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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Items commonly labled as "animal fighting paraphernalia."

This post hopes to provide an insight into the common uses of items that have been labeled "animal/dog fighting paraphernalia."

While these items are widely used by dog owners seeking to keep their pets happy and healthy, some communities have gone as far as prohibiting the use and/or possession of these items.

Certainly, these prohibitions are enacted with the best intentions - to aid in the prosecution of dog fighters - but the unintended consequences associated with these laws can bring about disastrous situations for many law-abiding community members.


The following links discuss the many benefits of owning a doggie treadmill:

  • "Treadmills a lifesaver for busy dog owners", written by Cesar Milan.

The link to the video below shows a treadmill being used at one of our nation's most prestigious dog shows hosted by The Westminster Kennel Club:

click here to watch the video

Spring Pole / Hanging Device

Likely to be the most misunderstood piece of exercise equipment, the springpole, at its essence is a tug-toy. As seen in the pictures below, these devices are used by many types of dogs - not just pit bulls - and are especially helpful to dog owners that are disabled or elderly, many of which may struggle to walk or jog with their dogs.

(Above) A pit bull playing on an outdoor spring pole. (Below) A retriever engaged in the same behavior on an indoor hanging device.

As the pictures above and below demonstrate, the springpole can be adjusted for use by extremely athletic and less athletic dogs alike.

The dog's desire to chase, bite, and grip makes the spring pole an effective exercise tool, and in turn, these are the same behaviors used when playing Frisbee with a dog.


& the use of hides

The flirtpole is essentially a tug-toy or hide at the end of a pole or stick that is used to coax a dog into giving chase, and is an excellent means of vigorous exercise for dogs of all breeds.

Break Sticks/Parting Sticks

Dogs of all breeds are capable and willing to engage in serious (albeit accidental) dog fights.

While some dogs are willing to "break it up" with a loud, stern "HEY!", many will not.

Many dog owners have parting/break sticks in order to break-up serious incidents, and without these items the tussle may last longer than it should, while potentially causing greater harm to the animals.

The parting sticks are put into a dogs mouth and used to seperate dogs that have a hold of eachother. Often times, not having something along the lines of a parting/break stick can force the owner to use painful and in-humane tactics in order to separate the dogs.

To be sure, parting sticks are not unique to pit bull ownership.

Food/Water Additives &
Nutritional Supplements

Canine supplements range from joint and bone vitamins to skin and coat issues, and everything in between; many of which are food additives and are "performance enhancing."

While very useful to maintain a dog's health, these items are often prohibited by "animal fighting paraphernalia" ordinances.

In addition to the many local, small businesses that carry supplements, the national chains - PetCo. and PetsMart - carry these items as well.

Why are these common and useful items prohibited in some communities?

Indeed, these types of laws are enacted with the best of intentions, however, the unintended consequences that can stem from vague and short-sighted legislation is horrific.

As a result of this type of legislation, many law abiding citizens are forced to live in fear of losing their beloved pets, and some may be forced to absorb the huge costs associated with legal battles in which they fight to clear their names in court - and hopefully being reunited with their cherished pet(s).

A reasonable alternative to these laws is to specify which members of society are not allowed to own these items (IE. convicted dog fighters, convicted animal abusers, etc.)

Often times, the best alternative is to enforce existing (and hopefully rational/reasonable) dog fighting and animal cruelty laws.


  1. Excellent piece. Having been to Westminster and watched the dogs happily hop on to the treadmills in the basement of the Pennsylvania Hotel, I think we should put that one to rest.

    As for 'flirt poles', I didn't know what they were until I read your post. My Brussels Griffons like to play our favourite game, Ratting, whereby I have a soft toy attached to a string so they can chase it while I run around and try to thwart them. They love it! I've considered using a fishing rod in the summer to 'reel them in' but worry about the nylon filament causing an injury.

    Gee, I'd better be careful or I might get a visit from convicted felon JP Goodwin.

  2. I just watched an episode of Animal Cops/Philadelphia where 12 pit bulls were seized (they were on horrifically huge chains but actually seemed reasonable healthy and all were friendly to the cop). The show was all about "ooooooo fighting dogs and paraphernalia seized!!!!). And what did they show as "paraphernalia"? A bag of protein extract clearly labeled from Upco. That's it. Not even a treadmill, or a breakstick or those scary "veterinary supplies".

    Caveat: for a flirt pole, you can also use lunge whips, which are pretty inexpensive at ranch supply stores, and attach your "rat" to the end. I think that would be more durable than a fishing rod, and doesn't have the filament concern.

  3. Hey, good idea. There's a horsey place just down the road from me. Thanks, Emily.

    I never watch Hsus TV - er, I mean Animal Planet. Too sensationalist. Too much BS.

  4. Yeah, Emily is right, the lunge whip works great! Under $20 (USD) and usually good for a few years. Jessup has a good page on using the lunge whip as a flirtpole:


    As for Animal Planet/Animal Cops, I've only watched a few episodes - and none of them from start to finish - but I continue to hear their shows are a wealth of misinformation. Sigh.

    And Selma, if Ol' JP shows-up at your door, the dogs might just think it's another game of chase the Rat!(sorry, folks, I couldn't resist!)

  5. Ha ha ha! Yes, he'd be in for a surprise if he met my Wiener dog. They are too used to dealing with those overly friendly 'pit bulls'.

    George: Hey, Doc, I've had this unsightly growth on my a** for a week now. What is it?

    Doctor: I'm afraid it's a Wiener dog, George. It's too dangerous to try to remove it. You'll just have to wait until it lets go of its own accord.


100% of the profits are used to support RAAP programs

Why Pit bulls?

As I work to provide positive, rational, and balanced information about pit bulls, and the virtues of dogs in general, I am often (read: ALWAYS) asked why I am so taken by this breed of dog. It is a fair question that isn't always asked in a reasonable manner.

In short, I find many pit bulls to posses the qualities that I value in a canine companion: great with friendly people, loyal, goofy, energetic, athletic, intelligent, and willing. To be sure, the run-of-the-mill pit bull is a lot of dog. It is all of these qualities in a medium-sized dog that has me so taken by pit bulls.

Alas, there are many aspects of pit bull ownership that are less enjoyable. Namely, dealing with the many negative stereotypes, and the constant battle to balance the mis-information provided by the breed's detractors.
...thankfully, it only takes is a few minutes of lovin' from my doggies and I am reminded they're worth the effort.

I hope this blog gives others insight into my life with pit bulls, and most of all, provides information on the breed in general; there are a lot of misinformed generalizations about these dogs.

Please contact me with questions or comments pertaining to dogs, pit bulls, BSL, etc..

All the best,

Donovan McBee

And don't forget to visit my other blog, No BSL NM.

The HSUS attempted to fund raise for the care of Micheal Vick's dogs, while at the same time suggesting that the dogs needed to be killed.

And to add insult to injury, they weren't even planning on taking possesion of the dogs.

Contact the HSUS and tell them this is unacceptable!