"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t want you or your dog in our neighborhood,” a neighbor told Kirstyn Northrop-Cobb, while walking her then newly adopted Pit Bull companion, Gus. Kirstyn vividly remembers the double prejudicial, cutting remark. It was winter; she had crocheted a cute, red sweater and hat to keep Gus warm from the Chesapeake Bay chill.

Oddly, several blocks from her Calvert County home is Prince George’s County, MD where Breed Specific Legislation bans Pit Bull ownership; illegal ownership results in Pit Bull impoundment and fines up to $1,000 or a sentence of up to six months imprisonment for Pit Bull owners.

It is only natural that Kirstyn, a former Veterinary Technician, experienced Pit Bull Foster, volunteer and Board Member of the Humane Society of Calvert County, plays a major role in Best Friends Animal Society National Campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog, in the Nation’s Capital. As the Best Friends Animal Society Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Local Coordinator, Kirstyn leads the Washington D.C. Pit Crew in partnership with the Washington Humane Society.

Wahington D.C. is one of five cities in the Shelter Partners program, chosen for its Pit Bull overpopulation to reduce Pit Bull and Pit Bull Mix euthanasia in shelters. “Overpopulation is a problem easily controlled,” Kirstyn says. To increase responsible ownership, “we are providing free Spay/Neuter services to D.C. Pit Bulls.” Furthermore, the health benefits of Spay/Neuter include reduction of cancer and aggression, improving overall behavior.

“It's all about education.” To increase Pit Bull adoptions, Kirstyn organizes in-shelter and off-site Pit Bull events. “Holding more off site events with a focus on Pit Bulls, educates the public, lets them know what wonderful dogs Pit Bulls are and improves the image of Pit Bulls.”

Several times a week, Kirstyn walks an adoptable Pit Bull on the National Mall. Coined, “Mutts on the Mall,” Kirstyn introduces Pit Bulls to the local, national, and international public. “Allowing people to interact with Pit Bulls shows them that Pit Bulls are dogs, like any other dog. Some minds will never change, but most people are very receptive and pleased to interact with the Pit Bulls.”

“It's wonderful to work with an organization who shares my passion for improving the tarnished image of Pit Bulls.” With the help of Best Friends attorneys, many U.S. cities are repealing Breed Specific Legislation. “Lawmakers everywhere are realizing that Pit Bulls aren't the problem.” With time, we can improve laws nationwide, protecting Pit Bulls and the public; Kirstyn says, “We're moving in the right direction.”

Meet the Washington Humane Society Pit Bulls of Georgia Avenue and WHS Pit Bulls of New York Avenue.

Friend the Washington D.C. Pit Crew on Facebook and stay up-to-date on Pit Bull events.

Article and photos by: Jeannette Smith


  1. My 2 1'2yr old Pitbull Cassidy is the love of my life! We got her as a 8 week old pup at a shelter. They said she was a bulldog...lol! We knew when we saw her sweet face she was a Pit. We had to bring our little Lhasa Sissy to the shelter to meet her...they wanted to see if she got along with our dog. Sissy was so mean and grouchy with Cassidy! Sissy was so protective of me...wouldnt of cared what kind of dog Cassidy was. But we brought her home despite Sissy's grumbling. And Cassidy, Sissy and Leo...our other Lhasa were like long time family. Cassidy loved and was so gentle with our Lhasas. And the Lhasas love Cassidy. Id warn you of Sissy barking at you long before Id tell you to be careful of our pitty Cassidy! Cass will lick you to death! lol! Our family is complete now. Thank you God for bringin Miss Cassidy into our lives. We cant imagine life BC...Before Cassidy! Love you Cassidy and Sissy and Leo.

  2. I've worked in a human society, we always had at least 40 pits/pit mixes, most ppl would look the other way or say a nasty comment, and for the fue who wanted one they ( the Human society) made it so hard for them to adopt one. We would fall in love with them ,play with them, love them, and them have to euthanasia them, some times 10 a night. We would cry light candles say a prayer, you never get used to it, but we did are job and a will never for get our babies. We would keep there tags with there id number 107-202-139 and so on. So when a family friend had a litter I had to get one, his name is Zeus, we call him Z Z. He is a pit boxer dobie mix. 6months old and amazing. My 7year old akita loves him and so do my 3 kids.

  3. I adopted a Pit Bull that was almost dead when she and her siblings and parents were found. She has been dwarfed because of it, but is a Staffie through and through. I run a municipal shelter and we get a lot of Pits in. In 5 years I've only had one bad Pit Bull. My girl absolutly adores my grandkids and is great with everyone she meets. She loves my cats, dogs and is smiling all the time. From the 7 pound starved pup that never stopped loving humans to the 43 pound wiggle butt that sleeps with me every night.

    We need to stop this breed specific crap and get the education into the thick heads of the people trying to ban them. Considering these were the FIRST war dogs that protected our troops, its pretty darn sad that people want to kill them off now.

    You won't take my girl........NOPE, NO WAY