New York Animal Rights Alliance v. Weight Pull

This past week I made a grievous mistake in believing that animal rights extremists could come to a rational conclusion based on factual discussion from knowledgeable and experienced sources.  That was a week I will never get back and probably one of the most foolish mistakes I have made in quite some time.  It took me a while to realize that no amount of factual or statistical data was going to alter their conclusion that weight pull was abusive, exploitive and it overworked the dog involved. (I felt like I was bashing my head into a virtual brick wall. Ouch!)

The topic? A weight pull competition being held by the Working Pit Bull Terrier Club of America (WPBTCA) in conjunction with their National Championship event(*) being held in Buffalo, New York from September 28th-30th.

New York Animal Rights Alliance’s (discussion located on their public Facebook group) issue with this event is a statute in New York state that includes “overworking” an animal as cruelty.

Here is the the statute – Agricultural and Market Law 353-a (Source):

“This law states that an individual may not show exceptional cruelty to animals. This translates into not allowing a person to inflict extreme pain on any animal for any reason, especially for enjoyment. Extreme pain consists of any action that causes the animal pain and possible death. Actions such as keeping an animal from food or water, using objects to beat or injure the animal, or overworking an animal so as to cause to cause injury.”

I can honestly see where they are coming from as a point from someone who has never attended a sanctioned weight pull. (Yes, the thread creator and founder openly admitted she had never attended one and never wished to either.) The ignorance of the time and work that goes into preparing a dog, the specialized equipment designed to protect the dog from potential injury or the enthusiasm of the dog involved.  It really is easy to miss from the outside looking in.

From my perspective, the general consensus among the animal rights activists is that weight pull is, for all intents and purposes, “forcing” the dog to pull hundreds and thousands of pounds for the purpose of human greed and ego.  They feel the dogs are suffering through  exploitation by being used for “human entertainment and monetary gain.”

I was almost toppling over in shock at some of the comments made (like likening the dog’s desire to pull the cart to the child sex slave trade and worse). Thankfully the majority of the pro-weight pull and pro-dog sport community that was (finally) allowed to post freely, after the moderator/owner relinquished a bit of control, was sane, factual and void of emotion.

The reality of the entire week (or so) of idiocy is that there is no real basis for the accusations that are being slung around by that group.  Having witnessed the utter disregard that many of the commenters had for their fellow man and the anthropomorphism pooled in the majority of the responses made me realize that no amount of civility or fact was going to dissuade them from their illusionary cause.  It became plainly obvious was far safer to agree to disagree and take my leave of the megalomaniacal scheming to “end the abuse and exploitation” of these dogs than continue to banter back and forth.

Oh, and the most hilarious part of this entire charade of lunacy?  I was banned and blocked after my ending statement.  Oh well!  If you can’t beat ’em, ban ’em. Ha!

(*) The event was given the okay to proceed by the New York SPCA.

13 thoughts on “New York Animal Rights Alliance v. Weight Pull

  1. Laura

    THANK YOU, for taking the time to write this. I participate with my mastiff in weight pull (a new sport for us as of Feb 2012). I was on the NYARA group page during the week you speak of. I was not able to read all the comments because after each absurd statement I felt like I was going to: throw up, throw my computer into traffic, drive to their headquarters and beat someone… I thought it better to let rational, clear minded people speak for me. As you made clear, there is no reasoning with them. I live right here in Hamburg where this event will take place. We will have security on hand and are prepared for the worst. What we hope for is a fun-filled day, enjoying time with our dogs, who do what they LOVE to do!!
    Laura & Noble (weight pull enthusiast)

  2. Katrina S

    Good job, I have been reading this stuff since the beginning of August, the group is so far out there it isn’t even funny.
    We have been pulling for 6 years and I have never seen a dog get hurt.
    We have traveled thousands of miles, competed with 4 different orgs and have never ever seen a dog be forced to pull.
    Again good job

  3. Troy Maldonado

    Awesome. Been wating my time debating for 2 weeks with them. then when i said i was done they banned and blocked me too….lol. Kate can keep her group encouraged that way and keep them drinking the kool-aid. Oh well she did me a favor by blocking me. Now i will have more time to do some pulling :^)

  4. M. Kehler

    After being a weight pull judge, competitor, and organizer for over 20 years, and having more than my fair share of “conversations” with animal “rights” activists, what I have come to realize is that you cannot open a closed mind, especially with individuals who choose to keep their mind closed.

  5. Michelle

    They have no idea what they are talking about and have no interest in the actual FACTS about the sport.

    What I’d love to have clarified is how exactly I “force” my dog to pull without touching him. In obedience, he consistently breaks his sits and downs – something I’d LOVE to “force” him to do from a few few feet away. However, according to them, I can “force” him to pull 1,500 pounds. How does that “force” NOT work when the activity requires no effort (sitting still) but work perfectly when it requires him to work???

    Those same people also told me that Pit Bulls are not dog aggressive, and that there are no inherent traits in dog breeds – you know, like pointing, ratting, retrieving or baying. Oh, and the entire Pit Bull breed was created to be “nanny dogs;” evidently that whole PIT thing in their name was just a coincidence.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about a protest, this type never has the balls to step up when there are people there who won’t take their crap.

  6. Katrina Strangeway

    Michelle, are you still able to post or are you banned now. It only took about 15 minutes from the time I said to take my photo of Hoss down till I was blocked

  7. ShadowWolf Post author

    She’s blocked and so am I. It all started from them using a photo of my boy, Ryker, barking at a pull (because he ALWAYS does that) that brought me there. :-\

  8. Michelle

    I was a member for a few hours. They banned me because I said that Pit Bulls are dog aggressive, and that the foundation of the breed was dog fighting.

    They actually take the position that dog breeds are an arbitrary opinion and that no breed has any inherent characteristics. Uh… you don’t need to teach a retriever to bring things back to you, you don’t teach a pointer to point, you don’t teach a hound to bay… but evidently you have to force a Pit Bull to be dog aggressive.

  9. Michele

    Weight pull, dock diving, agility……all sports that these dogs love to do.

    I would be more inclined to go after people that abuse their dogs; starve them, burn them, beat them. That is a fight worth fighting.

  10. Cathy Martin

    Thank you for your efforts. I don’t currently weight pull, but in the past my husband and I used to pull under IWPA. I don’t think you will ever change someone’s mind when it is closed to anything but already formed perceptions. But I admire you and thank you for trying.

  11. Dana and Toby

    THANK YOU for such a wonderful blog!!!

    i get totally bashed for ‘abusing’ my poor lil Chinese Crested because we do weight pull. Its amazing how nasty people can get… shame to put all that energy into such a ridiculous ‘fight’ when they have never even witness one!!

    If they are so convinced that we FORCE the dog to pull… could someone PLEASE come to our next pull and tell me how to FORCE Toby to pull, when he decides not to… sit and wags his tail and holds his nose in the air and won’t look at me…?

    Cuz i certainly can’t figure it out!! :o)

    Keep up the good work!!!

  12. Rhonda

    Nice article. Thanks for posting.
    I’m a local photographer who covers events for the IFDA here in Fairbanks Alaska. I’ve also been a dog owner my entire life, I grew up with working dogs.

    Dogs need purpose, an occupation. Many of the larger breeds were designed centuries ago for things like hunting and pulling. I can say that in covering photos these past years, I’ve never witnessed any abuse.

    Also, no intention of speaking ill of East Coast Urbanites, but really, growing up in frontier community is a totally different culture. I suspect many of the activists in that article have never spent quality time in a rural environment.


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