Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hitting a wall with stereotypes

It's a bad joke in BR circles, but on more than one occasion, different members of a local SPCA cornered BR diehard and foster dad Jesse Hernandez at our Shots Fairs and, in a well intentioned but super-DUMB maneuver to do good, asked him how much money it would take for him to speuter his (already altered) dogs.

Oh. Good. God. Somebody's stereotypes were clearly showing that day. (Bribing dog owners is not a tactic BR uses when promoting responsible ownership by the way). Nevermind that Jesse - a family man and accomplished artist whose art pieces are selling faster than hotcakes - was taking time out of his insanely busy schedule to help low income pit bull owners at the fair - Someone figured he looked the part and needed a talkin' to. You know, the backwards hat, baggy pants dude who probably has a litter of blue puppies for sale at home, right? NOT.

We laugh about it, but not in a happy ha-ha way. More like one of those Oh-my-god, can it get much worse than THAT? laughs.

And so we're faced - in our own community and even with so-called progressive animal welfare partners - the unmistakably annoying head bang of stereotypes. They're the same biases that lead so many to believe that "urban youth" is a code word for street fighting gangsters. That anyone who wears a black hoodie or lives the hip hop culture and is attracted to pit bulls MUST be overbreeding or - very likely - fighting them.

Those biases will continue to damage the dogs by making it so much harder to build bridges to under-resourced pit bull owners. I'll go one step further and call these the same biases that have lead some to believe that "urban youth" is SO very lost and unreachable that only a convicted torturer can reach through to inspire - ahem - empathy for their animals.

Shelters that deal with pit bulls on a daily basis are not so convinced that street fighting is bigger than other issues that affect the breed. In fact, when the HSUS surveyed animal shelters at their expo in 2006, only 18% saw dog fighting as a key problem. Survey Link (Page 12)

One open-ended question asked, “What do you think is the single biggest problem facing pit bulls today?” Forty-seven percent pointed to abusive or otherwise bad owners, while 43 percent said the pit bull’s image and reputation is his main obstacle. Thirty-three percent blamed overpopulation, backyard breeders, and indiscriminate breeding, while 18 percent considered dogfighting to be the culprit. - HSUS Animal Sheltering Mag Oct 06

So why the hype about urban youth and street fighting? Without hardcore data, we have no idea if labels like "epidemic" accurately describe the trend, and we certainly don't know that it's so widespread that desperate measures - ie employing highly controversial role models like Vick - are warranted. The consequence of unbalanced red flagging of any crime is that it can feed the fascination, resulting in copycat crimes, while creating an atmosphere where stereotypes flourish. There's no doubt that street fighting is a common form of animal abuse in our cities, but our experience as well as in our ongoing communications with shelters around the country shows us a very different perspective that matches the results of the 2006 HSUS survey. Most report these key causes for the breed's suffering: POVERTY. Lack of accessible resources - vet care, housing, training. And the heart wrenching consequences of breed bias and discrimination.
"The real truth is, problems in life are never as simple as we want them to be. But the answer is not to stereotype. Don't avoid the issue, but find the real problem and speak to people before believing what you read." - Fairbridge Narrator

I can't speak to how it feels to be under the microscope of owner bias that "urban youth" are under because I'm - you know - a middle aged gringa. But these young people in the UK do and I want to kiss every one of them for telling us what it's like to be stared at and pre-judged as dog fighters and thugs - just for owning a pit bull. Rock on Fairbridge filmmakers - you done good.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Op-Eds on the Vick news

This email inquiry came in last night.
Hello. I have been following the Michael Vick story and am wondering where BADRAP stands. I didn't see anything on the web site. I read in the news that the HSUS has met with him. Since BADRAP took in so many of his beautiful dogs, I thought you guys would be worth listening to on the topic. Is there any indication that he is sincere and recognizes how bad his actions were? Has he actually done anything to show remorse for his cruelty to the dogs you took in? My gut-reaction is to be very dubious. There's just too much money at stake for him if no NFL team will take him on because of this. I think that any public-service ad he does for the HSUS is too little ... too easy. But, I'm just an observer in the whole mess. You guys saw it up-close and I would trust your judgment on the current situation.

