“Staffordshire bull terriers: A question of class?” BBC News investigates

staffie-img-2Thank you to Staffie Supporter Matthew Benjamin for sending us the link to an interesting article posted recently by the BBC.

They discuss the ways that Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been linked to attitudes towards class in Britain and why some people consider them “chav dogs” (and why that’s a load of old nonsense! (note: it’s a pro-Staffie article :) )

We’ve added some interesting snippets below but you can read the full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-30902078

Source: BBC News


 

Research by BBC News shows Staffordshire bull terriers are the third most popular dog in the UK. But why are they considered by some as the “chav dog” of choice and what does this tell us about British attitudes to class?

Bred originally as fighting dogs, the reputation of the Staffordshire bull terrier often precedes it. And when the BBC’s Dog Map appeared on 18 January, a fierce debate broke out on social media.

Painted by many as aggressive, vicious and worthy of a place on the “dangerous dogs” list, every negative view was in turn met by a barrage of positive praise citing the breed’s loyalty and affectionate character.

“No surprise to see Staffies popular in big cities where gangs of chavs live and people use them to guard homes,” said one user.

“The usual brush is tarring the Staffy,” said another. “I’m not a chav and neither are the good people I know that also own Staffs.”

So why do the dogs have such a negative reputation? And why do we judge in the first place?

Staffordshire bull terriers are often associated with specific social groups

“They’re one of those breeds that has a negative stigma attached to them and one of those is around ‘chav culture’,” said Dr Thomas Fletcher, a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.

“You hear stories about dangerous dogs and [people] being mauled and a pattern emerges about the type of breed that’s [involved].

“Staffies do have a particularly bad reputation, but it is important to recognise that those we hear about represent the minority of the breed. I think it’s as much to do with the owner. Animals are individuals and I think it’s very much about nurture over nature.” …

“It comes down to social norms and the expectations – who should be walking the dog and what we associate with certain people, than the breed itself.

“If a gang turned up with a dachshund it wouldn’t have the same impact.”

Elvira Meucci, campaigns director for the Dogs Trust, said dog choice and image extended beyond Staffies and “chav culture”.

“There’s no doubt that you’re saying something about your personality [with your dog],” she said.

“Staffordshire bull terriers are powerful-looking dogs and therefore they can be used to portray their owners as strong and macho, just as a Chihuahua is the choice of girls who want to look trendy.

“If you look back at how dogs have been used, it does change. [At one time] it was Dobermans, because they’re big and powerful dogs and that makes a statement.”

Staffordshire bull terriers are not banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, but are often confused with banned breeds like pit bulls, Ms Meucci added.

That being said, Staffies have made headlines for aggressive acts.

In 2011 a girl’s pet Chihuahua was mauled to death by four Staffies while a dog owner was given a suspended sentenced in 2013 after his dog decapitated another dog.

The same year, teenager Jade Anderson was killed after she was attacked by four dogs in Greater Manchester, two of which were Staffordshire bull terriers. But Coroner Alan Walsh told her inquest the problem was not specific breeds, but the control of dogs in general.

According to microchipping data, 356,000 Staffies have been tagged in the past decade by pet registration companies. The statistics perhaps fly in the face of concerns that Staffies should be given a wide berth.

But being the dog de jour is a double-edged sword, with over-breeding, a saturated market and owners who do not commit long term contributing to the number of Staffies ending up in shelters.

In 2013 more than a third of the dogs that came through the doors of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home were Staffordshire bull terriers.

Bill Lambert, from the Kennel Club, said Staffies are not naturally aggressive and were one of the only breeds it recommended as suitable around children.

“We have seen enormous growth in the popularity of Staffordshire bull terriers in the last 20 years and there’s no doubt that some of that has come about because of an increase in status dogs,” he said.

“However, the fact is that they’re a dog that doesn’t deserve the image it’s been given. They need a lot of socialising when they’re puppies, but that’s down to the owners.

“Any dog can be trained to be a bad dog, just as they can trained to be a good dog.”

Pink Hair Event for Senior Staffy Club! Ellie is going pink for older Staffies, 20 Nov 2014

2014-11_EllieHaines_pink-hair-eventOn 20th November, Ellie Haines, a dog trainer from Milton Keynes is taking the challenge of cutting her hair very short and getting it dyed bright pink! in support of our friends Senior Staffy Club, helping older Staffies.

