January 12, 2008

Pit Bull Junior High

You know how they say Hollywood is "high school with money"? The extended pit bull community is like middle school in a rough neighborhood, with a double helping of angst. Cliques and characters are thick on the ground. No one ever gets enough sleep, self-absorbtion is endemic and adults were put here to make your life miserable.

Diane Jessup is a Queen Bee at Pit Bull Junior High. She has a pit bull website, a forum, a (pending) non-profit and an ego as big as all outdoors, not that there's anything wrong with that. Her full name is The Controversial Diane Jessup. [See, for example, the post and subsequent thread that led to her bannination from the Pit Bull Forum.]

Here is an archived page from Diane's LawDogs website. Excerpt:
LawDogsUSA is always looking to help out homeless American pit bulls that have "the right stuff". We want to save homeless American pit bulls and give them a job - as American heroes! We ONLY accept American pit bulls from shelters and legitimate rescues. Unfortunately, accepting dogs from some rescues and the public has proven problematic, creating situations which take time and resources away from the work of LawDogsUSA.

We get many emails a day from people wanting us to take their pet pit bulls. We encourage those looking to get rid of their pets to use the following resource to try and either keep their dog or place it: [link to Pit Bull Rescue Central].

Please read the following information and pass it on. There are potential detection dogs dying in shelters everyday. It is up to us - together - to help them help us.
That page is under revision. Diane now says that pit bulls with the appropriate temperament and drives are, for all intents and purposes, next to impossible to find in rescues or shelters, so she is breeding her own, with foundation stock from Tatonka Kennels. Absolutely gorgeous dogs, by the way, and someone has to breed good pit bulls for the future. [I believe two of her homebreds are already serving with the Washington State Patrol.] But breeding dogs and buying breeding prospects takes money, and that can put a crimp in things like, oh, paying those pesky insurance premiums.

These days Diane is worried about the Vick pit bulls, specifically those dogs facing the prospect of a pointless, loveless, warehoused eternity at Best Friends while greedy caretakers remodel their kitchens with money that should have gone to groups approved by Diane and LawDogs, dammit! Here's the big whine. Dance, straw men, dance! Excerpt:
We are very sad to report that due to the "Special Master" Rebecca Huss getting what we consider very poor advice, the determination was made to only allow those agencies which carried a one million dollar insurance policy (and had for the past three years, making it impossible for anyone to comply at this time) to take the dogs. After a quarter century of working in pit bull rescue I have yet to know of even one pit bull rescue which carries this kind of insurance. I have heard of one which does, and they state they had to lie about being an "all breed" rescue to get the insurance. Out of the Pits, an extremely reputable rescue, certainly could not comply as well. Most "hands on" rescues simply would never dream of spending the kind of money needed for a million dollar policy on anything other than direct care of dogs, education, advocacy or spay/neuter.
Or, you know, buying pups and breeding your own dogs. I have a million-dollar umbrella policy from State Farm. It costs me a little over $200 a year, about a fifth of what it would cost to buy an $800 puppy and pay to have her shipped from Florida to LAX.

More from Diane:
I am very disappointed American pit bulls deemed "adoptable" by ASPCA "experts" had this million dollar liability insurance requirement slapped on them. In my county, even a dog which has severely mauled someone and been declared "Dangerous" doesn't carry this kind of requirement! Rebecca Huss has, in effect, achieved the impression that even "adoptable" pit bulls are somehow a huge risk. A sad day for the breed, indeed.
Give me a break. Organizations need the insurance, not individual adopters. Put on a sheepdog trial, your organization needs a million bucks of insurance. Hold an agility fun match for Shelties, you need proof of insurance. As I've written before, I've had my own million-dollar policy for ages, and not because I'm afraid my dogs will "turn" on someone, but because 1) we live in the most litigious society in the history of the universe, and 2) some people are scary stupid and others are totally unpredictable. Some are scary stupid and totally unpredictable. I can't always control what people are going to do around my dogs or my livestock. I'm surprised that anyone working with lots of dogs [and people] wouldn't have some serious insurance coverage, but that's just me. Yes, I have earthquake insurance and long-term care insurance, too, because I have a vivid imagination when it comes to worst case scenarios. Sue me.

More from Diane:
Michael Vick was ordered to set aside almost a million dollars for "care" of these dogs. While I am all for seeing Michael Vick lose his money, in this case I feel adding that amount of money in to the mix was a mistake. When large amounts of money are involved in any manner, too often the wrong kind of people are attracted and dogs are generally the losers. And so they were in this case. Reputable organizations were shut out.
LawDogs was shut out, which isn't quite the same thing. I expect there are safeguards to insure that qualifying rescue organizations don't vacation in Tahiti on Michael Vick's tab. And is $5000 exorbitant for lifetime care of a rescue dog? Let me get back to you when I've paid off the elbow dysplasia and ACL surgeries.

In the court document discussing placement of the Vick dogs, Rebecca Huss [who I suspect also has a vivid imagination when it comes to worst case scenarios] writes:
Due to the ongoing criminal proceedings, each of the rescue organizations has agreed not to disclose anything about the dogs unless prior approval of such disclosure has been granted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. After the final sentencing in the federal proceedings, the organizations would be allowed to discuss the dogs as they would any other dogs under their care unless the dogs’ safety would be compromised.
But none of this seems to apply to trailblazing iconoclasts like Diane, who not only talks in detail about the dog she got, but posts his picture in her rant.