Good question. Because we're a group of many individuals who've been deeply involved as well as personally affected by the case, we've resisted forming an official BR statement on Vick's reported attempts to redeem his image. But I thought I would post a few of our individual opinions here for those who may be curious.

From Tim Racer - It is no mystery that Michael Vick wants another chance at the game, the money, and the fame that he once possessed. I am all about forgiveness and second chances – when one is truly remorseful . There is of course a world of difference between feeling badly about a wrong doing, and feeling badly about being caught. Who knows where Roger Goodell stands on this? I am disappointed that there has to be so much time spent to make such a seemingly simple decision about whether this man should ever play the game again. He ran a major felony dog-fighting operation since he first became a professional ball player – for his entire six year career. He fought and he killed countless innocent animals, some by repeatedly slamming their skulls and spines into the ground until they broke. What exactly *does it take to be released from the NFL?

Twenty three months in prison does not make a sick (in the truly medical sense of the term) individual like Vick, better. Mike has teamed up with the HSUS to to good things now. His agents made it so. Good move. Maybe that will help him play again.

For those who believe Vick has paid his dues, I would have to differ. He has not and will not spend a single day behind bars for animal cruelty as his federal charges were for racketeering. And as for remorse, Vick pled NOT GUILTY to animal cruelty charges at his state trial – and it was dropped in a plea deal. How can this man be remorseful for his crimes if he does not even believe he was cruel to animals?

From Nicole Rattay, who cared for the dogs in VA, and now provides a home for the very damaged Iggy -
Michael Vick has a history of negative behavior. His release from incarceration is only the most recent chance he has been given. How many does he deserve? I don't know. What I do know is that real, lasting change takes hard work. Work that so far Mr. Vick has failed to demonstrate a willingness or ability to do. It would be nice if he were able to maintain some positive changes in his life, I guess time will tell.

From Letti, Uba's adopter - Vick has a huge opportunity to turn his life around and make some very positive changes for himself and the dogs he tortured. Pit bulls and their owners have to constantly prove to the world that pre-concieved notions about pit bulls are misguided. Vick is facing the same up hill battle to show dog lovers that he truly understands his offenses and that he can change. When we take our dogs out in public, we hope that people are open minded enough to accept our dogs and learn about the true nature of pit bulls, so we should also endeavor to be open minded enough to allow Vick to attempt his own redemption. As Kathleen said, I hope that Vick has the tools to change.

From me (Donna) - I admit I'm stuck on this one because I just can't get myself away from the swimming pool in Vick's yard. I first learned about it while riding in the back seat of a federal agent's car that sweltering Tuesday back in Sept 07. The agent was assigned with escorting us to the various Virginia shelters so we could evaluate "the evidence" otherwise known as 49 pit bulls - now known as cherished family pets: Hector, Uba, Jhumpa, Georgia, Sweet Jasmine and the rest. I'm not sure if sharing insider information with us was kosher, but you know how driving down long country roads can get you talking. I imagine she just needed to get some things off her chest. She said she was having trouble sleeping since the day they exhumed the bodies on the Moonlight Road property. She said that when she watched the investigators uncover the shallow graves, she was compelled to want to climb in and pick up the decomposing dogs and comfort and cradle them. She knew that was crazy talk, and she was grappling with trying to understand such a surprising impulse.

Her candor set the tone for this entire saga. Everyone we worked with was deeply affected by the case. The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick's dogs were small - 40lbs or so - so tossing them in would've been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don't know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.

I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can't shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water ... screaming in pain and terror ... brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get ahold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I'll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.

So that's where I'm at. A second chance for Vick?
An HSUS sponsored spokesman for ending torture? In my mind's eye Vick is still in the shadows at the side of that pool. As many times as this scene plays out my head, he hasn't yet moved towards that dog to pull him out. Not there yet.

That's it for now. We may hear from more of the foster homes and adopters as the news unfolds.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jhumpa meets the world thru CNN

Thank you Kathleen, for being such a great spokes-mama for your Vick dog!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy news for Okie dogs

Nearly five months after leaving their freezing hell hole, the Kay County Oklahoma bust dogs are starting to find their way to permanent homes. It's such a good feeling, I can't even tellya.

