Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Let's have a dog party! (Pit Bulls not invited)

Pit Bulls love to party.

Our dogs are in their finest hour when company's over - the louder and rowdier the better.

So when we decided to attend an author reading in a Berkeley bookstore - one that invited dogs in for the event - for a new book entitled "Let's Have a Dog Party," you'd think we'd find some common ground with the author.

Except that in this case, the author was Ingrid Newkirk. Would we find any common ground with a woman who has most recently been making noise about the Vick dogs as unpredictable and dangerous, and recommending that the pit bulls be killed - but that the deserving Beagles be saved? (Not that her public condemnation prevented PETA from raising money on behalf of the Vick dogs, of course...)

So I set out with Tim Racer, our fearless founder and resident rabbler-rouser. We of course brought Honky Tonk and Gunther in tow, since both of them have been known to enjoy a good dog party. We even dressed them in their finest - Honky wore his Therapy Dog vest, and Gunther was dapper in a striped sweater (he gets cold, after all). Hey, it's Berkeley.

To our surprise, Ingrid began her talk by talking about the Vick dogs. The very Vick dogs that she hasn't met but wants destroyed, the victims of abuse that PETA has publicly vilified and exploited as a fundraiser, and the same dogs that BAD RAP helped assess. She used these dogs again as an opening attention grabber, and to segue into a story about PETA's invitation of Michael Vick to their headquarters. She then named the various celebrities that had contributed to her book, talked a bit about what compelled her to write the book, criticized Paris Hilton for her irresponsible and ongoing collection of dogs as accessories (hey - something we agree upon!) - including a comment that insulted dog sweaters, which made Gunther feel a bit awkward (really, he gets cold) - and then read us a few delightful passages about dog parties.

After the reading, Ingrid opened it up for questions. Nobody raised a hand. So Tim raised his hand.

Tim mentioned that he was from Bad Rap and that it was interesting that Ingrid mentioned the Vick dogs, since she was publicly advocating that all the dogs be killed. He explained that we've been rescuing fight bust dogs for years and that some of them have been the best dogs we've ever met, and wanted to know how she could advocate that all the dogs be killed when she'd never met them.

Ingrid didn't really answer Tim's question. Instead, she began talking about Michael Vick being famous and about him funding the dogs, and said that she felt that the resources going to these dogs would be better spent on spay/neuter programs for all the dogs out there.

This of course made me wonder where PETA's money raised by mentioning the Vick pit bulls is going, since it's not going to the dogs. PETA hasn't been shy about sending out newsletters about the Vick pit bulls and soliciting money, so if PETA's objection to saving any of the pit bulls is that resources are better spent for spay/neuter, why don't they use some of their collected resources for this program?

While I was having this brief internal monologue, Ingrid went into a tangent about resources and the shelter system in general (the "deserving dogs" needing resources that shouldn't be wasted on pit bulls was the vague theme here), and Tim pointed out that the Berkeley shelter just down the street is 80% pit bulls. He clarified that, if she was saying that shelters shouldn't adopt out pit bulls, that she was eliminating 70-80% of some shelter populations.

Ingrid then said that she felt that the theft risk of the Vick dogs was too great to risk adopting them out.

Tim mentioned that this objection was no different from what she's been saying about pit bulls in general for years but that we've never had one stolen, and then we had what I like to call "A Berkeley Moment."

This Berkeley Moment was a large, long and creatively-haired dog owner across the aisle who randomly leaned in at Tim bellowed, "Hey, you ever hear of Darwinism? You believe in Darwinism?"

At this point too many people started talking at the same time, and the bookstore manager became noticeably agitated. She asked Berkeley Guy to hold his comments, and tried to end Tim's commentary as well. Tim asked if he could just get an answer to his question, and Ingrid said something to this effect:

"We can debate all day and we will still have the fundamental difference of opinion as to whether a pit bull should be taken out of a shelter and given to someone on the street."

Whether the audience had just noticed that the head of PETA had just told them that she doesn't feel that pit bulls are adoptable and don't deserve any shelter resources is unknown, as the book store manager was quite obviously uncomfortable at this point and cut Tim off.

After this exchange, people asked nice polite questions about neglected Pugs and such. I raised my hand 3 times, but apparently I had become invisible.

In addition to my question about PETA's fundraising allocations, I did want to discuss Ingrid's ongoing claim that her desire to eliminate pit bulls stems from her belief that if they didn't exist, they wouldn't be abused. Hey, I just wondered if she also advocates the extinction of Greyhounds so that they won't be raced, or children so they won't be exploited...

But these questions would go unanswered, because I was now the teacher's second least-favorite pupil (was it the dog sweater?), and she wouldn't call on me. Darnit.

