Liz Marsden has worked for almost 30 years as a dog trainer, including working with 11 of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s pit bulls after he was sent to prison in 2007 for his role in a dogfighting operation.

But the Chaplin resident has disavowed the animal rescue community and taken an activist role in opposition to efforts at the state Capitol to prevent dog breed discrimination. 

“These are animals that were purposely bred to fight to the death,” Marsden said of pit bulls, a classification encompassing breeds such as the American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and bull terrier.

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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Dog owners seem pleased when they meet me because they can talk about their dog with someone who is truly interested. Sometimes they share intricate descriptions about something interesting that their dog does (often followed with the question, “Why does she do that?”), and other times, owners have a question like, “How do I get my dog to stop doing (fill in the blank).”

When it’s a learning or training question, I don’t just say “Yeah, that’s hard.” As well-matched as dogs are for living alongside humans, that doesn’t mean dogs just get our social rules and “innately” play along.

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