Thursday, September 30, 2010

From My Google Alerts- September 28, 2010

A roaming pit bull was shot and killed Tuesday by Glendale police responding to calls that the dog had trapped clients in a rehab facility. The dog chased a client from the Glendale Adventist Drug and Alcohol Center into the building and it was scratching at the door. The clients were scared to exit the building so they called police to the scene. Two officers and a police sergeant saw the pit bull near the building and parked on one end of the block to assess the situation, he said. It was then that the dog slanted its ears back and began sprinting toward the officers. Officers first shot the dog with a rubber bullet, but it didn't stop and continued running toward them. That's when they used regular ammunition, killing the dog, Montecuollo said. "Unfortunately, officers killed the dog, but stopped the threat," he said.
So where in the world was AC? I find it hard to believe there was nothing they could have done to get the animal under control. The dog in question NEVER ACTUALLY BIT ANYONE. I hate news articles like this because the media always twists situations like this to make pit bulls seem so horrible. All I inferred from the described behavior of the pit bull is that it was scratching the door of the building not that it was aggressively trying to gain access to the building and kill everybody.
Jonathan Whitworth and his family are suing the city of Columbia after a raid on the family’s house ended with the family pit bull being shot by police and a 7-year-old held at gunpoint. The horrific YouTube video is forever burned into my mind of this sad, unnecessary incident. Whitworth is suing the city of Columbia and several police officers, claiming his family's constitutional rights were violated, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

On February 11, a Columbia SWAT team busted down Whitworth's door, killed his pit bull (you can hear the dog squealing and whimpering on the video), wounded his corgi/pit bull mix, rounded up his wife and 7-year-old son, held them at gunpoint just a few feet from the now dead dog, and handcuffed him. In all, officers fired seven shots. The police did all of this because they believed Whitworth was a "major marijuana distributor." A small amount of weed, a pipe, and a grinder was all that was found in the home. Some “major marijuana distributor” Mr. Whitworth was, huh?
This video is graphic and I don’t recommend watching it; I wish I had not watched it; however, it is an accurate display of law enforcement abusing their power. So sad……….
In Florence County, SC, an ordinance on tethering has been proposed and the reactions are mostly positive. The proposed ordinance creates regulations for tethers that restrain dogs 6 months or older to houses, trees, garages or other stationary objects. The ordinance aims to prevent dogs from being tethered outdoors during extreme heat or cold, thunderstorms and floods. It states that a tether can’t be more than a tenth of the dog’s weight and that a tether must be attached to a “properly fitting” harness or collar — not directly to a dog’s neck. The tether must be at least 12 feet long, and it must be positioned to prevent injury, strangulation, or entanglement. It also must have a swivel on at least one end in order to prevent tangling. The time allowed for tethering a dog is limited to no more than one hour at a time and no more than three hours in a 24-hour period.
A Kansas City, Missouri woman has shed 150 pounds in under two years thanks to the most athletic dog of the year (and well, last year too). Please make sure to watch the video in the original article. This woman looks incredible now! She adopted a shelter dog a year and a half ago and soon learned of the dog’s insatiable desire to run. Great story!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BAD RAP: Pit Bull Stereotyping

Bad rap: Pit bull stereotyping

By Tom Kellar
Special to The Union, The Union
Pit bulls polarize people. Folks either love them or go out of their way to avoid them and it seems everyone has a strong opinion.

In the last 20 years, pit bulls have been increasingly thrust into the spotlight, their strength and fighting ability tailor-made for news headlines.

They have also come to be associated with a thug or crime culture that specializes in illegal dog fighting while using the pit bull as fashion statement and status symbol.

And because of this, many would-be dog owners would probably never consider bringing a pit bull into their home.

Cheryl Wicks, the current director of the Nevada County Animal Shelter and a proud pit bull owner, knows well how difficult it can be to place pit bulls into good homes. Her career at the shelter began in 2001 as a volunteer dog walker; she founded Sammie's Friends in 2004 and the organization began running the shelter in July of this year.

What Wicks calls a “pivotal moment” came in 2002 when she remembers arriving at the shelter to discover a baby pit bull (later named Fred) had been brought in with a broken leg.

“I like pit bulls, but not everyone does, and they are harder to find homes for than other dogs because of all the negative press and media about them,” Wicks said. “With the broken leg, I thought there was not a prayer this dog was going to be adopted. I called one of the local vets and got his leg fixed and found a foster home for him, and eventually he was adopted by a family in San Jose. The last time I saw Fred was in a video that the family sent me. It showed him swinging in a hammock and running on the beach. I thought that was the best 700 bucks I ever spent in my life; the dog was happy and had a good home.”

Wicks believes that pit bulls have been excessively stereotyped, with media coverage playing the largest role in shaping the public's misconceptions. She doesn't deny that an out-of-control pit bull is capable of inflicting great damage to other animals and sometimes humans, but believes that the very small percentage of dogs involved in attacks should not be used to generalize the breed as a whole.

She cites statistics showing people are at greater risk for injury or death due to falling, drowning or spousal abuse than they are from dog attacks.

