July 20, 2007

Straight dope on pit bull rescue

Can't beat the SF Chronicle for pit bull hate. There probably is a special pit bull section in their style manual with terms like loaded gun and furry time bomb, and if the Chron has a code of ethics, I imagine there's an addendum: "except for articles about pit bulls." Prejudice is the Chronicle's stock in trade when it comes to these dogs, and breed-bashing is their default behavior.

But pit bulls are the victims, now, so everything has changed --- for the moment, at least. A front page report by sports columnist Gwen Knapp in Thursday's Chronicle covered the wave of sympathy for fighting dogs, the tsunami of revulsion towards dogfighters, and an organization that is making hay from the publicity.

Knapp writes that donations have swamped the Humane Society of the United States, a powerful lobbying group that runs no shelters or rescues and is not affiliated with your local humane society, yet appears, Zelig-like, in most major news stories about rescued animals.

The HSUS -- with net assets over 200 million dollars -- doesn't need your money. But they'll be happy to take it, and use it to lobby in favor of bills like AB 1634.

HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle states that his frequently-cited "one generation and out" comment was taken out of context and never meant to refer to all domestic animals --- only to heritage livestock breeds. Yet in an interview for the book Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt Pacelle told author Ted Kerasote, "I don’t want to see another dog or cat born."

The HSUS believes all pit bulls that have been fought are unsuitable for adoption. Experts who actually know pit bulls, and work with ex-fighters all the time, say this is nonsense. So: in this corner we have smart folks who know the breed better than anyone on earth, and in the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out afterwards" corner, a group run by a man who has never kept a dog and thinks no one else should keep dogs, either.

The HSUS will have to manage without my donations.

Want more people to hear the truth about pit bulls from those who know the breed best? Want to cut through the ignorance, hysteria and urban legends? Want to help pit bulls (including ex-fighters) with great temperaments find wonderful homes --- and cool jobs?

Don't send money to the HSUS. Donate to an organization that actually saves dogs. BAD RAP and other groups save dogs from shelters, rescue them from the streets, foster them and train them and place them in great homes. The HSUS does none of this, and thinks no pit bull used for fighting should get a chance at a better life.

Knapp's Chronicle story failed to mention BAD RAP, the top pit bull advocacy group in the country. [Check out BAD RAP's annual conference, scheduled for September 22 - 23 this year.] And if you don't live in the Bay Area, here is a list of pit-friendly rescues across the nation. They could all use your donations and support. HugABull covers part of the Great White North --- you might contact them for information on pit bull rescues elsewhere in Canada.

These groups don't have $200 million in assets. They need your generous donations.

What a shame it would be if the Michael Vick/dogfighting coverage did nothing but help raise funds for the next AB 1634 campaign or an updated Guide to Vegetarian Eating. Want to help pit bulls? Donate to a pit-friendly rescue or a rescue/advocacy group like HugABull or BAD RAP. Donate to Pit Bull Rescue Central. And as always, please consider adopting a wonderful pit bull of your own. [Jon Stewart has two.]


Donna said...

Thanks so much for the kind plug, L. Another way to help sheltered pit bulls, especially dogs that are abused and aren't going to leave the planet knowing much about human kindness, is to donate directly to your local shelters.

A large kong stuffed with peanut butter and treats can make a dog's last day a little nicer. Same thing with dog beds -- imagine if your last night didn't have to be on a cement floor. So many shelters can't afford these kinds of luxuries and they can make such a difference.

Luisa said...

Donna, great suggestions. Many local shelters are understaffed and underfunded --- my local pound is down to one ACO. Please, folks, support your local shelter: donations [of beds, kongs, dollars] can make a big difference in the lives of impounded animals.