Just another day [gum snap] at Pit Bull Junior High.


No BSL said...

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas(next year) is for "Pit Pull" and "substantially similar" dog supporters to get along and present a united front against those who wish to destroy these dogs.
I`ll leave a stuffed kong for your "Pit Bull"
We`re not sure what a "Pit Bull" is here in Ontario,hence the quotes.

Bill Fosher said...

I don't know about how easy or hard it would be to get liability insurance for a pit bull rescue, but $1 million is not a lot of liability coverage. I don't think liability is available in smaller denominations.

When I was doing prescribed grazing on conservation lands, capped landfills, and national historical parks, I had to carry $2 million in liability for my sheep operation, which includes livestock guard dogs and Border collies, and I think it cost me less than $700 a year as a rider on my general policy.

Way, way less than worker's comp.

It does strike me as odd that there be a requirement that an organization have had a policy for three years. It's easy to draw the conclusion that it was to prevent new players, but I suppose it also shows some continuity of the organization, which could be construed to represent the resources to do right by the dogs, the courts, and the prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand the continued hatred displayed towards Diane Jessup.. between her book, the WORKING PIT BULL, and the LAWDOGS program (not to mention all the other things), she's done more for pit bulls than most people in this country. including you. OH MY GOD, she wants to breed a line of APBTs she likes. well, THAT certainly disqualifies her from credibility (rolling eyes) .. among rescuers who hate breeders (like BadRap) Yeah, she's opinionated.. and you don't like her opinions. Talk about WHINING! What prompts you to attack her?

Could be that you're such a BadRap acoloyte, you're willing to carry their water in attacking anyone who dares challenge their view (which are quite newby.. they have about 1/4 the experience with pit bulls that DJ has).

P.S. No one can see that PitBullForum link except those who are signed up. PBF regularly bans people for challenging BadRap's continued lies. So big whoop that they banned DJ.

p.p.s. DJ isn't a party to the Huss restrictions, so you have no beef with her about her publishing a picture of the dog. SEVERAL organizations have printed pics of the dogs, and MANY, included Bad Rap have talked explicitly about them. Which DOES violate Huss' terms, since they are signatories. Funny how that doesn't bother you enough to attaack them

do you have the honesty to print this?

FrogDogz said...

You had to know it was high time for the sore losers to come out of the woodwork and start bitching that 'they' were better suited to handle the Vick dogs.

I'd already seen posts on a working Molosser list I belong to complaining that Bad Rap are 'just a bunch of Pet Bull people'. I can't even begin to know what that means, exactly.

Luisa said...

“The honesty to print this”? Irony not one of your strong suits, eh.

Take some yoga breaths, nameless one.

Breeding good dogs doesn’t hurt Diane’s credibility: she’s better qualified to breed pit bulls than 99.9% of the people cranking them out. LawDogs is still in the sidebar. But protesting she can’t afford an insurance rider when she can afford to spend money on breeding prospects, shipping costs and puppy care? That hurts credibility. Spinning the consequences of her own choice to forego insurance into “a sad day for the breed” and “a huge step backwards for the fight against breed specific legislation”? That’s just embarrassing.

Sorry about the Pit Bull Forum Link. It’s easy to register.

Your credibility, nameless one? You don’t have any. Anonymous libel is funny that way. Grow a backbone and sign your name the next time you feel like mudslinging.

Anonymous said...

It's true that a lot of people have come out of the woodwork wanting to 'foster' the Vick dogs for I'm sure a variety of reasons.

Diane Jessup is OK and knows what she's talking about in terms of breed history, etc, of 'pit bulls'. Her LawDogs program is fab.

I take issue with some of her breed stereotyping but it's pretty benign, so not a big deal.

The requirement for insurance is pretty obvious - and not because of the big, bad 'pit bulls'. Think about it - high profile dogs, every wanker will want one, possible break and enters, vandalism, people trying to cash in on fake injuries, yada yada - how could you run any kennel operation without insurance but especially this one?

Insurance is not that expensive but being without it could be.

Diane Jessup said...

Hey, thanks for the mention - you know what they say, "As long as they are talking about you..." :)

Got a chuckle out of the "big as all outdoors" - I would say "big as the known universe!" LOL. Too true, makes you either love me or hate me! As I always say: "Avoid criticism - say nothing; do nothing; be nothing."

Wanted to point out that The Pit Bull Place Forum is not "mine". I had nothing to do with its formation, am not a moderator - nothing. I only have time for one forum, and I choose that one because, for the very reason you are pointing out - it is the LEAST "junior high schoolish". The moderators do a fantastic job of keeping haters/trouble makers/angst filled losers/etc to a dull roar. Now, many (many) people enjoy the Jerry Springer type attitude on many boards, and that's cool, but if people are looking for a fairly moderated educational board, that is the one I would recommend. I get my share of warnings there as anyone else! : )

As to BadRap, I have tried (you'll never know) very hard to be supportive of this group. However, between supporting mandatory steralization of pit bulls and now this really ridiculous gameplaying with the Vick dogs which has had a real negative impact on the future of seized dogs (it is a complex issue, and people have to look past the breezy blog and cute pics to see the reality, and most aren't able to do that - sadly) I find it increasingly difficult to embrace Donna's POV. Manditory steralization and "dangerous dog" like requirements for "adoptable dogs" is the kind of thing that ENEMIES of our breed are supporting, right?

I have full confidence that you will print this in full, as you seem a good sort.