Creating a Folk Devil

The media and politicians, dog catchers and pound contractors all have a vested interest in making us fear a kind of evil super dog they call the ‘Pit Bull’. They tell us they’re not like other dogs – that they are far stronger, more aggressive, more unpredictable – than regular dogs. Selective reporting and misreporting of dog attacks claimed to involve Pit Bulls reinforce the myths.

The Australian newspaper depicts the 'Pit Bull' using the most terrifying stock image they could find.

The Side We’re Seldom Shown

A search for ‘pit bull’ on YouTube brings up plenty of videos of family pets playing happily with their owners, families and other dogs. These images would weaken the folk devil that’s been created and great efforts are made to make these dogs look mean.

Meet George

The following photos are being given to Victorian Council staff as part of the govt’s ‘Approved Standard‘ to help them identify whether your dog has some “Pit Bull” in it. We don’t know anything about this dog so we’ll call him George.

George was chosen by the Victorian Govt to feature in their 'approved standard' for identifying American Pit Bull Terriers.

It’s most likely George was killed after the taking of this photo. Given he was chosen as an example of an ‘American Pit Bull Terrier” it’s quite likely that his only offence was his appearance.

Dressing Up Dogs on Death Row

If you look carefully you’l see a big black studded collar was placed over his head after his slip lead was put on. It looks like a purely cosmetic addition to make him look mean. Who would do such a thing? (Our only clues are bricks and maple leaves.)

Photo from Victorian Govt's "Breed Standard" for "Pit Bulls"

Graeme Smith Can’t Stop Talking About Pit Bulls

The Lost Dogs Home’s CEO campaigns tirelessly against what he calls ‘Pit Bull Terrier Types’. They impound seized ‘Pit Bulls’. Could they be responsible for the pictures above? (bricks?)

Graeme Smith calls for dog owners to surrender.

Want Extra Collars With That?

In this piece we’re shown several ‘Pit Bulls’ in pens at The Lost Dogs Home with one collar on and then a dog being paraded with no less than three collars, including a studded one. Why do they dress them up like Mr T?

Lost Dogs Home parade 'Pit Bull' with 3 collars on

“They Dressed Me Up Like This”

Once an industry of dog seizers and killers have been assembled, so in Nils Christie’s terms, an industry is formed which has a vested in creating the preconditions for its own employment.

Then they came for the dogs” Professor Simon Hallsworth, Director of the Centre for Social and Evaluation Research at London Metropolitan University