The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

July 5, 2008

Pit bulls on parade

Walkers: The breed gets a bad rap

DANVILLE — They came with painted toenails, colorful bandannas — and a friendly attitude.

These pit bulls, along with a few other breeds, paraded up North Vermilion Street with their owners Saturday morning to show that most pits don’t deserve their bad reputation.

“I have a new respect for pit bulls,” said Bob Durbin, who was on duty with the Danville Auxiliary Police and provided traffic control.

Before the walk started, a couple of skirmishes broke out — one between two pit bulls and one between two boxers. But order was soon restored, and once the walk got under way, everyone was well-behaved.

As for the pre-walk scuffles, Durbin noted that even people can’t always get together without having a spat.

Many of the participants wore shirts with the message on back: “If my dog likes you and you want him banned, how does that make him the mean one? Ban ignorant owners, not loyal breeds.”

About 20 dogs participated in the walk, which began at Vermilion and English, and continued to Winter before returning.

Megan Drake organized the walk as a protest against all pit bulls being discriminated against simply because of their breed. She wanted to show that most pit bulls are friendly, loyal family dogs.

Overall, she said afterward she was pleased with the walk, adding, “I think it went excellent.”

She brought all three of her pit bulls, along with a couple of friends to help walk them.

There was no charge to walk, but the $10 fee for a T-shirt goes to the Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation.

The walkers said they were participating to show their support for the breed.

“The dog gets a bad rap,” said Tim Landers of Danville. “It’s not so much the dog, as the owner (who’s to blame).”

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