This runny-eyed old guy broke our hearts into a thousand pieces when we first spotted him weighed down under his heavy chain. Reps from MABBR (Mid-America Bully Breed Rescue) scooped him right up and took him home. Brandi Smith told us "I don't think his tail has stopped wagging since he went into a home." Even better, his people haven't stopped wagging since he showed up. They just asked to be his forever people.

The skateboard vibe of his new home must have rubbed off, because the dog we all thought was old has dropped a number of years since his recovery and is now thought to be middle aged. That's the power of love. Congrats to his family and huge thank yous to MABBR for taking this special dog along with so many others and giving them a life. 

...And look how HAPPY this little stinker looks!

More Happy: Our funny duck pup Emmett has two people that can't wait to bring him home. He was found on this same yard, weak from hunger and crammed into a too-tiny crate with his starving siblings. Due to the horror of his beginnings, his recovery has been slooow but steady. 

The people as well as the adult dogs in his foster homes helped remind Emmett that life is good. Now he gets his own doting humans for keeps along with a female pit bull who wants to show him how her world works. Well done, pony boy. Your kind of good fortune is worth a ticker tape parade. 

Here's a little video of the pup back in December, finally being reunited with his mama after a long road trip home. Kudos again to Best Friends for helping our dogs get to California.

So what about Okie girl Nelly?

Some have noticed that she's got an 'Adopted' notice tagged onto her website bio. We pulled her out of the adoption pool when her health issues starting adding up.  Turns out that our dragon girl has babesia on top of everything else. Babesia is a blood parasite that causes anemia and as it cycles, it causes her to have low periods. It's treatable but not necessarily curable. Combined with her breathing difficulty, funky little chicken legs and digestion problems, we did not feel comfortable offering her as an adoptable dog, especially if her time may be short..

On the same hand, this girl's constitution is stronger than most of us put together! So we decided that, as long as she's wagging happy and acting herself, she'll stay with us and enjoy a life of luxury. 

Heads up: We are open to finding the wonderful Miss Nelly a hospice situation that can give her more one-on-one than we can provide - provided that home stay realistic about her quality of life. So in a nutshell, she's reminding us all to live one day at a time, and to enjoy every minute while we're in it with her. Thank you, little girl.

E60 - Online, now

If you haven't seen the recent E60 show on the Vick dogs, it's online now. Dare you to watch it without tearing up when Nicole Rattay offers her two cents. E60 ONLINE

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Brags - Campers that kick ass

It's time to start prepping for our spring Pit Ed Camp, held at Oakland Animal Services. These quarterly gatherings designed for shelter workers have turned into hyper-busy think tanks with some of the most motivated pit bull activists in the country. After a long week of non-stop gabbing, sussing, ruminating, bantering and scheming about pit bulls pit bulls pit bulls, we all go home and collapse. And then, those of us in Cali get to sit back and watch what the Campers do with their inspiration. That's my favorite part. 

This past group, the 'February Camp' (below) outdid itself within the first few weeks of getting home.

Indy Fire

Stinging high fives to our friends in Indianapolis who hit the ground running by designing program improvements at the same time they helped punch an annoying BSL threat in the nose. Let me tell you, those Indy girls don't take no prisoners. Even while at camp, they were shooting rapid fire emails to comrades at home and scheming around best ways to help their shelter's pit bulls and defeat whisperings of breed specific additions to dangerous dog ordinance at the same time. Their efforts paid off: BSL got kicked in the ass on Tuesday night. Dangerous dog ordinance tabled --- Good work Indy grrrrls!

"It's (the BSL proposal) wasting valuable time council members and animal welfare groups could be spending elsewhere in a productive way." - Angela Mansfield, Democratic Councilor

Not a fan of wasting time, Nina Gaither - a behaviorist at the Humane Society of Indianapolis - turned into a whirling dervish when she got home from Camp and, after debriefing HSI staff on lessons learned in Oakland, started up immediately with improvements including enrichments big and small for the dogs in her care. We look forward to her six month report that will outline how things are going back at home.

Bringing it to Harlem

Aimee Hartmann of the ASPCA hung out with us in the pouring rain during our recent Shots Fair in East Oakland. She barely had time to unpack before she hammered out a similar style event in Harlem. Her goal was to bring good will and resources to low income pet owners, especially the pit bull owners. She called her event the 'ASPCA Harlem Community Block Party.' 

These are the results of their big day. We're so impressed!
ASPCA Community Harlem Block Party
114 pets were spay/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.
More than 250 s/n appointments scheduled on clinics within the next 5 weeks.
150 pets licensed and registered. Hundreds of pet parents outreached and networked

Mendocino Pit Crew

Camper Alum Leslie Dodds from 2007 has been going so hot and heavy with her Pit Crew program at Mendocino Animal Care and Control that Mendocino County Child Services has asked her to create a pit bull focused program for at risk teens. They couldn't have chosen a better organizer for this new program. We look forward to updates as Pit Crew moves forward with helping more members of Mendocino's community as well as its dogs. (Left, A Pit Crew volunteer works a shelter dog during training class.)

Our June Camp will host shelter workers from Maine, Delaware, Texas and - Kanab Utah. (Hmm... I wonder who that could be?) Campers will end their week by helping us bring education and resources to low income pit bull owners in the form of a Shots Fair in Watsonville, CA, where city council members rejected measures to discriminate against select breeds last summer. We're more than happy to help with solutions in this town.
"Dogs aren't the problem. People are. That was the conclusion of the Watsonville City Council on Tuesday, when they rejected enacting regulations targeting specific breeds of dogs." - Santa Cruz Sentinel Aug 2008

Reject discrimination, and open the door to community activism. Love it. 

If you know a shelter worker who would benefit from a week long shot in the arm for their work with pit bulls, please send them this Flyer. We'd love to shake things up with them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A lesson for landlords

"Dog People Only Need Apply" - Becoming a Pet-Friendly Landlord

I love when this happens.... article I've been meaning to write but haven't gotten around to. Authored by attorney Elaine Lee, who specializes in landlord-tenant law among other things. In Bay Woof this month. Thank you Bay Woof!

While the Net is filled with great info for scoring pet friendly rentals, we really should be working just as hard to show landlords why responsible pet owners make some of the most mature, committed and long term residents.
"I discriminate and it's legal. I rent exclusively to my own kind, people who share their lives with dogs ...
Having a dogs-only policy over the years has confirmed what I instinctively knew from the outset: responsible dog people make fantastic tenants"
- Elaine Lee
Tim and I are property owners and have lucked out with some of the nicest people on the planet in our apartments - including pit bull owners, of course. Their common denominator is that they all value making animals an important part of their lives, so have devoted themselves to making their rental a home rather than just a hopscotch landing pad. But we have the luxury of our years of rescue work to help us make match-up decisions. Without that experience, I imagine it could be difficult to know who to say 'Yes' to when scads of pet owners respond to a Pets/Yes ad. Hopefully Elaine's article will help other landlords find the confidence to give committed pet owners the home they deserve.

Some tips from her article on selecting the right pet owners for your rentals:

For example: Is the dog under voice control? Is there genuine caring between each person and the dog? Is the dog at ease during interactions? Is there a lack of fear/cowering on the dog's part?
Notice the temperament of the dog. Is he calm and content? If so, that usually means the animal is being well cared for and is getting enough exercise. I don't even consider renting to a person whose dog is pulling at the leash or appears hyperactive, because this can mean that the steward doesn't train or exercise him adequately.

Check the work schedule of the person (people). I like to rent to couples who have staggered schedules so the dog has adequate care and company and is not left alone indoors for long periods of time. I also like to rent to people who work at home, come home for lunch, or take their dogs to work with them.
Under no circumstances do I rent to people whose dog I haven't met. Despite great dog resumes, references, and pictures, there is no substitute for checking things out for yourself. Regardless of the offers of cash or the pleading and promises, keep in mind that you are in the process of creating a long-term relationship with someone and their pet. You don't want to go through needless acrimony down the line with this or your other tenants, or with neighbors, much less a possible eviction proceeding if the dog does not live up to the hype.

Make sure the prospective tenant's dog gets along well with the other dog(s) on the property. Once you have narrowed it down to a few candidates, try to schedule meetings where prospective tenants and their dogs can interact with your current tenants and dogs in a neutral setting, like a nearby park, or even on the sidewalk in front of the building. If the dogs get along well, they are likely to play together regularly, meaning the dogs get more exercise and the people can exchange pet care. This can make for happy, long-term tenants.

Be sure to check out references
. For novice property owners, it is a good idea to take the extra step of visiting the prospective tenants in their current living situation to see how they live with their dog.

Fenced yards are a must. They prevent dogs from being cooped up indoors needlessly, decreasing the possibility of your property being damaged or soiled. I always allow tenants to install dog doors, if they want them.

Make sure that prospective tenants walk their dogs at least once a day. This cuts down on dog waste in the yard and usually results in happier animals and people and nicer living conditions. Do not rent to people who plan to tie their dogs up in the backyard. More info from Elaine's article.

Above: Carolyn Jones and her girl Penny (dog on left) have become an important part of the BR 'family' since answering our ad several years ago.
Some property owners' insurance policies have breed restrictions that block them from renting to wonderful families with lovely pets. That's an easy fix: Support companies that don't discriminate. Here's a list of the good guys. Insurance Providers

Finally - Some tips for those on the other side of the fence who plan to look for housing this summer: Renting with Pit Bulls
Don't forget the magic of getting your dog's Canine Good Citizen Certification for opening doors. In the SF bay area, register with Linda to see if your pit bull is ready: CGC

Friday, May 08, 2009

Do you haiku?

What a fun way to celebrate your obsession: SFgate columnist Amelia Glynn launched a happy little contest in her Tails of the City column this week.  Pet Haiku Contest

Since nothing inspires quite like our favorite fat heads, we're counting on a steady stream of haiku jewels from the pit bull front. Submit your masterpieces by May 22. Here's mine:
The Tao of Sally

You're my religion.
The world's best secrets revealed
in your pink lipped grin.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

When labels won't stick

Oh holy conundrums. Tuesday brought new faces to a familiar dilemma: Ten 'pit bull type' dogs came into the shelter where only one adoption kennel was waiting to welcome them. The problem grew tougher as we got to know each lovely dog.

Two of the new intakes were a mated pair, brought in off the streets by kind Oakland Police officers. The female (left) - named 'Mamas' - is pregnant, somewhat aloof and workably reactive to other dogs. The male, obviously someone's pride and joy, showed a warmer people-soft personality and desire to connect. As unlicensed strays, they had to be fixed before they could leave the shelter.

The owner was upset about losing out on his litter but after battling the desk staff, finally came to the decision to surrender his female to be adopted out or destroyed, whichever came first. He promised to come back for his pride and joy male - the bubble headed blue - but never returned.

His unlicensed stray problem then became our problem. With only one spot for a lucky Ambassadog, we're faced once again with the hardest question of all: As we work to keep our ambassador program moving forward, what do we do with perfectly good dogs that look like pit bulls but aren't really pit bulls at all?

The mated pair were a 4K investment for their owner. They're registered as American Bully Dogs, a new fangled creation of English Bulldog, Neo Mastiff and, yes, Pit bull - Designed to appeal to a demographic that likes its dogs to mimic low riders in every way.

Low. Ri. Der. Don't drive too fast now.

The personality of these offshoots is anything but pit bull. It's normal for them to be low key and pretty darn aloof ... Not the traits pit bull fans generally go for. This particular pair has the added challenge of edgy dog/dog manners - totally workable, but still. They aren't the love-to-please-you types that help make our job with true pit bulls so very easy.

We bantered back and forth for hours. Do we make room for one of these Pit bull imposters and put some resources into polishing up their manners? They tend to be very desirable because of their looks and - after all - it's not their fault they're mixes! OR do we give the coveted kennel to one of the many wriggly dogs who are practically oozing through the bars to push their fat heads into our laps?

