Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PETA - Proud? Blog response to a Yelper from the Pride Parade

We're not sure whether it was tragic coincidence or divine opportunity that a float full of Peta members was positioned just ahead of us at the Pride Parade last weekend. They were having a hella good time, seemingly unaware that they were being followed (.. stalked ..?) by 22 pit bulls in top hats and taffeta ... all of them dogs that Peta would've dutifully killed had they got their hands on them first.

Our faithful homies couldn't pass up the chance to say hello and introduce two former Vick dogs to Peta, so once the parade was over, Tim Racer and Letti de Little scooped Jonny Justice and Uba up in their arms to go have themselves a talk with the peaceful vegans who love animals.

It started as a little info-chat: Many Peta supporters are still unaware that their org wanted all the Vick dogs killed or that Ingrid and her crew have been calling for the a ban on pit bulls since Jan, 2000 (Newkirk: "People who genuinely care about dogs won't be affected by a ban on pits"). And most have no idea that Peta recommends death to all sheltered pit bulls over adoption to caring families. Straight from the horse's mouth on banning the breed and on auto-death for sheltered pit bulls.

Yes, they're kookie, but you gotta give Peta supporters a chance to come out of the fog. Peta's own euth number can help with that... The org doesn't discriminate by breed when it kills, and routinely destroys most every homeless dog or cat that lands in their laps as a matter of course. ... 95% of their intake destroyed in 2008 alone.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is on to them. From one of their press releases: "According to public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 2,124 pets last year and placed only seven in adoptive homes....Despite having a $32 million budget, PETA does not operate an adoption shelter. PETA employees make no discernible effort to find homes for the thousands of pets they kill every year. Last year, the Center for Consumer Freedom petitioned Virginia’s State Veterinarian to reclassify PETA as a slaughterhouse."

The post-parade exchange on Market Street stayed closer to the topic at hand: Uba and Jonny. In addition to being former shelter dogs, these boys are on Peta's double-death hit list for coming from a fight bust. Despite what everyone has learned about bust dogs, Peta still maintains that it's kinder to destroy them all after they're seized in raids - no matter how adoptable they may be. (Criminal mugshots below compliments of Mark Rogers and Pet Food Express)

With these two dogs in their arms, Tim and Letti both asked the blonde haired card-carrying Peta Rep, "Do you still think these dogs should be dead?"

Apparently this question sparked an emotional response from the Rep, who delivered a rousing rendition of Peta's anti-pit bull stance, peppered with colorful profanities. I'm sure it was one of her finer moments and only regret that I wasn't there to witness or record the occasion of the peaceable girl elaborating on why Jonny and Uba should be dead. (I was off soothing my own pit bull Sally, who was cringing at the sound of a hundred balloons popping as a nearby float was taken apart.)

According to the Peta rep's tirade, Jonny and Uba stole good homes from other needy dogs, so Tim and Letti should just learn to accept death for pit bulls and Save the Poodles. Or something like that. (We're still not clear on that)

Like any sane pet owner, Tim and Letti disagreed and stood steady, which shook up the Peta girl. They were each holding parade-worn pit bulls after all ... who knew what they could do with them? So she called for a security guy to save her from the terrible distress of looking two former victims of cruelty in the eye. Needless to say, it wasn't a productive conversation.

ANYWAY - a member from this Pride contingent was still angry when he got home from the parade and fired off a particularly snarky review about BR on Yelp. Oh the shame. He said ...

"I never really thought about this group one way or the other until I witnessed their hostile, ignorant and hypocritical tactics first hand .... Our group was East Bay Animal Advocates, and we were promoting vegetarianism as our mission in the parade. Every single member of our group is an animal lover, and we spend countless hours advocating for the rights of animals. We asked them to leave, offered contact information for them to contact us at a more appropriate time, but they refused to leave and attempted to escalate a conflict. {My note: Remember, they were carrying pit bulls!} Only when a security officer from the event told them to move on, did they leave.

