A resource for owners and caretakers of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and pit bull mixes. We aim to alleviate the persecution of the Pit Bull breeds by promoting responsible dog ownership, and standing against breed discrimination. Stories, legislations, breed bans…
I almost forgot to write about this interesting meeting between my dog Red (Rednose – American Staffordshire Terrier Mix) and an unenlightened human, at my hair dresser’s about 2 months ago.
I was late to my appointment and couldn’t drop off my dog at home, so I called the hair dresser and asked if I could bring my big dog with me. She said, “Of course you can bring your dog.” Red and I walked into the hair salon and he showered everyone who came near us with kisses, his tail constantly wagging for 10 minutes, and he loved the attention and affection. Before I sat down in my chair I asked everyone if they were comfortable with me having my dog nearby. No complaints, so I placed Red right in front of me on his blanket. He laid down and watched the people, calm and super sweet as usual. Everything seemed to be perfect and everyone enjoyed Red’s friendly attitude.
I was getting my hair cut when the customer to my right was finished and left. A new customer, a tall blonde lady, sat down. Red was excited to see the new woman and tried to get her attention by being super cute and staring at her. He got her attention, and she called him to come over. I let him go, and he was all over her, licking her face and trying to get as close to her as possible. He laid next to her and she patted him for awhile. Then, she asked me about his name and what kind of dog he is.
I said, “Red is a Pit Bull Mix.”
The woman (in her early 40’s, dressed in a business suit) stopped patting him and looked at me, repeating “A ‘PIT BULL’? I mean a ‘PIT BULL,’ PIT BULL?”
(*”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls.” When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes of those breeds. Source: Pit Bull Rescue Central).
I said, “YES, he is an American Staffordhshire Terrier and Rednose Mix, he probably has some other breeds him as well.”
I explained to her what a PIT BULL is and she listened, interested. She: “Oh my god, really? I can’t believe it. He is so sweet, loving and well behaved.” Her voice was not excited anymore – it sounded more like she had dry mouth and needed a glass of water. Me: “I know, he is a total sweetheart and an absolutely perfect dog.”
I could feel I was talking to someone who was totally prejudiced about Pit Bull-type breeds. The woman: “You know, I’m an attorney and I just heard of a case where a Pit Bull attacked a neighbor’s child. The child needed 14 stitches and we can be very happy that the dog did not rip the child apart.” Me (in my dry-German way): “Oh really? Why did the dog attack, and what happened to the dog?” She: “I don’t know why he attacked the innocent child. They took him to the pound and he got what he deserved.” Me: “What he deserved? I’m very sorry to hear that. What kind of experience have you had with Pit Bulls until now?”
I had second thoughts – should I start a heavy conversation with her or just ignore it?
She: “I’m usually not a dog person (I DISLIKE), but I kinda like your dog. I still can’t believe he is a Pit Bull. I hope he won’t go after your kids one day. My friend is a firefighter and he told me some ugly stories. What is it like having an outlaw dog?” I was not surprised she used the word “outlaw”… I mean, as an attorney she needed to do that. This is the point where my eyes and the eyes of my friend and hair dresser met in the mirror. I smiled and said: “It’s great. We love it. He is definitely an enrichment in our lives.” I turned around to her and said: “You should read more about this type of dog, educate yourself and meet more Pit Bull-type dogs, if you are interested in dismantling your prejudices.”
Now my hair dresser, another friend of hers and two customers got involved. A very interesting conversation was engaged by this woman. In the meantime, Red was busy licking the woman’s hand and legs, and being an ambassador for Pit Bull-type mixed breeds. I knew I was not with “dog-people” who knew a lot about dogs, and I had to handle this differently than the talks I have with rescue friends, dog advocates or dog lovers. I listened for the first 20 minutes and then I started asking questions, and educating them about Pit Bull-type dogs, their needs, temperaments, and of course about responsible dog ownership. I also told everyone about some really good resources where they could learn more about this (of course I mentioned PackPeople). The conversation ended at a nice point where everyone agreed to look at a dog as an individual and not to discriminate against an entire breed, with all the negative publicity surrounding it.
The responsible pit bull owner is aware of the heritable attributes of their breed’s behavioral makeup and recognizes that pit bulls have an inescapable genetic history. Pit bulls make wonderful and loyal family companions. Like all dogs, they require intelligent, responsible and dedicated ownership.
Bottom line of my visit at the hair dresser and the hour-long debate between hair dressers and customers: I got an awesome cut, and no one really knew the facts about Pit Bull-type dogs. Today, I know much more about this type of dog than I did 2 years ago, because I educated myself, did not discriminate, opened my mind, heart and view.
When I adopted Red I fell in love with his personality, and didn’t care about his look or his heritage.
Many Pit Bulls are waiting in U.S. shelters and animal rescues. Search here. Please always adopt never shop! ~ Thank you.
Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors, Rita Hayworth… once posted in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II, today Pin Up Girls are taking new directions and themes. One of these exciting new directions comes from an organization I discovered a while ago. It’s Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin’s organization, Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., founded in 2005. I stumbled upon ‘Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls’ 2013 calendar cover picture on Facebook and I loved the art work, and of course, the dogs. After browsing through the pictures and reading the mission and vision of this organization I wanted to learn more about it and contacted this terrific, creative non-profit group. They got right back to me and were pleased to participate in our ongoing series of interviews.
I have never met Deirdre in person, but can say that she is a pleasure to work with and a lovely person. She is a dedicated animal lover, an advocate with the mission to reestablish the defamed reputation of Pit Bull-type dogs as America’s premier companion animal, war hero, and therapy dog.
Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. works to educate the public about the history and temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier and pit bull type dogs, to raise awareness about Breed Specific Legislation and Breed-Specific abuse. Read the interview and see for yourself how Deirdre started her non-profit charity, learn about Pit Bulls, and don’t forget to order your 2013 Calendar early and support these beloved bully-breed friends. Shipping will begin at the end of this summer.
We also want to mention that Carla Lou, Deirdre’s beloved 18 year old Pit Bull (cover pic) passed away from cancer last week. RIP and thank you for your service.
How did the idea for Pinups for Pitbulls come about?
I was frustrated by all of the pit bull-type dogs that I witnessed being pulled from the streets of New Orleans/Baton Rouge post-Katrina. I was there doing animal search & rescue work with the HSUS and In Defense of Animals. I realized that since I had a great following of my Pin Up modeling work and those same people helped me raise money to pay for my flight to New Orleans to do my rescue work that I could do something with the attention I had and the faith that people had in me.
What is your background?
I have a B.A. in Film Production and Screenwriting and am nearly finished with my Masters of Science in Public Policy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I’ve worked in various fields of employment from burlesque performances to credit counseling and foreclosure mitigation. I have an eclectic resume for sure!
What do you love most about educating people about Pitbulls?
I love watching the wheels turn in people’s minds and seeing how things start to make sense, especially for those people who truly believed the negative stereotyping. Once people understand that pit bulls are dogs and that all dogs are individuals that can only be judged by their individual behavior, it helps quickly transform the ignorant into the converted. We can’t change everyone’s minds but it is really gratifying when we can. Knowing those people are going to share the knowledge that they gained means we can get closer to removing the stigma attached to the term “pit bull.”
You and your team of dedicated volunteers and animal advocates are active in over 20 states in the U.S. What does a regular seminar organized by Pinups for Pitbulls look like?
We have only held one seminar thus far, but have been invited to speak at Law Schools in Philadelphia and New York. In the seminar that we hosted, we had Drayton Michaels (Pitbullguru.com) and Don Cleary of National Canine Research Council present. At our gala last November, we had Katie Bray (Legislative Attorney for Best Friends) and Anthony Barnett (Founder of Game Dog Guardian) present to our guests. We do our best to keep our approach positive and focused on the dogs. We are submitting our first round of grant applications so that we can bring our seminar series on the road. In the meantime, we’ll continue to speak from our table at various tattoo and comic conventions. We can reach broad spectrums of people in both arenas and have great success educating the public at both.
You also offer an annual calendar with beautiful girls and dogs, posing for a cause. Who is in this year’s calendar — and would you give us a sneak peek about your calendar for next year?
I can provide the cover image of the 2013 calendar. This year’s calendar features Pin Up girls from all over the U.S. Each year we host a contest that includes an essay and this year, we have many girls who won that contest and will be featured. Although the calendar has been shot entirely, we are still laying it out. The theme this year is the human-canine bond celebrated through the Norman Rockwell and Gil Elvgren’s styling. The calendar was shot exclusively by Celeste Giuliano Photography that included her make up and hair team, Kirsten Sylvester and Raina Frank Clarke. Our new Pin Ups are from CA, FL, NC, GA, and many other states. We are excited to have new energy on our team in these regions and beyond.
Why Pitbull-type dogs? And how would you describe the temperament of a Pitbull?
I personally had two pit bull-type dogs. One recently passed away from cancer at the age of eighteen. I’ve had her for nearly 17 of her eighteen years. Baxter Bean is my other pit bull-type dog, he’s 7 now. I never thought I’d become a pit bull advocate, I just fell in love with my own dog, the late Carla Lou and knew I’d have to defend her good name for the duration of her lifetime. Insurance companies, landlords, people of all kinds discriminate against them based on fear and media reporting, and I wanted to make sure I could keep her and her kind safe. They are our family and I know they are the family to everyone who advocates for them. They deserve to live as much as any other kind of dog.
The temperament of a “pit bull” is not an easy answer to supply. For starters, there is no such breed as a “pit bull” which is why I refer to them as pit bull-type (meaning AmStaff, American Pit Bull, and these days, shelter mix). However, most pit bull-type dogs are typically physically strong, emotionally tuned into their people, and are nurturing much like the majority of dogs out there. They just want to be loved, fed and feel secure, like any other dog (and lets be honest, just like people want as well). I would describe them as gentle, noble and devoted dogs but they are still individuals first.
What should people know before adopting a Pit Bull? Is there a “perfect candidate” to adopt a Pit Bull?
People should be aware that dogs are individuals. If they’re adopting a rescued pit bull-type dog, they are getting a mixed bag genetically, but 80% of what they will get out of their dog will be what they put in. Some are high energy and some are extremely lazy, many will be in-between. What you should have is the ability to tolerate negativity from ignorant people who will make assumptions about your dog and you will need the inner fortitude to represent your dog and others like your dog in a positive light. People need to know that all kinds of people love these dogs and all kinds of people will be positive role models. Screaming at a stranger on the street who crossed over the road because they were fearful of your dog is not going to help advance our cause.
What are the most common myths about Pit Bulls?
There is no such thing as a locking jaw. There is not truth behind the theory that pit bull-type dogs can tolerate pain more than others. There is no truth in the idea that all pit bull-type dogs will react a certain way to another dog, a person, or a bunny rabbit. Some will adore cats and others might not. Treat them as individuals and train them with positive reinforcement methods.
What do you think are the reasons that this breed is so misunderstood in the U.S.?
I know that the reason is largely due to media hype and the excitement and fear that people feel when they talk about “pit bull” stories in the media. Studies have shown that if the words “pit bull” are used in a story that the story will circulate 300 more times than if it merely says “dog” or another type of dog. It’s ridiculous and it costs almost 6000 pit bull-type dogs their lives in shelters every day.
