"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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pit Bull Saves Owner

On Saturday morning, Kathryn Bales, and her service dog, Bonnie, were involved in a serious, roll-over car accident.

Though Good Samaritans tried to pry open the doors, the vehicle was too severely damaged - Bonnie and Kathryn were trapped inside.

Those trying to help finally decided to shatter the windows - Kathryn covered herself and her dog, a 6 yr-old Pit bull, with her coat to protect them from the shards of glass.

Kathryn was still trapped inside of the damaged vehicle - the roof was crushed and she was unable to pull herself free from the wreckage.

Thankfully, Bonnie was there to help.

Bonnie did not want to leave her companion - Kathryn had to order her out of the car.

As Bonnie began to crawl out, Kathryn gripped her service harness and ordered Bonnie to pull.

Bonnie, though shocky and frightened from the horrific car accident, did as she was instructed - she pulled Kathryn free from the damaged vehicle.

When the emergency medical teams arrived, they checked out both Kathryn and Bonnie for injuries.

Kathryn was transported to a hospital and one of the EMTs went above and beyond - taking Bonnie home until Kathryn was released.

By the time that Kathryn was out of the hospital, Bonnie was back to her usual happy, bouncy self.

Bales shared the following,

I have worked with other breeds, but when Bonnie needs to retire, my next service dog will also be a pit bull. They are an incredible animal and so intuitive to the needs of their handler.

Bonnie and Kathryn have been an inseparable team for five years. Bonnie showed her stuff when she was a mere 4 months of age - another dog "in the running" was trying to be coaxed to pick up a phone and bring it to Kathryn.

Bonnie - still so young and not yet trained - picked up the phone and brought it to Kathryn of her own accord. In that moment, Kathryn knew just how special this pup was.

Good job Bonnie!

Penny Eims

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Love Pit Bulls

Why do I love Pit Bulls? Maybe it’s that big, beautiful head, just begging to be rubbed. Maybe it’s those soulful eyes, leading me straight into a wounded heart. Maybe it’s that childlike spirit… full of innocence and hope… despite the harsh realities of the world. Maybe it’s that joyful smile, saying to the critics: “I know you think I’m mean. I know you don’t trust me. But even though you hate me… I still love you.”

Maybe it’s the loyalty… the unwavering devotion in the face of cruelty, neglect, and abuse. Maybe it’s the fact that this very loyalty… this precious gift of allegiance…
is exploited every day by evil humans with sadistic motivations.

Maybe it’s the undying will to please their master, the drive for praise at any cost, or the endless desire for compassion of any kind. Maybe that’s what makes them so special…

Maybe it’s the love… the love that waits… often for an entire lifetime… to be given. The love that dies… in the dogfighting ring… on the end of a chain… or at the pound. The love wasted, the lives forsaken, the beauty forgotten… Maybe that’s what I see in them…

Maybe it’s because the media has inaccurately and wrongfully demonized one of the most loving, loyal, and incredible breeds on Earth—the Pit Bull. Maybe it’s because the public believes these mistruths and joins in the bashing. Maybe it’s because Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has enacted laws banning these amazing creatures… laws that seek to destroy every last living, breathing Pit Bull in America. Maybe it’s because, for the lucky few Pit Bulls in loving homes, BSL rips them away from their families and sentences them to death. Maybe it’s because these precious souls can’t understand why this is happening to them… as they cry out for their families, just before they are killed…
Maybe that’s why I fight for them…

Maybe it’s because Pit Bulls are the most abused breed in existence… and the most highly euthanized breed in shelters. Maybe it’s because, in many American shelters, strict policies prohibit the adoption of bully breeds, eliminating all hope for these dogs. Maybe it’s because, even when given the chance for a family, no one wants to adopt them. Maybe it’s the heartbreak of knowing, that after a lifetime of suffering… and then being dumped at the pound, their only way out… their only chance for mercy… is death. Maybe that’s why I care so much…

Maybe it’s because, even in no-kill shelters, Pit Bulls often spend their entire lives waiting for someone to take them home. Maybe it’s because, for so many, that adoption day will never come. Maybe it’s because, while waiting on that unlikely chance for a family, many of these dogs will slowly lose their minds living in a tiny shelter kennel. Maybe it’s because, due to the stress of shelter confinement and the lack of socialization, their already small chances of adoption are soon reduced to no chance at all of ever getting out. Maybe it’s because, for bully breeds, the never-ending dream of having a family of their own… is only a dream…

After weeks, months, and years of waiting in a shelter for a family who will never come for them, all hope turns to despair… all desire turns to depression… all joy turns to anguish. Across the country, millions of these beautiful, amazing dogs are simply living each day… waiting to die.