They seem to be vehemently opposed to any euthanasia of pit bulls in shelters, but have absolutely no answer to what we as a society are supposed to do with the 7 million unfortunate dogs who enter shelters every year. No kill shelters are great, as long as you are willing to accept any dog who needs your care, which of course if impossible given the irresponsibility of those who don't spay and neuter their animals". - Jeff H.

Apparently "the answer" is easy EBAA. According to Peta ... You just gotta skip the adoption thing, and kill them all. No muss, no fuss.

BADRAP, as most know, is not a no-kill organization. We're just trying to save a few good dogs, man.

I'm sure you're a very nice person - Jeff H. of the East Bay Animal Advocates - but we have to question the decision to host Peta on your float, as they clearly have no business marching in an event that celebrates compassion and equality for all. Victims of cruelty including pit bulls need strong advocates to ensure that they aren't victimized twice by organizations who pose as good guys.

We will continue to bring Peta's unforgivable stance on pit bulls to people's attention whenever and wherever Peta makes a public appearance - without editing and certainly without apology.

Yelp this.

(By the way, Yelp only allows 600 character responses to reviews. Viva blogs.)

For other viewpoints and info, Google "Peta kills" and watch what comes up. Also, read this blogpost about an earlier exchange with Peta ... "Let's have a dog party. Pit bulls not invited."

EDIT: The post from the East Bay Animal Advocates came down from our Yelp page shortly after we launched this post. Which is unfortunate! ... We welcome discussion about issues that affect the lives of pit bulls, even when discussion gets heated and messy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pride 2010!

There's just no such thing as a bad day at the SF Pride Parade. Here's a peek at what it looks like when you're marching 22 pit bulls in front of thousands of cheering, happy, proud-to-support-you people. Nirvana!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Look who's celebrating her Alive Day

Today is Elfaba's Alive Day. The term first came from disabled Iraq war veterans who celebrate the day they came close to death (HBO Documentary: Alive Day) Once known as 'Toes,' this senior had a seizure in the lobby of Oakland Animal Services, and was slated for euthanasia just one year ago today. We took her in as a compassion hold, and had the idea she wasn't going to be around for long. Well, she's certainly showing her age, but she hasn't really slowed down much. She's living a happy and pampered life with her foster mom Sara Woods. We celebrate every day that Elfaba is still with us, and I think she does too. Happy Alive Day, little girl. We're so glad you're still here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Behind the names: the muses of the contest winners revealed

Behind every supporter seems to be a great dog (or more), so on the heels of our naming contest, I present you with photos of the muses who fuel the good deeds of their people.

Susan Cava (right) named the mama dog - "Eva Peace."

Some of you might recognize her as NYCKitten on the message boards. She has the rescue vibe going strong and is shown with one of her group's (Rescuzilla's) foster dogs. Deacon just got adopted to an awesome guy - a truck driver who takes him everywhere. Well done Susan and Rescuzilla!

Sheri Cardo's girl Sally whispered puppy Rosalie's rightful name in her ear, and then went one step further and suggested that they both foster her home at home.

Nice work, Miss Sally!

Alyssa Carolla named Ferdinand. Her sexy boy Primo came from NYACC and is now living the high life in Manhattan.

She told us. "The macho name doesn't suit him well at all, but we think it's really funny and often take to calling him Primo-donna, as he's a bit of a wimpy princess. We just celebrated his fourth "birthday" by passing the CGC." Congrats to you both and thanks for naming our gentle bull, Ferninand.

Lissa Stiles (whose handle is 'dogcat' when she posts comments) lives in NC and said that she was surprised that Ken chose 'Hypatia' for a pup since it's off the beaten path.

She explained, "It was the picture of her staring at the sky in the slideshow that did it. Hypatia was also an astronomer, as were most of the philospher/mathemeticians in ancient times. That she was persecuted and ultimately murdered by an ignorant, fearful-of-educated-women, unwashed Christian mob I was hoping no-one really knew, but I guess the persecution part is fitting for our lovely, misunderstood breed." Indeed.