Pit Bulls and many other innocent dogs get euthanized every day. I read that 200 Pit Bulls are killed every day in Los Angeles County alone. In your opinion, what should, or has to, change?
A lot needs to change. I can tell you that it has to be more than 200 killed per day, but perhaps not. 1 being killed a day is upsetting enough, but the amount killed each day across the U.S. is an embarrassment. I believe that No Kill is something that can be achieved and after talking to Nathan Winograd about how to achieve No Kill in my case study, I can tell you that it will take a long time and a great deal of fortitude. Dogs have a marketing issue. People do not typically think “lets go to the shelter” to find their dog, they still seek out breeders. People who do go to a shelter may have pre-conceived ideas about the types of dog they do or do not want to bring home. It certainly doesn’t help that they are singled out on many leasing contracts for renters. All of this adds up. We do a decent job on our Facebook wall to advocate daily for dogs across the country that are in need of a home. We have gotten dogs adopted weekly, nowhere near in the numbers that we would hope, but saving one does help. We are so grateful to the people who follow our page and circulate these dogs in need. We are happy to have many successful adoptions through our page, especially since we are not even a rescue.
You also collaborate with rescue groups and support pet adoption. In general, why should people adopt from a rescue?
People should adopt through a rescue or through their local shelters. We believe that supporting the people who are giving these dogs a chance is ideal for many reasons. Adopting through a rescue can allow you to get history on a dog who may have been in foster. Rescue groups will often take back a dog if the adoption does not work out. It’s hard work being in rescue or shelter work, and it’s noble work. I have the utmost respect for people who give their personal time to help advocate for all creatures.
What do you need the most for your mission — and how can people can get involved in Pinups for Pitbulls’s efforts?
We need funds and events to be hosted across the globe. Additionally, we need street team volunteers who are willing to receive a packet of fliers/info from us and post it wherever they go, especially places like coffee shops and restaurants with the ability to post information. This helps get out word out to people who might not be looking for our kind of group or who may feel helpless and really want to help support a cause, but may not know where to begin. We love when our volunteers can feel the personal satisfaction of knowing that they are affecting change, and we try to make it easy for that to happen. We’ve done all of the legwork (literally).
What kinds of things do you do to raise awareness about your organization and your work?
We have tables at tattoo and comic book conventions, we host fundraisers, and we have resources available through our website and Facebook page to help people advocate on behalf of dogs in their own time. I’ve also recently lobbied Washington, D.C. for the first time in my life and was successful in getting Representative Andrews (NJ) to co-sponsor the amendment to H.R.2492 — Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011. We are actively seeking grants to help us further our mission through hosting seminars across the nation, and eventually the globe.
If you could give pet owners one piece of advice what would it be?
Do not shock, choke, or use prong collars on your dog. Please use positive reinforcement methods and an easy walk-type harness with a martingale collar. Keep your dogs safe and never set them up to fail. Ok, that was more than one piece of advice…
Do you have pets of your own?
I just lost the love of my life and the reason I started Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. this week. Her name was Carla Lou and she was eighteen when she passed. She was buried on Monday in a pet cemetery amongst K-9’s who died in the line of duty, WWI & WWII dogs, and more. She is in good company.
I also have a pit bull mix named Baxter Bean (7), a Harrier named Zoe (12), and a Lab/Shepherd mix named Lexi (12).
Sticky Fingers’ Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes by Doron Petersan
(Doron is a “pit bull” mom, an amazing baker and is on our board)
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls–One Flying Disc at a Time by Jim Gorant and soon to be a book about Carla Lou’s legacy
“We’re moving – we can’t find a landlord who’ll let us keep our dog.” Many landlords don’t allow children either but you’d never give up one of your kids if you couldn’t find the right apartment. — Pit Bull Rescue Central
Last year we decided to move out of our current sweet little house to try out something new. Finding a new place is not difficult, especially right now. I had the feeling that there are more vacancies than renters. The most important things for us are to have a dog-friendly home with enough space for creativity, and in an area where I can reach places by walking. After we checked many different places, we agreed on Downtown L.A.
Our friends had been promoting Downtown as a super dog-friendly, trendy and vibrant city center. So, we focused on Downtown. After all, we’d never had the experience of living in the center of a busy city. It took us many drives and weekends to find the right place, and I have to admit… moving from a house with a backyard to an apartment without even a balcony was a hurdle I had to jump.
I want to describe a very special experience I had while we were looking for the perfect place 🙂 with our two dogs (a French Bulldog and a Pit Bull Mix). One Sunday we visited one of the big nice buildings in the old bank district of Downtown, to take a tour with Lilly (our silly French Bulldog) and to explore the vacant units. We always asked if they have breed, weight or size restrictions and most of them said No. We were pleasantly surprised and I had the feeling that everyone living Downtown owns at least one dog. You can see every kind of breed, mix, size… it was incredible. Pit Bulls en masse everywhere.
But back to the story… we did this tour to see the available apartments and amenities of the building. Lilly was on the leash with us and our Pit Bull Mix Red was waiting in our car outside. We thought it was a good idea to bring both dogs in case they want to meet them both, to show them how cute, friendly and loving our dogs are.
Then, in the elevator on our way back to the lobby, I asked the building manager again about the breed restrictions. This time he elaborated:
“We don’t have any problems with dogs, we love dogs, we just don’t allow THESE DANGEROUS/AGGRESSIVE breeds like: Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow-Chows, German Shepherds, Mastiffs and actually every dog over 50 pounds.”
He sounded as though he were actually disgusted by the breeds he named.
“A Labrador would be fine,” he continued, “and a French Bulldog is not a problem at all.”