According to Wicks, there are on average 32 total deaths each year in the U.S. attributed to dog attacks. Compare that to the 25,000 people who die each year from drunk-driving related accidents, and you can begin to understand her frustration.

“Children are 800 times more likely to be killed by their own adult caretaker than they are from a pit bull,” she said.

Nevada County Animal Control Officer Bruce Baggett doesn't discount Wicks' assertion that pit bulls can make good pets, but warns there is the potential for problems around other animals.

“We had the opportunity last year to go through some specialized pit-bull training, where we were able to find out their exact origins and learned that they were specifically bred to kill other dogs, but also specifically bred to be friendly around humans,” Baggett said. “They are usually good around humans, but not other animals. They are hard-wired that way, you can't train it out of them, you have to manage it. Pit bull activists will tell you that I'm wrong, but I know what we deal with.”

The recent rise in the pit bull population has presented a special challenge for people like Baggett, who are employed to help protect the public and its property.

“For a while we were getting calls about pit bulls versus everything under the sun every day for months,” Baggett said. “It's finally easing up now, but we've had problems with them killing livestock of all sorts and going after other dogs. If they bite someone, it's usually because they have gotten in the middle of a dog fight. Pit bulls are basically a muscle with a brain and are intensely strong.”

Knowing a breed's tendencies can help in managing a dog and possibly avoiding an ugly situation.

“Many pit bulls live with other dogs and get along with them just great, but they are more likely to get into a dog fight than, say, a Labrador retriever or border collie or many other breeds,” Wicks said. “You have to remember that, but at the same time you should not assume that every pit bull fights with other dogs.”

The struggle to place pit bulls from the animal shelter into good homes continues. Wicks believes that at least half of the people who come into the shelter have already bought into the pit bull stereotype and are not interested in taking one home for a pet.

And of the half open to pit bull adoption, a large percentage appear to be members of a subculture that wants a macho-looking dog that they can put a spike collar on and parade around town.

“Basically it's a small number of people who come into the shelter who are responsible and don't want the dog for perhaps the wrong reasons,” she said.

Any lengthy discussion of pit bulls will usually invoke the name of a famous NFL quarterback who spent time in prison due to activities around a dog-fighting ring that he was bankrolling.

Photos of the dogs involved helped paint a gruesome picture of what their lives had been like, fighting for sport. But Wicks believes it's the follow-up story to that sad episode that is most instructive.

“Remember Michael Vick? Initially they were just going to put all of his pit bulls down, but then the humane society got involved along with Bad Rap, which is a pit bull organization and pit bull rescue central,” Wicks said.

“There were 50 dogs and one was euthanized because it was physically shredded and another because it was so out of control, but of the other 48, a large percentage of them now live in homes with other dogs that they do not fight with. Sure, it took some rehabilitation, but quite a few of them are now able to live with other dogs. Isn't that shocking?”

To get more information about pit bulls and their suitability as family pets, go to or

Tom Kellar is a freelance writer living in Cedar Ridge.
This great article discusses the challenges shelters face in placing pit bull type dog into responsible homes. I give mad props to and for their help in the rehabilitation of the "Lost Dogs" of Michael Vick.
“Basically it's a small number of people who come into the shelter who are responsible and don't want the dog for perhaps the wrong reasons.”

From My Google Alerts- September 26, 2010

In Detroit, a Samoyed dog stood up to an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, and he was bitten twice. Anti-venom from the Detroit Zoo saved his life. To his owner he is a 114-pound White Knight.
__________A dog is a true hero after his barking saved his family from a house fire in Dubois. No breed of dog is mentioned in the article.
In Braddock, PA, a 10-year old girl was attacked by a dog after its collar broke from its chain. The girl was attempting to feed the dog crackers. The girl's cousin described her injuries. "Her leg got cut, bite on her arm, scratch underneath her eye and a gash by her left ear, so the dog did scratch and bite," said Anthony Price. The dog's owner was surprised about the attack. "I have five kids of my own. I have a 6-month old grandson that plays beside him. Every kid in the neighborhood knows him. He has never done anything like this, ever." Police helped take the dog away from the home. I am curious as to where the girl’s parents were during all of this. No dog breed mentioned here either.
A pit bull was shot and killed by police Saturday afternoon after a family called 911 and reported the dog was "terrorizing them”." The dog belonged to James King, a police dispatcher, who was not home at 2229 W. 10th St. when the pit bull escaped through a window, Sgt. Jess Neal said. It was the second pit bull shooting in Muncie since August; the first dog that was shot belonged to a retired 911 supervisor and it was fighting with a German shepherd. Police administrators responded in August by saying they were considering buying tranquilizer guns. As of Saturday, however, police still did not have tranquilizer guns. "It's not an option for us," Neal said. "We don't carry tranquilizers."
A pit bull and nine pit bull pups were rescued from a house fire in a Port Orange, Florida house fire. A Chihuahua and a cat were not so lucky though and died from smoke inhalation. Port Orange Fire Marshal Chief Christopher Weir ruled the fire was electrical and caused a total loss of about $125,000. RIP little Chihuahua and kitty cat.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Making the Case for Pit Bulls