The Q&A ended shortly thereafter and we had a short chat with Ingrid.

The short of it: she "fundamentally disagrees" with us on our viewpoint that pit bulls are adoptable pets. She feels that, should a Cocker Spaniel and a pit bull both be competing for resources, that the Cocker should get them because it's smaller and therefore less likely to do any serious harm if it "goes funny."

We mentioned that any defective dog with that size differential could do damage, and she said "Oh yes, them too." Tim then told her that, if we eradicated pit bulls tomorrow, we'd see the same problems with Mastiffs and other breeds. Ingrid eagerly agreed with this.

So listen up, non-Cocker-people: the pit bulls may be in the crosshairs now, but your breed is potentially PETA's next target.

Ingrid also made sure to pet my dog and tell me his sweater was perfectly ridiculous (which sounds remarkably less rude in a British accent). Gunther tried to tell her that he gets cold, dammit, but the store manager was fussing about again - if she'd had a stage hook, we would have most definitely been yanked outta there.

That a Berkeley bookstore manager was so uncomfortable about an honest exchange of conflicting opinion was somewhat ironic given that: (a) We were in Berkeley, and (b) the person speaking is the head of a group known for throwing paint on people and terrorizing children with fake buckets of dead chickens.

I guess I should have left the sweater at home and outfitted Gunther in more appropriate attire for the event...

So, we left - but not before the canine boys earned several fans by being their joyboy selves.

I have to say that I find it just baffling that an organization as large and influential as PETA can make so many policies and statements condemning a dog breed simply because its founder has a personal bias - and can continue to be influential in spite of it.

But hey - at least this founder knows how to throw a dog party.

Then again, my dogs have never had trouble getting down to party. Heck - they even have their own dog party invitations.

For more info: PETA's Call for a Pit Bull Ban


Anonymous said...


I'll read this again, just to savor it....because it's that good. But in short, YOU GO GIRL!


PS I love the party outfits!

Liz said...

Bravo. I wish I could have been there to see this all take place. I would have been right there with you. Thank you for all you do.

cow said...

I love you two.

Ania said...

Thank you so much for this article. I own two pit bulls and they are the best dogs in the world. As for PETA, this is not the first time that they have gone back on their word to help all animals. I called them last year to help with stranded cattle in Colorado due to large snow storms and their reply was: "why should we help, they're going to slaughter anyways". PETA is truly an organization not worth supporting. ASPCA and other organizations that understand the worth of all animals have better ways to use funding.

pamipoo said...

Ah PETA PETA PETA- You with your holier than thou attitude.. All for the love of animals except for my animal!I truly hope that the word gets out that PETA wants to only protect some dogs. Have a collie? Great PETA will help, have a bully? Sorry your screwed!
Badrap Crew I adore you! So does my dog!

Sarah said...

Tim is my hero! We need more people like him in this world.

sarallyn said...

Good job for being there-
if I were there, all heck would break loose.
I love my pit bull... no one can take her away from me, not even Ingrid!
Down with PETA!

Christopher said...

Ingrid deserves to be savaged by a Cocker-Raging Cocker spaniel. I might be wrong, but I do recall reading that Cockers are the breed most likely to bite (especially the tan ones) and having been bit by one, I can tell you that it wouldn't matter if it was any other breed, it was rather unpleasant.

I just don't understand how she gets off giving a book talk about Dog Parties?!?! WHAT? The woman who wants my dog dead and out of the slavery I keep it in (read: full couch rights) is giving talking about frufru doggy parties? Isn't that the anathema to the cause?

That makes about as much sense to me as Bill O'Reilly having a (gorgeous) PETA representative on his show to talk about the Vick case. Um what? What the hell does PETA know about Vick and his dogs? That's like having a Vegan on to discuss the Beef Industry suing Oprah. Yeah, both have issues with food, but come on!

redgrrl said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again - y'all are my HEROES!!

Anonymous said...

AHhhh - - wish that Ingrid would be banned!! She's taking valuable resources from the planet that could be used for more worthy occupants! Luckily - she's spayed - so there will be NO JR Ingrid!!!!

Keri said...

Ugh, it is so disheartening to read about Ms. Newkirk's backward views. "Let's kill them all so that no one can abuse them anymore"?! There is so much wrong with that opinion, I just don't know where to begin. All bans will serve to do is ensure that responsible, loving people will not be able to save and care for the dogs that unscrupulous criminals will continue to keep and breed, since they don't have any respect for the law, or for pit bulls.

Here's a great Letter to PETA, from Pit Bulls on the Web.

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason to shake your head at the PR nightmare that is PETA...

Anonymous said...


Does Gunther get cold ?