“‘Dangerous/Aggressive breeds’,” I repeated. “Interesting.”
We liked the place but weren’t crazy about it, so David and I didn’t say anything but looked at each other and smiled. I thought it was not necessary to argue with this guy. After we had left we took Red out for a walk to a nice little green spot to sniff the area out. While we where walking around we saw the guy from the building walking with a small dog towards us. He recognized our DANGEROUS breed on the leash and just ignored us by looking in a total different direction. An awkward moment, but it made David and me laugh out loud.
Our Red definitely narrowed down the places we were able to rent… and this is a fact if you have a Pit Bull. Many landlords see the Pit Bull breed as a liability issue; they don’t have experience with the breed or they’re simply afraid of them. Finding a pet-friendly apartment can be tough because some landlords have restrictive apartment pet policies.
After three months we finally found our new home in a historic building close to the Civic Center, a place which of course allows dogs, even Pit Bulls. We had to get renters insurance and pay an additional deposit for the dogs. I even thought about taking classes with Red to pass the Canine Good Citizenship Test which usually helps to convince landlords as well.
If you are thinking about moving, make sure you can take your dog(s) with you. Renting with a pet requires attention, diligence and foresight during an apartment search as well as once you have moved into your pet friendly apartment. Never, never, never give up on them or dump them somewhere because of your own selfish needs. Keep in mind that looking for a place to rent with a Pit Bull or other big breed is not easy, but it is possible… and be honest, don’t sneak your pet in without permission.
I did my research and found some sources I want to share with everyone. I also want to pass along my own tips:
Consider first what you really want and need (a house, apartment, loft, townhouse, house boat…), and give yourself plenty of time to find the right place.
Ask if you can introduce your dog to the landlord. Once they see how well-behaved it is, even a landlord who has said ‘no’ to pets just for an easy life may come to reconsider.
Show your landlord that you are a responsible dog owner. Offer to pay a higher deposit.
When David and I first moved to the U.S., I always heard: “check craigslist” or “list it on craigslist.” It was very interesting that such a simply-designed platform is the most popular online classifieds marketplace. Easy to handle, you can get your product up and running to sell on the platform, or find whatever you desire, all in a few minutes. I don’t have to explain craigslist – so many of us use it.
Besides the fact that you can find furniture, cars, apartments, new friends and tickets for an upcoming event, you can also purchase living creatures — and that’s what bothers me. We are not talking about ads and postings of pet rescues or individuals who foster a pet and try to use the platform to find a new loving home. I even posted my little kitty “Thursday” on craigslist but wasn’t very happy with the results I got. People were looking for an X-Mas gift or just a free cat. Sometimes you are really lucky and can find a new responsible owner/pet parent through craigslist, the way Rufino found his little Ringo Star. Ringo had been listed by Happy Angels Dog Rescue and it helped him find the best home ever, in Ringo’s case. I’m also not discriminating against responsible certified breeders – so please don’t write me ugly emails.
Today, I want to write about the shady business of backyard breeders, puppy mill operators and other irresponsible people that is widespread on craigslist. You can find tons of inhumane breeding, stud services, pit-puppies, unaltered dogs and advertisements and postings of dogs, cats, birds, horses…. on a daily basis. Animals sold for profit, stud services… traded for iPods or bikes…and the list goes on…
My rescue friend Ingrid made me aware of a friend of hers, who is herself fighting with this issue, and for many months now. I received an email asking for my help and thought, That’s something we have to support – we have to take action. Craigslist is not showing any kind of interest, and while I understand that filtering bad from good ads is very difficult, perhaps craigslist will develop a filter in the future, or I can get feedback from this post.
The only way to clean this platform at the moment is to flag each single irresponsible posting. The more people flag, the more ads will disappear. Many rescue groups are working very hard and people are fighting this but have not been able to stop it, so the more people made aware of it, the better. Craigslist doesn’t do a thing about it and neither does Marcia Mayeda, Director of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control nor does Brenda F. Barnette, General Manager, LA Animal Services! Lots of these poor animals end up at the shelter, as bait or in research labs!
It’s terrible and contributes big time to the mass killing of innocent and healthy dogs and cats in shelters. Various organizations claim 5 – 12 million healthy and adoptable animals are killed in shelters annually, for lack of homes. If you have 5 minutes check http://losangeles.craigslist.org/pet and see for yourself. I also want to give you some numbers and info regarding why you should support the efforts of individuals in flagging dubious craigslist ads.
52 million dogs live in 35 million US households
6.2 million dogs die each year – 2.4 million in shelters
About 4 million dogs enter shelters each year:
400,000 puppies come from households that produce litters but do not place the pups in new homes.
About 2.2 million strays; reclaimed by their owners: about 600,000, (leaving 1.6 million strays available for adoption).
About 1.8 million owner surrenders, (300,000 for euthanasia and 1.5 million for adoption).
1 million of the 3.1 million dogs available for adoption do get new homes, leaving 2.1 million additional dogs euthanized.
Craig Newmark is the founder of craigslist.org. He has an awesome blog craigconnects and many other very interesting online projects, like the Craigslist Foundation, and he is a supporter of many good causes. Let’s see if we can connect with Craig or Jim Buckmaster CEO of CL, who runs the business, and remind Craig of his statement which he has published on his blog: Using technology to give the voiceless a real voice and the powerless real power. Now, we want to remind you that these animals are all voiceless and powerless… we are their voice. This is reality and we really need your help. I also sent Craig an email and I’m excited to hear his feedback. I’ll post an Update for sure.