So why do I rescue Pit Bulls? Maybe my drive to save them is because I’ve never known a breed more deserving of life. Maybe my will to help them is because they have no other hope. Maybe my advocacy for the breed stems from my desire to fight injustice… to right the wrongs and stand up for the victims.

Maybe it’s the fact that 2 of the most incredible dogs I have ever known are my children, Rudy and Riley (below), both Pit Bulls. Maybe it’s because many of my amazing rescue babies are Pit Bulls. Maybe it’s because I would do anything for my children, because my children would do anything for me. Maybe it's because they have no reason to trust me, or anyone for that matter, and yet... they do. Maybe it's because they have no reason to forgive, and yet, they have.

Maybe my love for them is a reflection of their love for me… unconditional, unwavering, and infinite. Maybe I want to change the world for them… to end the unspeakable suffering… to tell them that they matter… and to return the love they so freely and unselfishly give. Maybe it’s because I realize that I possess the power to do all of these things. Maybe it’s because I know that can use my life to fix this for them.

And maybe, just maybe, you will join me…

By Ashley Owen Hill, Founder of Lucky Dog Rescue

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dog Goes from Homeless to Healer

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Thanks to a fairly new program at the Almost Home Humane Society, a very lucky pit bull mix got a second chance at life, and she's making it count.

Five-year-old Lilac has come a long way in eight months.

"They found her as a stray. She was out on the streets," said Lilac's now owner dog trainer Carolyn Butera.

Butera and her boyfriend first saw Lilac at the Almost Home Humane Society in Lafayette in December.

"She's gentle. She listens very well. They are very obedient dogs," Butera said.

That got Butera thinking about Lilac's potential to go from homeless to healer. After a lot of work, Lilac is now a certified therapy dog.

"It lowers blood pressure and it relaxes the patient," Butera explained. "For people that have had dogs in the past, it is just a friendly face that they are getting through some hard times. It's fun to see a waggin' tail and a slobbery face every once in a while."

Lilac was part of the bully breed program at the Humane Society. The program focuses on breeds subject to a bad reputation, but Lilac is proof stereotypes are meant to be broken.

Those wishing to adopt a bully breed have to go through a background check and home visits by either the shelter or animal control.

"We see some of the most awful things you could see people do to other creatures," said Almost Home Humane Society Executive Director Michelle Warren. "When we hear a story like this, it's so rewarding. It is so awesome, makes it all worthwhile."

Warren said the program keeps the dogs from getting into the hands of the wrong owners.

She said there are many dogs in the program like Lilac waiting to reach their full potential.

Even though Butera gave Lilac a second chance, Butera said her buddy has given her more.

"She's my best friend. I try to take her everywhere with me," Butera said.

Not only is Lilac a therapy dog, she also participates in agility and obedience competitions. Lilac is working on getting certified with the Dog Scouts of America.

By Tiffanie Dismore               

Monday, July 18, 2011

Video du Jour


Changing Ohio for the Better

The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates works to change breed-discriminatory laws.

The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates (OCDA) is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that advocates for legislation to improve the human-canine bond. We work to educate both the public and politicians about responsible dog guardianship. One of our primary areas of expertise is breed-neutral dangerous dog laws.

Ohio is the only state that discriminates statewide against dogs who share a cluster of physical traits. These traits were intended to identify “pit bull” type dogs, but in reality they are so broad that they encompass over 20 different breeds.

Currently OCDA is working with State Representative Barbara Sears to change Ohio’s breed discriminatory law. House Bill 14 seeks to redefine dangerous dogs and vicious dogs by behavior and not by breed. HB14 has been voted out of committee and is waiting for a vote by the Ohio House of Representatives. If you live in Ohio, please call your representative today and ask that they support this important piece of legislation. You can find your representative and follow the bill on our website: OhioCoalitionofDogAdvocates.com

Key Victories

In the spring of 2010 OCDA partnered with Best Friends Animal Society in hosting an educational event in Cleveland. This event featured U.S. women’s soccer player, Cat Whitehill. The event was held at a local school where Cat played soccer with the students and discussed kindness to animals. Several local rescue organizations were also invited to attend, and they brought adoptable pit bulls. During this event, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Councilman Matt Zone.

