In this BuzzFeed video, people who say they’re afraid of dogs are asked to describe what they think about pit bulls, both before and after being draped in puppies.
They start by spouting off the usual stereotypes. They end by swooning.
“These guys would never hurt anyone, would they?” says one participant, just before being viciously licked all about the chin and neck.
“I want to marry him!” says another — which, sorry, isn’t legal in Australia, where the video was filmed.
Unfortunately, another thing that isn’t completely legal in this part of Australia is the pit bull puppies themselves.
This video was made in Sydney, which is in New South Wales, where breed specific legislation — or BSL — tightly restricts the keeping of blocky-headed dogs.
Mel Isaacs, director of Team Dog — a group that helps families keep their pets at home, and out of shelters, even through rough times — said indeed, it’s impossible to watch this video without worrying about the fates of “these gorgeous, happy puppies.”
“Their individual personalities, their training and the care provided by their adoptive families — none of this would matter. The only thing that matters in an area with BSL is their appearance,” she told The Huffington Post.
Some pit bull advocates are even frustrated with the video itself for labeling the dogs as pits and thus perhaps unwittingly increasing the chances that they will wind up deemed unadoptable, faced with life in a cage or death.
In New South Wales, some mixed breed dogs and certain types of purebreds can be considered pits — the fear is that having called these dogs pits in the video, even though their genetic makeup is unknown, makes it more likely that they will be treated as pits under the law.
“I get that they were trying to do something positive but I fear that it has the opposite effect,” said an Australian pit bull advocate, who asked to remain anonymous. “Why would you jeopardize their safety like that for the sake of a video? That’s a lot of lives on the line.”
Brad Griggs, a canine behavior expert, voiced similar concerns about the video risking the puppies’ well-being by calling them pit bulls in the video, while living in a place that punishes dogs who have been given that label.
“BSL is just bad. There’s nothing good about it. There’s not a darn good thing about it. It doesn’t do one good thing,” he said. “Though I’m sure the video is well-intentioned, this video sadly perpetuates an issue rather than confronting one.”
Indeed, at the end of it, you almost have to wish that next up, BuzzFeed would bring lovable, at-risk puppies to the policymakers themselves, and film them changing their minds.
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