Update, December 28, 2011: I’m not surprised, we haven’t received any reaction from Craigslist. Social Media is great – the article is getting a lot of attention and Craigslist shouldn’t underestimate this. Diana from bitrebels.com, a business friend of my husband, is willing to help us. I started a petition today and we need you to collect 10,000 signatures of animal lovers who do care. If you have any suggestions or you are interested in our efforts, let me know and I’ll provide the embed code for the petition widget. Please take action, it takes 1 min!
Update, December 29, 2011: We need supporters to help us build awareness. Being a petition promoter is easy, all promoters need to do is post our petition on Facebook, email or IM friends, or get some bloggers to put up our widget. Remember, word of mouth is still the most powerful way to gain support for any online campaign.
Update, January 3, 2012: The support of the animal/pet community is amazing – thank you. Many discussion forums are dealing with the topic: chatting, talking, educating each other. I love it – we kicked the ball and it’s rolling!I know some people still think that the Craigslist postings are not really an issue, and aren’t seeing their connection to the mass killing of animals. I have started to collect pet ads on Craigslist just in the L.A. area to show how serious this really is. I’ll do this for a week from today on, and will put some statistics together. I will also try to show the difference between a posting from a rescue or foster home, and a posting from a backyard breeder.
Update, January 27, 2012: I’ve received feedback from several people more or less involved in animal welfare and it’s clear to me that some are still really not aware of the effects of posting animals for sale online. Only a few are upset; others are thrilled by what we’ve started. I also want to mention that we’ve recently interviewed PupQuest (an awesome source of information) and urge all to check out their reasons as to why animals should not be posted/traded online.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m keeping track of Craigslist pet ads and have recognized a pretty impressive number of them in the past 3 weeks. I couldn’t check Craigslist ads every day, but tried every other day. How did I do it? I recorded the ads people post to sell, trade, breed or give away a dog/cat/bird/rabbit/horse. I also realized that the Craigslist terms of asking a rehoming fee is just a joke. I’ve noticed many ads asking for a rehoming fee of 50$ or less… or even statements that the advertisers are actually willing to trade the animal, or simply give it away, because they have to move or for other weak, unacceptable reasons.
Some breeders weren’t so amused by the article and asked me to find a hobby to keep myself busy… to which I say, LOL, and thanks. I do have many hobbies and one of them is caring about the well-being of animals. One of them asked me in a private email: “Do you want me to dump the puppies? It’s better to sell them.”
Let’s get back to the numbers: Approximately 50 ads are posted every day by individuals in the Los Angeles area selling (with a rehoming fee:)) or trading animals (many of them puppies). Approximately 5 people are looking for a dog to breed on their own. I just checked Craigslist’s pet ads this morning to find, again, many, many, many animal posts (puppies, young dogs, reptiles, rabbits…). With approximately 350 ads a week, this presents a total of 1400 questionable ads a month posted by individuals, and I’m not talking about rescues and animal welfare organizations.
Some of the puppies are given away too early, at only 5 or 6 weeks old, and here is one of the most common lies on Craigslist: “I hate to let go of him/her but I have to move and where I’m going doesn’t allow pets.”I’d also like to show how what a truly irresponsible ad looks like; here’s a recent example: “ALBERT” IS A GREAT DOG – I AM SHOWING HIM TODAY IN MALIBU – PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU ARE INTERESTED – I AM LEAVING TOWN THIS WEEKEND AND NEED TO GIVE AWAY MY DOGS AND PUPPIES. Craigslist asks people to flag with care. Yes, I did flag with care….all of the private, questionable, irresponsible shady ads, as “prohibited”.
I know that other platforms such as ebay, local classifieds in newspapers and magazines and online classified platforms are an issue too. We’ll get there…:)
I haven’t received any reaction from Craigslist. I know that many people are joining the fight against this inhumane practice and flagging the shady posts themselves. This upsets some breeders and other sellers, who in turn complain and ask Craigslist for a solution…which is excellent. Our petition will be available until July 2012.Please pass the petition to your friends, family and neighbors. We need your support to make a change. PETITION
Update, February 13, 2012: Bloggers like Ariel support our mission. Thank you so much. Ariel published an article about pets ads on Craigslist last year and explained the dangers of putting pet ads on the internet. See her articles: “Pets in Danger on craigslist” and “No Free Puppies or Kittens”. Diana from bitrebels.com published an article using our post as the core idea. Thank you! Read the article here.
After many requests we do have the article in spanish. Please read the article in spanish here.
Update, May 11, 2012: I’m checking Craigslist almost every other week and I get frustrated every time when I search for key words; ‘Puppies’ or ‘Pitbull’. I find people advertising with puppies of all breeds, young dogs and cats. The figures are not decreasing and I have the feeling that there is a flood of puppies on craigslist at the moment.
I heard about another story where dogs get stolen from backyards and later advertised on Craigslist to be sold for $50 to $75.
We need to get the attention of Craigslist’s CEO via social media. If you want to get involved please send a direct message on Twitter to the CEO of Craigslist @jimbuckmaster or the founder @craignewmark with: Stop pet ads on craigslist! #Craigslist #Pets or contact craigslist here.
Hey Dog – Lovers, we’re reaching out to you with this weeks Adoptable Shelter Dogs. I visited the East Valley Animal Shelter, CA this morning and took some pictures. Great dogs are waiting for homes. Please help sharing! [nggallery id=55]
This is in Maxine’s honor, who waited for her forever home for 7 years and died without it. Please take 7 minutes to honor her memory by reading her story:
Maxine was NOT one of the approx. 1200 Pit Bulls who die in the 12 government shelters in Los Angeles County EVERY WEEK. But she was one of the thousands, who sit in boarding facilities for years and she was one of the many who died in a boarding facility without ever having a home of her own. Maxine suffered from a rare auto-immune dysfunction. She was taken to one of the best (if not THE best) specialists in Los Angeles back in June 2011, when she had some strange pussy sores suddenly appear on her front paws. The specialist treated her with IV-fluids, cleaning of the sores, antibiotics and even laser treatment. Maxine recovered but never fully. Our spunky, feisty, sweet girl, stayed quiet and reserved. But we tried to make ourselves believe, that she was just getting older and had to recover from the illness.