This is her girl ChiliPepper, who's caught in what she calls "the head lock of love." - LOL!

How much do we love this dog? Lisa Wolverton's girl inspired the name Sanjay for the boy runt. A fitting name, fer sure.

Lisa lives in Oregon and says, "My dog's name isn't Sanjay, alas. It's Wendy and she's a Heinz-57 pound-dog.Thanks for all that you and Ken do for pit bulls and for American who need to be better educated about them." Thank you Lisa. We couldn't lift a finger without dogs like Wendy prodding their people to support the underlings.

It was fun to see a BR alum win the name contest by naming 'Pepper.'

It was Andrea Vu Chasko, who adopted Bailey - a hurricane katrina refuge. Andrea's girl inspired this poster, which celebrates shelter dogs. She hopscotched from storm victim to foster dog to living life as an important helper in Andrea's classes for special needs kids. When she's not working, she's practicing the art of being a lump of love in Andrea and John's home in Massachusetts (gosh darn it you guys sure move around a lot!).

How cool that Samantha Wood's girl Lulu Belle looks just like the black and white dog that ended up with her name - Josephine.

Another coincidence: Samantha, who lives in North Carolina - told us "Maybe it's Karma or coincidence but my husband has been in N.O. since February on a work assignment and I've been challenged with raising 3 rascally pitties and 2 top cats on my own. We needed some good fortune!" Good luck with all the extra work Samantha. And thank you for taking time out of your busy day to enter this contest.

Sarah Williams' love for critters is inspired, in part, by the handsome Riley. She came up with the name Camelia - a perfect name for a flower of a dog.

Thanks again all. Ken will be sending your books out pronto and Susan's tshirt is on the way. Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A dog by any other name. Barn Family names announced!

Announcing the winners of our Name the Barn Family contest. Congrats to: Alyssa Carolla, Lissa Stiles, Andrea Nguyen, Sarah Williams, Samantha Wood, Lisa Wolverton, Sheri Cardo, and (mama's name) from Susan Cava. Bravo!

Winners will each receive a copy of Ken Foster's book, Dogs I Have Met, signed by Ken and pawtographed by his boy Brando. Please contact us with your addresses and a photo of your dog. Addresses HERE

Above left: Named FERDINAND - by Alyssa Carolla - after the story of Ferdinand the Bull, a gentle giant who would would rather curl up and smell the flowers rather than fight. Our rowdy girl on the right has been named JOSEPHINE by Samantha Wood. Says contest judge Ken, "She was a founder of a school at Tulane, but who can resist thinking of the other famous Josephines: Josephine Baker, or, better yet, Josie and the Pussycats."

Above: This confident girl has been named PEPPER by Andrea Nguyen. Ken likes the name for this pup and also the connection to Pepper Anderson, everyone's favorite don't-talk-smak-to-me police woman, played by the uber-cool Angie Dickinson.

Left: This runty boy was named SANJAY by Lisa Wolverton.

Ken Foster tells us: "Sanjay - We have known several, and they have been culturally-inclined and driven to improve themselves and the community around them; we hope for the same with this little man." Nice.

Below left: This little girl is now CAMELLIA, named by Sarah Williams. From Ken: "Camellia is the name of a flowering tree...but also of a diner in New Orleans, Camellia Grill, where customers left notes on post-its for two years after Katrina, until it finally reopened in 2007."

Below right: We have ROSALIE named by Sheri Cardo. She reminds us of Rosa Parks ... This puppy is not about to give up her rightful seat on the big bus of Life!

Below: This little girl was named HYPATIA (Hi-pay-sha) by Lissa Stiles. Says Ken, "Hypatia -perhaps the first female mathematician and philosopher, Egypt, 350AD; she was persecuted by Christians. We are hoping for more philosophy, less persecution. for our Hypatia."