Not as cold as that Puta...sorry,
I mean Peta nut.
I thought Pits were animals too ?


leslie said...

My dogs are also enslaved couch residents, and send happy wags to you and yours...

Jackelyn said...

Ugh, PETA. Since when is extermination of an entire breed "Ethical". Their logic is so very flawed, it's difficult to imagine how they get so much support. That they collected support in the name of the Vick dogs is sickening.

Thank you for going to that event and for being a voice for those of us pit lovers who could not be there. Although, I am not sure I could go and be as dignified and civilized as you were. My temper gets the better of me. And I laugh because its my dog that people fear, when really, I am the vicious one!

As always. thanks for doing what you do.

Anonymous said...

my next door neighbor is an extreme animal lover and long time vegan. she has a shirt that says something about hating peta. my mom's an animal lover who's worked with animals most of her life. she has always taught me from a young age to donate to any group i want to except peta. it has nothing to do with how peta feels about pittbulls. the pittbull issue is just one of many bad things about peta.

Caveat said...

I guess ol' Hypocrite - er, Ingrid, is unaware of serious problems in some lines of Cockers and other spaniels.

The number two biter in Canada, according to hospital records, is the American Cocker spaniel.

My friend had her face disfigured by a Cocker when she was 12 and playing fetch with the dog in the backyard. They were visiting. She needed extensive plastic surgery and you can still see the scars more than 40 years later.

Did she go on a vendetta because of this isolated incident? No.

Do I advocate restrictions on Cockers, or any other shape of dog? No. It would be illogical.

Does Ingrid the hypocritical dog-hater know anything about the subject she professes as a self-styled expert? No.

Let's keep on keeping on and expose Peta/H$U$ and the rest for what they are - inconsistent, uninformed, unbalanced people whose mission is geared toward death.

Good on you, Donna for letting the old user of products tested on animals have it.

Mac`s Gang said...

Thank you for continuing to expose PETA.
I lost my guy in Aug and I will never adopt anything but a "Pit" from now on.
I keep telling people that my Lab`s maternal ggrandmother might have been a "Pit" but they scoff.
She`s adorable,comical and loveable.There HAS to be some "Pit" there.
I don`t feel special anymore.
I love my Lab but I miss my "Pit".

Kari in Alaska said...

What gets me is the lady who heads and organization that feels it is wrong to keep animals as pets (especially purebreed) would write a book about throwing a party for your pet written about two purebred dogs. Can you say money hungry hypocrite?

Mary said...

You are missing the point, Ingrid, PETA and the HSUS want ALL domesticed animals dead and gone. They are advocating limit laws, Mandatory spay and neuter across the board, and making it all most impossible to breed any domestic animal. They want us all to become vegans and not to use leather, or any animal by product etc.. They want ALL animal medical research to stop. They want us to admire animals from afar. They don't want animals and humans to interact on any level what so ever. Wayne, head of HSUS,(which is NOT a government agency btw) says they have no problem with the demise, extinction, of ALL domesticated animals, "One generation and out" is their motto! Please, everyone get informed of who these radicals are. They are out to take away our pets...ALL of them...Not just Pit Bulls..they feel the same way about all breeds....Mary

Anonymous said...

Hey you guys, this month on HBO they are running a documentary on PETA and this lunatic...it is kinda interesting as it shows what a crock of crud this organization is. But I could only watch so much of it as it turned my stomach to think that someone like her who could do such wonderful things with her status but choses to be such a lowlife!/ thanks for giving her hell and making your presence be known ...BOO YA Crystal J

kpoodles said...

From the human owned by 3 poodles--oh, I must be enslaving them, right? No doubt PETA thinks that poodles are aweful because they are bred to look as they do for the hunting field--they are GERMAN HUNTING DOGS, stupid loonatic fringe groups! These are the same people that protest at dog shows that are designed to promote proper breeding and training of dogs, and then they go an release well trained and bred dogs from their secure kennels! They are domestic intellectual terrorists who pray on the sensibilities of average people in order to raise money to fund their crazy escapades...geeze don't get me started!
ANY dog that is not properly trained and socialized is a threat to society, from the small to the big. A TRAINED dog is a GOOD dog...they like limits. And they REALLY like their humans, shich is why rescue is so important. 2 of my 3 poodles are adopted.

Mary said...

You aren't seeing the BIG picture...PETA wants ALL dog breeds dead...you guys are under the false assumption that ARs only want Pit Bulls gone..some of the comments actually state that they think PETA is there to help other breeds...the only help PETA wants to give other breeds... short calling for immediate mass killing of all pets...is to help them becomae extinct one spay and neuter at a time...the way they are pushing and getting all these BSL, limit and Mandatory spay and neuter laws passed as fast as they are, they are speeding up their ultimate goal of all domesticated animals extinction ....Our Job has to be to be educate all government agencies and the public as fast as possible...some how we have to get the word out faster than we are...Mary

lin said...