Maxine came to us as a very young dog, almost a puppy. She was found in a rough part of Los Angeles, absolutely terrified of everything and everybody. It took her a while, to settle in and start trusting. But she eventually did and everybody that knew Maxine, LOVED Maxine. Even our handyman, who most dogs meet with suspicion was one of Maxine’s best friend. So, if everybody who knew Maxine loved her, WHY did no one ever adopt her? Well, that is a mystery to us too. But we do know, the statistics, we do know that shelters are over-full with Pit Bulls, we do know, that the nice families usually want Labradors and not Pit Bulls or Pit mixes. We do know, that even though, Maxine was so very pretty to us, the general public did not see her beauty. We do know, that even her sweet kisses and lovely face did not make people give her a chance. We do know, that our hearts broke every time, she looked at us, longing to go to her own home, all we could tell her, was not to give up. And she didn’t. She stayed strong until the end. And the end was on a warm August evening in 2011. Two days prior, sweet Maxine developed those strange, puss filled sores on her feet again. We rushed her to the specialist, who immediately put her on IV-fluids.Because the scores had developed within just a couple of days together with a 106 Degrees Fever, almost 3 months after the initial appearance and treatment and her extensive blood-panel had come back clean, it was bad news. We were recommended to let her go and not put her through anymore, as it was predicted, that this would happen over and over again and get worse every time. So, with a heavy heart, we agreed and one of Maxine’s favourite care-takers, Lisa and one of her close friends, came to be with her during her last moments.
Maxine went for a nice little walk, during which we could tell how exhausting everything was to her, as her heart was beating heavily. Maxine smelled the grass for the last time, marked some spots and then we were on our way back to the hospital, to help her cross the rainbow-bridge. We tried to stay cheerful for Maxine, when really both of us, had tears close by. We spent some more time, in the courtyard of the hospital on a soft blanket, feeding Maxine hamburger paddies. She loved it. We didn’t want to let go. We were trying to bargain. Find another solution. There was none. Maxine was very relaxed, just snuggled up and enjoyed all the kisses and love. But we didn’t want to let go because we felt, that this was not enough. Maxine deserved, as they all deserve, her own home, her own family who hugged and kissed her everyday and told her, how beautiful she was. Her own person, who would take her on hikes, on car rides (Maxine loved car rides), who would snuggle up on a soft pillow with her and rub her belly.
Her own person, who would tell Maxine, how much she was loved. We do our best but we have to split ourselves between all the other dogs too. There are so many Maxines, dogs that are forgotten and unwanted by society. Of course, it starts with the irresponsible, ignorant backyard breeders, who produce these dogs. But from all my years of experience of dealing with them, I know, that it is pointless to have them apply any logic to what they create or to get any compassion out of them. They are heartless, cold monsters. They don’t care. The only way to ever stop them is to punish them. But the government won’t do that. The media won’t get involved because “the are just animals” and it is not politically correct to speak out. What about the tax-payers, who spend millions of dollars each year to pay to euthanize all these unwanted dogs? They don’t seem to care either. But what bothers me too is, that people say, they want to rescue a dog but they really only want to rescue, WHAT THEY want.
What fits their needs. Why not change your needs and expectations and REALLY rescue a dog. Adopt a dog, who most people don’t want for whatever reason: the dog is black, the dog is old (or middle-aged), the dog is a Pit Bull, the dog is disabled, the dog is behavioral issues). Why not? Why are most people so arrogant, that with all their human faults, they feel they need to get a dog that is perfect? Well, Maxine was perfect to us and none of us can express the pain we felt, when we had to let her go. Maxine died peacefully in our arms, she was actually being kissed and held until she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating. WE WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER MAXINE! But this story is not only about Maxine. This is about all the dogs, that are sitting in rescue boarding facilities and shelters right now and are waiting to either get adopted or get killed (in the shelters). This is about all the Pit Bulls who die because of ignorance. This breed is one of the most wonderful breeds ever. Even one of our Presidents had a Pit Bull, Petey from Little Rascals was a Pit Bull and there COUNTLESS of examples of wonderful Pit Bulls as family members, even service dogs. We need you, as society, to step up to the plate and stop the breeding and adopt the unwanted! NOW. Don’t wait and let any more Maxine’s happen.
Post by our friend Ingrid: DONUT, NOW ABOUT 1 YEAR OLD, WAS DUMPED INTO WEST LA SHELTER.
In October 2010, I had networked a mother dog and her two pups (then 12 weeks old) . A homeless family, living in an RV found the mother dog pregnant and she gave birth to several pups in the RV.
When I met them, they still had 2 puppies and the mom. They wanted to get rid of the mom and keep the pups. The day, they were all supposed to get fixed, they hid the male puppy, DONUT, and told me, that they had given him away. I was upset but still got mom and daughter fixed and brought them back. I then had found a home for the female pup and tried to convince the homeless family, to let me adopt her to this wonderful home. When I came back to pick mom and daughter up for suture removal, DONUT slipped out of the RV. They had lied to me, he was with them the whole time but they didn’t want him to get neutered.
So, I decided, not to bring momma dog and puppy back after they got the stitches out, since the family had lied to me. The Puppy went directly into her home and the family threatened me for weeks with calling the police because I “stole” their puppy. Momma dog IS STILL IN MY ONLY FOSTER HOME. She is an amazing dog but all these months later, she has not found a home (Video below).
