Next Week: Lisa LaFontaine of the WHS on Dogs, D.C. and More

Washington Humane Society

I just got off the phone with Lisa LaFontaine, the President & CEO of the Washington Humane Society.

We had an edifying discussion about “Pit Bulls” (though that’s not how the WHS refers to them) and the humane education programming the group does in D.C.; we also explored how a breed once known as “America’s Dog”, which enjoyed starring roles on classic television programs like the Li’l Rascals is now a pariah.

Interestingly enough, LaFontaine mentioned that frontier icon Laura Ingalls had a dog named Jack, who may have been a Bull Terrier– and when I looked for links, I found several which corroborated this bit of history– as well as a few which hotly disputed it, and termed it “pit bull propaganda”. That 15 minutes of web-surfing reinforced how much of an issue this controversial breed can be for some, but why?

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about “Pit Bulls”– even though most people can’t correctly identify them, when tested. Are people of a certain race more likely to own one? Is it a class thing– are they more likely to be in Ward 8 than Ward 2? And how prevalent is dog-fighting in Washington, D.C.?

The answers might surprise you– check back on Monday, for more.