Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is no stranger to controversy, having been booted from AM radio for making racist remarks during her call-in life advice program. Afterward she was able to maintain an audience on Sirius XM, but now at least one sponsor has fled there as well - only this time it's for making statements advocating the slaughter of pit bulls.
In a segment titled "Ways to Fight Loneliness," Schlessinger offered tips on how listeners might meet people with similar interests. To her credit, she suggested adopting a dog and taking him to a park to meet other pet owners. But her pro-animal sentiments soon took a dark turn.
Schlessinger went on to describe a time she had visited a local animal shelter on a whim, thinking she perhaps might want to adopt another dog. Much to her dismay, however, most of the dogs she saw there awaiting a loving new home were of a breed she apparently despises.
That's when she suggested they all be killed.
"It was about 95 percent pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Now, I know this is going to get somebody angry, but I think they should all be put down," Schlessinger said. "First of all, they were taking up space and nobody was going to adopt them. That's why they were all there; people were getting rid of them."
To make matters worse, lest her listeners be inspired with sympathy to help one of those discarded dogs, she then outright discouraged them from considering adopting them:
"Don't walk around with a pit bull. Nobody will talk to you."
Schlessinger's remarks quickly sparked outrage among animal lovers for perpetuating the stereotype that the dogs are inherently dangerous and should be avoided - claims that pit bull owners know to be false. Sadly, Dr. Laura is far from alone in her discrimination against the breed. In fact, both lawmakers and news publications have been unfairly maligning pit bulls for years. Thankfully, now it comes with a price.
Janet Goree, from the Albany Animal Welfare Examiner, was among the first to call for Schlessinger's sponsors to pull the plug for her lack of compassion toward pit bulls, suggesting others speak up to do the same.
"Did you know one of the folks you sponsor on air just said all pit bulls should be killed?" Goree writes. "Is that someone you want to sponsor, someone that advocates killing dogs?"
And the mounting pressure is already working. Goree reported on Wednesday that one Dr. Laura supporter, kidsemail.org, "will no longer be sponsoring the Dr. Laura show." But that may very well be just the first sponsor to jump ship.
An online petition calling for more sponsors to withdraw support for the Dr. Laura Program has already surpassed 11,000 signatures. Click here to add yours.
UPDATE 12/22 - Dr. Laura issued an apology Friday on her Facebook page, calling her comments regarding pit bulls "hurtful."