Tampa, Florida -- It is called weight pull and it goes on in Tampa Bay as well as throughout the country, as demonstrated by YouTube videos.
Hillsborough Animal Control Officer Pam Perry says, "It absolutely upsets me." However Perry isn't upset about weight pull, but rather the people who criticize the event.
Perry says,"I understand why some people could perceive this as animal abuse, but those people need to put their hands on the dogs and go to the shelter and help us save their lives."
According to Perry, the animal advocates who are complaining about weight pull are off base, "because they are on their computers, they are in their office, they are down at the Board of County Commissioners." Perry angrily adds, "They are not down at the shelter helping. They are hurting these animals, they are hurting their image, and that hurts me."
However, some opposed to the weight pull contend Hillsborough Animal Control is hurting its image because it allowed some of the dogs in the shelter to participate in weight pull and even planned to expand the practice until we began asking questions.
Dan Hester a former Seminole Commissioner who helped pass an anti-dog tethering ordinance says, "I just don't see the logic for it. And let me stretch on this: if that's the form of exercise these dogs are going to get and that's the justification, that's just crazy."
Hillsborough Animal Control Director Ian Hallett told us, "We thought it would be good for the dogs. However, if it is good for the dogs and bad for the community and hurts us getting them adopted, then it is not good for the dogs."
But Perry thinks Hallett should have continued to allow dogs continue to participate in weight pull, even though some think it is a controversial activity.
Perry says, "It's not an illegal activity."
And Perry says those opposed to weight pull have a hidden agenda against pit bulls, the main breed participating in the event.
Perry told us, "No one wants these dogs because of discrimination in the community, the rental communities, the landlords, the property owners and the insurance companies."
Perry adds, "We are euthanizing 200 pit bulls every month."
While some believe weight pull can help decrease that number, others say it is just another form of animal abuse.