Over the next six months, Matt and I corresponded about dangerous dog laws, and I shared with him my work in the city of Toledo (OCDA helped replace Toledo’s pit bull ordinance with a breed-neutral dangerous dog law). In April of 2011, OCDA presented a draft of a breed-neutral dangerous dog law to a small working group of Cleveland city councilmen. Chief Dog Warden John Baird was also included in the working group and was in full support of moving towards a breed-neutral ordinance.

Throughout the month of May, the draft was debated and tweaked, until finally it was ready for presentation to the safety committee. It passed the safety committee unanimously and very quickly moved through the finance and legislation committees. Ultimately, on June 6, 2011, the city of Cleveland unanimously passed the ordinance into law, and Cleveland joined Toledo in becoming breed neutral.

Our deepest thanks go to Councilman Matt Zone and Chief Dog Warden John Baird for their insight and leadership. Because of their dedication and passion, Cleveland has taken a monumental step forward in becoming a safer and more humane community.

Moving Forward

Now that Toledo and Cleveland have adopted breed-neutral dangerous dog laws, OCDA plans to turn its attention to Cincinnati. Cincinnati currently has a ban on “pit bull” type dogs that is very discriminatory. This ban punishes responsible dog guardians, while allowing other breeds a “free pass” for dangerous behavior. While we will continue to work on changing the state law, we feel that we must speak out in Cincinnati and end the senseless killing of wonderful family dogs.

By Jean Keating
All photos courtesy of Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Two pit bulls inspire their guardians to make a lifelong commitment to bullies everywhere.

My husband and I have both had medium and large dogs most of our lives, and their breeds ran the gamut, but it wasn’t until our previous dogs both passed away in late 2009 that the idea of having a pit bull ever entered our minds.

Quite frankly, we were opposed to the idea.

Although we knew a few lovely pit bulls, we did not want the stigma, the liability, or the stereotypes that went along with owning a pit bull. But, as we searched our local shelters, we found that, for the most part, we had two choices: pit bulls and Chihuahuas.

It became obvious that if we wanted to adopt a dog who needed a chance at a good life, it had to be one labeled as a pit bull. At that point we adopted Duke, a 2-year-old owner surrender, mislabeled by the shelter as an American Staffordshire Terrier, who tested our patience, will, and changed the direction of our lives forever.

In the beginning of 2010, I left a career in real estate to pursue my passion, working with dogs, and developed an affinity for the bully breeds. I worked with our dog Duke and volunteered the rest of my time to local animal welfare groups.

As summer approached, we were ready to adopt a second dog. We chose Louis, a sick, skinny, nervous “pit bull mix” with a large, newly formed scar on the top of his head. Louis was a stray, so little is known about his past.

The first few weeks we had him were spent keeping him in quarantine and nursing him back to health from a nasty giardia infection. As we got to know him, it became apparent that although he was probably close to a year old, he had little life experience. Everyday situations would make him jumpy. Sometimes he would just sit and tremble. When we would walk him outside, the stimuli, from the swaying trees to the barking of neighborhood dogs, was overwhelming for him at times.

We knew that making Louis more comfortable with the world and himself would be a challenge, but we committed to making him the best dog he can be. We wanted to be part of the movement of responsible and educated dog owners working to show people the truth about dogs labeled as pit bulls. So, soon as Louis was free of parasites, we began working with him on everything from basic obedience to basic life skills.

Despite whatever experiences he has had in the past, Louis has not lost his affinity for people or the desire to please them. This trait has been extremely helpful in teaching him how to live the life of a well-adjusted dog. Aside from obedience skills, we have worked tirelessly to expose Louis to as many people, places and things as possible. Louis has learned to swim, walk on a treadmill and dock dive. He enjoys traveling in the car, play dates with dogs of all sizes, hiking with his backpack, visiting people of all ages and most of all, showing people that he is just a dog. He’s a dog that wants to crawl in your lap and give you a few kisses.

He is still uncertain about the outside world at times, but he has made great progress in his time with us. We recognize and honor the idea that our journey with Louis is continually evolving and are committed doing whatever it takes to make him his best. Louis does not have any fancy designations or certificates, at least not yet, but he takes pride in his job as a breed ambassador.

Most recently, Louis visited Ms. Jane, a 90-year-old woman who has been home and bed bound for several years due to a variety of health issues. Aside from her two around-the-clock caregivers and an occasional family member, Ms. Jane rarely has visitors. Since she doesn’t see or hear well, life is pretty uneventful for Ms. Jane, but she maintains a positive attitude. Louis greeted her gently, sitting at her bedside waiting to be acknowledged. Eventually he ended up standing with his front feet on Ms. Jane’s bed so she could more easily reach him. Louis patiently stood there, enjoying the attention and listening to Ms. Jane reminisce about the days of her childhood when she ran about the family farm with her dog Jack.