Ellie works really hard to help animals and rescues so let’s show her our support by sending donations (no matter how small) to sponsor her in this event.

Send a donation to Senior Staffy Club

Here’s some more info from Ellie about her appeal:

My name is Ellie Haines and I am a dog trainer from Milton Keynes.
I am owned by 7 dogs, 3 of which are from rescue centres and two a re-homes from the pound and a re-home from another owner.
Staffies are a breed very close to my heart as I used to look after one as a child/teenager for a family friend called “Oscar”, he was fantastic and could snore for England.

This is where my love of bull breeds started, I love their funny characters and bulldozer qualities. They certainly try to find the love and happiness in everyone, Staffies can always make people smile.

I feel so sad for those without homes, especially the oldies as they should be in the warmest of houses, with the comfiest of beds, with the kindest owners. It saddens me to think of those Staffies who have been booted out when they get to an older age, or when they are no longer useful to their “owners”.

2014-11_EllieHaines_pink-hair-event2I love the work that Senior Staffy Club does for the older Staffies, they work so hard to find space for as many as they possibly can, they are amazing people and I truly admire them.

I want to make a contribution to help and have been looking for an “image change” for a while as I have had long blonde/brown hair for years!! So I thought a much shorter hair style with very bright pink hair in the name of helping SSC!!

If all of my family and friends could donate just £2 this would go so far to helping with the cost of saving these lovely dogs. They need that £2 so much more than you do and if you can pledge more that is fantastic.

A HUGE THANK YOU – Ellie”

Staffie Rescue Stall at Yeovil Showground Bootsale, Somerset on 15th April (not Staffie Support)

We’ve recently been contacted by Tara at ‘Snowdon Staffie Fundraisers’ to ask if we can help promote some Staffie events, and of course we are happy to help :)

“I am currently fundraising for Little Angels Staffie Rescue (rescuing Staffies on behalf of Doris Banham Dog Rescue) and Leicester SBT Rescue.”

“We are holding a stall at Yeovil Showground Bootsale, Somerset on 15th April 2012 to coincide with National Pet Week.”

If you’re in the area please go along and support this good cause and help these rescues to help more Staffies!

Find out more at:

www.thesugarshelf.co.uk/snowdonfundraiser

www.facebook.com/snowonstaffiefundraiser

Copied from Snowdon Fundraisers website:

“WHY?

Each year in the UK, 11,000 dogs are put to sleep, simply because they are unwanted and there is no one to care for them.

Almost 9,000 of these are Staffordshire Bull Terriers!

This problem arises from overbreeding!

The puppies are dumped once they are no longer cute bundles of fluff. Sadly, many fall into the wrong hands and are used in dog fights.

If this site stops one person from irresponsibly breeding their dog, we have suceeded.

As many of you will have seen, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have recently been under fire and have received a great deal of bad press. Anyone who owns a Staffie or knows one well, will know they are the most loving and loyal dogs around.

It is important that we keep this image alive and promote the good side of these dogs.

With ANY breed, if the dog is brought up by an incompetent owner, they can (not WILL) become aggressive, particularly if this behaviour is encouraged!

Staffies are often used as status symbols for their ‘fear factor’, but many of us know they are more likely to ‘lick you to death’ rather than savage you.

It is this misconception that has led to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier rising to the top of the ‘Most Unwanted Breed’ list. With SO MANY Staffies being given up, dumped or taken from inappropriate owners (primarily those suspected of engaging in dog fighting), the rescues who take care of these dogs are in desperate need of funds to continue their fabulous work!

These organisations do not receive any Government funding and rely on the generosity of people like You and I. Many of these rescue charities do not have kennels to hold the dogs, they rely on volunteers to ‘foster’ the dogs whilst they find their forever home. This incurs costs such as feeding the dogs and vet bills, so your donations are appreciated greatly.

If you are unable to donate money, they are always grateful for help in the form of blankets, quilts, toys etc that can be given to the dogs. (For other items please visit the websites themselves to view lists of items needed)

We aim to raise a minimum of £100 for each rescue to help towards the costs of caring for these dogs. Any amount, even as little as 50p is appreciated by the rescues as every penny counts.”