And the best for last. Our wonderful mama dog, below, was named EVA PEACE by Susan Cava. She says "Sula was my favorite Toni Morrison book; Sula's grandma was Eva Peace who put her leg under a train so she could get insurance $ for her kids. I have a feeling this mama dog would do the same. A tribute to Ken's Sula too."

We LOVE it Susan! Thank you. Since you named the mama, you get to choose a clothing item from our CafePress Store. Let us know what we can order for you when you send us your address!

Some other favorite name ideas that caught our eye (and just might show up attached to other BR dogs one of these days!) ... Dianne Rhodes voted for The Seven Virtues: Chastity, or Chas for short (like Chastity Bono!), Temperance, or Tempe for short (like Bones), Charity, Diligence, or Dili for short, Kindness, Patience, and Humility or Lity for short ... Terry Daniel went for high sugar names: 1. Twinkie 2. Cupcake 3. Suzy Q 4. Ding Dong 5. Gem (Donette) 6. Snoball 7. Little Debbi ... Laurel Ashley hit the B's: Bobbin, Barney, Betina, Bea, Brando, Betty, Button, and Belle for the Mom ... Jamie Cagle picked 'Polo' for a boy ... Lori Lubin's names were very cool: Tycho, Sandra Dee, Gidget, Annie, Aurora, Eliza, Holly Golightly, Fitzhug ... and Lori A Fusaro was inspired by the barn theme: Female 1- Tuli Male 1- Angus Female 2- Sussex Female 3- Holstein Male 2- Dexter Female 4- Chianina (Key-a-Nina) Female 5 Devon Mom - Jersey.

Big thanks to everyone for your creative input, including the folks at Sula. You helped us raise $2400 for the dogs' care, 10% which is going to their sweet southern cousins in New Orleans. Woot!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

for Maude

We returned to Sacramento today to do a Free Shots Fair in honor of Maude, a beloved foster dog who came down with distemper shortly after leaving the Sacramento City Shelter back in March. Losing her broke our hearts, but since a simple vaccination would've prevented her death, we just had to get back and do some work.

We held the event in McClatchy Park and invited surrounding pit bull owners to join us in celebrating the dogs in Maude's name. Outside of a few adopters who live in Sac, we're relative strangers in this community. But we were welcomed warmly by hundreds and served over 150 pit bulls and pit mixes on this Sunday afternoon ... A very nice day and fantastic turn out.

Park Rangers camped out for the first hour and spied everything from a distance, but I guess the orderliness of the event was yawn-worthy, so they eventually left. The clients were - as usual - thrilled to have support and hard-to-access resources including free spay/neuter vouchers and training help.

Some beautiful faces from the day...

A few people were still in their church clothes, which made for some very sweet family photos...

How much do we love this kid? His dog took third place in an American Bully show in Fresno this weekend.

Owner pride. We know the feeling well...

Still smiling, even after standing in a long line in hot weather...

Many thanks to our diehard volunteers, to the staff of Silverado Vet Hospital, who took care of Maude when she was dieing and for staffing the vaccination table in her honor, and to amazing crew from the Sacramento Responsible Pit Bull Owners group for your assistance and good vibes.

And to Tina Vickrey! (right)... who's been trucking in to help us with east bay events for years, but lost sleep wondering if anyone would show to this event. HA!

Moral of the story: Build it and they will come.

Thank you Sacramento pit bull owners! We had a great day and look forward to coming back.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When old news is the best news.

Someday, when your kids and grandkids are grown and loving on their own pit bulls, the saga of the bust dogs will seem like old dusty news from a history book. They might even say "Mom! Enough about the bust dogs already. That's just sooo 2009." Ledy Vankavage from Best Friends wrote a one-pager that just might work for that history book....