Although she does not remember what kind of dog Jack was, Ms. Jane does remember a time when pit bull type dogs were respected, valued and revered as America’s sweethearts. Ms. Jane recognizes that Louis is just a great dog, and he is always welcome to spread a little joy in her home.

My experiences with Louis, Duke, a couple of bully foster dogs and all of the wonderful pit bull type dogs in rescue that I have worked with have taught me invaluable lessons both about myself and the dogs. My eyes have been opened to the challenges that these dogs face, and that has inspired me to devote all of my time and resources to work toward making my community and beyond a better place for all dogs, especially those labeled as pit bulls.

I founded a canine education and advocacy group known as Incred-A-Bull earlier this year. Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status is currently pending, and we are working on raising funds to initiate some of our programs. Our initial goals involve offering free education and spay/neuter services at a drastically reduced cost. It is our ultimate goal to be part of creating a community that values and responsibly cares for all dogs, no matter the breed, like Duke and Louis.

By Jesica Clemens, founder of Incred-A-Bull

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Hit by a Car to Avoid a Dog

Human fears and perceptions are not always logical.

Jessica Kohn was strolling down a busy shopping street in Portland, Ore., on a spring morning, when she saw a person with a dog who looked like a pit bull coming toward her. In a moment of fear, she stepped off the curb to avoid the dog – and was hit by a car.

Kohn’s reaction explains a little about how we evaluate danger. Psychologists call it “risk perception.” We perceive some things as being more dangerous than others, even though the facts don’t necessarily back this up.

Well-known examples of distorted risk perception are that while you’re more likely to get killed on the road than in a plane, to be injured in a bath tub than by a shark in the ocean, or to be killed by lightning than by a dog, we’re still instinctively more worried about the plane, the shark and the dog than by the bigger dangers.

Indeed, some of the biggest existential threats to our survival overall – like climate change and how we’re going to feed a human population that will soon exceed 9 billion people – are barely on the horizon of our perceived threats. That’s because the more generalized and the more “out there in the future” the threat is, the less we can relate to it.

Scientists say that some of these instinctive fears are natural and hard-wired. They come from hundreds of thousands of years of experience as a prey species, when we were being hunted by lions and leopards and needed to react quickly to the sight of a snake or spider right in front of us. But we’re not equipped to respond effectively to less visible threats. So Al Gore tells you about CO2 emissions, your adrenaline doesn’t start pumping the same way it did when Jessica Kohn caught sight of that dog coming toward her.

“I just saw him and reacted,” Kohn said. “If I’d stopped to think for a moment, I’d have at least looked to see if there was traffic on the road. But I saw the dog and I panicked.”

How We Perceive Danger

David Ropeik, an international consultant and author on risk perception, said there are other factors that come into play, too.

“We commonly react more powerfully and emotionally to dangers that are represented by a face or a name,” Ropeik said.

Another factor is the desire to fit into and agree with what other people may feel or think. That’s because we’re a tribal species. For thousands of years, our personal survival depended on the solidarity of our extended family, group or tribe.

So we shape our opinions to agree with the tribes and groups with which we identify.

Those opinions are reinforced by the biggest voice in our environment: the mass media. And media guidelines – like “If it bleeds, it leads” and “If it scares, it airs” – are designed to make us sit up and stay tuned whenever there’s a story of a kidnapping, a murder or a dog attack.

There’s also nothing like a viral rumor mill to stoke our fears and imaginations. To this day, parents are still worried that their children may be the victims of a razor blade in Halloween candy, even though there’s never been a single confirmed case of such a thing ever happening.

No surprise, then, that the story of someone, maybe even thousands of miles away, being chased down by a “pit bull” (who, as likely as not, later turns out to be a Lab or shepherd mix) tends to stoke our fears and skew our risk perceptions, while factual information about the true likelihood of being bitten by a dog doesn’t register with us in the same way.

So, how likely are you to actually be bitten by a pit bull? With about 64 million dogs currently in the United States, there are approximately 15 to 20 dog bite fatalities per year. In other words, the risk is vanishingly small.

“Dogs can be dangerous,” said Janis Bradley, author of “Dogs Bite, but Balloons and Slippers Are More Dangerous.” “And they’re more dangerous to children than to adults. Not as dangerous, of course, as kitchen utensils, drapery cords, five-gallon buckets, horses or cows. Not nearly as dangerous as playground equipment, swimming pools, skateboards or bikes. They’re not as remotely as dangerous as family, friends, guns or cars.”

Exploring the Facts

Some dogs may be more likely to bite than others. But it has little or nothing to do with their breed.

A mother dog with puppies will go through natural cycles of serious protectiveness. One day she may be fine letting the children handle the puppies, but the next day hormones may kick in and she can’t tolerate the intrusion.

Male dogs can become aggressively protective when they’re around a female in heat – which is why all household pets should always be spayed or neutered.

And puppies from puppy mills (the ones you buy in a pet store) are more likely to grow up as biters. That’s because, in the breeder’s rush to ship them out to the pet stores while they’re still cute, they will miss some important time with their mothers, where they learn basic rules of bite inhibition – meaning what’s just play and what’s going too far.

Helping People be Less Afraid

What’s the best way to adjust people’s perception of risk? Roepik points to two things.

First, the more we understand the ins and outs of risk perception, the more rational we can be about our fears. Just being conscious of our own reactions helps us make wise decisions.

Second, when it comes to dealing with other people’s fears, it helps if you start by boosting their own sense of self-confidence.

“People who feel good about themselves are more likely to be open-minded,” Ropeik said.

Studies have shown that if, before you start to try to change somebody’s mind, you first ask them to remember something that gave them a positive view of themselves, then they are more likely to be open to facts and to change their opinions. In other words, if you’re talking to someone with a deep-rooted fear of pit bulls, don’t just launch into your argument. Warm the situation up with a discussion of something that will have them feeling less defensive.

Two other things are worth bearing in mind, as well.

One is not to alienate a person from their “tribe.” Don’t keep telling them that their family, friends or peer group are all wrong – at least not unless they’re ready to jump into your tribe of dog lovers and become part of that. We humans have a strong need to belong. We feel safer when we’re part of a group, even if it’s a group that’s irrationally afraid of something. (Check out any of the daily talk shows that reinforce tribal beliefs and create fear of everyone else: other groups, political parties, religions, etc.)

And the other is to help the person get to know a real dog. A positive experience is worth a million facts and figures. It’s not unusual to hear people say, “I was terrified of pit bulls, but when I met such-and-such dog at a friend’s house, I discovered that they’re really no different from any other dog.”

Indeed, while Jessica Kohn was in the hospital recovering from a broken leg after she’d stepped into the road to avoid that pit bull, she met a volunteer who brings her therapy dog in once a week. The dog happened to be a pit bull.

“It was funny,” Kohn said. “It really perked me up. It changed my view of dogs in general and pit bulls in particular. I’m not nearly so afraid of them now.”

By Michael Mountain
Photos courtesy of Melody McFarland

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pit Bulls 4 Patriots

Pit bulls may get a bad rap sometimes, but for these veterans it’s just what they need.

“Pit Bulls 4 Patriots” is a program that puts pit bulls in the hands of veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

And many have found more than just a best friend; they’ve found healing from mental scars.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Video du Jour

                 Really funny but sad at the same time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Video du Jour

                           Such a cute video from Bouncer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Socializing Your Pit Bull

New pit bull owners often ask, “What is the best way to socialize my pit bull with other dogs?” There are many ways to do so! The age of your dog as well as his/her individual personality will help you determine which methods are appropriate for socializing your dog.

Pit Bulls under six months of age should be enrolled in a puppy class. Many obedience training facilities have classes specifically for puppies, and often part of the class time is devoted to off-leash play with other puppies. When seeking out a training facility, it is often helpful to observe the classes prior to attending so you can get a feel for how class will be conducted and see if it is a good match for you and your dog. Off-leash play can be an important feature of a puppy class, but it should be done properly (i.e., does the instructor factor in age, size, and play style of puppies when organizing play groups?).

To socialize adult dogs, PBRC recommends that owners first carefully introduce their pit bulls to other adult dogs. A great way to introduce adult dogs is to take a nice long walk on leash together. Please see PBRC’s webpage on introducing dogs.

Some ways that adult dogs can interact with other dogs are:

  • Taking long leash walks with appropriately matched dogs of good temperament and good social skills and with known, responsible owners.
  • Organized play dates with friends' dogs in a fenced area.
  • Taking an obedience or agility class, where your dog will learn to focus on you in the presence of other dogs, and may also receive positive reinforcement in the presence of other dogs.

PBRC does not recommend dog parks or dog daycares. There are a number of reasons why:

  • While dogs can learn good social skills at a daycare or park, they can just as easily learn poor social skills in these largely unsupervised situations. For example, a dog that is fearful around other dogs can become even more skittish in a large pack of rowdy dogs. By the same token, a pushy dog may bully other dogs without a human to correct this behavior. The ratio of staff per dog in many dog daycare settings is so low, making it difficult to control the experience for each individual dog.
  • Dogs in a pack act very differently than they do individually; even a well-socialized dog of good temperament can be drawn into “pack behavior.”
  • There's no way to predict or know the behavior of the other dogs in the group at a park or daycare; many people take their dogs to daycares or dog parks with little understanding of their own dogs' tolerance for other dogs; there is often an expectation that “dogs will work it out” however this can occur in a way that results in injury.
  • Dogs playing together for long periods of time in large groups with unstructured time or activities can result in inappropriate behavior. Some examples of inappropriate behavior that may develop or be rehearsed when unsupervised are: mounting other dogs, antagonizing other dogs, destructive chewing, and excessive barking.
  • Dog playgroups need to be carefully selected by competent readers of dog body language and with an understanding of social canine behavior; there are many people, well-intentioned, operating dog daycares with very little experience with dogs and, in particular, with little pit bull experience.
  • If something does go wrong, whether or not the pit bull instigates it, the pit bull is usually blamed; every negative incident reflects not only on the individual dog, but on bull breeds as a whole.
  • If provoked in a fight, some dogs will not back away from a challenge. Whether your dog is the victim or the instigator, a negative incident can result in future problems during dog-dog interactions.

Here’s what other pit bull savvy groups have to say about dog parks:

Here is some additional information on dog aggression and dog interactions:

Lastly, some dog daycares and dog parks prohibit bull breeds from attending.
While PBRC does not support any legislation or policies that are breed
specific, we hope that owners will make responsible choices and set their
dogs up for success and for safe fun!


Family Pet Gets Trained to Become Service Dog

We all like to think of our family pets just as that, part of the family. But for local veteran Kimberly Cunningham, her "man's best friend" goes even further than that.

Cunningham and her 5-year-old daughter rescued the pitbull mix Beans two years ago. Their bond might initially seem just like any other four legged and two legged friendship. On a typically Sunday afternoon Beans is hanging out on Kim's lap, just enjoying being petted by her owner.

"She's a lap dog. She's a snuggler. And she has to just be with you all the time," Kim says.

The bond between Beans and Cunningham reaches far beyond the realm of just a lap dog, though. Kimberly has severe post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.

"It's inside and it's a very terrifying thing for me it's traumatizing on a daily basis. I want to be so normal and it's just not there," Kim explains.

That's where the 2-year-old rescued pit bull comes in. About a month ago, Kim read about Canine Angels, a local group that adopts dogs and then trains them for PTSD veterans. Rather than give Kim another dog, she thought maybe Beans could undergo training.

For about the past month, the family dog has been training to become Kimberly's service dog. She says the strong bond between human and pet is what makes the training so easy.

"She picked up on it right away, and it was pretty incredible to watch him work with her and then deal with me," she says.

Rick Kaplan, the owner of Canine Angels says this is the first time he has ever trained a pet that was already in the family, but Beans took to training very quickly. Already the dog's presence is already a calming force to Kim's symptoms like anxiety and panic attacks.

Kim says even though she rescued Beans as a nine week old puppy, Beans is the one giving her a one of the greatest gifts of all.

"Beans will be able to give me my life back. I realize that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and with her I know I will eventually have a life again."

By Lindsey Theis

Video du Jour

Friday, July 8, 2011

Video du Jour

Where Heroes Are The Pits - 2003 from For Pits Sake on Vimeo.

Excerpt of show about For Pits' Sake in 2003 featuring Kris and pit bull search dog Dakota
and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. For more information about Kris and Dakota's
deployment with the elite task force assigned to "bring our astronauts home", go here.

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

All dogs are individuals and we can't "judge a book by it's cover," nor a dog on the basis of his looks. This set of 5 posters are FREE to shelters and rescue organizations to proclaim that every dog is an individual!

"I am an Individual" Poster set designed by Brandon Miller

This set of 5 posters illustrates that every dog should be considered an individual and deserve a chance to shine! Show your stance by hanging these posters around your facility and let everyone know you do not discriminate.

This set includes these 5 posters and is free to shelters and rescue organizations: (up to 5 sets)

Order the posters here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

12 Reasons to Oppose Breed-Discriminatory Legislation

A comprehensive look at why discriminatory dog laws are not the answer.

Breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) refers to laws that target dogs based on how they look rather than their actions. Hundreds of U.S. cities have already enacted BDL, and more cities adopt it every year. Many cities and counties—plus Marine Corps and Army bases—have banned select breeds altogether. Other cities enact BDL that automatically labels dogs of certain breeds as “vicious” or “dangerous” regardless of their behavior. These laws may require owners of the targeted breeds to follow strict guidelines, such as sterilization, proof of liability insurance, housing of the dog in a cage with a roof and floor, and muzzling the dog when on a leash. Currently, BDL most often focuses on pit bull types (dogs that have “pit bull characteristics”), but some cities also target Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinchers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, other large breeds and mixes of the targeted breeds. Here, we outline the inherent flaws of BDL, why it doesn’t work and why it concerns every dog lover.

1. Doesn’t Make Communities Safer

Lawmakers in favor of BDL claim it will improve public safety, but there are no studies showing this is the case. In fact, the Netherlands banned pit bulls in 1993 but lifted the ban in 2008 because it had not led to a reduction in dog bites. Since enacting the Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 that targeted pit bulls and several other breeds, England has actually experienced a dramatic rise in serious attacks. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes several other examples in their Position Statement on Breed-Specific Legislation, including a spike in dog bites after the 2005 Council Bluffs, Iowa, pit bull ban; and a study based on Prince George’s County, Md., pit bull ban showing public safety has not improved as a result of the ban.

2. Fails to Address the Real Issues

BDL fails to address the real issues behind dog bites. Dogs involved in severe attacks tend to have factors in common regardless of breed, such as being unrestrained and unaltered. In addition, these dogs are usually not indoor members of the family (and may be kept or trained as guard dogs). Chaining, lack of proper training or socialization, abuse and neglect can also lead to aggression. Children are often the victims of dog bites, and experts advise always supervising children with pets. All of the above are issues of owner responsibility.

3. Based on Flawed Data

Lawmakers in favor of BDL usually cite the Center for Disease Control (CDC) report on dog bite fatalities. However, they fail to take into account the CDC’s own warnings about the data or the CDC’s conclusion that BDL is not the answer. The CDC acknowledges that many factors contribute to a dog’s tendency to bite, that dog breeds responsible for fatalities vary over time, that visual identification of a dog’s breed is problematic, that there are no statistics on how many dogs of each breed are currently living in the United States, that any breed can be trained to be aggressive, and that irresponsible owners can simply move on to another breed if one is banned.

4. Impossible to Accurately Enforce

Approximately half the dogs in the United States are mixed breeds, and recent studies have shown that visual identification of a dog’s breed is highly inaccurate. In addition, the term “pit bull” applies to a type of dog rather than a breed. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, mixes of these breeds, or dogs with physical characteristics resembling one of these breeds are lumped into the “pit bull” category. Because of the costs associated with DNA testing, it is not standard practice. This means that untold numbers of misidentified dogs are seized and euthanized under BDL. Faulty visual identification by bystanders, owners, the media or animal control personnel is also a major reason why current dog bite statistics, which categorize dogs by breed, are inaccurate.

5. Taxes Limited Resources

BDL takes limited resources away from enforcing important leash and license laws, educating the public, promoting spay/neuter and cracking down on dog fighting and abuse. Instead, limited personnel must track down dogs resembling pit bulls (or other targeted breeds) and house them during what can be lengthy legal proceedings, which can lead to adoptable dogs of all breeds being euthanized due to overcrowding.

6. Creates Financial Burden

BDL places an incredible financial burden on cities and counties. Best Friends has created a fiscal calculator to show the costs of breed-discriminatory legislation. In addition to costs related to enforcement, housing and euthanasia, BDL opens cities up to lawsuits from owners who claim it violates their constitutional rights, who claim their dogs were misidentified, or who have service animals that fall under the breed restrictions (although the ADA allows all breeds, Denver has been sued for not allowing pit bull service dogs).

7. Negatively Impacts Law-Abiding Families

In cities with BDL, law-abiding owners of targeted breeds must either move or comply. Those without the financial means to move often have to surrender their beloved family pets to be euthanized. An untold number of pit bulls and other dogs have been euthanized as the result of BDL (thousands under Denver’s ban alone), based not on their behavior but simply how they look. In addition to tearing families apart, BDL forces some underground, hiding targeted dogs and not giving them proper veterinary care or exercise in an attempt to avoid detection by authorities (read one such story here). This is especially true in the case of dog fighters, who are already breaking the law; rather than solving the problem, BDL most likely only pushes them further underground.

8. Engenders Further Prejudice

Regulation and labeling of certain breeds as “vicious” or “dangerous” makes it all the more difficult for responsible guardians of these breeds to find landlords who will rent to them and homeowners or rental insurance companies who will insure them, regardless of how well trained or even tempered their pet is. Even those not living in cities with BDL are impacted by this widespread prejudice. The fact that more than 500 cities and counties already have enacted BDL also makes it difficult for families with these breeds to travel with their pets or consider moving for work or family obligations.

9. Short Sighted

Breeds popular as guard dogs and for image enhancement change over time, creating rises in popularity of certain breeds and often corresponding rises in bites from those breeds. As an example, Great Danes caused the most reported human deaths from dog attacks in 1979/80. With more than 200 breeds to choose from, many experts agree that when one breed is banned, irresponsible owners will simply move on to another large breed. Those who think their breed of choice won’t be impacted by BDL should think again: Dozens of breeds and mixes of those breeds have already been restricted by various laws across our country. The list of breeds singled out by homeowners’ insurance policies, homeowners’ associations and apartment complexes is far lengthier.

10. Based on Myths

Rather than based on any proof that it’s effective, BDL is often enacted as an emotional reaction to one or two incidences within a community. Inaccurate data and breed myths are often brought up as “facts” to support breed bans. This misinformation includes statements about the percentage of pit bull type dogs in the U.S. (which is unknown) and the numbers of attacks caused by pit bull types (which is also unknown given breed misidentification and lack of accurate data). Other misinformation includes the myth that pit bulls have locking jaws, bite differently than other dogs or suddenly “snap.” There is no credible evidence to support any of these erroneous theories. Pit bulls’ jaw mechanism/anatomy is no different than any other dog of equal size, and locking the jaw is physically impossible for any breed of dog. Experts examining the body of a bite victim may be able to tell if it was a large or small dog, but cannot identify the specific breed that caused the wounds. And regarding the “suddenly snapping” theory: Pit bull’s brains are no different than any other dog.

11. Illegal

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s community dog bite prevention report states: “Breed-specific ordinances, however, raise constitutional questions concerning dog owners’ fourteenth amendment rights of due process and equal protection.” In addition to lawsuits over constitutional rights, multiple lawsuits have been filed by owners in various cities who claim their dogs were wrongly labeled as one of the targeted breeds.

12. Unsupported

For these reasons and more, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Kennel Club, National Animal Control Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, and American Veterinary Medical Association all oppose BDL and suggest more effective breed-neutral solutions to reducing dog bites and making communities safer, such as the AVMA’s community approach to dog bite prevention. Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership law is also frequently cited as an example of a successful breed-neutral law.

For More Information:

American Bar Association
All Bark and Fiscal Bite—Are Breed-Discriminatory Laws Effective?
Pit Bull Bans: The State of Breed–Specific Legislation

Animal Farm Foundation
Breed Specific Legislation

Canine Legislation Position Statement

Position Statement on Breed-Specific Legislation
Breed Specific Legislation

Responsible Ownership
A community approach to dog bite prevention
Dog Bite Prevention Message Points

Best Friends Animal Society
Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog
Best Friends BDL Fiscal Impact

Dog Bite Prevention
Special Report

Dangerous Dogs and Breed-Specific Legislation

Mid Atlantic Animal Law
Fiscal Bite & Breed Discrimination

National Canine Research Council
Breed Identification

By Micaela Myers
Photos by Melissa Lipani

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Video du Jour

                      Awesome new song by John Shipe!

Kellie Pickler Saves a Pit Bull

Country cutie Kellie Pickler is all heart. While much of the world was BBQing and celebrating America’s independence, the singer and former ‘American Idol’ contestant spent her holiday weekend rescuing a pit bull that was left in pretty bad shape. The dog had a broken pelvis and was bitten by a venomous snake, but Chunk — as Pickler named the chocolate-colored pup — has a happy ending: He is now the latest member of the Pickler family!

Pickler posted this initial tweet on July 3: “A pit bull (at vet) w/broken pelvis & venomous snake bite will be a part of our family if he makes it through the night. Poor lil guy. : (”

She followed it up on July 4, writing this post: “*Update* Pit bull is Okay. On the way to pick him up now PRAYING he gets along w/our other dogs or we’ll have to find him another home. Meet our latest rescue ‘Chunk!’”

Pickler also posted a photo of Chunk, seen above, who looks like a big and lovable boy. Let’s hope he gets along with the other Pickler canines so that she can keep him. At least we know Pickler will place him in a good home if there are any issues, and she might even take to Twitter to help locate a loving family for Chunk if that scenario presents itself.

By: Amy Sciarretto

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Video du Jour

                         Check out these patriotic pit bulls!