Local News
A Pit Bull Training Program
By Harriet Steinberg
Aug 14, 2007 - 5:49:25 PM

LOS ANGELES—There is a program that will be good news to dog owners, pit bulls and parolees if approved by the L.A, City Council. This program, known as the Pit Bull Training Academy, will be in existence if approved. It is hoped that this academy can reduce euthanized killings of unwanted pets. Many people who have owned pit bulls have given up on their pet because they appear to be so aggressive and dangerous. They cannot handle them.

The council postponed approval of the Pit Bull Training Academy at a hearing in Van Nuys until issues of liability and public safety could be studied in more detail. City officials, however, felt confident that the program would be approved in a few weeks.

This program would be run by a nonprofit group that often hires parolees recently out of prison. The parolees would be trained to train the sometimes dangerous and aggressive pit bulls. The city would pay the group to train the pit bulls that are abandoned in shelters. The trainees would also be trained to work with city staff members.

The goals of the Pit Bull Training Academy are to develop better trained dogs so they will be more likely to be kept by their new owners. It is also hoped that this academy will help parolees get work and learn a new skill.

Pit Bull trainers at the Animal Services annex shelter in South Los Angeles gave a demonstration of how the academy would operate. Trainers use only positive reinforcement because aggressiveness causes the animal to respond aggressively. The training at the Animal Services annex include basic obedience training and intense socialization. Mock scenarios are created where the pit bulls come into contact other dogs or go to the market. The rescue center does not train dogs that have been involved in brutal attacks or aggressiveness.

The good news is that parolees have been employed in recent years to help train the dogs, and not one of those two dozen parolees have been back in prison.

The city killed more than 18,000 dogs and cats last year, and pit bulls made up about 40% of the 6,541 canines that were killed, according to Animal Services. It is reported that owners often adopt pit bulls, but soon return them to shelters in a short time because they don't know how to train them.

Besides training pit bulls, this program also teaches proper, responsible ownership.

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