THEY HAD TO GET RID OF HIM AND DUMPED HIM AT THE WEST LOS ANGELES SHELTER. When he was a puppy, they wouldn’t give him up but now…..I am an an independent rescuer and I am beyond full. I CAN’T LET DONUT DIE IN THE SHELTER, SINCE I PLACED HIS SISTER AND STILL HAVE HIS MOM.
Update: Many of you have followed Donut’s story:
His mother was taken off the streets by a homeless family, she was pregnant and gave birth to several pups in the homeless family’s RV trailer. Some pups died, some were given away and we rescued Donut’s mother and his sister. But they refused to give us Donut or let him be neutered. Now, 8 months later, they dumped him. He ended up at West LA Shelter and because of living with this family in a crazy environment, he is FREAKED out and was deemed aggressive in the shelter. The day of his scheduled euthanization, we found out and stopped it.
OUR RESCUE IS FULL, FULL, FULL but we couldn’t let Donut die.
WE SAVED DONUT AND PICKED HIM UP FROM THE SHELTER ON SATURDAY. HE WAS TERRIEFIED AND WE WERE VERY CAUTIOUS HANDLING HIM, AS THE SHELTER SAID, THEY COULDN’T EVEN GET NEAR HIM, UNLESS THEY WERE USING A CATCHPOLE AND HAD TO SEDATE HIM, TO EVEN GET HIM OVER TO THE VET WHERE HE WAS NEUTERED. WELL, DONUT HAS ALREADY BECOME A SWEET BOY WITHIN 24 HOURS OF BEING WITH US.
Often, dogs do not get rescued, UNLESS DONATIONS ARE RAISED BEFORE PULLING THE DOG. We didn’t have time, in order to save Donut’s life. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!! We have only raised about $500 so far, (Chip in PLUS PAYPAL) and we will need to raise at least $2000. Donut is not ready to be up for adoption and will receive training at our facility, his future adopter will receive a training DVD of Donut and a free lesson at placement but the training alone costs $2000, this is not including the boarding cost.
I CALLED THE SHELTER YESTERDAY TO CHECK ON DONUT. FOND OUT, THAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE EUTHANIZED!!!!!!DONUT HAS BEEN DEEMED AGGRESSIVE IN THE SHELTER AND IS “RESCUE ONLY”. I GOT AN EXTENSION UNTIL TODAY. I BEGGED THE RESCUE, I WORK FOR TO TAKE HIM, EVEN THOUGH WE ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TAKE ANYMORE DOGS AS WE GOT SO MANY DOGS DUMPED ON US BY OTHER RESCUES. BUT BECAUSE I RESCUED DONUT’S MOTHER AND PLACED HIS SISTER, AN EXCEPTION WAS MADE AND I AM ALLOWED TO TAKE HIM INTO OUR WONDERFUL RESCUE
Donut and his mom are listed on our and other websites for adoption!
BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP: Donut will need training. He is NOT aggressive but totally freaked out and not socilialized due to living with the homeless family (the father is an abusive alcoholic). PLEASE HELP ME, BY DONATING TOWARDS DONUT’S TRAINING AND RESCUE. As you know, he will not be able to be placed quickly and our rescue has a lot of expenses! Please donate VIA CHIP-IN or PAYPAL to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please watch his video and see, how beautiful he is (that is, after a much needed bath and gaining some weight).
Dog Lovers- Dog Advocates – Animal Activists – Dear Friends and Supporters
If nothing matters – there is nothing to save!
Please, please, please share and use the power of Social Media! I just found this and I really want to encourage everybody to support and create a buzz about it.
From the official Madonna of the Mills website: The film follows Laura, as she travels into the bleak environment of Pennsylvania puppy mills in order to rescue breeder dogs from their horrible situation. The film has real heart. It will open your eyes and expose you to the terrible practice of puppy mills. It clearly shows that adopting a dog is the best way to go.”
“Madonna of the Mills” is a documentary about Laura, an office manager from Staten Island, who stumbled on this secret four years ago and vowed to save as many of these breeding dogs as she possibly could. Laura has now rescued over 2,000 dogs from Amish and Mennonite farmers in Pennsylvania. In the process, she has forever changed her life and the lives of those families fortunate enough to adopt one of these remarkable “puppy mill” survivors.
Appreciation of a loving home – RED after 3 months.
Our new family member Red is still adapting to all the new things in his teenager life. He had a lot of “first-time” moments and has done, mostly, a great job. I’m very glad that we could give him the chance to show what a great dog he is. Red (short for “Ready”) is just a cute goof ball with a medium energy level, and his friendly, eager-to-please and calm personality makes it very easy to work with him and to meet new people. Since he is an American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, I’ve heard a lot of weird comments like: “You don’t look like a typical Pit Bull owner” or “He seems to be nice” or “Does he fight?” or “Do you keep him in the backyard? He is big I’m sure he eats a lot” or “I heard Pit Bulls turn vicious after 3 years of age”… I’m collecting the best ones and will publish a Best Of Pit Bull Comments of Smart:) People List in a couple of months. I generally let these people know to check out PackPeople’s blog posts and interviews about Pit Bulls to get a truer idea of the breed and to have a better understanding for these excellent family companions – even if I want to give them a long speech, I just leave with a smile and my PackPeople suggestion. Please send me the weird comments you have ever heard about Pit Bulls – and be a part of my upcoming e-book!
