A new media star named Hulk has been appearing on popular talk shows in New York and inspiring such headlines as ABC’s “175-Pound Pit Bull Shatters Misconceptions About the Breed.” This 18-month-old pup is a beautiful animal, but his owners do not deserve all this free publicity for their questionable attack training and unethical breeding practices.
As I watched them take the stage on The View last Thursday to reenact the viral video of Hulk howling alongside their adorable three-year-old son playing the harmonica, I waited to hear the tough questions. But there were only two, and they weren’t tough.
“You’re not afraid of letting your little boy play with this big ol’ dog?” Whoopi Goldberg asked. “I mean, this is his best buddy, right?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Marlon Grennan said. “They’re the best of friends you know. Just take a look at him. He’s mellow, he soaks up the crowd, he’s a great guy. With dogs it’s always about proper ownership and leadership. Strong leadership.”
This came from the man who, along with his wife, runs a kennel where they breed and train extra large American pit bull terriers to be fearless, ferocious security dogs as well as family-friendly pets.
The website for Dark Dynasty K9s has videos that boast of mutant-sized dogs that can jump fences and bite a person’s arm like they’re snapping a toothpick. They also display pictures and videos of their young child riding Hulk like he’s a horse to prove how safe they are.
The talk show hosts and celebrities who are showcasing what some refer to as the largest pit bull alive might not realize it, but they’re publicly promoting a business that breeds oversized guard dogs capable of easily killing a grown man.
I say easily because smaller pit bulls can kill a man as well. Do you remember Eddie Cahill, the healthy 40-year-old man who was mauled to death by his own beloved pit bull on Christmas Day? His death, and the deaths and severe injuries of thousands of others – many of whom were children – should not be forgotten.
While watching The View, it certainly felt like they were.
After the little boy started playing the harmonica and the dog howled along, the audience and nervous looking hosts laughed and cheered, and then that was it. There was no warning that this type of dog isn’t the kind of dog most people are equipped to handle. And there was no discussion as to how Hulk could possibly be a pure American pit bull terrier when they typically weigh between 30 and 60 pounds.
The message the audience was left with was that pit bulls, even ones as enormous as this “gentle giant,” are perfectly safe unless you don’t provide proper ownership and strong leadership. Whatever that means.
My friends, who passionately defend the embattled breed, are not happy about this new ambassador.
“This is not a pit bull,” one of them said. “This is a breed that has been mixed with a mastiff and it’s disgusting that any breeder should be allowed to do this. They should be shut down.”
Among many pit bull loving organizations it is believed these monster dogs coming out of Dark Dynasty have been bred with painful, unhealthy genetic defects and are being trained by people with no recognized credentials, affiliations or titles. They are sold online from $2500-$25,000 and are considered status symbols to many.
The fame and fanfare surrounding Hulk will likely increase the level of interest in owning this type of dog exponentially. I can’t even imagine how much more that will jump once he and his owners are featured in their new reality show being promoted on their Facebook page.
With a stamp of approval from The View, Good Morning America, Nightline, Inside Edition and more, Hulk and his owners from Dark Dynasty might look sweet and harmless to the general public. I doubt the families of people and pets who have been maimed or killed from canine assaults will be happy with this endorsement of a company producing enormous attack dogs which don’t require its customers to have any expertise or experience to own.
Despite the statistically high numbers of serious and fatal dog bites coming from pit bulls compared to other breeds, they do not all attack. In fact, the majority don’t. But like several other breeds, they have the capability to kill, so they require a much greater level of diligence and accountability on the part of their owners to make sure they are trained and treated properly. Any responsible owner of a dangerous breed would agree, yet people continue to purchase dogs they can’t handle that later end up in shelters or get euthanized.
What’s going on at Dark Dynasty should not be permitted and it certainly should not be celebrated and endorsed by mainstream media. Their unnecessary breed of intimidators is about to make an already bad situation so much worse. Perhaps if dog owners were to be prosecuted for the deeds of their pet as if they themselves were the culprit, fewer people would be buying animals they have no business owning.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com