The Vick case became a model for how to handle dog fighting cases, including the Missouri 500. Courts and law enforcement agencies across the country are embracing the humane trend of giving dogs rescued from fighting rings a second chance. - Ledy, from her blogpost

The one thing that Ledy didn't write into this page is herself. People who know her and who've read Malcolm Gladwell's landmark book "The Tipping Point" point to Ledy as a classic 'Connector' ... That is, someone who seems to know everyone and knows how to sew them together. This article is like a peek into's Ledy's busy rolodex, which she used then and still uses today to bring "the helpers" together towards the goal of getting our dogs out of the gutter they've been tossed in.

Ledy's MO bust dog Karma ... just like our recent placement Daisy ... just like the fabulous Hector, Sweet Jasmine, Little Red, Haley, Monkey, Josie, Jhumpa, Leo, Georgia, Jonny Justice, Audie, Vessa ... shall I go on? They and their owners are all going above and beyond the call of duty to show us that rock star pit bulls aren't the exception, they're the rule.

Feeling grateful today to everyone who stuck their neck out "then" for the dogs, and who continues to stick it out there for the dogs - now - no matter where they come from. You history makers, you.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Daisy finds her people

As reported by her dedicated foster mom, Daisy Mae is home for keeps. And it's a good thing since half of our group - including my husband - wanted to steal this monkey as their own!

We had the honor of driving Miss Daisy to her new people last week. (Left. Smiling the whole way during her car ride home.)

A homemade sign - "Welcome to Your Forever Home Daisy Darling" - greeted her at the door. Can you stand it? She walked in that house like she knew exactly where she was. She wagged like a maniac while inspecting every corner, loved up on her new people, then settled herself right into her waiting dog bed with a chew while we chatted at the kitchen table about all-things-pit bull. To be honest, I don't think she noticed much when we snuck out the door. She was perfectly, happily, forever home.

It's hard to believe that this personable little dog came off of a chain in Oklahoma just one year ago. She was swept up in the big seven state dog fighting raid and made Tim's acquaintance when he was in Okie-land, sorting out the darlings in need.

For old time's sake, check out her first video, filmed in the Claremore shelter that housed her. You can see her personality shining through even back when she was just a broken bust dog without a name. Keep your eye out for the teeny tiny brown puppy towards the end. That would be Vessa - another lucky BR alum.

Daisy's little body is one of the funkiest, most crooked bodies we've seen on a dog. She needed one knee surgery and may need another to help her get around. Foster parents Letti and Jamal get major kudos for their work with the special needs dogs they've fostered for BR. Her new home tells us that her health is one of the main reasons they knew she was theirs. They looked over all our dogs - fawned over would be a better word - then decided that Daisy was it. They adored her, and felt that she needed their TLC the most.

Jeanne and Neil are longtime pit bull lovers, having owned the breed for over 40 years. They showed us a lifetime of photos with their beloved dogs. We just love knowing that Daisy has found her place in their long line of cherished pets. She seems like she was always part of their family and in a very real way, she always has been.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Name us! A contest to name the Barn Family

We've been so busy with our new barn guests that we haven't been able to settle on names yet. Poor deprived doggers! Please help us figure out what to call these little tykes so we can get them listed as 'Coming Soon' faces on our available page.

We also need to buy a lot of supplies for the barn and vet care and s/n surgeries for the pups, so to meet both goals, we're holding a Name the Barn Baby Contest.

Here's how it works: You donate ten dollars to BR via paypal for every name you want to submit. Name one dog, donate an Alexander Hamilton. Name two dogs, donate twenty bucks towards their care. Name all eight dogs (don't forget mom!), donate eighty ... Get it?

Mo'fessional Judges: Since we hope to be overwhelmed by your good ideas, the good people of Sula Foundation are going to help us out by selecting their eight favorite names from the list of entries. As you may know, Sula prez Ken Foster is an accomplished author with an ear tuned towards wordage, so we trust him to lead the way. Sadly, Ken lost his muse Sula one month ago. To honor her memory, we'll send 10% of your donations from this contest to his group. It's one small way that the seven brand new lives can honor Sula's memory and carry on the legacy of her inspiration.