Lilly and Red became best friends in just a couple days and they get along very well. Every day they chase each other in the backyard and play gently (Samson just ignores him and is not very interested). The only issue we are working with Red is his over-excitement with other dogs and new animal species like mean squirrels. After one month of Red’s adoption, we took him to our first walk in a public park with other on-leash dogs and realized that he is not ready to meet other new dogs up close. I had known Red from the shelter where I used to work – and I never realized that he got anxious around other dogs. He was living next door with other male/female dogs and never had problems or any signs of anxiety. Our walk was filled with shaking and screaming (Red can scream like a pig). I decided to work on the issue and we never leave the house without our pouch of treats. With the method of distracting him early enough before he even sees the object of excitement, and catching his attention with fun things to do, like playing ball and working on his obedience skills, he is getting much better and has stopped jumping, pulling and screaming. He is not yet ready to attend the agility and good citizen certification classes I want him to join with Lilly in the future, but he will I’m sure.
We love this entry from guest blogger Katie Jockers at endurapet.com and Beloved Beasts… very important words about believing in – and speaking up for – pit bulls, animals and the mission to save lives. Thank you, Katie! – Rufino and Yurda
An interesting thing happened last week:
I exited the grocery store and found myself facing a soft, handsome, 8-month-old tan and white pit bull. A young man was proudly holding his leash. I waited my turn as the lady in front of me dropped her groceries to give pats and praise, and then I asked if I might say hello to the furry man of the hour. Permission granted, I proceeded to pat and compliment and gush. The dog’s name is “Z”. I complimented the young man on how nice and well-socialized his puppy was. Of course, I also took the opportunity to ask if he had attended the rally at the state capital in support of reversing Denver’s breed ban. No? He didn’t even know about it. I gave him the information to join one of the local groups, and scrawled out StubbyDog and BAD RAP’s info for him, which he was glad to have. (BAD RAP and StubbyDog are both excellent online pit bull resources. Although they are not in Denver, I wanted him to see both)
Then, I can only think he misunderstood me, because then he boasted, “We breed Pits too! We have Daisy and Meathead, Desi and ZanyMan… They all have huge heads, man. It’s sick, Yo.”
I didn’t know what to say. I picked up my bag, told him his dog was a sweetie, and started to walk away. I was stunned. As I processed what I had just heard, I began muttering “Idiot!” under my breath. Suddenly in my head the young man was no longer a nice guy out with his dog. He was an idiotic, baggy pants, sideways-hat-wearing, irresponsible, stupid, lowlife punk.
How quickly we change. The things I regarded minutes before merely as unfortunate, yet harmless, fashion choices on his part now became evidence of this punk-ass lowlife monster and propagator of misery for the breed I love so dearly. I hate it that I did this, but I did. I gathered peripheral details and stacked them up against him, almost justifying walking away instead of trying to talk to him.
Let me just say here that I know talking to people who “don’t get” it is not going to change things in a day, and I don’t hold any crazy ideas that some people will suddenly stop regarding pit bulls as badges and things. But I think that when it is safe to do so, we need to speak up for those who can’t. I am not proud to admit I almost walked away and complained without saying something, but I think it is a choice we all have to face and I need you to know that yes, it was hard. It was scary, and even though I am outspoken about animal well-being in general, I still almost walked away.
I knew I had to say something, and I also knew I had to collect myself. I put my groceries in my Jeep. Hopped in, and pulled around to catch him as he walked around to the back of the store. I felt safer up in my Jeep. I had already decided he would not want to hear what I had to say. I waved, smiled, and said just that:
“Hi again! Look, I know you probably aren’t going to want to hear this, but my life is dedicated to working with animals, and I spend a huge amount of time working on behalf of pit bulls. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try. Can we talk for a minute about why I want you to reconsider breeding them?”
“Okay” (Wow! He said okay. Neat!)
“You see, it is clear that you really love Z, and this is not meant to be an attack on you personally… but I wonder if you are aware of the number of pit bulls at the county shelter right now?”
“I know, Man. That’s messed up.”
“So you do know how many are in the shelter right now, and that most of them will be euthanized? Did you also know that all across the US shelters are overflowing with wonderful pitties who will end up in garbage bags today and every day?”
(He stares at me)
“I am talking to you about this because I thought you might want to know. It makes me sad to hear that you’re breeding them, when for every dog you produce, another in the shelter loses his or her chance at life. I wanted to let you know this, so that maybe you will reconsider.”
“Yeah, well it’s my grandpa who’s the breeder. He has a license to breed them and everything, He is real careful about selling them and shit. We don’t fight ‘em, we sell them for protection.”
Here is the place where I had to count three breaths before I responded, “And I can see that your grandpa has taught you well about respecting the breed and cultivating a friendship with Z. That’s great! Can I buy you lunch so we can talk some more?”
Long story, but after sitting on the curb outside as he nursed his milkshake and just talking for 30 minutes, he was asking questions and really doing some thinking. People came and patted Z, who was loving the extra attention. We talked in detail about euthanasia, something about which he had very little information. We talked about why it is especially hard to swallow the fact that anyone would think of breeding pit bulls when just 10 blocks away – where Denver borders our neighborhood – countless innocent dogs have been lost because of Denver’s insane breed ban. We talked about the opportunities available for him to work with pit bulls and the other ways he can gain respect and feel pride – like training, speaking out against breed bans, and educating people about the breed. We agreed that it is likely Grandpa may not change his mind, and will probably tell him the crazy lady at the grocery store was off her rocker, but he promised to talk to him.
It was a better outcome than I had expected, and I guess the reason I’m sharing this is because I’d like to encourage others to try for a minute move beyond the anger, and try to talk to people like this young man. While we might want to flip out and scream, it sometimes pays to try to channel a much calmer, less horrified person for a few minutes… and try to talk to them like we really believe they might change. The result may not always be like this, so be safe, but please do consider speaking up. I am glad I did.
And what did I learn?
I found that had more in common with this this kid than I thought, Yo.