So confident is Katz that pit bulls are good dogs — yes they are! Oh, yes they are! Yes they are such good dogs! — he’s willing to put his head where his mouth is. Or something.
“I have a picture of my head inside one of these giant pit bulls,” Katz told his colleagues, which, given his profession, might make sense?
Assembly Member Matthew Titone spoke briefly to offer a pearl of wisdom no one could refuse. “The best quote would come from Pitbull,” Titone intoned. “Which is, we are one.”
And he’s probably right about that; the resolution passed with what sure sounded like unanimous verbal assent.
See the rest of the pit bull love-fest below: