In a recent segment about how to avoid loneliness, sometimes shocking SiriusXM radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger suggested that all pit bulls should be killed -- a diatribe that ended up biting her right in the behind.
After suggesting listeners could adopt a pet to curb loneliness, Schlessinger said on her December 15 show that she'd recently visited a local animal shelter, where she was surprised to find that most of the animals there were pits. "It was about 95 percent pit bulls. Or pit bull mixes," she observed.
Her takeaway was brutal.
"Now I know this is going to get somebody angry," Schlessinger predicted, "but I think they should all be put down."
Such dogs are "taking up space," she continued, going on to say she informed a shelter worker that she "didn't feel like giving money" since "all this money donated is going to feed pit bulls" whom "nobody wants."
Schlessinger then chuckled, adding that "people are grinding out pit bulls and dumping them... So don't walk around with a pit bull because no one will talk to you. Unless it's somebody else with a pit bull. And then the two of them, I don't know, will fight? I don't know."
Audio of her comments was posted to YouTube:
As Schlessinger predicted, people did get angry -- so angry that at least one advertiser has pulled support from the Dr. Laura show.
"We have been sponsoring Dr. Laura in 2014, and we have been evaluating whether or not to do a sponsorship in 2015," Brittany Oler, spokesperson for Kidsemail.org, told The Huffington Post by email on Monday. "At this time due to the negative press and feedback we have received from hundreds of people, we feel that it is best that we do not renew a sponsorship with Dr. Laura at this time."
As of Monday afternoon, more than 17,000 people have signed an online petition asking more sponsors to do likewise.
"Such speeches are totally unacceptable," reads the petition. "The reputation that pit bulls have is totally misleading... there is no such thing as a 'bad' dog, but rather a 'bad' owner!"
Examiner.com published a list of Schlessinger's radio sponsors, encouraging readers to send emails:
A sample message might read “Did you know one of the folks you sponsor on air just said all pit bulls should be killed? Dr. Laura just made that comment. Is that someone you want to sponsor, someone that advocates killing dogs?"
Others tried a softer response. The owner of Elle, a therapy pit bull who was named the American Humane Association's 2013 Hero Dog, posted a Facebook message inviting Schlessinger to become friends.
"I was hoping through Elle to try a different, less confrontational, friendly angle to this problem of misunderstanding," Leah Brewer told The Huffington Post, noting that she hasn't received a response. "I was thinking how can she say no to an outreach from a dog who shares only love?"
Schlessinger, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, posted an apology to Facebook on Friday.
"After reading the emails from pit bull lovers, I realize that my comments were hurtful," she wrote. "I apologize for causing any pit bull owner/fancier any distress."