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In the NY press

February 21st, 2006, 01:34 PM
What a great article......

Rufus: A model citizen
By LARRY A. HICKS The York Dispatch

By now you've probably heard about Rufus, the colored bull terrier that wowed the dog world last week by winning the Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show award at Madison Square Garden.
He is the first colored bull terrier ever to win Best in Show at Westminster. That's "ever" as in 130 years. Remarkable.

Rufus, as you might be aware, has a York County connection because he is handled by Kathy Kirk, a native of this area who now lives in Connecticut.

Anyway, I'm absolutely delighted that Rufus won top honors at what is generally accepted as the most important dog show in the world.

And it's not because he's the prettiest critter in the world, either. That is part of his charm, I think.

Some of you probably think Rufus is cute as all get out, some of you think he's uglier than sin and the rest of us either think he's somewhere in between beautiful and ugly or take no position on his looks at all.

Me? I've seen uglier. I've seen prettier. Rufus falls somewhere in the middle.

So what pleases me most about Rufus' victory isn't what he looks like. I'm tickled he won because of what he is.

I'll explain.

Rufus belongs to one of the three AKC breeds -- bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers -- that some people blend into one all-encompassing category known as "pit bulls."

Goodness knows, no dog is more feared these days than a pit bull, unless it's the Rottweiler, which happens to be my favorite breed.

It also is worthy of note, I think, that a Rottweiler named Shaka was also among the seven finalists for Best of Show at Westminster.

Which more or less gives me a double-barreled shotgun with which to make my point that no dog (or human) is a bad dog (or human) simply because of its breed (or skin color, religion, country of origin or sexual preference). Get my drift?

For evidence, I need look no farther than Rufus and Shaka and my own Bear, at home.

And that's important because as you read this, there are cities in about 20 states that have either approved or are trying to pass breed specific legislation (BSL) designed to control certain dog breeds that are believed to be "dangerous."

Take another look at Rufus and ask yourself if
he's dangerous. Of course, he's not. Rufus wouldn't hurt a fly. Take a look at Shaka and ask yourself if she's dangerous. No, she isn't.

Yet there are cities in this country -- Denver being the most aggressive -- which have passed laws banning pit bulls. There are cities in this country that could seize Rufus, the Best of Show winner at Westminster last week, muzzle him and euthanize him for no better reason than he is a colored bull terrier.

York City and York County aren't among them, though York City officials did consider a ban or special licensing of pit bulls about five years ago. And the state General Assembly did consider legislation in 1996 that would have banned pit bulls and other "dangerous" breeds in this state.

We came this close (fingers held two inches apart) from enacting laws and ordinances locally and in this state that would have prevented Rufus and Shaka from passing through or living in York City, York County and the whole of Pennsylvania.

So it's a good thing Rufus is top dog for at least a year, because it'll shine a positive light on his breed that it might not otherwise receive. And maybe in the process, people will come to realize that there's nothing wrong with Rufus or Shaka or bull terriers or Rottweilers or Doberman pinschers that loving care and a good human connection don't cure.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've owned big-breed dogs my entire life and was never bitten by one. The worst and only dog bite I've ever received was from a Mexican Chihuahua that was so small it could have sat in my cereal bowl.

No one ever talks about banning Chihuahuas, though, and for good reason. It's not necessary.

So if Rufus accomplishes anything in the next year, let him set the record straight on "bully" breeds. There is no such thing.

But "bully" human owners, that's another story altogether.

I say we ban them. Every last one of them.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail:

All was right, and this guy deserves honors. But to set the record straight. Shaka is a male, LOL

February 21st, 2006, 01:44 PM
Hey I'm anti bsl as well, but you have to find a better example than Rufus. Bull terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are from the same group of dogs but don't have the temperment of pit bulls. They are very friendly and are known to be the clowns of canines. You can't let these guys watch the house, they will lead the robbers to the goods.

February 21st, 2006, 01:51 PM
They are still in the bully group, same as the rottweiler being on the next list to go. In alot of places the bull terrier is banned as well. So it is the same

February 21st, 2006, 02:33 PM
Hey I'm anti bsl as well, but you have to find a better example than Rufus. Bull terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are from the same group of dogs but don't have the temperment of pit bulls. They are very friendly and are known to be the clowns of canines. You can't let these guys watch the house, they will lead the robbers to the goods.

Sorry, I don't get your point, most pit bulls make lousy guard dogs, they tend to greet intruders with there tongues, not there teeth, they will let you take what you want, but they allways to want to play, and just get in the way. I would never want to own a dog that was anything but very friendly.:thumbs up

February 21st, 2006, 03:04 PM
ummm Pit bulls are guard dogs, they were breed for fighting and guarding.

jesse's mommy
February 21st, 2006, 03:31 PM
My pittie didn't even get out of bed when I walked through the door this afternoon. She would be happy to show the robbers where the jewelry and antique books are located! :D

February 21st, 2006, 04:28 PM
My pit too. Lazy bum. Then you see him at the top of the stairs streaching as if he had such a long day.

If you read their true breed profile they ARE NOT guard dogs. Even when in the fighting world the dogs that attacked or bit a human were put down. They may cause a robber to think twice because they will protect their owner and protect to the death. maybe that is where you get that from. But it is not in their nature to be guard dogs. Pits are often stolen, how? They like people! I saw Dallas Swat the other day and the guard dog (pit bull) just wondered around the aprtment paying no mind to the shock of police barging in. His tail was even wagging!

February 21st, 2006, 05:13 PM
my pit greeted the fed ex guy last week with a stuffed monkey in his mouth.....then again he would not let him leave so i guess he is good at guarding:)

February 21st, 2006, 05:42 PM
It is a myth that pit bulls and terrriers and all the other breeds mentioned were bred for figthing That's just bogus - check your history!! When I think of pitties, I think of little Nipper, the RCA dog. Pit bulls in his day were regarded as one of the most popular dogs. Now ... well, I won;t do there. I don't have to, sigh.

February 21st, 2006, 06:05 PM
lets not forget the dog on the little rascals.......can't recall the name right now though.

jesse's mommy
February 21st, 2006, 06:27 PM

February 22nd, 2006, 07:34 AM
this thread was not started to cause arguments. This thread was started because it shined a positive light on the rottweiler and a bully breed. Lets take it as that please

jesse's mommy
February 22nd, 2006, 02:18 PM
I do agree this is a nice story. It definitely gives hope to us responsible pittie owners. I wish my baby was more of a role model for dogs, but I once again came home and found someone sound asleep on the bed. I woke her up, gave her some love, let her out to do her business, gave her a nummy and she crawled back into bed. She eventually came out of her bedroom and is now sleeping on the couch with her head on my lap! She's a wonderful role model to society! My slug.