This past Saturday was National Pit Bull Awareness Day so I hope everyone was thinking pits as they went about their daily rounds. They certainly were aware of Pit Bulls in the Bronx (yeah, I know it’s Bronx, N.Y., not the Bronx, but that’s where we lived when I was born and it’s always been da Bronx to me). To help plant a flag for this annual commemoration, Best Friends sponsored Pet Bull Palooza at Crotona Park in the Bronx in collaboration with ASPCA and The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals. The ASPCA rolled in two of their mobile spay / neuter vans (which were booked out by 8am) and scheduled a few dozen more follow up appointments with local’s eager to customize their pit bulls. In addition to free spay / neuter services, PBP offered:
- Free vaccinations and microchip
- Free ear cleaning and nail trimming
- Free leashes and collars for first 300 dogs
- Free toys and treats for first 300 dogs
- Free dog food
Everything went! What a great day. These kind of events make the point against mandatory spay / neuter laws…no law required…if you provide low cost or free s/n services, they will come. But I digress.
Why all the attention on pit bulls? Well, for a variety of reasons, they are the most killed breed/type of dog in America’s shelters. If we want to get to No More Homeless Pets, pits are an essential piece of the puzzle.
Pit Bulls rock! They are remarkable, eager to please, animals with mad athletic skills and an abundance of personality. Of course you can make them fight, you make them do just about anything…including make coffee, but what they’re best at is being ridiculous… big grins, a motor driven tail and goofy poses and expressions.
Best Friends is committed to restoring the reputation of pit bull type dogs and has some exciting programs in the works featuring very effective tools and resources to help keep your community pit bull friendly.
At the No More Homeless Pets Conference 10 days ago, we were delighted to announce a partnership with Petsmart Charities called the “Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project”. Basically it’s a pilot project based on a very successful partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services. It’s had a demonstrable impact on increasing the number of pit type dogs adopted and consequently reducing the number of such dogs surrendered and killed at Salt Lake County Animal Services.
Petsmart kicked in $240,000 to get the program started in 5 target communities that Best Friends will partner with: Rancho Cucamonga, California, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Carlsbad, California and Tampa, Florida.
All great stuff you say, but what can I do in my city to make it Pit Bull friendly?
Here are three things you can do to keep your community Pit Bull friendly:
1. Be Proactive
Does your community have a comprehensive dangerous dog ordinance? If not, don’t wait, take steps to get a good one passed. It will be a bulwark against regressive and reactive breed bans or other breed discriminatory regulations. A good dangerous dog ordinance targets the deed, not the breed. It focuses on irresponsible owners of whatever breed of dog who encourage aggressive behavior, take pleasure in having the “baddest dog” in the neighborhood, blow off neighbors concerns and turn their dogs into extensions of their own anti-social selves with the result being that when, not if, someone gets bitten, the dog and probably the breed get blamed. Best Friends has model dangerous dog ordinance language available and our team will be happy to help shepherd you through the process of working with local officials to get good laws in place before bad laws are dreamed up by grandstanding and / or uninformed politicians. Click here for model ordinances, resources and more.
2. Use The Best Friends Breed Discriminatory Fiscal Impact Calculator
If your community is plagued by a grandstanding pol or has a well meaning but uninformed neighborhood activist or for some other reason is considering a breed ban or some other form of breed discriminatory legislation, the best strategy to move the conversation from fear mongering hysteria to a rational discussion of what’s best for the community, use THE CALCULATOR! The Best Friends BDL Fiscal Impact Calculator will tell you how much it will cost the taxpayer to enforce, defend and implement a breed ban. When dollars come into the conversation, everything slows down and the reality of a breed ban can be considered in a different light. Does your community really want to introduce a police state with door-to-door searches that leaves kids crying on the doorstep as family pets…family members…are hauled off to be killed or does it really want to protect the community and promote responsible pet ownership through proactive enforcement of progressive dangerous dog laws.
3. Host A Pit Bull Palooza
Have some fun, fix some pits, create a community of pit bull advocates who love these dogs and are sending all the right messages.
Pits are great dogs and they need our help to get out of shelters, to stay out of shelters and to be recognized for the great dogs that they are. For help and resources for your community be sure to visit the Best Friends campaign site for Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog.