Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Where Are All the Pit Bulls?

Back from a quick midwest trip where BR’s Pit Ed & CGC classes earned the 2006 Best Practices Award for Behavior and Training at the AHA Conference (Yay!) .... and (Boooo!) the only pit bulls we saw were chained in the yard of a Detroit area backyard breeder. Now I know* there are plenty of great pit bull owners in the Chicago and Detroit area, but they must've all been in hiding this week. Feeling the need for a bully fix, we searched over miles of Chicago sidewalks during our flashback tour of old haunts and counted well-loved greyhounds, goldens and every kind of small dog –- but no pit bulls.

Like strangers in a lonely land, we decided to search the city shelters. The Anti-Cruelty people turned their noses up when we mentioned the breed and sent us to Chicago Animal Control. But after heading to the south side and sharing our IDs with security, we were turned away – We couldn't see them there since they don’t adopt the breed out either. Unclaimed pets are rarely rescued and usually destroyed. We could sense their wide smiles just steps away from us, but slipping through all our fingertips. When questioned ‘Why?’ the tired employees just shrugged and suggested that someone might want to “write a letter.” Sigh. Tim and I used to live in Chicago, and we were feeling pretty disappointed in our old stomping grounds at that point. Onto Detroit, we were desperate enough to stop by a neighborhood breeder just so we could get a fix and compare notes with the dogs' welcoming, albeit not-so-responsible owners. Sadly, we were warned not to step too close – The chained breeding pair was willing to bite. Greeeat. Apparently, lacking good shelter resources for quality adoptions, the couple's puppies were selling like hotcakes - intact and just weeks from their first mating adventures, of course..

I must say, the bay area never looked so good when we finally landed. We still have our problems — Many of our shelters are still struggling over the best ways to adopt pit bulls out and lord knows we have way too many being born. But despite our challenges, home sweet home is full of breed supporters, viable adoption programs, accessible spay/neuter programs and responsible owners. And thankfully, it's never hard to spot some of the most well loved pit bulls in the country strutting their stuff down our city streets with their proud owners in tow. We’re oh so happy to be back home.

Donna

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of your great work out there in the Bay Area! You might know this already, but just in case...
If you'd come west instead of going east from Chicago you would have found quite a few shelters and rescue organizations happy to help lost bullies.
Animal Ark, in particular, is a pretty amazing shelter that has been very active in its rescue of pitbulls. It's in Hastings, just south of the Twin Cities. The Ark resettled a whole bunch of Katrina victims, took a mobile animal hospital down to Mississippi (along with a bunch of volunteers) and frequently takes in dogs and cats who need medical care and don't stand a chance in many other shelters. The Ark also started a free neuter/spay program for pitbulls in St. Paul, and is involved in a coalition to make the Twin Cities "no-kill".
There are other shelters as well. One of the humane societies, in Burnsville, MN (a suburb of Mpls) places pitbulls, and so do various foster organizations like Sanctuary Plus. I'm sure there are more that I'm not aware of.
Finally, the Animal Controls in both cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (St. Paul in particular) work closely with these rescue organizations.
These efforts, of course, will never be enough, but at least it's better than what you found in Detroit. If you come this way again, I'd encourage you to visit us up here and you'd see a different picture than you did there. We still, of course, have our share of backyard breeders and horrible custody cases, but I'm proud to say I live in a community that supports animal rescue work to the extent that it does.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of your great work out there in the Bay Area! You might know this already, but just in case...If you'd come west instead of going east from Chicago you would have found quite a few shelters and rescue organizations happy to help lost bullies.Animal Ark, in particular, is a pretty amazing shelter that has been very active in its rescue of pitbulls. It's in Hastings, just south of the Twin Cities. The Ark resettled a whole bunch of Katrina victims, took a mobile animal hospital down to Mississippi (along with a bunch of volunteers) and frequently takes in dogs and cats who need medical care and don't stand a chance in many other shelters. The Ark also started a free neuter/spay program for pitbulls in St. Paul, and is involved in a coalition to make the Twin Cities "no-kill".There are other shelters as well. One of the humane societies, in Burnsville, MN (a suburb of Mpls) places pitbulls, and so do various foster organizations like Sanctuary Plus. I'm sure there are more that I'm not aware of.Finally, the Animal Controls in both cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (St. Paul in particular) work closely with these rescue organizations.These efforts, of course, will never be enough, but at least it's better than what you found in Detroit. If you come this way again, I'd encourage you to visit us up here and you'd see a different picture than you did there. We still, of course, have our share of backyard breeders and horrible custody cases, but I'm proud to say I live in a community that supports animal rescue work to the extent that it does.

Gonzogirl said...

Ahhh, San Francisco and Minneapolis... how I envy you!

While it pains me to no end to look around me and see that animal welfare is in such sorry state (that state being Indiana...), I will say that I'm glad that I can be here to band with the few people who get it and who are willing to fight the good fight. I'd venture that it's more frustrating, but I also feel that much more compelled.

Thanks to all of you for everything you do and all of the personal sacrifices that you make to do it.