What I find contradictory is this woman has written a book about throwing elaborately designed parties for creatures whose idea of a good time is to raid the garbage can and she finds sweaters perfectly ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

Wow...thanks for the eye opener on PETA. My doggie donations will go somewhere else from now on. And..I think Pitbulls are the most deserving breed on earth. In my opinion "man" has lots of making up to do with this loving breed and I am starting at home with my own bundle of joy!

Jenn said...

Oh my god, Leslie. You crack me up!!! You're every bit as funny on paper as you were at the Conference. I'm glad you and Tim were there to represent. I only wish you'd been able to ask where the funds were going...we all want to know. The Vick dogs were only worth keeping alive (to PETA) as long as they were valuable. The money coming in must be dwindling so they're not necessary anymore. Unbelievable. I'm sure Gunther owned it in his sweater. I'm with Lin...who writes a book about dog parties and critizes wear? If I were a dog, I certainly wouldn't be eating anything at Ingrid's house...unless I was a cocker spaniel.

Anonymous said...

peta is so hyprocritical it makes me sick. to be prejudice against pit bulls purely due to the breed is breedism. and breedism is racism. peta protecting all animals except for pit bulls is like if the aclu protected all minorities except for a certain group because some who look like them or have the same skin color have done bad things. dogs must be judged individually just as people must be judged individually. its only fair.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the uneducated masses might be excused, but an organization touting itself as the foremost animal rights org in the world? Shame on them! The folks at PETA, and their president in particular, are just media-happy wannabes who SAY they love all animals - NOT! As long as the animals aren't pit bulls, that is. And yet, PETA will shamelessly solicit donations from the public for the abused pit bulls in the Michael Vick case, and then, without batting an eye, continue to advocate a ban on this breed. WTF? So, let me see if I understand their logic here...Pit bulls are only convenient to PETA if they can be used to generate $$$ for the org. Not that any of the donations earmarked to help these abused pit bulls would actually ever be allocated to that very cause. So, where exactly did those donations go then? Audit?

Only two thoughts come to my mind when I think of PETA...Racists and Two-faced.

Anonymous said...

The only difference between Ingrid Newkirk and Michael Vick is the method of execution: needle or noose. Deep, deep shame on both of them! Both of them are USERS.


Jon Bozak -Demo, The Story of a Junkyard Dog said...

Peta has become, over the years, and under the direction of Ingrid's control, a cult. She is overly righteous, and many of her opinions are irrational and faulted. She's displayed for a long time now, a convictions that she needn't address the ludicrous nature of her Pit Bull bias, because she believes that she has risen above such things. She leads a cult, and with the devoted support of her followers she will never feel in the wrong. Her ego and megamanical attitude leads her to believe that she, and only she, cares for the betterment of all animals, and will continue to blind her to her errors in judgement. More to the point: She sucks rotten eggs.

Underdog Pit bull Outreach and Rehab. said...

Way to go BR crew. Wish we coulda been there to rabble-rouse with you. To quote a french buddy, "No really... We love this sort of stuff!!"

Kudos, Vin and Abby of Underdog Pit Bull Outreach and Rehab.

pitluv2 said...

Well said Dina!! So nice to hear so many people defending our georgous pups! I wish I had been there. I, too, will stop my support of PETA.

louis said...

funny dogs very good

Kim said...

I have two pitt's they are the best dogs and best friend to my 7 pound Yorkie that bullies them both around.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
I stumbled here on a friends suggestion from Facebook... I'm a new owner of a PB puppy, and have a Boxer/Ausie mix that is about 3 yrs. Both females. The older took to the pup (8 weeks when we got her) immediately, taught her the ropes of the house, etc.

My mom before passing away was very involved in dog rescue, specifically golden retrievers, but really would take in a variety, just had a big heart, a large backyard, and a fairly tolerant husband in my dad. Grew up with Shepherds, Retrievers, and a myriad of middle size mutts and loved them all.

You all know this from your own experiences, but I just want to say it for me and my family... my 2 girls are the best, most loving, and smartest dogs I've ever had, ever been around, and frankly are my reason for racing home every day. My pup is now 5 months old, so smart, and not only the best friend i could have hoped for for my other dog, but for my son and wife as well.

PETA needs to put some clothes on Pam Anderson and leave us all alone.

Cashmere Sweater Sets said...

I love dressing up my dog with cashmere sweater sets. They look so elegant. Bring on the party!