Sometimes you have to just relax and let your answers come to you. In between sussing out an alarming plethora of blue puppies today, this sweet senior made his way into our eval line up. He was so sure that we were there to make him happy that all those 'What do we do?' questions melted away. He is - for lack of a better word - a Real Pit bull. Or, what we want Pit bulls to be: Social, sentimental even. Even keeled. Funny. Cheerful to a fault.

He reminded me that, when we're looking for dogs that get to wear the Pit bull label, we're looking for personalities rather than exteriors. And those personalities tend to match an ideal version of a dog that we've collectively agreed is a Pit bull, DNA be damned.

I'm sorry for the American Bullies. They're a fad breed and will hit a rock bottom as their numbers increase. Until their advocates get busy with rescue (and reducing their production), the unlucky dogs that land in the shelters will be stuck in No Man's Land like a lot of mixy dogs and will either be condemned for looking too much like Pit bulls or, in situations like ours, declined for not being Pit bull enough. We can only hope that the American Bully fanciers heed our call for help for this unlucky pair and throw them and other dogs like them a quick lifeline. Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Foreclosures Part II - Too close for comfort

The foreclosure discussion has hit a nerve with a number of readers here. I'm sorry to know that at least a couple of commenters have been hit hard themselves and are struggling to work things out while trying to keep their pets in their family. Oh holy stomach knots. It's a reality I can barely imagine without slipping into a low level panic.

This stark reality of the word homeless - home less - really does beg the question: How far would any of us really go to keep our pets?
"It went to hell in a handbasket," she said. "I didn't think this would happen to me. It's just something that I don't think that people think is going to happen to them, is what it amounts to. It happens very quickly, too." - Barbara Harvey, a former loan processor, the 67-year-old mother of three grown children said she never thought she'd spend her golden years sleeping in her car in a parking lot.
This CNN video report from May of last year offers a peek into Barbara's hard times and diehard dedication to her dogs. Life in a Parking Lot

Would you do what she did to keep your pets? Could you? Really?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Foreclosure Orphans

We brought a new foreclosure orphan into our Ambassadog program this week. He'd been tied to his empty house for a few days, hungry and waiting for his people to return and collect him. For whatever reason, they never did, and neighbors alerted animal control. Like so many pit bulls, he's got a sensitive core and was rattled by the big changes in his life.

The shelter is a scary place to him right now - so many barking dogs and long, echoing hallways! And while his kennel run is quiet and "safe," he's already split the tip of his tail wide open by banging it on the cinder block wall whenever he gets visitors. I guess it's extra exciting that his new friends keep coming back. This one's got some healing to do, and our job is to invent ways to help him acclimate and settle in while we wait for a home. We started by giving him a strong name - Willem - and hope to help build back some of the self esteem he lost during his misadventures.

It's the American dream to own a house, and for so many, owning a house means getting a dog. Sadly, the broken dream means untold thousands of dogs are SOL. When you're newly poor and bumped out to the curb, it's incredibly difficult to find a quick rental that will take your dog -- especially, your pit bull.
From a recent Oakland Tribune article on foreclosures: Oakland has been hit hard by the country's foreclosure crisis. In East and West Oakland, nearly 10 percent of homes have been in the process of foreclosure this past year — and the city's African-American and Latino residents have been the hardest hit. On top of single-family homes that have been foreclosed, nearly 20 percent of all properties facing foreclosures are rentals, leaving many more families scrambling.

We're pretty sure Willem was treated well at one point in his life. We can tell by the way he lights up when he sees a tennis ball and by his shy request for belly rubs. I can't help but think about the people who left him behind when they loaded up their last pile of stuff and drove away ... What's it like to leave a dog like this behind when your world is crashing in? I'm torn between wanting to scream in their faces for leaving this tender heart so alone and vulnerable, and wanting to tell them how sorry I am for all of it. In the end, it's probably best not to think too much about it at all, but just pick up the pieces by helping Willem and others like him get to a better place.

In January, US News and World Report outlined the 25 cities hardest hit by the foreclosures. You can just bet their public shelters are full of Willems. Please consider sending a box of dog treats to one or more of the shelters with a request to have them distributed to their pit bulls. While you're at it, we could use some too! Send to Ambassadog Project c/o Oakland Animal Services 1101 29th Ave. Oakland CA 94601. Thank you.