Jojo was born in a litter of seven, in a vermin-infested alley, behind a dumpster. His mother, Misty, had been thrown, pregnant, into the streets when her owners were evicted from their slumlord-owned tenement. Misty soon discovered that alleys were the best places to find food – and to hide.
Misty was a pit bull, one of those breeds that people with the most unsavory intentions like to buy, breed, and fight. Their puppies fetch a good price, and they can earn their owners a fortune in the pits.
Old Guff, the hobo that shared the alley with them, gave Misty tidbits of food when he had some to share. He was able to climb into the dumpsters, where Misty was unable to climb. As the weeks passed, and the pups started weaning, he began giving them tidbits as well.
When Jojo and his siblings were five weeks old, Old Guff called the pups with his call that meant snacks. This time there was a large cardboard box next to him. As Misty and the pups were eating, one by one, he picked the pups up and put them in the box, which also had more treats.
Misty didn’t notice right away, but the when the food was eaten, and the pups started whining, she knew something wasn’t right. When the van with the loud muffler rumbled into the alley, Misty ran behind the dumpsters as she always did when danger came.
A man with polished leather cowboy boots stepped out of the van, walked to the back of it, and opened the door. The back of the van was filled with cages, and all of the cages except one were full of puppies. Misty watched as the man with the polished boots handed Old Guff pieces of paper and a large bottle. One by one Old Guff put Jojo and the other pups in the empty cage in the back of the van.
I wrote this story to both illustrate and educate about pit bull breeds of dogs being chosen as potential moneymakers, either to sell or fight in pits.
Pit bulls are blessed/cursed in that they give birth to large numbers of puppies per litter. People with dollar signs blinding their good sense get the idea that selling puppies can earn them big dollars. What they don’t realize is that the market cannot support the number of puppies being born. Soon they have a houseful of mess on their hands and end up giving them away, dropping them off somewhere, or taking them to the pound. Pit bulls are by and large the breed filling pounds. When I worked with juvenile delinquents we got some of them involved with a collaboration between dog trainers and the dog pound, where the kids would help socialize the dogs through teaching them obedience and would gain so much themselves from the experience. The dogs chosen to participate were 99% pit bulls, and it broke my heart to see the cages full of them, hoping to be chosen before being gassed.
Individuals who buy/sell/train/fight dogs in pits are less than the animals they are abusing/exploiting. There is no rationalization that anyone could give to make this practice OK. I’m talking about fighting dogs today but it applies to any animal being used for these purposes.
I watched a movie a few years ago on the practice, a fictionalized account, but based on reality. I loosely based my story on certain aspects of the film, “White God.” If you choose to watch the film, please understand you risk being haunted by what you see in it.