(More event news coming up in a seperate post – a fundraising walk up Mount Snowden in July)

13th April Tattoo Fundraiser at Lucky 13, Leicester

The kind folks at Lucky 13 Tattoo in Leicester are holding a fundraising day for Staffie Support on Friday 13th April, at their shop – 192 Clarendon Park Road, Leicester (LE2 8GE)

We’re thrilled that Lucky 13 have offered to do this to help us help Staffies and we’re so grateful to them (thank you guys!).

Spaces are limited so call the studio on 01162 700 558 to avoid disappointment on the day.

If you’re in the area or know anyone nearby who might like to get inked and help Staffies at the same time, please share this page and spread the word!

“We at Lucky 13 Tattoo, are supporting Staffie Support by tattooing number 13 tattoos for the incredible bargain of £13!

Please understand that only the designs on the sheets in the studio will be tattooed. This is so our artists can do as many tattoos as possible. No alternatives will be done and people are limited to a maximum of 2 tattoos. This is an opportunity to have a small tattoo to support the charity not a cheap way of finishing your existing work.

The number 13 is extremely provident in tattoo culture and is a sacred number to some religions. It is the number of the rebel! Get yours done and help the most noble of breeds, the staffie!”

www.wearelucky13.com

Lucky 13 on Facebook

Facebook event page for the ’13 Day’ (don’t forget to ‘like’ it!)

Lucky 13 on Twitter @Lucky_13_Lesta

192 Clarendon Park Road, Leicester LE28GE 01162700558

Pets at Home fundraising event raises £121.00 for Staffies!

As posted a couple of weeks ago, last Sunday we had another fundraising event at Pets at Home in Leicester.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out and supported us by taking part in the tombola and taking a Staffie Support leaflet to help raise awareness, and thank you to Pets at Home for letting us set up a stall and for providing cups of tea!

Once again Eileen has done a fantastic job and we now have another £121 in the Staffie Support fund! :)

Thank you Eileen, you’re a star!

We’ll be having more events in the area in future so make sure you keep an eye on our website or Facebook & Twitter accounts to stay up to date on the latest Staffie Support news.

Campaigning for Staffies in Scotland – petition to the government and meeting between rescues

A recent campaign started by Ian Robb who runs Help for Abandoned Animals Abroath is taking off in Scotland – he has successfully gained the support of his MSP, spoken with all 29 councillors in his area and raised an e petition which gained over 500 signatures and went in front of the Scottish Government in September.

Animal rescues and the public are urged to contact their MSP’s regarding the plight of staffies and the over breeding and abandonment of staffies.

As a result of the petitions committee agreeing to take forward the issue of overbreeding and abandonment of staffies, a meeting has been arranged try to come up with a solution. There should also soon be a downloadable letter available to send to MSP’s adding support for the petition.

Find out more at – http://www.staffordshirerescuescotland.co.uk/

If anyone would like to go along to the meeting we have available for download a copy of the invite letter for animal rescues and the meeting agenda.

The meeting is on Tuesday 15th November 10.30am in Glasgow.

Rochdale Dog Rescue September Fundraiser! – support this pound dog rescue helping Staffies

Rochdale Dog Rescue do great work helping the many pound dogs in their area to find spaces with rescues around the UK, which, as with most pounds in the UK right now, includes a large number of Staffies and Staffie crosses (they also rehome dogs occasionally too).

This month RDR are holding a ‘Fantastic Fundraiser’ event to help cover some of the huge costs involved in rescuing the poundies, and there’s some really brilliant prizes up for grabs!

First Prize – a Landrover Off-Road Half Day Experience at one of 8 centres throughout the UK – very kindly donated by the Hillendale Group.

Second Prize – a Samsung 32″ Flat Screen Television with Freeview.

Third Prize – £100 cash.

It’s just £2 per entry and all you need to do is pick available dates between 1st September 2011 and 31st December 2012 on their forum calendar.

Each date will be marked on the calendar with your name and the prize draw will be undertaken by an independent third party on the 30th September 2011.

Visit RDR’s website for more info and to place your entry

Please send in your entry and help this charity keep up their wonderful work helping so many Staffies and other breeds in the Rochdale area.