An anonymous text sent out earlier this month went viral quickly after it encouraged violence toward pit bulls on Halloween. No one is sure where the text originated, but many find its message rather disturbing.
It promotes “National Kill a Pit Bull Day” to occur on Oct. 31, Halloween.
The text has reached Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. It reads (verbatim, including errors):
“I’m here by announcing October 31 National kill a pitbull day. After you take the kids trick or treating keep your costume on round up some friends and kill as many pitbulls as you can before midnight. Baseball bats, knives, bricks and poisons (a hotdog soaked in radiator fluid works well) are all suitable tools. Their owners like brag about there high threshold for pain. So don’t worry them suffering they can take it. So remember to spread the word! OCTOBER 31, 2012 NATIONAL KILL A PITBULL NIGHT.”
Though the text is dubbed a hoax by some news outlets, local law enforcement says it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the safety of your pit bull, or any pet, on Halloween.
“As with anything these days, you have to take every comment made serious,” said Perryville Police Chief Keith Tarrillion. “You never know what someone’s true intentions are whey they say they’re going to perform a violent act … you never know what someone is capable of.”
Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf reminds the public that it is against the law to abuse an animal. And, he’s rather appalled at the thought that this text, and the motive behind it, could even be considered.
“I like to think people in our community have more sense than to listen to some idiotic twaddle initiated by a seedy little anonymous Internet geek,” he said. “People who would abuse animals would probably be abusive to people as well. So if you are trying to impress someone by beating up on some defenseless animal, what message do you think you are really sending?
“You thought it was cute, or fun, to go hurt someone else’s pet? What are you really telling others about yourself?”
Perry Animal Welfare Society President Rhonda Henderson was at a loss for words when she initially read the text.
“Wow … there’s not even words for this,” she said. “It’s a horrible thing that somebody would do and say those kinds of things. I’m just dumbfounded.”
Henderson suspects the reason for the text was plain and simply to get people worked up. Regardless, she urges that owners be aware and cautious, not just on Halloween, but every day.
On a similar note, Tarrillion urges that on Halloween, pet owners keep pets inside the home or in a kennel, not just for their safety, but young childrens’ safety as well.
“The reason for this is due to the number of children coming to your home in costumes,” he said. “This may startle your pet and cause them to get excited, and they may do something they wouldn’t normally do.”
Perryville resident and pit bull owner Lara Manche heard of the text after her husband showed it to her on Facebook. Her first thought? Utter anger.
“It made us sick. First, I was flat-out angry. Secondly, we thought it was a hoax. But, you don’t want to take chances,” Manche said as she hugged her pit bull Madison close. “The only reason [pit bulls] have a bad name is because they were trained to fight. That doesn’t mean they’re like that in nature.”
For Halloween, Manche’s older children will stay at home with Madison and the Manches’ other animals while she takes her young ones out trick-or-treating.
“They’ll be there [with the animals] at all times.”
If you see any suspicious activity before, on or even after Halloween involving animal cruelty, call the Perryville Police Department at (573) 547-4546, or the Perry County Sheriff’s Department at (573) 547-4576.