Deadline: Friday June 11 5pm Eastern Standard Time. Winning names announced sometime Sunday, June 13.

Prizes, Prizes: Winners will be mentioned here with photos of their muses - their dogs, we're assuming. And because the momma dog is always the most important member of any dog family, we're going to send the winner of momma's namer shopping for a clothing item gift of his or her choice from our CafePress store. If we get more than one entry with the same winning name, the prize goes to the person who sent it in first. Sound good?

So have at it. There are five girl puppies (not including mama) and two boys. Think: barn animals, super heroes, television sitcoms - go wild. For ideas, stare into their eyes HERE

IMPORTANT: When you make your paypal donation, write your name choice or choices in the box marked "instructions to merchant." Thank you namers ... and thank you Ken and Sula. This should be fun!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

nanny's helper dogs

worth their weight in gold ...

Friday, June 04, 2010

first family: the barn comes to life

Our first barn residents made themselves at home last week ... A momma dog and her seven puppies. We weren't quite ready for move-ins, but how could we say no? Without a little chaos and excitement, I think we'd be bored.

They're an exceptionally beautiful family of dogs. As you can imagine, we'll have scads of photos and video stories as they grow healthy and ready for adoption. And we still need names for them all! But for now, I wanted to share a little slideshow with a message for all the people who gave to this project...

Barn Family

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Right on the Nose

Below - A report from Elizabeth Kennedy on her recent nose work class with Linda Chwistek. Thank you Elizabeth (and Linda!)

Confession: my dog Stella and I were “dog dancing” flunkies—as it became clear she was not destined to be a Rockette, I cast around for a new calling, something that would suit a sensitive little hunter.

Then along came nose work. A sport that builds upon a dog’s natural ability to locate a scent, nose work starts dogs out on a course with a basic, strong smell—say a bag of stinky treats—hidden in one of five boxes all lined up. They’re walked on a leash beside the boxes and rewarded when they pick out the treat box. From there, the game is refined—with boxes scattered everywhere, less treats in the box, things being hidden higher, buried deeper, stuck in stuff other than boxes, on cars, on grassy outdoor courses, you name it. As the dog advances, so does the game. The idea, at its essence, is just to set the dogs free to do what they do best: act like a dog.

Every single dog in this class—without exception—loved it. And that only makes sense. Dogs have 220 million olfactory receptors to only 5 million for humans. That means they can smell forty-four times as well as we can! They’re designed for this sport; it employs the tools evolution afforded them. Dogs are able to follow a scent like it's a thread right to a source. Watching the satisfaction the dogs got in hunting, I was reminded (silly human!) that dogs have their own native intelligence, way more keen than the paces of sit, shake, roll over we often put them through.

And beyond their genetic predispositions, dogs get such a boost from this work. Take little Stella, for example. Some might say Stella has been something of a scaredie cat in her day. Rescued by officers during a drug raid in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, she’d come to fear a good few things in life, boxes among them. But take a look at her on the job here, sticking her big ol’ anvil-head straight into boxes, coolers, crates, and cones, all on the hunt for the buried treasure. You’d never in a million years know this dog had a fear in the world. And neither would she.

Stella locating the source hidden in an apple basket.

Stella is excited to be working.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

'Best Of' - A nice honor from 7x7 Magazine

Thank you to the staff of the glitzy 7x7 for bestowing your love on BADRAP with a 'Best Of' mention in the 2010 Best of SF Issue. We're tickled pink by this honor. Even better, one of the survivors of the recent Oakland cruelty case - Miss Loretta - got her fifteen minutes of fame with a big bodacious mugshot, captured by photog whiz Lori Fusaro, alongside the 'zine's blurb about BR.

Love Stuff (about halfway down)

One fix: The author was kind to call out my name and Tim's, but BR's synergy comes from the network of fabulous people who give so generously to the cause. But readers here already know that! So congrats to the trainers, transporters, foster homes, event organizers, educators, adopters and all-around supporters of BR - This honor is yours.