Making the Case for Pit Bulls
Newtown Animal Shelter
Ethan Allen Rd & S Main St, Newtown, CT
Pit bulls and their owners often live in secrecy, but the fear they often instill is unwarranted.
The decision to write a column about pit bulls was easy. 
Finding owners willing to be interviewed about their dogs was a challenge.
"I really try to keep a low profile about the fact that I have pit bulls. I live on a back lot so very few people, including my neighbors, know that they're here," said a Newtown resident, who asked to remain anonymous and who owns two perfectly behaved pit bulls. 
I heard this or similar stories from several other pit owners in Newtown. 
Mention to friends and family that you're planning to adopt a pit bull and the reaction is immediate, most often negative and sometimes downright outrage. Propagating this viewpoint are the insurance companies who refuse to write homeowner's policies for the owners of pit bulls.
No wonder many pit bull owners live in secrecy. Many pit owners, as well as pounds and shelters, often refer to the dogs as boxer-terrier mixes to avoid the common harsh reaction to this breed.
Pit bulls that arrive at the Newtown pound usually stay longer than any other breed before being adopted. The continued "bad press" awarded this breed continues the fallacy that all pits are bad. In addition, many of the pit bulls that end up at the pound have been abused, adding sometimes serious behaviorial issues to the mix.
Matt Schaub, who works at the Newtown pound, said, "You have to remember their full name is pit bull terrier. People tend to forget that the terrier part of their breed usually means that they're tenacious, active and head-strong, in addition to being powerful. It's not the breed for everyone, just as a really small dog may not be the best breed for families with small children. People should educate themselves about a breed before they adopt a dog." 
Some of the pit bulls at the pound would make wonderful pets according to Schaub, who is quick to add, "for the right family."
And, there have been amazing success stories for many of the pit bulls that have been adopted at the pound, due in part to the patience and attention of Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason and the pound staff, as well the diligent training and socialization that each dog gets there.
Jim Gorant's newly released book, The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption, takes the reader on the journey of the 51 pit bulls found and removed from Vick's property, many of whom were long-time dog fighters, with the scars to prove it. 
That journey has been nothing short of amazing — 47 of the 51 dogs that were rescued have made remarkable progress, due to the landmark decision handed down by the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia who originally heard the Vick case.
In that landmark decision, Judge Hudson ruled that each dog would be individually evaluated by a group of trainers and behaviorists. Each dog would then be placed in the setting that would be in the "best interests" of the dog. Allowing the dogs to be assessed individually gave them each that necessary second chance.
In addition, Vick was required to pay $928,000 for their care and treatment. Under the law, this damages award amounted to restitution, defining the dogs, for the first time, as more than just a piece of property and, therefore, entitled to compensation.
Michael Vick did prison time for his crime, and was recently named the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, resurrecting his football career. If Vick deserved a second chance after his horrendous treatment of his dogs, didn't his dogs deserve that same opportunity? 
Fortunately for the 47 pit bulls that were successfully rehabilitated, the courts believed they did.
So goes the old saying, "There are no bad dogs, just bad owners."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From My Google Alerts- Spetember 16, 2010

A deputy serving a felony arrest warrant was attacked  by two pit bulls; he shot both of them, killing one of the dogs. Officials said Orange County Sheriff's Office Gang Unit agents were serving a felony warrant at a home on 6th Street in Bithlo at about 4 p.m. when the dogs attacked.
The West Valley City Animal Shelter is offering owners of pit bull terriers or pit mixes a free spay or neuter service in October. Shelter manager Karen Bird says they are focusing on pit bulls because of the area’s large population of the breed. The West Valley shelter will provide 100 free sterilizations for pit bulls and mixes October 11 through 16. Interested dog owners must register in person at the shelter prior to those dates. The West Valley Animal Shelter is located at 4522 West 3500 south and is open Monday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm. The phone number is (801) 365-5800. This is great; don’'’’t get me wrong, but why not do this for every dog to cut down on the stray population in general? Oh, and KCPW, I was wondering, was that picture of a snarling pit bull really necessary?
In Jonesboro, Arkansas, a Chihuahua was attacked and killed by a pit bull and as a result, it will be euthanized. Such ridiculousness; I cannot stand when a dog is put down for dog aggression. Even another resident thinks that euthanizing the dog is unnecessary. Ginger Dunavant thinks it's an unfortunate situation for both dog owners, but she adds euthanizing the Pit Bull is a little severe. She adds, "I feel for the owner of the Pit Bull, I feel for the Pit Bull, because he probably doesn't realize what he did.”””’’’’’’" Here is an idea: PUNISH THE IRRESPONSIBLE OWNER!
Queensland has lifted its breed ban restrictions stating that the American Staffordshire is a separate breed from the restricted pit bull terrier.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Burger King Commercial Derogatory toward pit bulls

Burger King Commercial Derogatory to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers

Contact Info: Corporate Headquarters 5505 Blue Lagoon Drive Miami, Florida 33126 (305) 378-3000

Marketing / Advertising Info (305) 378-7200

Consumer Relations (305) 378-3535S

Write/call or do both and demand this ad be removed!